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Christians Facing Islamic Extremists: Al-Qaida

Christians Facing Islamic Extremists: Al-Qaida

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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

  • 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.
How to make the best short film

How to make the best short film

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The Thirteen Three’s Release Competition closing date is 31 October and it’s fast approaching.
There is $250 to be won for your Youth Group!

Are you excited? Or are you procrastinating to get on with the project? Not sure where to start? Worried that you might not have the best equipment?

Over the coming weeks, Matt, one of our judges for the competition, will share his top tips on how to make the best short film.

You may like to join the discussion and add your tips in the comments below.

Matt’s first tip: Story.

Meet the next generation: Elizabeth

Meet the next generation: Elizabeth

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Burma (Myanmar) is ranked at number 23 according to the World Watch Monitor’s list of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.  It is recognised as having very high levels of persecution.

The Burmese government claims to support freedom of religion, but it has since banned all independent house church activities from 2010. Religious groups face surveillance, imprisonment, discrimination, violence, destruction of property and censorship of religious materials. To read more about Burma, click here

There are many obstacles being a Christian in Burma, so there is a strong need for future generations of pastors to lead the church to remain faithful despite persecution. Thirteen Three sponsors Bible college students in Burma in order to see the Gospel spread in this difficult country and to help train future generations of pastors and leaders.

Meet 13:3’s sponsored Student:  Elizabeth
Elizabeth is a fourth year Bible college student. She is one of the next generation of leaders being trained to serve in Burma. We asked Elizabeth a few questions about her student life.

How did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian through the teaching of my mother. I believe on His finished work for me, and accepted Him as my Saviour. As John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

What would you like to do after college?
I want to serve the Lord in children’s, women’s and youth ministries after college. I am not sure exactly what the Lord would have me do. I am praying for His direction.

Have you had any recent outreach opportunities?
I had opportunity to go on a short mission trip in December with two college girls. We gave out Gospel tracts on streets and shared the Gospel with children and adults. We were able to reach more than 90 people with the Gospel. Among them, one person clearly professed faith in Christ. It was such a blessing to be there and serve God.

How can we pray for you?
Pray for wisdom in making the right decisions.
Thank you so much for supporting me, and I want to say, “May God bless Voice of the Martyrs’ ministry and all the staff!”

The next generation of pastors and leaders in Burma are willing to serve God in areas where they could be mocked, ridiculed, beaten, arrested and even martyred. Often what is hindering them is the need for financial assistance for their training. Will you partner with them in the spread of the Gospel in restricted areas by investing in the next generation of pastors and leaders like Elizabeth?

Sponsor a Student
What happened to WeAreN?

What happened to WeAreN?

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In 2014 in Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, Iraqi Christians are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants threatened to kill them unless they converted to Islam or paid a “protection tax”. Their houses were marked with the Arabic letter N, which stands for the word Nasrani, meaning Christian in Arabic.

In protest to this ultimatum, many Christians stood alongside their persecuted brothers and sisters by sharing the hashtag #wearen and changing their social media profile image to the Arabic N symbol. However, IS continued to wreak havoc and destruction on the Christian communities living in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

Have we forgotten about the Christians being persecuted by IS?
The writer of Hebrews reminds us not to forget our brothers and sisters who are in chains but to remember them as if we were bound with them (Hebrews 13:3).

This horrific destruction against these Christians continues still today in areas occupied by IS. Recently, on 20 June in Erbil, three people, who were part of a memorial for Christians killed during the first world war, were killed by a suicide bomber. View story.

We need to continue to remember our persecuted brothers and sisters by praying for them and showing our willingness to stand with them.

What you can do this week.

Show your solidarity by making your social media page the ‘N’ symbol again. You can download it from here.

  • Pray that through these terrible events people will come to know Jesus and the love and compassion He has to offer.
  • Pray for Islamic State, that those fighting will repent and turn to Jesus.
  • Pray for the Christians still fleeing, that they will find comfort in the promises of God, knowing that He will never leave or forsake them.

Share this with a friend and make them aware of what they can do.

Christians Facing Islamic Extremists: al Shabaab

Christians Facing Islamic Extremists: al Shabaab

 

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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

  • 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.