November 2016 Update - this month we prayed concerning...


Date:  November 30, 2016

by Elizabeth Kendal 

'The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.' (James 5:16 

* ALEPPO, SYRIA (RLPB 382), where the Battle for Aleppo is in its final days. 
Turkey's invasion and advance in the direction of al-Bab (just 36km from 
rebel-held eastern Aleppo) has forced the Syrian government's hand.  

UPDATE: As the Turkey-backed, al-Qaeda-aligned 'rebels' come under intensive 
pressure, thousands of Aleppo residents, long-held as human shields, are now 
escaping eastern Aleppo for the safety of government-held areas. Reports are 
surfacing of conflict erupting between rebel groups as hardline jihadists 
seek to stem the exodus of disaffected fighters and civilians. Those who have 
escaped confirm that rebels have terrorised residents, executing those 
suspected of disloyalty and keeping snipers posted at all possible exits. 
Pray this bloodshed will end soon. Pray for the Church in Syria.  

* JAKARTA, INDONESIA (RLPB 383), where Islamic clerics have accused Jakarta's 
incumbent ethnic Chinese Christian Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama of 
blasphemy in the hope they can prevent him from contesting Jakarta's February 
2017 gubernatorial elections.  

UPDATE: Having concluded their investigations, police have named Ahok as a 
blasphemy suspect, confirming that the case will go to trial. Islamic 
fundamentalists are now protesting that Ahok has not been arrested and 
detained as is the normal protocol in blasphemy cases in Indonesia. This is a 
watershed moment for Indonesia.  

[For a full analysis see Indonesia: Ahok's Blasphemy by Elizabeth Kendal, 
Religious Liberty Monitoring, 30 Nov 2016]  

* SUDAN (RLPB 384), where the Islamist and Arabist Government of Sudan (GoS) 
continues its war on dissent and its persecution of the Church while 
preparing for a dry season resumption of its genocidal jihad against the 
African Christians of the Nuba Mountains.  

UPDATE: NUBA ABANDONED   According to Nuba Reports, some 230,000 Nuba 
refugees are languishing in the camps of South Sudan, stuck between two 
horrendous wars: the GoS genocidal jihad in the Nuba Mountains and South 
Sudan's civil war. With Europe desperate to curb migration, the US desperate 
for Sudanese intelligence, China and Russia eager to invest and an array of 
African states keen to normalise relations, the Nuba are being abandoned. 
Bishop Macram Max Gassis, the emeritus bishop from the El-Obeid diocese in 
the Nuba mountain area of Sudan, is appealing for international assistance on 
behalf of the Nuba. He is requesting specifically that Khartoum be pressured 
to end its aerial bombardment of civilians and allow the entry of 
humanitarian aid. '[The Nuba] are our brothers and sisters in humanity,' he 
told Deutsche Welle. 'If we neglect them, we are responsible in front of 
Almighty God.' May the Lord intervene for his people!  

* NIGERIA (RLPB 385), where Christians in ethno-religious fault-line regions 
- specifically at this time in southern Kaduna - face a resurgence of classic 
Islamic jihad as Fulani Muslim herdsmen and Islamic militants, backed by 
Muslim political and military figures, work together to displace them and 
steal their lands.  

UPDATE SOUTHERN KADUNA: MORE ATTACKS   On Friday 25 November Mile One Village 
in Tafan District, Jemma Local Government Area (LGA) in Kaduna State's deep 
south was attacked by 'gunmen' who killed four residents and burned several 
houses. The residents of Mile One and the surrounding villages of Gidan Waya, 
Ungwuan Ninzo and Ungwuan Kagoro have all fled. The students of the College 
of Education, Gidan Waya, spent the night hiding in the bush. Neighbouring 
Pasakori village came under attack a day earlier. Christian leaders lament 
and have denounced the on-going ethnic cleansing.   

wife of Pastor Mike Agbahime (pastor of Kano's Deeper Life Bible Church), was 
beaten to death at her stall in the Kofar Wambai market by an enraged Muslim 
mob after being falsely accused of blasphemy. According to reports, her 
accuser had been 'looking to make trouble' for the Agbahimes (who are 
Christian Igbos from the south) for some time. On Thursday 3 November a Kano 
court acquitted the five men arrested over the murder, allowing them to walk 
free. The ruling has horrified Christians. The Christian Association of 
Nigeria in the 19 Northern States and Abuja has appealed to the Attorney 

NOVEMBER ROUND-UP - also this month ...

Beijing-based Christian human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong (45) disappeared 
on the evening of Monday 21 November. He had travelled to Changsha, the 
capital of Hunan Province, to meet with relatives of lawyers detained in the 
July 2015 crackdown. Having already purchased his train ticket, Jiang was due 
to leave Changsa for Beijing at 10:53pm that night (21 November). His wife 
Jin Bianling, who fled China with their daughter some years ago, has had no 
contact with Jiang since 10pm, 21 November, and holds grave fears for his 
safety. It is feared that Jiang - who was abducted and tortured for two 
months in 2011 - has again been abducted by security officials. One of 
China's most prominent human rights lawyers, Jiang has had numerous high 
profile clients over the years, including tortured Christian attorney Gao 
Zhisheng.  May God have mercy! Pray for disappeared Christian lawyers Jiang 
Tianyong and Zhang Kai. Pray for the Church in China.  


Update to RLPB 372 (24 Aug 2016): Praise God that Yusif Farhadov (51), Eldar 
Gurbanov (48) and Bahram Nasibov (37), three Azeri Christians from Baku, 
Azerbaijan, who were arrested on 24 June while attending a wedding in Tehran, 
have been released on bail. After two months of solitary confinement and 
months of hardship in Evin Prison's Ward 350, the men were released on 29 
October. They were allowed to return to Azerbaijan on 6 November after paying 
the full amount of bail. Middle East Concern reports (7 November): 'They 
faced charges of engaging in missionary activity and propaganda against the 
regime, but it is hoped that they will be acquitted of these charges.' Praise 
God for this mercy.  


Praise God that Christian convert Tohar Haydarov (33) has been released from 
prison, six years and ten months into his 10-year jail sentence. In early 
2010, after local Muslims complained about Haydarov's conversion and witness, 
Uzbek authorities arrested him, claiming to have 'found drugs' on his 
property. In March 2010 Haydarov was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. 
Compounding his grief, his Muslim father died - allegedly of 'accidental 
electrocution' - the very day he was due to testify in court in defence of 
his son's good character. Haydarov was released on parole on 8 November. He 
has returned to his home in Gulistan, eastern Uzbekistan. His fellow Baptists 
told Forum 18, 'We are thankful to everybody who prayed for him and sent 
letters to him while in prison.' However, they request continued prayer for 
Tohar, anticipating he will face problems; indeed, he has already been 
warned. Pray for Tohar Haydarov and for the Church in Uzbekistan.  


On 18 November Vietnam's new Law on Belief and Religion passed in the 
National Assembly with 84.58 percent approval. Vietnam's Communist Party 
media hailed it as a great leap forward for religious freedom. Whilst the 
final text has not yet been made public, it is not expected to differ 
significantly from previous drafts. The draft Law on Belief and Religion 
started from the position that religion is a threat to national security and 
social order, a problem to be micro-managed. In hailing the law's passing, 
the state-run media noted that, whilst guaranteeing religious freedom for 
all, the law bans religious activity that could (amongst other things) harm 
social order and/or national unity, or prevent the performance of civil 
rights and obligations, or offend the honour of any persons. Such vague and 
subjective parameters ensure the Communist authorities will have plenty of 
grounds upon which to repress and persecute religious believers. As is common 
in much of Asia and Africa, the Church is at the centre not only of 
humanitarian work but of most pro-democracy and human rights advocacy. Please 
pray for Vietnam and its Church. 

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