Tuesday, January 05, 2010

SWISS MINARET BAN - LEADS TO THREATS AGAINST CHRISTIANS

Barnabbas Fund reports 'While Muslim leaders are criticising the Swiss vote to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland, Christians in some Muslim-majority countries face severe restrictions on the building and repair of churches. In countries such as Saudi Arabia and the Maldives there are no church buildings at all. In a number of other countries, there are church buildings for foreigners but none for the indigenous Christians themselves.

The referendum decision on 29 November 2009 in Switzerland is beginning to have ramifications in other countries around the world. In Egypt there has been a huge outcry against the Swiss decision, which concerned only minarets, not mosques themselves. But Egypt is a country where it is normally extremely difficult for Christians to get permission to build new churches or even repair the existing ones. Christians are forced to travel long distances to worship or must meet in secret in their homes due to an insufficient number of church buildings. Furthermore, recent months have seen a spate of attacks on church buildings.

In Turkey, on 4 December 2009, the leader of a church with a bell tower was approached by three people who threatened him, saying "Switzerland is banning minarets and we will ban bell towers to you. You will demolish the bell tower by next Friday." The police were informed of the incident and are now providing security for the church. A recent survey in Turkey has found that nearly 40% of the population has negative views of Christians, while over 50% of those surveyed said non-Muslims should not be allowed to hold open meetings where they can discuss their ideas and should not be allowed to publish literature that describes their faith.

A recent review of prominent events posted on various Islamist terrorist internet forums in December 2009 highlighted the following comment, "Switzerland is a fragile country which has always kept away from the conflict arena, but now is like other heretic countries in Europe and is placing itself at the top of the list of the sheep to be slaughtered by the Mujahideen".

• Pray for all Christians who are living in countries where they are the minority faith and facing such prejudice against them. Pray that they may know the peace and guidance of the Lord Jesus.

• Pray that officials in Egypt and Turkey will act justly to uphold religious freedom for all and provide protection for local Christians and the buildings they need for worship and ministry.'

When will Western governments speak out on behalf of persecuted Christians?

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