Prayer Request for Sudan as Conditions Worsen

Despite the international attention and pressure Sudan has received in recent years, conditions to worsen for Christians in the country. This past October in separate incidents, two more churches were destroyed.

The first act of destruction occurred on October 17. A Lutheran church was burned down in Gadaref, East Sudan along with all of its furniture and Bibles inside.

The second incident occurred a few days later on October 22 iomdurmanchurch-sudan_nfbln the city of Omdurman. On that day the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sudan was given a 72-hour notice that the church would be destroyed due to development reasons. A final notice was given a few days later, then the church was set on fire before also being bulldozed. Authorities claimed that the church was on public grounds meant to be used for a marketplace, however a mosque on the same grounds was not destroyed.

Christian schools in Sudan have also encountered hardship. This past June, Ishag Andrawes, the manager of a Catholic school in Omdurman, was arrested along with parents of students after a peaceful protest. Andrawes and the parents were participating in a demonstration in hopes to have the school returned to them after it was confiscated illegally three years ago. A court ruled for the school to be returned, however authorities have failed to follow the court order.

It appears that persecution has not ended for Pastor Yat Michael and Pastor David Yein Reith. According to Radio Tamazuj, the two South Sudanese pastors who were tried and acquitted this past summer may face further complications. An arrest warrant for the pastors has been issued by an appeals court in Khartoum Bahri. The court reportedly wants to hear new evidence against the pastors.

Please remember to keep Sudanese Christians in your prayers as conditions worsen. Join Jubilee Campaign in praying that the hearts of governing authorities will soften towards Christians, and that the Gospel will flourish in Sudan. We can be encouraged that even in the midst of persecution, the Word of God is not bound (2 Timothy 2:9).

 

To read more about condition in Sudan, you can visit the following:

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/take-action/Pray/tag-prayer-updates-post/two-sudan-churches-destroyed-one-for-a-marketplace/

http://aclj.org/persecuted-church/rampant-persecution-of-christians-and-church-destruction-escalating-in-sudan

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/khartoum-court-issues-arrest-warrant-two-s-sudanese-pastors

Churches in Indonesia Destroyed as Tensions Flare

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation, comprising of 12.7% of the world’s Muslims. The country has an overwhelming majority of Muslims, with 87.2% of its people following Islam and a mere 7% professing to be Christians. The disparity has led to conflicts between the Muslim and Christian communities.

The churches in several areas of Indonesia are being targeted by Islamic extremists, most of whom have affiliation with the Islamic Defenders Front. These extremists are putting great pressure on local government officials to shut down churches that are operating without a legal license. West Java province has had all 29 of its churches shut down, and Aceh province has had at least 10 including registered churches shut down by government officials and others destroyed by Islamic extremists. Because the system that religious groups must go through to obtain an operating license is corrupt, the closing of many of these churches is unjustified.

Any religious group must go through an approval process in order to legally operate a house of worship. This system is often a source of discrimination against religious minorities. Many times, a Christian group who has met all necessary requirements still has their requests arbitrarily dismissed or ignored. To no fault of their own, Christians must occupy buildings deemed illegal if they wish to continue their worship.

Islamic extremists use this system to justify their violence toward Christians or pressure local officials to close Christian churches. On October 9th government officials, under pressure from members of the IDF, agreed to shut down 10 churches in the Aceh province. The day after this agreement, a mob of 700 people burned the Indonesian Christian Church, a church that was not even on the list to be shut down. This caused about 8,000 Christians to flee their homes out of fear of continued violence. Also, in West Java, where all churches have been forcibly closed, church pastor Bernard Maukar was put in jail for 3 months for operating an unlicensed church, even though his church had met the legal requirements needed to obtain a license for over a year and had since been simply waiting on the approval of the government.

Please join Jubilee Campaign in praying for the churches of Indonesia. Pray that they would have the strength to resist the discrimination from the government and Islamic  extremists. Also, pray for Indonesia’s leaders, that they would act in a just manner to protect the Christian minorities.

Read more about the topic…

http://www.ibtimes.com/indonesia-muslim-christian-conflict-aceh-churches-destroyed-sectarian-tension-rises-2146304

http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-churches-demolished-indonesia-government-muslims-148063/

 

Central Africa Threatened by Terrorist Group

Eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo are undergoing continued attacks from a jihadist group, Muslim Defense International (MDI), previously known as ADF-NALU. Many Christian communities have been targeted, especially in the town of Beni and surrounding areas, as MDI seeks to advance its Islamist dominance. The most recent reports, which record 19 deaths occurring in September alone, are part of a much longer calamity.

Since October 2014, MDI has launched over 35 attacks, which have resulted in approximately 600 lives lost, 800 kidnapped, and over 500,000 displaced due to violence. MDI uses the tactic of kidnapping as a way to add to their numbers. Civilians, primarily children, are captured and taken to training camps in remote areas where they are abused and forced to join the militia. So far it is estimated that 1,500 children have been used for such purposes.

The MDI began in Uganda as a rebel group and until recently operated under the name of ADF-NALU. In 1995 it was driven out by the Ugandan army causing it to cross over into DR Congo territory. MDI has 800-1,400 highly organized and well-trained members who operate under the leadership of Shaykh Jamil Makulu. The organization has recently become more mobilized, and many are concerned there are links between MDI and other African jihadist groups such as Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, and Al-Shabaab. Though this group poses an obvious threat not only to the DR Congo, but internationally, the international community has paid very little attention to its rising violent acts.

Please join Jubilee Campaign in praying for the DR Congo and the victims of these attacks. Pray that the international community would take these attacks seriously and respond with unified action against MDI. Finally, pray that God would strengthen Christians in the area and bring more people to himself amidst the ongoing violence and persecution.

Read more about the topic…

https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2015/10/4051016/

ISIS Hostages Freed

Throughout the terror of ISIS, numerous reports of abductions by the terrorist group have been released. However, this past weekend good news was reported by the Assyrian International News Agency that 37 Assyrian Christians have been released.

The Assyrians were kidnapped by ISIS on February 23rd when ISIS attacked 35 Assyrian villages along the Khabur river. 253 were captured in total, most having not returned home. Among those released, all are elderly and 27 are women. The hostages safely arrived at the town of Tel Tamar on November 9th.

ISIS remains holding 353 Assyrians hostage. 168 are from the Khabur region while the remaining 185 were captured in Qaryatain.

Good news also came late in October as another 70 hostages were released by a joint operation by the U.S. and Iraqi forces, 20 of which were members of the Iraqi security forces. Camera footage from a helmet showed the raid on the prison in Hawija. The raid resulted in detaining five ISIS militants as well as recovered intelligence about the terrorist group.

This was the first time American soldiers had directly helped local Iraqi forces on the ground. Until now, U.S. forces had solely been training and advising Iraqi forces. The help, however, came at a cost with one U.S. soldier being killed in the attack.  U.S. Army Master Sgt Joshua Wheeler of Oklahoma is the first American to die in combat against ISIS.

We continue to pray for those still under captivity of ISIS. Join us in also praying that the Christians who are continually facing persecution in the area would be strengthened during this time.

To read more about the release of the hostages, visit:

http://www.aina.org/news/20151107050524.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/world/middleeast/us-commandos-iraq-isis.html?_r=0

Hundreds of Pakistani Christians Arrested in Bangkok

On September 10, hundreds of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Bangkok were arrested in a raid conducted by Thai police, immigration authorities, and the Army. The asylum seekers, which included children, nursing women, sick and elderly, were transported directly to the Immigration Detention Center.

 

The arrests follow the visit of Lord David Alton last week, who met with authorities to address issues of overcrowding in the detention centers and inhumane treatment. Lord Alton also held meetings with asylum seekers to gather witness testimony to the issues facing the Pakistani Christian community in Bangkok. Pakistani asylum seekers in Bangkok, most of which are fleeing religious persecution, are often targeted in Bangkok due to their noticeably dark skin. The UNHCR in Bangkok has experienced a back-log in their system, which as enabled the asylum seekers’ visas to expire before getting a chance to have an interview with the UNHCR, therefore making the asylum seekers prone to arrest.

 

Urgent prayer is needed for the release of those arrested. Please also call or send a letter to the Thai embassy in your home country and request the Thai authorities to release the Pakistani Christian asylum seekers.

For those in the United States:

Ambassador Pisan Manawapat

1024 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.,

Washington, DC 20007
Salutation: His Excellency

Tel: 202-944-3600

Fax: 202-944-3611

To learn more about the situation of Pakistani Christians in Thailand:

Evidence Taking Sessions With Pakistani Christians – September 2015

International Scandal of 95 Detainees Held in One Cell – Including Children