Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church

November 5, 2014 by Open Doors in Persecution updates

Pakistan: Christian Couple Killed by Mob Over Alleged ‘Blasphemy’

Open Doors is asking for prayers for Christians in Pakistan after a Christian couple was beaten to death by an angry mob on Tuesday. They were accused by the mob of desecrating the Quran, according to World Watch Monitor ( Police identified the victims as Shahzad Masih, 26, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24. According to WWM, Shama was five months pregnant, and the couple had four children.

Their bodies were burned by the mob in the large brick oven (kiln) where they worked as bonded laborers in the village of Chak 59, Kot Radha Kishan, in Punjab province.

BBC News reported today that at least 43 suspects were arrested in connection with the killings.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue, and critics argue the laws are often misused to settle personal scores, and that minorities, especially Christians, are unfairly targeted.

Pray for the Christians of Kot Radha Kishan where the horrible incident took place. Pray that the Lord’s peace and comfort would surround the slain couples’ children and entire family.

Also, continue to pray for Christian mother Aasiya (Asia) Bibi and her family. There is concern that this latest incident will put her at even more risk in her prison cell. Pray specifically that God will intervene and either her death sentence for allegations of blasphemy will be reversed by the Supreme Court or the government will grant her amnesty. Aasiya has been imprisoned for five years.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Says Chibok Girls Married Off, Converted to Islam

Nigeria: Boko Haram Says Chibok Girls Married Off, Converted to Islam

“We have married them off and they are all in their husbands’ houses. The over 200 Chibok girls have converted to Islam, which they confess is the best religion. Either their parents accept this and convert too, or they can die.”

These were the words of a man claiming to be Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a video given to media on Saturday. The speaker denied the existence of a ceasefire agreement with the government.

Insecurity in the northeast continued last week with the militants seizing Mubi in Adamawa State on Wednesday. Mubi is Adamawa State’s second largest town and commercial hub.

The militants killed dozens of people, and forced thousands to flee when they stormed the town, robbing banks, burning down the main market and seizing the palace before hoisting its black flag over it.

Also, Issac, an Open Doors researcher, reported that a son of the district official who is a staff person of the judiciary was beheaded in the presence of his father. He added that, “over 6,000 people are reported to have fled in different directions from Mubi. Even those in the hospitals had to run for their lives!”

Central Asia: Children; Youth Camps Making Huge Impact

Central Asia: Children; Youth Camps Making Huge Impact

During the summer, many camps for children and youth were held in Central Asian countries by Open Doors workers. The impact of those camps was huge! In many countries, it is illegal to provide children with Christian education. Through camps, it can be done in a way without attracting too much attention.

In one country, there were four children’s camps which lasted six or seven days each. The first camp had 156 participants, the second 154, the third 149 and the last one 146. The children came from many different churches. For the youth, there were two “extreme camps” with 117 teenagers for five days and 40 youngsters for four days.

This year, there were some youth from Muslim families. Their behavior was challenging as they started claiming that they were followers of the “true religion of Islam.” They even chose a very challenging name for their team: “the pirates”. They tried to show by the name they chose that they were against everything they saw and heard in the camp. However, during lectures and the time of reading the Bible, the kids started to show interest in many aspects of the gospel, and they asked many questions.

Later, the group came forward to the stage, repented and received Christ when leaders made the call to pray and receive Him into their hearts. At the beginning of the camp, leaders wondered why God had led the Muslim youth to the camp. In the end, they were very grateful that the kids came to the camp and accepted Christ.

Compiled by Jerry Dykstra. For media inquiries, contact Christine Cape at 404-545-0085 or Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575.