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Northern Nigeria and Gaza: Persecution Intensifies

October 10, 2007

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 449 | Wed 10 Oct 2007

Historically liberation from Sharia has only ever been gained
through costly war so Nigeria\'s central government erred tragically
in 2000 when it did not nip the northern Sharia movement in the bud
and ban Sharia as being unconstitutional. Whilst Christians have
always been persecuted in Nigeria\'s Muslim-dominated northern
states, persecution has intensified since Sharia was enacted.
Sharia not only institutionalises religious discrimination and
persecution, it provokes Islamic zeal and intolerance and the
Muslim sense of superiority soars. The whole environment becomes
incendiary.

On 28 September Muslims (ethnically Hausa) in Tudun Wada, Kano
State, rioted. First they attacked the 14 Christian students
amongst the 1500 at the public high school. They then spilled into
the streets and attacked local Christians (ethnically Igbo) and the
homes and businesses of Christians. Many Christians fled into the
bush only to be ambushed and killed by waiting Muslims.

Compass Direct (CD) reports that 10 Christians were killed, 61 were
injured and over 500 have become refugees. Nine churches were
destroyed. All this was triggered by a totally unsubstantiated
rumour alleging that a Christian student had drawn a cartoon of
Mohammed. This bore all the signs of an organised pogrom. Victims
have told CD there is not a single church or Christian property
left standing in the town. Nigerian media have downplayed the
event. If Muslims believe they can riot, terrorise, murder and
plunder Christians with impunity, then this sort of violence can be
expected to spread. Impunity here could establish a precedent for
the way northern Christians will fare under the new government of
President Yar\'Adua, a Muslim.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:

* Nigeria\'s political leadership, particularly President Yar\'Adua
(a Muslim) and Vice President Jonathan Goodluck (a Christian),
that God will direct them for the benefit of the nation (1
Timothy 2:1-4). \'The king\'s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he
directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.\' Proverbs
21:1 NIV

* Nigeria\'s Christian leadership, that God will give them divine
wisdom and abundant courage in responding and leading in such a
delicate, volatile and needy environment; may the Holy Spirit
make the plight of the northern Church a burning heart issue for
the southern Church.

* Nigeria\'s Muslims, that God will enlighten minds and open hearts
to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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* GAZA CHURCH LOSES A LEADER, SERVANT, HUSBAND and FATHER

Rami Khader Ayyad (30) was a youth leader in Gaza Baptist Church
and the director of Gaza\'s only Christian bookshop, \'The Teacher\'s
Bookshop\', a ministry of the Palestinian Bible Society. On Friday 5
October Rami noticed he was being stalked by men in an unregistered
car. Despite this, he went out on Saturday and opened the bookshop,
ensuring the Word of God and the ministry of the Palestinian Bible
Society remained available to Palestinians. As Rami was closing up
the shop at around 4:30pm he was kidnapped. His body, with multiple
stab wounds and a gunshot wound to the head, was found early on
Sunday morning, dumped in a Gaza City street close to the bookshop
where he had courageously and faithfully served his Lord and the
people of Gaza.

While Rami is now with his Lord, his grieving pregnant wife,
Pauline, and their two young children are left without him in
increasingly dangerous Gaza. Please pray for this family, that God
will faithfully provide for them and give them peace. Christians,
who account for only 0.2 percent of Gaza\'s population, are
extremely vulnerable and increasingly fearful. Please pray for
God\'s merciful deliverance. Pray for an Arab awakening.

A report on YouTube - < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Glpd032iqT8 >
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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.