Praise and Prayer

Pray: Family Questions "Conversion" of Kidnapped Egyptian Teen-Family members of a kidnapped Egyptian woman are questioning press reports that she has converted to Islam. Theresa Kamal, 19, went missing on Jan, 3. Spurred on by a phone call from Theresa saying she was being held against her will, her brother, Sa'eed, managed to track her down to a home in a nearby village of El-Ga'ar. When he arrived at the home March 23, Sa'eed was initially denied access to his sister. When he insisted that he only wanted to make sure she was fine, he was granted a 90-minute visit by the family. During that visit Theresa, who was surrounded by a Muslim family, spoke only once to her brother, saying in a trembling voice, "I have converted to Islam. I have found the right path." However, her family questions the legitimacy of this "conversion." Egyptian law requires that those who wish to convert from Christianity meet with a Coptic priest to ensure that the conversion is of her own free will. The conversion would then need to be officially registered. None of these steps have yet been taken, and Kamal's lawyer said he will challenge any attempts to register this conversion. Voice of the Martyrs Pray: Christians in Afghanistan-a Community of Faith & Fear-Afghan converts to Christianity lead dangerous lives and must keep their faith secret to avoid persecution by police, Islamists or even their own neighbors, says a report in Spiegel Online. For 36-year-old Hashim Kabar, anything that could "out" him as a Christian has been put out of sight, out of fear. He is afraid that what happened to Abdul Rahman, another convert to Christianity, might happen to him. Despite the fact that international pressure prevented Rahman from being sentenced and perhaps executed, Rahman's story illustrates the extreme stress that those who turn away from Islam experience every day. "We must recognize that freedom of religion, as promised by the Afghan constitution, does not exist," says Kabar, sadly. "But maybe it's good that the international community is now aware of that." Kabar converted to Christianity 20 years ago, when such a thing was not as taboo as it is today. "There were a lot of churches, both in Kabul and in the country," he says. "Back then the two religions coexisted here almost peacefully." But that all changed when the Taliban came to power in the mid-1990s. Religion Today Summaries Praise: Water in Sudanese Refugee Camp Seen as Miracle From God-Despite problems in western Sudan's Darfur region, the Persecution Project Foundation continues to work with more Christian and Muslim refugees in Northern Aweil County. The organization is working to meet the food and water needs of about 30,000 families fleeing genocide. Last month the organization dug a well in an area where the UN failed to find water. "The village leaders, especially the Muslim leaders of their villages, actually saw this as a miracle of God," said Ed Lyons of Persecution Project. "We said, Yes, you're absolutely right,' and handed them some Arabic Bibles and said, This is the God who provided this water for you.'" The foundation is working with local Africans who are doing most of the relief efforts. "They also get a chance to preach the gospel message, and it's having overwhelming results in this area." Lyons added. While no churches have been planted in the area yet, this is one of the ministry's goals. Mission Network News Pray: Prisoners in Pakistani Jail Tortured for Holding Bible Study-On April 7, Christian prisoners at the central jail in Sahiwal, Pakistan, gathered for prayer and Bible study. Muslim prisoners passing by began to make derogatory comments when two of the jail staff approached. A local source reported that the two prison staff joined in the attack on four prisoners, Chand Munawer, Ijaz Gulzar, Riaz Gulzar and Pervaiz Rehmat. They stripped the Christians of their clothing and tortured them. The four were then put in solitary confinement. The source added that reports of similar abuse in the Kasur and Lahore prisons are not uncommon. Voice of the Martyrs via MissionNet
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