By Elizabeth Kendal
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 234
Special to ASSIST News Service
AUSTRALIA (ANS) -- Supporting International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church
IDOP 2013: Sunday 3 Nov
See: Critical Prayer Requests (CPR)
OCTOBER 2013 UPDATE -- During Oct we prayed concerning . . .
* INDIA (RLPB 230), where the Hindu nationalist BJP has appointed Hindutva ideologue Nahendra Modi as its presidential candidate for the April-May 2014 elections.
See also: The Modi Operandi of Nahendra Modi
Religious Liberty Monitoring, E. Kendal, 2 Oct 2013
UPDATE: Indian political analyst R Jagannathan writes (17 October 2013), 'By all indications, the 2014 election is the BJP's to lose. Thanks to the Narendra Modi effect and the Congress's continued dalliance with desperate political and economic moves, the momentum is clearly in the BJP's favour . . . [and] the momentum is just beginning to build.' Jagannathan expects the BJP will 'comfortably notch up its highest tally ever . . . [and for] the seat tally for 2014 between Congress and BJP to be exactly reversed - with the BJP crossing 200 and the Congress falling to the low 100-plus levels.' [272 seats are required for a majority.] Hindutva is supposed to replace racial apartheid (i.e. the caste system) with religious apartheid (Hindu supremacy). In reality, India under the BJP would doubtless suffer a mixture of both, as caste is so deeply ingrained. The rise of political Hindutva is a very serious threat to Indian Christians.
* SYRIA, IRAN and the SHI'ITE CRESCENT (RLPB 231)
Saudi Arabia's plan to advance Sunni Arab interests by getting its ally, the USA, to shatter the Shi'ite Crescent has come unstuck. Sensing that Syria is becoming a hot-bed of Salafi jihadism, the US is seeking rapprochement with Iran, the only force in the region strong enough to tackle the jihadist threat. Without US backing, the Saudi regime's survival is tenuous. All its oil is in its Shi'ite-dominated Eastern Province, where Shi'ites have long suffered crippling discrimination and persecution. If Iran finds it can expand its influence with impunity, the Wahhabi-inspired, hate-mongering Saudi regime could find its days are numbered. It is urgent that Iran's belligerent, anti-Semitic clerical regime be removed and that Iran return to being a modern state, an ally of Israel and a friend of the West. May God hasten Iran's Christian awakening. Continue to pray for the region's gravely imperilled Christians.
PRAISE GOD that earlier this month the Syrian Arab Army broke through the rebel encirclement of Aleppo and supplies are making their way into areas long-besieged.
* KAZAKHSTAN and CENTRAL ASIA (RLPB 232), where religious repression is escalating.
* THE BIG PICTURE (RLPB 233; for IDOP 2013)
OCTOBER 2013 ROUND-UP -- also this month . . .
* BRUNEI: TO ENACT SHARIA CRIMINAL LAW
Commencing April 2014, Brunei will enact Sharia criminal law, including amputation, lashing, stoning and execution. The Sultan signed the bill on 22 October. As reported by the Jakarta Post, 'Hudud crimes cover areas including theft, illicit sexual relations, making unproven accusations of illicit sex, causing physical hurt, drinking intoxicants, apostasy, and acts contrary to Islamic belief.' The laws supposedly will apply only to Brunei's Muslims (about 65 percent of the population). However, wherever Hudud laws are enforced, Christians especially become extremely vulnerable to rape and other violent crimes. If they report rape they risk being punished for making 'false' claims as they will not be able to get four adult male Muslim eye witnesses required to corroborate their claim. The Sharia criminal penalty of death for apostasy will remove any pretence of religious liberty, making witness and conversion even more dangerous than it i s already. Pray for the Church in Brunei.
* EGYPT: CHRISTIANS GUNNED DOWN AT A WEDDING
In suburban Cairo on 20 October, as families were gathering for the wedding of two young Christians, two men on a motorcycle drove up to the entrance of the church and sprayed the crowd outside with automatic rifle fire. At least four Christians were killed, including two young children, while 17 people were wounded, many critically. Also two children have been reported missing. The couple went ahead with their wedding later that evening, dressed in mourning black. Pray for Egypt's threatened Christians.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER (IDOP) FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH (3 November)
PRAY FOR AWAKENINGS
In Egypt, Pakistan, Northern Nigeria and elsewhere where Christians are being murdered by Muslims, reports are emerging about local Muslims polarizing. Some who have been radicalized are becoming more militant, while others who are appalled are increasingly demonstrating solidarity with Christians. The long-prayed-for awakening is under way, albeit at great cost in Christian lives. Likewise, many Muslims who have lived under extreme repression and with shocking violence in states such as Iran and Afghanistan are turning to Christ, mostly where they have taken refuge. In the 'free' world, the growth of ethnic churches consisting of Muslim converts is a definite and observable trend. Please keep praying for awakenings -- amongst all persecutors -- and that God will sustain his Persecuted Church.
'Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.' (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV)