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Maldives

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An aerial view of Malé, capital city of the Maldives
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Giorgio Montersino

This desirable tourist destination is anything but a paradise for the islands’ non-Muslim residents. The island nation has become even more religiously intolerant since the first democratically elected president, who was seen as liberal, was forced to resign in February 2012 after Islamists put pressure on the government, which was already one of the most restrictive in the world. No non-Muslim can become a citizen, and although foreigners are free to practise their faith in private, there are no non-Muslim places of worship.

Maldivian Christians, who number less than 0.2% of the population, are forced to practise their faith alone and in great secrecy. They are ostracised, discriminated against and put under constant surveillance. The law even requires that all parents educate their children as Muslims, whether they are Muslim or not. Those who make public calls for religious tolerance are subjected to extrajudicial detention.

It is illegal to spread any other religion than Islam, and preaching anything except the country’s officially-approved version of Islam is punishable by up to five years in jail. No Christian work has ever been permitted, and the government deports foreigners found with Christian symbols. It is also illegal to carry Christian literature; for example Jathish Biswas, a Bangladeshi Christian worker, was arrested and detained for 23 days in September 2012 before being deported for bringing Christian books into the country.

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    • Pray for the friends and family of Beatrice Mukashaka, an 18-year-old Christian woman, who was hacked to death in a savage attack by Muslims during an overnight prayer meeting at a church in Uganda. A group of around 20 Christians had gathered at the church in Kyegegwa district for their regular Friday night prayer session when armed Muslims burst into the building at around 2am. Please pray for all who mourn for Beatrice and that the assailants will be brought to justice. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 14 hours ago

    • Churches in Christian-majority Burundi are facing the unfamiliar situation of political restriction by their own government because of a new law passed in August that requires each church to have at least 500 members and a proper building. Congregations have a year in which to comply with the new regulations. Although intended to reduce some scandalous practices, the law is strangely reminiscent of the strict regimes of Central Asia. Pray that religious liberty will be maintained in Burundi, both for Christians and for the small minorities who follow other religions. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for eight Cameroonian missionaries who have been harshly reminded of the cost of sharing the Gospel in their country during a training seminar to equip them for ministry. Barnabas had helped to fund a series of seminars, and on the final day of the last seminar they heard that Jean-Marcel Kesvere, another Cameroonian missionary, who had been planning to attend the seminar with his wife, had been kidnapped by Boko Haram and that his body had been found earlier that day. Give thanks for the response of the missionaries, who expressed their willingness to suffer similarly for Christ, and pray that their work will bear much fruit (John 12:24). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Fund in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

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