East Timor, Southeast Asia
Political Leader: President José Ramos Horta
Religions: Christianity 99%, Islam 1%
Persecution Ranking: Not Ranked
Number of Terrorist Groups: None Listed
Acts of Terrorism: 10; Casualties: 14
Percent of Corruption: Insufficient Data to Rank
% of People in Poverty: 42%
East Timor, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is a country in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecussi-Ambeno, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor. The island of Timor is part of the Malay archipelago and the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. To the north of the mountainous island are the Ombai Strait and Wetar Strait, to the south the Timor Sea separates the island from Australia, while to the west lies the Indonesian Province of East Nusa Tenggara.
Australia reported that in March 2005 four Al Qaeda terrorists might have slipped into East Timor across its porous land border with Indonesia. The four men were said to be two South Africans, a Kuwaiti and a Turk. Observers said Al Qaeda was attempting to set up a terrorist cell in the world’s newest nation, which the U.N. has warned has “fragile” security. In 2002, East Timor President Xanana Gusmao rejected reports that people connected to Al Qaeda were in East Timor, saying they were rumors intended to scare people. A United Nations report released in February 2005 found that, while East Timor's border control unit had improved, it still lacked “sufficient capacity to manage border affairs and interact with the Indonesian national army.”
East Timor is mostly a Christian nation (99%), while Muslims comprise only 1% of its population.
Challenges for Christians:
The constitution provides for freedom of religion. According to a 2005 World Bank report, 98% of the population is Catholic and 1% Protestant. The Assemblies of God is the largest and most active of the Protestant denominations. According to Protestant leaders, individuals converting from Catholicism to Protestantism were subject to harassment by family members and neighbors, and in some cases clergy and missionaries were threatened or assaulted. In several instances village leaders refused to allow missionaries to proselytize in their villages, and in at least one case a Protestant group was unable to build a chapel because of opposition from neighbors and local officials.
- Pray that terrorist groups would not find a haven or develop terrorist cells in East Timor.
- Pray for God to expose the plans of terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. Pray that God would defeat the demonic forces that are behind terrorists.
- Thank God that 99% of the population are Christian. Pray that their faith would be alive and that they learn forgiveness for all the atrocities that have happened.
- There are 3 ethnic groups and 20 different languages in East Timor. Pray for unity and patience as their young country develops.
- Many young people and children lost their homes and their parents and have been forced to make it on their own on the streets. Pray that Christian ministries and local churches can be equipped to help them and give them a new start.
Sources: 24-7 Prayer, Operation World, Wikipedia, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006, International Religious Freedom Report 2007, Open Doors, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, The World Factbook