Israel Update

JERUSALEM-ON-THE-LINE
October 8, 2012

"The Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me." Jer 20:11

NIGERIA TERRORISTS MASSACRE DOZENS OF CHRISTIAN STUDENTS: Dozens of students have been killed by Islamic terrorists in northeastern Nigeria, leading missionaries reported Wednesday, October 3. Members of the Boko Haram terrorists group invaded the dormitory of Federal Polytechnic College in the town of Mubi. "They just lined the students up and murdered them," said Rae Burnett, Africa Director of the Christian Aid Mission (CAM) group. Other witnesses claimed terrorists separated Muslim students from Christians by asking their name and religion, and "massacred" up to 46 people, most of them students, from late Monday till early Tuesday, October 2. A native missionary leader explained, "They rounded up students and shot or stabbed at least 40 of them to death." Boko Haram has been blamed for as many as 1,400 deaths in the past three years. The organization has ordered Christians to leave northern Nigeria and urged Muslims to settle there. Nigeria's president pledged to step up security, but the US has criticized authorities for not doing enough to end the bloodshed. (BosNews) This tragic report, one of many from northern Nigeria, calls for renewed intercession for Christians in that region who are repeatedly being attacked by the Boko Haram terrorist group. Pray for the protection, courage and deliverance of believers there and for the comforting of families who have lost loved ones in incidents of persecution. Pray for the Nigerian government to be actively involved in the rounding up of those at the root of Islamist violence and bloodshed in the region.

EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS ANXIOUS ABOUT ANTI-ISLAM FILM: The 14-minute clip of "Innocence of Muslims," has unleashed protests across the Muslim world and attacks on US and other Western embassies. Egypt’s eight million Coptic Christians were already feeling increasingly cornered amid the rise to power of hard-line Islamists in Egypt following the downfall of Hosni Mubarak. Since US authorities identified a self-described Coptic Christian living in California as the key figure behind the inflammatory film, Copts in Egypt have experienced an upsurge of Islamist persecution. "We are afraid the anger will engulf us," said a 58-year-old Coptic government employee. Mira Girgis, a 23-year-old Copt and recent college graduate, said she feels insecure. "I can't go to church alone; my brother must be with me. I can't go out at night. When I return from work either my father or brother must be waiting for me at the subway station," she said. A Christian journalist wrote that she and her family came under attack at a bus terminal in Cairo over the film. In another instance, a young Coptic Christian blogger posted a clip of the movie on his Facebook page, prompting threats from his neighbors who vowed to set his house on fire. The neighbors notified police, who arrested the blogger and have detained him pending investigation. "Christians are worried and I anticipate more waves of immigration to the West," said Medhat Kelada, head of Copts United, a Swiss-based group that monitors reports of discrimination and other abuses against Christians in the Middle East. (Huff Post) Pray for Egypt’s Christian community of all faiths. The installment of the new Islamist regime in this largest of Arab nations is an ominous precursor to further hatred and persecution of those who they consider to be infidels. Pray for the courage and protection of believers there.

CHRISTIAN COPT TO FACE TRIAL IN EGYPT OVER ANTI-ISLAM VIDEO: Computer science graduate Alber Saber, 27, an Egyptian Copt, was arrested in Cairo last month on suspicion of posting an anti-Islam video online that ignited Muslim protests around the world. He will stand trial on charges of insulting religions, the state news agency MENA later reported. Saber is accused of uploading sections of the film "Innocence of Muslims." Human rights lawyers say Saber was arrested without a prosecutor's warrant and that he was beaten during interrogation. (Reuters) Pray for this young man’s release and a deep spiritual touch to further his faith.

EGYPT’S ACCUSATIONS HAVE CANADIAN COPTIC CHRISTIAN FEARING FOR HIS LIFE: Nader Fawzy, 52, who lives in Toronto, learned in September the Egyptian government holds him partly responsible for the video lampooning Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Fawzy said the government in Cairo has targeted him to settle political scores because he is a Coptic Christian who has spent years fighting to promote the rights of Egypt's eight million Coptic Christians. Prominent imams in Egypt have issued fatwas against him and other Copts, urging Muslims anywhere in the world to behead them. "I'm not surprised they want me arrested, but I'm shocked they say I had anything to do with this video," Fawzy said. (Toronto Star) Pray for Fawzy’s protection from Muslim extremists in Toronto.

MUSLIM MOB BURNS PAKISTAN CHURCH COMPLEX IN FILM PROTESTS: Thousands of Muslims burned down a Lutheran church as well as its school and adjacent homes in Pakistan Friday, September 21, injuring several Christians in violent protests against an anti-Islam film that elsewhere killed dozens of Pakistanis, according to church sources and rights activists. A crowd of some 8,000 people, many of them carrying petrol, attacked the St. Paul Church complex in Mardan city in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. Its school and the houses of the principal and pastor along with a vehicle were burned by a mob. Several people staying inside the church complex were beaten according to an official source who indicated many more people could have been killed or injured in the church attack. "Nearly 500 students are studying at the primary and secondary school of the Lutheran church. But nobody was there at the time because it was a holiday in Pakistan," according to the source. (BosNews)

EVEN AFTER WINNING ASYLUM IN US, IRANIAN CHRISTIAN CONVERT LIVES IN FEAR: An Iranian man recently granted asylum in the US after converting from Islam to Christianity said he still fears the long arm of the regime in Tehran. The man said hard-line Muslims could come after him, even in the US. Iran has recently vowed to "hunt down" the makers of an anti-Islam film trailer and has upped the price on novelist Salman Rushdie's head for offending the religion. Insulting or renouncing Islam is punishable by death. "In many verses in the Koran, Muslims are told to kill, behead or cut fingers of nonbelievers,” he said. The man was born into a Muslim family in northern Iran. But as he grew older he began to question the harsh application of Islamic doctrine in Iranian society. "I asked myself whether these teachings were at odds with humanity and morality," he said, adding many people in Iran wrestle with the same issues. After moving to the US in 2009 as a doctoral student, the man befriended several Christians and began attending a Bible study. Two years later he converted to Christianity, then sought the help of the US Center for Law and Justice to obtain asylum. (Fox) Pray for the protection of this Iranian believer. May perfect love that casts out fear be a gift of grace to him.

CHRISTIANS FACE ARREST, PERSECUTION IN IRAN, UN EXPERTS SAY: More than 300 Christians have been arrested since mid-2010 in Iran. Churches there operate in a climate of fear and Muslims who convert to Christianity face persecution, UN human rights investigators reported September 21. Christians there welcomed the recent release of Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor who spent three years in prison before his death sentence for apostasy and evangelism was reduced, but voiced deep concerns for those still detained. In a joint statement, the independent investigators called on authorities in the Islamic Republic to ease the current climate of fear in which many churches operate. “Churches continue to report undue pressure to report membership, in what appears to be an effort to pressure and sometimes even detain converts,” the statement said. (Reuters)

IRAN JAILS LAWYER OF FREED PASTOR NADARKHANI: Iran has jailed the lawyer of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who was sentenced to death for "apostasy from Islam" before being released unexpectedly last month, Christians and rights activists confirmed on October 2. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a prominent human rights defender, was called to begin a nine-year prison sentence at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison September 29, on trumped-up charges his supporters said. The lawyer, who co-founded Iran’s Center for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), was already sentenced last year after being convicted of charges including “membership of an association [CHRD] seeking the soft overthrow of the government” and “spreading propaganda” against the Islamic regime “through interviews with foreign media.” He was also banned from practicing law for 10 years. His imprisonment comes as a fresh setback for the Church of Iran movement of Nadarkhani. Though the pastor was released, several other leaders of congregations remain behind bars and need advocacy. Dadkhah was "tortured" and otherwise "ill-treated" during his previous imprisonment in 2009 when he was held for 74 days - the majority of it spent in solitary confinement, according to local Christians and rights investigators. International rights group Amnesty International has called for the lawyer’s unconditional release and fair treatment of the prisoner. (BosNews) Pray for humane treatment and a quick release for this courageous man – a miracle similar to that which took place for Iranian Pastor Nadarkhani in September.

IRANIAN PASTOR NADARKHANI WRITES LETTER OF THANKS AFTER RELEASE FROM PRISON: Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has spoken out in a letter of thanks to his supporters around the world after his release from the Iranian prison where he was held for three years for refusing to renounce his faith. The letter cites the groundswell of support from around the world, including diplomatic efforts by several countries. "I want to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported me, openly or in complete secrecy. I also want to express my gratitude towards those who, all around the world, have worked for my cause, or should I say the cause I defend. You are all very dear to my heart,” Nadarkhani said in the letter dated Sept. 8, the day he was released. The campaign to win Nadarkhani's freedom was largely spearheaded by the American Center for Law and Justice. "Pastor Youcef’s courage and faith is awe inspiring. It is clear that regardless of whether Pastor Youcef ever received one letter of support of the thousands sent or heard one news report on the international outcry for his freedom while in prison, he felt the prayers and support of the entire international community," said Tiffany Barrans, the center's international legal director. (Fox) Continue to pray for Pastor Youcef’s well being, as well as for his family’s safety in the coming days. Pray they will be able to leave Iran and find refuge elsewhere should that be their desire.

Blessings from Jerusalem,

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 

 

As international speakers and messengers of the Good News through music, Barry and Batya Segal are at the forefront of what God is doing in the present day nation of Israel. With strong ties in both the nations and Jerusalem, the Segals are weaving the deepest roots of our biblical heritage together with the fresh Spirit-filled worship of today to create their rich harmony of Scripture and song.

The Segals have a vast vision for God's purposes in the nations and to the people of Israel. In fact, their longing to help rebuild Israel both spiritually and physically inspired them to pioneer the non-profit charity organization, Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. This arm of their ministry focuses on assisting the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and reaching out to the new Jewish immigrants coming into the land of Israel. Vision 's most challenging project to date is "The Joseph StorehouseŽ", humanitarian aid center, located in the hills of Jerusalem. The Joseph Storehouse functions as a channel of blessing to all of Israel, Jewish and Arab, through the gathering and distribution of emergency medical supplies, food, clothing, and other basic life necessities. USA office contact info: Vision for Israel, PO Box 7743, Charlotte NC 28241, 866-351-0075. The Segal's web site is http://www.visionforisrael.com/

 

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.    

 

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