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Hundreds of Muslims burn down church in Ethiopia

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Hundreds of Muslims burn down church in Ethiopia

Country/Region: Africa, Ethiopia

A mob of more than 500 Muslims torched a church in Ethiopia after police had destroyed the roof.

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The church, in the village of Qoto Baloso, Silte province, was burnt down on 29 November by Muslim students, accompanied by Muslim police officials. The students were shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“god is great”) and “jihad”.

Four days earlier, police had destroyed the roof of the building after a court ruled that the church had been built without proper authorisation and therefore had to be demolished. More than 30 police officers were deployed to destroy the church, but in the face of protests from local Christians, they held back from demolishing the rest of the building.

Local sources told Barnabas Aid that the Christians did have a permit to build the church. The judge who made the demolition order is a Muslim; both he and the police chief who tried to enforce it are reportedly known for their anti-Christian bias.

One local Christian said:

All the government officials in the area are Muslims. The Islamic religion has become the state religion in our region. The non-Muslims in the area live and worship in fear.

The church was built on land that the Christian community has used to conduct ceremonies for over 60 years. The Supreme Court of the South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) had previously ruled in favour of the church when a Muslim businessman tried to claim ownership of the land.

The head of Silte Province police said they were investigating the burning of the church and seeking to determine who was responsible.

There are concerns about the growing Islamisation of Ethiopia and violence by Muslims against the Christian community. There have been a number of attacks this year, including the murder of church worker Abraham Abera in April, and coordinated arson attacks on scores of churches and Christian homes in Jimma Zone the previous month.

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  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 18 hours ago

  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

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