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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Yemen

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, April 7, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the Persecuted Church hosted by Persecution Watch.

YEMEN: Population: 30.9 million, Christians a few thousand

Yemeni Christians mostly are converts from Islam who must live out their faith in secret because conversion from Islam to Christianity is forbidden both in Islam and in Yemeni law. Christian converts are pressured by both the government and from their communities to recant their faith in Jesus. They might be arrested or interrogated for their faith, and face threats from both family and Islamic extremists who threaten apostates with death. Yemeni culture is extremely tribal, and often the tribal punishment for denouncing Islam can be death or banishment. Both male and female converts to Christianity who are married to Muslim’s risk divorce—and may lose custody of their children.

Yemen is home to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world, and all Yemenis suffer—but Yemeni Christians are additionally vulnerable since emergency relief is mostly distributed through local Muslim leaders and local mosques. These groups have been accused of discriminating against anyone who is not considered to be a devout Muslim.

Life is dangerous for all Christians in Yemen. But some believers in certain areas are at particular risk, such as Christians living in the south, where there is a strong al-Qaeda presence. Converts from Islam to Christianity have also indicated that there is more pressure in the Shiite Muslim-controlled areas in the west than in areas under control of the Sunni government. The Shiite-controlled areas—which comprise approximately one-third of Yemens territory—are heavily policed: any dissenting opinion is rigorously repressed and likely to lead to imprisonment, torture and possibly worse.

  • Pray for the Yemeni people and the Yemeni government. The civil war has lasted for nearly a decade, and the brutality and the humanitarian crisis it has caused have only grown worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Pray for peace, pray for stability, and pray for an openness to letting all Yemenis, regardless of religion, live their lives in peace and hope.
  • Pray for the secret Christians in Yemen who live under constant threat because of their faith. Ask God to give them courage, wisdom, and boldness, that they would know how to best live out the gospel.
  • Ask Jesus to bring comfort and hope to Christians in this war-torn country.
  • Yemeni people can now find out more about Jesus via television, radio, and the internet. Pray for all people in Yemen who are secretly searching for truth. Pray that they will find the right channels to learn about Jesus and pray that they will become followers of Him.
  • Pray for NGOs supporting the Body of Christ around the Arabian Peninsula through prayer, the distribution of biblical resources and the training of believers and pastors.  
  • Pray to the Lord to guide and protect NGO workers in their covert support to Christians.
  • Pray for new believers, who are persecuted and ostracized when they come to faith that
  • Pray to the Lord to protect His believers from radical Muslims, blind, confuse and distract them.
  • Pray to the Lord to give all Muslims dreams and visions that will lead them to Christ.

We will also continue to lift up these 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.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

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

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

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, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader 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.

Ramadan Day 16: Praying for Muslims to come to Christ – Southern Yemeni Arabs

(Voice of the Persecuted) Southern Yemeni Arabs, the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis

WHO ARE SOUTHERN YEMENI ARABS?

Roughly 9 million Southern Yemeni Arabs speak Ta’izzi-Adeni Arabic, a combination of two regional dialects. Yemeni culture, like much of the Arabian Peninsula, is tribal. There is a definite social hierarchy, often distinguishable by dress, from the wealthy and powerful down to the underprivileged. The symbol of male honor is a curved dagger, the janbiyyah.

Most Southern Yemeni Arabs are Muslim, including Zaydis, a Shia sect of Islam known for its warrior traditions. Others are Sunni Muslims who follow the Shafi’i school of Islamic law.

Yemen’s strategic location at the southern entrance to the Red Sea has been both a blessing and a curse. Centuries ago, it was a fertile and prosperous land, benefitting from ancient trade routes and in control of the market for valuable commodities. But as new global trade routes grew, Yemen’s prosperity shrank. Though just miles from some of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East, Yemen is now the poorest country in the region.

WHAT ARE SOUTHERN YEMENI ARABS’ GREATEST STRUGGLES?

A complicated, catastrophic civil war now rages in Yemen. It began in 2011 when the longtime, Saudi-backed, authoritarian president Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted in the wave of the “Arab Spring.” The upheaval has grown into a sectarian Sunni-Shia clash and proxy war between world powers (Saudi Arabia, UK, USA, and Iran, among others). The powers continue to fight over the control of resources and the balance of power in the Middle East. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State also contribute to the terror and instability of the country.

As in all conflict, the most vulnerable suffer the greatest. Since 2015, civilian targets have been regularly bombed, killing thousands and displacing millions. Their currency is collapsing. Dengue fever and cholera are reaching epidemic proportions because of a lack of clean water. Farmers use what’s available, including wastewater, to irrigate their small vegetable plots, and the sickness is spreading. Corruption and mismanagement prevents aid from reaching those who need it most. Children are starving to death in what the UN calls “the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.”

WHAT IS GOD DOING AMONG SOUTHERN YEMENI ARABS?

While most people live in rural areas, they have smart phones and internet access. Resources in the southern dialect include the JESUS Film, The Prophets’ Story, and other radio and internet resources that have been very fruitful. If a southerner hears something evangelistic in a northern dialect, it creates a barrier to belief. If they hear it in Lebanese or Egyptian Arabic, Christianity is considered foreign. With resources in Yemeni dialects, people see that it’s possible for Yemenis to follow Jesus.

Most believers, a tiny fraction of the country’s total population, live in southern areas. Life in Yemen is difficult for everyone, but Christians have always faced added challenges. Believers in the south have learned how to live out and share their faith in a way that is leading family members and friends to faith. In spite of the devastation of war, the number coming to faith is increasing each year. One report notes that even those who come from very different tribes and backgrounds meet together in a spirit of unity and have a vision to help others grow spiritually.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray that all unreached people groups across Yemen would have access to the truth, the life, the hope, and the joy that are only available through Jesus Christ.

We continue to pray for the persecuted:

  •  Leah Sharibu and Alice, both held captive by the Boko Haram.
  • For Pastor Wanh Yi from China, who has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for sharing boldly the love of God.
  • For Anita, a Christian convert recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran.
  • For Pakistani Christians and other minorities who are facing discrimination and persecution during the coronavirus crisis. Muslims are denying Christians relief food packages because of their faith in Christ.

“Our prayers do have an impact on the things of eternity and the souls of men and women to find truth in him who is the Living Word. Please join us on the prayer conference call to lift prayers up together. As ever, I remain your brother and prayer partner in our Lord Jesus. Meet you on the call!

If you are unable to participate on the call, or cannot join us on a particular evening, you can still use the prayer points and pray in your personal prayer closet. The only thing I would urge you is, please do it.  Whether you pray privately, in a group, or on our call, please pray for a great harvest of souls during this time of Ramadan.” – Blaine Scogin, Founder of Persecution Watch and former Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted.

As Blaine Scogin did each year, the team will continue to host nightly calls during Ramadan. We will be following along with the Prayercast Team’s platform in praying for Muslims for the next 30 days, which began on April 24. Please sign up here to receive the daily video and prayer points from Prayercast which we will cover on the nightly prayer conference calls. If you have yet to do so, it’s not to late. Dear brothers and sisters, we challenge you to join us on the conference call to pray with us during these 30 nights of prayer for the persecuted, the harvest, and for Muslims to come out of the dark, receive the truth and follow Jesus.

In Christ,

Voice of the Persecuted and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

Nightly call schedule through Ramadan 

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. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. 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.

 

Tonight the Persecution Watch Prayer Call: Yemen

4/16/2020 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. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison.

Yemen

Population: 29,5 million, Christians a few thousand

An ongoing civil war in Yemen, Saudi supported groups againdt Iran supported ones, has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory, making an already difficult place for Christians even harder. The war has allowed radical Islamic groups to expand their operations in certain areas, leading to Christians being abducted and killed. Open church activities are forbidden and leaving Islam is not allowed. Muslims who decide to follow Jesus could face the death penalty.

Yemen is a strongly Islamic nation, and all Yemenis are considered Muslims. The maximum scores in the national and church spheres of life is typical of a country where Islamic oppression is the main persecution engine and most Christians come from a Muslim background.

The Church in Yemen is composed mostly of Yemeni Christians with a Muslim background who need to live their faith in secret. They face persecution from the authorities (including detention and interrogation), from family and from radical Islamic groups who threaten these believers with death if they do not re-convert to Islam. Tribal law prohibits members from leaving the tribe, and the punishment for denouncing Islam can be death or banishment. Both male and female converts to Christianity married to Muslims risk divorce and losing custody of their children.

Christians suffer from the general humanitarian crisis in the country, but Yemeni Christians are additionally vulnerable since emergency relief is mostly distributed through Islamic organizations and local mosques, which are allegedly discriminating against all who are not considered to be devout Muslims.

Various Christians were detained for faith-related reasons during the 2020 World Watch List reporting period. According to sources, both religious and non-religious factors are often involved in these cases. At least a dozen Christians were mentally or physically abused as a result of their faith and the war situation, the threat mostly coming from families and communities. Several Christians had to leave their houses and relocate in the country out of fear of assassination for their faith or for war-related reasons.

  • Pray to the Lord that He will guide both fractions to come together and stop the violence, start peace talks.

 

  • Pray to the Lord for both male and female converts to Christianity who risk being divorced by their Muslim spouse and losing custody of their children. Pray for the conversion of their spouses and children.

 

  • Please pray for the Yemeni Christian converts who are subject to serious pressure from family members to renounce their faith, that the remain strong in the Lord.

 

  • Pray for isolated Yemeni Christian converts who flee the country that they find a Christian community.

 

  • Pray God provides for Christians’ needs. The situation in Yemen is considered an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Emergency relief is mostly distributed through Islamic organizations and local mosques, which are allegedly discriminating against all who are not considered to be pious Muslims.

 

  • Pray to the Lord to give NGO’s favor to be able to reach out and support Christians physically as well as spiritually.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will show believers when it is safe to witness and when to be mute.

 

  • That believers remain joyful amid suffering and forgive their persecutors.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will both protect the community of the saints and add to their numbers in spite of the hostile environment.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator for Persecution Watch

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. 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. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. 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.

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.

‘Risk of genocide’ linked with level of religious freedom

(World Watch Monitor) Yemen is the country where the risk of genocide, or mass killing, rose most last year, says Minority Rights Group International (MRG) in its 2017 Peoples Under Threat index, which also includes a large number of countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

Nine of the Index’s top 12 are also in the top 12 of Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List– namely Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Nigeria.

MRG calculates its annual index based on a number of indicators directly linked to the level of freedom of religion and expression, including democracy and governance, conflict data, and displacement.

Yemen, for instance, ranks 8th on the MRG Index and 9th on the WWL. The civil war that erupted there in 2014 has caused chaos and lawlessness, creating a climate where oppression can flourish.

Radical Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State have exploited the power vacuum in Yemen to gain significant influence. Christians have been killed and abducted, including 16 people killed in an attack on a Christian care home for the elderly in March 2016.

According to MRG’s index, which lists the top 70 countries most at risk of genocide, mass killing or systematic violent repression, two-thirds of the countries where this risk has risen are in Africa.

Also, an increasing number of people are living at “deadly risk” in a growing number of “no-go zones” around the world. MRG says its reports shows “how a lack of access from the outside world allows killing to be perpetrated unchecked in disputed territories, militarized enclaves, and in some cases, whole countries… International isolation is a known risk factor for genocide or mass killing”.

Syria, for example, leads the list for the third consecutive year and, according to the report, UN human rights officials have been “granted no access to Syria since the crisis began in 2011”.

Cholera outbreak

Meanwhile the civil war in Yemen has so far killed more than 8,000 people and injured over 45,000 civilians. The fighting between Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the north and the Saudi-backed government in the south has furthermore displaced more than 3 million people – over 10 per cent of Yemen’s population – reports the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA says these figures are most likely lower than the reality because of the lack of reporting capacity and people not having access to health centres.

Those who have not been killed or injured in the fighting might still lose their lives in the largest ever recorded cholera outbreak in a single country in a single year, aid agencies warn. With a crumbling health system, with less than half the country’s hospitals operational and a lack of available medication, nearly 2,000 people have died of cholera so far, with an estimated 5,000 Yemenis becoming ill every day. More than 600,000 Yemenis could have cholera before the end of the year, the International Committee of the Red Cross has warned.

Church relieved as Yemen confirms kidnapped Indian priest is ‘alive’

Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil

(World Watch Monitor) The Church in India, especially in the southern state of Kerala, is breathing a sign of relief after Yemen confirmed to India’s foreign minister that Catholic missionary Father Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped in Yemen in March 2016, is “alive”.

“We are thrilled to hear that good news,” Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the autonomous Syro-Malabar Church, to which the kidnapped priest belongs, told World Watch Monitor.

Abdulmalik Abduljalil Al-Mekhlafi, Deputy Prime Minister of Yemen, broke the news to Sushma Swaraj, Indian External Affairs (foreign) Minister on 12 July when they met for bilateral talks in the Indian capital.

“We are very hopeful now. The news brings great joy to us,” V A Thomas, first cousin of the kidnapped priest, told World Watch Monitor from their home in Ramapuram, near Palai, in the Christian heartland of Kerala.

“We are very happy with the developments and hope he will be released soon.” -V A Thomas

Father Uzhunnalil, 58, was kidnapped on 4 March in Aden in Yemen, from the Missionaries of Charity home for the elderly. Four nuns were murdered, along with 12 others, during the attack by unidentified gunmen.

While a first false rumour was of the crucifixion of the kidnapped priest on Good Friday 2016, a video of him in captivity surfaced around Christmas 2016, with the visibly unkempt and ailing priest urging the government of India and the Church to ensure his release from captivity.

That led to a series of assurances from the government of India, while the Catholic Church organised several demonstrations, including a day of prayer and candlelit vigils, urging the government to ensure the kidnapped priest’s safe release.

second video appeal by the priest surfaced on the Internet in May, with the priest stating that serious efforts have not been made by the Church or the government to ensure his release. “They are treating me well to the extent they are able,” Fr Uzhunnalil said slowly in English. “My health condition is deteriorating quickly and I require hospitalization as early as possible.”

“In that video appeal, Father Tom had even requested us [his family] to put pressure [on the government] to ensure his release,” said his cousin, V A Thomas, who was also headmaster to Father Uzhunnalil when he was a student at the local Catholic school in the 1970s.

The extended Uzhunnalil family clan, Thomas pointed out, had been “consistently pleading with everyone to ensure Fr Tom’s release” and have called on several top government leaders.

After the second video emerged, Thomas said that he led a four-member Uzhunnalil delegation to meet P Sathasivam, the Kerala Governor, along with Oommen Chandy, former chief minister of Kerala, on 31 May.

Three days earlier, the federal government had dispatched Richard Hay, a Christian Member of the Indian Parliament (who’d been nominated by the ruling BJP government), to the family in Palai, to assure them that the government was making serious efforts “to bring the back the priest home safely”.

“We are very happy with the developments and hope he will be released soon,” Thomas said.

However, he added that “due to the big public interest in the safety of Fr Tom, there are reports that the demands of the kidnappers have gone up”.

The External Affairs Ministry in its press statement said that the foreign minister has “stressed the government’s concern for the safety and well-being of Father Tom Uzhunnalil … and reiterated the request for continued assistance from the Yemeni authorities in securing his safe and early release”.

According to reports, terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are said to have bases in parts of Yemen, resulting in instability in the country.

Kidnapped Priest in Yemen Appeals for Help in Video

Kidnapped priest, Tom Uzhunnalil held in Yemen

Kidnapped priest, Tom Uzhunnalil held in Yemen

Islamist terrorists killed 16 at nursing home.

(Morning Star News) – A Catholic priest kidnapped in Yemen almost 10 months ago appealed for help in a video released this week by a terrorist group.

The Rev. Tom Uzhunnalil was kidnapped on March 4 in Aden, Yemen when a group of militants, thought to belong to an offshoot of the Islamic State (IS) movement, killed 16 people in an attack on the Aden Care Home, a nursing home facility.

In his statement on the video, which was released on Christmas Day, Uzhunnalil said he was kidnapped, “Because I was working for the Christian religion and the church.”

Uzhunnalil then went on to say he felt abandoned by his religious leaders and claimed that if he were a priest of European descent, his captivity would have been taken more seriously. The priest is a native of India.

“Nothing has been done by Pope Francis or the Bishop of Abu Dhabi to get me released, in spite of contact being made by my captors,” he said. “Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a father please take care of my life.”

Uzhunnalil implored Christians in his native India to put pressure on authorities by using their “might to help me to safe my life … Please take care of my life.”

Before he was kidnapped, Uzhunnalil was clean-shaven. In the video he had a full beard and appeared weak and out-of-breath. Speaking hesitantly, he said his health was deteriorating and that he was “very sad and depressed.”

Bishop Paul Hinder, the apostolic vicar of southern Arabia, told Morning Star News that Uzhunnalil appeared to be under duress when the video was made.

“Listening to the video, I got the impression that it has been produced under extreme pressure on Father Tom,” Hinder said.

He declined to comment further, citing ongoing efforts to secure Uzhunnalil’s release.

“It is part of the nature of such dramatic events that the steps undertaken cannot be revealed until their goal has been reached,” he said.


In a press statement on Tuesday (Dec. 27), vicariate officials said the church had made “countless appeals from the highest levels to secure his release.”

“Pope Francis made a heartfelt appeal to the kidnappers to release Father Tom on Sunday the 10th of April 2016, ‘In the hope given us by the Risen Christ, I renew my appeal for the liberation of all persons seized in areas of armed conflict: in particular, I desire to remember the Salesian priest, Tom Uzhunnalil, kidnapped at Aden in Yemen this past March fourth,’” the statement read.

The statement also mentioned the midnight Christmas Mass at the Cathedral Parish of St. Joseph’s in Abu Dhabi, where the bishop and tens of thousands gathered and prayed in silence for Uzhunnalil’s safety.

On March 4 at approximately 8:30 a.m., a group of militant Islamic extremists entered the nursing home in Aden and killed 16 people.

The Catholic news site Crux reported that the single survivor of the attack, a nun known as Sister Sally, said the gunmen first killed a guard and a driver at the home and then moved on to the four nuns. The militants then “tied them up, shot them in the head and smashed their heads” as others in the home screamed for the militants to show the nuns mercy, according to Crux.

The slain nuns were identified as Sister Anselm from India, Sister Judith from Kenya and Sisters Marguerite and Reginette from Rwanda.

The surviving sister escaped the attackers by hiding behind a door in a walk-in refrigerator.

During the attack, Uzhunnalil rushed to the chapel tabernacle in an attempt to consume all the sanctified hosts used in Communion, apparently to keep them from being desecrated, before he was abducted. The militants then set about destroying all the Christian symbols and liturgical articles in the tabernacle. The entire attack and kidnapping lasted 90 minutes, according to the nun.

Since the kidnapping, essentially no information about the safety or whereabouts of Uzhunnalil has been available. Weeks after the kidnapping, Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Cardinal Schonborn claimed publically that Uzhunnalil had been crucified on Good Friday. Photographs, allegedly of Uzhunnalil’s corpse, were circulated as evidence of his death, but research by Morning Star News showed the photos were actually from the funeral of another priest in the region who had just died.

According to indigenous missions support group Christian Aid Mission, .2 percent of Yemen’s 27.4 million people are Christians. Yemen consistently places high in studies ranking countries for their mistreatment of Christians. Plagued by low-intensity conflicts for years, the country plunged into a full-scale civil war in March 2015 along Shia and Sunni lines. Several terrorist groups, including IS and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have taken advantage of the power vacuum that exists in the country and have set up bases of operation.

Indian Priest, Father Tom Held Hostage by Jihadists in Yemen is Still Alive

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