War on Christianity - Part 2

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

by William L. Nowell

Deadlier than ISIS

Media attention focuses on ISIS and the Middle East. However, more deadly than ISIS, is the Nigerian-based Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. According to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index , Boko Haram exceeded ISIS in deaths in 2014. Though seemingly unworthy of media coverage in the West, Boko Haram claimed 6,644 lives in 2014. In the same year, ISIS killed 6,073. However, it is likely that the actual number of people killed by Boko Haram is significantly higher than reported. This is according to the Nigeria Security Tracker .

Michelle Obama

Boko Haram did capture media attention, if only for a moment, in 2014 when they abducted 276 teenage schoolgirls. Sparked by outrage, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign generated huge media attention for the “Chibok girls.” But sadly, media attention quickly moved on to other matters. At the time of this writing, 57 girls have escaped, while only one has been rescued. And most recently, Boko Haram released 21 girls to the Nigerian military. Of the remaining 197 mainly Christian schoolgirls, at least 14 have died, and many have become pregnant after being raped by their Boko Haram captors.

It is important to know that Chibok is more than just a school; it is a Christian-majority town. And now, more than two years after the abductions, churches, schools, markets and government buildings are either closed or demolished and much of its farmland remains uninhabited. Consequently, the people are marginalized, traumatized, and left with little hope. The Chibok community is but one example of the devastation inflicted on the people of Nigeria by Boko Haram.

An Ever Present Danger

In 2015, of all the nations where persecution ran rampant, Nigeria ranked number one for the sheer volume of Christians killed for their faith. In fact, Nigeria had the dubious distinction of recording more than half of all Christian killing reported from around the world. Now, in 2016, Boko Haram has a new leader with a new and deadlier mission. Their new leader, Abu Masab Al-Barnawi, has vowed that his Boko Haram fighters will kill all Christians and blow up every church they are able to reach.

Christians in Nigeria face an existential threat due to the persistent violence against them. In addition to Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani herdsmen regularly attack Christian farmers. Since the year 2000, more than 1.3 million Christians have been internally displaced or forced to move elsewhere. Furthermore, over 13,000 churches were closed or destroyed. Plus, thousands of Christian homes, businesses, and other property have also been destroyed. Over and above the physical violence, there exists a culture of political discrimination and corruption that undercuts the freedom and security of the Christian population.

Clearly, Satan is alive, well, and waging war against the saints in Nigeria. It is imperative that we lift up in prayer, and keep on praying for all the Nigerian saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

Prayer Point

Pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort those who have lost loved ones in the brutal attacks of Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani herdsmen, and other anti-Christian groups.

Nightmare in the Sinai Desert

Ruthless human traffickers are harvesting the organs of kidnapped Eritrean hostages and selling them on the black-market. Those who are unable to pay exorbitant ransom demands are seen as no more than spare body parts. Once the hostages' organs are removed, they are simply left to die in the desert. While some are buried, others are just dumped into deep dry wells along with hundreds of other bodies.

Map of Eritrea

Located in North-East Africa, Eritrea is one of the worst places in the world for Christians to live. On June 8, 2016, a special U.N. report accused Eritrea of “crimes against humanity, namely, enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, other inhumane acts, persecution, rape, and murder”. President Isaias Afworki has ruled Eritrea as a dictatorship since the country's independence in 1993. Consequently, conditions there are so unbearable that many Eritreans feel they have no option other than to flee the country. And they escape through every possible outlet. Included among the escapees are many Christians, who the Eritrean government sees as a threat to national security. This is because their allegiance is to God and not the state.

Every month, thousands of Eritreans escape the country through Sudan and then Libya or Egypt. Their journey is long, arduous and fraught with danger. This is especially true of those who have the misfortune of escaping through Egypt's North Sinai Desert. Some die while attempting the 900-mile trek and others, kidnapped and held hostage by Bedouin Muslims, suffer unimaginable brutality in “torture-camps”.

Kidnappers contact the victims' families by phone, ordering them to pay ransoms of up to 60,000 US dollars for the release of the hostages. Oftentimes, the kidnappers torture their hostages while on the phone, thereby forcing the victims' families to listen to their cries of anguish. Even if the ransoms are paid, these human traffickers sometimes sell their victims to other criminal groups.

If the ransom is not paid, the victims are sold to corrupt Egyptian doctors who come to Sinai with equipment for the extraction and transport of organs. Once harvested, the organs are used in illegal transplants. Consequently, organ trade is a highly lucrative black-market business in the Sinai Desert. According to a CNN report, "Organ trade is the second most profitable trade, behind only weapons trade, bringing in more money than drug dealing and prostitution." And indeed, organ trade is a major source of income for Eritrean officials who take bribes to facilitate the atrocities.

Prayer Point

Pray for the thousands of refugees who have fled Eritrea. Pray for protection on their journey.

Prayer + Action = Changed Lives

Continue reading to find where persecution is most prevalent and how you can come to the rescue of the suffering Church.

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Three Crosses