AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER – INTERNATIONAL NEWS 29th July 2013
- THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IS DOWN, BUT IS IT OUT?
- MOVE TO LEGALISE FORCED CONVERSION OF MINORS IN MALAYSIA
- PRAYING FOR MALAYSIA IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE GENERAL ELECTIONS
- CONFUSION REIGNS AS UNITED KINGDOM RE-TERMS HUSBAND AND WIFE
- AFRICAN LEADERS HIT BACK AT OBAMA OVER HOMOSEXUALITY
CHRISTIAN MINORITY IN PAKISTAN CELEBRATE GLOBAL DAY OF PRAYER AMIDST CONSTANT PERSECUTION
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IS DOWN, BUT IS IT OUT?
These are dark days for the Muslim Brotherhood. But it has seen dark days before. it has been shoved aside by Egypt’s military, and blamed by millions of protesters for the problems Egypt currently faces. Leaders and many rank and file members of the Muslim Brotherhood, said they would defend ousted President Morsi with their lives. Scores of people, on both sides, have been killed in widespread clashes, and the prospect of more bloodshed is real. Within hours of Morsi’s removal, reports surfaced that Christian churches were being burned.
The Brotherhood has never before been in the position of attaining the national seat of power, only to lose it. But it has endured many hardships. It has been ridiculed, hounded, outlawed, tortured and exiled, even within its birthplace, Egypt. Yet it has endured to emerge as “the most important Islamic organization in the world,” according to a report published by the World Watch List a unit of Open Doors International a global non-profit organisation that supports persecuted Christians. The question now is whether it will remain a potent Islamic force.
In contemplating where the Brotherhood may be going, the report provides a summary of where it has come from, and how it has worked toward establishing an Islamic state. The report credits the Brotherhood’s long rise to prominence to patient planning, grassroots cultivation of support from Egypt’s poorest Muslims, and preference for working within the political system rather than resorting to violence. This latest setback the Brotherhood has received is the harshest verdict yet on its politics, and the report does not address how the movement overplayed its 2012 election victory to the chagrin of millions of countrymen.
According to the report, Hassan al-Banna founded the Brotherhood in the 1920s by re-introducing politics to Islam, which long ago had been part of Muslim life but had been driven out during generations of European colonization. “To overcome nearly two centuries of westernization Banna politicized Islam, making it as it once was,” the report continues. “Is the Muslim Brotherhood a political group, or is it a religious group? Such questions plague Western thinking . The fact is, it is both-for in Islam ,historically and doctrinally, Islam is politics.”
And that, the report argues, means that the ultimate aim of the Muslim Brotherhood is no different than the aim of al-Qaida and other militant Islamist groups: “establishment of caliphate and enforcement of Sharia.” The difference is in method, not objective. “There is no doubt that the Brotherhood will continue spearheading the Islamist movement around the world, gaining more and more recruits, both formal and informal, as it edges closer to realizing its ultimate goals,” Ibrahim concludes in the report. To do so, the Brotherhood will, once again, have to emerge from some of its darkest hours.
Source: World Watch Monitor
MOVE TO LEGALISE FORCED CONVERSION OF MINORS IN MALAYSIA
In early 2009 there was an outcry in Malaysia after three children born to an Indian Hindu couple were converted to Islam by the father without the mother’s consent after he converted to Islam. At that time, the Cabinet discussed the case and decided that the children of an estranged couple should remain in the ‘common religion of the parents at the time of their marriage’. In Malaysia, Cabinet decisions are essentially unwritten laws that civil servants are obliged to implement. Despite the April 2009 Cabinet decision, Islamic officials have continued to convert minors at the request of one parent, without the consent of the other.
In Malaysian politics, a draft law or ‘bill’ is discussed and approved by the Cabinet before it is submitted to the Parliament. Yet on Wednesday 26 June a bill permitting the unilateral conversion of minors into Islam went to the Parliament without first going to the Cabinet. If passed, the Bill will replace the 1993 Act. This bill would further Islamise Malaysian law by mandating that a minor may be converted to Islam by ‘his parent’ (singular). Because the bill bypassed the Cabinet it was introduced into Parliament without any scrutiny from the Cabinet’s non-Muslim members, leaving them feeling betrayed and marginalised.
The bill has caused an outcry, particularly amongst Malaysia’s non-Muslims. Despite this, the government is standing firm. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin insists that the bill will proceed despite it being contrary to the April 2009 Cabinet decision, maintaining it is based on the Constitution, court precedents and present realities. The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) has slammed the ‘stealthy’ tabling of the bill claiming ‘It contains controversial provisions that affect the constitutional and religious rights of non-Muslims. This will seriously and irredeemably affect the religious harmony and national unity of our country.’
According to the Malaysian Bar Council President the unilateral conversion of minors is unconstitutional. Roman Catholic Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing comments: ‘This amendment contravenes a decision by the Cabinet in 2009.This would not be the first time that the Cabinet has been overridden by civil service functionaries — the main drivers of creeping Islamisation in this country.” It is not uncommon to find non-Muslims converting to Islam for personal gain: in particular, men converting to Islam so they can take another wife. If passed, this bill will legalise the forced conversion of non-Muslim children. For the sake of vulnerable children, we must pray against this bill.
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT —
* the Spirit of the Lord will arouse passionate indignation in all Malaysians who treasure personal liberty and the fundamental human rights of children, so that this bill will not pass and the loopholes will be tightened to protect vulnerable children from Islamic mischief.
* God will halt the Islamisation of Malaysia and that the Malaysian Church looks to the Lord of Hosts who has promised to be ‘strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate’ (from Isaiah 28:5-6 ESV).
* our faithful Lord Jesus Christ will establish justice for all Christian children and parents who have been robbed through Islamic mischief throughout the Islamic world.
Source: Elizabeth Kendall, Religious Liberty Monitoring
PRAYING FOR MALAYSIA IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE GENERAL ELECTIONS
Recently Malaysia’s Barisan coalition, led by the prime minister, Najib Razak, was re-elected for a 13th straight term. Barisan won 133 seats to 89 by the opposition, a three-party coalition called Pakatan and led by Anwar Ibrahim. The turnout was a record 85%. And so the same government which has ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957 is set for another five years in office. It did slightly better in terms of seats than some had predicted. Scratch the surface, however, and in almost every respect this was a lamentable result for the ruling coalition, its worst ever. Not only did it lose a further seven seats to Pakatan, but it won with only 47% of the popular vote.
It is further evidence of how the electoral system is skewed in Barisan’s favour, allowing it to stack up seats in the rural Malay heartlands with far fewer voters than Pakatan needs to win seats in more urban areas. In many places the opposition increased large majorities. For instance, in Penang in the north of the country the Barisan defeat was so humiliating that its candidate for governor, Teng Chang Yeow, resigned from all his party posts. Several government ministers lost their seats. Most striking was that the ethnic Chinese (about 25% of the population) shifted their votes away from Barisan towards the opposition.
The Chinese party within the Barisan coalition, won just 7 seats, down from 15, whereas the opposition’s mainly Chinese Democratic Action Party (DAP) picked up ten seats, for a final tally of 38. The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) dominates the Barisan coalition and appeals to ethnic Malays and other indigenous groups who make up two-thirds of the population. UMNO ran a divisive campaign to shore up its base of rural Malay voters. It alienated Chinese and other voters, already tired of the cronyism and corruption associated with affirmative-action policies that favour Malays over other ethnicities in business, education and the civil service.
So, despite professing to promote a multi-ethnic Malaysia, Barisan’s election strategy has left the country more divided than ever, both along ethnic lines and between urban and rural areas. Yet the result will not be the only dent in the government’s authority. So too will be the manner in which it was gained. Allegations of dirty campaign tricks abound. “Phantom voters” appear to have been bussed into marginal constituencies to boost the Barisan vote. Opposition leader Nurul Izzah Anwar claims that fraud cost him the election. His claim is almost certainly an exaggeration. Still, the bitterness engendered by the vote will persist.
Source: The Economist
CONFUSION REIGNS AS UNITED KINGDOM RE-TERMS HUSBAND AND WIFE
A man can be a “wife” and a woman can be a “husband,” the UK government has decided, overruling the Oxford English Dictionary and effectively putting an end to the traditional meanings of the words for marriage partners. The move has been denounced as the vocabulary of “cloud cuckoo land” and”gobbledegook” by critics who believe that the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ should have their traditional meanings preserved. Updated explanatory notes in The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill being considered by the governmentis causing it to have to redefine the two terms, “clarifying” what it means.
“‘Husband’ will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman and “Wife” will include a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man.” However, the male-only meaning of husband and female – only understanding of wife could return in some cases – to “ensure that gender-specific terms such as ‘husband’ keep their gender-specific effect.” “The term ‘husband’ will include a man who is married to another man (but not a woman in a marriage with another woman); and ‘wife’ will include a woman who is married to another woman (but not a man married to another man),” declares the drafted legislation.
Critics stated that they had anticipated the legal confusion the government would run into while trying to eliminate ‘gender specific’ terms, which have to be introduced as the UK tries to establish gay marriage laws, meaning marriage terms will be ‘outdated.’ “We always knew the government would tie itself in knots trying to redefine marriage, and this shows what a ridiculous mess they’ve created,” a spokesperson for the Coalition for Marriage, which campaigns against the change, told the Telegraph. “This mangling of the English language shows what happens when politicians meddle with marriage. They’re in cloud cuckoo land,” they said.
Debate over the new definition has sparked irritation. “It sounds not merely like gobbledegook but the reversal of the natural and normal meaning of words,” said Lord Tebbit in Parliament. Parallels have been drawn in the British media with a recent example of Spain. When the socialist government introduced gay marriage, it was announced that Spanish Birth certificates would read ‘Progenitor A’ and ‘Progenitor B’ instead of ‘mother’ and ‘father.’ The practice of gender nonspecific terms has spread far beyond Europe: Ambiguously gendered people were given the option in 2011 of listing their gender on passport applications as ‘X’.
Source: Compiled by APN from UK media reports
AFRICAN LEADERS HIT BACK AT OBAMA OVER HOMOSEXUALITY
On a recent three-country tour of Africa, President Obama celebrated two U.S. Supreme Court decisions liberalizing homosexual “marriage,” and then offered a thinly-veiled criticism of his host nations. Among the chorus of African leaders responding to President Obama after he urged Africans toaccept homosexuality was a Kenyan Cardinal, who strongly challenged Obama.”Those people who have already ruined their society…let them not become our teachers to tell us where to go,” said Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi and president of the Kenyan Episcopal Conference. “I think we need to act according to our own traditions and our faiths,” he added.
“My view is that regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, when it comes to the law, people should be treated equally,” Obama said in Senegal. “And that’s a principle that I think applies universally.”Homosexuality is illegal in 38 African nations, including Senegal, which bans any “improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex. The remarks prompted a quick response from Senegal President Macky Sall, who insisted his nation “is not homophobic” and is “very tolerant.” The U.S.president was also rebuked by Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto who said, “Those who believe in other things, that is their business.We believe in God.”
“This nation, the nation of Kenya [is] sovereign and God-fearing,” Ruto added. “America has made tremendous contribution to Kenya’s well-being and we are very grateful and as a government we are ready to receive any help from America that will improve the lives of our people,” Ruto stated. “But for these other things we hear, it is none of our business as it goes against our customs and traditions.”The cultural clash on homosexuality has often been exacerbated because Western nations frequently threaten African nations with a loss of foreign aid over the issue.
CHRISTIAN MINORITY IN PAKISTAN CELEBRATE GLOBAL DAY OF PRAYER AMIDST CONSTANT PERSECUTION
Each year the National Prayer Network of Pakistan holds a Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) event in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, following the tradition and keeping in mind the importance of holding such events. A prayer event for children was organized in partnership with Shine Kids Ministries and Shine Society. The event was held in a marginalized community area. The Children were taught about the importance of having a relationship with the Father through prayer, how this relationship would be maintained, improved and fostered and what taints this relationship. Creative praying methods were practically demonstrated and practiced.
In Lahore, the 2nd largest city in Pakistan; four more events were held.Three of these focused on children with one general event also held which was attended by more than 300 Intercessors, pastors, evangelist’s and leaders. People were blessed by the prayers, and city prayer leaders and pastors committed to continue to gather in prayer all the year around and not just on special occasions. One of the most important things was the move of the Holy Spirit that made it possible for 17 ministries/churches to collaborate in the GDOP event, an important breakthrough which shows the work of the Holy Spirit in breaking down denominational walls.
The Lahor children’s events were organized in partnership with Shine Kids Ministries. The children were encouraged to pray and taught the importance of corporate prayer and various methods of prayer. Three further meetings were arranged by the National Prayer Network of Pakistan in different cities. These meetings were very blessed with 8-10 people dedicating their lives to the Lord and being water baptised after the meetings. The Holy Spirit moved powerfully in these meetings which were marked by intense intercession and prayer.
Source: International Prayer Council