Arab Winter: A Season of Suffering
Dreadful economic, social, and political climate forced the young and the hopeful onto the streets of Tunis, Cairo, Damascus, and Sana'a. The birth pangs of change ranged from peaceful demonstrations to violent civil strife. Change did arrive! The bright rays of hopefulness and optimism in the revolutions that swept North Africa and the Middle East in 2011 have made way for a cloud of gloom and misery called the Arab Winter.
The majority of the people demanded a change that respects everyone's liberties. Sadly, the change is dissolving people's freedoms. As secular dictatorships were overthrown, the void created in seats of power were filled by political organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood (a transnational Islamic political organization) that have sought to make these countries more Islamic than secular.
In countries like Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, the Salafists are gaining political ground. Salafists are a Sunni militant group which believes that they are the only correct interpreters of the Qur'an. They seek to convert everyone to ensure that their own fundamentalist version of Islam will dominate the world. In this climate of extremism, certain sections of society, particularly Christian Believers, find themselves marginalized and ostracized. In some extreme cases Believers are kidnapped, tortured, and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Christians in Egypt have been targeted. Over five hundred girls have been kidnapped and forcibly converted, and married to Muslim men (See article: Kidnapping and Forcible Conversions of Christian Girls). Churches have been attacked forcing many Christians who can afford it to flee the country.
According to experts, a democratic transition in Tunisia seems to have the greatest chance of success. However, the election of the Islamic Ennahda party poses grave danger for the very small Christian community which continues to be intimidated and targeted.
In Syria, where civil war continues to rage on and consume countless human lives like a wild fire, Christians who were protected under President Al Assad are now viewed as enemies. Initially, they were intimidated. Now, Christians are violently attacked, tortured, and killed.
The cold grasp of the Arab Winter grips the community of Christian Believers in the region. Pray for God to bring about the freedom of the faithful followers of Christ and secure their safety. Assured of God's goodness, power, might, strength, and eternal love we know the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church!
Pray for the persecuted brothers and sisters so they become the overcomers prophesied to appear in the last days, with faith greater than the Apostle Paul's. May they hold onto the teachings of Jesus Christ and increase in faith and love (The Bible, 1 Thessalonians 3:7, Revelation 3:11-12).
Pray that the Arab Christians have the courage and desire to stay in their homelands and find ways to preach the Gospel in the face of great persecution (The Bible, 2 Corinthians 13:11).
Pray this will be an unprecedented time of harvest among the Arab Muslims. Ask God to prepare the hearts of fundamentalist Muslims so they will seek the Truth that is found in Jesus Christ alone (The Bible, Acts 9:1-19).
Pray for the speedy end to the torment and abuse that Christian Believers and moderate Muslims face in countries where the Arab Spring has taken a drastic plunge toward a dangerous and unstable Arab Winter (The Bible, Psalm 68:20).
Pray the Lord protects Believers from the scourge of the enemy (The Bible, Psalm 121:7-8).
Pray for the Lord Jesus to visit the multitude in the Arab world with dreams and visions (The Bible, Joel 2:28-29).
This article originally appeared in the April 2013 Edition of the Win 10/40 Reporter.
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