Threats of Increased Violence during Ramadan; Christians Urged to Pray

Pray for Christians’ Safety During Ramadan

ICC Note: The month of August is the ninth month in the Islamic Calendar. This is the start of Ramadan, the time when Muslims purge themselves of sin by fasting from dusk until dawn. This is also a time of increased tension between Muslims following Ramadan, and Non Muslims who do not follow Ramadan. Increased violence during the month of Ramadan is to be expected.

8/2/2011 Middle East(ChristianPost) – Ramadan, the 30-day annual Islamic fast which begins next week, may expose Christians to an increased risk of persecution in Muslim-majority countries and believers in the West should pray for them.

“Ramadan is a time when Christians are especially isolated in some Muslim-dominated countries,” said Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller in a statement. “This is why it is so important for us to unite in prayer for persecuted Christians throughout the world.”

To help Christians pray for the persecuted, Open Doors has prepared a Ramadan Prayer Calendar having multiple prayer points and designed to help believers pray for vulnerable Christians around the world during the 30 days.

The group, which has served the persecuted church worldwide since 1955 when its founder Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles into Eastern Europe for the first time, will also send out daily emails with a story from a Muslim-dominated country, prayer requests, and a call to action. Open Doors has provided a link on its website for believers to register.

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which begins August 1 this year, is the time when most Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, seeking to shed their sins through acts of restraint as they believe this is a time of purification accomplished through good deeds and self-control.

However, “the observance of Ramadan could increase pressure on believers,” Moeller said.

Ramadan brings with it violence at times. Some governments in Islamic countries forcibly enforce observance of Ramadan and extremist groups increase their vigilante activities against both non-abiding Muslims and non-Muslims, and tend to become more intolerant toward them.

During the last Ramadan, an imam in Egypt in Shimi village near Giza called for “jihad” against Christians leading to persecution of Copts, according to the Assyrian International News Agency. In 2009, an American service member in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul was shot at by an Afghan police officer for drinking water publicly during Ramadan, The Associated Press had reported.

Particularly this year, when a wave of uprisings is underway in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the threat of increased violence is real as protests are expected to intensify. Especially in Egypt, where Copts have come under attack following the fall of the Hosni Mubarak regime in February, more violence against Christians is expected.

Pakistan has beefed up security ahead of Ramadan apprehending tensions around mosques and other places of worship, according to The Nation, a Pakistani newspaper.

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