For most Americans, it may seem a simple question. But if the person asking the question is a gun-wielding member of al-Shabab (Arabic for “the Youth”), your answer could mean the difference between life and death.
Al-Shabab terrorists have asked the question in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. They’ve gone door to door in a university dormitory asking students that question. And they’ve stopped buses in Somalia and asked every passenger the same question: Are you a Christian or a Muslim?
Muslims are allowed to leave, often after being ordered to recite a Quranic verse to “prove” they are really Muslim, and Christians are murdered.
Al-Shabab says they’re waging a “holy war” (jihad in Arabic) against enemies of Islam. Their goal is to completely eliminate Christians from Somalia. They’ve even circulated a list of suspected Christians; anyone whose name is on the list is executed immediately, if discovered.
Despite al-Shabab’s efforts, there are Christians in Somalia. You can learn about the challenges they face and the specific ways you can pray for them by requesting a free copy of VOM’s Christians Facing Islamic Extremists guide. After you’ve requested a copy for yourself, forward this special offer to your Christian friends so they can join in prayer for our persecuted family.
How can you pray for persecuted Christians? Get new, specific prayer requests by email each week.
Sign up at: www.iCommitToPray.com
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Pakistan – Asia Bibi has reportedly forgiven her persecutors, though she remains imprisoned for blasphemy. Christian Today
reports Bibi just spent her seventh Christmas behind bars, but told family who visited on Christmas Eve that she was not bitter.
“Christmas is the celebration of God’s mercy. I forgive my persecutors, those who have falsely accused me, and I await their forgiveness,” Bibi said.
She continued, “Jesus made this happy day for me and has accepted my prayers. I’m excited and full of joy in meeting today my family and celebrate Christmas with you.”
December 25 is also a holiday for Muslims, who celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Bibi also acknowledged this, as she is being held captive for allegedly speaking against the holy figure of Islam.
“Today is also the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. Peace be upon him, on this day. Honestly I could never even think of disrespect. But, although I have been in prison for seven years, I do not hate those who did me wrong,” Bibi said.
“I pray that the Holy Prophet Muhammad will bestow wisdom on his followers so that peace can go on being built around the world. I pray that Jesus Christ will grant peace to the whole world.”
ALGERIA: Caught Carrying Bibles
Two Christians from Tiaret, Algeria, who were detained on March 16 for transporting Bibles, now face legal charges.
A 33-year-old pastor and a member of his church were stopped by police and arrested for carrying nearly 25 copies of the gospel and several other Bibles and Christian books. The two were interrogated for several hours before a police report was filed and sent to the general prosecutor for further processing. While official charges haven’t been filed yet, they are expected to be accused of proselytizing and transporting Christian materials without permission. The two were released and their Bibles and books were returned.
VOM is helping Christians in Algeria by providing Bibles, Christian films and other encouragement. In some cases we also provide lawyers for Christians accused of proselytism.
Pray for the two men as they await word on their possible charges. Several brothers and sisters in Christ were tried for proselytizing and unauthorized non-Muslim worship under similar circumstances in 2008 and are awaiting trial. A 2006 decree called for jail sentences and large fines for those who distribute Christian literature or audio-visual materials to Muslims.
Our brothers and sisters in northern Iraq have been given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a high tax, leave the area or die. The terrorist group IS (Islamic State) has painted a large Arabic letter “N” (nun), from the Arabic word nasara (meaning “Nazarene” to indicate Christians), on their homes to identify them as Christians.
The Voice of the Martyrs is now serving Iraqi Christians who have fled the terrorists by providing them with daily necessities and assessing their future needs. Many of these believers fled with only the clothes on their backs.
You can help support your Iraqi brothers and sisters by designating a contribution, purchasing one of VOM’s new i-am-n shirts, or both.
VOM’s new i-am-n shirts feature an image of the Arabic letter “N” similar to those painted on the homes of Christians in northern Iraq by IS (Islamic State). $10 of each purchase will go directly to support Christians facing Islamic extremists.