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Revolution in the Middle East -Uncertainty for Christians

March 2, 2011 by Open Doors in General

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In Yemen, Ali Abdallah Saleh’s regime has been in power for about the same length of time as Mubarak’s in Egypt, over 32 years. Although governed by Saleh, the power of the regime is limited, especially in the remote regions of the country where tribal rulers control the region. If Saleh would fall, it is unclear who could take over Yemen. With the presence of Al Queda in various parts of the country, Yemen could easily fall apart similar to the situation in Iraq, or worse, in Somalia. A regime-change in Yemen could very well mean a change to no regime at all, resulting in anarchy. 

Yemen lacks the presence of traditional church. Islam is the state religion and Sharia law is the source of all legislation. Described as one of the poorest and least evangelized nations in the world, the constitution guarantees religious freedom but declares that Islam is the state religion. It has been estimated that less than 1,000 Yemenis have left Islam during the rule of Saleh, but very few have been willing to make a public statement about it due to family and social pressures.

Jordan has a Christian minority of about 300,000 believers, most of them with a history going back to the 1st century. Know as one of the most Western oriented countries in the Middle East, the constitution guarantees religious freedom. As long as the churches do not evangelize, the government will not bother Christian believers; however, the state security is following the steps of church leaders closely and therefore the Jordanian evangelical movement’s freedom is rather limited.

In both Jordan and Yemen demonstrations have taken place over the past several weeks. In Jordan King Abdullah II remains popular and has quickly announced a reshuffle of his government, asking politicians to take note of the complaints of its citizens and respond to them. It is yet to be seen what the future holds for Christians in the Middle East. As we watch from the sidelines the turmoil unfolding in Libya let us join in prayer for our brethren caught in the cross-fire and pray for a future where they can openly and freely worship our savior Jesus Christ. 

Father, in the midst of ongoing unrest in the Middle East, we look to You as the one and only sovereign God. We pray that through political shifts and regime changes, Your people would be protected by Your loving mercy and grace. Despite hardship, we pray that more people would come to a saving knowledge of Christ, and Your glory would be displayed throughout the region. Amen

 

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