Barnabas Aid - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Please pray for House of Lords debate on...

Email:

Please pray for House of Lords debate on Christians in Middle East

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Please pray for House of Lords debate on Christians in Middle East

Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe

Urgent prayer request from Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid:

On Friday (9 December), the UK House of Lords is holding an important and timely debate, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, about the situation of Christians in the Middle East.

The_House_of_Lords_chamber_4X3.jpg
House of Lords Chamber
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by UK Parliament

Barnabas Aid has been asked to produce a briefing paper (see below) for this debate, and I am now urgently seeking your prayers that the Lords will recognise the grave danger that Christian minorities are facing as a result of the “Arab Spring”. Please pray also that the Lords will exert their influence on our government so that it will press for the protection of Christians and other vulnerable groups in the region.  

I have just returned from a visit to Syria, where the Christians are extremely concerned about what is happening in their country and what the future holds for them there. Also the Syrian Christians, and Iraqi Christian refugees in the country, are in considerable need, as the country’s economy is crippled by the ongoing unrest.

Please pray for Christians in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, that the Lord will grant them His peace at this time of uncertainty and meet all their practical needs. Barnabas Aid has been helping Syrian Christians and Iraqi Christian refugees in the country for many years. If you would like to help them, please send a donation to the Syria General Fund.

Barnabas Aid Briefing on the Situation of Christians in the Middle East

Religious minorities have been placed under growing pressure in the wake of the momentous changes brought about in the Arab world as a result of the so-called “Arab Spring”. These momentous changes brought with them hopes for democracy, respect for human rights and prosperity for all citizens of the Middle East.

Sadly, the current developments we are witnessing turn these hopes into fears. From Tunisia to Egypt, Islamist parties have gained ascendency. This is a potential disaster for religious minorities, as Islamist parties rely on a conservative interpretation of Sharia as the principal source of law and ultimately want to make it the law of the land, thus greatly restricting reforms that promote human rights and placing even greater restrictions on non-Muslims than previously existed.

The crisis that has engulfed Syria threatens the two million Christians living there. Since the armed conflict in Iraq, Syria has provided refuge for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christian refugees, amongst others who fled to Syria after they were targeted by Islamist extremists in Iraq. While the Assad regime has undoubtedly been authoritarian and brutal in its treatment of its citizens, Syria has traditionally protected its religious minorities more than any other country in the Middle East. Should Syria become consumed by a civil war, it is feared that the vulnerable Christian population will be targeted on a similar scale to what we witnessed in the aftermath of Western intervention in Iraq. Other minorities may face a similar backlash. Syria’s Christians are in a frightening position and their weakness and lack of protection could leave them as easy targets for Islamist extremists who may use the political vacuum created by internal conflict.

Mindful of the tragic levels of civilian suffering brought about in Iraq by over ten years of extensive sanctions imposed by the international community, we would invite caution against further sanctions being considered against Syria that run the risk of impacting on the civilian population. Instead there is a need for direct consultation between HM Government and representatives of all those affected by developments in Syria, particularly Christians. Consultation needs to translate into considered policies that seek to protect all civilians of Syria and particularly those who are most vulnerable should the country be destabilised by military action.

The continued threat of unilateral military action against targets in Iran could also increase the ongoing persecution of Christians there. Iran is home to over a million Christians who live under constant oppression by the authorities. There are real fears that these Christians will be treated as co-conspirators by the Iranian authorities if or when any Western or regional power acts decisively against the Iranian regime. Such action will spark arbitrary arrests, detention and even torture.

Egypt has been one of the countries at the centre of the Arab Spring. It is home to a large Christian minority that makes up about 10% or more of the total population. Numerous incidents of sectarian hostility have taken place over recent years. Christians have frequently been attacked by their Muslim neighbours and by religious extremists, and little or no protection has been given to them by the police and security forces. The legal system has been heavily Islamised and restricts religious freedom. The Arab Spring created hopes amongst many Christian citizens that all Egyptians would soon enjoy the freedoms of a truly democratic, secular state that would respect human rights and religious freedom in particular. This hope quickly faded as Islamists began to gain privileged influence in the post-uprising Egypt and there were renewed deadly attacks on Christians by Islamists and security forces. Early indications are that the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi political parties (who take an even harder line) are likely to dominate any elected government. These parties want to Islamise Egypt even further. There is now little possibility of the conditions for religious minorities improving; indeed, many fear they will get worse, and huge numbers of Egyptian Christians are emigrating.

Similar trends are emerging in Libya as the National Transitional Council has determined that Sharia will be the principal source of law in the new constitution of Libya. This decision was taken without widespread consultation among the people of Libya, and has sparked widespread concerns among civil society groups in Libya that human rights and fundamental freedoms will once again be denied.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Please pray for House of Lords debate on Christians in Middle East

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Aid in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 8 hours ago

    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

    • A church on Mafia Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, was attacked on 9 May by around 80 young Muslim men armed with arrows and knives. The church members, who are mainly converts from Islam, had gathered for their weekly overnight prayer session when the attackers appeared, shouting “death to ritad’i” (those who leave Islam). They set fi re to the church, leaving the interior in ruins, and then went in search of the pastor, but he was not at home. The incident followed a bomb blast at another church in Mwanza in mainland Tanzania on 5 May, in which a worker at the church rest house was critically injured. Pray that the authorities will effectively address the increasing incidence of attacks against churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for the many Christian victims of kidnapping by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Remember especially the more than two hundred teenage girls who were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, on the night of 14 April. A video released in May showed eight of the girls speaking about their ordeal; they plead for their release, and one says, “I never expected to suffer like this in my life.” It is believed that they have been divided into at least four groups and that most of them are being held in camps outside Nigeria. They are hungry, while some are unwell and need medical attention. Pray for their safe release and for that of other kidnapped Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark