(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, July 29, 2021 in a prayer call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
Kuwait: Population: 4.3 million, Christian 513,000 thousand (12%)
In Kuwait, expatriate Christians are relatively free to worship informally. However, the existing places registered for worship are very small for the number of people gathering, and this can lead to tension between different Christian groups. In addition, it is extremely difficult to obtain a property for worship gatherings.
Local converts from Islam face the most extreme persecution, as they face pressure from both family members and the local community to recant their Christian faith. These believers risk discrimination, harassment, monitoring of their activities by the police, and even intimidation by vigilante groups. Moreover, conversion from Islam to another faith is not officially recognized and is likely to lead to legal problems in personal status and property matters.
Expatriate Muslims converting to Christianity experience similar pressures as in their home countries, as they are often living within their own national or ethnic communities. Despite this, there are rarely reports of Christians being killed, imprisoned or harmed for their faith.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution? Kuwait is a very small country with the capital city (Kuwait City) being the center of all activities. The risks that Christians face—especially converts from Islam to Christianity—depend on the sort of community Christians are part of, rather than the geographical area where they live. Kuwaiti converts face the highest risks as Kuwaitis are conservative and family ties are strong. Western Christian expatriates are most often free to practice their beliefs, as long as they refrain from proselytizing. Non-Western Christians with lower levels of skills are more likely to face discrimination and abuse, especially female domestic workers. Many of these are from the Philippines. .
• Pray for the government of Kuwait to provide more freedom for Christians—especially Christians from a Muslim background—to meet, pray and share their faith freely.
• Ask God to give Kuwaiti Christians boldness and perseverance to stand strong in face of being interrogated by the authorities. That they can face severe threats if they continue to practice their faith and meet with other believers.
• Pray for the many expatriate Christians who work and live in Kuwait. Ask God to give these believers fellowship, vocations and renewed hope.
• Pray for Kuwaitis that are exposed to Christianity through business, travel studying abroad to respond to the Gospel message.
• Pray for a wide distribution of Christian materials through media such as internet, radio broadcasts as well as Christian literature.
• Pray To the Lord that He will have His hand of protection on the believers who boldly share the Gospel despite the hostile environment.
Life for Christians in Qatar can look very different depending on what type of Christian you are. There are two general categories: Christian foreigners, most of whom are migrant workers, and Christians who have converted from Islam. Foreign workers who are Christians are much freer to worship. For instance, the government has allowed large worship events in the past. Even for these followers of Jesus, however, any evangelism to Muslims is strictly forbidden and can lead to deportation.
Additionally, many migrant workers (of any faith) are mistreated and abused—Christian migrant workers may be doubly targeted for this type of abuse because of their job and their faith. And even though the government provides land for migrant Christians to build churches, churches are often monitored and kept to specific areas.
Muslims who convert to Christianity face much more significant persecution. Converts from both indigenous and migrant backgrounds bear the brunt of persecution.
Local Qatari converts face very high pressure from their Muslim families. Converts from a migrant background are primarily controlled by the social environment they live in. Often, the social norms of their home countries apply to them rather than Qatari cultural norms. In some cases, they can avoid pressure by living within an international community, rather than their own ethnic community. Nonetheless, even their employers can be a source of persecution
Open violence against Christians is very rare in Qatar. There are hardly ever reports of Christians being killed, imprisoned or harmed for their faith, because the number of converts is low and they keep their faith secret. Violence against Christians in Qatar fell a bit—though it is usually low—but pressure from community, family, society and other non-violent sources actually increased. National life was the main place in daily life the pressure increased, and drove the main slight rise in score. It is still incredibly hard for Christians—particularly Muslim converts—to live out their faith in Qatar.
Qatar has a massive population of migrant workers—a recent estimate indicates only 12 percent of the population are indigenous Qataris—so many workers come from a variety of faith backgrounds. Nonetheless, there is significant pressure if they follow Jesus instead of Islam. That pressure can come from their own migrant communities, or from the broader Qatari society. Converts who are able to find a livelihood and home in an international community often experience less persecution, but they can still be targeted.
Indigenous Qataris who convert to Christianity face significant repercussions from family and community, especially since Qatari society embraces a conservative strain of Islam.
• Pray God works powerfully in Qatar and give Christians safe places to meet together, rent facilities to worship.
• Pray migrant workers are protected from the abuse and discrimination of their employers and not additionally targeted for their faith in Jesus.
• Pray for secret Christians in Qatar who have accepted Jesus but cannot be open about their new faith. Pray their family and community would allow them to worship freely, and the surrounding society would embrace an openness to other faiths besides Islam.
• Pray to the Lord to protect His believers who ignore the anti proselytism laws to reach out to the lost.
• Pray that Qatar Arabs will be influenced towards Christianity by gospel radio, Arab Christian internet websites.
• Pray that Christians will love and forgive their persecutors.
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.
Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator
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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
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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.
Christians in the countries of the GCC are virtually “servants, abominably treated. Their religion must be practiced in secret, with converts threatened with death.”
Interest in the state of Middle East Christians has largely focused on the quality of their lives in the Levant, Egypt, and Southern Sudan, predominantly Christian areas before the rise of Islam that still contain sizeable Christian minorities. By contrast, little attention has been paid to Christians in the Arabian Peninsula, which had no indigenous Christian presence in Islamic times.
However, the oil boom of the 1970s created a tremendous demand for foreign labor in the Persian Gulf rentier states. Unsurprisingly, the number of workers needed to drive the emerging economies of the Gulf states was bound to include significant numbers of Christians. There are now more than three and a half million expatriate Christians working in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, mostly Catholics from the Philippines, India, and Pakistan. As their numbers increased, the question of how—or whether—to allow them to openly practice their faith became a significant issue.