Tag Archives: Religious Persecution

Nigerian School Girls: Nigeria

nigeria

UPDATE  December 9, 2016
One of the Chibok girls has escaped from Boko Haram.  On November 5, 2016 soldiers in northern Borno state found Maryam Ali Maiyanga (#198) as they were searching the forest for escapees from the terrorist group.  Nigerian government officials confirm that she was found, along with a 10 month old baby, Ali, cradled in her arms.  She was kidnapped on April 14, 2014, along with her twin sister (who has not been found), and almost 300 boarding school girls.  Please pray that all the girls will be released, or enabled to escape from their terrorist captors.

Source: BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters, DW, Open Doors


UPDATE, April 18, 2015
April 14 marks the first anniversary of the kidnapping of the Chibok school girls.   Some authorities claim they will never be found, but we can continue to pray for them.  Go here for a list of girls to pray for, by name, each day.


UPDATE, November 10, 2014
The leader of Boko Haram says that all the school girls kidnapped from their school at Chibok have been converted to Islam and have been married off.  Please continue to pray for these girls, and their families.


UPDATE June 20, 2014
Representatives of Open Doors recently delivered letters written to the families of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls.  They learned that two parents have died under the strain of their missing girls.  One visitor to the region from Open Doors stated, “What they are going through is unimaginable. Many we met were simply too broken to say much at all. They just cried. Clearly the pressure is taking its toll.” 

More girls continue to be kidnapped by Boko Haram.   Eight to eleven more girls were kidnapped on May 4th by the terrorist organization.  “I have kidnapped the girls. I will sell them on the market in the name of Allah,” said a man who may be  Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.  He recently released a 57-minute video, obtained by the Agence France Presse news agency.  “I’ll sell them as slaves in the name of Allah. There is a market where they sell human beings.  Western education must stop. Girls must leave school and get married,” the man said. “I would give a 12-year-old girl in marriage; I would give in marriage even a 9-year-old girl.”

Please continue to pray that Nigerian forces will be able to locate the girls and free them, and that the kidnapping of young girls will be stopped.

Source:  Open Doors


UPDATE May 29, 2014
Go here to write a letter to the grieving families

UPDATE May 27, 2014
Late on April 14, 2014, men dressed as soldiers entered the dormitories of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria.  Joyce was still awake when the men entered, threatening to shoot anyone who didn’t cooperate.  “We thought they were military,” she said. “They ordered us to gather in one place, before setting fire to our buildings. Even our own personal belongings have not been spared.’’   They forced the girls into vehicles and took off into the woods.  The girls were given drinks and told to prepare food.  The next afternoon, pretending to go to the bathroom,  Joyce and two other girls were able to escape.  They reached a tribe of nomadic herders that evening.  They were able to spend the night with them, and the next day arrived back home.  About 40 other girls have managed to escape.  There are still about 270 girls who are missing.  One of the families of the missing girls lives near Chibok.  ‘‘We live in anxiety day and night,” said the man (name withheld for safety reasons).  “We are idle, while the rainy season (for farming) has started. We mourn and pray day and night for the return of our daughters.”   Some of the scholar’s of the Islamic world have denounced the kidnappings.

Source:  Open Doors


On April 15, Boko Haram kidnapped 300 teenaged girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok.  284 girls are still missing.  Boko Haram has been waging war on Christians in Nigeria for years.  They have made a habit of kidnapping teenaged girls, forcing them to marry members of the terrorist organization.  They frequently attack Christian villages, burn homes and businesses, and kill indiscriminately.  The kidnapping of 300 girls from the government school has finally brought this situation to light.

What you can do:

  • Pray for the missing girls and their families (see individual names listed below).
  • Contact your political representatives and encourage them to act on this situation.

178 of the missing girls
Deborah Abge
Awa Abge
Hauwa Yirma
Asabe Manu
Mwa Malam Pogu
Patient Dzakwa
Saraya Mal Stover
Mary Dauda
Gloria Mainta
Hanatu Ishaku
Gloria Dama
Tabitha Pogu
Maifa Dama
Ruth Kollo
Esther Usman
Awa James
Anthonia Yahonna
Kume Mutah
Aisha Ezekial
Nguba Buba
Kwana Simon
Kummai Aboku
Esther Markus
Hana Stephen
Rifkatu Amos
Rebecca Mallum
Blessing Abana
Ladi Wadai
Tabitha Hyelampa
Ruth Ngladar
Safiya Abdu
Na’omi Yahonna
Solomi Titus
Rhoda John
Rhoda John
Rhoda John
Laraba John
Rebecca Luka
Saratu Markus
Mary Usman
Debora Yahonna
Naomi Zakaria
Hanatu Musa
Hauwa Tella
Juliana Yakubu
Suzana Yakubu
Saraya Paul
Jummai Paul
Mary Sule
Jummai John
Yanke Shittima
Muli Waligam
Fatima Tabji
Eli Joseph
Saratu Emmanuel
Deborah Peter
Rahila Bitrus
Luggwa Sanda
Kauna Lalai
Lydia Emmar
Laraba Maman
Hauwa Isuwa
Comfort Habila
Hauwa Abdu
Hauwa Balti
Yana Joshua
Laraba Paul
Saraya Amos
Glory Yaga
Na’omi Bitrus
Godiya Bitrus
Awa Bitrus
Na’omi Luka
Maryamu Lawan
Tabitha Silas
Mary Yahona
Ladi Joel
Rejoice Sanki
Luggwa Samuel
Comfort Amos
Comfort Amos
Sicker Abdul
Talata Daniel
Rejoice Musa
Deborah Abari
Salomi Pogu
Mary Amor
Ruth Joshua
Esther John
Esther Ayuba
Maryamu Yakubu
Zara Ishaku
Maryamu Wavi
Lydia Habila
Laraba Yahonna
Na’omi Bitrus
Rahila Yahanna
Ruth Lawan
Ladi Paul
Mary Paul
Esther Joshua
Helen Musa
Margret Watsai
Deborah Jafaru
Filo Dauda
Febi Haruna
Ruth Ishaku
Racheal Nkeki
Rifkatu Soloman
Mairama Yahaya
Saratu Dauda
Jinkai Yama
Margret Shettima
Yana Yidau
Grace Paul
Amina Ali
Palmata Musa
Awagana Musa
Pindar Nuhu
Yana Pogu
Saraya Musa
Hauwa Joseph
Hauwa Kwakwi
Hauwa Musa
Maryamu Musa
Maimuna Usman
Rebeca Joseph
Liyatu Habitu
Rifkatu Yakubu
Naomi Philimon
Deborah Abbas
Ladi Ibrahim
Asabe Ali
Maryamu Bulama
Ruth Amos
Mary Ali
Abigail Bukar
Deborah Amos
Saraya Yanga
Kauna Luka
Christiana Bitrus
Yana Bukar
Hauwa Peter
Hadiza Yakubu
Lydia Simon
Ruth Bitrus
Mary Yakubu
Lugwa Mutah
Muwa Daniel
Hanatu Nuhu
Monica Enoch
Margret Yama
Docus Yakubu
Rhoda Peter
Rifkatu Galang
Saratu Ayuba
Naomi Adamu
Hauwa Ishaya
Rahap Ibrahim
Deborah Soloman
Hauwa Mutah
Hauwa Takai
Serah Samuel
Aishatu Musa
Aishatu Grema
Hauwa Nkeki
Hamsatu Abubakar
Mairama Abubakar
Hauwa Wule
Ihyi Abdu
Hasana Adamu
Rakiya Kwamtah
Halima Gamba
Aisha Lawan
Kabu Malla
Yayi Abana
Falta Lawan
Kwadugu Manu

Father of the Missing Girls,
You know where each one of these precious young girls are. You know each of them by name. You knit each one of them together in their mother’s womb.  You have a plan for each of their lives.  Reveal yourself to each girl, Father.  Open her eyes to the truth that she is not alone.  Show her a glimpse of the glorious future You have in store for her.  Give her strength, courage, endurance, wisdom, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, love, hope, faith.  These are young women, Lord, stolen from a school where they should be safe and protected.  Intervene in a powerful way, like You have for thousands of Your other children.  Set them free, bring them home, and heal them.  You are their Father.  Strengthen, encourage, and support their parents and families.  Words as so hard to find so I hand my prayer over to Your Holy Spirit who prays for us with words that can’t be spoken.  Let Your light shine, and Your Spirit hover over each one of these kidnapped girls, and all the other kidnapped girls in the world.  Bring peace and release, Father.  Only You can save them.  Amen.

Asia Bibi: Pakistan

pakistan

UPDATE  October 14, 2016
The Supreme Court of Pakistan was scheduled to hear Asia’s case yesterday, October 13, 2016.  However the hearing was delayed when one of the judges recused himself due to, it appears, a conflict of interest.  Hundreds were gathered to protest if she was released. They did not set a new trial date.


UPDATE  January 19, 2016
Asia Bibi, mother of five who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan under the blasphemy law, says she has forgiven her captors.  She was recently quoted as saying

Christmas is the celebration of God’s mercy. I forgive my persecutors, those who have falsely accused me, and I await their forgiveness. . . . Jesus made this happy day for me and has accepted my prayers. . . . But, although I have been in prison for seven years, I do not hate those who did me wrong. . . . I pray that Jesus Christ will grant peace to the whole world.

Please continue to pray for her as she awaits her final appeal to the Supreme Court of Iran.

Source:  ACLJ


UPDATE  August 1, 2015
Last month Asia’s case was accepted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.  They agreed to hear her appeal, but a date has not been set yet.  They have temporarily suspended her death sentence pending appeal.  Please pray as this process moves forward.  They will be looking at failures in due process, such as the original court failed to allow Asia to present her story, and the original report was submitted a week after the alleged incident.  The court reversed a previous sentence because the original report was made 48 hours after the event.  According to Pakistani law, it is supposed to be registered immediately.

Source:  ACLJ

Militants have placed a bounty on Asia’s head, and threaten to kill her if the court doesn’t.

Source:  Rach’s Thoughts


UPDATE December 2, 2014
A legal situation in Pakistan has arisen that may have an impact on Asia’s case.  In October, her appeal was denied.  According to Open Doors:

“The appeals judges now explain they had no choice because of the way Pakistan’s laws are written, and they have turned to lawmakers to create legislation that would empower trial courts to apply a test that would make future blasphemy convictions much more difficult to achieve.  No such test was in place when Noreen was tried.

The High Court’s legal reasoning and proposed legislation intended to close the loophole through which it says Noreen has fallen, was not available on October 16. In Pakistan, blasphemy against Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, is a crime punishable by death, though a death sentence for blasphemy has never been carried out.

That glitch, Saqi said, involves a legal principle found in Islamic law called tazkiya al shuhood, which requires accusers to meet strict standards of Islamic piety. This precedent came into play when Noreen’s lawyer, Naeem Shakir, embarked on an unconventional legal strategy, attempting to subject his Christian client to Islamic law rather than Pakistan’s secular laws.”

Please continue to pray for Asia (also known as Noreen) as well as the courts and government of Pakistan.

Source:  Open Doors


UPDATE November 3, 2014
Nearly 2,000 Islamic clerics gathered outside of Asia’s court hearing on October 16 in an attempt to pressure the judges against overturning her verdict.  A bounty has been placed on her head of a half million rupees (about $5,000).  Two government officials have been assassinated after speaking up on her behalf.  Her attorneys plan to file another appeal with the Supreme Court, but it will likely result in more years of waiting.  She was originally incarcerated in 2009 and is currently on death row, along with 16 other Christians convicted of “blasphemy.”


UPDATE  October 22, 2014
You can sign a petition requesting that Pakistan free Asia.

Read Asia’s description of the event here.  She has been sentenced to hanging for “speaking against the Prophet” by the Pakistani courts.


UPDATE October 16, 2014
Asia Bibi lost her appeal when a Pakistani court decided today to uphold the death penalty for making “derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed.”  She is the first woman sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.  Her lawyers plan to take the case to the Supreme Court.  She has been in prison since 2010.

You can read her story in the book Blasphemy.

Please pray for her and her family!

Sources:  BBC News Asia
Reuters

Father, I’m so disappointed in the outcome of this hearing.  We’ve been waiting such a long time and to have the ruling upheld is crushing.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like for Asia and her family.  I ask You to pour out Your presence on each of them.  Encourage them, strengthen them, strongly support each of them, and provide for all their needs.  I pray for Asia as she looks ahead to hundreds of more days in prison.  I ask You to raise up advocates for her from within Pakistan as well as the international community.  Protect those who defend her, as we know of two public officials who have already been assassinated for speaking on her behalf.  I pray for the people of Pakistan, Father.  Give them wisdom, courage, and lead them in the way they should go.  Pour out Your love and mercy upon this country, and let Your kingdom come to that beautiful land that You love.


UPDATE  October 16, 2014
Asia’s court hearing set for September 9, 2014, was postponed, making it the fifth postponement.  The request came from her husband, Ashiq Masih.  He asked for the delay because his personal attorney was not there, although Asia’s lawyers were present.  A new hearing was set for today, October 16, 2014.  The judge said this is the final hearing date and no more delays would be permitted.  Please pray for her immediate release.


UPDATE June 23, 2014
asias-family-prayingAsia’s appeal has been delayed for the fifth time, and her hearing has been delayed for the fourth time.  She remains in prison, in solitary confinement “for her own good,” and is given raw materials to cook her own food so she “won’t be poisoned.”  Please continue to pray for Asia as she is in frail health.

Sources:  Open Doors
Wikipedia


July 3, 2013
Asia was moved to a prison 5 hours away from her home on June 6, 2013.  She has been very sick and in a lot of pain.  Her husband has been a big source of encouragement for her, and now he will not be able to visit her as frequently due to the large distance he must travel.  Please continue to pray for strength, endurance, and the presence of the Lord in her captivity.

Father,  Asia has been in prison for over 4 years now.  She has 5 children who need her desperately.  You have heard their prayers.  You have seen their troubles.  Please work in the hearts of her captors, and through Pakistan’s legal system, and secure her release.  Remember her young daughters.  Remember her special needs daughter.  Be a mother to them in her absence, but please Lord, secure her release.  Encourage her with the strength of Your presence.  Support her with Your joy.  Be all in all of her, Lord, so that she might bear with patience the gross injustice that is done to her.  In a new prison she no longer has the support of jailers that care for her.  Develop new friendships for her in her new place.  Show her the joy that is coming to her so that, just as Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that was set before him, she also may endure her imprisonment because of the joy that is set before her.  Strengthen her family.  Thank you for her strongly supportive husband, Father.  Fill him with your peace, and give him the faith he needs to move any mountain in his path.  Bring him all the support he needs to run this race with endurance.  We are nothing without You.  Be everything to Asia and her family, and bring them through this wilderness triumphantly.  Do this for the glory of Your name.  Amen


blasphemyJanuary 7, 2013
Asia’s family has published a book telling of her ordeal.  Proceeds from the book go to her family (who are in hiding) and help with her defense funds.

Blasphemy


December 13, 2012
Ashiq Masih and his 19 year old daughter, Sidra, visited Spain to petition the government there to help free Asia and grant her asylum.  He spoke to junior foreign minister Gonzalo de Benito in Madrid.  The visit was organized by Hazte Oir, a Spanish Roman Catholic group.  According to Ignacio Arsuaga, the foreign minister indicated that, “it is quite prepared to grant asylum as soon as Asia Bibi herself requests it,” and that they are always willing to help in her defense.   Ashiq said, “We are very happy and have great faith that this country will help free my wife.”   Asia is currently in prison, awaiting an appeal of her death sentence for blasphemy.  The family was forced into hiding after receiving numerous death threats.
“She is protected in prison and they are treating her well, but she is having a hard time because she is very far from her family and is suffering psychologically,” Ashiq said. “We live in hiding in Pakistan and we are very afraid. They say we have blasphemed… and that they are going to kill us.” (Daily Times – Pakistan)
Information Source:  Church in Chains

Help free Asia Bibi!


UPDATE  9/3/2012 
More than 150,000 Pakistanis have signed a petition requesting the release of Asia Bibi, in prison and sentenced to death for blasphemy for stating that “Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins”.  Voice of the Martyrs is attempting to collect 1,000,000 signatures to the petition for her release.  You can sign the petition here.  Let all your friends know about A Call for Mercy.

Asia’s daughters and husband went into hiding this summer.  They are praying earnestly for her release.  Stand along side of them in prayer and support for her release, as well as the release of Shamim Bibi, and other political and religious prisoners in Pakistan.


asia-bibi-2Asia Bibi was arrested on June 19, 2009, on blasphemy charges.  The 37 year old mother of 5 was working on the farm of Muhammad Idrees.  Some of the Muslim women were telling her about their faith, and when they finished, she told them of her Christian beliefs.  When she told of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, she said that Jesus is alive, but Muhammad is dead.  The women attacked her, and began to beat her, then she was taken by some men and locked in a room.  The local mosque announced over the loud speaker that her face would be blackened and she would be paraded through the streets of town on a donkey.  Local Christians contacted the police, who took her into custody before this could happen.  (There are only 3 Christian families in Asia’s village of 1,500 families.)

Christians lobbied on behalf of Asia, asking the police not to file charges against her, but they claimed they were under pressure from local Muslims.  Nineteen months later she was convicted of breaking Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law 295–blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad–and was sentenced to death.  So far, no Christian has ever been executed in Pakistan for blasphemy, but some have been killed by angry extremists upon their release.

Asia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, visited her in January (2012) and again in March.  In January she appeared happy, and filled with thanksgiving and joy.  She said, “I am very thankful for this visit.  I am happy and fine.  I am praying every day.  I am strong in my faith.  I know that this is the test of my faith, and I know to make gold, it must be purified in the fire.  I am strong in my faith, and I know that God will release me.  I pray that God forgives the people who blamed me.”

When Ashiq visited her in March, she expressed discouragement regarding her release, but as he was telling her about how her daughters were doing in school, he felt God’s presence and heard Him say, “Don’t be afraid.  I am with you.”


UPDATE 6/23/12
Asia’s family has gone into hiding in fear of their lives.  Human rights workers in the country are afraid to provide updates on her situation, believing that will bring more harm to her and her family.  The country has already seen the murder of two of its high ranking government officials due to their criticism of the blasphemy law and their support of Asia–Salman Taseer, the Governor of the Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minorities Minister.  Asia has come to represent the thousands of people in prison for their religious convictions.  Pray for her, her family, and the country of Pakistan.  She knows the world is working hard for her release.


UPDATE 6/5/12 

  • Sign the petition to free Asia
  • Encourage your senators and representatives to support all congressional legislation regarding Freedom of Religion here and around the world.
  • Let your friends know about Asia, and encourage them to pray.
  • Pray for Asia, her family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Pray for God’s intervention on her behalf, that she will soon be safely released.
  • Pray for the salvation of those who accused her, and who are holding her.
  • Write to Asia:

Asia Bibi
District Jail
Sheikhupura
Punjab
Pakistan
Letter Writing Guidelines:
DON’T mention the source of your information or name any organizations.  Letters from individual people are acceptable, but prisoners may receive harsher treatment and longer sentences if it appears they are connected with an “international organization”.  This is why families sometimes don’t want their loved ones listed by name.  Also, please don’t say anything negative about her country, its laws, or its practices.  Focus the letter on encouraging Asia, strengthening her with quotes from the Bible, and your prayers.

Sources:  Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors.
Photograph is a picture distributed by Asia’s family, and is a Google public domain image.

Dear Lord,
You are Asia’s father and you are there, right now, with her in her prison cell.  I thank you for her joyful spirit, and her faith and trust in you.  I can’t even imagine what she is going through, having been incarcerated for almost 3 years.  Strengthen her, Father.  Support her daughters.   Encourage her husband.  I join together with her in asking that You forgive those that sent her there, and I pray that she will be a shining, golden light to everyone around her.  I pray that not a single day of prison time will pass without a rich blessing for Asia.  I pray that You, the Lord God Almighty, who does as He chooses with the nations of the earth, will intervene on her behalf.  Release her from prison at the most perfect time, reveal Yourself to her fellow prisoners and  her jailors, and let the district jail become a sanctuary for Your Spirit.  Let her light so shine in that dark place, that every one around her will want what she has, will turn to You, and be saved!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they released her because her light was too bright?  Thank you for the work you are doing in that “forsaken” spot in the world, because you haven’t forsaken it.  In Jesus’ loving name, Amen.

Yousef Nardakhani: Iran

iran-pd-sm

UPDATE  June 16, 2016
Pastor Nardakhani and his wife, his sister, Tina, and three other Christians were arrested on May 13, 2016.  Authorities raided his house and confiscated Bibles and other Christian material.  Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie, and Mohammedreza Omidi remain in custody.

Source:  Present Truth Ministries


nardakahniDecember 25, 2012  ARRESTED AGAIN
Pastor Nardakhani was arrested again on Christmas day while he was celebrating the holiday at home with his family.  The 34-year-old pastor was originally arrested for protesting a policy that required all children to study the Quran in school.  Youcef claims this is in opposition to the Iranian constitution which allows for religious freedom.  He was held in prison for more than 3 years before he was released in September of 2012.  Officials claim he still has 45 days left of prison time in his original sentence.  (He was actually sentenced to death.  That sentence was temporarily annulled, and then reinstated, as it remains to this day.)  During his previous incarceration, the pastor was kept in Lakan prison, where authorities used many “techniques” including medication, to get him to convert back to Islam.

Youcef’s wife was arrested when her husband failed to recant.  She was put on trial without a lawyer, and sentenced to death.  She was later released when a lawyer appealed her case.  Relatives cared for the couple’s two children during the time both parents were in prison.

Please continue to pray for Youcef and his family as they face this new, unexpected trial.  Little information has been given to them regarding this new situation.

UPDATE
Pastor Nardakhani wrote a letter the day he was released, September 8, 2012, expressing his appreciation for all those who supported him during his incarceration.  You can read the letter here.

September 10, 2012  RELEASED
Pastor Youcef Nardahkani, arrested in September of 2009 and convicted on charges of apostasy (converting to Christianity) and sentenced to death, was released from prison yesterday.  According to CNN, a trial court in Iran acquitted him of apostasy, but convicted him for “evangelizing Muslims.”  He was sentenced to prison, but then was told that his prison time had been completed during the time he’s already served (3 years).  International efforts to secure his release have been going on during this time.  There are approximately 300,000 Christians in Iran, a country that is 98% Muslim.  Nine other Christians are imprisoned in the country because of their faith.  Keep praying for the release of all of them, and that religious tolerance will grow in Iran.  (Information from First Things.)

Since 2001, there have been more than 2,000 Christians brutally murdered in Iran.  Today Pastor Yousef Nardakhani has been in prison for over 2 years, convicted of apostasy.  He was given four opportunities to renounce his faith in Jesus in order to save his life, but his reply has been, “Jesus is my life.  How can I renounce him and save my life?”  Last month the courts signed his execution orders, which means he may be hanged at any time.

The internet has been filled with support for Pastor Nadarkhani, but where have the political powers been?  Many petitions have been sent to the US State Department urging them to intervene, or at least condemn the situation, but as far as I can tell they have not used their power on behalf of this man whose sole crime is being a Christian.  President Obama issued a statement on September 30, 2011:

“The United States condemns the conviction of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. Pastor Nadarkhani has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for all people. That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency, and breaches Iran’s own international obligations.”

Although Iran constantly commits crimes against humanity, kills its own people, commits war crimes, aggressively attacks its neighbors, vows to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth”, and “won’t rest until the United States of America has been destroyed”, it is actually on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women!  Women are stoned in Iran, yet Iran is on a committee to oversee the status of women in the world?  Are things upside down or what?

Pastor Nardakhani has a wife and two young boys.  Pray for them.  Pray that they will be safe, have a place to live, and that their courage and faith will grow as this most difficult situation continues to develop.  Pray that God may intervene on their behalf, and release Yousef from prison.  Pray that Yousef will know how deep, how wide, how long, and how high the love of God is, and that he will know the power of the resurrection of Jesus, each day in his prison cell.

Several more people were arrested a few weeks ago in Iran, and are currently in prison, facing the same charges:  Fashad and Shahnaz (husband and wife), David, and Naser.  Pray for them, too.

Father, we pray from the bottom of our hearts for Pastor Yousef, his family, and all the Iranians who are imprisoned and/or persecuted today because of their faith in You.  We ask You to intervene on their behalf.  Give them the courage to face whatever comes to them with courage, devotion, and joy.  Father God, Jesus is the Lord of all.  We ask that your Spirit invade the prisons of Iran in a mighty way, like a flooding river, bringing all the fruits of the Spirit to your people there.  We pray for the guards and authorities of the prisons–that they will see the love and joy in Your servants, and want it for themselves.  We pray that their eyes will be opened, that You will rescue them from the domain of darkness, and transfer them into the kingdom of the Son of Your Love.  Let our brothers and sisters know that we are praying for them, and overwhelm them with the joy of Your very powerful Presence.  Make the prisons Your sanctuary!  We pray for the believers in Tehran, Lord.  Give them a place to meet and worship, keep them safe from unrighteous laws, and send Your angels to guard and protect them.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Update, July 6, 2012
On July 4th, Yousef received information that he will be facing a new trial in September on charges related to national security.  There is also a report that a Russian Orthodox priest sent a letter to the Supreme Leader on Nardakhani’s behalf.  He was told the death sentence against the pastor will be dropped.

Update, May 10, 2012
Yousef’s lawyer has just been sentenced to 9 years in prison for violating national security.

Update, April 10, 2012
You can write to Pastor Yousef.  Get the information here at Voice of the Martyrs.

Update, March 29, 2012
Although rumors of his death circulated the internet last week, Pastor Nardakhani is still alive.  Read Joel Rosenberg‘s blog for more information.

You can pray for other Iranian prisoners listed here at Voice of the Martyrs.

Wenxi Li and Lacheng Ren: China

china

UPDATE  January 14, 2015
Wenxi Li has been released from prison and is home with his family.  He completed a two-year sentence and was released on December 18, 2014!


UPDATE  October 16, 2014
Wenxi Li’s wife, Cai Hong Li, has been able to visit her husband in prison.  She believes that God is using the situation for good.  Although her family is experiencing hardship as a result of the situation, she says she is content and that the only thing she needs is prayer.


Lacheng Ren and Wenxi Li were arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for helping a fellow Christian set up a new Christian bookstore in Taiyuan, China.  Police raided Enyu Bookstore, and confiscated hundreds of books that Wenxi had brought from Beijing.  One of the security workers in the area is reported to have shouted, “Don’t you dare bring Christian culture here. This is our turf.”

Wenxi was told to come to the police station on December 19, 2012, so that he could pick up the $6,000 worth of seized books, but when he arrived he was arrested and sent to prison.  He was denied bail.  At the same time Wenxi was arrested, Lacheng was arrested at his home.  He is one of the bookstore’s founders.

What you can do:

  • Pray for Wenxi and Lacheng, their families, their fellow inmates, and their captors.
  • Pray for Chinese Christian bookstores throughout the country.
  • Write letters of encouragement:

Lacheng Ren
2nd Detention Center
Xiaodian District, Beige Town
Taiyuan City
Shanxi Province
China

Lord, it seems so unfair for these men to be arrested simply because of setting up a new business, a Christian book store.  We lift these men up to You, and ask You to fill them with the light and hope that comes from Your presence.  Make their spiritual lives more powerful and evident than their physical lives, Father, and bless them as they share in the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus.  Fill them with love, forgiveness, patience, and kindness, even in the most difficult situations.  Provide for and protect their families, and support them with the power of Your spirit during their separation from their husbands and fathers.  You are the great redeemer.  You alone make good out of evil.  Pour out Your redeeming work on this situation and please give these men a vast spiritual harvest as they labor in their new field!  You are the Lord of all!  Amen.

Meriam Ibrahim: Sudan

sudan

UPDATE September 13, 2014
See Merriam’s interview with Meghan Kelly on Fox News Monday, September 15 at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

UPDATE  August 1, 2014
Meriam Ibrahim and her family flew from Rome and arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today.  They were met by the mayor and greeted by cheering supporters waving flags.  The family flew on to Manchester, NH, where they will make their home. Daniel Wani, Meriam’s husband, thanked the Sudanese population of New Hampshire for their support.  Meriam has expressed sadness at leaving her country, where she was born, and which she loves, but the people of Manchester greeted them with balloons and cheers, and the towns people have expressed joy at receiving the family into their community.

Source:  NE News Now

Father, I lift up Meriam to You today.  We are so glad to have her safely out of Sudan, in the hands of a loving community in New Hampshire, but at the same time we recognize all the grief that Meriam has faced in the last year, and the loss that she must feel in leaving her homeland.  I pray with all my heart that You will flood her life with peace, joy and hope.  I pray that she will feel welcome, at home, and safe in her new city, and that she will find a new place to stand.  May her children grow up in Your loving kindness and tender mercies, and may her family grow together as one unit, praising and glorifying You, as they forge this new road You have brought them to.  In Jesus loving name, Amen.


UPDATE July 24, 2014
Meriam and her family flew to Italy today on board an Italian government plane.  The Italian government was instrumental in getting the family safely out of Sudan.  (Where what the US government on helping their own citizens?)  The family met with the pope and plans to spend several days in Italy, resting, before flying to the United States.  THANKS to the Italian government for all they’ve done to help rescue this Christian family.

Sources:  ACLJ
BBC News Africa


UPDATE July 12, 2014
Meriam and her family won’t be safe until they are allowed to leave Sudan.  Please consider writing a letter to President Obama respectfully asking him to take whatever means necessary to get this family out of danger.

A doctor has examined Maya, Meriam’s two month old daughter, and initial reports are that she was not damaged during her birth, as previously feared.  An ultrasound will need to be performed to confirm this, however.

Source:  CP AFrica


UPDATE July 2, 2014
Meriam remains in a “safe” place (presumably the US Embassy in Khartoum).  She spoke to CNN in the first interview given since her imprisonment.  She is concerned that her infant girl, Maya, may be disabled because of the way she was born–Meriam’s legs were chained together and she was not able to separate them to give birth.  Her lawyer indicates that new charges brought against her by the Sudanese government will be prosecuted, and Meriam will not be allowed to leave the country.  Her alleged “brother” is seeking to gain custody of Meriam through Sharia law so that he can execute her himself.  “To be honest, I’m really miserable,” Meriam said to CNN reporter Terrence McCoy.  She doesn’t know what is the best course of action for her children.

Please pray for Meriam, her family, the Sudanese government, and the officials at the US State Department.  Hopefully they are still working towards her release although they claim that is up to the Sudanese government alone.

Sources:  CNN
Christian Today


Sign a petition to urge the Obama administration to do what must be done to bring Meriam and her family home to the US.

CNN News clip regarding Meriam’s case.

UPDATE June 25, 2014
meriam babyAccording to the Huffington Post, Meriam remains in detention at the police station in Khartoum, where her family remains with her, refusing to leave her alone.  Her husband, an American citizen who is also a citizen of South Sudan, went to his own embassies to secure an emergency passport and an American Visa for his wife.  The governments of South Sudan and the United States, which recognize his marriage to Meriam, gave him the documents according to the laws of their countries.  Sudan does not recognize Meriam’s marriage to a Christian man, and has accused her of forging the documents that would allow her to leave the country of Sudan, a crime punishable by five years in prison.  A spokesperson for the US State Department says the Sudanese government has assured them that the family is safe.  The State Department is “engaged directly” with the Sudanese officials to secure the quick and safe release of this beleaguered family.

Some reports say that Merriam has been released on bail, but the charges remain. and she has been banned from leaving Sudan.

Source:  The Huffington Post
Life News
CP World


UPDATE June 24, 2014 2:51 PM MST
According to Sudanese officials, Meriam and her family are free once again.  They were “delayed temporarily for problems with her papers” but according to her lawyer, Shareif Ali Shareif, he was denied access to her during her detainment.  The US State Department says they are “working with the Sudan government” to get the family safely out of the country.  Meriam is required to get a Sudanese passport and Visa before she will be allowed to leave the country, according to the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  There is no word as to how long this process may take.

Source:  Examiner.com

UPDATE June 24, 2014  12 PM MST
Meriam, her husband, Daniel Wani, and her two children were arrested just hours after the courts reversed her verdict and released her.  They were at the airport, attempting to go to a safe place, when 40 agents of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested the entire family.  Martin is 20 months old, and Maya is one month old.  Meriam’s lawyer, Shareif Ali Shareif, confirmed that the family was arrested at 12:30 GMT.

The National Intelligence and Security Service, dubbed “the agents of fear”, is not governed by the court system.  They are free to detain people indefinitely.  Detainees are frequently taken to a “ghost house” where they are tortured.  There is no word on why the family was detained.  Mr. Wani is an American citizen.

Source:  MSN News


UPDATE June 23, 2014
Meriam Ibrahim was released from prison in the Sudan today when she was freed from death row in the appeal of her court case.  She and her two small children are now with her husband.

“Today’s ruling is a small step to redressing the injustice done to Meriam,” said Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.  “However, she should never have been prosecuted. Meriam was sentenced to death when eight months pregnant for something which should not be a crime. Furthermore, her abhorrent treatment, including being shackled, violated international human rights law against ill-treatment.”

Please continue to pray for those countries ruled by laws that restrict basic human rights and freedoms.

Source:  Amnesty International
Christianity Today
The Telegraph

Father, THANK YOU for working through Amnesty International and all the other organizations working on Meriam’s behalf.  Keep her family safe and open the doors for their immigration to the United States.  Bless Sudan, and bring peace, justice, and freedom to this country.  Protect the citizens, open their eyes to the truth, and pour out Your Spirit of Love upon everyone living there.  In Jesus glorious power, Amen.


UPDATE Summary June 9, 2014


UPDATE June 7, 2014
martin waniThe State Department of the United States is demanding a paternity test be completed on Meriam’s two children before they will recognize them as US citizens.  This violates American law, but is in line with Sharia law, the “law” that has sentenced Meriam to death for being a Christian.

What you can do:
Sign a petition to the White House asking President Obama to do all that he can to see that this mother and her A


UPDATE June 6, 2014
The United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution demanding that Meriam and her two American children be released immediately.  Read more at ACLJ.

The State Department has not yet recognized Daniel Wani’s children as American citizens, which they are, by law.  I wonder why our government will allow a toddler and a newborn, children of an American father, to remain on death row.


UPDATE June 5, 2014
meriamDaniel Wani, Meriam’s husband, moved to the United States from Sudan in 1998, and became a US citizen in 2005.  He suffers from muscular dystrophy and is confined to a wheel chair.  He met Meriam, a physician, on a visit to Sudan and they were married in 2011.  Last summer Wani went to Sudan to make arrangements to bring his wife and children to live with him in New Hampshire.  During the course of making these arrangements, someone claiming to be Meriam’s brother (she doesn’t have any living relatives that she knows of) accused her of apostasy to the authorities and she was arrested.  On February 17, 2014, she was convicted of adultery (Sharia law doesn’t recognize her marriage to a Christian man) and apostasy.  (Although she was raised as a Christian by her Christian mother and her Muslim father abandoned them when Meriam was 6, Sharia law claims her as  Muslim because of her father, hence the apostasy charge.)  She was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging.  The Sudanese government will not release the couple’s two children, Martin (20 months) and Maya (1 week) to their father because Sharia law considers a Christian man to be an unfit father.  Both children are in the prison cell on death row with their mother.  Maya was born in the cell last week, and Martin is in poor physical health due to the bad conditions in which he is living.  The government argues that this is a matter of law–not religious freedom (which they claim they have in their country) nor politics.  If Meriam’s death sentence is carried out, she will be the first person executed for apostasy since Sharia law went into effect in 1991.

What you can do:

  • Write to your congressional representatives and urge them to do whatever it takes to rescue Meriam and her children.
  • Write to Meriam.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim
P.O.Box 65,
Omdurman,
Sudan


UPDATE June 4, 2014
Yesterday the State Department of the United States finally admitted that Meriam’s husband, Daniel Wani, is an American citizen.  They have not claimed his two children, 20 month old Martin, and their newborn baby girl, to be American citizens, which they are, by birth and by law.

What you can do:
Contact your congressional representatives and urge them to do all they can to have Meriam and her 2 children, shackled in prison on death row, released.


UPDATE June 2, 2014
Over the weekend the Sudanese government made a statement that they are getting ready to free Meriam Ibrahim and her two American children.  Later in the weekend, they recanted that statement, and said they will wait to hear what the appeals court verdict is.  Is the Sudanese government just playing games to silence the international outcry over this travesty?


UPDATE  May 28, 2014
Meriam has given birth, in prison, to a baby girl who is an American citizen due to the citizenship of her American father.  She is shackled in her cell, with her two children, awaiting the flogging to which she has been sentenced.  (She is to receive 100 lashes for having sex with a Christian man.  It doesn’t matter that the man is her husband.)  After her baby is weaned, she is to be hanged for being a Christian.

Please sign the petition to work to reverse this sentence and set this woman free.  This situation has never occurred in Sudan before, and must be stopped before it sets a precedence!


UPDATE May 27, 2014
Meriam’s son, Martin (20 months old) is in prison with her because, as a Christian, his father “has no rights” to his children.  If she is executed, her children will become wards of the state, and raised as Muslims, even though her children are citizens of the United States.  Her husband, Daniel Wani, is also a doctor.  He has dual citizenship in Sudan and the United States.  He and Meriam were married in a Khartoum  church in 2012.  Three witnesses came to testify at Meriam’s trial regarding her life-long Christian faith but weren’t allowed to speak.  It’s been reported that Meriam has been abused during her imprisonment.  She and her toddler son have been denied medical attention.  Her husband is not allowed to visit them in prison.  Lawyers plan to appeal Meriam’s case.

Source:  Open Doors


UPDATE May 23, 2014
Here are the addresses of some of the Sudan’s political leaders.  You may email them, politely requesting their assistance in freeing Meriam and her toddler son, Martin.

Minister of Justice
Mohamed Bushara Dousa
Ministry of Justice
Email: moj@moj.gov.sd

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ali Ahmed Karti
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Email: ministry@mfa.gov.sd
Fax: +249 183 764 168 / +249 183 770 883

Minister of Interior
Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed
Ministry of Interior
Email: mut@isoc.sd

President of Sudan
HE Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President
Fax: + 249 183 783223


UPDATE May 21, 2014
Apparently Meriam’s 20 month old son, Martin, an American citizen, is imprisoned with her.  She is shackled to her cell in death row, and her little boy is sick from the prison conditions.  It’s possible that he may be turned over to the very people who kill his mother following her execution.  Why isn’t he with his Christian father, an American citizen?

Source:  American Center for Law and Justice


Meriam Ibrahim, daughter of a Christian woman and a Muslim man, was sentenced to be tortured and executed because of her religion.  Her father abandoned the family, and Meriam was raised as a Christian, but the Sudanese government doesn’t recognize her faith.  She was given three days to recant, which she has refused to do.  Meriam is pregnant, and after she gives birth she will be beaten with 100 lashes and then killed.

Meriam is a physician, married to a Christian man from South Sudan who is an American citizen.  Her sentence of 100 lashes is for  “adultery” in having relations with a Christian man.

Sources
American Center for Law and Justice
Fox News
Amnesty International

What you can do:

  • Pray for Meriam, her husband, her 20 month old son, and her fetus.
  • Pray for the Sudanese judicial system.
  • Pray for God’s intervention on her behalf.
  • Sign a petition for her release.

Father God,
I can’t believe the things people suffer throughout the world, and religious persecution is one of the most outrageous, reprehensible, and long-lasting crimes against humanity.  I thank you for Your daughter, Meriam, and her courageous stand against the government of her country.  I ask You to intervene in her life.  Change the Sudanese laws, change the mind of the judge, let the international community stand up for her most basic human rights.  Pour out Your presence within her.  Strengthen her with Your power.  Take away her fear, and fill her with Your might.  Open up her eyes to see You, her ears to hear You, and her heart to love and know You better as a result of this horrible situation.  I ask You to do the same for her husband.  Give him wisdom to know what to do, and the patience and grace to handle the situation as it changes.  Glorify Yourself through Meriam.  Amen.  

Susan Ithungu: Uganda

uganda

In 2009, when she was 13, Susan Ithungu became a Christian.  When her father found out he beat her and locked her in a small space with little food or water.  She remained there for six months until she was rescued, weighing just 45 pounds at the time of her release.  She was no longer able to walk, however with medical attention and rehabilitation, Susan is thriving at her new boarding school.  She is able to walk with the use of prosthetic support.

Susan’s care giver, Dedra, continues to encourage and help Susan.

What you can do:
•    Pray for Susan to stay strong, and find God’s calling for her life.
•    Pray for Dedra’s business and family, that God will provide all their needs as she continues to care for Susan.
•    Pray for Susan’s family, including her father.

Source:  Voice of the Martyrs

Father, Susan is an amazing young woman who inspires awe in me.  I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her locked up in her father’s house, wasting away, with no apparent help.  But You were there with her.  I thank You for seeing to her rescues, rehabilitation, and new living arrangements.  I thank You for all the people who helped her, and stood by her, especially Dedra who has given so much of her time, effort, and herself to Susan.  I pray that You will strengthen her business, and provide for the needs of her family, so that she can continue to care for Susan.  I thank You for the glorious testimony she is to Your loving care.  Bless her, guide, her, and strongly support her all the days of her life.  Amen

“Rasmi” and “Maysan”: Algeria

algeria

“Rasmi” and “Maysan” were married three years ago, and began renting a house in Bejaia.  They paid their rent on time, and had a good relationship with their landlord.  Recently, the landlord came to them and told them he’d noticed them going somewhere at the same time each Friday.  He asked what they were doing.  They explained that they are Christians and that they went to church each week at that time.  A few days later the landlord returned them and told them to leave.  He did not want Christians living in his house.    In one day, the young couple became homeless.  Fortunately, a member of their church invited them to stay with him until they could find new living arrangements.

Maysan said, “It’s true; it is difficult for us. We were just beginning to have a stable life after the birth of our first child. But God has not abandoned us. He gave us the brothers and sisters of the church at our side, they care about us in this situation.”

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Christians to find places to rent in Algeria, whether it is for their home, business, or church.

What you can do:

  • Please pray for “Rasmi” and “Maysan” and their son “David”.
  • Pray for a new home for the family.
  • Pray for the people and the government of Algeria.
  • Let others know about the growing persecution of Christians throughout the world.

Source:  Open Doors

Father, I lift up Rasmi and Maysan and their little son, David, to You today.  They need a place to live, Father, and a stable country with fair laws to raise up their little boy.  I ask You to strengthen them and bless them.  Provide for all their needs.  Give them wisdom and grace in dealing with this problem in their homeland.  I pray for the people of Algeria, and the leaders who govern them.  I ask You to pour out Your Spirit of righteousness and justice on the nation.  Open their eyes to see what is not right, and give them the courage and the conviction to stand up for a change in attitude and thinking.  I pray that you will bless the nation through Your children who are called by Your name.  Fill them with love for their neighbors, and empower them to love those who curse them, and use them spitefully.  Let Jesus reign in Algeria!