On 19 November Korean evangelist Jinwook Kim was stabbed on the streets in the south-eastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir. He later died in hospital from his injuries; he was 41 years old.
The Public Security Branch Directorate of Murder Bureau has arrested a 16-year-old suspect and an investigation is ongoing.
Kim had arrived in Diyarbakir with his family earlier this year and was pastoring a small community of Christians. The assailant stabbed Kim three times: twice in the heart, once in the back. Officials, however, claim that the incident occurred in an effort to steal Kim’s phone. Local believers urge the authorities to investigate the incident as an assassination, rather than an attempt at extortion.
Kim was married and had one child and his second is expected to be born in the coming days. He had lived in Turkey for five years.
Kim is the first Christian murdered in Turkey since the 2007 Zirve Publishing House murders, which left three Christians martyred in Malatya. Christians living in Turkey have reported an increase in harassment, threats, and other non-violent incidents over the past three years.
Source: International Christian Concern
- Intercede for Kim’s loved ones, especially his wife who is about to give birth. Ask the Lord to bring strength and comfort during this time of shock, distress and grief. Pray too the Lord will guide her steps as she plans for the future.
- Pray for Kim’s church members. May the Lord give them courage.
- Pray for justice for Kim’s family. Ask God to have mercy on the perpetrator and call him to repentance.
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An Assyrian Christian family of three were murdered in their home in a predominantly Shia neighbourhood in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Thursday 8 March.
Dr Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, a radiologist, his wife Dr Shaza Malik Dinno, gynaecologist and her elderly mother, Khairiyah Dawood Abada, were stabbed by four men who then stole money and some items from the house.
The bodies were found by the neighbours the next morning, after they noticed through the open door the doctor’s body in the corridor, covered with blood. The police later found his wife’s body in the kitchen and her mother’s on the second floor.
A spokesperson for Iraq’s Interior Ministry announced on 10 March, that they had caught the suspects.
Although their motivation remains unknown, a local source told World Watch Monitor the incident has increased fears among Iraqi Christians. Just some weeks before this incident, a young Christian man, Samer Salah Addin, was shot dead in front of his house in Baghdad.
The doctor’s family had fled Iraq previously but then returned about five years ago. They were planning to leave Iraq again in the coming days.
The number of Christians in Iraq has been dramatically decreasing in recent years because of many violent incidents against them, particularly at the hands of ISIS. It has resulted in the closure of many churches because of dwindling congregations.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Ask the Lord to bring comfort to loved ones, colleagues and patients, as they come to terms with their loss in the midst of shock and grief.
- Pray the Lord’s protection may be on the Christian community. May He shield them from violence and oppression.
- Pray these deaths may not be in vain but may be somehow used by the Lord as a witness for the love and light of the Gospel.
On the night of 23 January, several students at a high school beat and stabbed fellow classmates for refusing to convert to Islam.
Tensions had been growing for weeks at Jamhuri High School in northern Nairobi due to the complaints of the Muslim students – primarily of Somali, Boran and Oromo descent – complaining of discrimination. Due to the increasing hostilities, the boarding school had allegedly designated separate bathrooms and sections in the library to accommodate both the Christian and Muslim students.
The conflict came to a head that night in January when some of the militant Muslim youth began speaking in defamatory terms and tried to force students of the Christian faith to recite the Islamic creed for conversion and undergo cleansing rituals. This led to a brutal attack in which knives and machetes had been used against the Christian students, weapons that reportedly came from outside the school.
At least 35 of the school’s 1500 students were injured – including some perpetrators who were hurt when the students under attack tried to defend themselves. Several of those who were targeted required hospital treatment for stab wounds and dislocated bones. The school principal, Fred Awuor, was also reportedly injured in the attack and needed hospital treatment.
Since the attack, the school has been closed indefinitely while police further investigate the incident.
Sources: Morning Star News, The Christian Post
- Pray for God’s wisdom and peace to reign in this troubled community, as school leaders, governing authorities and parents seek to resolve the conflict.
- Pray that all the injured high school students, and their principal, will receive needed physical and emotional healing.
- Pray those affected by the escalating strife will experience relational reconciliation through the power of Christ’s love.
A 50-year-old Coptic Orthodox priest from Upper Egypt was stabbed to death, and another was wounded, by a suspected extremist on 12 October.
Father Samaan Shahata Rizkallah was chased and stabbed repeatedly in the head, neck and abdomen by a man wielding a meat cleaver, who also imprinted a cross on his forehead. An ambulance arrived at the scene an hour later, and transported him to a hospital, where he died. Father Beymen Moftah of El-Malak Church in Matay, who was with Father Samaan, was also attacked but is reported to have survived his injuries.
A suspect is reported to be in custody. In a statement, Bishop Astafanous of Fashn, Biba and Samasta described the alleged killer as an “extremist” with a criminal record, naming him as Ahmed-El Sonbaty.
Father Samaan served at St Julius’ Church in Ezbet Girgis, al-Fashn, Beni Suef governorate, a village which is home for approximately 3000 inhabitants, 2000 of whom are Christians.
In 2009, Father Samaan applied for a permit to construct a new church on land owned by Christians who had offered to demolish their old homes, prompting protests from the Muslim community. The church was eventually built and in September 2015, Father Samaan was arrested briefly and interrogated by the police after performing much-needed renovations on the church.
Attacks on Egypt’s Christian community have surged in recent months, with over 100 deaths since December 2016 in a series of attacks that have been claimed by ISIS. Most recently, on 5 October, police were reported to have defused an IED found in a car close to Al-Masara Church in Rod El-Farag, Cairo.
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Pray to the Lord to bring comfort to those mourning the loss of Father Samaan. Pray too for a full recovery for Father Beymen.
- Ask the Lord to not allow the death of Father Samaan to be in vain, may his testimony be used as a witness for the Gospel.
- Pray to the Lord for the protection of the Coptic community. May the church in Egypt remain strong, and faithful to Him always.
Christians in Sudan request prayer against continued efforts to take over church property.
Last week, the police and an armed mob occupied part of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) compound in Omdurman which includes houses, offices and school premises.
Against the wishes of the SPEC, the government has forced an illegal ‘committee’ on the denomination. This committee has been selling church properties since 2013 to businessmen aligned with the government.
Last week the police and an armed mob attacked the SPEC compound in Omdurman and entered the living quarters of the SPEC guard Mr Azhari Tambra and his family.
Mr Tambra was away at the time of the attack. His wife Monar and their three children (aged 6, 4 and 2) were arrested and held in custody for 12 hours. They were eventually released unharmed. However, their belongings were destroyed and they are no longer allowed access to their room.
The police and the mob attacked and occupied the compound without legal authorisation. Access to the occupied part of the compound is being denied, and the rest of the compound is due to be occupied in the near future.
On 3 April, Christians were at the school as part of a peaceful three-day protest against the illegal appropriation of the premises by a businessman (who is also a policeman) when the police came and arrested all the Christian men present. A group of about 20 people armed with knives and other weapons (including members of the illegal committee) entered the school and began to beat the Christian women.
During this attack two church members who came to protect the women were stabbed. Younan Abdullah, an elder of Bahri Evangelical Church, later died of his injuries. A second church member, Ayoub Kumama, survived.
Source: Middle East Concern
- Pray for the family of Younan Abdullah, may they know the Lord’s strength and peace. Commit to the Lord Ayoub Kumama, may he obtain complete healing.
- Ask the Lord for His wisdom, patience and peace for church leaders and members as they face ongoing attempts to confiscate church properties.
- Pray for an end to the increasing pressure against Christians in Sudan and that Christians will know the peace of the Lord. Pray for justice.