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Somalia

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A street view in Somalia
COSV / CC BY-SA 3.0

Hassan Hurshe (28), a Somali convert from Islam to Christianity, was publicly shot in the head in the town of Jilib in June 2013 by militants from the Islamist group al-Shabaab. It is thought that the group had been monitoring him since his return to Somalia in 2010. His parents, widow and young son fled the area after his murder.

Hassan’s killing is only one of numerous recent anti-Christian attacks carried out by al-Shabaab in Somalia. The group has declared its intention “to get rid of the barbaric and non-Islamic culture in the country” and that converts from Islam would be “under the sword of the holy warriors”. Kidnapping, sexual abuse, torture and murder are among the brutal punishments meted out on the small number of Christian converts. Dozens of Christians have been executed since 2008, when the group seized control of central and southern Somalia. The chaotic nature of the country means that reports of murders that reach us may not reflect the actual number of such incidents.

Al-Shabaab, which has claimed affiliation with al-Qaeda since 2007, is fighting to establish a radical Islamic state in East Africa. Despite having been driven out of most major population centres, it continues to control some rural areas in the centre and south of the country, where it strictly implements sharia law using stonings, amputations and floggings.

Somalia has been without an effective government for many years. The introduction of a provisional constitution and the election of a new parliament and president are hopeful signs, but much of the country is still outside their control. The provisional constitution elevates sharia and greatly restricts religious freedom. It says, “No law which is not compliant with the general principles and objectives of sharia can be enacted” and, “No religion other than Islam can be propagated in the country.” Even in government-held areas Christian converts have to meet secretly or follow Jesus alone. Christianity is often associated with the oppression of the country by European colonial rulers.

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Daily prayer

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  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 4 hours ago

  • Pray for Barnabas Aid partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • 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 Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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