Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Nigeria: Open Doors Worker Reports ‘Grievous’ Suffering
Isaac*, an Open Doors researcher for Nigeria, has just returned from visiting a few Christians who have fled in the wake of Boko Haram’s capture of the city of Mubi on Oct. 29. The attack on Mubi has been a huge blow to these local Christians. Witnesses told Isaac how an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria ordered the Christians that were trapped in Mubi to embrace Islam or be ready to die. “The Lord gave many of them the grace to stand strong,” reports Isaac.
Many Christian men and women have been brutally killed. Younger women have been married off. Not one of the 200 churches in Mubi has been left standing. This suffering has been experienced by thousands of Christians across the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, and has been described by Isaac as “grievous.”
They are in desperate need of prayer. While we do not know how many Christians have lost their lives in these states, pastors told Isaac they estimate that more than 1,000 Christians have been forcefully ‘Islamized’. Thousands of churches, Christian homes and Christian businesses have been destroyed. More than 1,000 Christian women are missing, and more than 1,000 children have been separated from their parents to face life alone in camps.
“The level of trauma among the believers is very high,” Isaac continued. But despite their suffering, many of the believers managed a smile and found strength to praise God. They were encouraged by Isaac’s visit. Open Doors has already delivered emergency relief and more deliveries are planned in the next few weeks.
Also, a suicide bombing at a science and technical school for boys in Potiskum in Yobe State killed at least 48 students and injured 79 on Monday.
Iraq: Many Desperate Christians Want to Leave
As winter approaches and their stay in tents or other temporary living conditions is lasting longer and longer, fewer and fewer displaced Iraqi Christians believe they have a future in Iraq. “The world should open the borders to get us out of the country,” says Father Douglas*.
“There is only one fast solution: get us out of here,” is the opinion of Rajih*. In two different locations in Ankawa and Erbil, both Father Douglas and Rajih are responsible for hundreds of displaced Christian families.
“We hear people from abroad say that the Middle East should not be left without Christians,” Father Douglas says with emotion in his voice. “Give me a break please. Are they worried about the Middle East or worried about the Christian people? Should we stay till the last drop of Christian blood is shed?”
He continues: “Some see us Christians as heroes when staying in the Middle East. I would say when it is so important to have Christians in the Middle East; you come and replace us.”
“That is what almost all of us want (to leave Iraq),” Jala*, a young Christian woman, says. She fled with her parents from Qaraqosh at the beginning of August. “We first lived in tents, then in an unfinished building. Now, we could move to a rented apartment in a village not far from Erbil. But it is very expensive for us. We all are without work.”
Bangladesh: Extremists Attack Believers During Baptism
On Nov. 9, Faith Bible Church baptized 42 believers from Muslim backgrounds in Lalmonirhat, north Bangladesh. While the event was going on, at least 200 local Muslims attacked the new believers and pastors Salim Haidar and John Arif.
The Muslims called the police and had the Christians arrested. Charges were then filed against the two pastors. They were accused of converting Muslims by offering them money.
“The police detained the believers all night,” said a local Open Doors source. “The believers strongly denied the allegations.”
The believers were released the next morning, but the two pastors were kept in custody. They posted bail with the help of a lawyer, but it was denied. The first hearing is set for next Monday.
“The officer-in-charge said that he cannot release the pastors because of pressure from Islamic leaders,” added the same source.
*Real names protected for security concerns
Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.