On Saturday, September 11th, Rev. Silas Yakubu Ali left his home in the Zangon Kataf area of Kaduna, Nigeria, and set off for the town of Kafanchan, but was not heard from again. Early the next morning, a search party found his body, which was inflicted with bullet and machete wounds, less than a kilometre from his home.
While the assailants and motives for Rev. Ali's murder have not yet been identified, thousands of Christians have been killed in Nigeria by Islamist militants. At least 11 other Christians were killed on September 12th in a separate attack on the village of Apyizhime Jim, including two pregnant women. According to one witness, the total number of victims from the subsequent attack has not been determined to date, since many others from the village remain missing. Of those identified, ten belonged to another church overseen by Rev. Ali, along with one member of a local Catholic church. It has been verified that the second attack was carried out by Fulani herdsmen.
In response to Rev. Ali's murder, the governor of Kaduna State publicly expressed his condolences to the family and church members, then made an appeal for calm. He also called for intensified security efforts to apprehend the "perpetrators of the heinous killing." For more on the difficulties facing Nigeria's Christians, go to our country report.
Prayerfully remember the families and friends who are mourning the loss of their loved ones as a result of these recent attacks. Pray that those responsible for the crimes will be located and held accountable. Please also uphold Nigeria's governmental forces, asking the Lord to help them intensify their efforts to stop the ongoing violence so Christians can freely practise their faith. May the believers in this country be demonstrators of God's peace and grace in the wake of these malicious acts of persecution, drawing many others to faith in Christ through their fine Christian witness.
On the morning of September 4th, the Maizi Christian Music High School in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, was raided by police, religious affairs officials and local school district administrators. All staff and students present were arrested.
Principal Xu had received a warning through his landlord the previous day, informing him that "a test" was coming. During the raid, the authorities confiscated various school possessions – including pianos, computers and documents. After 24 hours' detainment, the students and most of the staff were all released from custody. At last report, the whereabouts of Principal Xu were unknown. According to a friend of the principal, his home had been raided six months prior and his phone was tapped. C hristians from various churches are working to obtain a lawyer to represent both the principal and the school. Potential accusations against the school may include financial charges of "illegal education" because tuition fees were charged to the students. Furthermore, since the students are under 18, there may also be charges of "enticing minors to religion."
To learn more about the persecution of Christians in China, go to our country report.Please ask God to ensure the safety of Principal Xu and his family, as well as the rest of the school's staff. Pray that they will be able to obtain good legal representation. May God alter the hearts and minds of the opposing authorities, allowing the Christian music academy to reopen and freely operate without fear of future raids. Further, pray that the students who have had to endure this ordeal will receive the Lord's comfort, strength and encouragement.
Over the past several months, Christians around the world have been following reports about a Saudi Arabian Christian referred to as "A" or "Adam." For more information, see our previously published reports, which are available at our country report.
In early July, it was reported that the immediate family members of the accused were able to relocate to a safe country where they are being protected. However, at the time, "Adam" had to remain in Saudi Arabia while appealing a conviction for allegedly attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity. A recently received report confirms that he has been able to join his family.
According to Christian friends, even though "Adam" had become disheartened, he was determined to stay in Saudi Arabia in order to set a good example and demonstrate his willingness to suffer for his faith. However, these friends convinced him that taking care of his wife and sons was also a priority. According to one friend, "'Adam' felt that Saudi Arabia was his home, and it was there that he wanted to serve the Lord." She added, "But if his departure appears to be a loss for the Christians of Muslim background in the country, he will continue to serve the Lord in his new country."
Pray for this faithful follower of Christ and his family as they settle into their new home. Praise God that they have been able to find a location of safety and security. Wherever they reside, may Adam remain a wonderful testimony of God's love and grace to those around him. Overall, pray for the protection of Christians throughout Saudi Arabia, asking the Lord to provide them divinely orchestrated opportunities to reach out to their Muslim neighbours with the "Good News" of the Gospel and the strength to stand firm in the face of persecution.