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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - March \'07 Update

March 29, 2007


Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 422 | Wed 28 Mar 2007
WELCOME to the 24 intercessors who have joined the list this month.

DURING MARCH WE PRAYED FOR -

ERITREA, where more than 2000 Christians, including youths, are
imprisoned in appalling conditions and subjected to violent,
cruel \'punishment\' because of their Protestant Christianity.
Three believers have been tortured to death in recent months.

VIETNAM, where several human rights and democracy advocates
including religious liberty advocate Nguyen van Dai have been
arrested for \'propagandising [saying negative things] against
the state of Vietnam\'. Lawyers Dai and Cong Nhan have been
disbarred and had their law office shut down. They are on a
hunger strike.

UZBEKISTAN, where serious security issues due to Islamic
radicalism and militancy, combined with escalating anti-US
sentiment, are causing a wide-scale government crackdown that is
also impacting Protestant Christians. Dmitry Shestakov, a
registered pastor, has been sentenced to four years in a
Soviet-era penal colony.


SOME OTHER ISSUES DURING MARCH
------------------------------

* INDIA: PASTORS ATTACKED NATIONWIDE

Compass Direct reports a Christian pastor was attacked on 6 March
by Islamic militants in the Kupwara district of the northern state
of Jammu and Kashmir. The masked mob beat Pastor Ashir Uddin
unconscious with iron bars and sticks, breaking one of his legs.

Also on 6 March Pastor Binoy Kuriakose and two other Indian Gospel
Church members were attacked and beaten by a mob of some 20 Hindu
militants as they and a few others were distributing Christian
literature in Sailana village, Madhya Pradesh. On 7 March Pastors
Reginald Howell and Sat Nam from the Good Shepherd Community Church
in Punjab were attending a Christian meeting in Hanumangarh,
Rajasthan, when they were attacked by armed villagers. They managed
to escape but their attackers returned later and beat the pastors
with iron rods and bricks. Even though the two pastors were beaten
and bleeding, police refused to register a complaint. Also in
Rajasthan, Pastors Philip Abraham and Jacob Kunjumon were arrested
on 23 March after Hindu nationalists accused them of insulting
Hindu gods and luring people to convert to Christianity. The
pastors are presently free on bail.

On 11 March Pastor Massek Matthew was attacked travelling home from
a meeting in Bangalore, Karnataka. He managed to flee and escaped
serious injury. Sources indicate Pastor Matthew\'s church-planting
ministry has aroused hostilities in Cholanayakanahalli village,
Bangalore, where he has established the Bethesda Prayer Hall. In
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, the Christian community has asked the
local government to protect them from violent Hindu militants. All
this is the tip of the iceberg for March 2007.


* KOSOVO, SERBIA: PRIEST AND CHURCH ATTACKED

On Monday 5 March hooligans attacked, vandalised and desecrated the
Serbian Orthodox Church of St John the Forerunner in Pec, Kosovo.
The wooden doors and all the windows were broken, offensive
graffiti (including some glorifying the KLA Albanian Islamic terror
force) was sprayed on the walls and garbage strewn around the
courtyard. The church, damaged during the March 2004 Albanian
Muslim anti-Serb pogroms, had been renovated during 2006. On Sunday
18 March Catholic priest Don Lush Gjergji was alone in the Catholic
Church near Vitia when armed, masked intruders robbed and beat him.
Please pray for the ethnic and religious minorities of Kosovo.


* LAOS: CHRISTIANS FORCED FROM NAKOON VILLAGE

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA) the Lao Movement for Human
Rights reports that authorities in Nakoon village, Laos, have
stepped up their efforts to \'eliminate Christianity\' from the
remote area. An eyewitness told RFA that \'Nakoon Christians have
been worshipping underground in fear of arrest and imprisonment\'. A
committee comprised of a district military officer, the head of
village religious affairs, the chief of sub-district affairs, a
district police officer and the Nakoon village chief has launched a
campaign aimed at forcing local Christians to renounce their faith.
On 13 March this committee assembled more than 180 people in a bid
to pressure the Christians to abandon their religion. An official
order was then published ordering the deportation of 46 Christians
from 10 families. Please pray for these persecuted believers.

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We usually provide a summary to use in news-sheets unable to
run the whole of an 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.