“The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.”
* World Evangelical Alliance is a global ministry working with local churches around the world to join in common concern to live and proclaim the Good News of Jesus in their communities. God is glorified and the nations of the earth are forever transformed.The purpose of the WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Release is to keep you informed and mobilized in prayer and intercession for the needs of justice and religious liberty in the Church around the globe, so that we can stand together for the work of the Kingdom and the healing of the Nations. The Prayer Release is comprised on the basis of different credible Christian based resources.
Christian woman publicly flogged for apostasy in Somalia[i]
January 10, A Christian convert from Islam was publicly flogged before cheering crowds in Somalia as a penalty for apostasy. Sofia Osman (28), a Christian woman from Janale city in Somalia’s lower Shabelle region, was whipped by Al Shabab militants andreceived 40 lashes in the midst of applauding spectators. She was taken in to custody by Islamic militants in November 2011 and was released after the public flogging on 22 December.
An eye witness to the incident stated ‘Osman was given 40 lashes at 3 p.m, but she didn’t tell what other humiliations she had suffered while in the hands of the militants,” she further added “I saw her faint. I thought she had died, but soon she regained consciousness and her family took her away.”
Osman who became a Christian four years ago was a member of the underground church in Somalia. It is reported that she is suffering from psychological trauma after her harrowing experience and has since been relocated from her family home.
v Pray for God’s healing mercy upon Sofia Osman who is recovering from her injuries.
v Pray for restoration of the spirit within Sofia to continue standing firm in her faith.
v Pray for protection over Christians in Somalia who are being subject to intense persecution.
v Pray that Al Shabaab would be brought to Justice and would turn away from violence.
Violence against Christians in Syria[ii]
January 18, Christians in Syria have been targeted in a series of kidnappings and killings since the beginning of the anti-government unrest. Reports state that over 100 Christians have been killed since the violence erupted. Furthermore children have been prime targets for kidnappers who kill captives when they do not receive the ransom demanded.
2 Christian men, one aged 28, the other a 37-year-old with a pregnant wife, were kidnapped by the rebels in separate incidents and later found dead. The first was found hanged with numerous injuries and second man’s body was cut in to pieces and thrown in to a river. Four more are said to have been abducted and their captors have threatened to execute them as well.
v Pray for God’s protection over Christians in Syria who are facing immense persecution.
v Pray for the church in Syria, that it would stand strong and continue to grow in this difficult period.
v Pray for God’s comfort over families grieving the loss of loved ones.
v Pray for those who have been abducted, that their lives will be spared and that they will be returned to their families.
35 Christians attending prayer meeting imprisoned in Saudi Arabia[iii]
January 24, It is reported that Saudi Arabian officials have arrested 29 Ethiopian women and 6 men for holding a prayer meeting at a private home in Jeddah. Reports state that the women were strip searched while the men have been assaulted during the arrest. The detainees are presently being held at Briman Prison in Jeddah.
Furthermore it was reported that the Ethiopian Christians were later charged with mixing with the opposite sex. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for men and women (non-family) to be in the same room together. However Christian leaders have said that officials have brought forth such accusation due to fears that they would come under pressure from international human rights organizations and Western countries.
In a message to Christians around the world, a prisoner stated, “We want you to help us to get out of prison in every way you can, including prayer. Please tell your governments about our plight, contact human rights organizations and others and inform them about us.”
v Pray for the safety of the imprisoned brothers and sisters.
v Pray that they will be released and exonerated from all charges.
v Pray for protection over all Christians in Saudi Arabia.
v Pray that the good news of the Gospel would spread in the Muslim Kingdom in spite of severe restriction.
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[ii] Source: Barnabas Fund, available at: http://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/News-analysis/Christians-in-Syria-targeted-in-series-of-kidnappings-and-killings-100-dead.html
[iii] Source: International Christian Concern, available at: http://www.persecution.org/2012/01/24/saudi-arabian-officials-assault-strip-search-christian-prisoners/http://www.persecution.org/2011/12/21/saudi-arabia-arrests-ethiopian-christians-for-mixing-with-opposite-sex/