Meanwhile, some news items from Crosswalk came in that I would like to share. Please pray with me that God would protect these persecuted Christians. Also pray for their persecutors, as Jesus says to do in the Sermon on the Mount.
"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Matthew 5:44.
Coptic Christians Fear Rise of Islamists on Eve of Presidential Elections
A year ago, Christians in Egypt hoped the revolution would bring them equal rights. Instead, things are worse than ever before. With the country's first post-Mubarak elections set to begin May 23, many Christians fear the next president will turn Egypt into an even more restrictive Islamic government that will have no room for their community of at least 8.5 million, the Washington Post reports. Under Mubarak, Christians were treated like second-class citizens -- forced to get special permissions to build churches and subjected to hate crimes that went unpunished -- but now, with the race shaping up to a choice between Islamists and former members of Mubarak's government, most Christians are rallying behind the latter, despite past persecution. In addition to an increase in attacks on churches, Egyptian Christians have been terrified by other acts of aggression -- such as a a recent incident of Muslims slicing off a Christian man's ear -- and crackdowns on Christian protests by the military. "It scares me that maybe we could become Iran," said Amir Dous, a Coptic Christian.
'Ethnic Cleansing' of Christians in Sudan Continues
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, sought by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur, has vowed to rid the Nuba Mountains of Christians and those he claims are agents of the West, Compass Direct News reports. On April 20 he ordered the Sudanese military to rid South Kordofan state's Nuba Mountains of everyone who opposes his Islamic rule, and the past several weeks he has repeatedly declared jihad against the ethnic Nuba peoples, many of which are Christians. State-owned TV and radio play songs urging Muslims to "fight the infidels" in the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile state and South Sudan and "cleanse the land" of their presence -- increasing the fears of ethnic South Sudanese Christians trapped in the hostile north. Humanitarian agencies consider the Islamic government's targeting of civilians in the Nuba Mountains an "ethnic cleansing" against non-Arab peoples in the multi-ethnic state, with the added incentive of ridding the area of Christians. Additionally, as military conflict escalated between Sudan and South Sudan last month, Bashir vowed to liberate South Sudan from what he described as "insects." Muslim leaders in Sudan, said to have ties with hard-line Muslim Salafists, have asserted that there should no longer be room for churches and Christians following South Sudan's secession on July 9, 2011.
Eritrea Protest Vigil Marks 10th Anniversary of Church Closures
(10 points if you know where Eritrea is)
Representatives of seven organizations from the UK and Ireland will take part in a protest vigil outside the Eritrean embassy in London today to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Eritrean government's closure of every church except those belonging to the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran denominations and the beginning of an era of mass detentions of Eritrean Christians, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. The vigil will be followed by an evening of prayer for the thousands of Eritrean Christians currently being held without charge or trial in inhumane conditions in detention centers throughout the country. Eritrea is one of the world's most repressive regimes, often likened to North Korea. The regime demands total allegiance, and Christians are perceived as a threat to national unity. On May 15, 2002, all denominations except Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran were banned, and the government began its mass arrests of Christians, particularly singling out evangelical and charismatic churches
Two Pastors Set on Fire, Burned to Death in Kenya
Last Tuesday, May 8, two pastors were burned to death in Mombasa, Kenya, Mission Network News reports. Yesterday, police arrested five suspects who may have instigated the crime, and they will be arraigned in court once investigations are complete. The two pastors, Benjamin Juma of Nyali Baptist Church and Jackson Kioko of Melchidizek Church, were planning to hold an evangelistic outreach in the Jomvu area of Mombasa, but while they were planning, a crowd gathered and suddenly accused them of being thieves. Without waiting for any confirmation of the supposed crimes, members of the crowd set the two pastors on fire. By the time the pastors' friends and families heard about what was happening, it was too late. New widow Mrs. Juma described the scene: "I don't know what they used, whether it was petrol or whatever else it might have been, but [after the fire] you could not see a thing [body parts] -- there were just charcoal-like bits [left]!" Although the majority of Kenyans adhere to some form of Christianity, Christians in the country have recently been under increased persecution and serious attacks, including bombings.