AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – INTERNATIONAL NEWS 26th AUGUST 2013

  • MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD FACES FOES ON ALL FRONTS AS EGYPT DECLARES A NATIONAL EMERGENCY
  • BILL TO JAIL CONVERTS & CLERGY WHO FAIL TO GIVE NOTICE OF CONVERSION PASSED IN INDIA
  • U.N. SAYS SYRIA REFUGEE CRISIS WORST SINCE RWANDA
  • 2.6 BILLION EXPECTED TO BE CHRISTIAN BY 2020
  • PEOPLE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC BEING KILLED LIKE FLIES SAYS ARCHBISHOP
  • ECONOMIC AND SPIRITUAL REVIVAL IN PERU
  • PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON SEEKS TO BLOCK INTERNET PORN TO U.K. HOMES
     

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD FACES FOES ON ALL FRONTS AS EGYPT DECLARES A NATIONAL EMERGENCY

In the wake of a bloody government crackdown on Egyptian protestors that has left hundreds dead and thousands injured, SAT-7 Christian satellite television broadcasts from Egypt are bringing a firsthand view of the unethical practices of the Morsi presidency and its sham of “democracy,” with insights and understanding not currently reported by mainstream Western media. Amid the ongoing destruction of churches by supporters of ousted president Morsi, Egyptian Christian leaders are responding with reconciliation and forgiveness, stressing that the church is not mere buildings, but rather “the Body of Christ” composed of people and their faith in him. 

SAT-7 has been covering the political situation in Egypt, helping viewers better understand the situation from a Biblical faith perspective through its current affairs programming. In the June 2012 election, Morsi received only 13 million votes from the Egyptian population of 83 million, according to Terence Ascott, CEO and founder of SAT-7 International. Taking wide-sweeping power without censure, he filled key government positions with former Muslim Brotherhood leaders, some of whom had convictions for violence or incitement to violence, and rushed through a pro-Islamic constitution despite protests and boycotts from liberals, moderate Muslims and Christians, said Ascott. 

Morsi refused to call for new elections, as he had previously agreed to do after a new constitution had been adopted. Into this political scenario, with a failing economy and crumbling infrastructure, while as many as 30 million people protested during Morsi’s first anniversary, the army responded and removed him from office, said Ascott. Following an ensuing six weeks of pro-Morsi occupation of public squares, demanding his reinstatement, blocking all traffic and promising retribution against the army, police, liberals and specifically Coptic Christians, deadly violence broke out August 14 as the army moved in to disburse them. 

“The Muslim Brotherhood has been very effective in convincing the Western media, that they are ‘victims’ of an army coup,” said Ascott. “This is not the version of the truth that resonates with the vast majority of Egyptians.” Scores of businesses, homes, police stations, hospitals and other public buildings have been destroyed by Morsi supporters. At least 40 churches, a monastery, 3 key Bible Society bookshops, 3 Christian schools and an orphanage have been burned or destroyed. Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II says the current attacks on churches were expected. Many Christians are stating that they consider their buildings a sacrifice to their beloved Egypt. 

Muslims who rushed to help preserve Christian properties were urged by Christians to return home. “Buildings can be rebuilt, but you are priceless, so stay safe,” they said. “Buildings are not the Church. The Body of Christ is the Church, and we are intact.” General Sisi, Minister of Defence and commander-in-chief of Egyptian armed forces, subsequently announced the army will pay for renovating all the damaged churches. SAT-7’s staff are all reported safe and plan to broadcast their current affairs program as usual on Saturday, to cover the attacks on churches and the decision of Christian leaders to refuse outside protection, showing that the Church is standing for freedom over force. 

A month of deadly conflict between security forces and the mostly Islamist supporters of Egypt’s ousted president has battered the country’s once-powerful Muslim Brotherhood, leaving it with diminishing prospects for restoring its former pre-eminence. The Brotherhood has vowed to continue the often bloody protests but the group, which was the country’s most popular political force as recently as two years ago, now faces an openly hostile national media, shrivelling public goodwill and a huge security apparatus intent on destroying it. Many of its leaders are in jail. Those who remain free have been driven underground. 

Some of these leaders met recently in secret, according to one Brotherhood leader, to debate their “alternatives and next steps”. By remaining on the streets, the group runs the risk of even more violence – a scenario that would not only antagonise the same polity that blessed them in elections, but also play into the government’s position, increasingly voiced by Egyptians, that its security forces are battling a terrorist menace intent on seizing the state and imposing Islamic law. But ending the protests, group leaders say, would erode the organisation’s claim to legitimacy. 

Since the Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s, it has sought to distinguish itself as a moderate Islamist organisation deserving of a place in Egypt’s nascent democracy. Without a viable political outlet, Egypt risks seeing some of the Brotherhood’s vast membership radicalise and split off, say experts on political Islam. “If the Brotherhood continues like this, it’s suicide,” said Khalil al-Anani, an expert on Islamist organisations and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. Leaders of the group have used word-of-mouth and social-networking sites to urge demonstrators not to bring weapons to protests or attack the police. 

Public anger has been inflamed by accounts of protesters using machine guns and other weapons against security forces. These protesters did not answer to the group, Brotherhood leaders said. “There are some young people, ordinary people, who are trying to say that it doesn’t make sense to face this peacefully,” said Amr Darrag, a leader in the Brotherhood’s political party and a former minister under Mr Morsi. “We are trying to calm people down and the only way is to remain peaceful. We say that we can never match the force that the security police and military have.” 

Prayers are requested for Egypt, the largest country in the Arab world with the largest Christian community in the Middle East.  Please pray 

• For current violence to end soon

• For the re-establishment of effective rule of law and order for the benefit of all citizens

• For effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists

• For Egypt to be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably

• For Egyptian Christians to have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country

Source: Compiled by APN from various sources

 

BILL TO JAIL CONVERTS & CLERGY WHO FAIL TO GIVE NOTICE OF CONVERSION PASSED IN INDIA

India’s Madhya Pradesh state has passed legislation that would send those who convert to Christianity and their religious leaders to prison for failing to obtain permission from authorities at least 1 month prior to conversion. The new legislation also obligates religious leaders to report the conversions, and increases prison terms from 1 to 3 years for clergy and converts who fail to do so. Under the bill in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- ruled state, religious leaders must fill out an application form giving details of the venue and date of conversion ceremonies and provide a list of names and addresses of those seeking conversion. 

The bill includes a provision for a police inquiry into the conversion request. If the prospective converts are disadvantaged people eligible for affirmative action benefits, minors or women, the legislation stipulates a jail term of up to 4 years and/or a fine of up to 100,000 rupees (US$1,680). With India already on a “watch list” of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, India’s Christians were aghast at the bill’s level of interference in private personal belief. In August 2012, the Pradesh High Court struck down similar legislation. “These laws are political gimmicks used to polarize voters along religious lines and to terrorize the minority Christian community across the country,” 

Tehmina Arora, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom India said. The bill is an amendment to Madhya Pradesh’s existing “anti-conversion” law of 1968. Ironically called “Freedom of Religion Acts,” such laws forbid forcible or fraudulent conversions, but Hindu nationalists have used them to arrest and harass Christians with false accusations. “The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief noted in a report after a visit to India that there is a risk that ‘Freedom of Religion Acts’ may become a tool in the hands of those who wish to use religion for vested interests or to persecute individuals on the ground of their religion or belief,” Arora said. 

Source: Morning Star News

 

U.N. SAYS SYRIA REFUGEE CRISIS WORST SINCE RWANDA

The conflict in Syria has caused the world’s worst refugee crisis for 20 years, with an average of 6,000 people fleeing every day in 2013, the UN says. UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said refugee numbers had not risen “at such a frightening rate” since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He was speaking to the UN Security Council, which also heard that 5,000 people are being killed each month. UN aid chief Valerie Amos said at least 6.8 million Syrians needed urgent help. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are locked in a fierce battle with opposition fighters for control of the country. 

There has been deadlock at the UN Security Council over the crisis, with Russia and China refusing to back action against Mr Assad proposed by the other veto powers, the US, Britain and France. Mr Guterres said two-thirds of the nearly 1.8 million refugees registered with the UN had fled Syria since the beginning of the year.  Mr Guterres said the impact of the refugee crisis on neighbouring countries was “crushing”, but said the acceptance of Syrians by countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq was “saving hundreds of thousands of lives”. And he said the “danger that the Syrian conflict could ignite the whole region” was “not an empty warning”.

Nearly 93,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in March 2011. The UN’s assistant secretary general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, told the meeting that some 5,000 lives were being claimed each month. “In Syria today, serious human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity are the rule,” he said. Ms Amos accused both sides in Syria of “systematically and in many cases deliberately” failing in their obligation to protect civilians. “We are not only watching the destruction of a country but also of its people,” she said. Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, said his government was doing “everything possible… to meet the basic needs of its citizens”.

Source: BBC News

 

2.6 BILLION EXPECTED TO BE CHRISTIAN BY 2020

A new study done by the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity is projecting that by 2020, 2.6 billion people will be Christian. Director of the Centre, Todd Johnson, warned that while 2.6 billion seems like a large figure, it also depicts a decline in Christian faith in both North America and Europe. “Secularization is strong in Europe. People are now choosing for themselves instead of following an established religion,” Johnson said. The report showed that Christianity in Europe rose from 75% to 78.6% in 2010, which was attributed for the most part, to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, but that the faith is expected to decline again. 

In North America, Christianity is expected to decline from 91% in 1970, to near 77% in 2020, according to the study. The research did however predict an increase of 3 and 4% among Evangelicals and Charismatics, said the report. Johnson noted that “studies support the fact that people really desire a personal encounter within their religion and attributes Pentecostals and Charismatics as socially engaging which attracts even more people to join their movements.” According to the report Christianity is expected to continue to grow quickly in Asia, rising from 4.5% in 1970 to 9.2% in 2020. Likewise, Christians in Africa are expected to increase from 38.7% in 1970 to 49.3% in the 2020.”

Source: Christian Post

 

PEOPLE IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC BEING KILLED LIKE FLIES SAYS ARCHBISHOP

The leading prelate in the Central African Republic has again denounced the violence that has accompanied the rule of the Islamist rebel movement Seleka, which gained power in March. “I can’t remain silent while the sons of this country are the victims of the worst kind of barbarism,” Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui preached at a Mass commemorating the first anniversary of his episcopal ordination. “I can’t remain silent while Central Africans are being tortured and killed, squashed like flies.” “I can’t remain silent while our mothers and sisters are being raped,” the 46-year-old prelate added during his homily last month. 

“I can’t remain silent while the dignity of the Central African Republic is being trampled underfoot, while innocent people are being robbed, while the just and well-earned fruit of our country is being destroyed and looted as though we were in a house of cards. I can’t remain silent when impunity reigns and a dictatorship of arms is being set up.”  ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) News reported that the prelate denied he has “political ambitions and power aspirations.” “I am a shepherd, not a political fighter,” he said. “I dare to hope that someone will hear in my voice the Central African people’s cry of suffering.”

Source: Catholic World News

 

ECONOMIC AND SPIRITUAL REVIVAL IN PERU

The poor country of Peru has been experiencing an economic revival that has tripled their economy in the last decade. However, the economic front is not the only place where revival and growth is being experienced. There is also a rapidly-increasing spiritual revival encompassing the South American country. Peru has seen the number of Born-again Christians rise “dramatically.”  The Evangelical population reportedly grew from “single digits to 12.5% in 2007.” This year’s tally of Evangelical Christians in Peru is estimated around 17%, but could be as high as 20% or higher.

Johnny Enlow is a minister who was raised on the mission field in Peru, and he prophesied a decade ago that economic revival was on the way. He also reportedly prophesied that “a major gold mine would be discovered”—twice—and it happened—twice. According to Enlow, the increase in the country’s material and economic blessings is causing the people to seek the Source of those blessings. Says Enlow, “He is a God who wants you to spend eternity with Him, but He’s a God who cares about practical life. It becomes easier for people to see God in that context.”

Source: Charisma News

 

PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON SEEKS TO BLOCK INTERNET PORN TO U.K. HOMES

British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the UK will block all internet-based pornographic content to homes unless they “specifically opt-in to receive it.” In addition, any porn that depicts rape would be prohibited. Cameron noted that the goal was to restore the dignity of women and to provide a “real deterrent” to children’s exposure to the material. “By year end,” said Cameron, “when someone sets up a new broadband account the settings to install family friendly filters will be automatically selected. And, in a big step forward, all the ISPs have rewired their technology so that once your filters are installed, they will cover any device connected to your Internet account.”

Source: Breithart News