IDOP 2006: Persecution widespread and Intensifying
Christian communities in the world today are facing genocide (Iraq, Papua), mass imprisonment with extreme violence (Eritrea, North Korea), escalating violent persecution (India, Sri Lanka) and mounting government repression (Iran, Belarus). Many Christians live perpetually at risk from repressive authoritarian forces or
Islamic, Hindu or Buddhist pogroms. Persecution of Christians is widespread and intense as a quick tour through some of this year's news headlines will demonstrate. These actual 2006 headlines from the sources indicated and found on the internet are of course only the smallest tip of the iceberg.
Cuba Jails Evangelical Church Leader (Compass Direct [CD] 3 Mar). Broken-hearted missionaries leave Venezuela (CNN 13 Feb).
Algeria bans Muslims from learning about Christianity (Arabic News 21 Mar) Algeria: severe new penalties for 'proselytising' (WEA RLC 24 Mar). Worshippers attacked in Egyptian Coptic churches (The Ind. 15 Apr). Egypt Jails Christian Convert from Islam (CD 18 Oct). Sudanese Church Damaged by Arson Attacks (CD 3 May). Anglican Bishop in Nigeria Survives Fourth Attack [Kaduna] (CD 20 April). 15 dead in Nigeria as protesters attack Christians [Katsina] (CTV 18 Feb). Eritrean Religious prisoner count tops 1900 (CD 8 Sep). Two Eritrean Christians Tortured to Death (CD 18 Oct). Eritrean Police Arrest 150 More Christians (CD 30 Oct). Thousands in Somalia rally for holy war (CNN 14 Aug). Muslims Attack Christians in Henno, Ethiopia (ICC 19 Oct).
Middle East & Persia
Christian neighborhood of Baghdad bombed (CNN 4 Oct). 'In 20 years, there will be no more Christians in Iraq' (Guardian 6 Oct). Decapitated Syrian-Orthodox priest laid to rest in Mosul, Iraq (AINA 12 Oct). Iraq: Christians live in fear of death squads (UN IRIN 19 Oct). Two West Bank churches torched (Aljazeera 16 Sep). Saudi Police Arrest Four East African Christians (CD 16 Jun). Christian arrested and imprisoned for his Faith in the North of Iran (voxdei 25 Jul). Iran's intelligence agents arrest daughter of murdered priest (Iran Focus 3 Oct). Catholic priest shot dead in church in Turkey (Reuters 5 Feb). Catholic priest knifed in Turkey (BBC 3 Jul). Converts in Turkey Charged under Speech Law (CD 1 Nov).
Belarus KGB pressures Christian churches and communities (Axis 20 Mar). Radical Belarus: 19th Day of Hunger Strike - Protestants' Health Declines (C97 24 Oct). [New Life's hunger strike has been temporarily suspended while court action progresses.] Islam Takes Root in the Balkans (World Press 3 May). Kosovo church demolished (B92, 12 May).
Kazakhstan - Unregistered Protestants face fines for worship (Forum18 News 8 Sep). Kyrgyzstan - Intolerance against Christians highlighted by murder (F18 17 Feb). Turkmenistan - Police beat Baptist with Bible and threaten to hang her (F18 29 Jul) Uzbekistan - Protestants face guns, beatings, fines and deportation (F18 6 Sep).
Afghan Clerics Demand Convert Be Killed (AP 23 Mar). Pakistani Woman Raped for Leaving Islam (CD 23 Jun). Pakistan: Fifth church attacked within two months (AsiaNews 4 Apr). Christian missionaries detained in Jammu & Kashmir (ICNS 14 Feb) Attacks against Christians Rise in Karnataka, India (CD 11 Sep). Family in India Driven from Village for Embracing Christ (CD 27 May). Sri Lanka: Pastor beaten up (NCEASL 9 Feb). Christian churches come under attack in Sri Lanka (Tamilnet 17 May). Church Burned Down in Bangladesh (CD 10 Apr).
Itinerant House Church Pastor Murdered in Laos (CD 6 Jan). Another Christian dies in a Vietnamese prison (ICC 11 May). North Korea - Religious freedom non-existent (F18 29 Mar). Disabled Anhui House Church Pastor Sentenced to Two Years for Printing Christian Literature (CAA 21 Oct). Chinese Authorities Demolish Church, Beat Protesters (CD 4 Aug). A Church Leader [Zhang Rongliang] in China Draws 7 Years (NYT 10 Jul). 30 House Church Leaders and Christians Arrested in Sichuan Province (CAA 30 Jun).
South East Asia
Sulawesi [Indonesia] Christian priest killed (BBC 17 Oct). Mob Forces Church to Close in West Java, Indonesia (CD 28 Mar). Papua [Indonesia] asylum seekers 'fleeing persecution' (ABC 31 Jan) Malaysia: Once Muslim, Now Christian and Caught in the Courts (NYT 24 Aug).
Immigrants & Refugees
Mother killed after teen rejects Islam (The Australian 12 Oct). Catholic convert, held in NZ jail, fights return to Iran (NZ Cath. 24 Oct).
Today, nearly sixty years after the creation of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, discrimination against and persecution of Christians is only increasing. We simply cannot put our faith in human institutions. Mankind's problem is not human will - that needs only to be directed - but human nature which needs to be supernaturally transformed. That is why the Church at prayer is far more powerful and effective than any human institution. On Sunday 12 November, the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP), we unite for extraordinary prayer on behalf of the suffering Church. Lord, revive your Church to love and pray for each other and for the nations, for the kingdom and the glory of God. Amen.
For resources to help you pray for God's persecuted Church see the WEA IDOP website http://www.idop.org.
Previous RLPs may be viewed at http://www.evangelicalalliance.org.au/rlc/ If you downloaded this message from a website or it was forwarded to you, you may receive future editions by sending an empty e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray specifically and regularly for religious liberty issues, and in particular to uphold the Church where it is suffering persecution.
RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC. Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.