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Christians in Muslim world are attacked in violent reaction to Pope's remarks

The well organised expressions of rage across the Muslim word in response to a quotation about jihad cited by Pope Benedict XVI last Tuesday 12th September prove once again that there are aspects of Islam which are intrinsically linked to violence.

Various Muslim leaders have called for demonstrations and protests, including the influential cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has called for a "day of rational anger" and has also warned Muslims not to attack churches. Sadly, however, indigenous Christians and expatriate Christian workers have already become victims in the outburst of Muslim anger against the pope. The perpetrators of these attacks have shown the truth of the very allegation they loudly reject and protest against. Following are some of the violent incidents linked to Muslim anger about the pope's remarks.

Palestinian Authority

In Gaza a 1,425 year-old church was repeatedly hit by homemade explosives on Friday15 September. On Saturday 16 September attackers hurled firebombs and opened fire at four churches in the West Bank (two of them in Nablus). On Sunday 17 September 2006 another two churches in the West Bank were attacked: a stone church in Tulkarm built 170 years ago was torched before dawn and a church in Tubas was attacked with firebombs and partially burned. A group claiming responsibility for the attacks called itself the "Lions of Monotheism" and said it was protesting against the pope's words.

Somalia

In Somalia a prominent Mogadishu cleric, Sheikh Abulbakar Hassan Malin during Friday prayers on 15 September called on Muslims to "hunt down" and kill then pope for his remarks: "Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim". One day later, on Saturday 16 September 2006 an Italian nun was shot dead in a hospital in Mogadishu. Gunmen entered the SOS hospital and shot the nun before escaping. The nun, in her 70s, was one of the longest-serving members of the Catholic church in Mogadishu.

Iraq

In Basra a bomb exploded on Friday 15 September in front of a church in the Al-Ashhar neighbourhood when the guard opened the church door. The guard was mercifully not hurt. This incident is thought to be linked to the pope's remarks because of the date on which it occurred.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • Give thanks that two small Christian communities in Niger have received livestock from Barnabas Fund to help them become self-sufficient. The Christians also received three days of training to learn how to take care of the animals. The predominantly Muslim region where these communities are located has endured more than a decade of food insecurity. Pray that the livestock will prosper, so that the Christians will be able to sell them at a good price and will become financially independent. Pray also that growing tensions between Muslims and Christians in Niger will not adversely affect them. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 3 hours ago

    • Almighty God, we call to You for relief for Christians in the Gwoza area of Borno state in Northern Nigeria, as they face repeated violent attacks by Boko Haram militants. We pray for comfort for the relatives and friends of the hundreds who have been killed, and for the thousands who have been forced from their homes and seen them torched. We ask for Your special protection on Christians as they gather to worship You. We pray for the Nigerian authorities to re-establish control of the area, so that the displaced Christians may be safe from further attacks and free to rebuild their shattered communities. We pray too for their persecutors to come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Sep 2014 00:00

    • “This is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution. Allah says we should finish them when we get them.” The leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram was speaking in a video that reasserted their agenda and addressed “the people of the world”, saying, “Either you are with us Mujahedeen or you are with the Christians.” The translation of the video was released as scores of people were killed in suicide bombings in May, including at least 118 in a double attack in Jos, Plateau state on 20 May. Pray that Boko Haram’s murderous campaign to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria will not succeed. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for Bible school students in Vietnam who were subjected to a terrifying night-time raid by police and hired thugs. On 9 June, officers swooped from adjacent rooftops into the church compound that houses the school, while vehicle-loads of people were brought to the site to vandalise the building with bricks, stones and sticks. The students were beaten, punched and kicked before being taken away for interrogation; 20 were left in need of medical attention but were prevented from leaving to find it. Thugs continued to attack the compound over the next ten nights. Pray for the students as they recover from this brutal assault and that they will stand firm in their faith in the face of intimidation. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Aug 2014 00:00

    • In an earlier incident in Saisomboon village, three teenage Christian girls were disqualified from taking their final school examinations because of their faith. The village chief said that in following Christianity, Noi (15), Net (15) and Nut (14) had forfeited their right to education. Five families from the village have now converted to Christianity. A spokesman for Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom expressed the view that the authorities were trying to find every possible way “to stop the spread of Christian religious freedom in the area”. Pray that the girls will be allowed to complete their education and that opposition to the Christians in the village will cease. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Aug 2014 00:00

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