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Prayers and Issues of August 2005

August 31, 2005
DURING AUGUST WE HAVE PRAYED FOR -

SUDAN, where ethnic and religious conflict erupted with the death
of the Southern Sudanese leader, Vice President John Garang.

* UPDATE: Sources report there is still considerable tension in
Khartoum. More than 3700 people, mostly Southerners, were
arrested after the riots. Some two million internally displaced
Southerners (IDPs) live in camps around Khartoum in dire
conditions. Amnesty International has been calling for the rights
of the IDPs to be respected amidst forced relocations. Many
want to return to Southern Sudan but simply do not have the
means. Please pray for the Church in Sudan.

BANGLADESH, after two Christian aid workers were brutally murdered
by Muslims opposed to their witness.

* UPDATE: On Wednesday 17 August, some 400 small bombs exploded
almost simultaneously in 63 of Bangladesh\'s 64 districts. Whilst
two people were killed and 140 injured, more devastating than
the impact of the bombs was the message that militant Islamists
are willing and able to co-ordinate and perpetrate terror
nationwide. On 22 August, a Bengali newspaper reported Islamic
terror groups have threatened to attack the Hindu Dhakeswari
Temple, the Catholic Church at Tejgaon, the Buddhist temple at
Kamlapur, and to target non-Muslim religious leaders around the
country. Please pray that God will protect his servants and
preserve his Church.

INDONESIA, where the Indonesian Council of Mullahs (MUI) is
spearheading a movement, especially in West Java, against
apostasy and \'Christianisation\'. The MUI, in league with the
Front for the Defense of Islam (FPI) and the Anti Apostasy
Movement Alliance (AGAP), is forcing churches to close,
inciting hatred and promoting intolerance. Three Christian women
are on trial in West Java for \'Christianisation\' of children.

* UPDATE: At 10am on Sunday 21 August, hundreds of AGAP militants
stormed the Pasundan Christian Church (Presbyterian) in
Dayeuhkolot, West Java, during worship. They demanded the
immediate closure of the 300-400 member church which has existed
since 1956. Meanwhile, the trial of Dr Rebecca Laonita, Mrs Ratna
Mala Bangun, and Mrs Ety Pangesti concluded on Thursday 25 August
amidst noisy remonstration by agitated, militant Muslims. A
verdict will be delivered on Thursday 1 September. The women
face five years\' imprisonment or the prospect of being killed by
militants if acquitted. Please pray for these women, for the
judges, for the Church in Indonesia, and for strong leadership
from President Yudhoyono to ensure security and defend religious
liberty.

CHINA, where persecution appears to be intensifying, with many
arrests and considerable harassment.

OTHER ISSUES IN AUGUST
----------------------

* ERITREA: PERSECUTION EXTENDS TO NON-COMPLIANT ORTHODOX

For the past three years, the repressive government in Eritrea has
been incarcerating and torturing Protestants. Now the government is
moving to control the Catholic Church and the Eritrean Orthodox
Church (EOC). Mr Yoftahe Dimetros has been appointed by the
government to administer the EOC. On 7 August, Dimetros and several
military officials met with the EOC Synod and deposed EOC Patriarch
Abune Antonios (78). Patriarch Antonios had defended the rights of
the Medhane Alem renewal movement of the EOC, viewing them as a
blessing and refusing to persecute them. He has also pleaded before
the government on behalf of the Rev. Dr Futsum Kuluberhan, the Rev.
Dr Tekleab Mengisteab and the Rev. Gebremedhin Georgis. These three
Medhane Alem pastors were arrested in March and remain jailed
incommunicado as \'traitors\' in Asmara\'s notorious Wongel Mermera
investigation centre. Dimetros leveled numerous complaints against
Patriarch Antonios whom he accused of being \'an obstacle in the
work of the Holy Christian Church\'. In direct violation of the
constitution of the EOC, the government will now appoint a
compliant replacement Patriarch. Please continue to pray for
revival in the EOC, for the persecuted believers, and for God to
intervene with justice.

* INDIA: HINDU MILITANTS VIOLENTLY OPPOSING CHRISTIANS

Hindu militants continue to fight against the Christian Church,
especially against Christian witness and conversion. The World
Hindu Council (VHP) has stated it intends to forcibly convert at
least 80,000 Christian Dalits (lowest caste \'untouchables\') to
Hinduism in the north-central Indian state of Uttar Pradesh before
the end of this year. On 14 August, Hindu militants broke into a
private home in Pathda village, Banswara district, Rajasthan
(northwest India), and violently attacked some 40 Christians
involved in thanksgiving prayer. Twenty believers received savage
beatings and around ten were seriously injured; one was struck with
an axe. Some 300 stick-wielding Hindu militants then rampaged when
church representatives came to the police station to receive a copy
of the First Information Report. The church representatives needed
police protection to return home.

On 21 August, a mob of some 50 Hindu militants violently attacked a
prayer meeting in the town of Indore in the north-central state of
Madhya Pradesh. They were targeting Jagdish & Grace Nayak,
independent Christian workers who are awaiting trial on charges of
forced conversion. Grace Nayak is a convert from Hinduism. At least
ten of the 15 present were savagely beaten, including the Nayak\'s
two-year-old child.

~~~~

\'O God, listen to my complaint. Do not let my enemies\' threats
overwhelm me. Protect me from the plots of the wicked, from the
scheming of those who do evil.

\'Then everyone will stand in awe, proclaiming the mighty acts of
God, realising all the amazing things he does. The godly will
rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what
is right will praise him.\' (Psalm 64:1,2 & 9,10 NLT)

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.