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EGYPT: Four Arrests for Copt Cathedral Bombing

EGYPT: Four Arrests for Copt Cathedral Bombing

Egyptian police have arrested four people in the wake of the bombing that killed dozens of Christians at Cairo’s Coptic Christian cathedral last month, the Interior Ministry said.

The death toll from the bombing at a chapel next to St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo has risen to 28, the Health Ministry added.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said following the attack that the perpetrator was a man named Mahmoud Shafik, who had worn a suicide vest, and that security forces were seeking two more people in conjunction with the attack.

The Interior Ministry said it had arrested one of the two, as well as three others who were part of the same cell. It added that one man was still on the run.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing but the Egyptian Government has sought to link the attack to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has condemned the attack and accused Sisi’s administration of failing to protect the church, Reuters reported.

President Sisi, who attended funerals at the cathedral for the victims, attended Christmas Eve Mass in the Coptic Cathedral for the third year. In 2016, he promised to rebuild all churches destroyed or damaged in the violence of August 2013.  He also pledged 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($7200) towards construction of what will become the largest church (built at the same time as the largest new mosque) in a new political and administrative area planned for the edge of Cairo. He said the church is due to be inaugurated in 2018.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • Commit to the Lord those who continue to grieve over the loss of loved ones. Pray too for those who sustained serious injury.
  • Thank the Lord for the government support of the Christian community. Pray the Lord will grant them His strength and protection.
  • Pray for those who oppose the Lord and His church in Egypt and ask Him to frustrate their plans and remove the hatred from their hearts.
It is scary, but I know Jesus is with me

It is scary, but I know Jesus is with me

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Joshua is a Bible college student in the Philippines, where Muslim extremist groups are trying to take over the land owned by Christians and claim it to be an Islamic state.

Watch as Joshua describes what it is like to live in this dangerous area and what it means to him to trust in the Lord.

Support students like Joshua
Christians Facing Islamic Extremists: ISIS

Christians Facing Islamic Extremists: ISIS

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Region: Iraq, Syria

“Convert, pay a tax, leave or die.”
The self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) became infamous when it invaded the city of Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014. Mosul, which is the ancient biblical city of Nineveh, has been home to Christians for almost 2,000 years.

Members of ISIS went door to door identifying homes of Christians and spray-painting a red Arabic “N” on their houses. The “N” stands for Nasara, a term used in the Koran to identify Christians – followers of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Christians in Mosul were given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay an exorbitant tax called the jizya, flee Mosul, leaving their homes and property behind, or be killed. While nearly all Christians chose to leave, some, such as those unable to travel, were killed.

The Islamic State is proud of its exploits. Beatings, beheadings, crucifixions and other forms of merciless execution of Christians and others are all conducted with cameras rolling. Children are taught to hate all that is not Islam and even carry out executions themselves.

While it would be easy for Christians facing this kind of terror to become fearful or to despair, many of those who were driven from their homes say it has caused them to grow stronger in their faith. After losing all their worldly possessions, many have discovered Christ in new ways – ways that bring them great joy amid persecution.

While the eyes of the world watch and judge from a temporal perspective, our Christian brothers and sisters view ISIS from the perspective of faith and eternity.

Plague of Destruction
This video shows the destruction left when ISIS moves into a town. Everything is destroyed and nothing is left.

Please Pray

  • Pray that more ISIS fighters, and even ISIS leaders, will have a divine encounter with Christ or one of His followers and come to a saving faith.
  • Pray for the tens of thousands of Christians who have been displaced from areas now controlled by ISIS. Pray that God will meet their physical needs, and pray that their relationship with Christ will grow through this trial.
  • Pray for VOM as we seek to meet both physical and spiritual needs in areas controlled or affected by ISIS. Pray for our wisdom and for God’s protection of our staff and co-workers in the region.
KENYA: Al Shabaab Claims the Lives of Six Christians

KENYA: Al Shabaab Claims the Lives of Six Christians

An attack in the early hours of 6 October in north-east Kenya by al Shabaab militants resulted in the murder of six Christians.

The militant group’s own radio station, Radio Andalus, reports that the grenade and gun attack on a residential compound in Mandera, on the Somali border ─ an area known to have Kenyan migrant Christian workers ─ targeted “Christianity’s power in the region,” and that it was part of a series of attacks over the past few months.

According to a World Watch Monitor contact, “the al Shabaab militants, wearing Kenyan army uniforms, entered the housing compound on the pretext of being Kenyan security officers on patrol. Once allowed in, they first hit a mobile money transfer shop with an explosive device, before throwing more explosives into the compound. The people were caught unawares and were shot as they tried to flee. They specifically targeted non-locals (all assumed to be ‘Christians’).

“Among the six dead is a local barber called Cege. Among the injured is one person who hid in the ceiling, but the explosion from the grenades shook him and he fell through the roof and was injured. He is currently in hospital.”

Reports indicated that the attackers planted landmines all around the compound. One exploded when the security officers attempted to access the building.

“There are increased security personnel in town even as tension remains very high. Residents are declining interviews out of fear for their safety and many are locked in their houses,” locals report.

Source: World Watch Monitor

  • Ask the Lord to comfort the grieving; may they know His ministering Spirit bringing strength and provision during this time of loss. Pray for the injured; may they experience the Lord’s healing hand.
  • Pray for the Christian community to rally, support, love, care for and encourage one another. Pray for their protection and for others who may be targets.
  • Pray for the members of al Shabaab whose hearts are filled with hatred and anger. May the Lord show His mercy to them and change their lives forever.

 

 

PAKISTAN: Massacre of Christians Averted

PAKISTAN: Massacre of Christians Averted

Christians in northwest Pakistan narrowly escaped with their lives after security forces foiled a suicide bomb plot against them. Security guard Samuel Masih opened his community’s main gate to four Taliban bombers — and died in a hail of bullets. Two other guards were injured, as were two soldiers and a policeman.

However, the swift response of Samuel’s colleagues meant that a greater tragedy was averted. One of the suicide bombers was killed after igniting his bomb, but there were no other casualties as a result of the blast. Security officials killed the other three other suicide bombers.

The 30 Christian families residing within the gated community near Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province were unharmed. The Pakistani Taliban reported that the bombers carried out this attack on 2 September. The same extremist group claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attack in Lahore which killed more than 70 people.

Source: Morning Star News

 Prayer Points

  • Pray that God will comfort and provide for Samuel’s widow, Razia, and their five children. Ask God to heal those injured in the attack.
  • Ask God to protect other Christian properties in the area, where security is now tight.
  • Pray that all our brothers and sisters across Pakistan will know that they are not forgotten by their wider Christian family. Ask God to strengthen their faith.