Region: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others.
This week, as we continue our series on Christians facing Islamic extremists, we turn our focus to al-Qaida. Click here to read other blogs in this series.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
An inspiration to radical Muslims
As Russian soldiers retreated from Afghanistan in 1988, it seemed to the wealthy Saudi man that the reality of his longed-for global jihad was finally at hand. That man – Osama bin Laden – called together some of his top associates to strategise ways to spread Mohammed’s message of holy warfare.
The terrorist group and its followers have been linked to several attacks. Most notably, in 2001 they were responsible for destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City. Other attacks followed in Bali in 2002, Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.
Al-Qaida, which calls for the killing or expulsion of all Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, was the first jihadist group to post videos of beheadings online. Elements of the group eventually broke away from al-Qaida and developed into what is known today as the Islamic State (IS).
Today al-Qaida continues to provide inspiration for radical Muslims everywhere, and its offspring are actively pursuing their jihadi agenda – and attacking our Christian brothers and sisters in at least 16 different nations.
Pray that al-Qaida leaders will come to know Christ in a personal way and that their worldwide influence will lead other Muslims to Jesus.
Pray that Christians living in areas of al-Qaida influence will remain strong in their faith; pray that they will have access to Bibles, Christian broadcasts and other tools to provide growth.
Pray that Australian Christians will not be bitter toward or afraid of Muslims after al-Qaida attacks around the world, but will display Christ’s love for Muslims whenever and wherever we encounter them.
Boko Haram has gained new leadership in Abu Musab al-Barnawi as its new ‘governor’ for West Africa. This information was published in the Islamic State’s Al-Naba magazine, published on 2 August. Additionally, in the published article, Abu Musab al-Barnawi spoke of “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the Cross.”
It has been over two years since Boko Haram entered the main stage of terror in Nigeria. In April 2014, the militant group kidnapped 276, mostly Christian, teenage girls from a boarding school in Chibok; 219 of these girls are still missing.
Boko Haram has continued to wage a war of terror against the people of Nigeria, specifically in the north-eastern region. The group has killed thousands of people, deployed children as suicide bombers, and destroyed the future for countless young women and girls. Last year, the militant group pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State, around the same time that the Nigerian military began its offensive against the group.
Now, they have threatened to specifically target Christians and churches in the African nation after feeling threatened by the “Christianising” of Nigerian society.
Source: International Christian Concern
Pray the Lord’s protection will be showered on His children in Nigeria who have already suffered so much at the hands of Boko Haram.
Pray the Lord will frustrate the evil intentions of Boko Haram and bring their plans to nothing. May He instead bring many to repentance.
Thank the Lord for His faithful church in Nigeria; may He continue to add to their number and grow in them a strong desire to follow Him, even during this time of great unrest.
Christians around the world are being attacked by Islamic extremists. One of these groups, known as al Shabaab, Arabic for ‘The Youth,’ is a jihadist terror group based in East Africa. In 2014 it was estimated that the militant group had 7,000 to 9,000 members. (Source: Wikipedia)
Al Shabaab describes itself as waging jihad, or “holy war,” against the “enemies of Islam.”
The terrorist group has made no secret of its goal to eliminate Christians.
In April 2015, four members of al Shabaab pounded on the dorm room doors at Garissa University College in Kenya, demanding of each student, “Are you Muslim or Christian?” Muslims were allowed to flee. Christians were shot. By the time the attack ended, 147 Christians lay dead and 79 more were wounded. The siege didn’t end until all four of the gunmen had been killed.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog to learn more about Islamic persecution: Christians Facing Islamic Extremists: Boko Haram
Pray for the creation and distribution of radio broadcasts and other evangelism tools in the Somali language.
Pray that isolated Christians will find ways to connect with other members of the body of Christ.
Pray that al Shabaab fighters will discover Christ and His love. May they become dissatisfied with the hatred, violence and bloodshed that currently surrounds their lives.
Johannes was terrified when he heard his neighbour screaming for help as he was being badly beaten by terrorists.
He ran to his village for help. As he ran, he could still hear the cries of his friend, calling for help.
The sound of his screams still echo in his mind today. Johannes knew from previous attacks on farmers in his area that this might be the last time he would see his friend. Sadly, he was right.
How does a simple chocolate farmer, who works daily on his plantation trying to support his wife and two children, end up being viciously murdered?
Village staggered by his death
The question remains unanswered for many of the village Christians who worshipped with Simeon and his family. Their community is staggered by the events of his death.
The attack took place in September 2015 and Simeon’s wife, Mita, shared with us details of the days leading up to his death.
“My husband was a good provider for our family,” Mita testified. “He was the type of man who would help other farmers and not look for any reward from them. He was a peacemaker and loved being involved in church ministry. Why would someone want to kill him?” she exclaimed.
A special memory
On 13 September, the night before the attack, Simeon and Mita were retiring for the night and prayed together.
“As we lay side-by-side, my husband reached out to hold my hand and then he prayed,” Mita said. “It was a very beautiful time. I will never forget this special time we had together as I know now it was something that God was preparing ahead of time for me.”
The next morning, Mita rose early as usual to prepare lunch for her husband. After leaving Simeon at their plantation, Mita continued to her work as a housemaid, planning to return to collect him at 4pm.
But this time, things did not go as usual. Simeon’s friend Johannes described what happened after he ran to the village for help.
“When I reached Mita’s place of work at about 11am, Mita immediately wanted to race to her husband,” Johannes said. “I had to stop her because of the danger. She was beside herself when I told her of Simeon’s possible death.”
Johannes and Simeon’s nephew returned to the plantation to find Simeon’s body. He had been brutally slashed with machetes and knives. He had been beheaded and his right arm was also severed from his body. Deep stab wounds were found in his head and on other parts of his body. The attack was savage and merciless.
Local police suspected a terrorist group who had been attacking other chocolate plantations was responsible for Simeon’s death. The police had been working to apprehend the violent group for months, with many battles and deaths in their efforts to capture them.
Mita shared, “Each day I continue to trust the Lord for my life and my children’s. Despite this terrible event that we have experienced, God is still with us.”
Mita has been unable to find any labourers willing to work her plantation because they are afraid to risk their lives. As a result, the chocolate crop is wasted, falling to the ground and rotting. No one will even buy the property until the government resolves the terrorist threat in their area.
In the meantime, Mita continues her work as a housemaid, as she has for the past 13 years, but this is insufficient to support her family. Mita is excited about the opportunity Voice of the Martyrs Australia has provided in helping her to start up a door-to-door sales business.
This new business will assist with funding her children’s education as well as provide for their daily needs.
You can help families like Mita’s by donating to our Families of Martyrs fund here
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