VoM : Pray for Iraq, Nepal pastor and Sudanese Meriam family

August 15, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

IRAQ: Suffering Overflows as Militants Displace Thousands

iraqi christiansHorror and chaos continue to abound in Iraq, as armed jihadists of the militant group “Islamic State” (IS, also referred to as ISIS) took over the country’s largest Christian town, Qaraqosh, and nearby Christian settlements early on August 7th. Qaraqosh, a city of about 50,000 people in Nineveh Province, sits between Mosul and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region. IS took over Mosul in July, and many of the city’s remaining Christians fled eastward to Qaraqosh, sometimes called the Christian capital of Iraq.

Tens of thousands have fled from Qaraqosh and surrounding areas, with many seeking refuge in Kurdish-controlled parts of the country. The militants now occupying Qaraqosh’s churches have removed crosses and destroyed thousands of valuable manuscripts. “There are 100,000 displaced Christians who have fled with nothing but their clothes, some of them on foot, to reach the Kurdistan region,” a Chaldean Patriarch explained. However, those who make it to Kurdistan often find themselves without shelter or even water in the blistering heat. Thousands of other minority groups have also been targeted by IS, including ethnic Yazidis.

Since their offensive attacks began in June, IS has ordered followers of Christianity residing in captured towns to either convert to Islam, pay a tax to remain in these communities as Christians, leave, or ultimately die. Unfortunately, believers apprehended by the militants have been ruthlessly attacked or killed.

NEPAL: Pastor Released from Detention

Pastor Chhedar Bhote LhomiAfter receiving a 12-year prison sentence, a pastor in a remote part of Nepal was released from detention on July 17th. Pastor Chhedar Bhote Lhomi, 37, who ministered among the Tibetan people and established a church that met regularly, was handed the lengthy prison sentence for eating beef. Although he served in an area of Nepal where this practice is permissible, in other areas of the country local Hindus do not eat beef because cattle and oxen are considered sacred.

In October of 2012, local villagers discovered that Pastor Chhedar and his family had consumed this “forbidden meat.” In an uproar, they accused him of killing the “sacred” animal himself, justifying the destruction of his home and everything he owned. The angered locals then handed the pastor over to a Hindu committee that got the police involved and prompted his arrest. While Pastor Chhedar was detained, his family struggled without him. Adding to the couple’s heartache, their three children — ages ten, eight and seven — were teased and mocked by their peers. Thankfully, a court recently declared Pastor Chhedar not guilty of the charge.

SUDAN: Continued Prayers for Religious Freedom

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim with husband Daniel WaniMeriam Ibrahim, the courageous woman who refused to deny her Christian faith — even at the risk of execution — finally arrived in the United States with her family on July 31st. It was reported in one of VOMC’s previous prayer alerts that Meriam, her husband Daniel, and their two children had left Sudan for Italy on July 24th after negotiations had been made between the two countries. The family has now settled in New Hampshire, where extended family members are willing to assist them in the rebuilding of their lives. (For more information on Meriam and her family, you can read this past prayer alert.)

Meanwhile, Faiza Abdalla, 37, a Christian woman arrested in Sudan on April 2nd under similar circumstances, remains in prison due to accusations of adultery for marrying a South Sudanese Christian and apostasy because of her Muslim name. Faiza was arrested after Immigration/Citizenship officials questioned her right to a Christian identity on the grounds that Abdalla is a Muslim name. On April 8th, a court annulled Faiza’s marriage to a South Sudanese believer who fled the country two years ago because of persecution. The Christian woman’s parents converted before she was born, meaning they too might be accused of apostasy.

– vom

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Comments are closed.