Category Archives: Islam

Day 26: Syrian Refugees

Day 26: Syrian Refugees
Series: 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims and Christians – 2016 Ramadan
Presented in American Sign Language, no voice interpretation.
Link: http://vimeo.com/172131354

Written Transcript:

Until recently, Syria was a stable country. The agricultural and petroleum economies provided a sufficient income for most of the population. Children were able to go to school and people obtain higher education. Under the authoritarian regime of Assad, ruthless actions were taken against political enemies, but religious and ethnic minorities enjoyed a peaceful coexistence with the Sunni Muslim majority.

Ever since the Arab Spring, a civil war has sprung up in 2011 that has only grown worse year after year. More than half of its population has had to leave their homes and embark on a journey into the unknown. Many fled the country to relatives and friends. More than 4 million are now living in neighboring countries where they are increasingly perceived as a heavy burden. Many manage to survive on handouts and children often have no access to education. No one knows what the future will hold for them.

This uncertain journey out of Syria has also made it possible for Muslims to escape a tightly controlled social environment, enabling them to show interest in the Christian faith more openly. The atrocities perpetrated by Islamic State extremists challenge the values of Islamic faith. Many Muslims are open now to invitations to churches who offer them practical love through distribution of food packages, blankets, heating material and counseling. God continues to work in midst of the Syrian refugees. In some areas, churches are full of new believers, in others there is openness and many opportunities to talk about faith.

– Pray for the end of the conflict in Syria.

– Pray for the millions of refugees and their physical and psychological needs.

– Pray that the church will respond wholeheartedly to help and support refugees with both immediate and ongoing needs as they integrate into their new homelands.

Source: www.30daysprayer.org 

Day 25: The Rohingya

Day 25: The Rohingya
Series: 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims and Christians – 2016 Ramadan
Presented in American Sign Language, no voice interpretation.
Link: http://vimeo.com/172131359

Written Transcript:

The homeland of the Rohingya people lies on the border between the South Asian and the Indo-Malaysian regions. It is located between huge ethnic, linguistic, religious and political blocks, and there are some specific challenges facing this people group.

The Muslim Rohingyas have been living in the northern part of the Arakan Mountains on the cost of the Bengal Gulf for centuries. Much of that time they lived peacefully with their mostly Buddhist neighbor peoples. When Burma (known as Myanmar today) gained independence in 1948, the Rohingyas faced an overwhelming majority population of Buddhists. In the beginning, they were recognized as a minority with equal rights. But in 1982, the military dictatorship issued a law that didn’t accept the Rohingya people as citizens any more. That left their two million people as one of the largest ethnic groups in the world without recognized citizenship.

In 2012, a violent turmoil broke out between Buddhists and Rohingyas. Hundreds of people were killed and many Rohingya villages destroyed. Since then, 100,000 Rohingyas have been kept in refugee camps or ghettos – often only a few miles from their original place of residence. Hundreds of thousands have fled into neighboring countries and beyond, and sadly, they often fall victim to human trafficking or end up in criminal activity.

The Rohingyas are on a journey into an uncertain future – uprooted and without a homeland, without advocates, and without hope. But God “does not forget the cry of the afflicted” (Psalm 9:13 ESV). In some places, Rohingyas have found hope and joy through faith in Jesus Christ. But most of these precious people still have no opportunity to hear the gospel.

– Pray for justice in the resolution of this conflict between Buddhists and the Rohingyas.

– Pray that the Rohingyas can live in peace in their homeland and the areas they flee to.

– Pray for global efforts that are trying to give the Rohingyas the opportunity to thrive, live in dignity and offer their children a better future.

Source: www.30daysprayer.org

Day 24: US Migrants

Day 24: US Migrants
Series: 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims and Christians – 2016 Ramadan
Presented in American Sign Language, no voice interpretation.
Link: http://vimeo.com/172131358

Written Transcript:

A World Bank study indicated that more than 250 million people today are immigrants. The number one designation for these immigrants is the United States. Among these millions are some of the world’s least-reached peoples – Kurds, Yemenis, Pushtuns, Somalis – who for centuries have been isolated from the gospel. For the first time in history, they reside in New York, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Vancouver and other gateway cities.

God is doing a new thing! He has brought the ends of the earth to the doorstep of one of the world’s most Christian nations. How will America respond? Will you go to the gateway cities and seek out to disciple those who have migrated into our country?

Find out more about missionaries who work to disciple the ends of the earth in other gateway cities at Global Gates (www.globalgates.info).

– Pray that the millions of unreached immigrants leaving their homelands in search of a new life may find new life in Christ there.

– Pray that American Christians will respond with Christ’s love to the unreached millions that God is bringing to their shores.

– Pray for churches and ministries such as Global Gates that are crossing cultural barriers to engage these unreached people groups that God has brought to our cities.

Source: www.30daysprayer.org

Day 23: Luton

Day 23: Luton
Series: 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims and Christians – 2016 Ramadan
Presented in American Sign Language, no voice interpretation.
Link: http://vimeo.com/172131360

Written Transcript:

Located forty miles north of London, England, Luton is a multicultural island in a sea of affluent white towns with over 25 percent of its 215,000 residents being Muslims. Since the 1990’s, it has been unfairly known as a hotbed of Muslim extremism, but more recently also of anti-Muslim “far right wing” extremism.

In March 2009, a protest by a very small group of Muslim extremists at a British Army parade provoked a near riot by local townspeople. In the following weeks tensions ran high, with threats and demonstrations, and the firebombing of a mosque, resulting in the formation of the anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL), which soon spread nationally.

Many have been calling for peace and reconciliation between Muslims and the British population in light of rising anti-Muslim sentiments. A local church community worker named Peter Adams have stood with the imam of the firebombed mosque and also senior Christian and Muslim community leaders at a press conference, and together released a statement in May 2009 condemning the act of Islamic extremism and also a growing division between Muslims and the world due to hatred and widespread fear of extremism.

This unified sentiment has held and even grown. While the EDL has been a force for division, the friendship between faith and community leaders is growing and has allowed difficult issues to be addressed. “Christ’s influence among Muslims would be lost if,” Peter expressed, “Christians are known for hatred and fear.”

– 1 John 4:18 says: “Perfect love drives out fear.” Repent of fear and ask God to fill you and your community with love for Muslims who needs to know Jesus.

– Pray for opportunities to challenge the negative stereotypes of Muslims.

– Pray for opportunities to show love to Muslims you encounter as neighbors and fellow citizens.

Source: www.30daysprayer.org

Day 22: A Hijra of Faith

Day 22: A Hijra of Faith
Series: 30 Days of Prayer for Muslims and Christians – 2016 Ramadan
Presented in American Sign Language, no voice interpretation.
Link: http://vimeo.com/172131358

Written Transcript:

The migration of millions of Muslims and Christians from particularly Syria and Iraq represents one of the most important events of the first part of the 21st century. Due to the Syrian civil war now in its fifth year, over four million refugees have sought safety in surrounding countries of the region as well as in the West. Two million have left Iraq, with another 1.9 million internally displaced inside the country.

This intentional leaving of physical homelands parallels similar journeys that have happened in all three Semitic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Abraham leaving his homeland of Ur in Mesopotamia, Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, and Jesus as a baby being taken by his parents to Egypt to flee Herod are some of the many times of movement in Jewish and Christian history.

In Islam, there is also the concept of a journey of faith captured in the Arabic word hijra. Literally meaning “migration” or “journey,” the idea of hijra traces back to the Prophet Muhammad’s flight with believing companions from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. The hijra was due to persecution from the Meccan merchant establishment, and resulted in the consolidation of the first community of Muslims. It also became the beginning year for the marking of Islamic history, with dates written thereafter AH (After Hijra).

A similar concept in Islam is actually one of the five pillars, the hajj. Meaning “pilgrimage,” this refers to the obligatory journey of a Muslim (with some exceptions) during their lifetime to the holy city of Mecca. The two concepts of hijra and hajj, though similar, also have subtle differences. Both are done in faith, both involve leaving the homeland for an intentional purpose. But in the hijra is implied a longer migration, perhaps one that will last the rest of a person’s life on earth.

The Prophet and companions did return victoriously to Mecca in 630 AD after eight years in Medina. For many refugees who have left homelands, there is no promise of ever returning. How many of them see their migration as a hijra central to their faith? This is of course uncertain, but living with the reality of a spiritual dimension could bring encouragement to their struggle.

Millions of migrants from the Middle East as well as North Africa have left their homelands for several reasons. One is to escape persecution and another is to convert people to Islam. Sometimes, this involve an intent to commit terrorist activities. Regardless of their motives, millions of migrants who have permanently relocated in other parts of the world are “true hijras.”

Egyptian Muslim writer Sahar El-Nadi has defined a “true hijra” as someone living out five important areas.

First, they have a strong faith that even in great suffering continues to trust and depend on Allah.

Second, there is knowledge that there is purpose in this journey and that it is not meaningless.

Third, the “true hijra” continues to engage in regular habits and acts of worship even in their new homeland.

Fourth, there is a continued desire for Allah that is not overwhelmed by societal pressures.

Fifth, there is a commitment to a righteous life in the new environment.

Those five marks of a “true hijra” are certainly consistent with one following Judaism or the Christian faith. 1) Strong faith. 2) Purpose for journey. 3) Spiritual disciplines and worship. 4) Continued desire for God in midst of society. 5) Commitment to righteous living.

For all three faiths the concept of a hijra or journey that will last a lifetime and indeed into eternity is a commonly held reality. The idea of a “true hijra” provides another relational bridge between faiths so needed in this 21st-century context.

Source: www.30daysprayer.org