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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Ethiopia

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, June 24, 2021 in a prayer call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Ethiopia: Population 112.8 million, Christians 67,5 million [60%]

Ethiopia is 40% Orthodox Christian and 64% Christian overall. Muslims make up 35% of the population, according to Pew-Templeton’s Global Religious Futures Project. 

Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest churches in the world. It is believed that the first people to convert to Christianity lived were brought to the faith by Matthew and Bartholomew, as well as the Ethiopian Eunuch who spoke with Phillip. The Ethiopian orthodox church was then founded in the 4th century as the country’s religion by it rulers. Despite this extremely old history, the church is coming under attack

There has been ongoing strife in the Oromo region of the country for the past several years, but the Barnabus fund says that the recent killing of these young Christians has been conducted by Islamic extremists. “The attackers are from the Oromo ethnic group, which has traditionally been Muslim, and are members of Qeerroo (meaning, “bachelors”), an Oromo male youth movement. In door-to-door attacks on Christian households the Qeerroo extremists arrived in cars and armed with guns, machetes, swords, and spears, sought out and slaughtered Christians. Children were forced to witness their parents being brutally murdered with machetes.”

Not only have lives been lost, according to the report, “Christians’ business premises and houses were burnt down, vandalized or destroyed by the extremists. Billions of dollars of damage was caused to property and businesses.” Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia who are suffering at the hands of hateful and violent neighbors.

 Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to direct Ethiopia’s governmental leaders as they continue to work toward solutions to the ongoing religious tensions in the country.
  • Pray that the government ensures that Christians are not excluded from government aid.
  • Pray for unity among the Christian churches, pray for church leaders to focus on growth and revival and avoid divisions. For unity under Jesus.
  • Pray that church leaders understand the times and are guided through the Holy Spirit on how to be both, courageous and proactive in responding the challenges from Islam
  • Pray that God’s people will not become weary in doing what is right, that they will be strengthened and encouraged
  • Pray that believers will boldly proclaim the Gospel, overcoming hatred with the powerful love of Christ.
  • Pray the Holy Spirit will encourage, equip and empower believers facing pressure and persecution.
  • Pray for protection of Christians from violence, particularly in areas where Islamic extremists are active
  • Pray for NGOs to continue to provide training as well as distribution of Christian literature.
  • Pray for Christians who have left the Ethiopian Orthodox church and Islam that they will not be oppressed or discriminated.
  • Pray for strong internet coverage and that there will great messages that will encourage believers and draw in non-believers.
  • Pray that the Lord will protect and prosper His church, that it will be a bright light to all Ethiopians.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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 time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are 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 are new to the call and cannot 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. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Ethiopia

6/12/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, you are invited to join us on Saturday, June 12th in a prayer conference call hosted by Persecution Watch.

Praying for Ethiopia

It would seem there should not be much persecution against Christians in a nation with a presumably Christian majority. However, life has become much more difficult for Ethiopian Christians. This year, Ethiopia was moved from 39th to 36th on Open Doors World Watch List of the top 50 countries where it’s most difficult to follow Jesus.

Ethiopia is part of the horn of Africa and is bordered by Somalia on the East, Southeast and Northeast (except for a small part, which is Djibouti). To its north is Eritrea, to the south is Kenya, and to the West is Sudan and South Sudan.  The population of Ethiopia is about 113,000,000, with 67,500,000 professing to be Christians. The Muslim population is growing. Its government is a Federal Parliamentary Republic with prime minister Abiy Ahmed at its head.

Despite having religious freedom on paper, violence has been steadily increasing and multiplying in some areas. All denominations except the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) are persecuted by both the government and the EOC.  

Eastern Ethiopia has one of the largest Somali populations in the world, and Christians there are persecuted by both their communities and families.

There has been a wave of attacks against Christians in the South with the rise of Wahabi Islam among the Oromo Muslims, exacerbated by political unrest.

Many churches and believers’ homes have been destroyed and people murdered. There is also political unrest in the East, which has also led to large scale attacks on Christians.  

In Northern Ethiopia, the EOC persecutes evangelical believers, destroying churches, physically assaulting them, and denying them jobs and community services.  

Muslim tribal groups throughout Ethiopia heavily persecute Christians as well.  This is even true in refugee camps for Somalis.

Bibles are printed, sold and distributed in Ethiopia with no restrictions, but remain difficult to obtain in many rural areas.

The government generally works to protect the rights of Christians, but in Muslim enclaves with Muslim leaders, they mostly do not.

Still, evangelical churches in Ethiopia continue to establish other churches and send missionaries to difficult areas, resulting in church growth.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for a good, stable government with wise leaders.
  • Pray for salvation for its current leaders, including Abiy Ahmed.
  • Pray the religious freedom law be enforced.
  • Pray for believers from Muslim or Ethiopian Orthodox backgrounds; be rooted in the Lord, grow in the Lord, have good teachers and pastors.
  • Pray for five-fold ministry to strengthen one another and all the believers.
  • Pray for believers who have lost loved ones through persecution; for the 

windows and the fatherless; for comfort; to be able to forgive.

  • Pray for believers who have lost homes and/or other property, houses or worship; be strengthened, keep eyes on the eternal.
  • Pray for those who have lost jobs because of being a Christian; for God’s provision and strength.
  • Provision and protection for believers.
  • Pray that they have a spirit of praise and joy in the midst of persecution.
  • Pray for increased outreach efforts to the Muslim communities; wisdom and divine appointments; prepare hearts; dreams and visions, convict them.
  • Pray for outreaches to the EOC; for their salvation; have access to Word, read it, be convicted that murder, destroying, etc. is of the Devil.
  • For the EOC to come out of Babylon; that siding with the Muslims is siding with the Antichrist.
  • Pray for NGOs and their ministries; to reach and strengthen those in need; physically, spiritually and mentally.
  • Pray for unity among Christians in Ethiopia; Lord, grow Your church there.

We will also Pray for: 

Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.

  • Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China. 

  • On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, for his release and his family as their persecution continues. 

  • Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

The Harvest 

  • “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

Tonight, our dear Sister Valerie will moderate the prayer conference call. 

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Ethiopia

 

09/08/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Ethiopia: Population: 110 million, Christian 66 million

Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest churches in the world. It is believed that the first people to convert to Christianity lived were brought to the faith by Matthew and Bartholomew, as well as the Ethiopian Eunuch who spoke with Phillip. The Ethiopian orthodox church was then founded in the 4th century as the country’s religion by it rulers. Despite this extremely old history, the church is coming under attack in recent days according to the Barnabus Fund. The report states that, “coordinated killings, targeting Christians from a wide range of ethnicities including Oromo Christians, began soon after the alleged assassination of a popular Oromo singer, Hachallu Hundessa. 500 Christians Killed in Ethiopia since June, the Report States

The persecution faced by Christians in Ethiopia often depends on where they live. For example, in urban areas and areas that are mainly Protestant, Christians who leave the Ethiopian Orthodox Church will face less serious consequences, although they may still face opposition from their families.

But in rural communities that are mainly made up of members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Christians who choose to be part of another denomination are often ostracized or even attacked.

In rural communities that are mainly Muslim, Christians are often denied access to communal resources or even attacked by extremists. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face pressure from their families and communities. There has been ongoing strife in the Oromo region of the country for the past several years, but the Barnabus fund says that the recent killing of these young Christians has been conducted by Islamic extremists. “The attackers are from the Oromo ethnic group, which has traditionally been Muslim, and are members of Qeerroo (meaning, “bachelors”), an Oromo male youth movement. In door-to-door attacks on Christian households the Qeerroo extremists arrived in cars and armed with guns, machetes, swords and spears, sought out and slaughtered Christians. Children were forced to witness their parents being brutally murdered with machetes and houses were burnt down, vandalized, or destroyed by the extremists. Billions of dollars of damage were caused to property.

PRAYER POINTS
  • Pray for Christian leaders to be elected to Government offices to protect the population from radical Islam.

 

  • Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia who are suffering at the hands of hateful and violent neighbors.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will equip the church to offer hope to Christians Converts from Islam who are ostracized, harassed, denied access to communal resources and often denied family rights.

 

  • Pray that the persecuted are ready to reach out with the gospel to their persecutors and to respond to persecution in a way that honors Christ.

 

  • Pray for a sense of unity among God’s people, that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church would stop oppressing evangelical believers and that a common sense of mission would take root among believers. [The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) opposes the activities of evangelical Christians, whom they regard as followers of a Western religion threatening Ethiopian culture.]

 

  • Pray that the church will be able to shun tribalism, and be ready to give an answer to all who may question them about their hope as Christians in some areas experience hostility from some tribes who demand that Christians participate in tribal clashes.

 

  • Pray for godly leadership within Christian communities.

 

  • Pray for more Bibles translations. Pray for the 30 plus translation projects.

 

  • Pray for oral Bible teaching as many “Bible Listening Groups” have come up. Audio scripture is available in 73 languages/dialects.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will protect and further the work of all the NGOs

 

  • Pray to the Lord that He will encourage continue to grow His church

 

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for:

  • Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram. Pray that they will be set free.
  • Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, December 10 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Rising Islamist militancy across Sahel belt threatens African Christianity

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As the world focuses on potential military advances against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it risks overlooking another vast region where militant Islam is a growing threat to the Church – in the continent where the Church is growing fastest: Africa.

Amongst other factors, the chaos in Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi – characterised by easy access to weapons of all sorts combined with the increasing presence of jihadists – has had a spill-over effect into Africa’s vast Sahel region. This spans the African continent from Senegal in the west to western Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia in the east. (The ‘Sahel’ describes the ecological and geographic region between the Sahara Desert and the humid and fertile savannah belt north of Africa’s tropical rainforest).

The most dramatic example of this Islamist militancy is in northern Mali, where Islamist militants and foreign fighters made common cause with Tuareg rebels to take over a large portion of the country in 2012. For most of the year, until the French military were forced to intervene, armed Islamist groups ruled the region, banning the practice of other religions and desecrating and looting churches and other places of worship.

In addition to the main group involved then, the jihadist Ansar Dine, other militant groups active in the Sahel region include Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram and Islamic State (IS).

A new report from Open Doors International, a charity providing support to the global Church under pressure, shows that the rise of Islamist militancy in the region is undermining freedom of religion. According to the report, puritanical and militant versions of Islam (particularly Salafism/Wahhabism) are increasingly taking root – in a manner that reflects recent developments in the rest of the world – as a result of Islamist missionaries and NGOs from the Middle East, funded by (until recently) oil-rich Gulf States like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Fertile ground

The Sahel, which encompasses parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, has been predominantly Muslim for centuries. Due to a mix of environmental, demographic, economic and political factors, all the states that exist in this region are very fragile.

Troops from Mali and Niger, supported by their French counterparts, conduct regular joint operations to hunt for militants in the western part of the region.

The report indicates that the Islamist groups in the region are very hostile to Christianity and show this through violent acts. Northern Mali has witnessed violent attacks against Christians and churches – notably in 2012, during jihadist occupation. There have also been a series of abductions by jihadist groups, which kidnap Christian workers not only to finance operations through demanding ransoms, but also to deter Christians from working in the region. The Swiss missionary, Beatrice Stockly, kidnapped in Timbuktu in January, is still being held hostage by AQIM.

In neighbouring Niger, Islamists burned down more than 70 churches, as well as Christian homes, schools and orphanages, in a series of arson attacks in January 2015.

Rampant radicalization

Islamist groups in the Sahel, like others elsewhere, don’t tolerate other Muslims who adhere to a version of Islam different from their own. Violence and terror is their preferred modus operandi. The report suggests that any further increase in their numbers and influence would add to the difficulties Christians are facing.

Even if these groups do not succeed in imposing Sharia and establishing Islamic “caliphates” at a national level, they will still contribute to the overall radicalisation of the population and the spread of an extremist and intolerant version of Islam, says the report. It says this has created an environment in which any Christian outreach ministry – not to mention the very existence of the Church itself – faces violent resistance.

The radical militancy of jihadist groups in the Sahel is also spilling over further south and giving rise to terrorist attacks in predominantly Christian parts of West Africa, notes the report. The attack on the Grand-Bassam resort in Ivory Coast (March 2016) has highlighted the vulnerability of these countries.

In the long-term, unless these groups are defeated, it is very likely that they will intensify their campaign of terrorism and violence in southern Nigeria and other West African countries which have thus far been relatively spared from terrorist activism, warns the report.

It concludes that the situation for Christians in the Sahel is precarious. It says the region is becoming a new major hotspot for Islamist groups, many of which have allied themselves to international terror franchises like IS and al-Qaeda. It is very important that the countries in the region strengthen their cooperation against these militant groups, says the report, adding that countries outside the region capable of providing assistance should also help.

In addition to robust and decisive military action, the report says it is also important not to adopt a purely one-dimensional approach. The socio-economic and political realities in the region, of which the militant groups take advantage, also need to be transformed, it says. It is only when these underlying realities are changed that Christians and non-Christians will be able to enjoy security and freedom in the region.

Full report here

Ethiopia: Christians arrested for ‘spreading hatred’

ethiopia

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Last month, six church committee members from Kilto, Ethiopia, were found guilty of destroying the public’s trust in government officials and spreading hatred.

According to Barnabas Aid, the six had dared to write a letter to their church leadership describing the persecution they have endured as Christians living in the Muslim-majority Silte zone. The letter was later leaked to local media and then went viral.

As a result, government officials sentenced church committee leader Yemariam Worke to eight years and eight months in prison and the other five members of the committee to five years and six months each. They were all then transferred to a prison in Worabe, the capital of Silte zone.

In the letter, the six had complained of discrimination in employment, the destruction of their church buildings, physical attacks and even death threats.

Ethnic Silte people voted to create a separate zone in a referendum in 2001.

 

Pope: Blood of Ethiopian Christians ‘cries out to be heard’

Pope_Francis

(Voice of the Persecuted) Yesterday, Ethiopians began three days of national mourning for more than 20 Ethiopian Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya. ISIS once again singled out Christians and documented their savagery in a video where they brutally beheaded and shot the believers in Christ.

The Islamic State – aka ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh – has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months. The militant terror group has established a caliphate and carried out mass persecutions of minority populations, primarily Christians and Yazidis. They have also published videos as a warning to countries that have militarily intervened and a way to control civilians through fear.

The discriminate murders have horrified Ethiopians and spurred international calls for condemnation.

The leader of the Catholic Church shared his anguish of the mass execution and offered his condolences to patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, Abuna Matthias.

Pope Francis lamented,

“With great distress and sadness I learn of the further shocking violence perpetrated against innocent Christians in Libya. I know that Your Holiness is suffering deeply in heart and mind at the sight of your faithful children being killed for the sole reason that they are followers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

He also stated,

“It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant,” Pope Francis said in his message. “Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ!”

He offered hope amidst the darkness, noting the Easter season of joy in the knowledge that “Christ has risen from the dead.”

“This year, that joy – which never fades – is tinged with profound sorrow. Yet we know that the life we live in God’s merciful love is stronger than the pain all Christians feel, a pain shared by men and women of good will in all religious traditions.”

The Pope offered “heartfelt spiritual solidarity” and assurances of “closeness in prayer at the continuing martyrdom being so cruelly inflicted on Christians in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia.”

Voice of the Persecuted is praying that more Christian leaders across denominations, will inform their congregations of the modern-day persecution taking place against Christians, encourage them to pray and care for the persecuted, and use their voices to advocate for and stand with our suffering brothers and sisters, worldwide. #WeAreOne

parish_meeting1If you are a church leader raising awareness and praying for the persecuted, we would be very encouraged to hear from you! If you are a leader who would like to begin sharing with your congregation, contact us at info@voiceofthepersecuted.org with Pastor for the Persecuted in the subject line. We’d be happy to help you in the process.

Voice of the Persecuted

 

 

ISIS shoot and behead Ethiopian Christians in Libya

 

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(Voice of the Persecuted) The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/Daesh) has released a shocking new video titled ‘Until It Came To Them – Clear Evidence’. The unverified video highlights the slaughter of at least 30 Ethiopian Christians (migrant workers) in Libya.

A masked militant pledged to kill Christians if they do not convert to Islam, ‘Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap. To the nation of the cross we are now back again.’  The footage also includes how Syrian Christians have been given the choice to convert to Islam or pay a ‘special tax’.

The Ethiopian Christians are divided into two groups and identified by the Islamic State militants as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church. Approximately 12 men were beheaded on a beach, the remaining shot dead in the desert.

An Ethiopian official, denounced the killings saying, “We strongly condemn such atrocities, whether they are Ethiopians are not.”

In February, IS released the video of them beheading 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. IS is using video media for their propaganda campaign to instill fear in the hearts of men to control and recruit them.

Chaos and unrest has wracked Libya since the U.S. led attack in 2011 that toppled Kadhafi. IS has taken advantage of it’s destabilization expanding it’s presence in the country.

In 2011 when Obama addressed Americans and the world to justifying NATO involvement in Libya,  we heard the following:

  • “This is a New generation refusing to be denied their rights any longer”
  • “Change will make the world more complicated for a time.”
  • “Justice & Human Dignity will be upheld by all.”
  • “We will stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles as us.”
  • “History is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa and the youth are leading the way.”
  • “Our own future is safer if all mankind uphold these values.”

In the mission to uproot leaders deemed murderous and tyrannical, the west has aided to put something far worse in it’s place. Now multiple Libyan jihadist groups and those in other nations have pledged allegiance to IS.

IS marches forward with their tremendous funds, it’s own news agency, even issuing drivers licence and ID cards in the quest to redraw the map and create a caliphate—a new world governed by strict Sharia Law.

The’Christian Winter’ continues and intensifies.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for the families of these precious soul’s.
  • Pray for God’s mercy and protection for his children.
  • Pray for endurance.

We are reminded of a young Christian girl in Thailand who had fled persecution in Pakistan. She said there is no need for her to curse anyone who blaspheme’s Christ or our God. She said our God is big enough to defend Himself.  Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. We can find comfort in this tribulation as the Faith of these Christians in these lands are growing stronger, even in persecution.

Revelation 6:9-11  When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

 

 

 

 

 

World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World

Christian refugees, who fled or were expelled from Mosul, crowd around a truck distributing food aid.

Christian refugees, who fled or were expelled from Mosul, crowd around a truck distributing food aid. Photo: Ray Ibrahim

(Gatestone InstituteWhile the world fixates on the conflict between Israel and Hamas—and while most mainstream media demonize Israel for trying to survive amid a sea of Arab-Islamic hostility—similar or worse tragedies continue to go virtually ignored.

As Reuters reported:One of the most ancient Christian communities in the world, that of Iraq—which already had been decimated over the last decade, by Islamic forces unleashed after the ousting of Saddam Hussein—has now been wiped out entirely by the new “caliphate,” the so-called Islamic State, formerly known by the acronym “ISIS.”

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul….

It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract—a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya.”

“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.

The amount of jizya-money demanded was $450 a month, an exorbitant sum for Iraq.

Hours after the demand for jizya was made, Islamists began painting the letter “n” on Christian homes in Mosul—in Arabic, Christians are known as “Nasara,” or “Nazarenes”—signaling them out for the slaughter to come.

Most Christians have since fled. A one-minute video in Arabic of their exodus appears here—women and children weeping as they flee their homes—a video that will not be shown by any Western mainstream media outlet, busy as they are depicting instead nonstop images of Palestinian women and children.

The Syrian Orthodox bishop of Mosul said that what is happening to the Christians of Mosul is nothing less than “genocide… not to mention the slaughters and rapes not being reported… Forcing more than a thousand Christian families out of Mosul, and turning Christian churches into Muslim mosques, is equivalent to genocide.”  Of course, the word genocide means to kill or make extinct a people.

Others were not as lucky to flee. According to Iraqi human rights activist Hena Edward, a great many older and disabled Iraqis, unable to pay the jizya or join the exodus, have opted to convert to Islam.

Meanwhile, the jihadis continue destroying churches and other ancient Christian holy sites in the name of their religion, and murdering any Christians they can find. Among other acts, they torched an 1800 year old church in Mosul, stormed a fourth century monastery—formerly one of Iraq’s best known Christian landmarks—and expelling its resident monks.

Most recently, in Syrian regions under the Islamic State’s control, eight Christians were reportedly crucified.

The Islamic State’s call for Christians to pay jizya is not simply about money. It is about subjugation. Most Western media reporting on this recent call for jizya have failed to explain the accompanying dhimma contract Christians must also abide by. According to the Islamic State, “We offer them [Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”

The “dhimma contract” is a reference to the Conditions of Omar, an Islamic text attributed to the caliph of the same name that forces Christians to live according to third class citizen status.

In fact, several months back, when the Islamic State was still called “ISIS,” it applied the Conditions of Omar on the Christian minorities of Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic group had issued a directive

citing the Islamic concept of “dhimma”, [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS… “If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said [emphasis added].

The persecution and exodus of Christians is hardly limited to Iraq. In 2011, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom noted: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt,” all Muslim majority nations.

Under Saddam Hussein, and before the 2003 U.S. “liberation” of Iraq, more than a million Christians lived in Iraq; Mosul had some 60,000 Christians. Today there are reportedly none thanks to the new Muslim “caliphate.”

In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.” But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat. Displacements began in Ameriya [62 Christian families evicted], then they stretched to Dahshur [120 Christian families evicted], and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Sinai.”

In late 2012, it was reported that the last Christian in the city of Homs, Syria—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered. An escaped teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians…. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”

In the African nation of Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled. According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.

One can go on and on:

  • In Ethiopia, after a Christian was accused of desecrating a Koran, thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes when “Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.”
  • In the Ivory Coast—where Christians have been crucified—Islamic rebels “massacred hundreds and displaced tens of thousands” of Christians.
  • In Libya, Islamic rebels forced several Christian nun orders serving the sick and needy since 1921 to flee and killed several Coptic Christians, causing that community also to flee.
  • In Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, where hardly a Sunday passes without a church bombing, Christians are fleeing by the thousands; one region has been emptied of 95% of its Christian population.
  • In Pakistan, after a Christian child was falsely accused of desecrating a Koran and Muslims went on an anti-Christian rampage, an entire Christian village—men, women, and children—was forced to flee into the nearby woods, where they built a church, to permanently reside there.

Despite all these atrocities, exoduses, and even genocides, the mainstream media seems to spend every available moment airing images of displaced Palestinians and demonizing Israel for trying to defend itself. Yet Israel does not kill Palestinians because of their religion or any other personal aspects. It does so in the context of being rocketed and trying to defend itself from terrorism.

On the other hand, all the crimes being committed by Muslims against Christians are simply motivated by religious hate, because the Christians are Christian.

It is to the mainstream media’s great shame that those who slaughter, behead, crucify, and displace people for no other reason than because they are Christian, rarely if ever get media coverage, while a nation such as Israel, which kills only in the context of self-defense, and not out of religious bigotry, is constantly demonized.

by Raymond Ibrahim

Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by Fronda, a leading website in Poland.  The English-language version of the Polish interview, originally titled “Raymond Ibrahim: Prostration before Islam, English version – Read it HERE

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