An accusation of blasphemy against a young girl in Islamabad led to a Muslim riot and hundreds of Christians streaming out of their working-class neighborhood. A Muslim shopkeeper, who allegedly had a score to settle with Rimsha Masih’s sister, accused the 14-year-old of burning pages containing Quranic verses. The accusation incited a mob to enter the mainly Christian neighborhood where Rimsha lives and riot while calling for the death of unbelievers. Fearing violence against them, about 150 families fled the neighborhood. Rimsha, who is mentally disabled, and her sister were severely beaten. She is now being held on suspicion of desecrating the Muslim holy book. So far, it appears that court will treat her favorably because of her disability and because of widespread international support. Pray for her family, who have gone into hiding. Pray also that the case highlights the maltreatment of low-caste Christians in Pakistan.
Indonesia—Evangelists Released in Aceh Source: VOM Contacts
Two evangelists accused of forcing a housewife to be baptized near Banda Aceh were released for lack of evidence. Roy and Ribur were released July 30 after spending two months in police holding cells. The two invited a Muslim woman to attend their Bible study group and were meeting with her to explain their faith. When the woman realized they were Christians, she left the home and reported them to her village head. A group of neighbors beat Roy and Ribur and dragged them to police. The village head submitted their backpacks, containing a list of new believers, Christian books and a water bottle, as evidence of wrongdoing. He alleged the water bottle was used for conducting baptisms. After two months, a court dismissed the case against Roy and Ribur, and they were evacuated out of the city. Though the court dismissed the case, it left open the possibility for police to provide more evidence.
Iran—Earthquakes Kill 300; Injure Thousands Sources: BBC News, VOM Contacts
Two major earthquakes that rocked Iran on Saturday, Aug. 11 killed at least 300 and left widespread destruction. About 3,000 thousand were injured and 16,000 rendered homeless in the massive tremors centered around the city of Tabriz in the northwest of the country. President Ahmadinejad ordered reconstruction to begin immediately. Several Christians in Iran reported they were assisting the injured and displaced. Iranian officials first rejected international assistance before being overwhelmed with the needs. Pray for families who have lost loved ones and for the recovery of the homes, schools and businesses in the affected area.
Central Asia VOM Project
Pray for Muslim Background Believers in a safe house in Central Asia. These believers were expelled from their families and threatened with death. Children in this country are especially subject to extreme persecution. They are ridiculed and threatened at school during anti-Christian propaganda events organized by local authorities.