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Review of September Prayer Topics

September 28, 2005

DURING SEPTEMBER WE HAVE PRAYED FOR -

SOUTHERN MEXICO, where Christians suffer persecution and
dispossession when they refuse to compromise their faith by
engaging in certain elements of traditional culture, like pagan
idolatry and drug abuse.

The vulnerable CHRISTIANS OF THE ARAB WORLD, whose suffering is
frequently overlooked as their situation is so complex and
shrouded in propaganda; it is also precarious because
challenging the status quo can prove fatal.

INDIA, where a federal government upholds the Constitution which
guarantees religious liberty, whilst some states enact
unconstitutional anti-conversion legislation. Also, Hindu
militants, fully aware they can persecute Christians with
impunity, are campaigning relentlessly for anti-conversion laws,
and to forcibly convert indigenous tribal Indians to Hinduism.

* UPDATE: Vanavasi Kalyan Parishad (VKP) is a Hindutva (Hindu
supremacist) organisation whose main aim is to Hinduise tribal
communities. The VKP sets up idols and also persecutes
Christians,
alleging they are aligned to terrorist separatists. Recently, a
Christian community in the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh was
violently persecuted by some 150 VKP activists when an idol was
accidentally damaged by a farmer. Then on 24 September, VKP
members disrupted a prayer meeting and threatened violence if
worship wasn\'t closed down. Tensions are high. Meanwhile, on
Sunday 25 September, Hindu militants violently attacked the
Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS), the largest indigenous
Christian missionary agency in Bihar state, for the second time
in a month. Several Christians, mostly GEMS staff, were robbed
and severely beaten. One victim, Kirupakaran Shankar (recently
married), was left partly paralysed from a spinal injury. The
violent mob also attacked police who attended. Rajasthan\'s state
assembly is sitting, but is yet to debate the anti-conversion
law.

OTHER ISSUES IN SEPTEMBER
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* JORDAN: CHRISTIAN MOTHER FINALLY WINS

Several years ago, an unproved allegation that Siham Qandah\'s
Christian husband had secretly converted to Islam before his death
triggered a long and heart-rending battle for this Christian mother
of two. Islamic law dictates that children of a Muslim are
automatically deemed Muslim and must have a Muslim guardian. In
June 2005, Siham Qandah won a significant court battle that saw her
estranged brother, Abdullah al-Muhtad, a hard-line Muslim cleric,
stripped of his guardianship rights after he embezzled her
children\'s inheritance. Siham had battled in the courts for seven
years to retain custody of her children as Abdullah al-Muhtad had
also been pressing for custody. Compass Direct reports now that
Abdullah al-Muhtad has not lodged an appeal in the time permitted,
and his guardianship claims over the children are thus void. The
battle is over. Finally Siham, her daughter Rawan (17) and son Fadi
(15) can live in peace. We have prayed for this family over many
years, and now we praise and thank God for his tender mercy.

-------------------------

APPROACHING CATASTROPHES -

\'Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and
earth.\' Psalm 124:8

* DAGESTAN (Southern Russia): JIHAD ADVANCES

Chechen Islamists have long sought to control Dagestan (between
Chechnya and the Caspian Sea) as it is a highly strategic region
for the jihadi cause. Chechen jihadis tried to capture Dagestan in
August 1999, but failed. Since then they have worked at recruiting
disaffected Dagestanis for a guerrilla-style jihad. Jihadis have
perpetrated over 70 strategic terror attacks inside Dagestan since
January 2005. In mid-September they claimed \'legitimate authority\'
and gave Dagestanis until the end of September to repent of their
co-operation with the \'kafir\' (unclean/infidel) regional government
and turn to Islam - pro-jihad, pro-sharia, orthodox Wahhabi Islam.
Dagestanis, who mainly follow a traditional Sufi Islam, have long
resisted the Wahhabis. Some 10 percent of Dagestanis are Christian,
being mostly ethnic Russians and Russian Orthodox. The Islamist
threat is real and comes right before Ramadan, a time of intense
religious zeal for jihadis who like to follow in the footsteps of
Mohammad and fight during Ramadan. Pray God will protect his
children, protect religious liberty, and confound the schemes of
the wicked.

* IRAQ: CAN CIVIL WAR AND JIHAD BE AVOIDED?

Putting together a Constitution has divided rather than united
Iraqis. The Kurds have oil and want autonomy in the north; the Shia
have oil and want autonomy in the south; the jihadist Shia under al-
Sadr reject the whole process; the Sunnis are facing the prospect
of being a landlocked marginalised minority without resources if
the Constitution passes and the majority (Kurds plus Shia) get
their way. The jihadist Sunnis (including many foreigners) are
doing their best to recruit, and to foment civil war.

Virtually all Iraq\'s historic Jewish community has gone. Around
120,000 Jews - mainly in Baghdad - fled for their lives during the
anti-Semitic pogroms of 1950. Most were airlifted out in Operation
Ezra and Nehemiah. Losing them crippled Iraq\'s economy. In July
2003, Israel airlifted six of the last 34 Iraqi Jews, the others
feeling they were too old to relocate. So the Jewish presence in
Iraq since the 8th Century BC is nearly over.

Remaining amidst the mess are some of the oldest Christian
communities on Earth. Though hundreds of thousands of indigenous
Eastern Christians were massacred after World War 1, there are
still hundreds of thousands of them in Iraq, as well as thousands
of Mandaeans (who follow John the Baptist). They don\'t want to
leave as refugees; they want to live in their land. Not only do
they face the prospect of civil war, but also Islamic jihad in the
midst of total lawlessness. The Constitutional referendum will be
held on 15 October (during Ramadan). Tensions will be extreme. Pray
for God to intervene on behalf of his precious children in Iraq.

-------------

The 30-Day Muslim Prayer Focus - praying specifically for Muslim
peoples during Ramadan - starts early October. Please visit
<http://www.30-days.net/> for details.

\'They will do such things [persecute you] because they do not know
the father or me.\' Jesus, John 16:3

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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.