Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands
up for me against evildoers? If the Lord had not been
my help, my soul would have soon lived in the land
of silence. – Psalm 94: 16-17
Walking with Pakistan’s Flood Affected Church
In cooperation with three national church groups, Open Doors’ field partners are focusing on delivering immediate emergency aid in Pakistan ‘s flood-affected provinces. Ten weeks after the floods, some 20 million people have been uprooted, with Pakistani Christians still highly vulnerable. The relief teams are discovering serious trends of outright discrimination against Christians in government-run efforts. More than 1,000 reports have been documented in which Christians were denied aid “unless you convert to Islam.” “They tell us we are just street-sweepers and the aid is not for us,” destitute Christians told the field teams. The reason given them was always the same, “This aid is coming from Zakat (Islamic tax). It is not for Christians.”
The relief teams include pastoral workers, doctors, nurses, volunteers with first aid training, and property assessors to advise residents how to repair or rebuild their homes. Other volunteers are helping people locate lost family members, and yet others are helping them locate homes for rent. This is proving a challenge, since Muslim landlords are unwilling to rent to Christians, either because of personal prejudices or for fear of retaliation by extremists.
“At this point in time, it would be so easy to annihilate the church in Pakistan,” one church leader admitted this week. “That is why our emergency relief teams are working swiftly to meet the immediate and long-term needs of Pakistani Christians suffering from one of the world’s worst natural disaster in the past century.”
Muslims Force Expat Christian Teacher to Flee Maldives
According to Compass News, on September 29th, a group of angry Muslim parents stormed the government school on the island of Foakaindhoo, in the Maldives , accusing Geethamma George of drawing a cross in her class, and accused her of “preaching Christianity,” a source at the school reported. A few days earlier, George, a social studies teacher, had drawn a compass to teach directions to her students. “Fearing that the teacher would be physically attacked, the officials took her out of the island right away,” the source said.
Preaching or practicing a non-Muslim faith is forbidden under Maldivian law, which does not recognize any faith other than Islam. The more than 300,000 citizens of the Maldives are all Sunni Muslims. Many of the more than 70,000 expatriate workers in the Maldives are Christian, but they are allowed to practice their faith only inside their respective homes. They cannot even get together for prayer or worship in each other’s houses; doing so has resulted in the arrest and deportation of expatriates in the past.
Iraq – Open Doors Helps Christian Iraqi Refugees
Two years ago Daoud and Jasie’s family moved from Baghdad to Northern Iraq after witnessing four people being shot outside their home. The terrorist warned them that if they didn’t move, they would be next. Since then Daoud has not been able to find work this family of seven (two of the children are mentally handicapped) have been forced to depend on handouts. Open Doors recently visited them giving a ‘relief package’ containing goods, such as cooking oil, sugar, rice, tea and long life milk. In the next visit Open Doors plans on helping the family receive a small income generating loan. Praise God!
Algeria– Christians Accused of Worshipping Without Proper Authorization
On September 27th, a trial was opened against four Algerian Christians accused of creating a place of non-Muslim worship. Outside the court a large crowd of protesters gathered showing solidarity to the four defendants. Demonstrators carried several banners reading; ‘Places of worship for everyone’, ‘Freedom of religion = freedom of conscience’ and ‘Abolition of the Law of 03-06-2006’ pointing at the anti-proselytizing law that was accepted by the Algerian government March 2006. Mahmoud, one of the accused, remains firm and says, “Even as I stand before court now with my three brothers, I will not hide my membership to the Christian community and express the choice I made.”
Protestors’ signs read “Freedom of Worship = Freedom of
Conscience” and “Place of Worship for Everyone”
Father, we thank You for Your constant provision, and we ask for Your continued restoration for those suffering displacement in Pakistan. Please also provide protection to those who are providing aid, and may You abundantly provide the necessary resources in the relief efforts.
We also pray for expatriate Christians in the Maldives who cannot worship You collectively, and we ask that You would strengthen their love for Christ as they live in the midst of a Muslim-dominated society. Father we pray for Iraqi families who have nothing but faith in You, and we pray they would be encouraged by the visitors and gifts they receive. Lord please be with the Algerian Christians as they stand firm in their beliefs, and may court charges would be dropped.
Lastly, we give thanks for to You and Your loving grace to all those who suffer for their faith in You; may they draw closer to You in their times of struggle as well in their times of praises.