Jihad in Nigeria
More than 2,000 civilians have been murdered by Boko Haram terrorists since the beginning of this year alone. Boko Haram Jihadists in Northern Nigeria have forced approximately 650,000 people from their homes, according to the United Nations Humanitarian office (OCHA). Thousands of refugees have fled across Nigeria's borders into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Girls Used as Suicide Bombers in Nigeria
On 27 July, a female suicide bomber blew herself up in St. Charles church in Sabon Gari, Kano. The following day, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a trade show and petrol station. 30 July, an 18-year old women detonated an explosive device at a college in Kano state polytechnic, killing 16 students as they checked a notice board. The same day another attack was thwarted by police who arrested two Boko Haram Jihadists travelling with a 10-year old girl, who had a suicide explosive belt strapped to her. On 30 July, at least 5 churches were attacked by Muslim Jihadists in Borno state, using petrol bombs and explosive devices.
Mass Extermination of Christians in Iraq
In Northern Iraq, the Slemani Times reports that 2,600 men have been executed and 500 women abducted by ISIS. Missionaries are describing the reign of terror by ISIS Jihadists as "Ethnic cleansing" and "mass extermination". Kurds (descendants of the Medes that we read about in the Bible) and Assyrian Christians in the region have been particularly targeted for extermination by ISIS Jihadists.
Tombs of the Prophets Demolished
The graves of the prophets Jonah and Daniel have been demolished and scores of churches destroyed by the Muslim militants.
Crucified in the Caliphate
ISIS has declared a Caliphate (or Islamic Dictatorship) over Northern Syria and Iraq. Nine people were crucified in Aleppo in Syria at the beginning of July. Some men have reportedly taken up to nine hours to die by crucifixion.
Renounce Christ or Be Exterminated
30,000 people fled the Syrian town of Shuheil as ISIS ordered people to convert to Islam, or be annihilated. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, of the Chaldean Catholic Church stated that he fears that Christian life will be exterminated in the region unless there is a dramatic intervention.
The patriarch reported that prior to 2003 there were over 1.3 million Christians in Iraq, "yet within ten years we have shrunk to a community of less than 500,000". If present trends continue, there will be less than 50,000 Christians left in all of Iraq.
Genocide in Iraq
In just one week, a quarter of the Christians in Iraq have been driven from their homes. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have gone on the rampage systematically beheading Christians, even children. Christians have been tortured, maimed, mutilated and crucified by ISIS Jihadists in Northern Syria and Iraq.
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the Word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My Word, they will keep yours also." John 15:18-20
Carnage in Syria
ISIS and its allies have killed more than 160,000 people in the Civil War in Syria and displaced nearly one third of Syria's 23 million population.
The Dismembering of Iraq
The patriarch fears that Iraq will soon fall apart. "At present there are three fragments of Iraq: a Sunni one, a Kurdish one and a Shiite one. The Kurds already enjoy autonomy anyway. The Shiites do as well in a sense. Now the Sunnis are following suite. Iraq will therefore be divided up."
Distracted and Disinterested
The bishop noted that the Western states find football "more interesting than the situation here or in Syria."
Radical Agenda Threatens Global Security
ISIS is being perceived as a global security threat as its openly stated intention is to found an Islamic Caliphate with oil wells to fund its campaign to Islamise the world. This should be recognised as a clear and present danger to all religions and all people.
Muslim Mafia Land Grab in Pakistan
Christians in Pakistan are warning that the Punjab government in Pakistan have seized ten large Christian properties, including churches, schools and hospitals, in what is described as a "Muslim Mafia Land Grab".
Prominent Church Demolished in China
In China one of the largest church buildings has been demolished by state authorities. The Sanjiang church took 12 years and 30 million Yuan (US$ 4.7 million) to build. On 28 April the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou was demolished on the orders of the Zhejiang Party Secretary, Xia Baolong, on the basis that the church building was "too conspicuous." The church covered 7,928 square meters. 15% of the population in Wenzhou is Christian. The Communist Party stated that the demolition was to "rectify the problem of too many large churches and crosses corrupting the skyline."
Church Leaders Arrested and Congregations Targeted
On 28 April, armed Special Task Forces officers blocked the roads leading to the church and moved in heavy equipment to begin the demolition of the sanctuary. Six church leaders were arrested. Orders have been given for removing crosses and "partial demolitions/rectifications" at ten, or more, other churches in the area.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
Churches Attacked in Central African Republic
In the Central African Republic, Muslim rebels attacked a medical clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Nanga, Boguilla, in North West C.A.R., killing at least 16 people, including 3 Doctors Without Borders staff. Seleka rebels seized the bishop of Bossangoa and killed one of his priests. Churches have been attacked and plundered. The central mosque in Bangui, the capital, has become a powder keg and transformed into an arsenal for the Jihadists.
"And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." Revelation 12:11
House Churches Raided in Iran
Over Easter, security police in Iran raided House Churches, arresting numerous church leaders and smashing satellite dishes, which they claimed were being used to access Christian broadcasts.
"Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12
Christian Girls Abducted in Pakistan
The Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) in Pakistan has released a report titled: "Forced Marriages and Forced Conversions in the Christian Community of Pakistan." (published April 2014). According to this Report, 700 Christian girls are kidnapped and forced to marry Muslim men in Pakistan every year. MSP notes that this would just be the tip of the iceberg, as most abduction cases go unreported.
A Pattern of Abuse
According to the MSP Report, these forced marriages follow a distinct pattern of Christian girls being abducted from as young as 12-years old and forced to convert to Islam. They are "married" to the abductor, or to a third party. The victim's family files a report with the police. The abductor files a response claiming that the girl converted and married "of her own free will". These abducted Christian girls are subjected to violence, rape, forced prostitution, trafficking and sale.
Kidnapped in Egypt
In Egypt the same pattern of routine abductions and forced marriages of Christian Coptic girls to Muslim men, target many hundreds of Christian girls every year. This human trafficking across religious lines could not endure without the tacit consent and overt co-operation of Muslim Imams, law enforcement officers and government officials.
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7
Churches Rocketed and Seized in Syria
Christian schools have been targeted for rocket attacks by Islamic rebels in Syria. In Raqqa province, Syria, ISIS has set up their headquarters in what was formerly the Armenian Church.
Islamic Imams are fuelling this campaign of cruelty and carnage against Christians by inflammatory messages through their media. Sheik Yassir al-Burhami has declared over satellite channels and in mosques that "hatred of Christians is synonymous with love for Allah".
Hate Campaign Broadcast
Sheikh Yassir al-Burhami, the most public figure of the Salafi Movement in Egypt, has declared that Muslim taxi and bus drivers may not transport Coptic Christian priests to their churches. This is "more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar." Under the "law of loyalty and enmity", Muslims are commanded never to befriend non-Muslims. Burhami himself teaches that if a Muslim man marries a Christian, or a Jewish, woman, he must still hate his wife, because she is "an infidel." "He is commanded to hate her."
One of the thousands of Christian victims of this Islamic hate campaign was Mary Saleh George, a Copt in Egypt, who was murdered and mutilated for having a cross in her car. Her murder took place on Friday, the Muslim holy day when they gather for communal prayers and to hear messages in the mosques.
State Department Warnings
Although the US government claims that Islam is "a religion of peace and tolerance", the State Department gives routine warning to US citizens in the Middle East to avoid going out in public on Fridays. One would have thought that if the messages in these mosques were really about peace and tolerance, then why would there be an additional risk for American citizens in Muslim areas on Fridays?
The Most Persecuted Group in the World
According to a Pew Research report, Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. Of the 24 most persecuting countries in the world, 20 are Islamic. Christians are facing the most severe persecution in North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.
"When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?' Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." Revelation 6:9-11
How can we help our brethren who are suffering such intense and violent persecution at this time?
This is first and foremost an information war. A battle for hearts and minds. We need to be informed. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…" Hosea 4:6
Encourage everyone you know who is interested in the Persecuted Church to be on the emailing list of Frontline Fellowship, to regularly visit our www.frontline.org.za website and www.idop-africa.org website. You can also find Frontline Fellowship on Facebook, like, link and share it, as we regularly place information from the Persecuted Church on it.
Publicity Provides Protection for the Persecuted
You will also find that we have many articles and country reports on our Frontline Fellowship website, as well as links to audio lectures and sermons on our Sermon.Audio.com link as well as important presentations concerning the Persecuted Church, Islam and Communism, on our Slideshare link. These are all accessible through our www.frontline.org.za website.
Books on the Persecuted
There are also some excellent books on the persecution of the church that we can recommend, including: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam – The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat; Faith Under Fire in Sudan; In the Killing Fields of Mozambique; Holocaust in Rwanda; and Going Through.
Films on Persecution
There are also some excellent films that you can show, including: Islam Rising; Sudan – The Hidden Holocaust and Terrorism and Persecution – Understanding Islamic Jihad and Tortured for Christ. These and many other resources are available from Christian Liberty Books, PO Box 358, Howard Place 7450, Cape Town, South Africa, tel: 021-689-7478, email: email@example.com and website: www.christianlibertybooks.co.za.
We must be informed, we must be interceding and we must be involved. There is always something we can do. Social media is a great means of alerting others to what is going on. Also, write letters to the Editor of your local newspapers, or favourite magazine, to highlight these issues and to speak up for those who are being targeted for their Faith. Print out posters from our website to place on your church or school notice board to mobilise prayer and action.
Inform and Involve
You can also consider inviting speakers to give presentations on the Persecuted Church at your local church, or at your work fellowship, to help inform and involve others in speaking up for our persecuted brethren.
Mobilise Prayer and Pressure for the Persecuted
You can also obtain Frontline News and other literature from us to distribute at your church, to mobilise more prayer and pressure for the persecuted.
"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the Body of Christ, and members individually." 1 Corinthians 12:26-27
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa