Wednesday, May 30, 2012

RLPB 161. May Update; Incl. Mali, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, UK, Zanzibar

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 161 | Wed 30 May 2012
By Elizabeth Kendal

MAY 2012 UPDATE -- During May we prayed concerning . . . 

* AFRICA (RLPB 157), where Christians are at risk from Islamic terrorism from one side of the continent to the other.

UPDATE: Al-Qaeda-linked rebel forces (which includes elements of Nigeria's Boko Haram) that are controlling northern Mali have seized a key underground weapons and ammunition depot of the Malian Army in Gao. A regional security source confirmed the seizure, saying the vast cache of weapons will greatly boost al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb's (AQIM's) striking power, adding that the group 'is today more armed than the combined armies of Mali and Burkina Faso'.  See RLPB 157 for critical prayer points, particularly that supply-lines will be cut off.
For an update on Mali see:
"Islamist's weapons siezure will greatly boost AQIM's striking power "
Religious Liberty Monitoring 6 June 2012

* INDIA (RLPB 158), where militant Hindu nationalism, which is advancing unchallenged and with impunity, is bringing great suffering to the body of Christ.

* ACEH, INDONESIA (RLPB 159), where a new Islamist governor is acquiescing to Islamic hard-line fundamentalists and escalating repression against the church.

* SYRIA & LEBANON (RLPB 160), where sectarian violence is escalating and spreading, leaving large Christian minorities in great need of divine refuge and deliverance.

'The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.' (Psalm 18:2,3 ESV)

MAY 2012 ROUND-UP -- also this month . . .

* EGYPT: ISLAMISTS BLAME CHRISTIANS
Over 23-24 May, Egyptians voted to elect a president from amongst 13 candidates. There was a low turnout of only 46 percent. The two front-runners will go head-to-head in a run-off over 16-17 June. They are the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi who polled 25.3 percent, and Ahmed Shafiq who polled 24.9 percent. Shafiq, a former air force commander, was former president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister. For many, the run-off presents an unthinkable dilemma: to risk the feared Islamists or to return to the reviled regime? This choice leaves many Egyptians very angry and deeply conflicted. The Islamists are blaming the unexpected rise of Ahmed Shafiq on the 'unfortunate' and 'sectarian' vote of Christians who, they falsely claim, were following directions from Coptic Church leaders. In reality, the Copts were totally free to vote according to conscience and Shafiq -- who campaigned on a platform of stability and security -- won most of his votes in the Delta provinces where Copts number only about 5 percent. As Egyptian media fuel the rumours, the Copts are finding themselves under fire from both the Islamists and the young 'revolutionaries'. On Monday 28 May rioting Egyptian youths ransacked and set fire to Shafiq's campaign headquarters in Cairo. Similar protests erupted in other cities. The fear now is that the run-off will accelerate the fracturing of Egyptian society and that the Christians will be slandered as spoilers of the revolution so that all anger might be deflected on to them. Pray for Egypt's threatened Christians.

* INDONESIA: THE MYTH OF RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE
On Thursday 17 May, some 100 members of the Philadelphia Batak Christian Protestant Church in Bekasi, a suburb of Jakarta, in West Java, met for prayer and worship, surrounded -- as they are every week -- by a large angry Muslim mob. In direct violation of a Supreme Court ruling, local authorities refuse to let the church construct a building. Consequently the believers are forced to meet in the open air where they are vulnerable to weekly abuse and violence from members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). As soon as Pastor Palti Panjaitan began speaking, the 600-strong Islamist mob began pelting the believers with stones, frogs and plastic bags filled with urine, forcing the believers to disperse. The police on guard did nothing to intervene and nobody has been arrested. Three days later (Sunday 20 May) the Islamists repeated the abuse, throwing mud, rotten eggs and cups of drainage water at the believers, forcing them to disperse after only five minutes.  Pray for the Church in Indonesia.

* KUWAIT: CHURCHES EVICTED AS ISLAMISTS CONSOLIDATE
On 2 February Kuwaitis went to the polls to elect a new parliament. All four female MPs lost their seats and hard-line Islamists (including Salafis and members of the Muslim Brotherhood and conservative Popular Action Bloc) secured 34 of the 50 seats. As reported in RLPB 151 (March 2012) the new parliament is drafting a law that will ban the construction of new churches. On Thursday 3 May, the parliament ruled to amend the penal code to impose the death penalty on any Muslim who insults God, Mohammad and his relatives or the Qur'an. (Such blasphemy is essentially akin to apostasy). If the accused repents, the sentence is reduced to five years in prison plus a fine. Non-Muslims found guilty of insulting Islam will be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Two house-churches affiliated with the National Evangelical Church in Kuwait recently found they were unable to renew their leases. Whilst both have found temporary accommodation, they fear it will be impossible to find permanent meeting places as pressure is applied to landlords not to lease to church groups. Expatriate Christians are beginning to fear for their safety. Kuwaiti converts will doubtless find their already tenuous security diminishing too. Pray for Christians in Kuwait.

* UK: CHRISTIANS TO CHOOSE -- CONSCIENCE OR JOB
After hearing Christian counsellor Lesley Pilkington (61) speak at a Christian conference on sexuality, Patrick Strudwick approached her for counselling. He claimed to be 'a believer' who was unhappy about his homosexuality and interested in the 'reparative therapy' involving counselling and prayer that she had spoken about. After two sessions Mrs Pilkington discovered that Strudwick was actually a fake client: a homosexual activist-journalist working undercover in a 'sting'. After Strudwick's 'story' hit the mass media, Mrs Pilkington was charged with professional malpractice. The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) has now informed Mrs Pilkington she will lose her senior accredited status as a counsellor. Mrs Pilkington told the Telegraph, 'There is a wider agenda that diversity and equality, which is supposed to be what our society upholds, is upheld for everyone except for those who have traditional Judeo-Christian values. I think that is very disturbing.' As noted by the CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Minichiello Williams: 'Lesley has been penalised because she was targeted as a Christian and because she believes that people are free to choose to change their behaviour if they wish.'  

In the UK, as in the USA, Christians unable to affirm homosexual lifestyle are increasingly being forced to choose between their conscience and their jobs. If this situation does not change, then submission to a totalitarian state ideology will ultimately be a requirement that will force many Christians out of many roles and professions. Pray for an awakening, and that Western Christians will stand firm in faith, trusting the Lord in all things. 'If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.' (Isaiah 7:9b ESV)

* ZANZIBAR, TANZANIA: CHURCHES TORCHED AS MUSLIM SEPARATISTS RIOT
Jumuiya ya Uamsho na Mihadhara ya Kiislamu (Swahili for the Association for Islamic Mobilisation and Propagation) is a radical separatist group in Zanzibar.  Muslims belonging to Uamsho rioted in Zanzibar across the weekend of 26-27 May as they called for the release of Mussa Juma, an Uamsho leader. Clashes with police erupted in the historic commercial and tourism centre of Stone Town and two churches were torched. Rev Ambrose Mkenda of St Michael's Roman Catholic Church said rioters invaded the church, poured petrol on the structures and set the place alight, stoking the fire with burning tyres. The church was razed. Bishop Dickson Maganga of the Tanzania Assemblies of God church in Kariakoo said that rioters broke into the church and burnt plastic chairs before setting fire to his car which was 'reduced to a shell'. The police and fire brigade put out the fire before it spread. Senior members of Uamsho were arrested, as were scores of rioters. Tanzania's government has pledged to have a new constitution in place by 2014. Uamsho is demanding a referendum on Zanzibar's secession from Tanzania and this is expected to be a major issue in the constitutional debate. Tensions are high.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

RLPB 160. Syria conflict spills into Lebanon

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 160 | Wed 23 May 2012

SYRIA CONFLICT SPILLS INTO LEBANON
By Elizabeth Kendal

The conflict in Syria is political, sectarian and increasingly jihadist; local, regional and increasingly international. The US - Saudi - Gulf Arab axis is determined to deal Iran a heavy blow and counter its ascendancy by removing Syria from the strategic 'Shi'ite Crescent' through which Iran is connected to Hezballah on Israel's northern border. Further to this, al-Qaeda elements are infiltrating Syria, keen to establish bases for jihadists' operations that will replace those bases lost in Iraq. Despite Lebanon's official policy of disassociation, geography made it almost inevitable that the conflict would eventually spill over the border.

On 7 May Syria's envoy to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, sent a letter to the UN Security Council listing a dozen incidents since mid-March of the smuggling or attempted smuggling of weapons from Lebanon to Syria. The letter also accused al-Qaeda, Syria's Muslim Brotherhood and Lebanon's Sunni Future Movement of supporting opposition and terrorist fighters. A 21 May report from Stratfor Global Intelligence essentially supports these claims, noting that a struggle is under way in northern Lebanon, a Sunni stronghold. The US - Saudi - Gulf Arab axis is funnelling money and weaponry through Lebanon to the Syrian rebellion -- primarily through Tripoli via Akkar to Homs -- while Syrian forces, together with their allies in the Lebanese military and security agencies, are determined to disrupt those supply-lines. 

On 12 May plain-clothed officers from the General Security Directorate arrested a popular Sunni Islamist and anti-Assad activist, Shadi Mawlawi (27), in Lebanon's northern port city of Tripoli. He was charged with supporting regional al-Qaeda forces. Riots ensued, attracting an influx of Salafis [Sunni hardliners]. According to Lebanon's Daily Star, 'Salafists hurried to open the Bab Tabbaneh-Jabal Mohsen [Sunni vs Alawite] front.'  Armed groups from the two neighbourhoods exchanged rocket-propelled grenade, mortar and sniper fire until a tenuous truce was brokered. Stratfor reports that five Salaftist groups have now moved into Tripoli and are calling for Sunnis in the Lebanese army to defect. Then on 20 May Sunni cleric Ahmed Abdul-Wahid and his companion Sheikh Mohammad Hussein al-Mereb were killed at an army checkpoint in Akkar district while en route to a rally organised by the Sunni Future Movement. Lebanese soldiers fired on them, reportedly for failing to stop. Local Sunni clerics have denounced the 'assassination' and called for the creation of a 'Free Lebanese Army'. Gun battles erupted at the funeral on Monday 21 May, spreading even into Beirut. Subsequently, reports that 11 Lebanese Shi'ites on pilgrimage in Aleppo, Syria, had been kidnapped by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) triggered Shi'ite rioting in southern Beirut.

According to Lebanese Druze leader, Walid Jumblatt, the minorities are essentially being ground between two stones: Sunni and Shi'ite. His solution: ally with the winner, which he believes will be the Sunnis in Syria and Shi'ites in Lebanon. The Middle East's Christians, like other minorities, have long sought security through alliances with hegemonic powers. In the end though these powers either prove to be insufficient or fail to be true allies. Not only are they limited and mortal, they are generally self-interested pragmatists -- often liars. They will protect Christians as long as it is convenient -- often exploiting them in the process -- but will betray and sacrifice them as soon as it is not. In reality the Christians of the Middle East have only one protector. His name is Yahweh Sabaoth: the Lord of hosts (literally, the Commander of heaven's angelic armies). In truth, a better ally could not be found! But for Christians to receive his grace, they must seek it in faith. In the face of massive violence and destabilisation, such faith is more radical than natural. So we must pray.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

  • draw Christians in Syria and Lebanon to him, so they will look to him, finding comfort and refuge as well as strength for endurance as the security situation deteriorates.  ' . . . in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.' (Psalm 57:1b ESV.)
  • for the sake of his Church, guide Christian religious and civic leaders in Syria and Lebanon with wisdom, discernment, moral conviction and courage, that they might not be influenced by misplaced fear and will do what is right regardless of circumstances.
  • redeem these dark days by exposing and bringing down all that is false so that Christ alone will be exalted; that 'the earth might be filled with the knowledge and glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea' (Habakkuk 2:14 ESV).

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SYRIA CONFLICT SPILLS INTO LEBANON


In the Sunni Muslim stronghold of northern Lebanon a struggle is raging. The US - Saudi - Gulf Arab axis is funnelling money and weaponry through Lebanon to the Syrian rebellion, while Syrian forces, together with their allies in the Lebanese military and security agencies, are determined to disrupt those supply-lines. Incidents have escalated in recent weeks and include killings, arrests, riots and gun battles, mostly in northern Lebanon but also in Beirut which on Monday 21 May experienced its worst violence since May 2008. Security is deteriorating, tensions are high and risk is extreme. The region's minorities are described as being ground between two stones: the Sunnis and the Shi'ites. These besieged Christians need our prayers that they will endure and that God will be their refuge and strength.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

RLPB 159. ACEH, Indonesia: new governor advances Islamisation

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 159 | Wed 16 May 2012

ACEH, INDONESIA: NEW GOVERNOR ADVANCES ISLAMISATION

By Elizabeth Kendal

Acehnese went to the polls on 9 April to elect a new governor. The incumbent, Irwandi Yusuf, running as an independent, had been favoured to win. However, in the end the people chose to put their loyalty behind the Aceh Party's candidate Zaini Abdullah (72). Founded in 2008, the Aceh Party (Partai Aceh, PA) has dominated the parliament since 2009. It is the political party of the now defunct separatist guerrilla Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM). Both Irwandi and Zaini have their origins in GAM. But in 2006, after GAM put Irwandi forward as its candidate for governor, GAM strongman Malik Mahmud overruled and put his own man forward, splitting the movement and forcing Irwandi to run (and win) as an independent. The political rivalry continues. All through 2011, the PA tried but failed to have Irwandi banned from the contest. Furthermore, the increasingly autocratic and militant PA has been blamed for the deadly political violence that has struck Irwandi's team and supporters. Moreover, the PA played the populist 'religion card', vowing to advance a more 'pure' form of Quranic Sharia (Islamic law).

On 17 April governor-elect Zaini Abdullah pledged to 'strengthen peace across Aceh' and 'eradicate corruption'. Claiming that 'moderate Islam' is what is 'in line with the Koran and Prophet Muhammad's hadiths' (i.e. is fundamentalist!), he pledged to raise awareness of right and wrong by means of Islamic education, so that Islam in Aceh 'can return to where it was during the Sultan Iskandar Muda era'. (Iskandar Muda was a cruel 17th Century Islamic autocrat who shed much blood in making Aceh strong, expansive and Islamic.)   

Aceh is around 98 percent Muslim and one percent Christian (mostly Protestant). At the southern-most tip of Aceh, Singkil district has the highest proportion of Christians of any district or city in Aceh, with Christians making up about one-sixth of the 120,000 population. Despite this, the administration has ruled that Singkil is only permitted to have one church and four 'undung-undungs' (small prayer rooms without exterior crosses).

On 30 April hundreds of Islamic hard-liners from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Aceh Singkil Muslim Forum held a rally in Singkil demanding the undung-undungs be closed. The administration subsequently shut down 17 Christian places of worship in four sub-districts of Singkil on the grounds that they were built without permits.

A spokesman for the group 'Pro-Democracy People', Agusta Mukhtar, denounced the administration for acquiescing to hard-liners and failing to promote religious tolerance. 'The religious peace here has been shattered,' he said, 'by this anarchistic action that seeks religious domination for an inflexible faith. This is a dark time in the history of religious freedom and tolerance in Aceh.' Everything indicates life is about to get even more difficult for Aceh's minority Christian community.
(source: Jakarta Globe)

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

* fill Acehnese Christians with full assurance of his presence. May the find their security, wisdom and strength in HIM in these darkening days.

* embolden Aceh's many secular, moderate and folk Muslims, awakening them to the fact that Quranic Islam brings cruel repression and culture change (Arabisation), not the utopia the Islamists promise.

* work all things for good, so that repression will be replaced with beauty and liberty; may Aceh know revival, for ' . . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom' (2 Corinthians 3:17 ESV).

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NEW GOVERNOR IN ACEH, INDONESIA, ADVANCES ISLAMISATION

Aceh, on the north-west tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is around 98 percent Muslim and one percent Christian (mostly Protestant). Acehnese went to the polls on 9 April to elect a new governor. The winner, Zaini Abdullah (72) of the dominant and increasingly autocratic and militant Aceh Party, ran on a platform that included a vow to advance a more 'pure' form of Quranic Sharia (Islamic law). On 30 April hundreds of Islamists protested in Aceh's southern-most district of Singkil, which has the highest proportion of Christians of any district in Aceh. The Islamists demanded the closure of Singkil's supposedly 'illegal' churches and prayer houses. The administration quickly acquiesced and 17 places of Christian worship across Singkil have since been closed. Please pray for Aceh's minority Christian community.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

RLPB 158. India: Hindu nationalism fuels violence & injustice

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 158 | Wed 09 May 2012

INDIA: HINDU NATIONALISM FUELS VIOLENCE & INJUSTICE

By Elizabeth Kendal

Hindu nationalism -- the idea that India should be a Hindu State -- is the political construct of India's high caste Hindu powerbrokers who pursue political power for the purpose of perpetuating their own power and privilege.

Hindu nationalism works to dragnet the votes of India's Hindu majority (74 percent), primarily through promoting Hindu supremacy and to effect religious conversions for political gain through fear-mongering amongst India's indigenous tribal peoples who are traditionally non-Hindu. The Hindu nationalists tell the indigenous tribals that their nation is under threat from seditious elements (Muslims and Christians) who they say are in the pay of foreign enemies like Pakistan and the CIA. The only way to protect India from separatism and colonialism is for the tribals to join the Hindu mainstream and fight politically and physically. This Hindutva propaganda goes largely unchallenged and is responsible for the dramatic escalation in dangerous communal violence right across India, a situation that is further fuelled by the impunity with which attackers are rewarded.

On 12 April Hindu militants went to the home of Pastor Ratnababu in Kakinada, East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh. They seized Pastor Ratnababu's son, Madhu, whose mouth they stuffed with cloth before tying his hands and legs, sprinkling chilli power in his eyes and stabbing him repeatedly. Pastor Ratnababu and his wife were also savagely beaten. The militants had come with a gas cylinder intending to set fire to the house when neighbours, hearing the commotion, came to the family's aid and forced the attackers to flee -- praise God! Despite the militants being identified by name, the police filed the complaint as being against 'unknown persons', thereby guaranteeing their impunity. Pastor Ratnababum, who has served the Christu Asinadu Prarthana Mandir church for 15 years, has received numerous death threats and survived three attempts to burn his church. The Evangelical Fellowship of India reports that the 500-strong congregation is traumatised.

Not only is basic law ignored but one very bad law is continually exploited. Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code criminalises 'deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs'. This law, which is essentially an anti-blasphemy or anti-defamation law, is constantly exploited to silence religious dialogue and persecute religious believers,  supposedly in the name of communal harmony, but usually for religious or political gain. Truth is not a defence. Suresh Bhat, a member of the People's Union for Civil Liberties in Mangalore, has authored several books on communalism. Speaking by phone to Tehelka in late April, he accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu nationalist political party) of running a nationwide campaign to file cases against Christian workers. According to Bhat the police department in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh has issued a circular directing police to keep an eye on Christian missionaries.

On Thursday morning 10 April Pastor Victor Babu (45) was driving 23 children in a bus from Kundanhalli village to the Hebron Pentecostal Church in Marathahalli, an eastern suburb of Bangalore in BJP-ruled Karnataka. All but a couple of the children were from church families and all 23 had enrolled to attend the church's Vacation Bible School. However, the bus was stopped en route by a group of villagers led by local BJP leader Rajshekhar Reddy, who accused Babu of 'forcible conversion of children' and had him arrested. Babu was subsequently charged under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code for 'outraging religious feelings', and remanded to judicial custody. Whilst Reddy claimed to have acted because he 'could not bear to watch innocent children being brain washed', he was in reality inciting religious tensions purely for political and personal gain: to make himself politically powerful so he can perpetuate his own caste privilege.

For more examples of persecution in India, see Compass Direct News / India

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

* awaken India's long-downtrodden tribals and Scheduled Castes to the truth that radical transformation, justice and equity are found in the gospel of Jesus Christ and not in perpetuating the obscenely racist Hindu caste system.

* bless all courageous gospel witness with the Holy Spirit's effectual power so that multitudes might be liberated from darkness and come to know the Saviour.

* motivate the federal government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to confront the Hindu nationalist propaganda that is fuelling dangerous communalism and anti-Christian violence across India.

* watch over and guard his Church, preserving his precious faithful ones and revealing his power and glory to all those watching. May the Lord 'bring forth justice to the nations' and 'open the eyes that are blind'. (Isaiah 42:1d and 7a)

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HINDU NATIONALISM FUELS VIOLENCE & INJUSTICE IN INDIA

Hindu nationalism -- the idea that India should be a Hindu State -- is the political construct of India's high caste Hindu powerbrokers who pursue political power for the purpose of perpetuating their own power and privilege. Hindu propaganda promotes Hindu supremacy and demonises Christianity as a threat to national security. Not only does Hindu nationalist propaganda go unchallenged, but the impunity with which violent attackers are rewarded is fuelling the escalation in violence against Christians. Pastors, Christian workers and even humble worshippers are routinely charged and imprisoned under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises their so-called 'deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs'. Please pray for India's persecuted Church.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

RLPB 157. Africa: Christians targeted from east to west

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 157 | Wed 02 May 2012

AFRICA: CHRISTIANS TARGETED FROM EAST TO WEST
By Elizabeth Kendal

Security is deteriorating rapidly for Christians along Africa's notorious ethnic-religious fault-line: roughly between the 5 to 10 degree north parallels. Genocidal Islamic jihad has displaced Christians in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Mali and Ivory Coast. Multitudes of predominantly Christian, ethnically southern Ivorian refugees feel forgotten. Displaced during the French-backed Islamic coup of April 2011, they remain desperate and vulnerable, unable to return home because their homes and farms have been occupied by pro-Ouattara supporters who are being protected by armed 'dozos' from the north.  Appointed by Ouattara's Republican Forces (former 'rebels') to crack down on crime, 'dozos' are a 'brotherhood of initiated traditional hunters renowned for their mystical powers'.

Further to this, terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, the Government of Sudan, Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria and eastern Mali and Ansar Dine in Northern Mali are targeting Christians continually. These groups are seeking at the very least the subjugation of Christians and in some places their total eradication. The jihadists receive support from Islamist governments and from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which gets most of its funds from trafficking drugs, weapons and human beings.

TERROR IN KENYA

After Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia to fight al-Shabaab in October 2011 the Somalia-based jihadists threatened Kenya with 'a long, protracted war'. On Saturday evening 31 March militants believed to be from al-Shabaab hurled explosives into a prayer meeting in the coastal town of Mtwapa, just 16km from Mombasa. A woman and a nine-year-old boy were killed while around 30 others were wounded. On Sunday 29 April some 50 believers were worshipping in God's House of Miracles International Church in Nairobi when a militant simply walked in and hurled a bomb at the altar. 'I heard a blast and then around me everyone was covered in blood,' said Steven Mulinge, the church pianist. One person was killed while 15 others were treated in hospital for shrapnel wounds. Four victims with critical injuries have been transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital.

TERROR IN NIGERIA

On Sunday 29 April believers worshipping at Bayero University in the northern city of Kano  were targeted by militants from Boko Haram. The jihadists attacked the open-air service outside the faculty of medicine, throwing explosive devices amongst the worshippers then chasing and shooting believers as they fled. They also attacked a worship service being held in the sporting complex, again throwing explosive devices amongst the believers who were then chased and gunned down as they fled. Twenty-one people were killed and more than 20 were treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. In an almost simultaneous attack, six Boko Haram gunmen burst into a Church of Christ in Nigeria chapel the northeast city of Maiduguri, spraying bullets throughout the sanctuary. Whilst the worshippers escaped with wounds but no fatalities, the pastor and three others who were preparing to serve communion were found dead in the sanctuary. 

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT GOD WILL --

* cut the lines of support that keep these jihadists armed and paid; may he sever relationships, smash networks, destroy trade and smuggling routes and remove key players so that the jihadists will be starved of resources. May the 'horns' [strength] of the wicked be cut off, and the 'horns' [strength] of the righteous be lifted up. (Psalm 75:10)

' . . . in the name of the LORD I cut them off!' (Psalm 118:10 ESV.)

* intervene for the sake of his imperilled people to infuse wisdom, courage and commitment into fearful, reluctant, equivocating and short-sighted African governments. 'The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.' (Proverbs 21:1 ESV)

* be a shield and provider for his displaced and frightened people; may he heal their wounds, shelter and protect them, provide their every need and increase their faith. (Psalm 18)

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CHRISTIANS TARGETED FROM EAST TO WEST IN AFRICA

Islamic jihad has displaced Christians in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Mali and Ivory Coast. Terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, the Government of Sudan, Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria and eastern Mali and Ansar Dine in Northern Mali are targeting Christians continually. On Sunday 29 April some 25 Christians were killed and dozens wounded when jihadists launched terror attacks against church worship services in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Kano and Maiduguri, Northern Nigeria. The two groups involved -- al-Shabaab and Boko Haram -- both receive support from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), as does Ansar Dine, the group that has driven Christians from northern Mali. AQIM gets most of its funds from trafficking drugs, weapons and human beings. Please pray for these Churches.