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Nigerian Diocese Spokesman Confirms Bridal Party Murdered by Islamic Militants

One day after 11 Christians in Nigeria were killed by militants on Christmas (see below), all members of a bridal party, including the bride, were killed as they headed to the wedding, according to CBN.

The communications director of a Catholic Diocese in Nigeria has confirmed that Martha Bulus, a bride-to-be, and all of the members of her bridal party were murdered by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on Dec. 26.

Father Francis Arinse told the Catholic News Service the group was on the way to the Bulus wedding which was scheduled for Dec. 31, when they were captured and killed by Islamic militants.

“They were beheaded by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on their way to her country home,” Arinse told CNS. He added that Bulus used to be his parishioner at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Maiduguri, after he was first ordained.

11 Nigerian Christians on Christmas Day in Gruesome Video

Terrorists linked to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) released a video showing the execution of 11 Christian prisoners in Nigeria.

The Associated Press reports that the video was released on Dec. 26 and the killings possibly occurred on Christmas Day.

The captives identities were not mentioned, but an earlier video revealed they had been taken from the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, The Independent reports.

A claim was made on the video the it was a message for all Christians.

 

 

Pray for Leah Sharibu #FreeLeah

This teenage girl still suffers as a captive of the Islamic Boko Haram group in Nigeria. They call her an infidel, an unbeliever, beneath them and deserving of punishment. They say she will be their ‘slave for life’.

Why, what has she done? In the face of evil, this young girl refuses to recant her faith in Christ and convert to Islam…come what may.

Our ‘sister’ is in chains for Christ. Pray as if you were held captive with her, as you would want others to pray for you. #FreeLeah #Pray4Leah

Tonight on Persecution Watch: Nations of Brutal Dictatorships and Severe Religious Oppression

Prayer ministry of Voice of the Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted) Looking back, our first prayer letter of 2019 we want to praise and thank the Lord for giving Asia BiBi her release from prison and safe conduct into a country where she can be a Christian without fear.

Again, we want to lift-up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free.

As we start a new year, I feel it would be prudent to pray for some of the countries with the most:

  • Brutal dictatorships
  • High level of Islamic oppression

North Korea – Population: 25.6 million; Christians: about 300,000

Eritrea                                  5.2 million;               about  2.5 million

China                                    1.4 billion                         97.2 million

  • Pray for the protection of the secret believers.
  • Pray for the secret believer who are sharing the good News.
  • Pray that for the Christians that suffer, being tortured and being kept under inhuman prison conditions.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will exercise His power and bring about a change in government.
  • Pray specifically for Pastor Wang YI.

Yemen         Population: 28.9 million      Christians: a few thousand

Iran                                 82.1 million                         about 800,000

Afghanistan                   36.3 million                        a few thousand

Pakistan                        200.8 million                             3.98 million

Nigeria                          195.9 million                            91.12 million

 

  • Pray Believers from Muslim backgrounds, particularly for those who have been shunned by their families and community upon conversion.
  • Pray to the Lord that the constitution that promises religious freedom will be fully implemented and that the laws banning Christian practices will be abolished.
  • Pray that Christians Internet messages and websites will reach deep in the Muslim communities and encourage Christians.
  • Pray to the Lord that the believers will have courage, wisdom and boldness to reach out to Muslim neighbors.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will appear to many Muslims in their dreams and connect them with believers.
  • Pray to the Lord that believers will love and forgive their persecutors
  • Pray that the Lord will build His church by adding daily to the number of believers.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 3 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 

From any location on your phone

Time: 

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035      

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ.

Christmas Celebrations Mark Progress of Religious Freedom in Sudan

Muslim government officials attend Christmas service at Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church on Dec. 25, 2019. (Facebook)

(Morning Star News) – In stark contrast to his predecessor, Sudan’s new minister of religious affairs last week attended a long-persecuted church’s Christmas service.

Following the Sudanese government’s announcement of Christmas as a public holiday for the first time in eight years, Minister of Religious Affairs Nasr al-Din Mufreh accompanied senior government officials at the Christmas Day service of Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church – a congregation the previous Islamist government had harassed for years.

At a press conference after visiting several churches in Khartoum on Christmas Day, the Muslim leader sent a strong signal of religious coexistence to Christians in a country where they suffered for their faith under former President Omar al-Bashir.

“I tender my apology for the oppression and the harm enforced on you physically by [the prior government’s] bulldozing your church buildings, arresting and falsely imprisoning your church leaders and raiding your property,” Mufreh said, according to Radio Dabanga.

Sudan had suspended Christmas as a holiday following the secession of South Sudan in 2011. The government-run Sudan TV on Christmas Day broadcast Christmas services of various churches in Khartoum, including the Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, whose members had been subject to arrests on false charges and whose property had been threatened. The church is part of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC), which has been embroiled in property disputes, with the government appointing a government-run committee to assume control of the denomination.

In light of advances in religious freedom since Bashir was ousted in April, the U.S. State Department announced on Dec. 20 that Sudan had been removed from the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) that engage or tolerate “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom” and was upgraded to a watch list. Sudan had been designated a CPC by the U.S. State Department since 1999.

Bashir, ousted by the army on April 11 after widespread protests began in December 2018, was sentenced on Dec. 14 to two years in a correctional facility for corruption and illegitimate possession of foreign currency. He still faces charges of plotting the 1989 coup that brought him to power.

Bashir has not yet been charged in the crackdown earlier this year that killed more than 250 protestors.

Among 11 people appointed to a Sovereignty Council to oversee the transition to civilian rule in Sudan is Raja Nicola Eissa Abdel-Masih, a Coptic Christian who long served as a judge in Sudan’s Ministry of Justice. She was one of six civilians appointed to the council on Aug. 21.

Amid these hopeful signs, Christians in Sudan are still awaiting the return of properties seized by the government under Bashir, who also has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for directing a campaign of mass killing, rape, and pillage against civilians in Darfur.

Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Bashir had vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language. Church leaders said Sudanese authorities have demolished or confiscated churches and limited Christian literature on the pretext that most Christians have left the country following South Sudan’s secession.

In April 2013 the then-Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowments announced that no new licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population. Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings. Besides raiding Christian bookstores and arresting Christians, authorities threatened to kill South Sudanese Christians who did not leave or cooperate with them in their effort to find other Christians.

After Bashir was deposed, military leaders initially formed a military council to rule the country, but further demonstrations led them to accept a transitional government of civilians and military figures, with a predominantly civilian government to be democratically elected in three years.

Christians are expected to have greater voice under the new administration. In September pastor Mobarak Hamad, former head of the Sudanese Church Council, demanded that the transitional government return all church buildings, lands and properties wrongfully confiscated by the former regime.

Religious Affairs Minister Mufreh told Asharq Al-Awsat his ministry would fight terrorism, extremism and takfiri notions – punishments for leaving Islam. Mufreh previously worked as a leader in the Al-Ansar Mosque in Rabak, south of Khartoum.

The new government that was sworn in on Sept. 8, led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, is tasked with governing during a transition period of 39 months. It faces the challenges of rooting out longstanding corruption and an Islamist “deep state” rooted in Bashir’s 30 years of power.

Hamad, the former chairman of the Sudan Council of Churches, has said that the government should recover all properties confiscated under the previous regime, including the Catholic Club and another building belonging to the Sudan Interior Church.

The Catholic Club, strategically located near the Khartoum International Airport, was turned into the headquarters of Bashir’s National Congress Party. The Sudan Interior Church building, used by the Khartoum International Church and other Christian organizations, was turned into offices for the notorious National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

On July 29, Chairman of the Military Council Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan issued a decision to amend the name of NISS to General Intelligence Service. The measure also froze Article 50 of the Law of Security Service, which had given NISS broad powers of inspection and detention without cause, widely misused against Christians and political opponents.

Sudan fought a civil war with the south Sudanese from 1983 to 2005, and in June 2011, shortly before the secession of South Sudan the following month, the government began fighting a rebel group in the Nuba Mountains that has its roots in South Sudan.

Sudan ranked sixth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Tonight on the Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call (Dec. 12, 2019)

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear intercessors, you are invited to join us tonight, Thursday December 26 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church. Looking back on 2019, I believe it would be good to lift up the 7 nations who in our, perhaps my, perception caused much prayer for the persecuted Believers.

In alphabetical order:

Afghanistan

Population: 36 million, Christians in the thousands

A country where Christianity is not permitted to exist. An Islamic state by constitution, which means all government and religious officials are hostile to other religions as Christianity is.

Christian converts from Islam face strong pressure from family, friends and neighbors and can even be attacked.

  • Pray for these believers to have courage and protection.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan does not allow conversion from Islam.

  • Please pray for a softening of the country’s leadership and local rulers.
  • Pray for isolated believers in Afghanistan, many of whom are totally cut off from any other Christians.

China

Population: 1.4 billion, Christians 97 million

China continuously increases restriction on religious freedom and monitors and controls Christians through CCTV and social ratings.

  • Pray that the Chinese Christians who were recently arrested in raids would have courage and perseverance in the faith—include Pastor Wang Yi.
  • Pray for Chinese Christians to stand strong amidst tightening religious restrictions and to engage in cross-cultural missions effectively.
  • Pray that the Chinese government would proactively enter into constructive dialogue with local churches, in order to understand that Christian values are aligned with traditional Chinese values and that Christianity can be a positive influence for Chinese society.

Eritrea

Population:  5.1 million, Christians 2.4 million

Brutal, authoritarian president suppressing Christianity under inhuman conditions.

Thousands of Christians have been imprisoned in Eritrea over the last decade, some of whom remain in prison after more than 10 years. Pray for endurance for brothers and sisters detained in horrific conditions and ask God to give them perseverance in their faith.

Pray for President Afwerki, that God would work in his heart and reveal the truth of the gospel.

India

Population: 1.3 billion, Christians 65 million

President Moro is determined to create a Hindu state with Hinduism as the only approved religion. Increased violence and restrictions towards Christians.

  • Pray for Christian converts from Hinduism who are forcefully pressured to return to their national religion.
  • Pray with Christians in India for God’s provision and protection as they preach the gospel in places with anti-conversion laws.
  • Pray for the government of India, that they would open to religious liberty.

Iran

Population: 82 million, Christians 800,000

Islamic State under the control of religious leaders meaning that Christians persecuted and restricted “under” Islamic law. Mosques are empty and people demonstrate against Islamic leaders.

Any Muslim who leaves Islam faces a charge of apostasy and can be thrown in jail or worse. Pray that the laws will change, allowing for freedom of religion.

Nearly all churches that held services in Persian have been closed in recent years and their leaders were arrested. Pray for Christians in Iran’s prisons to have genuine love for their guards and fellow inmates.

Pray for secret believers who meet in house churches, that they will be protected and will be faithful witnesses to the surrounding culture.

Nigeria

Population: 195 million, Christians 91 million

Weak government controlled by Muslims unwilling to protect Christians. Increasing violence in the Northern part of the country against Christians by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.

  • Please pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice, who made a slave for life by Boko Haram
  • Pray for Christians in the middle of Nigeria, who are facing increased hostility and attacks from Fulani militants.
  • Sharia law has been implemented in 12 northern states where Christians face marginalization and discrimination. Pray that these Christians would not be discouraged. Pray they will not be tempted to give up the faith in pursuit of an easier life.
  • Pray for Fulani militants, the members of Boko Haram and other extremist groups. Pray that God will touch their hearts with His truth.

North Korea

Population:  25.6 million, Christians 300,000

Brutal dictatorship that fears Christians. Goes to extremes to punish Christians and aims to eradicate Christianity.

  • The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection.
  • Pray for strength and courage for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas.
  • Pray that God will prepare the underground church in North Korea to be a light for the country—and that they will be ready to share the gospel freely someday soon.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator

From any location on your phone

Time: 

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST+

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035      

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin has led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also serves as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ.

Christians Slain in Suspected Al Shabaab Attack in Northern Kenya

Kenya (Morning Star News) – Suspected members of Somali Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab intercepted a bus in northern Kenya on Friday (Dec. 6), separated out those who were not local ethnic Somali Muslims and executed them, sources said.

The Medina Bus Co. vehicle en route from Nairobi to Mandera had 56 people aboard when it was intercepted at 5:30 p.m. between Kutulu and Wargadud in Wajir County, where the population is largely ethnic Somali Kenyans, sources said. A witness who escaped told a Morning Star News contact that the assailants separated out 11 Kenyan workers from the interior (assumed to be Christians) from local residents, assumed to be ethnic Somali Muslims.

“One of the Muslim men gave me Somali attire, and when the separation was being done I went to the side of the Muslims, and immediately we were told to get into the bus,” the survivor told the Morning Star News contact. “As the locals were getting back into the bus, the non-locals who were left behind were fired upon with gunshots.”

The bus was stopped as the workers were returning to their station in Mandera, he said.

“I think the attackers were monitoring our travelling all the way from Nairobi,” he said. “The militants knew that we were not armed.”

Two of the victims were teachers identified as evangelical Christians, but their names were withheld pending official notification of relatives, another source said.

“We have lost two teachers who used to attend our church,” the source from a congregation in northern Kenya (undisclosed for security reasons) told Morning Star News.

A third victim was a doctor who belonged to an Africa Inland Church congregation, the source said, and three others were said to be Roman Catholics. The religious affiliation of five other people killed was yet to be determined at this writing.

Al Shabaab, which is waging war against the government of neighboring Somalia, reportedly took responsibility for the attack, saying victims included “secret security agents and government employees.”

Official information about the attack was inconsistent. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement that several police officers were among eight people killed, and a police source told Agence France-Presse that seven of a total of 10 people killed were officers.

Al Shabaab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, or Al Shabaab sympathizers have killed several non-local people in northern Kenya since 2011, when Kenyan forces led an African coalition into Somalia against the rebels in response to terrorist attacks on tourists and others on Kenya’s coast.

Al Shabaab militants were suspected in the killing of two Christian teachers on Oct. 10, 2018.

On April 2, 2015, 148 people at Garissa University College lost their lives in an attack by Al Shabaab, and several attacks on churches and Christians have taken place in Garissa, also in northern Kenya.

Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims.

Somalia is ranked 3rd on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian; Kenya is ranked 40th.

VIDEO: Egyptian TV News Report Alleges Turkey Supplying Weapons to Nigeria’s Boko Haram

Throughout the years, detail after detail has emerged of Turkey’s leadership supporting the violence of the world’s most notorious Islamic terrorists. For the most part, U.S. and European main stream media had basically remained silent of Turkey’s alleged ties to Islamic terrorism. According to an Egyptian television news program which aired between 2014-2015, Turkey is clearly a terrorist state with a broad reach. Raymond Ibrahim is the Shillman Fellow in Journalism at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an expert on the Middle East and Islam. Ibrahim told CBN he’s not surprised by the Ten.tv report. See video.

Four Christian Farmers Killed by Muslim Fulani Herdsmen in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Professor Felix Ilesanmi, chaplain of Trinity Chapel at the Federal University of Technology, Yola, was kidnapped in northeastern Nigeria. (Morning Star News) [modified]

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Nov. 14 killed four Christians in north-central Nigeria, attacking them with machetes as they slept in their beds, area residents said.

The four members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Agban village, near Kagoro in Kaduna state’s Kaura County, were farmers who were killed in the early morning hours, villagers said.

“Hosea Ayuba, Ado Adamu, Abagu Danladi and Kusa Danladi were killed by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen,” area resident Derek Christopher told Morning Star News in a text message. “They were attacked with machetes, and their corpses had machetes cut wounds. The herdsmen came to the area in a minivan and a motorbike.”

A relative of Ayuba, Williams Adamu, mourned the loss, calling the latest attack in the area, “one too many.” Herdsmen also attacked Agban in 2017 and 2015.

A member of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Agban, Gideon Akut, and another village Christian, Didam Ashio, also said that the four named Christians had been killed by Fulani herdsmen.

“Please help me pray for my dear Agban community,” Ashio told Morning Star News.

Christopher said area Christians mobilized to pursue the herdsmen, who reportedly also stole three cows, apprehended the killers and turned them over to police in Kafanchan town, Jema’a County.

Kaduna State Police Command spokesman Yakubu Sabo said in a statement that the murders were reported at 3 a.m. to the Kafanchan station “through our operatives at a security checkpoint.”

“A team of police detectives led by the Area Commander, Kafanchan, acted on a tip-off and intercepted a bus with Reg. No. BLD 43 XA conveying three suspected armed men,” he said. “Investigation is already on over the killing at Agban.”

He reportedly identified the two captured suspects as Sadiq Umar and Umar Abubakar, both of Unguwan Nungu of Jema’a County. Efforts were underway to capture fleeing accomplices, he added.

Previously herdsmen attacked Agban village on Feb. 21, 2017, shooting dead five Christians – Emmanuel Gabriel, Kalat Boniface, Victor Joseph, Lucky Iliya and Zakaria Kabok. Herdsmen also attacked Agban on Feb. 20, 2015, sources said.

Kidnapped Professor Released

On the same day, Nov. 14 as the attack in Kaduna state, gunmen in military fatigues in northeast Nigeria kidnapped a chaplain at a public university, sources said. He was reportedly released within a week.

The five men kidnapped professor Felix Ilesanmi from the campus of Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH) in Yola, Adamawa state, at about 8:30 p.m., at gunpoint, area residents told Morning Star News.

Chaplain of Trinity Chapel at the Federal University of Technology, Yola (FUTY) on the MAUTECH campus, Ilesanmi teaches at FUTY’s department of Urban and Regional Planning.

Area resident Rebecca Musa told Morning Star News he was taken from his apartment on the university campus in the Girei area of Yola by five armed gunmen who took him away on motorbikes. Zidon Love, another resident of the area in Yola, said Ilesanmi was kidnapped at 8:30 p.m. by five gunmen in military uniform.

“They collected his wife’s phone also,” Love said. “They carried him from his house within the university in a vehicle, but on getting outside the school put him on a [motor]bike and rode off.”

Ilesanmi is also area chairman of the Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students (NIFES), Love said. On Oct. 16, sources said, he had led Christian students and staff members of the university through teachings on the power of the Holy Spirit in leading people to Christ.

Adamawa State Police Command spokesman Suleiman Nguroje was quoted in local press on Tuesday (Nov. 19) as saying Ilesanmi had been released. He said the unidentified kidnappers abandoned him, but terms of the release were unknown.

In October, a professor of Soil Science at the university, Adamu Zata, was kidnapped. He had also been kidnapped in October 2018.

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

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