Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Europe: Church burnings; Saudi: 53 arrested

Map of Saudi Arabia with the Eastern Province ...
Map of Saudi Arabia with the Eastern Province highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
SAUDI ARABIA - Saudi authorities on Feb. 8 arrested 53 Ethiopian Christians, mostly women, who were attending a worship service in the private, rented home of an Ethiopian believer in Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The Christians -- 46 women and six men, including three church leaders -- were arrested around 10 a.m., and the three church leaders were appeared in an Islamic court in Dammam the same day. Authorities alleged they were converting Muslims to Christianity. Authorities are likely to release two of the Ethiopian Christians who have residential permits, and the others are expected to be deported. Source: Religion Today

EASTERN EUROPE – Twenty years ago, revolution swept away the Soviet Union and religious freedom came to Eastern Europe. Now it seems to be receding. Citizens of the former Soviet Union are facing growing restrictions on their religious freedom. Governments are closing more churches, fining and arresting their religious leaders, and destroying church literature. While we might see a return to the Soviet era, the signs spell trouble. The atmosphere is thick with intolerance in these countries. Churches are being torched, crosses are being burned, and growing anti-Semitism, so there's some reason for concern. Individual pastors are reluctant to speak out against abuses and restrictions. Pray for our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe use their situation to win many to Christ. Source: ASSIST