Thursday, January 10, 2008

Muslim clerics want evangelistic work restricted in Algeria

Algeria-Disconcerting news is coming from Algeria and Afghanistan. Glenn Penner of Voice of the Martyrs' Canada says Islamic scholars there are calling for a crackdown on Christians. "This head of the Islamic Association is claiming that a convert gets paid over seven thousand dollars if they become a Christian. So all you have to do is start spreading these lies around enough, and the government might say, 'We probably should do something about this.'"He's referring to Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Al-Shayban who says Christian missionary campaigns have "reached the point of aggressions against Algerians." According to the Arabic TV station, "Al Arabiya," Shayban called for the crackdown under the religious practice law for non-Muslims.The tone isn't limited to Algeria. It's also being felt in Afghanistan. According to Penner, members of the Afghanistan Islamic Council warned President Hamid Karzai not to allow foreign missions into the country, especially to the impoverished areas.The council claimed that missionaries in Kabul and in the provinces were forcibly converting Muslims, enticing them by giving them Bibles and promising to send them abroad. The Islamic scholars warned of serious consequences if the government did not stop Christians from preaching and evangelizing.Penner believes the Islamists are spreading misinformation to stir nationalist sympathies. As to whether this will curb evangelism, he says,"They take what is a very innocent act and give it serious implications. For those who are ministering in that country, both nationals and expatriates, certainly, they're going to be looked at with more scrutiny and suspicion. We need to be praying for them that they'll continue to operate with integrity and yet continue to operate fearlessly as they try to win men and women to Christ."Ask God to thwart the attempts of those who seek to hinder His work in Afghanistan and Algeria. Pray that His servants in these countries will be emboldened to carry on their service to Christ wherever God leads them. Pray that those who accuse Christians of forcible conversion will see that that the Gospel message is one of a free gift, not coercion.
As in the days of Noah....

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