Increasing Pressure Against Believers in Kuwait.


Kuwait is not country that we hear of very much in the news these days. However, it is a country where Muslim background believers are experiencing more and more pressure because of their faith.


One such believer is Jamal. * ( Name Changed).

Jamal receives Islamic instruction at school and is harassed by fellow students, who tell him he is a second-class citizen and an infidel because of his beliefs.

During the month of Ramadan, he must be careful not to publicly eat or drink during the day to avoid stirring up conflict with neighbours and local officials. He is even forbidden from practising his faith in front of his own family, who are becoming increasingly hostile towards him.

Jamal has seen an increasing Islamic fundamentalist influence on his country in the last few years, something he attributes, in part, to the rise of the ISIL group in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

At the moment, the persecution he experiences is in the form of societal and family pressure, but Jamal wonders if, sometime soon, violent persecution will come his way as well, with the growing influence of ISIL.

He knows that Jesus warned him that he, too, would be persecuted, and places his trust in God knowing that his faith is well worth any price.

  • Pray for Jamal and other Muslim background believers in Kuwait and around the Middle East. Pray for their courage in the face of growing hostility, for encouragement and peace of the Holy Spirit and steadfastness of faith in the God who will never leave nor forsake them.
  • Pray for these believers to have access to online teaching and fellowship with other believers.
  • Pray for Kuwait, for protection from the influence in ISIL and other fundamentalist Islamic groups.
  • Pray for many across Kuwait and the Middle East to encounter Jesus through dreams and visions, and to acknowledge the truth of His Gospel and grace.

2 Corinthians 4 vs 8 – 9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.



Nowhere to Bury a Kyrgyz Muslim Background Believer


When her 76-year-old mother died on 13th October in Kyrgyzstan, Jyldyz had nowhere to bury her.

A Christian cemetery in Kyrgyzstan, which Barnabas Fund helped to buy

The local Orthodox Church in Sary-Talaa refused permission for her to be interred in their cemetery, because, although she was a Christian, she was not from the Orthodox Church. Village imams also refused to allow her to be buried in the Muslim cemetery, as Jyldyz’s mother had converted to Christianity from Islam.

Jyldyz appealed to local authorities, who gave permission for the burial in another village. However, residents there also objected and forced officials to dig up the body. The district imam then gathered local Muslims and threatened to stone Jyldyz, demanding that she convert to Islam.

Jyldyz explained what happened to Barnabas Fund: “They asked me to leave Christianity and convert to Islam … They wanted it to be a lesson for others. They demanded I say the shahada [the Islamic creed, recitation of which is considered conversion to Islam]. I could not and the imam publicly began to laugh at me … I asked if they would allow me to bury my mother because the corpse had lain for two days and begun to decay.”

The Muslims still refused to allow the burial, but village authorities eventually gave Jyldyz a place to bury her mother on a plot next to the town’s Muslim cemetery. However, a few days later, local police and Muslims dug up the body again, accusing Jyldyz of moving it.

Her mother was subsequently laid to rest in another location, although there are unconfirmed reports that her body has again been disinterred. Jyldyz has now been forced to leave the village for own safety as a result of aggression from her neighbours, and she does not know where her mother is buried.

Kygyzstan’s population is almost 90% Muslim. Unregistered religious activity is banned and believers from Muslim backgrounds have repeatedly encountered problems securing places to bury their loved ones.

  • Pray for Jyldyz, and many Kyrgyz Muslim background believers facing similar issues around burying their family members. Pray for peace in the midst of the harassment, and for resolution to this ongoing problem.
  • Pray for the Kyrgyz government to take measures to provide places of burial for Kyrgyz believers, and to recognise their rights to a safe place to bury their loved ones.
  • Pray for protection for Kyrgyz Muslim background believers who face threats, harassment and ostracism from their families and communities because of their faith.
  • Pray for the Kyrgyz Church as it faces growing opposition from Muslim communities and the government. Pray for unity, strength of faith and for their witness to reflect the heart of Jesus for the Kyrgyz people and as relevant and real to this culture.

Isaiah 61 vs 8: “For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”




Muslims in the Middle East are Turning to Jesus in Unprecedented Numbers.


The Islamic State has been filling the headlines for a long time and filling the hearts of many people in the Middle East with fear. But in the midst of all this, the church in the Middle East is showing the love of Christ to those who fled their homes. Muslims in the Middle East are turning to Jesus in unprecedented numbers.

According to one of the Christian workers of a church in Lebanon, many new converts say they had their doubts about Islam before they converted. “Doubt is many times the key to start a change,” says the church worker.

Open Doors recently met with Amir*, Rasha* and their two children, who fled from Homs. Proof of the extraordinary change lies in her arms sleeping – a five month old baby girl with the very Christian name Christina.

“Since 2012, we have been living in a tent,” Amir shares. “It is not an easy life. About a year ago my wife’s mother was killed by a sniper when she went out to have some fresh air. My wife’s brother was killed on his way home.”

“About three months ago, I was given a vision of Jesus Christ,” Rasha shares. “I was sleeping and all of a sudden I saw Jesus Christ in white. He said ‘I am Christ. You will have a beautiful daughter.’ I was eight months pregnant, and a month later we received our beautiful daughter.”

At about the same time Amir also had a dream. “I saw Jesus Christ. He was dressed in white. He said to me ‘I am your Saviour. You will follow me.’”

Both Amir and Rasha made a bold decision after these dreams. “We decided to follow Him. We named our baby Christina. We left our old Islamic customs.”

Amir stopped going to the mosque, but Rasha still dresses as a Muslim woman with her head covered by a veil. “Our clan is very big; we’re afraid now. They might kill us,” says Rasha.

Amir continues: “Our family knows we are Christians now. Becoming a Christian is, for them, the same as if I had destroyed the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia. It is because we walked in the darkness and are now in the light. I want to protect my family.”

Because of the danger, they didn’t want to continue living in the tent in the camp where mainly Muslims live. With her soft and sad voice Rasha says: “We now have no fixed place to live, we go from place to place.”

Back home in Syria, Amir worked as a carpenter. “I have no work in Lebanon. Our financial situation is bad. Now, because we are Christians, others don’t want to help us. The church is helping as much as is possible.”

Gesturing with their hands and faces, they say they don’t know what the future will bring. “The most important thing is that we know Jesus Christ as our Saviour,” Amir adds. “He will save us. We regularly pray to the Lord, we freely worship Him, and He protects us. God is with us. God will resolve our situation.”

  • Give thanks for the many people across the Middle East who are turning to Jesus and finding life and hope in Him.
  • Pray for Amir and Rasha, and may other Muslim Background believers now living as refugees. Pray for their protection in predominantly Muslim countries and refugee camps. Pray too for provision of work for them and shelter for their families.
  • Pray for Western countries to open their doors to more Christian refugees. Only a very small percentage of Christian refugees have been resettled so far, out of many thousands waiting to find a place of refuge and safety.
  • Pray that Muslims across this region will continue to have dreams of Jesus and life changing encounters with Him, and that many more will come to follow the Prince of Peace as Saviour and Lord.

Romans 10 vs 1: “Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”



Pray for Mosul and Iraqi Christians


The situation in Iraq is reaching a crisis point as the Iraqi army, together with a loose coalition of forces, close in on ISIL’s stronghold in the city of Mosul.

Iraqi Muslims

In the last 24 hours, Barnabas Fund has spoken with one of the archbishops of Mosul. He stated that Christians who fled two years ago from the villages near Mosul, which have been liberated from ISIL over the last few days, are unsure whether to return to their homes.

Their greatest concerns are the safety and security issues still facing themselves and their families, but it is likely to be at least a month before the situation becomes clearer.

The archbishop has specifically asked Barnabas Fund supporters to pray for these Christians to know God’s will.

As far as the situation in Mosul itself is concerned, the archbishop questions whether Christians will ever be allowed back in the city.

Those now fleeing the city of Mosul ahead of the battle are almost exclusively Sunni Muslims, as the Christians of Mosul were forced to leave in 2014 when ISIL took over.

Although ISIL initially appeared willing to allow Christians in Mosul to have dhimmi status, shortly afterwards they gave them the choice of immediately converting to Islam, leaving or being executed.

It is, therefore, extremely unlikely that any Christian community still exists in Mosul, although there is a small possibility that a handful of elderly Christians, who were too infirm to leave, may have managed to survive hidden in the city. However, there is currently no evidence that this is so.

  • Pray for Iraq and the city of Mosul as Iraqi forces seek to free it from ISIL control. Pray for a speedy end to the conflict and for residents, including Mosul’s former Christian residents, to be able to return home in peace.
  • Pray for the Christians who were forced to leave Mosul by ISIL, for peace, comfort and wisdom as to when to return home. Pray too for their protection and safety both as they wait in refugee camps and when they return to their homes.
  • Pray for an end to the conflict in both Iraq and Syria, for peace in the streets, homes and hearts of the people of these nations.
  • Pray that many in Iraq will seek to know the truth of Jesus Christ and come to know His life, healing and grace.

Isaiah 45 vs 22: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”




Christian Television Channels Shut Down in Pakistan.


Pakistani officials have banned 11 Christian television channels, leaving the country’s 2.8 million Christians with no public media presence for the first time in nearly two decades.

According to India Today, the Pakistani Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) this week banned the religious stations after accusing them of being “illegal” and “not having permission” to broadcast.

The report notes that most pro-Christian channels in Pakistan are based overseas since because PEMRA does not release licenses for religious broadcasting, and only allows the airing of Christian messages for Christmas and Easter.

Father Morris Jalal, who founded the now-illegal Catholic TV, condemned the ban and urged the national community to speak out against what he referred to as a “sweeping attack on religious freedom”.

“As citizens, Christians have the right to practice their religion, but if they block you, it means not all citizens are equal,” he said, according to Express UK. “We must protest this decision, and we hope the West does it as well.”

In addition to implementing laws intended to restrict the freedom of believers, Pakistan also enforces severe blasphemy laws, which have led to the lynching and jailing of increasing numbers of Christians.

Recently, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore – the city where 42 adult Christians and 30 children were killed in a suicide blast while celebrating Easter last March – said that Christians were being wrongly accused of blasphemy at a rate of about one every two weeks.

“The blasphemy law is being misused against Christians and that must stop,” he said, and emphasised that the solution to ongoing persecution against believers was dialogue with the Muslim majority.

Speaking at a meeting on October 11th, the Archbishop revealed that he and other Christians recently met with senior Muslim scholars and imams in the hope of achieving change.

“We explained that [the meetings] were not to convert anybody, and it was not about a Western agenda, but to learn from one another – what you believe and what we believe,” Archbishop Shaw said.

“This is the beginning,” he continued. “But one thing is vital for this type of dialogue, and that is we should know what we believe. We must know who Christ is and what his teachings are.”

  • Pray for Christians in Pakistan as they come under increasing pressure and oppression.
  • Pray for this decision to close the Christian TV stations to be reversed, and for Pakistani Christians to have free access to programming, Bibles, and good discipleship and training materials.
  • Pray for those who are being help on blasphemy charges, that these charges will be dropped and they will be able to return home to their families. Pray too for no recriminations from Muslim communities against their families.
  • Pray for a rescinding of the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.
  • Pray for good dialogue between Christian and Muslim leaders in Pakistan, to bring understanding between them and to pave the way to freedom of worship and belief for all.

Psalm 103 vs 6: “The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.”



Malaysian Church Leaders Speak Out Against Proposed New Laws.


In Malaysia, Christian leaders of all denominations have slammed a bill that would increase punishments for hudud crimes by the Islamic courts, in accordance to Sharia (Islamic law).

The Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM), which includes Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans and Protestants, appealed to lawmakers to reject the draft proposal in an open letter released last Saturday.

Hudud crimes include robbery, apostasy, sexual crimes, drinking alcohol, and gambling. The bill before parliament would change the Sharia Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 335) of 1965, which regulates the jurisdiction of Islamic courts.

At the moment, these courts, which have jurisdiction only over Muslims, can impose prison terms of up to three years, corporal punishment, up to six lashes, and fines of up to 5,000 ringgits (US$1,200).

Under the proposed changes, all restrictions would be lifted in the case of hudud crimes, with the exception of those involving capital punishment. In addition, lawmakers would be able to decide new punishable crimes under Sharia.

In its letter, the CCM warns that “MPs should view with great concern, even alarm the proposed private member’s bill by Parti Islam Malaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang [who wants] to enhance the criminal jurisdiction of Sharia courts. The MPs should not take the proposal lightly.”

Rev. Hermen Shashtri says that the bill would “rewrite the Constitution in a radical way,” and noted that lawmakers “were elected by the people to ensure the integrity of the Federal Constitution, which protects fundamental rights and freedoms”.

The Constitution, according to the Rev. Sashtri, is clear. It lays out the principle that religion concerns mainly personal and family issues, and that criminal law must be under federal legislation.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has also raised concerns over  the proposed changes, asking lawmakers to vote against the law bill as unconstitutional.

  • Pray for the Malay Government as it considers these proposed law changes. Pray that they will keep freedom of religion and belief as a priority, and vote against bringing in these changes.
  • Pray for Christians in Malaysia, for strong faith, unity and peace.
  • Pray for Malaysia, a constitutionally secular nation but very much under the influence of Islam. Pray for many in this nation to encounter Christ Jesus in life changing ways and come to know Him as Lord and Saviour.

Ephesians 6 vs 12: “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.



Young Kazakhs Actively Seeking Religion


“Almost 90 percent of the leaders of Kazakhstan youth consider themselves believers, with 86 percent of them professing Islam,” according to a survey conducted by sociologist Madina Nurgaliyeva, and leading her to warn that “religiosity among young Kazakhs is at a critically high level.” (


She also added, “half of those who list themselves as believers are active, that is, people who visit the mosque or a church, and regularly take part in Friday prayers” etc.

The young Kazakhs say they are increasingly put off by the secular state and increasingly attracted by information on religion on the Internet, and in some regions, various religious groups are actively recruiting young people.

“For residents of the western [portions of Kazakhstan],” she writes, “it has become customary to see people on the streets whose visages clearly reflect their religious attachments, things like beards and hijabs. For the local population, this is customary; but for visitors from elsewhere, it is shocking.”

One consequence of this is that inter-religious conflicts are now more common than inter-ethnic ones, something that many in that country are worried about, leading them to ask the government to adopt a harder line against religion.

Media reports from the western portions of that country suggest that a growing number of young girls are wearing the hijab to school, despite a government ban on such dress. In addition, they are refusing to take part in some lessons, and even to stand in honour of the state flag or anthem.

This trend has prompted the portal to say that “it is possible that if we allow girls to wear the hijab in schools, then we will soon remain without a state, without a language, without traditions, and without a culture.”

The growth of fundamentalist Islam has even prompted one Muslim leader to write to President Nazarbayev, calling for the constitution to be revised so that Islam can be declared the state religion, and so that religious parties can organise themselves legally.

  • Pray for Kazakhstan, especially for the young people. Pray that their hunger for religion and dissatisfaction with secularism will lead them to search for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and not into extreme Islam.
  • Pray for the Kazakh Church to reach out to young people with the gospel, and to show that Kazakhs can be Christians without losing their culture.
  • Pray for wisdom for the Kazakh Government in the face of growing fundamentalist Islam. Pray that they will ease some of the restitution against the Church and religion, and allow people to meet and worship in freedom.
  • Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit over this nation, to turn the hearts of young people to His truth and life.

2 Corinthians 2 vs 15: “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;”



Over 1000 Muslim Background Believers Awaiting Baptism.


According to Bibles for Mideast, more than a thousand Muslims, in about a dozen Muslim-majority countries, are starting their new lives as followers of Jesus Christ and waiting to be baptised.

Bibles for Mideast reported that its gospel outreach teams and pastors are fasting and praying along with the new believers for the opportunity to conduct baptism services in various strict Muslim countries.

It said the baptisms will proceed, despite the ever-present threats posed by Islamist extremists and security forces in the predominantly Muslim countries, where baptism and conversion to Christianity is banned.

Early this month, Bibles for Mideast also reported that it had baptised 24 former Muslims in the Arabian Sea. Islamist militants got word of the event, despite its secrecy, and tried to attack the Christian leaders and new believers. However, the group reported that God intervened, creating a giant dust storm that prevented the armed militants from getting close.

One of the group, Rizwan, recalled the miraculous event. He said that, after the baptism service and prayers, they all boarded the bus to take them back to their house church for a worship service, when they saw armed men in more than three vehicles pursuing them and firing their guns.

He said all they could do was to pray for the Lord to protect them. Their prayers were immediately answered when a giant dust storm formed behind them, obstructing the view of the gunmen and preventing them from shooting at the bus.

19″Jesus saved us. He Himself blocked the road … in the form of a dust storm” Rizwan said.

Bibles for Mideast said this miraculous event, and others like it, further encouraged the new believers and strengthened their faith.

  •  Give thanks for the answers to prayer for protection for these new believers, and for the encouragement it has been to their faith.
  • Pray for the upcoming baptisms across the Middle East,Asia and Africa. Pray for protection for all those taking part, and that it will be a time of great celebration and blessing for these believers.
  • Pray for protection for Christians across these regions, and for courage to witness to their families and communities, and to lead many more people to know Christ Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
  • Pray for the ongoing work of Christian organisations in these regions, for wisdom, protection and for many open doors of opportunities to share the Gospel.

Acts 11 vs 21: “The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord.”



Coptic Christian Seeking to Unite Children in Egypt.


A Coptic Christian teacher in Egypt is trying to unite Christian and Muslim students by teaching them about both religions side by side.

According to the Independent, Ayaad, from a village outside the city of Minya in northern Egypt, has been teaching the Bible and the Quran for more than 50 years as he believes “we are all one”.

This region of Egypt has frequently been the scene of violent outbreaks against Christians, who face routine discrimination and violence from the Muslim majority population.

However, Ayaad says he wants to bring the children together.

“I have more than 120 children in my class: 70 to 80 Muslims, and 30 to 40 Christians. We have been living here in love,” he told BBC Arabic.

“I get paid about a dollar, but I’d rather be paid a dollar with love than $100 with anger. The school teachers and families approve. I used to teach them all years ago with no objection.”

Reflecting on the rising levels of tension in the area, he said: “Sectarian tension is an evil thing that’s popped up. We never used to label each other Muslim or Christian. We are all one and there is no difference.”

In May, a 300-strong mob torched Christian houses and stripped a 70-year-old woman naked as she was dragged along the street. It followed allegations that a Christian man, thought to be the woman’s son, and a Muslim woman were involved in an relationship.

Christians have accused Muslims of abducting girls from their communities and church buildings have been attacked, and a priest was killed after being attacked with sticks and knives in the Minya province in July.

  • Pray for Ayaad, as he seeks to teach reconciliation and peace to the children in his school. Pray that, through his teaching, many Muslim children will come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the risen Son of God.
  • Pray for this region of Egypt, that as the children learn to respect each other’s faith, so the adults will seek reconciliation ad an end to the violence against Christians.
  • Pray for protection for Christians in Egypt, especially with the rise of fundamentalist Islam.
  • Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit over Egypt, that many will encounter Jesus and come to life transforming faith in Him.

Romans 1 vs 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith”




Turkish Crackdown Continues.


The deputy prime minister of Turkey revealed on Monday that Turkish authorities have dismissed nearly 28,000 teachers in connection with an alleged link to terrorism. The dismissals are part of an ongoing inquiry and seeming purge of civil servants in Turkey, following the failed coup last July.


Altogether, the Turkish government has either sacked or suspended nearly 100,000 civil servants suspected of having links with terrorism, including judges, prosecutors, police officers and teachers.

Meanwhile in Turkey, human rights groups have voiced their concern, especially in the light of the large numbers of people being targeted as a result of the crackdown. Turkey’s allies in the West also fear that the President is using the coup as an excuse to curtail any dissent.

After a recent cabinet meeting, the deputy Prime Minister stated, “As part of our fight against terrorism, necessary measures have been carried out on teachers, along with other civil servants assessed to be linked with terrorist organisations.”

He also revealed that 455 teachers who had earlier been dismissed from duty had now been reinstated to their original posts after the inquiries against them were completed.

  • Pray for Turkey as it continues to recover from the failed Coup attempt last July. Pray for peace on the streets and in the homes of people around turkey.
  • Pray for those who have been dismissed as part of the government crackdown. Pray for provision for them and their families as they face an uncertain future.
  • Pray for the Turkish government, to act with integrity, justice and fairness to all in their country.
  • Pray for the Church in Turkey, that it will grow strong in faith and numbers, for protection and encouragement for Turkish believers, and for the Gospel to spread across this nation.

Amos 5 vs 24: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”