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Asia Bibi’s young daughters tortured by blasphemy accusers

 

Family of Asia Bibi

Family of Asia Bibi

The two young daughters of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy, have spoken about their own violent treatment at the hands of their mother’s accusers.

Esham was just 9 years old when she was warned by friends that her mother was being attacked in the field where she worked as a berry picker.

“I rushed to the spot and found that she was being abused and tortured by men. They had even torn her clothes,” Esham, now 14, told the MailOnline.

After running home and returning with a new dress for her mother, Esham says the men began torturing her, too. They used offensive slurs and dragged the two women into the village. “We were both crying but there was nobody to listen to us,” she recalls. READ MORE

Thirty days to November 24 deadline for P5+1, Iran to reach final nuke deal. Can you #Pray2Minutes?

wendy-s-dos-undersecy-2-2014

Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State, U.S. Dept. of State, addressing CSIS symposium in Washington DC, October 23, 2014.

These next 30 days are very critical as there are indications that a deal might be reached between Iran, US, and the P5+1 which might include the fate of Saeed and other Americans being held in Iran.
Would you please join me in praying in the next few days not only for Saeed’s release, but also for the talks that are happening, for the leaders, and  that the Lord would be glorified through it?
Here is a link to an article about it:
“In the middle of a lengthy foreign policy speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think-tank this week, Ms. Sherman indicated other ‘sideline’ or marginal issues could be decided too, including the fate of four Americans detained in Iran.”

Could you pray 2 minutes?

At a critical moment in Jesus’ life, he famously asked his closest friends, who had fallen asleep, “Could you not pray with Me one hour?” (Matthew chapter 26, verse 40.)  With approximately 30 days remaining to the Iran nuclear talks deadline, we are asking supporters of these 4 men: Robert ‘Bob’ Levinson, Amir Hekmati, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Jason Rezaian (a Washington Post reporter who was recently jailed), to #Pray2Minutes per day for their release.  That will be one hour over 30 days! If you can do more, please do.

But can you imagine the power of prayer if 1000’s or even a million persons would be united in prayer over this one thing? Freedom for these men is not an impossibility, since nothing is impossible with God. The challenge though is moving our own selves to compel our flesh to pray for 2 minutes (see v. 41).

What to pray for?

Join us and our friends at Iran: Free All Three as they encourage us to pray. See more here and please share. We need your help to get the world praying!

 

Re-enactment of Asia Bibi’s tragic incident to be held at Pakistan High Commission Lowndes Square, London, this Saturday, 25 Oct.

Image taken from protest outside 10 Downing Street Saturday 18th October 2014. (BPCA)

Image taken from protest outside 10 Downing Street Saturday 18th October 2014. (Photo BPCA)

Demonstration and re-enactment of Asia Bibi’s tragic incident that led to her arrest to be held at Pakistan High Commission this Saturday – 25th October 2014

A re-enactment of the savage attack on Asia Bibi a Christian mother of five children, who was later arrested and accused of blasphemy, after simply drinking water from a well and offering water to Muslim co-workers, is to be staged outside the Pakistan High Commission, Lowndes Square, London, on Saturday 25th October 2014.

Actors will attempt to illustrate the generosity of a caring woman who thought to share water with other thirsty labourers, whilst picking berries in a field.  The scene will depict the scorn that the kind gesture was met with, after Muslims who deem Christians untouchable in Asia Bibi’s village felt the clean water well had been somehow defiled.  The brutal and savage attack on Asia who was beaten and much worse will be played out. The portrayal will then try to encapsulate the fortitude and resolve of Asia during her captivity, her survival through failed assassination attempts, her daily prayers and supplications and total belief that she will be set free through God.

Asia Bibi has struggled through one of the most torturous miscarriages of justice in the modern age.  Her story is widely known and two leading Pakistani politicians have been killed as a consequence of supporting her release.  We hope those of you know her story and have been touched in some way, will put aside your differences and join us in calling for her freedom on this important day.  let’s together raise a voice for her and other innocent victims in Pakistan.

A petition calling for her freedom will be submitted to the Pakistan Embassy after a 2 hour demonstration.  A copy will also be submitted to the UK Parliament via 10 Downing Street later the same day, calling for engagement with the Pakistan Government over her release. An electronic copy of our petition can be signed (here)

Catholic Band Ooberfuse will be performing their Free Asia Bibi track live and we will be joined by famous acro-dancer Latasha Sinclair who will depict asia Bibi’s treatment in a dance performance.
Hear Ooberfuse’s Free Asia Bibi song (here)

Date:  Saturday 25th October 2014
Time: 11:00 – 13:00
Venue: Pakistan High Commission
Address: Lowndes Square. London SW1X 9JN
Tube: Knightsbridge

Christian school told Back ‘British values’ or face downgrading

teacher

Schools are at risk of “infringing the rights of children, parents and teachers” to practise their religious beliefs, the Christian Institute has warned.

The warning comes following an independent Christian school being told it may be rated just “adequate”, rather than its current “good” status, by Ofsted inspectors.

The school is accused of “not promoting other faiths,” deputy director of the Christian Institute, Simon Calvert, said.

“Astonishingly it was told it should invite representatives of other faith groups to lead assemblies and lessons, such as an Imam,” he added.

Calvert said this is evidence of new regulations, established in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, “requiring Ofsted inspection teams to behave in ways which do not respect the religious ethos of faith schools”.

“The wording of the regulations inevitably results in these kind of outcomes. While we obviously support attempts to address the problem of radicalisation, the current regulations fail to do this,” he said.

According to the Telegraph, the Christian Institute is providing legal support to the school, and has outlined its concerns in a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. READ MORE

Continued Attacks on Nigerian Villages Dash Hopes for Kidnapped Schoolgirls

nigeria-boko haram

(Voice of the Persecuted) One day after so-called representatives of the Boko Haram sect signed a ceasefire accord with the government, the sect went on a rampage killing people in Christian areas with an undisclosed number of people having been killed. Many are feared dead.

The attacks are seen as reneging from the ceasefire agreement with government. One source from Maiduguri said celebrations had barely began when they received the news of the fresh attacks by Boko Harm. They are now left with a sense that there was no such agreement or, “perhaps, they are more than a terror group.”

A few days ago the Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mike Omeri said in a news briefing, “The discussions are essentially in relation to the general insecurity in the North-east and also the need to rescue all captives of the terrorists, including the students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok. “Already, the terrorists have announced a ceasefire in furtherance of their desire for peace. In this regard, the government of Nigeria has, in a similar vein, declared a ceasefire.”

Following the announcement of ceasefire between the government and the Boko Haram, which has brutally killed thousands of people on their quest of establishing an Islamic State ruled by Sharia Law, many Nigerians,  VOP advocates, including our team members in the region who are very aware of the antics of the sect—called for caution.

The terror sect renewed attacks on Shaffa, Hawul Local Government in South of Borno, which reportedly killed 8 locals with several injured. Hundreds of others were claimed to have fled their homes.

All Africa reported a survivor as saying, “There was pandemonium in Shaffa as Boko Haram invaded the nearby village, shooting at everybody at sight. We had to flee into the bush and as I am talking to you many of us are taking refuge in the bush.”

The gunmen returned back to the town to gather corpses of slain members for burial. A gunfight with members of the Civilian-JTF ensued and many may have been killed including Boko Haram militants.

An attack on Abadam village in the northern part of Borno state where they reportedly beheaded several villagers including the father of a former Speaker of the Borno state House of Assembly, Goni Ali Modu.

According to Leadership news outlet, a resident of Abadam said, “dozens of gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram have taken over Abadam. They have been in Abadam since Thursday but finally [hoisted] their flags on Friday after killing many prominent people and forcing others to cross over to Niger.”  He relayed that 30 people have been killed in Abadam alone, but was unsure of the actual number and that many people, especially the old are still in Abadam because they could not flee.

Trapped but fortunate to escape, residents of Bama local government area of Borno state where the Boko Haram had seized for about two months now have reported cases of serial killings of helpless residents by the Boko Haram terrorists.

One woman, Fatima Bulama, who managed to escape to Maiduguri on foot last Monday said “things are getting worst in Bama; they are killing people selectively everyday. Days before I managed to escape, they gathered all the younger women and divided them into three groups according to their age grade and then they took them away; we never knew what would become of them, but I know it would be something terrible.”

A member of the local vigilante in the area, Kashim Abba,  said in Maiduguri that the sect had shown that there was no ceasefire with the latest attack. In Michia, Filli said the insurgents had overrun the villages in the earlier hours of Saturday and burnt down houses in the village, forcing residents to flee.

Earlier, a group of insurgents attacked the Borno town of Sabon Gida, said one military officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. “The fight was tough and it seems the insurgents wanted to destroy everything in Sabon Gida.”

Another said, “The ceasefire is good but we are wary of these people, besides they know us, we don’t know them. Whatever turns up, we are ready. The only regret is that so many people have been killed already but that is our pledge, to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria against all odds,” he said.

On Sunday, Nigerian Army troops fought  members of Boko Haram in the town of Damboa in Borno state.

With the latest attacks hopes are waning for the release of the 200+ Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped six months ago by the terror group. A parent of one of the missing girls, Lawan Abana said, “We were in jubilation. We had every reason to be happy … but since then the ceasefire has been broken in quite a number of places already.” Other parents have expressed their concerns and disappointment, but are trying to remain optimistic for the sake of their children.

Some question if Christians are being targeted, if the attacks are only tribal battles, or reprisals against the government or civilized activity.  The Church in north Nigeria is strong. Boko Haram wants to eliminate the churches because they are unacceptable to Muslims. They don’t want Christians in the Muslim areas, so they bomb those places of worship, or refuse to give them a license to worship.

Burnt-churchIn September, Nigeria’s Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) President, Samuel Dali said the headquarters of the church is under grave threat from the Islamic extremist insurgents who seek to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout the country.

“Boko Haram violence has been getting worse every day, and our members are fleeing the area by the thousands,” he said. “Recent attacks in Borno and Adamawa states where are our churches are located have seen Boko Haram take over the Army base. As a result, about 350 Christians have been killed.”

Boko Haram has warned Christians in North Nigeria to leave or convert to Islam.

In June you may have seen the World Watch Top 10 Violence List. Nigeria ranks No. 1 in the Top 10. Levels of violence in Nigeria remained extremely high. Nigeria consists of two parts: the predominantly Christian South and the Muslim North. Most incidents are recorded in the northern part of the country where Islamic Sharia Law has been implemented in many states, but fanatical movements, such as Boko Haram, fight to further Islamize society. Boko Haram continues to attack Christians on a large scale by burning down and bombing churches and Christian property, assaulting and kidnapping Christian women and girls. Another main driver for violence against Christians are the Muslim Fulani herdsmen. They come down from northern states to areas where Christian live and try to take over land that belongs to Christians. It has been proven the Boko Haram supplies heavy weapons and encourages the Fulani Muslims to attack Chrisitans, with many joining to become members of the brutal sect. See our Apr. 23, 2014 report: Fulani herdsmen confess to membership of Boko Haram

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

VOP Note: Remember Nigeria and the faithful in your prayers. Pray for peace and the release of all who have been abducted. Pray all enemy plans will be foiled.

Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate their suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

Thank you for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Egypt: Another Christian Girl Kidnapped; Indifferent Police Complain about Muslims Dying in Syria

kidnapped

By Coptic Solidarity The 20-year-old Christian youth was on her way to St. George Church in Sohag governate during the early morning but never returned, according to her brother during a video interview.

The family later received a phone call from a certain “Muhammad” who said that if they wanted to see the girl again they’d have to ransom her for 250,000 Egyptian pounds.

When her brother went to the authorities, the head captain told him, “So what, one Coptic girl missing? Look at how many millions of Muslims are dying in Palestine. Who would’ve thought so many millions of Muslims would die in Syria?  And you’re bothering us about one girl?”

When her brother said “That’s not our issue, these are different countries, we are here to find our missing sister,” the captain, somewhat sarcastically responded, “Sure, go right ahead, look on.”

The family went to another police department but they responded in the same way—again mentioning how Muslims are dying, so how can they worry about one missing Christian girl?

According to her brother, not one person in authority did a single thing; nor did they even pretend that they would.

He concluded by saying that, word among people in the street is that there is a certain sheikh, living in a certain street, who has many kidnapped girls.  The police know exactly about him, and yet no one is doing anything about it.

Nigeria Reaches Ceasefire Agreement With Boko Haram Sect with Possible Release of Kidnapped School Girls

abducted-girls-21-405x357

The Nigerian news outlet, Vanguard is reporting that VoA, quoted President Goodluck Jonathan’s Private Secretary, Alh. Hassan Tukur, as disclosing. – Voice of Nigeria VoA in Saudi where the talks which are being brokered by officials of Chad and Cameroon are taking place.

The cease-fire is expected to result in the release of the remaining 219 Chibok female students(who are majority Christian) abducted from their school more than five months ago and indeed girls and women abducted from other communities in the course of the five-year deadly insurgency, said to have killed over 12, 000 people.

According to the international radio, a man calling himself the Secretary-General of Boko Haram, Danladi Ahmadu, told VOA on Thursday that the Chibok girls were in good condition and unharmed.

The report said that Boko Haram did not elaborate on the conditions under which the girls would be freed and that authorities in Saudi Arabia were not involved in the negotiations.

 

#IDOP14 – The International Day of Prayer For the Persecuted – How to Participate

Mark your calendar -IDOP14 Participate and PRAY with us for the Persecuted Church!  Click to enlarge

Mark your calendar -IDOP14 Participate and PRAY with us for the Persecuted Church!
Click to enlarge

Today, can we take pause in our busy lives and think of those who are enduring persecution for the sake of the Gospel? Let us remember those who have not eaten for days because they are given nothing to eat, those languishing in prison, Christian families who have watched their homes burn to the ground, pastors who are beaten and tortured for their faith and enduring physical pain, Christian families and children living in constant fear of violence, those who have lost their loved ones, those who are facing death, even right at this moment, for refusing to denounce Christ…

If you or I were in such a situation, what would you ask your wider church family to do for you?

Every time I ask a persecuted Christian what we can do for them, the answer is always the same: ‘please pray for us’.

On a visit to India, I met several widows of Christian leaders who were killed in the Orissa violence in the summer of 2008. They had lost everything: their homes, their possessions and their husbands. ‘We have lost everything except our faith,’ one told me, clutching her baby. ‘Pray that we stay strong and bring up our children in the faith for which their fathers gave their lives.’

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) gives us the privilege of joining together with over half a million churches in 150 countries to pray for the suffering church. It plays a vital role in encouraging and strengthening the persecuted church and also awakening churches in places where there is no persecution.

Let us unite in prayer for the persecuted church, in the spirit of oneness that Christ commanded: ‘For, if one suffers, we all suffer.’

Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director, WEA Religious Liberty Commission

_______________________________________

ethiopian-mother-and-childWe cannot help but cry: “Why Lord?” (Psalm 10:1). Yet Jesus warned us that persecution would come (John 15:18-16:33), indeed, that tribulation/pressure would be inevitable in this world (John 16:33a). “But,” he added, “take heart! I have overcome the world” (v33b). When trouble rolled in, threatening life and liberty, King David exercised radical faith in his faithful God. He petitioned Yĕhovah (Psalm 10:12-18), confident that Yĕhovah would hear and not ignore the cry of the afflicted/humble (`anav) (Psalm 9:12).

You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them & you listen to their cry. (Psalm 10:17) Our English translation is very soft compared to what this verse is actually saying, which is: Our eternal God (Yĕhovah) hears the desire / longings (ta’avah) of the afflicted / helpless / humble (`anav); he strengthens / makes firm / establishes (kuwn) their hearts, and always remains keenly, sharply attentive with ears pricked (qashab) to hear (Psalm 10:17).

invest our hopes in human beings (that are mortal), human institutions (that cannot save), human works (that are insufficient), political power (that is self-interested), military might (that is limited) and money (which can only buy what is unprofitable and useless).

If we will but petition our faithful God, then even if our cry is but a whispered prayer, delivered with heavy heart and failing breath from a dark and lonely place, our faithful Yĕhovah will hear because he has inclined / extended (natah) his ear toward us (Psalm 116:1-2).

Sometimes, in wisdom and providence, God waits1 / tarries (chakah) to show grace and mercy (Isaiah 30:18a). That does not mean he has not heard. “Blessed are all who wait (chakah) for him” (Isaiah 30:18b). He has promised salvation. Cry / petition / pray / intercede with confidence to our faithful God who hears, and wait /keep watch (tsaphah) in faithful expectation (Psalm5:1-3).

Place and power of prayer:
2 Corinthians 1:10-11
– God works as we pray.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 & Ephesians 6:10-18
– Spiritual battle requires spiritual weapons.

Elizabeth Kendal, International Religious Liberty – Analyst and Advocate

______________________________________

In the modern church calendar, the first two Sundays of November is set apart to remember and pray for the persecuted church, through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
Today’s greatest untold story is that more than 100 million Christians worldwide face persecution for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Daily Christians in countries such as Eritrea, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Sudan and Sri Lanka face imprisonment, violence and even death.

The IDOP is a time set apart for us to remember thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who suffer persecution, simply because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord.

____________________________________
This year, Voice of the Persecuted is uniting together in prayer with other organizations and in promoting the IDOP among Christians in the U.S and around the world. In the spirit of oneness that Christ commanded: For, if one suffers, we all suffer.
Persecuted believers in restricted nations always ask for prayer.  Four years ago Persecution Watch was birthed by God to answer this need.  We are a national prayer call of believers who meet 4 times a week to lift up our persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer. We also cry out for the harvest of lost souls around the world.  By God`s marvelous Grace we are going into our 5th year doing this.
click to enlarge

click to enlarge

For the last 3 years Persecution Watch has partnered with the International Orality Network and other ministries to host a 12 hour conference prayer call on the International Day of Prayer in November.  We serve as one prayer venue among many to lift up prayers for our persecuted brethren around the world. These calls have always been a blessing.

This coming November, Persecution Watch in collaboration with Voice of the Persecuted, International Orality Network, Prayer Surge NowMission America Coalition, Global Prayer Resource Network, Student Volunteer Movement and Ethne to Ethne will host two 12 hour calls on Nov. 2 and 9. This will be a marvelous opportunity for believers to come and lift up their prayers for the persecuted around the world.  But whether you come on the prayer calls or participate in another venue. Please remember the persecuted in prayer.
Blain Scogin, Persecution Watch Director
Save the Dates / Mark your prayer calendars
International Day of Prayer For the Persecuted
IDOP 2014
Two Sundays / 12 hours / Plan to participate!
02 Nov 2014    8a-8p 12 hour (EDT)
09 Nov 2014    8a-8p 12 hour(EDT)
We invite you to step in and bring your voice to the prayer room as thousands around the globe link together.
Below links available for print and distribution

IDOP 2014 Grassroots Prayer Conf Calls Bulletin Insert

IDOP 2014 Grassroots Prayer Conf Call FLYER

Churches, Organizations, Prayer groups

Download these resources, share them with your praying friends and groups. Be sure to order your Free IDOP Church Resource Kit at  http://idop.org/en/resources to lead your church to get ‘all in’ to support the persecuted around the globe in prayer.

PLEASE SHARE AND ENCOURAGE OTHER TO JOIN US!

 

Voice of the Persecuted™

Voice of the Persecuted™

 

Don’t Give Up – Inspired by faith of Abedini’s

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Sheila Medina Siqueira Dos Santos, SP

Dear Pastor’s family, I’m Brazilian and I’m praying with you for the release of Pastor Saeed. Don’t give up on God, [He] is with you. [I] will be praying every dayStay in the peace of the Lord Jesus.

_______________________

Thank you, Sheila for keeping Saeed and his family in your prayers.

James 5:10-11

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11

God bless you, sister.

VOP Project Team

Tell Pastor Saeed that we understand, and we will pick up the cross and follow Christ as he has.

Join in this project to let the Abedini’s know how they have inspired or renewed your faith. Each testimony will be a source of encouragement to them and the Body of Christ. When the family is reunited, we will gather the stories to be published in a book and presented to them as an appreciation for their steadfast faith. Together, we will be able to provide a little insight into how God has worked through them to be a blessing to more than they realize.  Add your testimony below. If your church has been active in praying for this persecuted family, inform them of this special mission so they too can share their thoughts and be an encouragement.

Be encouraged, view submitted testimonies HERE 

 inspired by faith

abedini-1

Asia Bibi Update: High Court in Pakistan Upholds Death Sentence

Mother of five, Asia Bibi with two of her children

Mother of five, Asia Bibi with two of her children

Lahore High Court upheld the death penalty sentence for Asia Bibi (49yr), a Christian woman and mother of five convicted of blasphemy in 2010. That the execution by hanging could be carried out, instilling fear among Christian refugees who have fled the country to avoid a similar sentence.

Bibi’s attorney’s plan to submit a final appeal to the Supreme Court, but there are fears this process could last a number of years leaving the woman to sit in prison away from her children.

Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where 97 per cent of the population is Muslim and unproven claims have lead to mob violence on multiple occasions.

Two politicians former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti  were murdered in 2011 after calling for reforms to the blasphemy law and describing Bibi’s trial as flawed.

The blasphemy allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009.

She was working in a field when she was asked to fetch water. Muslim women laborers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl. During the dispute faith became a topic and it is claimed Bibi said, “Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins…Our Christ is alive.” Later the women went to a cleric and put forward the blasphemy allegations, which Bibi claims as false.

Religious clerics including Qari Saleem who brought forward the initial complaint against Bibi was present at the court today.

“We will soon distribute sweets among our Muslim brothers for today’s verdict, it’s a victory of Islam,” Saleem told AFP outside the courtroom as the clerics congratulated each other and chanted religious slogans.

Pakistan’s unfair blasphemy law has had much criticism from human rights groups, which are misused to settle personal scores.

Lawyers who defend people accused of blasphemy and judges seen as lenient also risk being accused of the crime and regularly face pressure and intimidation, receive death threats, some have been murdered.

Increasingly in Pakistan, devoted Christians face persecution by Muslim militants or prosecution by authorities for blasphemy.

VOP is in the process of helping to rescue a family facing this same charge. The claim is false, but the entire family is facing extreme persecution, including a small child. They have been forced into hiding and must move from safe house to safe house for protection. Please consider partnering with us in the support, legal fees and other accumulating cost in helping this suffering family. We can’t do it without you!

btn_donatecc_lgIn darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Thank you for your support!

 

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