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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 384 - Wed 28 Jun 2006

June 28, 2006

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 384 - Wed 28 Jun 2006

WELCOME to the 13 intercessors who have joined the list this month.

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DURING JUNE WE HAVE PRAYED FOR -

PRISONERS incarcerated for their Christian faith and discipleship.
We acknowledged their extreme hardship and suffering, and prayed
for God to heal and protect their bodies, minds and spirits. We
particularly remembered prisoners in Eritrea, in the Muslim world
especially in Iran, and in Communist East Asian prison camps
especially in China and North Korea.

China Aid Association <http://www.chinaaid.org/> has released a
report on persecution indicating at least 1958 Chinese
house-church pastors and Christians in 15 provinces were
arrested in the period between May 2005 and May 2006. Persecution
was most severe in Henan province where 823 pastors and believers
were arrested in 11 raids from July 2005 to May 2006. Those
arrested are routinely beaten and humiliated and sometimes
tortured.

BHUTAN, where an extremely important court case may determine how
religious liberty is interpreted in Bhutan as it moves into a new
era of democracy and liberty. The two believers charged with
apostasy had been referred to as \'brothers\' Benjamin and John
Dai. It has since emerged that their names are Benjamin Dhunigana
and John Dai, spiritual (not earthly) brothers to each other and
to us. Both are married with children. Please pray for them, and
for Bhutan\'s successful transition into openness and religious
liberty.

INDIA, where persecution is escalating dramatically as Hindu
fascists seek to regain and expand their political ground before
the 2009 federal elections. Persecution is intense and
unrestrained in BJP-ruled states. Pray especially that the
federal government and India\'s courts and judges nationwide will
have wisdom and courage to uphold and defend India\'s
constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom. Pray also for the
Church, and that the gospel will be powerful and effective at all
levels of Indian society.


OTHER ISSUES FOR PRAYER ARISING IN JUNE
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* IRAN: PERSECUTION AND RADICALISATION

Ali Kaboli (51) of Gorgan in northeastern Iran was arrested in his
carpentry workshop on 2 May (see RLP 380, May Update). Kaboli, who
converted to Christianity 33 years ago, is married with five grown
children. He has been an active house-church leader and itinerant
evangelist. Compass Direct reports he was released on bail and
reunited with his family on 12 June. No other details are available
and he is yet to face court. Middle East Concern reports that Seyed
Mohammad Sharif Hoseini, another long-time convert also of Gorgan,
was arrested on 24 April. His computer and all his Christian
materials were confiscated. Authorities have told Mrs Hoseini that
her husband will be tried and executed. The couple have two young
children. Pray for the Church in Iran.

Also - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad\'s extremist, neo-conservative
faction is working to achieve political dominance over the
pragmatists and conservatives, in particular in the influential
Assembly of Experts. Their aim is to install Ayatollah Mohammad
Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, a cleric from the holy city of Qom. Yazdi is
committed to using any means necessary to \'cleanse\' Iran of all non-
Islamic influences. The newspaper he controls, \'Parto Sokhan\',
advertises for and has recruited many thousands of young Iranians
for a \'martyrs brigade\'. Assembly elections are due in the coming
months. Pray for God to \'frustrate the ways of the wicked\'. (Psalm
146:9)


* MALAYSIA: CRITICAL APOSTASY COURT CASE

The issue of legal recognition for the religious conversion of Lina
Joy has reached the Federal Court of Malaysia, with its ruling due
on 3 July according to Asia News. Traditionally Malaysia\'s secular
courts do not recognise religious conversion as Malaysian law
states that only religious courts can rule on religious matters.
This means that a Muslim wanting to convert to Christianity must
seek permission in an Islamic Sharia Court. However, Sharia Law
does not permit apostasy (conversion). So a Muslim woman\'s
conversion to Christianity is not legally recognised, which means
she must by law marry a Muslim man in a Muslim ceremony and be
under Islamic family law. Lina Joy, a convert since 1998, is
challenging this system, saying it is contrary to Article 11.1 of
Malaysia\'s Constitution which guarantees religious freedom. Please
pray for Lina Joy and this case and for all the debate it is
generating.

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We usually provide a summary to use in bulletins unable to run
the whole RLP. As a summary is not practicable with this
monthly update posting we suggest using one or more of the
above paragraphs.

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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.