AFGHANISTAN: Urgent prayers requested
Following the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan there are great fears that the persecution of Christians will follow. Please pray as a matter of urgency for safety for believers inside the country – both foreign workers who remain and Afghans who have converted to Christianity.
One church leader in Afghanistan said Christians were living in great fear. Some who worked for the government now face reprisals, and any identified as Christians could be killed. Christians risk betrayal, even from their own family members.
A Christian contact of one Release partner describes the situation as ‘dire.’ Says ‘Micah’: ‘Our brothers and sisters in Christ are telling us how afraid they are.’
‘In the areas that the Taliban now control girls are not allowed to go to school and women are not allowed to leave their homes without a male companion.’
To be exposed as a Christian risks being charged with apostasy, which is punishable by death or imprisonment. There have also been honour killings of Christians by their families.
The strength of the Taliban resurgence is also likely to embolden extremists across the region putting Christians in countries such as Pakistan at even greater risk.
- That Christians from the UK and elsewhere who have lived and worked in Afghanistan for the past 20 years or even longer would be able to leave the country safely.
- For protection for Afghan converts to Christianity and foreign Christians who have no choice but to remain.
- That believers in other countries such as Pakistan would not suffer as a consequence of the Taliban’s return to power.
More than 50 people were killed by armed Fulani militants in an attack on the town of Miango near Jos in Plateau state last week.
Many more were injured with gunshot wounds and broken bones and were forced to try to treat themselves because, it appears, they could not afford hospital bills. About 300 homes, two churches and an orphanage were destroyed in the attack and more than 20,000 residents have been displaced as a result.
Please pray for this community, which is in trauma. Thank God that our partner is able to offer support and is working to locate the whereabouts of the orphans.
- For physical and emotional healing and comfort for survivors and the bereaved.
- That the orphans may be found alive and in safety.
- That God would provide a home for all those displaced by this attack and that He would turn what was meant for evil to good.
- That those responsible would repent and face justice and that the Nigerian Government would finally take seriously its responsibility to protect all of its citizens.
- For safety for our partners as they work to support and help persecuted Christians in northern Nigeria.
(Source: Release International partner)
Friday marked the fourth anniversary of the disappearance of Chinese Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng (pictured). Gao, an iconic advocate for justice, has been persecuted by the Chinese government since 2005, suffering imprisonment and torture. He has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize (in 2008 and 2010). On August 13, 2017, Gao’s brother discovered him missing from his home, and his whereabouts remain unknown. Please remember this dear Christian brother in your prayers.
(Picture of Gao Zhisheng courtesy of ChinaAid)