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Special Report: Translators persecuted for translating the gospel
By Nena Podbury for American Bible Society—This week, we received heartbreaking news about an attack against Bible translators and we’re urging everyone to pray.
American Bible Society has been supporting a network of churches that are working on 25 Bible translation projects for unreached people groups in Central Asia and the Arabic Gulf region. Working in an undisclosed location in Northeast Africa, where the Christian church faces strong opposition, Christians risk their lives to translate God’s Word.
Last month, a terrorist group became aware of these translation efforts. Two weeks ago, this militant group burned the translation facility and killed five members of the lead translator’s family. The lead translator was also seriously injured. Another 49 translators were abducted and are still missing.
Despite this horrifying tragedy and the constant threat of extreme danger, this network of pastors plans to carry on its work.
They need our prayers. Let us cry out to God for these brave translators and for God’s Word to continue to shine light in the darkness.
- The missing translators. Pray for the safe release of the 49 translators who are missing.
- Translation work. Pray for these translation projects to be completed so that those 25 unreached people groups will have access to God’s Word in their native language. Pray for safety, wisdom, and courage for all translators.
- The lead translator. Pray that God will bring healing and comfort to this translator who lost members of his family.
Investigating the affects of tactics used by extremists on the most vulnerable. The murderous terror group in Syria and Iraq who have targeted Christians and other minorities for persecution are also kidnapping youth and indoctrinating them into their form of radical Islam. Arwa Damon speaks to a boy who was kidnapped and released by ISIS. Some of his remarks about the group are stunning.
Pray for the region, pray for healing of those trapped in the midst, and as hard as it may be—for the hearts and minds of the terrorists to be transformed to see the light of Christ as their Savior.
JNS.org reports the American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the U.S. State Department’s decision to label Nigeria’s Boko Haram, along with its splinter group Ansaru, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
“Boko Haram’s murderous attacks in Nigeria targeting Christians in particular, have been a deep concern for a long time,” AJC Executive Director David Harris said. “The U.S. designation both recognizes the reality of the threat Boko Haram presents, and gives a boost, we hope, to the Nigerian government’s efforts to defeat this terrorist scourge.”
The State Department said that this designation would help U.S. and other law enforcement partners “to investigate and prosecute terrorist suspects.”
Religious conflict between the mainly Christian south and Muslim north has raged in Nigeria for decades. Boko Haram, which has links to al-Qaeda, calls for the formation of a “pure Islamic state” governed by Sharia law. It has attacked Christian targets, government offices, and moderate Muslims repeatedly since its formation in 2001.
Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist organization that has targeted Christians and killed close to 3,000 people in the past few years in Nigeria, has not only rejected the government’s offer of amnesty, but said the government should be the one begging for a pardon.
“Surprisingly, the Nigerian government is talking about granting us amnesty. What wrong have we done? On the contrary, it is we that should grant you [a] pardon,” Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, said in Hausa language audio recordings, according to AFP News agency.
Boko Haram explained that the numerous bombings and mass shootings it carried out against churches and government buildings in the last few years are part of its mission to drive out Christians from Nigeria. The African country is divided by both geographical and religion lines, with most Christians concentrated in the South and Muslims in the North.
“The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state and its security apparatus as well as churches until we achieve our goal of establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state,” Boko Haram said in no uncertain terms in June 2012.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been looking for ways to try and stop the shadowy organization, whose numbers and stations of operation are difficult to track. Nigerian police have engaged in multiple shootouts and have stormed a number of Boko Haram hideouts, but the group remains at large and continues its operations.
BBC noted that earlier in April, Jonathan discussed the possibility of an amnesty for Boko Haram with high-level officials as a means to bring about peace and stop the killing, but so far there are no indications that the terrorist group is willing to accept such a deal.
The Christian Association of Nigeria called the amnesty proposition “a clarion call to all terrorism in Nigeria” and said that Christian leaders in the troubled African nation are opposed to such a deal.
“Mr. President should remember that the amnesty being advocated is for Muslim youths who are the Boko Haram members and who have killed, maimed our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and children and also bombed and burnt our churches without provocation,” said Simon Dolly, president of CAN’s young wing, according to Voice of America.
Dolly added that Christians in Nigeria have not fought back against Boko Haram with violence because CAN, and the Christian faith system is against such retaliation.
CAN’s southeastern secretary, Christian Nwanya, argued, however, that the only practical way to stop Boko Haram is increasing security.
“Beef up security. They do not need amnesty. They should apologize to Nigerians for killing us,” Nwanya said. “You can not forgive someone who kills you. It is not done anywhere.”
Christians in Nigeria need your continuous prayers!