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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pray for the Saints: Iran, Egypt and Pakistan

I pray that you are not being overwhelmed this week as we focus on our persecuted brothers and sisters.  I thank you all for taking this journey with me.  We show our love of Christ and our maturity in the faith when we can share in the suffering of others.  Below are the details on an attack of a Catholic church in Baghdad and the story of a woman in Pakistan who was beaten and arrested for saying that Jesus is alive and Mohammed is dead.  Please keep all of the saints in your prayers.

On Oct. 31, an Assyrian Catholic Church in central Baghdad was attacked by five Sunni Islamic terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda. The attack claimed the lives of 59 worshipers, including two priests, and severely injured more than 80 others. Five policemen were also killed in the attack, and all of the terrorists were killed, either in explosions they detonated on their explosive belts or by Iraqi security officers.
The gunmen had reportedly held the worshipers hostage, demanding the release of two Egyptian Christian women. They insisted that the women were Muslims who were being held against their will by the Coptic Church in Egypt.
Coptic activist Mark Ebeid said, "Sheikhs in Egypt decided to spread unfounded allegations and convince thousands of Muslims of their fabrications. Besides, the Coptic Church would have never delivered two of its children, who sought refuge within its walls, to the fundamentalists."

Sources: VOM contacts, Assyrian Int'l News Agency

Please Pray!

Pray for God's protection of Christians who are being targeted in Iraq and Egypt. Pray for the families affected by this attack. Pray also for the salvation of those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

"Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I." Psalm 142:6

VOM assists Christians in Iraq through its Action Pack program and Families of Martyrs fund, as well as by providing them with Christian literature.

Featured Prisoner - Asia Bibi

  • Location: Pakistan
  • Arrested: June 2009
  • Days Imprisoned: 510
Asia Bibi, a 37-year-old Pakistani woman from the village of Ittanwali, was arrested by police on Friday, June 19, and faces possible blasphemy charges. Asia is the wife of 50-year-old Ashiq Masih, and their family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

Many of the local women work on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees, including Asia. During their work many of the Muslim women have pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. In June, the pressure became especially strong.

On Friday, June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith, with the Muslim women telling Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ. Asia told the Muslim women Christ had died on the cross for our sins, then asked them what Mohammed had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammed is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

Upon hearing this response the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia Bibi. Then some men came and took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they must go forward due to pressure from local Muslim leaders.

The Voice of the Martyrs urges Christians around the world to pray for Asia Bibi and her family. Further, we call on the Pakistani government to insure that the rights of Christians like Asia are protected.

*Update:  On November 8th, Asia was sentenced to death for her charges.  She was given seven days to appeal and her lawyers plan to do so.  Please pray that the appeal will be granted and the ruling overturned. 

Information provided by The Voice of the Martyrs Be A Voice network.

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