Published: 23 May 2014
I have posted a number of articles on persecution recently . The topic will not got away. Why… because we are in the last days before the Lord’s return and the devil knows his time is short, so he is attacking with severe hatred Christians, particularly in the Middle East.
Deadly suicide blasts in Nigeria as Boko Haram reasserts anti-Christian agenda
Scores of people have been killed in suicide bombings in Nigeria as Boko Haram reasserts its agenda: “war against Christians”.
|One of the attacks took place in Kano on
Eugene Kim / CC BY 2.0
At least 118 people were killed in a double bombing in Jos, Plateau State, in Nigeria’s Middle Belt on Tuesday (20 May). The first bomb was detonated at 3pm, the second around half an hour later in a busy market area. The death toll is expected to rise as the search for bodies among the rubble continues.
On Sunday (18 May), at least five people were killed in a blast in the predominantly Christian Sabon Gari district of Kano in the North. A car bomb was detonated at around 10pm along Gold Coast Road, where Christians were gathered in bars and restaurants.
A girl aged around 12 was among those killed. Kano police said five people – including the bomber – died in the blast, but Christian sources put the death toll at around 20.
Islamist militant group Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out the attacks.
A church leader in Kano, the Rev. Murtala Marti, told Morning Star News that three churches in the Sabon Gari area were probably the original target:
Most often the plot is to get at churches, but when it becomes impossible for the terrorists to get there, they usually detonate their bombs anywhere Christians are gathered, either in churches or restaurants.
Sabon Gari has been targeted previously; blasts in March and July 2013 claimed around 50 lives, and coordinated attacks in January 2012 killed around 150 people.
The latest bombings come as the translation of a one-hour video by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is released in which he reiterates the group’s agenda:
This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.
He referred to the US-led campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars waged in the name of Christianity and said that there was now “a jihad war against Christians and Christianity”, which is “a war against Western education, democracy and constitution”. Addressing “the people of the world”, he said, “either you are with us Mujahedeen or you are with the Christians”.
Boko Haram’s brutal campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria has attracted greater international attention since the group kidnapped over 200 mostly Christian schoolgirls last month.
US, British, French, Spanish and Israeli military units are helping in the continued search for the girls, who Shekau said last week had converted to Islam.
The United States has deployed about 80 military personnel to Chad in its effort to help find and return more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, President Barack Obama said in a letter to Congress on Wednesday.
“These personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area,” Obama said in the letter.
“The force will remain in Chad until its support in resolving the kidnapping situation is no longer required,” he said.
African leaders met in Paris at the weekend and agreed to wage “war” on Boko Haram. French President Francois Hollande hosted Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan and the leaders of Benin, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. They pledged to share intelligence and coordinate action against the group.
Pregnant Woman Sentenced to Death
A Barnabas Fund partner in Sudan who runs a ministry at the women’s prison where Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy, is being held has called for prayer for her and the hundreds of other Christian women jailed in the oppressive Islamic country.
|Our partners provide spiritual and practical support to Christian women in prison|
We have supported the ministry at the Omdurman Women’s Prison since 2006. Our partners work to meet the spiritual, physical and financial needs of Christian women who have been imprisoned for infringing Sudan’s harsh interpretation of sharia law. Offences include not covering themselves completely in public and going out of the house without a male relative.
The devastating plight of Meriam (27), who is due to give birth any day, has rightly attracted international attention, but there are hundreds of other Christian women who are languishing in jail.
Our partners go into the prison several times a week, holding a chapel service on Sunday and Friday mornings, and Bible studies at other times. They minister to around 500 women and around 100 children who are locked up with their mothers.
Funds from Barnabas are used to provide the women and their children with medicine, clothes, blankets and Bibles, and also to help meet their families’ needs while they are in prison. We also cover legal expenses and fines; last year, 28 Christian women were released as a result of their fine being paid by Barnabas Fund.
Our partner said, “It was great to be part of the celebrations of the families who had been reunited with their relatives, mothers and wives.”
He commented that the harassment and persecution of Christians in Sudan has intensified since the secession of South Sudan in 2011; there has been an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations.
Converts from Islam are especially vulnerable. Sudan is one of a handful of countries in the world where apostasy from Islam is officially punishable by death. The last known execution for apostasy in the country was that of Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, leader of the Republican Party of Sudan, in 1985.
That penalty now awaits Meriam, who refused to accept a reprieve by converting to Islam. She is considered a Muslim under sharia law because she was born to a Muslim father. He left when she was six, and her Christian mother raised Meriam as a Christian. So Meriam is considered to have left Islam – committed apostasy – even though she never practised it.
Our partner urged prayer for her and all Christians detained in Sudan because of sharia, which is being strengthened following the secession of the South.
He said that the support from Barnabas Fund made “very clear love and solidarity between Christians from outside of the prison with Christian inmates who are behind the walls and under threat”. He said that it reminded him of Hebrews 13:3: “Remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering”
Rev 12: 9 – 12
…And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 11“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.…
“For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference Sudan – Christian prison ministry (project 48-575).
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/575 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).