10/40 Window Reporter March 2012
Somalia: War On Women
“Somalia is a land that has descended so deeply into misery that ‘failed state’ is now too generous a description for the country,” notes “Time.”
According to Fund for Peace, a nation is designated a “failed state” when the government has become weak, ineffective, and lost control; there has been massive displacement of refugees; public services are not being provided; human rights violations are taking place; and corruption/crime is out of control. Somalia fulfills all these criteria. And more.
Not only has there been no central government since 1991, but in the absence of law and order, the nation has been overrun by war lords and terrorists. Al-Shabaab (“the youth”), an extremist Islamic group affiliated with al-Qaeda, currently controls much of the south.
Somalia, however, is more than simply a failed state. Decades of civil war and chaos have left an estimated 1.5 million dead and more than that displaced. It has caused poverty to soar. Add to this a cycle of debilitating drought and famine, and you have one of the most harsh and dangerous environments on planet earth.
For women, Somalia is hell on earth.
Many Somali women have lost their homes and families. They have seen their children either stolen or gunned down by crazed Islamic terrorists. But the damage does not stop there. Somali women themselves are under attack.
Members of al-Shabaab, as well as other armed men, are preying on them. Somali women are commonly raped, tortured, kidnapped, forced into short-term marriages (sexual slavery), and killed.
In 2011, Somalia was named one of the most dangerous places in the world for women.
“The Shabab militant group,” says the NY Times, “is seizing women and girls as spoils of war, gang-raping them and abusing them as part of its reign of terror.” So-called “temporary wives” are being used to entice potential recruits to join the organization.
“But it is not just the Shabab,” the Times reports. “In the past few months, there has been a free-for-all. …More Somali women are being raped right now than at any time in recent memory.”
The nation of Somalia is in crisis. And the women and girls are under attack.
SOURCES: Fund for Peace, Huffington Post, NY Times, Reuters
A Global Day of Harvest of Souls
Pentecost – May 27, 2012
Dr. Victor Choudhrie of the Starfish Alliance ministry in Padhar, India has set aside Pentecost 2012 (May 27) as a day to be fruitful and multiply. He has issued a challenge to the Church around the globe to make disciples on that day – and to pray in the months leading up to this event.
Pentecost, Dr. Choudhrie notes, is the birthday of the Church. It is also a harvest festival in the Jewish calendar. “Our Lord changed it into a harvest of souls.
“Three thousand families were baptized, who immediately started meeting in homes where they had apostolic teaching, fellowship, prayer and broke bread. This resulted in signs and miracles, sharing of material blessings and daily addition of new souls. (Acts 2:37-47) Very soon, an additional 5,000 families were added (Acts 4:4). Soon the new believers became disciples and multiplied (Acts 6:1,7).
“The best way to celebrate the birthday of the church is to replicate the original first Pentecost – i.e. to reap a huge harvest of souls. Aim at baptizing at least 3,000 souls. And why not! After all, you believe in a great and awesome God for whom nothing is impossible.”
Dr. Choudhrie has seen God do the seemingly impossible in India: enabling the Starfish Alliance to baptize one-million people between Pentecost 2009 and Pentecost 2010.
“Every Christian is ‘ordained’ to fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord. The best way to fulfill that Command is to bring forth lasting fruit (John 15:16).”
According to a Christian Arabic TV station, a member of the royal family that governs Kuwait “recently denounced his Islamic faith and became a Christian.” Another Kuwaiti prince tried to publicly refute this claim. But Prince Abdollah Al-Sabah stated, “I’m satisfied with whatever they do to me, because the truth in the Bible has guided me to the right way.…I now declare that if they kill me… then I’ll go into the presence of Jesus Christ and be with him for all eternity.” Give thanks and praise for this. Ask the Lord to continue using His Word to reach the hearts and minds of Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula and Middle East.
In January 2012, the government of North Korea announced that pardons will be given to convicts. An estimated 200,000 people are currently being held in political prison camps. Observers see the pardons as an attempt to boost the popularity of Kim Jong Un, the new president. They are also being timed to celebrate the 70th birthday of the late Kim Jong Il. Praise the Lord for the changes taking place in North Korea. Pray for the salvation of President Kim Jong Un. Pray for the promise to release prisoners to be upheld and for the government to address the ongoing poverty and food shortages the people of this nation are facing.
A Christian imprisoned for converting from Islam was released after 287 days in detention. The woman was arrested in March of 2011 and accused of “membership in an illegal group.” She was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. But her conviction was overturned in January 2012. Give thanks to the Lord for His goodness. Pray for this woman and her family. Ask the Lord to protect them and encourage them. Pray for all the Christians in Iran to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Ask the Lord to pour His Holy Spirit out on this nation and bring forth a mighty harvest of souls.
SOURCES: Mohabat News, AP
Elections can change the course of nations. As you consider those sceduled to be held this month: pray for fair elections free from rigging and manipulation. Ask the Lord to raise up men and women who will serve with integrity, righteousness, and justice. Pray for an end to corruption and graft. Invite the Lord to appoint those of His choosing and fulfill His purposes in the nations of the 10/40 Window.
"He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. (The Bible, Daniel 2:21)
Saudi Arabia: Keeper Of The Faith
When Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 AD, no one would have imagined that it would be the center of a new world religion. When he received what he believed to be a message from God in that same city in 610 AD it was still merely a center of trade.
In the centuries since that time, Mecca and the nation of Saudi Arabia have become known not only as the birthplace of Islam, but as the keeper of the faith and its greatest proponent. Funded by the discovery of oil in 1938, the government has been working hard to export fundamentalist Islam globally. Saudi Arabia is believed to possess 25% of the world’s oil reserves. (Between 75 and 90% of the nation’s revenue comes from oil.)
“Massive Islamic missionary efforts are coordinated by the Muslim World League in Mecca,” reports Jason Mandryk. “Every year, billions of oil dollars are spent around the world to propagate Islam – especially the virulent Wahhabist brand.”
No other religions are tolerated. Any Saudis who choose to leave Islam and follow Jesus Christ risk being expelled from their families, attacked, arrested, and even executed. According to the Open Door World Watch List 2012, Saudi Arabia is the 3rd worst persecutor of Christians in the world.
Despite the stubborn resistance of this Islamic stronghold, the Lord is at work in Saudi Arabia. The Gospel is being proclaimed by way of radio, satellite television, and the internet. The Kingdom of God is coming to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
SOURCES: “Operation World: 7th Edition” (Jason Mandryk), Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Sacred Sites
Mali, West Africa
Mali, the largest country in West Africa, continues to be plagued by a lack of resources. The government is unable to control its long borders and is often threatened by tribal insurgents and terrorist groups. It has attempted to comply with international counterterrorism efforts and is one of the region’s largest recipients of military training and assistance.
Islam is the predominant religion in Mali. It was brought to the country in the 11th century by way of the trans-Saharan trade routes.
Humanitarian work aimed at helping Mali farmers adapt to the nation’s increasingly dry climate is opening doors for the presentation of the Gospel.
Al-Shabaab – “The Youth”
The crest of al-Shabaab, an Islamic terrorist group active in the Horn of Africa, shows an open Qur’an with two AK-47s guarding it. The message is clear: do things our way or die.
There are estimated to be only 3,000 “core” members and about 15,000 total members in al-Shabaab. However, the organization is affiliated with al-Qaeda, supported by the government of Eritrea (and possibly Iran), and now controls much of southern Somalia.
In 1991, when Somali President Siad Barre was driven from office, the government collapsed and clan warlords began struggling for control. Al-Shabaab arose out of the Islamic Courts Union and in 2006 began to gain strength and influence.
“Many of the clan warlords that filled the power vacuum,” reports the Council on Foreign Relations, “have proven willing to cooperate with al-Shabaab.”
Cooperation means allowing the terrorists to impose a strict form of Shari’a law in Somalia. Al-Shabaab has outlawed radios (because they offer modern, western music), ordered shop owners to replace English and Somali signs with Arabic billboards, and punishes those who break their version of Shari’a by dismemberment, torture and/or death. They also routinely kidnap, rape, enslave and murder women.
Despite the efforts of the African Union, the United Nations, Kenya, Ethiopia, and various western nations – all of whom have attempted to drive out al-Shabaab – the terrorist group continues to dominate southern Somalia. They have even branched out into Uganda and the refugee camps of Kenya and Ethiopia, attacking, pillaging, and raping at will.
“We have no hope at all,” one Somali said. “All al-Shabaab leaders are here with their fighters and the government has no power to reach us.”
SOURCE: Council on Foreign Relations, Time
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