20 February 2008

Voice of the Martyrs update (2/20/08)




Prayers for February 20, 2008
From The Voice of the Martyrs.


NIGERIA

One Dead, 60 Injured in Muslim Attacks on Christians--VOM SourcesOn February 2, one Christian was killed, 60 others injured, and churches, businesses and homes set on fire, in the latest Muslim attacks on Christians in Bauchi state, Nigeria. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in Nigeria, "One Christian man was killed, over 60 people were seriously injured and five churches were damaged." This latest attack took place after two friends, a Christian lady and a Muslim man, had a disagreement. VOM contacts report, "These two were said to be friends of some sort until they had a disagreement on February 1. The Muslim man claimed that the Christian lady made some blasphemous utterances against the Prophet Muhammad. They were said to have parted ways that day without much trouble, but with a threat from the man that he would deal with the lady in his own way." VOM contacts added that the following day the Muslim man ganged up with Muslim extremists and started searching for the lady. "The lady was alerted of the attack and ran to the police station. The gang traced her to the police station and insisted the police release her. When the police did not release her, the attackers set the police station on fire. After the lady and the police escaped, the Muslim extremists attacked Christian homes, churches and shops," VOM contacts said. Believers who lived in the damaged and destroyed homes have not returned because of fear they might be attacked again. Pray for Christians in this state. Ask God to comfort the family of the deceased and those injured. Pray these believers will be encouraged to remain faithful in their walk with the Lord. Psalm 23:3-5


ALGERIA

Christians Under Increased Pressure--VOM Sources/ Middle East ConcernChristian leaders in Algeria have asked for international support following recent incidents that threaten human rights, especially religious rights. According to a February 7 report from Middle East Concern, believers are under pressure because the local Algerian media has been running an intense campaign against the church. Seven Christian fellowships are known to have been closed by the authorities and several believers have been arrested and formally charged. Pray that the closed fellowships will be opened, those arrested will be acquitted and for God to turn the negative media reports and use them for good. Ask God to encourage believers in Algeria and for the officials persecuting them. Pray they will hear the message of Jesus Christ. Romans 15:3-5


CHINA

Women Detained and Treated Indecently by Police--China Aid Association
On February 2, two Christian women, Meng Xiu Lan and Zhou Cheng Xiu, were detained by police in Jun Tun County, Yunan Province, after they were found distributing Christmas cards. According to China Aid Association (CAA), the two women, aged 55 and 53 respectively, were "threatened, mocked, stripped and frisked violently." CAA added, "Police then handcuffed the two women and escorted them back to their homes. After searching the homes, police illegally confiscated CDs, handouts, Bibles, song books and calendars, without proper documentation." Pray the Lord comforts and encourages these women after this difficult experience. Ask God to use their testimony to draw nonbelievers, including their persecutors, into fellowship with Him. Isaiah 53:4-5


EGYPT

Egyptian Court Recognizes Faith of 12 Converts to Christianity--VOM SourcesPraise God! An Egyptian court has recognized the faith of 12 converts to Christianity. The decision overturns a lower court ruling which said the state need not recognize conversions from Islam because it constituted "apostasy," an act often treated as a capital crime in the Muslim world. A lawyer for the 12 Coptic Christians described the case as a victory for human rights and freedom of religion that will open the door for hundreds of other Copts who want to return to their original faith from Islam. There is concern, however, over the ruling's mandate that the converts' former religion must be noted in their official documents, as this could leave them vulnerable to discrimination. Thank the Lord for this victory. Pray that these individuals will not be subject to further discrimination. Pray that those who were born into Muslim families and convert to Christianity will also have their conversions recognized by the Egyptian government. Psalm 103:1-5

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