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  NOTE: There will be no Persecution & Prayer Alert on December 26. The next edition will be on Thursday, January 3. As always, if reports requiring urgent prayer come to our attention, a special edition will be sent out.

Ten Killed, Churches and Homes Burned in Muslim Riots in Northern Nigeria

Elim Church
Photo from Compass Direct

Ten people were killed, several Christians seriously injured, and Christian churches, businesses and homes burned when Muslims went on a rampage in the Yelwa Tudu area in Bauchi state on December 11, according to a December 13 report from Compass Direct. The violence occurred after unidentified people pulled out two blocks from the foundation of the mosque under construction at the Baba Tanko Secondary School in Kagadama shortly after construction began on the building on December 2. The Muslim students believed that Christians had done the damage and threatened to attack local believers. Although the school principal and staff thought that they had diffused the tension, nine days later Muslim students stormed out of a classroom and converged at the mosque site chanting "Allahu Akbar." They then began to attack Christians with knives and daggers. The violence eventually escalated into a town-wide riot. The Redeemed Christian Church of God, the Assemblies of God Church and the Elim Church were set ablaze and sustained fire damage. At least a dozen Christian homes were destroyed in the attack.

At last report, only one of those killed has been identified, a Christian known only by his surname, "Bogoro." The identities of the other nine have been kept secret by the government and their bodies were given a swift burial in a common grave.

Pray that the Lord will fill Christians with His peace and strength as they recover from this brutal attack. Ask God to comfort those who have lost loved ones. Pray that Christ will be exalted through this tragedy and that people in this area will continue to be drawn to Him (Phil. 1:20).

For more information on the persecution facing Christians in Nigeria, click here.


Priest Stabbed by Muslim in Turkey


An Italian priest, Father Adriano Franchini (65), was stabbed in the stomach by a 19-year-old Muslim man outside St. Anthony Church in the city of Izmir, Turkey on December 16. According to the Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet," Father Franchini and the assailant, Ramazan Bay, had a brief conversation after mass in which Bay expressed his interest in becoming a Christian. During the discussion, Bay suddenly became angry and stabbed Father Franchini. In his statement to the police, Bay reportedly said that his actions were influenced by an episode of a television program that depicts Christian missionaries as political "infiltrators" who pay poor families to convert to Christianity. Father Franchini is in stable condition.

Ask God to give healing to Father Franchini. Pray that those who accuse Christians of forcible conversion will see that that the Gospel message is one of a free gift, not coercion. Pray for the salvation of Ramazan Bay.

For more information on the persecution facing Christians in Turkey, click here.


Muslim Rioters Destroy Christian Shops in Egypt


Egyptian Christians and their property were attacked twice last week in the town of Isna, located about 560 kilometres south of Cairo. At least thirteen Christian-owned shops were vandalized or burned and a church building was damaged. Fifteen Muslims were arrested for their participation in the riots but seven suspects who were believed to be the main culprits were released two days later.

The riots were the result of increasing tension in the community between the Coptic and Muslim residents. Last Wednesday (December 12) local Muslims rioted after reports circulated that some local Christian young men had raped a teen-aged Muslim girl. The rioters hurled stones and smashed windows of a pharmacy where they suspected the Copts had forced the girl to have sex with them. Sunday's rioting followed reports that two Coptic Christians had pulled down the veil of a Muslim woman in a car park the previous evening.

Glenn Penner, Chief Executive Officer for The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada noted that the release of the main culprits is hardly surprising. "It is really quite rare in situations like this when they take place in Egypt that any Muslim is ever convicted and punished. There is a system of justice for Christians and a far more lenient one for Muslims. Make no mistake, though. If it can be shown that there was wrongdoing done here by Christians, it is right that they be punished to the full extent of the law. But it should go both ways. Nevertheless, innocent people should not have to suffer loss and live in fear for their safety simply because of their identity as Christians (regardless of any wrongdoing by their fellow co-religionists) and watch their attackers go free without repercussions. This is exactly why these religious tensions continue in Egypt."

Pray that those responsible for this violence will be held accountable and that justice will be fairly distributed. Pray for those who must now rebuild their businesses in the wake of this violence.

For more information on the persecution facing Christians in Egypt, click here.


Pastor and Wife Beaten by Hindus in Andhra Pradesh, India


Pastor William Cary and his wife were beaten in their home by two Hindus in the village of Kandla Koyya, Andhra Pradesh on the evening of December 10, according to a December 10 report from All India Christian Council. A day before the attack, Pastor Cary, who leads a local church affiliated with Bharat Bible College, had asked nearby Hindus gathered for worship nearby to reduce the sound of their service. The Hindus peaceably agreed to the pastor's request. At approximately 9:30 p.m. the next day, however, two people came to the pastor's house and asked him if he was the one who had asked the Hindus to turn down the volume. When he told them he had, the visitors forcibly entered his home and beat him along with his wife.

Pray for Pastor Cary and his wife as they recover from this attack. Pray that they will find opportunities to share Christ with their persecutors. Pray that non-Christians throughout India would be challenged by the consistent witness of God's people and come to know Him (Romans 12:14, 21).

For more information on the persecution of Christians in India, click here.


Pastor and Church Members Fined After Church Raid in Azerbaijan


Five church members and three visitors were imprisoned and fined after the police raided the mid-morning meeting of a Seventh-day Adventist service in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku on December 8. According to a December 16 report from the Adventist Press Service, thirteen police officers interrupted the gathering, demanded the passports of those present and then began searching the premises. Books and other religious materials were confiscated. Police then arrested eight of those present on charges of "meeting without state registration" and detained them at the local police station where officials tried to force them to sign statements denying their faith. After five hours, the Adventists were fined and released with a warning that they would be imprisoned if the congregation continued to meet together. Pastor Rasim Bakhshiyev was fined a total of 16.50 manats ($20 CAD) and the others were fined 11 manats.

Pray that this congregation will be encouraged to meet together for worship and prayer, despite opposition.

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Azerbaijan, click here.


"The Remains of the Day" to Be Aired On God TV Next Week


The Voice of the Martyrs has partnered with Release International and Christian Solidarity Worldwide in producing the film "The Remains of the Day," a 60-minute documentary that follows the story of five survivors from the violent attacks on Christians in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria on February 18, 2006. Motivated by anger in the Muslim community about the publication of satirical cartoons of the prophet Mohammad in the Danish media, 57 churches were burnt down, around 65 Christians were murdered, and several Christian homes and business were destroyed in the riots.

The Voice of the Martyrs is pleased to announce that "The Remains of the Day" will be broadcast on God TV around the world at the following times during the Christmas season:

  • in the US and Canada on Christmas Day at 15:30, and on Boxing Day at 13:00
  • in the UK on Christmas Day at 15:30 and on Boxing Day at 13:00
  • throughout Europe on December 29th at 13:00 and on December 30th at 02:00
  • in Africa on Christmas Day at 15:30
  • in Australasia on Christmas Day at 15:30
  • in Asia on Christmas Day at 19:00

Further information about God TV can be found at

You can also order a DVD of the documentary from The Voice of the Martyrs' online catalogue.


In This Week's VOMC Weblog


Our bloggers have been active this week! Read Adele Konynydyk's "Standing in the Need of Prayer" about the lessons she learned about prayer from persecuted Christians in a recent ministry trip to a restricted nation. In "Kingdoms in Conflict," Glenn Penner discusses the conflict that surrounded Jesus' birth and in "Servants With or Of?" he addresses whether The Voice of the Martyrs should be known as servants of the Persecuted Church or servants with the Persecuted Church (and does it matter?). In "Evangelism, Religious Liberty, and Tolerance" Glenn asks if believing in religious liberty and that every person has the right to practice and propagate his beliefs necessarily suggest that we are promoting an acceptance of differing religions and religious beliefs and in "A Developing Hierarchy of Rights in Canada" he points to recent legal decisions that suggest that religious rights are increasingly being treated as less inviolable than gender or sexual orientation rights in particular, especially when they are expressed in the public arena.

To make comments on these and previous VOMC weblogs, go to