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During November we have prayed for....

November 29, 2006

THE PERSECUTED CHURCH worldwide (IDOP 2006), acknowledging that
persecution is widespread, intense and escalating. We also prayed
against several specific evils that are major contributors to the
repression and persecution of the Church: the evils of Islamic
imperialism and terrorism; the proliferation of illicit small
arms; isolation, the means by which totalitarian dictators and
ideologies resist openness, avoid liberty and keep their people
enslaved in ignorance.

HORN OF AFRICA (HOA), where Somali al Qaeda-linked Islamic
militants, with the backing of numerous Arab and Islamic regimes
and organisations, aim to unite and then expand Somalia,
establishing an Islamic Caliphate with Sharia Law over a Greater
Somalia, including eastern Ethiopia and northeastern Kenya.

* UPDATE: The government of semi-autonomous Puntland (the northern
portion of Italian Somalia) has agreed to adopt Sharia Law to
prevent further conflict. Puntland formerly had secular civil
law. The Islamic Courts Union (ICU) captured several key towns to
force the capitulation. The ICU has declared a jihad and Ethiopia
has stated it is prepared for war. The first of several
skirmishes occurred on Sunday 19 November when Somali Islamists
attacked a convoy of Ethiopian vehicles headed for Baidoa, home
of Somalia\'s UN-backed Transitional Federal Government. The first
two trucks were destroyed by mines before Islamic fighters opened
fire on the convoy, killing six and wounding 20. Tensions are
escalating towards a massive regional war that will have both
geopolitical and religious dimensions. Pray for Christians across
the HOA.

IRAQ, where Christians and Mandaeans, who are about three percent
of the Iraqi population, account for some 500,000 (40 percent) of
the refugees now scattered through the Middle East. As the US
Commission on International Religious Freedom states, Iraq\'s
Christians and Mandaeans \'continue to suffer a disproportionate
burden of violent attacks and other human rights abuses\'. They
urgently need access to refugee programs in the West. RLP 405
reported that a fifth priest, Fr Al Bazy (34), had disappeared,
feared kidnapped. There has been no word yet on his fate.

OTHER SITUATIONS FOR PRAYER IN NOVEMBER
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* INDIA: CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED, CHURCHES ATTACKED

Persecution continues to escalate across India as Hindu
nationalists assert themselves and use religion to advance their
political agenda, which is simply a power grab. Hindu nationalist
propaganda portrays India as a proud Hindu nation and Christians as
a threat to national security, unity and sovereignty, and Christian
evangelism as a subversive crime against individuals and the state.

Compass Direct reports four attacks in Andhra Pradesh in November.
They include arson of a church; attacks on two Catholic schools
that damaged furniture and vehicles and left students and nuns
abused and traumatised; about 100 Hindu militants invading an
informal home prayer service and beating the pastor so seriously he
was hospitalised. In Kerala, four co-pastors attacked by Hindu
militants also had to be hospitalised. After the pastors lodged a
complaint their attackers retaliated by vandalising their church,
destroying equipment and furniture. In Kurumaradikere village,
Karnataka, Lambini tribal villagers are now refusing to let
Christians worship the Lord. They are intimidating them and have
driven the local pastor, Revanna Naik, into hiding. They are
ostracising Christians who refuse to bow and worship Hindu idols.
Reportedly a local politician named Raja Naik ordered the
persecution.


* SRI LANKA: PERSECUTION AMIDST INSECURITY OF CIVIL WAR

Christians in Sri Lanka are now doubly threatened by escalating
persecution and mounting violence and insecurity due to civil war.
The war is primarily over ethnic issues: Sinhalese dominance and
Tamil separatism. Also the two groups follow different religions -
Buddhism and Hinduism - which heightens religious identification
and zeal, especially in the nationalist and militant factions of
the Buddhist majority. They are now exploiting the insecurity to
advance their persecution of the Church. Churches and church
schools have been threatened with serious repercussions if they do
not cancel their Christmas events and celebrations. During Sunday
worship on 29 October the church in Yakkala, Gampaha, was forced to
abandon the service when it was threatened by a mob of around 50
people led by four Buddhist monks. Christians in Tamil-controlled
Jaffna also fear that as violence escalates religious liberty will
deteriorate.


* NEPAL: PRAISE GOD, HE ANSWERS PRAYER

At the start of 2006 Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom suffering from a
lack of liberty, a repressed and persecuted Church, and a decade-
long Maoist insurgency. In April \'people power\' ended the king\'s
totalitarian rule. The new Seven Party Alliance (SPA) government
quickly declared that Nepal would no longer be a Hindu Kingdom but
a secular state. On 21 November the Maoists and the SPA signed a
Comprehensive Peace Agreement which not only ends the civil war but
reiterates the commitment of both parties to civil rights, human
rights, equality and religious liberty as defined by the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. In June 2007 there will be elections
for the Constituent Assembly and a new Constitution will be
drafted. Continue to pray for Nepal and for the Nepalese Church.

~~~~

\'For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over
this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the
heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armour of God, that
you may be able to withstand. . . \' (from Ephesians 6:12,13)

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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 one or more of the above
items be used instead.

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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.