Voice of the Martyrs - October 25, 2012
1. Update: Blasphemy allegations continue in Pakistan
(Sources: Asia News, The Christian Post)
The High Court in Islamabad has delayed the trial of Rimsha Masih, a mentally challenged Christian girl charged with blasphemy, while another young follower of Christ has been accused of the same offense.
The Court will take until November 14 to decide if the case against Rimsha will be dismissed. Three witnesses who had earlier testified that the mosque leader, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, had planted fabricated evidence on Rimsha have since recanted (for more, go to www.persecution.net/pk-2012-10-04a.htm). The Muslim leader is now free on bail, and prosecutors have reportedly said they will not try him on blasphemy charges.
In Karachi, a16-year-old Christian boy and his family are in hiding following accusations the young man sent text messages denigrating the Prophet Muhammad. Protesters broke into the family's house and burned all their furniture and appliances. Ryan Stanten has been charged under the blasphemy law, although it has been reported the boy's friends are responsible for sending the messages.
Please pray that the case against Rimsha will be dropped. Pray this case will discourage others from making false accusations. Please pray for the safety and strength of Ryan and his family. Please pray for a mighty flood of justice in Pakistan (Amos 5:24).
For more on Pakistan's suffering Church, please visit www.persecution.net/pakistan.htm.
2. Church in Kazakhstan accused of drugging congregants
(Source: Forum 18 News Service)
Two churches were raided in Kazakhstan earlier this month following unsubstantiated allegations that a congregant was drugged during communion. A source at the police department reportedly said, "Members of the religious association ... were given hallucinogens to drink."
Property and literature were confiscated from both churches, pastors were questioned, and one church's bank account was frozen. Officials even requested blood tests from believers at one church. Grace Church in Kazakhstan's capital Astana and New Life Church in Oral in West Kazakhstan Region were implicated in the case, which was launched more than 15 months ago after the alleged victim's mother made accusations her daughter was harmed. Church members at Grace Church denied any harm to member Lazzat Almenova. Lazzat said her sisters forced her into a psychiatric hospital for three months in 2011, while they sold some property that was owned jointly. Church members say Lazzat twice visited the Church after the raid, and that it is unclear why New Life Church, which is over 1,000 kilometres away, was implicated at all.
The raids came just before the October 25 deadline for the re-registration of all religious communities across Kazakhstan under the highly restrictive amendments to the Religion Law, which came into force last year. The re-registration of these two churches will not be considered until their names are cleared.
Please pray that these false allegations will be dropped and that Lazzat will remain strong in her faith. Please pray that both Grace Church and New Life Church will be re-registered. Pray that, whether registered or not, churches in Kazakhstan will remain faithful to the Lord.
Go to www.persecution.net/kazakhstan.htm for more information on Kazakhstan's suffering Church.
3. Update: Christian teen in Tanzania safeguarded by believers in prison
A teenager in Tanzania sentenced to two years in prison for desecrating the Qur'an is being watched over by two Christian prison guards. A VOM contact who visited 17-year-old Eva Abdullah in October said he was greeted by two Christian female guards who are caring for Eva. They both promised to help keep her safe.
Eva converted to Christianity from Islam three years ago. Her parents disowned her, and when a group of radicals in her hometown of Bagamoyo couldn't convince her to renounce her faith, they falsely accused her of urinating on the Qur'an (for more information, please visit www.persecution.net/tz-2012-08-16.htm). Several compassionate attorneys have taken up her case and are deferring payment.
Praise God for sending His people to care for one of His own while in prison. Please pray for the wellbeing of Eva and her caretakers. Pray for wisdom as her legal counsel moves forward in fighting for her freedom. Pray that Eva will be a light for Jesus through this situation.
4. Nine churches closed down in Aceh, Indonesia
(Sources: Release International, Morning Star News, The Jakarta Globe)
Officials in a province of Indonesia under strict Islamic law have closed down nine "illegal" churches in response to pressure from Islamist groups.
The authorities in Banda Aceh city forced leaders of the nine churches to sign statements agreeing to close their buildings last week. Six Buddhist temples were also forced to close. Aceh province, of which Banda Aceh is the capital, has been under Shariah (Islamic) law since 2001. The churches affected were branded illegal for not having official permits -- despite the fact that at least one of them had submitted an application to register officially. Officials have given warning that they will continue to monitor these "banned" congregations to ensure they do not resume their church activities. Church members have been encouraged to join officially registered churches.
Ask God to be with all the congregations affected by closures in Banda Aceh. Pray that they will find ways to find fellowship and worship God together. Pray that their example will prompt authorities to desire to know more about Jesus and put their hope and trust in Him.
Go to www.persecution.net/indonesia.htm for more on Indonesia's persecuted Church. To post a prayer of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Indonesia, visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
5. Join Christians worldwide in a day of prayer
In the traditional church calendar, "All Saints Day" and "All Souls Day" stand out in the month of November, set apart to remember the saints of the church and the souls of those who departed this world. It is fitting, then, that the modern church has set apart the month of November to remember and pray for the persecuted Church through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
November 4 is IDOP Sunday -- a day dedicated to lifting up our persecuted family in prayer. Talk to your pastor about getting your church involved by showing a short video about Christian persecution or having a congregation-led prayer time. You can also join in prayer with a prayer group, Bible study, or as a family.
For downloadable resources to guide you in prayer -- including videos, prayer points, and testimonies -- visit IDOP Canada at www.idop.ca.
The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1)
Tel. (905) 670.9721. Website: www.persecution.net