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Praying for Muslims during Ramadan Day 9: Eastern Europe

(Voice of the Persecuted) Muslims in Eastern Europe, deep wounds and centuries-long conflicts

WHAT DOES ISLAM LOOK LIKE IN EASTERN EUROPE?

Eastern Europe includes both historic Muslim communities as well as recently arrived Muslim refugees. Islam first came in conquering waves. Mongol invaders in the 13th century had adopted Islam following their conquests. Next came the conquest of Muslim Tatars. Finally, the Ottomans occupied most of Eastern Europe from the 14th to the 17th centuries.

After the decisive defeat of the Ottoman Turks in Vienna in 1683, Islam entered a two-century retreat, with waves of converted Europeans leaving with the retreating Turks.

Remaining Muslim communities have survived in Kosovo (95%), Albania (55%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (51%), North Macedonia (33%), Montenegro (20%), Bulgaria (11%), Latvia (7.7%), Austria (7%), and Slovenia (3.8%). For the remainder of Eastern Europe – not counting Russia – the percentage of Muslims is mostly less than 1%.

The majority are Sunni, and are cultural, conservative, or even secular Muslims. Some 20% favor Sharia law and prefer to live in Muslim-majority communities.

Recently arrived Muslim refugees are generally not welcomed by Eastern Europeans. Initially they used Eastern Europe as the passage-way to Western Europe, but once Western Europe reached refugee saturation levels, European Union agencies asked Eastern European nations to accept national refugee quotas. Those requests were firmly rejected.

WHAT ARE MUSLIMS’ GREATEST STRUGGLES IN EASTERN EUROPE?

Muslims in Eastern Europe are either visible minorities or small Muslim-majority nations in a larger historical Christian continent. During the cold war era, Eastern European Muslims played no significant role in nationalistic or ideological movements.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the inter-ethnic tensions in the Balkan regions led to violent fragmentation around national-religious identities. Muslims were attacked by Serbs or Croats and they sometimes counter-attacked. Massacres followed, mostly of Muslims.

Islamists poured money, arms, and militant doctrine into this conflict. As a result, extremism grew among many Balkan Muslims. Though they gained significant territory in Kosovo, Muslims suffered the most.

The third Balkan war (1992-1995) involved horrific massacres, rape, destruction of sacred sites, creation of concentration camps, and vengeance attacks, leading to a major refugee crisis. Muslims fled everywhere within Europe, often to economically deprived sections of larger cities where other people from their ethnicity had already relocated.

WHAT IS GOD DOING AMONG MUSLIMS IN EASTERN EUROPE?

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for healing from past wounds and softened hearts to receive the Gospel.
  • Pray for Christ’s love to bring unity and peace to this divided region.
  • Pray for a new generation of Muslim youth who find hope and purpose in Jesus.

We continue to pray for:

  •  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.

“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.

Praying for Muslims during Ramadan Day 8: East Africa

(Voice of the Persecuted) Millions suffering in oppressive and broken nations.

WHAT IS EAST AFRICA LIKE?

Much of East Africa is a glorious safari tourist destination, including Kenya’s Masai Mara Park, Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Falls, and Tanzania’s Serengeti and Dar es Salaam.

Much of East Africa is a glorious safari tourist destination, including Kenya’s Masai Mara Park, Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Falls, and Tanzania’s Serengeti and Dar es Salaam. Other parts of East Africa are dangerous: Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and any region bordering these nations.

The climate ranges from refreshingly cool highlands to excessively hot and humid grasslands, scrub forest, and arid deserts. Highland farming is as famous for teas, coffees, trees, and crops, as the desert regions are infamous for drought, crop failures, and famine.

East Africa boasts a wide diversity of some 70 ethnicities among 300 million people. Only Somalia has a large majority people (85% Somali). The major cities are centers of 21st-century global development, especially in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Tanzania. The outlying regions remain traditional, rural, and agricultural or nomadic.

For millennia, Ethiopia has cherished its ancient history, Semitic culture, and autonomy. Coastal regions developed under Arabian and Indian influences centuries before the interior attracted Arab slave traders and their eventual rivals, the European colonists.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST STRUGGLES IN EAST AFRICA?

The region’s greatest struggle is bad governance, which exacerbates ethnic conflicts, unaffordable medical services, unemployment, and the tragic lack of food, shelter.

The region’s greatest struggle is bad governance, which exacerbates ethnic conflicts, unaffordable medical services, unemployment, and the tragic lack of food, shelter, and clothing for far too many. The inability to put food on the table – especially for their children – weighs heavily on parents.

Militant Muslims have recently destabilized large regions. Al-Shabab operates chiefly out of Somalia, and Sudanese troops out of Khartoum.

Somalia and Sudan are two of the most dysfunctional nations in Africa. Piracy off the Somalia coast is infamous, and Eritrea’s struggle with tyrants is so debilitating that it has become the poorest and most restricted nation in Africa. Aside from some remarkable urban growth, most of East Africa still struggles below the poverty line.

Over 750,000 Somalis are currently refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya alone, and there are 3 million more Somalians who have migrated to Kenya. There are 4.5 million Somalis in Ethiopia. Somalis hold great influence in the region.

WHAT IS ISLAM LIKE IN EAST AFRICA?

Percentages vary widely: Muslims make up 11% in Kenya, 14% in Uganda, 34% in Ethiopia, 35% in Tanzania, 97% in Sudan, and 99.8% in Somalia.

Percentages vary widely: Muslims make up 11% in Kenya, 14% in Uganda, 34% in Ethiopia, 35% in Tanzania, 97% in Sudan, and 99.8% in Somalia. Though its growth is not as fast as claimed by its adherents, Muslims are increasingly occupying key government positions. They also are deeply invested in transportation and shipping industries.

The moderate Shafi school of Sharia law dominates in East Africa and is strongly applied in Somalia. Sudan follows the stricter Maliki Sharia law.

There are minority groups of non-Sunnis in capitals and in Zanzibar, off the Tanzanian coast: the Ibadi, and the Ismaili, and Twelver Shias.

Three forms of Islam have co-existed well for centuries: classical Islam (following Shafi Sharia law), Sufism, and Swahili folk Islamic practices.

The conservative Qadiriyya Sufi brotherhood and the North-African Shadhiliyya Sufi brotherhood have been dominant. Both were instrumental in spreading Islam widely following the European colonial occupation.

The Somali al-Shabab and other jihadists are in violent conflict with all three traditional Muslim streams and especially with Christianity. Sufism has almost been wiped out in Somalia.

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN EAST AFRICA?

Christianity makes up 40% of greater East Africa, yet large buildings and high attendance camouflage a superficiality caused by foreign ‘health, wealth, and prosperity’ teaching on TV and in megachurches. The most urgent need is for Biblical discipleship of the younger generation.

Christianity is growing – even secretly in Somalia – but so are trends towards westernization and individualization advocated by American televangelists. Expatriate missionary status varies from acceptance in Kenya to restrictions in Tanzania, South Sudan, and Ethiopia to a total ban in Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea.

TV, radio, and internet evangelists are free to preach, and vibrant local churches evangelize in English as well as in trade and mother-tongue languages. Persecution of those coming to Christ out of Islam varies widely, ranging from violence in Somalia, to community rejection in Tanzania, to intense disapproval in Kenyan or Ethiopian cities.

Only the Sudanese and Somalian governments actively persecute converts. Several nations, seeking to promote tolerance and pluralism, forbid the volatile practice of religious census-taking.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for deliverance from the tight grip of violence, abuse, and rampant fear.
  • Pray for peace and stability in the region that allows more people to hear about Jesus.
  • Pray for sheiks and imams to follow Jesus and lead their communities to do the same.

We continue to pray for:

  •  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.

“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.

Praying for Muslims during Ramadan Day 7: West Africa

(Voice of the Persecuted) West Africa: proud, tribal protectors of the Muslim faith

WHAT IS WEST AFRICA LIKE?

West Africa is a collage of 16 nations the size of continental USA but with 40 million more people. It contains tropical coasts, low mountains, inland grassland plateaus, and part of the formidable Sahara Desert.

West Africa’s best feature is her people, not her washboard plateau geography. It is not a popular tourist destination. Most people live as farmers or partial farmers, while those seen as entrepreneurs are the government workers and traders and exporters of cocoa, cotton, and foods. Gold, minerals, and precious stones are rare.

Following several historic empires (Gana, Mali, Songhay, Ashanti, Benin), West Africa faced two waves of colonization: the Muslim colonization of the Sahel, and the 19th-century Anglo-French rivalry over all of West Africa. Between 1957 and 1976, sixteen colonies became independent nations, although their economies are still deeply dependent on regional and global treaties.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST STRUGGLES IN WEST AFRICA?

West Africans are noble and face profound struggles. As vibrant multi-ethnic nations, they grapple with the rapid influx of imported technology, the imposition of Western ‘human rights freedoms,’ and the growth of assertive Muslim, Christian, and occult movements.

Rapidly growing cities integrate thousands of migrants every day. They compete for limited educational opportunities, inadequate employment, and impoverished housing. The rising cost of medicine and the fear of renewed outbreaks of plagues, droughts, or malnutrition weigh on parents. The internet informs them that their continent is lagging behind other parts of the world in industrialization, professional services, and innovative research.

Multiparty democracy has yet to triumph over one-man tribal or military rule. National economies are routinely dominated by global powers such as China, the European Union, or Arab oil-states. West Africa is a dumping ground of cheap and second-hand products from stronger economies that supress local entrepreneurship and innovation and cause ongoing cycles of dependency on foreign aid.

WHAT IS ISLAM LIKE IN WEST AFRICA?

Apart from the small missionary Ahmadiyya sect and Shia Muslims in Northern Nigeria, West African Islam is Sunni. West African Islam’s uniqueness is that its fight against European colonialism caused it to flourish.

There are four main types of Islam in West Africa. First, there is a conservative tribal Islam widespread among peoples such as the Fulani, Tuareg, Hausa, Wolof, etc. In rural areas, many practice Folk Islam. This is led by itinerant marabout (holy men) and imams who are practitioners in the occult. Women especially seek help from the jinn spirit powers.

Third, Sufi mystic brotherhoods strongly influence politics. The Qadariyya Sufis from Baghdad spread to Mali, promoting conservative political Islam and mystic worship at saints’ tombs. Tijaniyyah Sufis from Morocco split from the Qadariyya in order to engage in jihad against French colonialism. Due to the success of Fulani jihadists, the Tijanis are now the largest Sufi movement in West Africa. In Senegal, the Mouride Sufis dominate.

In the last few decades, militant-jihad interpretations of Islam have returned to West Africa. Three jihadi groups dominate: Boko Haram in NE Nigeria, North Cameroon, the Lake Chad region, and SE Niger; The Jamaat Nusrat and al-Qaeda affiliates in Mali and Burkina Faso; and Islamic State in the Mali Sahara and in Burkina Faso.

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN WEST AFRICA?

Islam is dominant in the grassland regions bordering the Sahara, whereas Christianity dominates coastal regions. Cities have Muslim, Christian, and mixed quarters. Overall, the strength and growth of Islam and Christianity are similar. The kingdom of God in West Africa is among the most expressive in the world. Pentecostals are joining missions to Muslims and are emphasizing power encounters.

The number of overseas missionaries has declined but is still significant. The most effective promotion of the Gospel is through radio, internet, Christian schools, and compassion ministries, especially in offering refuge to believers from Muslim backgrounds.

Opposition varies from the coastal to the inland regions.

While most Muslims resist militant interpretations, they strongly denounce Christianity in the mosques and on radio. The strongest opposition comes from families and tribal communities. Where sharia law prevails, conversion leads to violence, criminal charges, or expulsions. Where militants dominate, martyrs are many. Yet, more Muslims are responding to Christ than ever before.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for demonstrations of God’s power to deliver people from gripping fear.
  • Pray for village chiefs, elders, and imams to turn to Christ and lead their people to do the same.
  • Pray for Christians in the south to be burdened to take the Gospel to Muslims in the north.

We continue to pray for:

  •  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.

“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.

Praying for Muslims during Ramadan Day 6: Central Asia

(Voice of the Persecuted) Pulled between Folk Islam and Islamist movements.

WHAT IS CENTRAL ASIA LIKE?

Central Asia is a vast region that includes the countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and much of Xinjiang province in western China. Most of the region was a part of the Soviet Union until 1991.

The vast geography of Central Asia includes treeless plains, pine forests, rock canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. Its climate varies from arid and hot to temperate, dry, and cold. The region is sparsely populated due to its uninhabitable forests, deserts, and high mountain ranges. The total population of Turkic peoples in Central Asia is about 60 million.

The Turkic peoples of Central Asia are overwhelmingly Muslim, and they are ethnically distinct from the Western peoples of Turkey. They are defined as anyone who speaks a Turkic language. There are six major ethnicities, most of whom have their own nation, namely, the Uzbek, Uyghur, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, and Karakalpak.

Their origins are from northeast Asia (Siberia) in the first millennium AD. Turkic peoples have a mix of ethnicities due to the many migrations caused by the rise and fall of countless empires.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST STRUGGLES IN CENTRAL ASIA?

One of the primary characteristics of the region is the intensifying struggle between the post-Soviet regimes and the Islamist movements. Local governments’ initial embrace of Islam after the breakup of the Soviet Union has largely changed due to oppressive policies that seek to stop Islamist movements. But much of the population is torn between the two and tired of the poverty, corruption, and failure to progress. The development of the recently discovered oil reserves in the region has yet to have a major impact.

In the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, the Muslim Uyghur people are being cruelly oppressed by a Chinese government trying to prevent the creation of an independent Eastern Turkestan nation. This persecution of the Uyghur people is systematic, ongoing, extensive, and horrific. And it goes largely unreported since China strictly prohibits journalists’ entry into the region.

One can summarize the primary struggles of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia as a lack of political freedom and very limited opportunity for economic development.

WHAT DOES ISLAM LOOK LIKE IN CENTRAL ASIA?

Muslims in Central Asia are still adjusting to the post-Soviet era. They are discovering what it means to be Muslims in countries increasingly controlled by autocratic, secular-leaning, Muslim rulers.

The allure of radical Islam can be strong for those who see no future in their country or region. Islamists are adept at making other Muslims feel guilty for not being good Muslims.

The older generation survived decades of atheist propaganda, but their children – born since 1991 – haven’t known such pressure. These generational differences produce huge pressures within families.

Orthodox Muslim belief is rare in Central Asia. Instead, the influence of traditional folk Muslim practices is widespread. As in many regions of the Muslim world, folk practices often become occult practices. Countless Muslims in Central Asia are in bondage to unspeakable forms of demonic oppression. Some of the prevalent traditional practices are so dark they cannot be mentioned here.

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN CENTRAL ASIA TODAY?

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was no known ministry to the Muslims of Central Asia. Since 1991, development and education organizations have entered the region and sought to bless the people.

There are now growing numbers of believers in Christ coming out of Islam. The relationship between these new believers and existing Christians – who are often ethnically Russian – is often difficult and complicated.

In some countries, the newly-birthed house church movements are healthy and growing stronger. In others, they are still very much in their early stages and are vulnerable.

Government officials in nearly every country are often as hard on Muslim background believers as they are on Islamists. In attempts to keep religious tensions under control, they close meeting places and arrest leaders.

Lives are being radically transformed. Former Muslims are joining in worship and prayer in many parts of the region. Lord, we are asking for more!
.

As lives are being radically changed for Christ in many parts of the region, Lord, we are asking for more!

Let’s plead together that God would accelerate His work in Central Asia and that His praise would ring out from every city, town, and village!

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for those plagued by alcohol, drugs, and broken homes to find healing in Jesus Christ
  • Pray for encounters with the Living Christ through dreams, visions, and the Injil (New Testament).
  • Pray for new and widespread movements to Jesus across the region

We continue to pray for:

  •  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.

“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.

Praying for Muslims during Ramadan Day 5: EASTERN SOUTH ASIA

 

(Voice of the Persecuted)

WHAT IS EASTERN SOUTH ASIA LIKE?

The Muslims living in Eastern South Asia, which surrounds the Bay of Bengal, number about 150 million in Bangladesh and another 150 million in Eastern India, Myanmar (Burma) (4.3% Muslim), and the Maldives (98.4% Muslim) combined.

Bangladesh has one of the densest populations in the world, and the Indian states of West Bengal (27% Muslim) and Bihar (17% Muslim) are the most densely populated states in India. Bengali-speaking peoples are the largest ethnic group in Eastern South Asia, and the majority of the 275 million are Muslim. The minority Muslim population of Myanmar, the Rohingya, are Bengalis who migrated to Myanmar from India during the British Raj from 1858-1947.

Millions in the region live in poverty. Much of the terrain is river flood plains nestled up against the Himalayas. Though most of the region is very flat and close to sea level, some parts are hilly and mountainous. Rich soil and plenty of rainfall makes the region a breadbasket. Many live as farmers, shopkeepers, garment makers, and traders.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST STRUGGLES IN EASTERN SOUTH ASIA?

The biggest struggles across the region are economic, as countries struggle to keep pace with rapid population growth. In Bangladesh, where 87% are Muslims, the extreme crowding in heavily populated agricultural regions has led to a massive rural exodus as people flock to the cities in search of work and survival. Childhood malnutrition is considered the worst of any country in the world.

In India, the rise in Hindu nationalism has put pressure on the Muslim minority. There are regular flare ups of Hindu mob violence against Muslims. Though there are millions of Indian Muslims, many feel increasingly marginalized and are falling behind economically.

The Muslims in Myanmar (Burma) face unrelenting pressure from the Buddhist majority, with more than a million living in refugee camps in Eastern Bangladesh. In the Maldives, thriving tourism has [benefited] thousands, yet poverty is still an issue.

WHAT DOES ISLAM LOOK LIKE IN EASTERN SOUTH ASIA?

Most Muslims in the region are Sunnis, but a large percentage of them express devotion to saints and Sufi leaders. There are countless Sufi brotherhoods. In Bangladesh, the primary Muslim sects are Sunni, with a total of 5.3% being non-Sunni Muslims, mostly Shia and Ahmadiyya. In India, Shia Muslims are 25-30% of the Muslim population.

One remarkable expression of Muslim devotion in Bangladesh is the annual Bishwa Ijtema (Global Congregation) that brings 5 million devotees together for three days to pray and listen to Muslim preachers. This massive gathering on the outskirts of Dhaka draws Muslims from across Bangladesh and 150 other countries. It is the one of the largest annual gatherings of Muslims in the world, second only to the Hajj (pilgrimage) in Saudi Arabia.

In both India and Bangladesh, Muslims typically live harmoniously with Hindus. There is a high level of inter-religious socializing among the elite, and Hindu-Muslim marriages are common. However, in both countries, there is growing alarm at the increasingly successful efforts of Wahhabi Islamists promoting political, factional, and violent Islamism (imported from Saudi Arabia), that is similar to the influential home-grown Deobandi Islamism of 20% of India’s Muslims.

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN EASTERN SOUTH ASIA?

God is raising up a number of indigenous missions in India that are ministering among Muslims. Because of the strong pro-Hindu national government in India, there is very little social cost for Muslims who choose to follow Christ. Government officials in India do not usually persecute converts from Muslim backgrounds.

Muslims are coming to Christ across northeast India in a variety of church-planting ministries. House churches are multiplying among Muslims in West Bengal, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh as well as the states surrounding Bangladesh in the northeast.

In Bangladesh, though the response to the Gospel in Dhaka appears quite limited, there are some large movements to Christ outside of the capital. Ever since a translation of the Bible into the Muslim-dialect Bengali was completed in 2000, there has been growing response to the Gospel. Some of these movements are remaining largely within their Muslim communities, whereas the believers in other movements more openly identify as Christians.

Roughly 300 million. That’s how many Muslims live in this relatively small region.

It’s one of the most densely populated places on Earth. The good news is that Jesus followers are multiplying in many parts of Eastern South Asia. The bad news is that the vast majority have still never heard that God loves them and came Himself to bring new life.

Bangladesh… Myanmar (Burma)… Eastern India… the island nation of Maldives… Not one village or city block is beyond God’s reach. The grip of hopelessness and fear is great. But Jesus’ power to set free is greater! Only He can do it. And so we pray.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for access to the Injil (New Testament) in their own language.
  • Pray for whole families and communities to hear the Gospel and turn to Jesus together.
  • Pray for multiplying movements of God among Bengali Muslims

We continue to pray for,

  •  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.

“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 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.

Praying for Muslims during Ramadan Day 4: Persian World

(Voice of the Persecuted)

PERSIAN WORLD: proud, ancient history, civilization, and culture

WHAT IS THE PERSIAN WORLD LIKE?

The Persian world consists of peoples who are ethnically, linguistically, and historically related to the Persian or Iranian people. It is a vast region in Asia, extending from Azerbaijan and Iran in the West through Afghanistan (where 80% speak Dari, a Persian dialect), Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the northeast. Iran is the heartland of the Persian world, where an estimated 65-79 percent are Persian. Significant numbers of Persians also live outside of the region in the West.

The Persians are an ancient civilization; the city of Susa was founded in 4,400 BC! Unlike most other peoples in the Middle East that were conquered by the Arabs, Persians were never Arabized. Persians are justly proud of their long and ancient history. They have retained their language and rich culture for thousands of years.

The region geographically is extremely varied with deserts in the south, vast agricultural plains and dramatic mountain ranges in the north and east. It is a region of spectacular natural beauty with moderate to very cold climates and often sparse populations (except Iran).

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST STRUGGLES IN THE PERSIAN WORLD?

Since Islamists took control of the 1979 secular revolution that overthrew the Shah, Iran has been under the control of radical Shia Muslims who govern the country and dominate the region with a peculiar brand of Islamic Messianic fundamentalism.

The nations surrounding Iran that have large blocks of Persian peoples are all struggling for their identity following the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.

Some of these countries like, Afghanistan, turn to Islam to find their identity, but other are seeking to forge new national security identities around culture and language such as in Tajikistan. Few of these countries are stable and none are thriving economically. Many in the Persian world live in challenging conditions and have limited political or religious freedom.

WHAT IS ISLAM LIKE IN THE PERSIAN WORLD?

The vast majority of Iranians are Shia Muslims (90-95%), but in the larger Persian world the Shia-Sunni mix varies, with some countries being almost entirely Sunni.

The flavor of Islam in each region varies, with Iran’s Shia fundamentalism being among the most militant and restrictive. The regime in control of Iran is a theocratic dictatorship, in which the religious elite try to control the political, social and, economic lives of their people.

In the former Soviet parts of the Persian world, peoples who were Muslim before the Soviet era again view themselves as Muslim, even though they are often completely non-practicing.

The two things that set the Persian world apart from other Muslim regions are the strong presence of Shia Muslims (in Iran and Azerbaijan) and, in the former Soviet states; the varied opinions that people have about what it means to be Muslim, in a societies where secular and Islamic values are in conflict.

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN THE PERSIAN WORLD?

God is at work in the Persian World! In Iran, though the small visible Christian minority is in decline, the number of Muslims turning to Christ is increasing rapidly. Many say that Persian people are more responsive to the Gospel today than any other ethnic group in the world.

However, in some countries in the region, there are almost no known believers nor any movements to Christ. In others there are slowly developing fledgling house church movements. Foreign workers often have a hard time gaining access, though increasing efforts in internet and satellite TV outreach are bearing fruit. The extent and intensity of persecution in the region varies. The areas where the church is growing the fastest experience extensive and even severe persecution (like in Iran).

Tragically, in other places, persecution is so strong that even establishing house churches looks humanly impossible. Every country in the region is on Open Doors’ list of the top 50 countries with serious persecution.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for comfort, provision, and healing for those traumatized, suffering, and isolated.
  • Pray for curiosity to know more about the Christian faith they see around them.
  • Pray for Muslims to be invited into the homes and lives of Jesus followers.

  • For Anita, a Christian convert recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran.
  • Pray for Christians seeking asylum in Turkey. Many fear they will be denied and sent back to the countries they fled because of their faith.
  • Pray for Christian converts from Iran now living in Turkey. Often Iranians are looked down upon by the Turkish people. Pray for the Iranian converts who escaped the clutches of the Iranian regime and now seeking freedom in Turkey. Pray for their needs to be met and Turkish officials hearts will soften towards them so their cases will be handled justly.
  • We will continue to pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice, both held captive by the Boko Haram.
  • For Pastor Wang Yi from China, who has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for sharing boldly the love of God.

“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 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.

Praying for Muslims to come to Christ during Ramadan – DAY 3

Turkish world – Prayercast

(Voice of the Persecuted) TURKISH WORLD United in their ethnic and Muslim heritage

WHAT IS THE TURKISH WORLD LIKE?

Turkey is at the heart of the Turkish world. Turks make up more than 65% (54 million) of the population of Turkey, and another three Turkic ethnic groups – Crimean Tatars, Azerbaijani, and Yuruk – account for another 10%.

Today, there are people speaking various Turkic languages in more than twenty surrounding countries. Most of the members of these Turkish communities in Europe, West Asia, and the Arab World are descendants of people who emigrated from Andalusian Turkey during more than 600 years of Ottoman rule (1300-1922).

Sizeable communities of Turkish people live in Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Georgia, to the north, is home to four small Turkish people groups. Two distinct groups of Tatars, together numbering 20 million Muslims, are Russia’s second largest ethnicity and live all across the country. Additional Muslim Turkish groups speaking 15 different Turkic languages are scattered across Russia. To the east, about 26 million Azeri Turks live in Iran and Azerbaijan. To the south, roughly 7 million Turks live in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

These Turkish peoples live in a wide variety of economic, social, and geographic conditions. Outside of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they all live as minorities. Millions of Turks also live in diaspora, forming the largest ethnic minority group in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST STRUGGLES IN THE TURKISH WORLD?

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 and Yugoslavia in 1992, hundreds of Turks moved to Turkey, fleeing persecution and harassment from Europeans resentful of hundreds of years of Ottoman rule.

Some Turkish areas are experiencing economic prosperity and growth. Yet by far the majority of Turks are poor and struggling to provide a viable future for their children.

In Europe and Russia, Turks are living as often tiny minorities in predominantly secular, Christian countries. Their common identity as Muslims helps preserve their sense of heritage and helps hold their communities together in the face of the overwhelming majority of non-Muslims around them. In Southern Europe, an unusually high percentage of Turkish-heritage people say they have no religion.

WHAT IS ISLAM LIKE IN THE TURKISH WORLD?

When President Ataturk abolished the Ottoman Empire and declared Turkey a modern secular republic in 1923, he reflected an ongoing trend toward secularism across the Turkish world. Nearly a hundred years later, Turkish President Erdoğan has been attempting to create a revival in Islamic identity.

Millions of Turks are becoming increasingly devout. Though conservative Islam is making a comeback in Turkey, analysts believe that more than 75% of the people of Turkey are still secular.

Secular Muslims also dominate many of the Turkish communities in Europe, Asia, and the Arab World. For these Muslims, being Turkish is often more about culture and ethnic identity than about religion. The majority of Turkish Muslims are Sunni, though there are sizeable groups of Shia Muslims. Despite the influence of secularism, many Turkic Muslims throughout the region practice forms of folk Islam.

WHAT IS GOD DOING IN THE TURKISH WORLD?

In the waning years of the Ottoman Empire (1914-22), horrific genocides of Syriacs, Assyrians, Greeks, Armenians, and Chaldeans by Turks and Kurds slaughtered half of the Christians. The 1923 population exchange with Greece expelled 1.2 million more. The Christian population of 4.4 million (25%) in 1912 plummeted to 700,000 in 1924, to 200,000-300,000 (0.2%) today. Remnants of five Orthodox denominations remain.

Mission groups have been active in Turkey since the 1970s. The fruit of this ministry is an Evangelical church of about 6,000. Though the Bible and a growing amount of Christian literature is available in Turkey and online, resources are scarce among Turkic peoples in the surrounding nations. Only the New Testament has been completed in the primary Tatar languages in Russia, for example.

Since Muslim Turks in western and eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East are often almost forgotten minorities, little is being done to reach out to them, though there are small, but long-standing ministries among them in Europe.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray for hearts to be opened and softened to hear and receive the Good News.
  • Pray for Jesus to reveal Himself through visions, dreams, and His Word.
  • Pray for new and widespread movements to Christ that bring spiritual revival to the entire region.

  • We will continue to pray for 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.
  • Pray for Christians seeking asylum in Turkey. Many fear they will be denied and sent back to the countries they fled because of their faith.
  • Pray for Christian converts from Iran now living in Turkey. Often Iranians are looked down upon by the Turkish people. Pray for the Iranian converts who escaped the clutches of the Iranian regime and now seeking freedom in Turkey. Pray Turkish officials hearts will soften towards them and their cases will be handled justly.

    As Blaine Scogin, the Founder of Persecution Watch and Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted, 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.

    Dear brothers and sisters, we challenge you to join us on the conference call to pray 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 Team

    Call will be hosted nightly during Ramadan beginning April 24, 2020 

    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.

    Praying for Muslims to come to Christ during Ramadan – DAY 2

    (Voice of the Persecuted) As Blaine Scogin, the Founder of Persecution Watch and Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted, 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.

    DAY 2

    Syria. Iraq. Lebanon. Jordan. Israel. Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Egypt. These are the lands of much of the Bible. Jesus Christ himself walked here (and will return here again one day!).
    The Middle East has long been marked by
    • Political strife
    • Economic struggle
    • Booming population
    Today, the region has been ravaged by wars in Iraq, Syria, and Sudan. Millions of displaced people have either fled from or to every part of the Middle East.
    .
    This is the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Islamic State. But while some have been drawn to fundamentalist movements, many, MANY more have been disillusioned by what they have seen done in the name of Islam.
    .
    God is doing something new!
    .
    Out of the death and destruction in Iraq – new life!
    Out of the devastation and chaos in Syria – new life!
    Out of the upheaval and persecution in Egypt – new life!
    Praise God!
    .
    And yet most of the region’s 188 million people still don’t know that Jesus Christ has paid their ransom so they can be free!
    And so we pray.
    .

    PRAYER POINTS

    • Pray for God’s love, peace, and mercy to liberate this region from turmoil, oppression, and fear.
    • Pray for those questioning Islam to be drawn to the life and teachings of Jesus.
    • Pray for miraculous numbers of families and communities to turn to Jesus.

    • We will continue to pray for 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.

    Dear brothers and sisters, we challenge you to join us on the conference call to pray 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 Team

    Call will be hosted nightly during Ramadan beginning April 24, 2020 

    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.

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