As world leaders come together to take on the brutality of ISIS, thousands of Christians are fleeing from their homes to nearby countries.
Baylor University hosted a panel discussion on “The Crisis Facing Churches in Iraq and Syria.”
Three professors with close ties to the area talked about their personal experiences and described ISIS’ persecution of Christians and other religious minorities.
Just last month, ISIS captured hundreds of Yazidis and Christians alike and offered them a choice, either convert to Islam or face death.
These kinds of acts are forcing thousands of Christians to seek refuge in nearby countries, like Turkey.
One of the speakers, Ph.D. Abdul Saadi described what he’s been told it’s like to be a Christian in the area.
“Our very existence as an ethnic group in Iraq, which we have been there for the last 7,000 years, we were eradicated; we were kicked out in less than seven hours.”
Saadi went on to say that dealing with ISIS isn’t just a Middle East problem, it’s a global issue.
“It is a problem and a crisis for everybody, not only the Christians in the Middle East, but the Muslims in the Middle East, most of the Muslims in the Middle East, it’s a crisis against the whole entire world.”
Saadi says ISIS should not be dismissed as radical, terrorist group because they are proud to be that.
Each of the speakers emphasized that one way Americans can help is to keep Christians in the Middle East in their prayers and to be a voice for the thousands of Christians who don’t have one.
Letter from Saeed to Rebekka – Join one of the many Prayer Vigils being held Today! #SaveSaaed #FreeSaeed #ItsTime
Attend one of the many Prayer Vigils being held today for Pastor Saeed and the persecuted Church. Find one near you at savesaeed.com
If you are physically unable to make it to one of these locations JOIN the vigil on the conference calls. In the U.S. call in vigil hosted by our friends at Persecution Watch, details .
Conference Calls (USA)
(Morning Star News) – Ethnic Fulani gunmen shouting the jihadist chant “Allahu Akbar” attacked three villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state this month, burning down a church building and killing at least 10 Christians, sources said.
Heavily-armed Fulani Muslim extremists on Sept. 14 attacked the Bokkos area, shooting five members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in their homes in Mbar and burning down 15 houses and an Assemblies of God church building, said the Rev. Manasseh Duwong of the COCIN congregation in Mbar.
“They were shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar [God is greater]’ and also saying, ‘We must wipe out these infidel Christians today,’” Duwong told Morning Star News in Mbar.
Duwong identified those killed in Mbar as, “Gideon Mutang Kidum, Ladi Mafulul and two of her children, and a deaf woman by the name of Urawal.” Another church member, identified only as Rabo, was killed in nearby Mandar, he added.
Also killed in Mbar was a driver passing through the town at the time of the attack, Duwong said. The assailants also burned his vehicle. His name was not immediately available, but Duwong and two other area pastors believe he also was a Christian.
The pastor told Morning Star News that Muslim Fulani gunmen also killed two members of his church in Mbar on Sept. 7, and two more Christians the next night.
In nearby Gong village, four houses were burned.
The Rev. Moses Kungyep, secretary of the area Regional Church Council, and the Rev. Sunday Gwom of the COCIN church in Matol, confirmed the attacks. They told Morning Star News that unless the Nigerian government is able to find ways of curtailing attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, more Christian communities will be displaced.
“We appeal to the federal government to take measures to check these attacks, because our church members, whose major occupation is in farming and agricultural production, are dying of hunger, as they are not able to go to their farms because they are being attacked on their farms too by these Muslim gunmen,” Kungyep said.
Gwom said efforts by Christian leaders to reach security agencies during the assaults were futile as soldiers were unable to reach the attack sites.
“The soldiers complain of lack of equipment they need to repel these marauding Muslim Fulani gunmen who have been attacking our church members,” Gwom said. “Please, we appeal that the Nigerian government should do something about this.”
On Aug. 11 in Yelwa, where Muslim Fulani cattlemen have largely replaced Christian ethnicities over the years by means of slash-and-shoot attacks, a throng of heavily armed herdsmen attacked the remnant Christian community in the early hours, killing 14 Christians, sources said.
Yelwa is part of the Shendam Local Government Area in the southern part of Plateau state. On the same morning in Zarazong, in the Jos East Local Government Area, a group of gunmen killed two other Christians, and between the two villages 15 homes were burned down, sources said.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent. Those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World, so the percentages of Christians and Muslims may be less.
Fulani herdsmen have long attacked settled Christian farmers in Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Taraba and Adamawa states, but in the past year analysts have begun to see some ties between the assailants and Islamic extremist groups keen to exploit longstanding ethnic, property and religious conflicts.
While Muslim Fulani have historically had property disputes with Christian farmers, Christian leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to jihadist” in Nigeria.
VOP Note: Remember Nigeria and the faithful in your prayers. 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!
U.S. Prayer Conference Call Joins Prayer Vigil For Pastor Saeed Abedini on Sept. 26th.
Persecution Watch, a national prayer conference call who pray specifically for the persecuted Church—will join global prayer vigils being held for Pastor Saeed Abedini on the night of September 26th.
For the past 5 years, Blaine Scogin has led this national network of believers faithfully praying for the persecuted Church and the global harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God. The group normally meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 8pm CST. But dedicated in their prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters, these prayer warriors have been known to meet every night for months at a time—lifting them up as the Lord leads. Often, they host callers from nations other than the United States. And on occasion, they pray with and serve the persecuted by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.
Persecution Watch is inviting all who cannot leave their homes, or do not live within…
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Today’s reading: Jeremiah 35-37.
“I’ve been faithful to keep God’s word and obey his commands. How did I end up in prison?”
I don’t know if Jeremiah ever said anything like that. I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought it. Then again, he may have been wise and realistic enough to know ahead of time that prison was a likely outcome of voicing God’s judgment on Jerusalem. You and I don’t expect to be jailed for our faith, but in many parts of the world that is a common result. It became a repeated result for Jeremiah. One of the occasions happened during the reign of King Zedekiah. Jerusalem had been under siege by Babylon for some time, but Egypt began to threaten and the Babylonians left Jerusalem to face the Egyptians. During this interlude of peace, Jeremiah decided to visit his home town.
Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property among the people there. But when he reached the Benjamin Gate, the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!” “That’s not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison. Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. Jeremiah 37: 12-16
Look at the injustices Jeremiah suffered and notice how little things have changed today.
- Jeremiah was jailed on false charges.
- He was jailed because his captors were angry at him for speaking God’s judgment.
- He was physically abused.
- He was kept in prison a long time, presumably without trial.
All of this happened despite, or perhaps even because of, Jeremiah’s faithful proclamation of God’s word. And Jeremiah lived in a nation that professed belief in Jehovah! We should not be surprised at the abuse Christians are suffering around the world. Jesus warned it would happen. We may experience it in the United States before too much more time passes.
There is one prisoner for the faith I want to lift up before you today. His name is Saeed Abedini. He is Iranian-born, but also an American citizen, and he has been imprisoned in Iran for his work in expanding the Christian church there. This Friday, September 26, marks the second anniversary of his imprisonment. His wife has led an effort to hold prayer vigils across the U.S. and around the world, in support of Saeed, this Friday. Would you make an effort to find one near you and join in prayer for Saeed and all persecuted Christians? You can find a list of the prayer sites at this link.
“If you live in such a manner as to stand the test of the last judgment, you can depend upon it that the world will not speak well of you.” Alistair Begg
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. I Peter 4:12-14
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
By Bob Dellinger at BIBLE IN A YEAR
About the ONE-YEAR BIBLE PROJECT and it’s Author
Bob Dellinger is reading through the Bible in a year and posting daily reflections on what seems most compelling to him in that day’s reading. He started with Genesis and plans to reach Revelation at year’s end in 2014.
He says that he’s already learned important lessons. Reading straight through the Bible shows clearly how God’s interactions with men change from the occasional visit with a man like Abraham to the daily presence in the tabernacle among the children of Israel. How the practices of the Old Testament law prepared the way for the new covenant of grace in Jesus Christ. And a number of difficult passages that we often overlook when we pick and choose what to study.
He tells us. “It’s possible that this will stretch out to more than a year depending on my speed of distilling thoughts into a worthwhile post. I appreciate your comments about my postings.
Bob Dellinger is a disciple of Jesus Christ, Southern Baptist, family physician, living and practicing in North Carolina.
To learn more and follow the plan Bob’s reading visit the site here
(AsiaNews) For the first time in history, Iraqi Christians who always had a “high standard of education” in the region, are being deprived of the right to study and cannot attend schools. This represents a further threat to the survival of the minority, not only in Iraq but throughout the Middle East, because there is not the risk that an entire generation “will not be educated”, which is a “very bad sign”. The warning comes from Msgr. Shimoun Emil Nona, Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, in the north, the second most important city in the country and first city to fall into the hands of the militia of the Islamic State.
Interviewed by AsiaNews, the prelate confirms that “currently children from many of the refugee families” as well as “children who live in Christian areas” cannot start the school year. “There are about 700 schools scattered between Erbil, Ankawa and Zakkho – he explains – but they are hosting displaced people and are full. In other non-Christian areas the lessons have begun, but not here”. Moreover in the areas occupied by the Islamic Caliphate the curriculum has been changed to promote Islam and the Koran.
Msgr. Nona was the first to raise the alarm of the danger posed by the advance of the Islamists after the conquest of Mosul, where about 500 thousand people – Muslims and Christians – fled in early June to avoid being forced to convert to Islam. It was also where the militants founded their caliphate and imposed sharia. In cities and in areas on the Nineveh plain that are under the control of the Islamic State schools have reopened. However, under the instruction of their leader the curriculum has changed to ban history, geography and literature; students must study Arabic and the Muslim religion and are forbidden to speak of the Republic of Iraq or Syria, only of the Caliphate.
An Mosul elementary school teacher of mathematics and Arabic states that “we are in 2014, but it seems have regressed 14 centuries.” 95% of the 2,450 schools in the area – Mosul and Nineveh Plain – are in the hands of the Islamists, who have forbidden mixed classes and have closed the Faculty of Law, because “conventional law is no longer in force.” Rigid rules, imposed by force, are increasingly arousing the impatience of the local population. If at first people saw them as liberators from a central government (under former Shiite Prime Minister al-Maliki) regarded as the oppressor, today 98% of the people – as reported by an academic in Mosul – “would like to see them gone as soon as possible” .
The archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee Ankawa, in Iraqi Kurdistan, cannot confirm this radical change of attitude towards the Islamic state and the distortion of the curriculum at the hands of the militia. He admits however, to “having heard similar rumors”, and there is a good chance that “they are true.” There are still some Christians in the city, but “very few” who live “isolated” and “in danger” because “anything could happen to them”.