By Shayne Looper
“It’s just the beginning.” That’s what one of the attackers said while bombing a church in eastern Kenya last week. Two people were killed and three others injured in the attack, which authorities believe was carried out by the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab.
This month at least 65 people were killed in the city of Damaturu in northeastern Nigeria, when Islamist insurgents bombed churches, mosques and police stations. The Boko Haram militant sect claimed responsibility.
In October, government soldiers opened fire on a church in Bhamo District in Kachin state in Burma, just as the congregation was preparing for Sunday services. No one was injured in the gunfire, but the soldiers burned the property and detained five church leaders.
In Somalia, a 17-year-old Christian was beheaded this past September by Islamist extremists. The boy’s parents, who hold a Bible study in their home, had left for work and he was getting ready to go to school.
Compass Direct News reports that a 30-year-old Christian teacher was deported from Maldives after authorities discovered a Bible in his house in October of this year. The Indian teacher had lived and taught in Raa Atool for two years before his deportation.
In October the government of Kazakhstan enacted new legislation, which further restricts religious freedom. All registered churches must now re-register with the government, and only churches meeting the new criteria will be approved.
The Indonesia Pentecost Church in Sumedang, Indonesia, was closed on Oct. 3 for using an illegal building permit, and its pastor was arrested. According to the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum, at least 30 churches have been closed or burned in Indonesia in 2011, and many church leaders have been arrested.
On Oct. 27, a 25-year-old Somali Christian refugee was beaten and left for dead by six men. The man, known as Hassan, was beaten with an iron rod and stabbed. His attackers then stripped off his clothing and dumped him at the entrance to a Presbyterian Church of East Africa building.
Persecution of Christians did not end in the fourth century with Constantine. In fact, it has been estimated that more Christians were killed in the twentieth century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined. And the 21st century, as these recent occurrences suggest, has not gotten off to a very promising start, either.
Recognizing that Christians were suffering unprecedented persecution worldwide, the World Evangelical Fellowship launched the first International Day of Prayer in 1996. Each year on the second Sunday in November, millions of Christians around the world join together to pray for fellow-believers who are being persecuted.
These Christians take seriously the biblical injunction to: “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13:3).
Besides prayer, people can help the persecuted by writing letters to government officials, appealing for the release of specific prisoners. In some cases it is possible to write directly to persecuted believers who are in prison. Check out www.prisoneralert.com for more information.
There are numerous organizations that serve the persecuted. Some provide blankets, Bibles and other goods to Christians living in restricted nations. Others help interested persons become advocates for the imprisoned. For a list of agencies, check out www.persecutedchurch.org.
Shayne Looper is the pastor at the Lockwood Community Church in Michigan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article posted as found on CarthagePress
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -