NIAMEY, Niger — The Niger government says at least 45 churches have been set on fire in this predominantly Muslim West African nation in protests over French cartoons lampooning Islam’s prophet.
In a statement issued Monday, the government also declared three days of national mourning for the 10 people who died amid the violent protests that first began on Friday.
Authorities have said that the victims were inside churches and bars set ablaze by protesters angry about the portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad in the French news weekly Charlie Hebdo. The publication was the subject of a terror attack that left 12 dead earlier this month.
Niger’s government in the statement promised that those responsible for the arson and deaths will be sought and punished.
It is heart breaking to see what is happening to people longing to live in peace. The temperature is HOT against those who love peace. And against Christians. Any excuse will now do.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:9-10)
The rise of persecution continues. Any excuse will do.
From the Assemblies of God New Service:
We have received reports from AG missionaries in Niger that, in spreading violence related to the attacks in Paris, Muslim extremists attacked and burned four AG churches and one parsonage in the town of Niamey and an AG church and pastor’s home were burned yesterday in the town of Zinder. Thankfully, no lives have yet been lost, but violence seems to be spreading.
Please pray for the safety of our missionaries as well as pastors and national believers in Niger.
I am not advocating for our American version of “wearing your faith on your sleeve”… or bumper sticker… or T Shirt.
I have been advocating for simple awareness in our lives as believers that we truly need to function in a different way than before. We need to learn what it is to be the “minority report.” We need the prophetic voice of Christianity… the prophetic lifestyle of Christianity… once again.
It is interesting, as always, that while secularists lash out against “religious extremism” and deem themselves “tolerant,” this article points out it is the secularists driving this movement. Even moderate religious people can’t be tolerated in their world.
How much longer will believers dare to stand up and be counted? Soon Europe, even London, the much-vaunted bastion of multiculturalism, will become No God Zones, banning any public display of religiosity. ‘For your own good’, the authorities will tell their pious citizens, “you must carry out your ancient rituals in secret. We cannot vouch for your safety otherwise.” Believers will have to hide their precious religious symbols, and conceal their rites. Like the early Christians in the catacombs, they will lead lives in the shadow.
People were on the “I am Charlie” bandwagon, when the “newspaper” declared they didn’t want religious people mourning their loss. They didn’t want the bells of Notre Dame ringing as a sign of mourning.
We need to walk with Christ. We don’t walk with Christ because it is easy. We don’t walk with Christ because it is favorable. We walk with Christ because he bid us come and follow and we obeyed. We need that fundamental understanding in our lives again. It is about allegiance. This world should not understand our true allegiance to the Kingdom of God. It does not make sense to them. Our trouble is that as Western Christians we haven’t understood allegiance, either. We’ve lived under assumptions that simply don’t hold up any more.
Jesus walked with the realization of what was truly in the hearts of many people. We need that realization to sober us up from time to time.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
My challenge in prayer the past few days has been a question from the Spirit: “Do I REALLY believe God can change the course of nations? Do I fully understand what I am asking, and WHO I am addressing, in prayer?”
Today in our church service we are praying for the nations. For the persecuted. For the enemies of the Church. For the enemies of humanity.
Not because “all we have left to do is pray,” but because what we SHOULD be doing is PRAY.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps. 46:9-10)
It is right, in some limited way from the U.S. government, for help to finally get to the Yazidi people. The terrorist organization ISIS is moving through Syria and Iraq and systematically killing or running off all opposition. The Yazidi are an ancient people group who have been cornered on a mountain and need help. Without help, 40,000 will perish.
There is ONE interesting note from President Obama’s announcement last night. He was incredibly careful to note the Yazidi as NOT Christian (and they are not). Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been displaced in Syria and Iraq, and he was extremely careful to note the U.S. is helping the Yazidi people, and was again very careful to note their ethnicity while making sure also to note they were not Christian.
The Yazidi deserve help. They need to be rescued off that mountain and they need to be allowed a place to continue as a people. That is never going to be an argument.
What just keeps irritating me is the care with which the U.S. government takes to avoid terms like religious war. And that is exactly what all of this is. It is not Muslim vs. Christianity alone. But it IS a radical Muslim sect running off or killing every other religious group that is different from them. That would include other Muslim sects. But it is NOT about just being people. It is about the RELIGION of the people.
It is absolutely commendable that the U.S. take action and try to avoid the killing off of an entire people group. Meanwhile, over 100,000 Christianshave fled another Christian center in Iraq and are now seeking refuge where they can.
I am not angry at the President.
I AM asking that we could at least be HONEST with what this situation IS in the world: religious war. It only seems to be called “religious” war when it’s Christians who are the aggressors. Otherwise it’s “ethnic” or “tribal.”
We pray for the Yazidi. We pray for the Christians. We pray for the displaced Muslim groups. They are all in harm’s way suffering for incredibly evil reasons. It is so amazing to me that in this day of instant news these radical groups are STILL brazen in their attempts to commit genocide. That is the face of pure evil.
Somehow, this all needs to get in our spirits and call us to prayer… and then to action.
Is there any way I could beg 3 minutes of your time to see this video and somehow realize the horror that is going on? Is there any way I could beg 3 minutes of your time to LISTEN… and then perhaps a couple of more minutes to actually pray?
We need a broken heart. I am tired of dividing. I have done enough of that myself. I am sorry.
I want to hear the broken heart of God and I think I hear it clearly in the voice of this woman.