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Pray for Christians in the Middle East as Turmoil Spreads

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Middle East (MNN/SAT7) ― Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has called
for a nationwide peaceful demonstration today to condemn insults to
Prophet Mohammad from an amateurish film.

The announcement followed the attacks against U.S. Embassies in Libya
and Egypt. Demonstrators also attacked the U.S. embassies in Yemen and
Egypt (again) on Thursday. The spreading turmoil was a response to a
film they consider blasphemous to Islam.

An investigation has begun into the events surrounding Tuesday’s attack
on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which resulted in the death of the U.S.
ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Eight Libyans
were injured in that violence.

Protests also erupted in Iraq and Iran, as students in Tehran protested
outside the Swiss embassy. In Bangladesh, Islamists tried to march on
the U.S. embassy in Dhaka but were turned back by police. There were
also reported protests at U.S. missions in Tunisia, Sudan, and Morocco.

The film may have been the vehicle used to stir up tensions, especially in light of the September 11 anniversary. SAT-7 CEO
Terry Ascott says, “That reaction is inflamed by people who have a
vested interest, like Al Qaeda, in exploiting people’s anger at the
West. It’s a bit of a coincidence, one might say, that this flared up
all within hours in Egypt, in Yemen, in Libya, in other places. It seems
somewhat orchestrated.”

Security was being increased at U.S. diplomatic stations around the
globe, but what about ministries? “There have been specific threats
against, for example, Egyptian Christians in Yemen and churches and
Christians, in general…anyone who is a ‘cross worshipper,’ as they say
in the street.”

Ascott goes on to say, “It’s not the people that are making the movies
or the cartoons in the Western world that pay the price for their
enjoyment of free speech. It is the Christians in the Middle East that
bear the brunt of the reaction that inevitably comes.”

Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, it’s a common belief that
Christianity is a Western religion. Therefore, when trouble occurs
similar to what’s happened this week, entities with Western connections
are targeted, and that includes ministries.

SAT-7 has an office in Cairo. When asked if there was a contingency
plan for the staff, Ascott first said, “We do have heavy fences and
cameras and security people around our building, but it certainly would
not be enough if a mob decided to attack the building.”

However, Ascott went on to explain that they’re also being vigilant. “If
there are signs of trouble, we would try to evacuate our staff from
the premises before that got out of hand. But we don’t have armed guards
on the building to protect it from a riot.”

Still, the staff is putting together programs that will address much of what has happened this week in the region.

Interestingly, the SAT-7 ARABIC team had already begun a series of programs called Forbidden,
which address issues relevant to North Africa. Presenter Emad D. is a
Tunisian poet and pastor. The inspiration for the program comes from
John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” Emad wants to show the Arab world that Jesus
cares about them and weeps over them.

Emad hopes to use testimonies to demonstrate that the Church is
spreading all over the world, and longs to see equality between people
of all religions–with more respect for new believers. Ascott states
that the program aims to overcome negative perceptions of the Church.

Another team is doing a live show on Saturday. Ascott says, “In the
situation with the Middle East where there are so many agendas, so many
tensions between so many different groups, we’re trying to bring
reconciliation through better understanding, advocacy of forgiveness,
and so on–some of the things that are unique in the Christian Gospel.”

Pray wisdom for the production teams. Pray for safety for the staff. Pray for peace to return. Pray for open hearts.

The SAT-7 family is made up of SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 KIDS,
SAT-7 TURK and SAT-7 PLUS. You will find links to these at the Featured
Links Section of our Web site.

Source: Mission Network News



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