Positive step for religious freedom in Indonesia

Discriminatory law overturned

This month Indonesia’s Supreme Court declared that the law forcing adherents of indigenous religions to instead identify as one of the state-recognized religions on their national ID cards is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Indonesia only recognizes 6 religions- Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism or Confucianism. It is the most populous Muslim country in the world. All citizens of Indonesia must list their religion on their national IDs. For those who do not adhere to any of the 6 recognized religions, they are void of recognition, legal rights, and social support provided by the state. They also risk being accused of being an atheist and getting charged under the country’s blasphemy law.

The decision by the supreme court to overturn this law should allow those of minority religions to exercise fuller rights and face less state-led persecution.

Challenges Remain

For indigenous tribes who have been affected by religious discrimination, challenges persist. The Orang Rimba of the Sumatran rainforests have been targeted by a vigilante group called the Islamic Defenders Front. BBC reported that 58 families of the Orang Rimba were forced to convert to Islam 3 months ago in order to enroll their children in school.

Please pray that the change in law will make real positive impacts for people groups such as the Orang Rimba.

Ending violence against women & children

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. All around the world women are abused physically, sexually, and emotionally. Sexual abuse is especially rampant in India, where millions of women and children are being trafficked as sex slaves every day.

Though women have been trafficked for a long time in India, the trafficking of children is newer. Yet it’s growing into a booming industry with an estimated 135,000 new children becoming enslaved in India each year.

In our modern world, slavery is very real and ever present. In fact, studies agree that there are more slaves today than ever before in history. These statistics are devastating and intolerable.

With the mission of caring for those suffering in silence, we couldn’t just stand by as innocent lives were destroyed.

Over 21 years ago Jubilee Campaign UK partnered with Bombay Teen Challenge and helped construct homes near Mumbai-a mega city with an extensive, popular, and destructive red light district in India. These homes were built in an effort to rescue children from forced prostitution and slavery. Beginning in 2004 Jubilee Campaign USA continues to financially support Jubilee Home IV, a home for rescued minors who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

If you wish to donate to help the children who are trafficked in India, a great option would be through the purchase of jewelry pieces made by rescued former sex slaves. Rescued women craft jewelry and leather goods to sell in order to help their children and themselves to recover. We sell these handmade goods as a way to help these women and take part in stopping the cycle of the sex trade. 100% of your donations to this project–Jubilee Home IV–go directly to the work of our partner, Bombay Teen Challenge, to improve the lives of these women and children. To donate or buy one of these beautifully crafted goods go to www.jubileecampaign.com.

Christian communities under assault in Nigeria

The latest development in the ongoing violent assault against Christians in Nigeria occurred in Plateau state, located in central Nigeria. Throughout September and October, repeated attacks against Christian communities left at least 75 dead.

Our partners on the ground, Stefanos Foundation, reported on the attacks and interviewed the victims. Throughout the course of the violence, 12 villages were attacked. In addition to the casualties, 489 homes were burned, and 13,726 persons were displaced. The victims identified the perpetrators as Fulani Militants.

Stefanos Foundation interviewed some victims to learn about the attacks.

Lisa Bono

Lisa

“When we heard rumors about the planned Fulani herdsmen attack on our community, we sought refuge in my in-law’s house. While we were asleep, we then heard gunshots around the house. The Fulani militants had surrounded our house shooting sporadically and a bullet got me on the cheek.”

The assailants then set their house on fire, but Lisa was able to escape through a window. Lisa lost 5 family members in the attack.

Friday Chinge

Friday
Villagers often get some kind of tip off before an attack will occur. Friday was with Nigerian soldiers in his village before an imminent attack hoping they would provide direction and protection. However, he soon realized they were not to be trusted.

“Some people came out from a particular house because of the gunshots and ran to the soldiers for help, who told them to join the others in the classroom. However, I advised the people not to go into the classroom, but they did anyway. So I laid down in the grasses with the soldiers, as we were lying down on the ground I saw one of the soldiers pointing his hand, directing the Fulani militants towards the classroom where the villagers are… The soldiers withdrew from the scene, the militants then surrounded the classroom, some stayed close to a window, and some stayed close to the door and opened fire on the people, killing almost everyone in the classroom except for two who survived with serious gunshot injuries.”

Chris Aya

Chris

Chris was on his way with his family to a hiding place, when he turned back to retrieve a bag from their house. When he got to the house, he saw armed men and screamed for his family to run. The attackers shot Chris and hacked his head with a machete. He was left to die. His family searched the next morning for what they thought would be his dead body. Instead they found him clinging to life and rushed him to the hospital. All the houses in their village were burnt down.

For some time, there have been growing tensions between the Fulani herdsmen who are mostly and Muslim, and the farming communities, who are largely Christians. However, in recent years it appears that some Fulani members have become violent and potentially even radicalized. This has caused the tensions to evolve into deadly attacks against the Christian farming communities. The attackers have been named Fulani Militants.

We ask you to pray for the following:

  • That the attacks would cease, and the communities would find ways to restore peace.
  • That the Nigerian government would provide effective security measures and bring the perpetrators to justice.
  • That the victimized communities would not participate in retaliatory attacks.

Malaysia Day: church leaders call for prayer

September 16th marks Malaysia’s birthday, known as Malaysia Day. In the midst of many things to celebrate, Malaysian Christians remain burdened with realities that challenge Malaysia’s foundational principles of diversity, unity, and a high regard for human rights. Christians are facing rising discrimination for their faith and pressure to conform to the nation’s Muslim majority.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia released the following request for prayer. Will you join our brothers and sisters in Malaysia in praying for justice and unity?

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