NIGERIA: VOM Volunteer Killed
Boko Haram militants murdered a VOM volunteer in Gwoza, Borno state, in late April as he was delivering hundreds of VOM-Nigeria newsletters. “His death shocked almost all the Christian community,” said a VOM worker in Nigeria.
In his work with VOM, the volunteer had used his own vehicle to transport attack victims to hospitals as part of our VOMedical work; served as a contact person between VOM staff and widows, attack victims, and Christian leaders and pastors in his community; and distributed VOM newsletters. His killers reportedly stole 500 newsletters from his car, and pastors in the area are praying that the newsletters will minister to the militants.
Christians in Gwoza, only about eight kilometres from the Cameroon border, have experienced repeated attacks from Boko Haram insurgents. Thousands have fled the city, and hundreds of homes, churches and businesses have been razed.
Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Join with VOM staff and the church in Gwoza in praying for the perpetrators. Pray for all members of Boko Haram, that the Lord will bring conviction and repentance to many.
- Pray for the staff of Voice of the Christian Martyrs in Nigeria and the family, friends and contacts of the volunteer, pray that God would be glorified as they steadfastly fix their eyes on what is eternal (2 Corinthians 4).
- Ask the Lord to grant wisdom to the authorities, military and police in Nigeria as they attempt to halt the efforts of Islamic militants throughout Northern Nigeria.
PAKISTAN: “Fearless” Lawyer Murdered for Continuing to Defend Man Accused of Blasphemy
Rashid Rehman, 53, took on the case of university lecturer Junaid Hafeez, when no other lawyer in the city of Multan would, because he believed in the universal human right to legal counsel, friends said.
Rehman continued defending Hafeez, accused of defaming the Prophet Mohammed on social media last year, despite receiving death threats from the prosecution itself.
On Wednesday evening, two gunmen posing as prospective clients burst into his office and opened fire. ‘He was shot five times and succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital,’ The Mail said a policeman told Reuters.
Hafeez had been in prison without being able to find a lawyer until Rehman agreed to represent him in February.
Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan, but the accused are often lynched or languish for years in jail without trial because lawyers are too afraid to defend them. Rights groups say the laws are increasingly used to seize money or property.
Judges have previously been attacked in Pakistan for acquitting blasphemy defendants and two politicians who discussed reforming the law were shot dead.
On Thursday morning, The Mail reported, an unsigned pamphlet was distributed in Multan saying Rehman met his ‘rightful end’ for trying to ‘save someone who disrespected the Prophet Mohammed.’
‘We warn all lawyers to be afraid of god and think twice before engaging in such acts,’ the pamphlet said.
Sources: Assist News Service, The Mail Online, Reuters
- Pray the authorities will concentrate their efforts in bringing the perpetrators to justice. Ask the Lord to use Rashid’s courage as a legacy to encourage other brave individuals to take a stand for justice.
- Pray Rashid’s family may be comforted by the love and mercy of Christ and the fellowship of believers.
- Commit to the Lord Junaid Hafeez and all those facing blasphemy charges in Pakistan.
SUDAN: Pregnant Mother Sentenced to Death
A Christian mother pregnant with her second child has been formally convicted of adultery and apostasy, punishable by 100 lashes and death respectively.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a believer from a Muslim background, married to a Christian man of South Sudan, was arrested on 17 February and on 4 March was charged with adultery and apostasy. The government does not recognise the couple’s marriage, hence the adultery charge. The son is with his mother in prison because the authorities regard him as a ‘Muslim’ and will not allow him to be raised by his father who is a Christian.
Ibrahim appeared in court on 11 May, where she was convicted of apostasy and sentenced to death. There is no known precedent for such a verdict and sentence being issued by a Sudanese court against a follower of Jesus in recent times.
Justice Center Sudan (JCS), a local human rights organisation providing Ibrahim legal defence, has expressed its intent to submit an appeal on her behalf. According to the JCS legal team, Ibrahim has been pressured by Sudanese officials and religious authorities to convert from Christianity to Islam, allegedly rendering promises to reduce, if not eliminate, the charges against her for doing so.
Experts anticipate the sentences against Ibrahim will be carried out following the birth of her unborn child, which is expected to take place next month. According to JCS, Ibrahim has suffered beatings during her imprisonment and has been denied medical treatment.
Sources: Middle East Concern, International Christian Concern
- Pray for the Legal team representing Meriam; pray the Lord will intervene so that all charges will be dropped and the family reunited.
- Ask the Lord for His protection to be upon Meriam, her husband, their son and unborn child. Pray the family will not despair but have the courage to trust in the Lord.
- Pray the Lord will reveal Himself to many in Sudan and raise up leaders who will love mercy, act justly and walk humbly with the Lord.