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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - Mar 1, 2006

March 1, 2006

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 367 - Wed 01 Mar 2006

WELCOME to the 38 intercessors who joined the list in February.

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DURING FEBRUARY WE HAVE PRAYED FOR -

INDIA, where Hindu nationalists staged their massive Shabri Kumbh
Mela pilgrimage and festival in Dangs, Gujarat, with the dual
purpose of converting tribals to militant Hindu nationalism and
inciting violence against Christians.

* UPDATE: CHRISTIANS FACE IMMEDIATE AND LONG TERM THREAT

The way the Shabri Kumbh Mela organisers saturated Dangs with
incitement to kill Christians indicates they intended it should
culminate in a deadly pogrom against Dangi Christians. However
the Shabri Kumbh Mela ended without violence. Clearly God
intervened and preserved his children in answer to the prayers
of many, and for this we thank and praise him. But Dangi
Christians are facing a very insecure future in this toxic
environment caused by the torrent of anti-Christian hate
propaganda that was openly distributed. The Hindu nationalist
Sangh Parivar are claiming success in Dangs, boasting \'great
gains\', i.e. many conversions. They envisage exporting their new
conversion strategy right across the tribal belt of north India.
This is extremely threatening.

The Sanghs are trying to boost the numbers of Hindu nationalist
voters and militants, with the overall aim of getting the Hindu
nationalist BJP elected to power in the 2009 federal elections.
Meanwhile, the militants will be used to crush the Sangh
Parivar\'s greatest threat: Christians and the Christian missions
whose health and education services bring liberation to
enslaved, down-trodden tribals who have long been victims of
Aryan Hindu racist persecution. Violence against Christians is
escalating in frequency and intensity, particularly across the
north India tribal belt. Please pray for God\'s intervention to
protect and empower his Church, and to frustrate the plans of
the wicked.


CHRISTIAN MINORITIES IN TURKEY, THE ARAB WORLD, PAKISTAN AND
NORTHERN NIGERIA, who became targets of \'Cartoon Intifada\'
violence. We prayed for Christians in Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon,
Gaza, Pakistan and north Nigeria where Christian properties had
been attacked or threatened. The most serious attacks were in
northern Nigeria, where many churches were burned and many
Christians brutally killed.

* UPDATE: \'CARTOON INTIFADA\' VIOLENCE

Whilst the situation has quietened somewhat in most of the Arab
world, the Bible Society in GAZA is still under serious threat
from Islamic militants. Hostile demonstrations are still
occurring in PAKISTAN where anti-cartoon rallies are closely
linked to domestic politics. Opposition and Islamic parties are
exploiting the heightened Islamic sentiment and rage to protest
President Musharraf\'s alliance with the \'blaspheming\' West. On
Sunday 26 February, hundreds of demonstrators were arrested after
clashing with riot police during a banned anti-cartoon rally in
Lahore, further inflaming Islamic and anti-government anger. The
visit of US President George W Bush will doubtless trigger
intensely vociferous and hostile protests when he arrives on 4
March. Because Musharraf wants Bush to support his military
dictatorship, he might just let the Islamists display their
darkest, most threatening side. Pray for God to protect
Pakistan\'s Christians.

Meanwhile the situation has deteriorated markedly in NIGERIA
where religious violence has a strong ethnic element. On 21
February, traditionally Christian Igbos in the south
spontaneously rioted in Onitsha, Anambra, against the 18
February killings of Christian Igbo immigrants and traders in the
northern state of Borno by Hausa Muslims. The Igbos retaliated by
killing Hausa Muslim immigrants from the north and burning
mosques. The violence is spiraling. Over the weekend 25 & 26
February there were deadly anti-cartoon, anti-Christian,
church-burning pogroms in the northern cities of Kontagora,
Niger, and Potiskum, Yobe. These provoked deadly pogroms in the
south against Hausa Muslims in Enugu and in Onitsha again, where
at least 80 have been killed and 5000 displaced. Nigeria has
elections in 2007 so religious political anxieties are also
heightening religious tension. This could spiral disastrously
for Nigeria as Muslim deaths in the south put all Christians in
the north in real and immediate danger of retaliatory jihad.
Please pray for peace to be restored, for wisdom and strength for
President Obasanjo, and for God to protect Nigeria\'s Christians.

\'Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he answers him from
his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some
trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of
the Lord our God.\' Psalm 20:6,7


OTHER ISSUES IN FEBRUARY -

* NORTH KOREA: REMEMBERING NORTH KOREAN CHRISTIANS

On 16 February North Korea celebrated \'Dear Leader\' Kim Jong-il\'s
birthday. North Korea remains one of the world\'s most cruel,
politically and religiously repressed states. The regime runs a
vast network of concentration camps where whole families to three
generations are incarcerated. Few survive the forced hard labour,
experiments, beatings and starvation. Kim has surrounded himself
with an enormous guard corps and military whose personal loyalty is
bought through daily provision of food, heating and other luxuries
and privileges. Whilst propaganda has traditionally maintained
national loyalty, small degrees of openness are gradually rendering
this less effective. This social situation is extremely delicate
and dangerous. Please pray for openings and reforms so the Church
may be freed and restored to bring healing to the people and the
land, and for God to protect and sustain North Korea\'s incarcerated
and underground Church, blessing and empowering her witness.
(Christian Solidarity Worldwide has a new website dedicated to
mobilising prayer for North Korea at
<http://www.prayfornorthkorea.org>.)

\'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you\'. Matthew 7:7

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We usually provide a summary to use in bulletins unable to run
the whole RLP. As that is not practicable with these monthly
update postings we suggest using one of the above paragraphs
which are about the same length as a summary.

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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.