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02-10-2003, 08:44 AM
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The Persecution & Prayer Alert
The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada
Wednesday, October 1, 2003

A summary of news concerning the Persecuted Church and how you can respond.
1. Three More Christians Arrested (China)
2. Update on Siham Qandah (Jordan)
3. Detained Emigrant Faces Drug Charges (Egypt)
4. Churches Burned (Sri Lanka)
5. Proposed Constitution Omits Vital Freedoms (Afghanistan)
6. Question of the Week
1. Three More Christians Arrested (China)

Two Christians were arrested on Friday and a third on Sunday in Ping Ding Shan, Henan Province, China. According to VOM sources, more than twenty Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers arrested Xiao Bi-guang and Zhang Yi-nan on Friday morning. On Sunday, Zhang's wife, Ding Guizhen was arrested at the hospital where she worked as a doctor.

The whereabouts of Xiao and Zhang are unknown and the families have received no official notification. Ding is currently being held in the PSB office. The home of Zhang and Ding was also searched and various possessions were confiscated, including computers and books.

Xiao is an active member of a Beijing house church and had served three years in a labour camp for providing "spiritual aid" for an independent labour union. He has also served on the legal team representing the leaders of the South China Church, whose leader, Pastor Gong Shengliang, is currently serving a life sentence. Xiao's wife was previously a theology teacher at the state-approved Beijing Theological Seminary until it was learned that she was involved in an unregistered house church.

Zhang is a church historian for the underground churches in China and has been one of the main writers for the Unity Movement, which includes four major unregistered house church groups in China.

Please pray for the release of Xiao Bi-guang, Zhang Yi-nan and Ding Guizhen. Pray for an assurance of Christ's presence with them. Pray for protection for thousands of other Christians worshipping in secret throughout China.

We encourage you to contact the Chinese embassy in your country and urge them to release these believers. For contact information for embassies in Canada and the UN, visit our website at http://www.persecution.net/links.htm.

Click here for pictures of Zhang Yi-nan and Xiao Bi-guang.
2. Update on Siham Qandah (Jordan)

For several months, The Voice of the Martyrs has been following the plight of a Christian widow, Siham Qandah, in Jordan who has been ordered to turn her children over to her estranged brother or face imprisonment (for more details, see http://www.persecution.net/pnp_se.htm). Following the recent order to hand over custody or face prison, an appeal was lodged on September 21. It is expected that the appeal will take one to two weeks to be heard. In the meantime, the arrest order was suspended.

Efforts continue to find a solution. A meeting scheduled with a Supreme Court judge and a member of the royal family was cancelled, but there is ongoing communication. Pray that the appeal will be successful and that Siham will be able to retain custody of her children. Pray for continued strength for the family and wisdom for her lawyer and others involved in resolving this matter.
3. Detained Emigrant Faces Drug Charges (Egypt)

In last week's Persecution and Prayer Alert, we asked prayer for Bolis Rezekallah, an Egyptian Christian detained at the Cairo airport just as he was leaving to immigrate to Canada. He was arrested when authorities learned that he was married to a convert from Islam. His wife immediately went into hiding when it was learned that Bolis had been arrested (see http://www.persecution.net/pnparchive/arch6.htm#1).

A VOM contact informed us today that Bolis had been released on bail. However, the police then accused him of being a drug dealer. According to the report, the police officer placing the charges told Bolis, "I forced you to sell your pharmacy, I forced you to sell your car, this time I will force you to commit suicide if you do not tell us where your wife is."

Pray for safety for Bolis and his wife. Pray for continued endurance and strength in these trials. Pray that these false drug charges will be thrown out and that both will be allowed to immigrate to Canada.

We also urge you to write, telephone, or email to your federal government officials and to Egyptian embassies on behalf of Bolis Rezekallah (links may be found at http://www.persecution.net/links.htm). In Canada, you can write to:

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
H.E. Dr. Sallama Mahmoud Shaker, Ambassador
454 Laurier Ave. E.
Ottawa, ON K1N 6R3

Phone: 613-234-4931/234-4935
FAX: 613-234-9347/234-4398
E-Mail: egyptemb@sympatico.ca


02-10-2003, 08:46 AM
4. Churches Burned (Sri Lanka)

Last week, the Persecution and Prayer Alert reported on the brutal assault on September 19 of three Christian women who had been working to build the fence around a church in Kotadeniyawa, Sri Lanka (see http://www.persecution.net/pnparchive/arch6.htm#4). The fence was also destroyed in the attack. VOM sources have since reported that, on the night of September 23, unidentified motorcyclists burned down the church building itself. Click here for pictures from this attack.

The next night, at 2:00 a.m. the Assembly of God Church in Kesbewa was burned to the ground. The church building was doused with gasoline and set alight after tires were placed inside the building to ensure maximum fire damage. The building was completely destroyed.

Over the past several months, the believers of the Kesbewa Church had frequently received death threats. The church building as repeatedly been doused with oil, stoned, and a bomb attack injured one person. It is believed that the local Buddhist temple is spearheading the harassment. Click here for pictures from this attack.

Harassment of Christians throughout Sri Lanka is increasing in recent months. Pray that authorities will work to prosecute those responsible for this violence. Pray for peace of mind and heart for Christians facing these constant threats.
5. Proposed Constitution Omits Vital Freedoms (Afghanistan)

This morning, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) issued a press release expressing serious concerns about the proposed constitution for Afghanistan, which could be approved as early as December.

According to the report, also published in today's New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/01/opinion/01BANS.html), the proposed constitution would enshrine elements of Sharia law, including blasphemy, apostasy, and other religious crimes. When the USCIRF spoke with Afghanistan's chief justice, Fazl Hadi Shinwari, he told them that he accepted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights with three exceptions: freedom of _expression, freedom of religion and equality of the sexes. He said that the Koran is "the only law." If this constitution is ratified by the loya jirga (grand council) in December, Islamic law could be used to suppress any dissenting thought or religious faiths other than Islam.

We encourage you to raise your concerns with your federal government officials, urging them to pressure the Afghani government to accept the entire Universal Declaration on Human Rights. For links, go to http://www.persecution.net/links.htm. Pray that those drafting the constitution will listen to international concerns and institute the necessary changes before bringing it to a vote.
6. Question of the Week

The USCIRF, in their press release referred to above, made the following statement: "Even in a self-proclaimed Islamic republic, however, all citizens, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, must be free to debate the role of religion and to question prevailing orthodoxies without fear of being subjected to trials, prison or death."

Our question of the week is this: "Can religious freedom truly exist in a country that gives legal preference to a single religion (including Christianity)?"

To participate in our poll and discussion, go to http://www.persecution.net and click on "Discussion Forum." If you have not registered on our forum in the past, click on "Register" and select a username and password.

Click here for other recent Persecution and Prayer Alerts

02-10-2003, 02:35 PM
Christian held by Egyptian police
September 24, 2003

Egyptian Christian Bolis Rezek-Allah was pulled off an international flight this afternoon in Cairo, Egypt, and is being held by Egyptian secret police. Rezek-Allah, who had been granted an immigrant visa to Canada, was on the plane to leave Egypt when police arrested him.

His wife, Enas Badawi, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, is also being sought by police but has not yet been apprehended. She had planned to eventually join her husband in Canada, but now is in hiding.

In Egypt it is illegal for a Christian man to marry a Muslim woman, and in the eyes of the police and government Badawi is still a Muslim, as they refuse to recognize her conversion.

“It is interesting that the Egyptian government has no problem with Muslim men marrying Christian women,” said VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton, “but they won’t recognize the right of Christian men to marry Muslim women. There is complete freedom for Christians if they want to convert to Islam, but no freedom for Muslims to choose to follow Christ.”

The Voice of the Martyrs urges American Christians to pray for Rezek-Allah as he is in custody, and for Badawi in hiding.

VOM also encourages polite protests to the Egyptian embassy:
Egyptian embassy
3522 International Ct NW
Washington, DC 20008-3022
Telephone: (202) 895 5400
Fax: (202) 244-4319

“The Egyptian government says it gives citizens religious freedom, but this arrest shows that’s clearly not the case,” said Nettleton. “American Christians can make a difference by being heard on behalf of this couple.”

Contact: VOM News Services
Todd Nettleton
(918) 337-8015

The Voice of the Martyrs, Inc.
PO Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005
(918) 337-8015
Fax: (918) 338-8832

To learn more about the persecution of Christians, sign-up for VOM's free, 16-page monthly newsletter by clicking here: FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER.

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