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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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  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 2 hours ago

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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