August 14, 2013 by Open Doors

Ugandan Pastor Continues Treatment Following Acid Attack

“I have so far undergone seven surgeries and have three more to go. The next one is scheduled for Aug. 28. It seems like a never-ending battle for me, but I am glad that I have not let it put me down. I have recently been encouraged by visits from some long time Ugandan friends. I also thank you so much for all your prayers and support. Please keep praying for me.” These were the words written by Pastor Umar Mulinde from Israel recently where he is continuing his stay for the sake of medical treatment. On Dec. 24, 2011 just after a Christmas Eve service at the Gospel Life Church, Namasuba in Kampala, unknown attackers tossed concentrated acid into his face. Umar told an Open Doors (OD) worker who visited him within hours of the attack that he was approaching his car when he heard a voice shouting, “Allah Akbar! (God is Greatest)” Next he felt a stinging sensation in his face, followed by intense burning and eventually excruciating pain. The agony as the acid ate away at his flesh caused him to lose consciousness. He awoke at the Kampala International Hospital where he had been rushed. Doctors reported that the acid had badly damaged his skin and some facial bones. It also blinded one eye. From there Umar was flown to Israel for specialized treatment where he remains. The financial pressures of his situation are a constant concern for Umar, but he is thankful for the help and support he has received from OD and other individuals and organizations. “I am trusting God for a quick recovery, and for the provision in all the needs of my family and ministry. For sure I have gone through challenging, painful moments of my life but I really thank you for quickly coming to my rescue at my very point of need. God bless you indeed.”

Egyptian Christian Anxiety Mounts as Islamist Hostility Increases
– World Watch Monitor

Mass no longer is being celebrated at The Church of St. Mary. Police officers guard the entrance.

Throughout the Egyptian town of Eastern Bani Ahmed south of Cairo, the Christian-owned shops are closed.  At least seven Christian homes, and even more of their vehicles, have been ransacked, burned, or both. At least 18 people are injured, and police have issued dozens of arrest warrants. A disagreement over a song on the radio was all it took to set off the violence Aug. 3.

Since July 3, when the Egyptian military removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power, anti-Christian backlash has flared in pockets across Egypt. Though there have been many examples of Christians and Muslims breaking bread together and joining ranks to support moving the government off the Brotherhood’s Islamist path, the crescendo of violence has heightened Christian anxiety. It has proven worrisome enough that Coptic Pope Tawadros II last week backed out of public appearances he had planned for this week at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo. He determined his presence could endanger the congregation, according to Bishop Angaelos, leader of the Coptic church in the United Kingdom, who revealed the pope’s change of plans to the BBC. Also last week, 16 Egyptian human-rights groups issued a joint statement of “grave concern regarding the increasing sectarian violence which has targeted Christians and their churches since the June 30 uprising.”

Pakistani Christians Ensure Police Arrest Key Murder Suspect – World Watch Monitor

Forty-five-year-old Ishaq Masih, a resident of a village in the Okara district, near Lahore, Pakistan, was shot dead on July 27, his children say, by a man named Muhammad Luqman (alias Ranjha) who, accompanied by others, had illegally occupied Masih’s land. Fearing the police would not follow “due process” as a minority Christian was involved, local Christians rushed to the scene. They then refused to bury the body for three days (contrary to Pakistani practice of burial the next day) until police had agreed to register the murder, arrest two of the suspects and conduct an autopsy. On July 29, police promised that they would arrest all other suspects (including Ranjha) within a week, but only if the Christians would bury Masih, and then disperse peacefully. The protesters agreed, and Catholic Father James Bahadur buried Masih that night. Police, however, failed to arrest prime suspect Ranjha by their self-imposed deadline of Aug. 5, the outcome Bahadur and others had feared. Meanwhile, seven suspected accomplices were released on bail.

(For more information or to set up interviews, call Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email [email protected]).

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