This past Sunday, October 18, a large group of locals attacked a church in the Afar Province of Ethiopia during a morning worship service. Details are limited at this stage, but we know that while thankfully no one was killed, an unknown number of Christians sustained non-life threatening injuries. The attackers also destroyed chairs, benches, musical instruments and choir uniforms. There is significant damage to the roof and doors of the building. The cost of the damage is not yet known.
Church leaders have reported the situation to police and are awaiting their response.
Local researchers report that Christians who live in the Muslim-dominated Afar region face a great deal of marginalization and often endure unfair treatment for their evangelical faith. For instance, local Muslims often refuse to rent their accommodations to Christians, and recently a Christian man endured four months in jail on false accusations of rape.
Local sources told Open Doors that the local Christians are in shock following the attack.
Thank God for preventing far worse damage.
Pray for comfort for these believers who have witnessed this large-scale attack against their church.
Pray for God to grant their church leader wisdom as He ministers to His congregation in this time of frustration and confusion.
Ethiopia is ranked #22 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List (www.worldwatchlist.us) of the worst persecutors of Christians. While Christianity has ancient roots in the country, growing Islamic extremism, government pressure and persecution of non-traditional Protestant churches by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church result in hardship for Ethiopian Christians.
Compiled by Brett Tarbell. For media inquiries, contact Katie Rouse at 678-410-9575 or Christy Lynn Wilson at 770-401-9842.