Voice of the Martyrs - June 28, 2012
1. Update: Kuwait leader rejects death sentence
(Source: International Christian Concern)
Kuwait's ruler has refused to pass a bill previously voted through by parliament that would allow Muslims who insult Islam to be put to death and would harshly penalize Christians and other non-Muslims.
The bill seeking to institute the death penalty for Muslims who insult Allah, the Qu'ran, Muslim prophets or Muhammad's wives was passed with an overwhelming majority last May, and it stipulates that Christians and other non-Muslims will be given a minimum sentence of 10 years for the same offense (for more, go to www.persecution.net/kw-2012-05-17.htm).
Kuwait's leader has the power to refuse the bill, but the elected parliament can overturn his decision with a two-thirds majority vote.
Praise God that this bill has not been approved. Please pray that the Emir's decision will win the support of parliament and that this unjust law will not be passed. Pray that those who oppress Christians may experience repentance and salvation, just as Paul did (Acts 9:1-19).
For more information on persecution in Kuwait, go to www.persecution.net/kuwait.htm.
2. House church baptism disrupted by raid in China
(Source: China Aid Association)
Seventeen believers were detained during a baptism service when officials and police raided a Han Chinese house church in the far west region of Xinjiang. The raid on the Bajiahu house church in Jinghe county occurred early in June during a gathering of more than 20 Christians. The church has also been ordered to stop holding meetings.
Police officers burst into the meeting, followed by officials overseeing religion and domestic security. The 17 believers were taken into custody and held until that evening, when they were escorted home by police.
Wang Lili, the leader of the house church, was not on site during the raid. However, the purse she left at the meeting site, which contained her government ID card, keys and more than 3,600 yuan (approximately $580 CAD), was confiscated. At last report, her belongings had not been returned.
The husband of one of the detainees, who is not himself a Christian, was required to sign a guarantee that his wife will no longer attend the house church's meetings. He reportedly became very angry with his wife.
Praise God for the baptism of these believers! Pray that these believers will continue to grow in their faith in Jesus. Please pray that Wang's belongings will be returned to her. Please pray that the unbelieving husband will see Christ through his wife's faithfulness (1 Peter 3:1).
Go to www.persecution.net/china.htm for more on the suffering Church in China.
3. Attacks on Christians in Odisha, India
(Source: Global Council of Indian Christians)
After believers rescued a pastor in Odisha (formally called Orissa) state, India, who was brutally beaten on his way home from a prayer service, about 50 Hindu militants terrorized the 12 Christian families, beating them, looting their homes and attempting to rape some of the girls. Some of the attacked Christians remain unaccounted for and it is believed they have fled into the jungle.
Violence is not new to this area of India. In August 2008, Hindu militants launched attacks on Christians in Kandhamal district. The violence left dozens of Christians dead and thousands of homes and churches destroyed. Many more were forced to leave their homes (for more, go to www.persecution.net/in-2008-08-27.htm).
A few days prior to the recent attacks on Christian families, local police seized more than 50 homemade bombs and 12 charges of dynamite hidden in a hut in the village of Gambhari in the district of Puri. Police believe the explosives would have been used in anti-Christian attacks.
Please pray that the injured pastor will fully recover from his attack and be empowered to continue to preach the gospel. Please pray that the Lord will protect believers throughout Odisha and guard their hearts with the peace that can only be found in Christ (Philippians 4:7). Pray that the Church in Odisha state will continue to grow.
For more on persecution in India, go to www.persecution.net/india.htm. To post a prayer of encouragement for Christians in India, visit the Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
4. War brings additional trials for Syrian believers
Christians in Syria who share their faith have always faced danger, but the escalating civil war is making evangelistic efforts even more dangerous. Several evangelists who work with VOM have lost family members.
"In some cases, people were killed because of their Christian identity," said VOM's program officer for the region. "We are checking into how we can be of assistance to those who have been injured for their faith, including one whose face was mutilated as a warning to other Christians."
The war has also displaced many Christians. As Christians flee the fighting and leave their houses behind, Muslims and members of the rebel groups take possession of them.
In addition, one church was closed by the government in recent months, and other churches remain under threat of closure.
Pray for peace and for the protection of Syrian believers. Pray that Syrian believers will rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd walks with them through this difficult time (Psalm 23). Pray that Christians will show Christ-like love to their neighbours, even those who persecute them.
To learn more about Syria's persecuted Church, go to www.persecution.net/syria.htm.
The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1)