INTERNATIONAL NEWS 1st APRIL 2013

PRAYER FOR AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN

For those who are participating in the year of prayer for Afghanistan and Pakistan the following is the latest report and prayer points from the International Prayer Council. 

Afghanistan  

The Lord is answering as we continue to pray with unity, faith and authority. However, as Elisha told the king in his battle with the enemy, we need to keep beating the ground with the arrows, that is persevere, to see a full and thorough breakthrough. There has been some good news of answered prayer to encourage us:   

1. A Taliban group was caught last Tuesday that was about to attack different sites. 

2. A truck they set with 8 tons of explosives did not blow up. It was the largest truck bomb diffused in the city. It had the potential of destroying a radius of 1,500 meters. Some of the group were captured. 

3. A Taliban leader crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan was captured. Another leader involved in Pakistan killings of several innocents was captured.  

4. Leaders of the Pashtun tribe where the warriors have come from have stood against the Taliban in some of the areas and told them they cannot use their areas any more. 

Here are the continuing prayer concerns for the coming month: 

1. Pray that members of the Taliban be caught and their networks destroyed. Pray their unity be broken and their supply lines cut off. Pray there will be no Spring offensive as has been announced.  

2. Pray for the president of Afghanistan to stop making damaging remarks that cause distrust among the ethnic groups and with NATO.  Pray that the country stays united and for good relationships between the Afghan government and NATO forces.       

3. Pray for the elections for Afghanistan’s president (a year from now). It is time to pray for the right candidate to come forward!     

4. Pray for the prayer teams going into the country in the next couple of weeks. Pray that God will protect them and give clear direction to them as to how to pray. Pray that the Lord would reveal the spiritual roots from which the demonic spirits in Afghanistan are drawing their power and deal with them during this International prayer assignment.      

Pakistan     

We are in a spiritual, not earthly, battle which is summed up in Eph. 6 (v. 12 “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark work and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.)  There is a spiritual hierarchy over Pakistan and Afghanistan at the top of which is Satan himself. On the ground many spirit mediums, known as pirs, traffic with demons. They have a central place of occult power (Uch Sharif) where evil spreads out into 8 areas and then across the land. There are many strongholds that they control. Everyone goes to these demonic spirit mediums for advice and they wield strong influence and powers over the people. 

Elections are critical. If Pakistan falls into the hands of Islamic radicals, Afghanistan will fall as well. Many of the current political leaders got into power through the influence of the pirs with some in very high office known to carry out blood sacrifices daily. Taliban leaders also regularly look to demonic pirs for guidance and direction. With the party in power in Pakistan gaining access to the nation’s many nuclear weapons the result of the forthcoming elections is a huge international security concern. Parliament has now been dissolved and there is just one month until the elections. 

God is also answering our prayers in relation to Pakistan.   

1. Several of the Taliban groups have begun to fight against each other.      

2. Two senior Taliban leaders have recently been arrested. One is believed to have been in on the planning of 9-11 and is the leader of the two most feared warrior groups in the country. 

Prayer Requests: 

1. The Christians in Pakistan are afraid especially after about 200 of their homes were burned in Lahore recently. Pray against fear taking hold of them. Pray for the Christians to be bold in their witness and to rise up in prayer. Pray for 24/7 prayer to develop across the nation. Pray for the prayer teams going into the country in April to engage in the spiritual battle for this nation. Pray for their physical and spiritual protection.         

2. Pray that God would give ongoing insight into the spiritual order over Pakistan. Pray that the spiritual influence and strongholds of the demonic pirs (spirit mediums) and their strongholds will be brought down and crushed. 

3. Pray for the upcoming elections to be held on May 11th. Pray for the corrupt and spiritually-dark parties that seek office to be defeated and for a new God-fearing leader to rise up.   

Thank you so much for your valuable partnership in bringing His transformation to these two important nations.

Source: International Prayer Council

 

MUSLIM BIRTH-RATE IN SHARP DECLINE WORLDWIDE

A leading demographer is claiming a sharp decline in Muslim fertility rates is occurring whilst a “flight from marriage” is evident among Arab women. Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, documented these findings in two recent papers. They contradict the well held view of a continuing population explosion in Muslim lands. Population is indeed rising, but if current trends continue, the bulge won’t last long. Using data for 49 Muslim countries, Eberstadt found that fertility rates declined an average of 41% between 1975 and 2010, more than the 33% decline for the world as a whole.

Twenty-two Muslim countries had fertility declines of 50% or more. The sharpest drops were in Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Libya, Albania, Qatar and Kuwait, which all recorded declines of 60% or more over three decades. Fertility in Iran declined an astonishing 70% over the 30-year period, which Eberstadt says was “one of the most rapid and pronounced fertility declines ever recorded in human history.” By 2000, Iran’s fertility rate had fallen to two births per woman, below the level necessary to replace current population Eberstadt said.

In 2012 a Financial Times story placed the Iranian fertility rate even lower and cited a U.N. report warning that Iran’s population will begin to shrink in two decades and will decline by more than 50% by the end of the century if current trends continue. Big cities in the Muslim world have seen especially sharp drops. Only six states in the United States have lower rates than Istanbul. In Tehran and Isfahan in Iran, fertility rates are lower than those of any state in the United States. Eberstadt says “Fertility decline over the past generation has been more rapid in the Arab states than virtually anywhere else on earth.” Accompanying this fertility decline is what Eberstadt calls a “flight from marriage,” which he described in a paper presented last month in Doha, Qatar. His data shows that in many areas of the world, men and women are getting married later or remaining unmarried. Divorce rates are also rising, especially in Europe, along with the percentage of extramarital births. The decline of marriage in Europe is striking: The female marriage rate fell in Germany from 0.98 to 0.59 from 1965 to 2000; it fell in France over that period from 0.99 to 0.61; in Sweden from 0.98 to 0.49; in Britain, from 1 to 0.54.

Marriage is also plummeting in Asia: In Japan, the percentage of women between 30 and 34 who have never married rose from 7.2% in 1970 to 26.6% in 2000; in Burma, it rose from 9.3% to 25.9%; in Thailand, from 8.1% to 16.1%; in South Korea, from 1.4% to 10.7% Marriage rates in the Arab world are higher, but they’re moving in the same direction. What’s “astonishing,” says Eberstadt is that in the Arab world, the move away from marriage “is by many measures already as far along as was Europe’s in the 1980s. “Something big is under way” argues Eberstadt.

These studies reveal that the big demographic trends shaping the world are mysterious and often overlooked. The Arab world may be experiencing a youth bulge now, fuelling popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. But what’s ahead over the next generation will probably be declines in the number of working-age adults and rapidly aging populations. But the coming dilemma for Arab countries, he notes, is “how these societies will meet the needs of their greying populations on relatively low income levels.”

Source: Washington Post

 

U.S. SUPREME COURT CALLED UPON TO MAKE LANDMARK DECISIONS ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently hearing cases challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 amendment and the federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA). Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment stating that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” It overturned a state law in California in favour of same-sex unions and was put in place after a popular vote at the 2008 state elections.  Nine Justices are considering the amendment in a legal challenge brought by two lesbian women who are seeking for Proposition 8 to be struck down to enable them to marry.

Proposition 8 will be defended by the original sponsors of the amendment, “Protect Marriage”. This is a coalition of Californian families, religious leaders, pro-family organisations and individuals who support the traditional definition of marriage. “Protect Marriage” will argue that marriage is “inextricably linked to the objective biological fact that opposite-sex couples and only such couples are capable of creating new life together and, therefore, are capable of furthering, or threatening, society’s existential interests in responsible procreation and childbearing.” 

“Protect Marriage” believes that whilst “responsible procreation remains one of the purposes of marriage,” Proposition 8 will not be overturned. DOMA was signed into federal law by President Clinton in 1996, and defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The validity of DOMA is being challenged by a homosexual man after his same-sex ‘marriage’ in Canada was not recognised by the U.S. federal government. Significantly, President Obama has said that his administration will not defend DOMA in court. Rulings in the cases are expected to be issued in June, and could lead to all 50 states being ordered to re-define marriage.

Source: Intercessors for America

 

PRESSURE ON NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT OVER BIBLE LESSONS

Parents who oppose bible lessons in public schools are taking their fight to the Government. About 12 schools have already dropped religious classes since a group of parents launched the Secular Education Network last year, according to group spokesman Peter Harrison. “Many parents across the country have expressed their concern, whilst many Christians vehemently oppose us.”  The group is hoping to apply pressure on the Government to close a legal loophole allowing schools to “close” during the day for bible lessons.

Mr Harrison said currently bible classes were being held without parents knowledge or permission. Mr Harrison voiced his concerns at a select committee hearing on the Education Amendment Bill. He said it had been difficult to get political parties onside because neither side wanted to make religion an issue. Public primary schools are by law secular but a rule in the legislation, called the Nelson Clause, allows schools to close for bible classes during school hours. About 40 per cent of state primary schools used the clause to run primarily Christian instruction classes. The secular group launched a campaign last year to remove bible classes from public schools, including pamphlet drops to parents and pushing schools to cancel the lessons.

Churches Education Commission (CEC) Chief Executive Simon Greening said he had noticed a decline in schools using the Nelson Clause to “close” for bible classes, but schools were adapting by switching to lunchtime or after-school programmes and bible breakfast clubs.” Mr Greening said “The act allows Boards to decide for themselves their own religious education policy. Schools should have the freedom to choose what works best for them” he said. Mr Harrison and the CEC had been in discussions over the religious lessons. The secular group was not opposed to shifting religious lessons to an after-school activity.

Source: Fairfax NZ News

 

HISTORIC ANTI-EUTHANASIA MEETING IN ROME

Nearly 20 anti-euthanasia activists representing 11 countries recently gathered in Rome to launch a European coalition. Their goal is to promote “care, not killing,” said Alex Schadenberg, the Chairman of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International, who organized  the meeting. “A survey in Europe suggests that the creation of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) Europe is very timely. Euthanasia is already deeply entrenched and expanding in several European countries, and with aging populations across the continent, more and more are showing signs of being swayed by the rhetoric of the euthanasia movement.

During the wide-ranging discussions at today’s meeting, one point repeatedly cropped up: the need to work together and to unite activists from a wide variety of ideological and political backgrounds. “Everybody who opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide should feel welcome at our table,” Schadenberg said in his opening statement to the meeting, pointing out that opposing killing should be an issue that is owned neither by the Left nor the Right, nor any particular religious denomination. “We need each other,” he said.

“We’re all facing the same threats, the potential in all these nations that protections that exist in law protecting people from euthanasia are being unravelled, and we need to be able to deal with that effectively.” The newly minted coalition elected long-time anti-euthanasia advocate Kevin Fitzpatrick from Not Dead Yet in the U.K. to be their founding coordinator. Fitzpatrick was given a 6-month mandate to steer the nascent coalition into a cohesive body capable of responding to legalization attempts across Europe. Currently pressure campaigns to legalize the practice are ongoing in the U.K. and France.

Source: LifeSite News

 

TANZANIAN PASTOR BEHEADED AS MUSLIMS DEMAND TOTAL ISLAMISATION OF MEAT INDUSTRY

The recent beheading of a Tanzanian Assemblies of God Pastor has its source in a debate presently raging in Tanzania. In Tanzania Muslims have had a long-standing monopoly on the meat industry. Recently however, Christians have entered the butchery trade, causing outrage amongst Muslims. Tensions escalated over several months until the Minister of State Mr Stephen Wassira, travelled to Mwanza to meet with Christian and Muslim leaders in an effort to defuse tensions. According to reports Mr Wassira directed that the slaughtering of animals for public consumption should be executed only by Muslims.

Mr Wassira said that people of other faiths may slaughter animals if the meat is solely for family/private consumption – but not for sale to, or consumption by, the general public. He declared that, should non-Muslims want to go into the meat business, then the slaughtering must be done according to Islamic tenets and rituals. In effect the minister has barred non-Muslims from the meat industry “unless they are ready, willing and able to follow the Islamic rituals to the letter.” Christian leaders have called upon their followers to boycott  ‘Muslim-oriented’ butcheries – and are planning to seek judicial intervention via the court system.

Source: Religious Liberty Monitoring