Globe Trot: Ann Voskamp launches prayer campaign for persecuted Christians
by Mindy Belz
Posted 2/16/15, 12:00 pm
PERSECUTED: Author and speaker Ann Voskamp has turned her #Pray703 campaign, launched at this month’s IF: Gathering in Austin, Texas, to focus on the Copts and other persecuted Christians with postings on Instagram and Twitter. It’s a movement attracting thousands who have perhaps viewed persecution as far off, with daily prayer in this coming season of Lent focused on 1 Samuel 7:03 and 2 Chronicles 7:14 (praying between 7:03 a.m. and 7:14 a.m. each morning).
LIBYA: A video released yesterday showing the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians abducted in Libya in December and January prompted swift retaliation from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He launched airstrikes over Libya within hours to take out training centers and weapons caches used by Islamic State militants. A spokesman for Libya’s fragile unity government said it considers the strikes an attack on its sovereignty.
EGYPT: The captured Egyptians were from Minya Province in Upper Egypt. Family members—who had identified their relatives from photos published in January by the militants—are mourning their deaths. About 1.5 million Egyptians work in Libya, mostly as low-paid day laborers, spurred in part by the collapse of the Egyptian economy following its Arab Spring revolution.
ARAB WORLD: “Why is the Arab world so easily offended?” asked leading expert Fouad Ajami, who died last year, in this 2012 piece. Considered a hawk, Ajami traced the Arab world’s long fall and concludes, presciently, the Muslim struggle “will show itself in far more than burnt flags and overrun embassies.”
DENMARK: Danish police today arraign two men accused of aiding gunmen Omar El-Hussein, who is being described as a “gang member,” in the weekend shooting in Copenhagen. El-Hussein attacked a conference on free speech hosted by Lars Vilks, one the leading satirists who’s published cartoons showing Islam’s founder, Muhammad. The gunman killed a Danish filmmaker there, and later a Jewish security guard at a synagogue. In the course of his spree, he wounded five policemen.
SWEDEN: Vilks, who is from Sweden, sparked controversy in 2007 with his cartoon showing Muhammad’s head on the body of a dog. His work is well covered in the context of blasphemy laws in the 2011 book Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide by Paul Marshall and Nina Shea.
PAKISTAN: Christian schools are vulnerable as they lack funding and government grants to meet new security standards following the December attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that killed 132. The government required all schools to close until January to be fortified with metal detectors, cameras, and perimeter walls. Some have not been able to retrofit and reopen.
HAITI: Megan Boudreaux visited Haiti for the first time in 2010 at age 24, and since then has established a school, put an orphan-seller behind bars, and adopted four Haitian children—all recounted in her new book, Miracle on Voodoo Mountain: A Young Woman’s Remarkable Story of Pushing Back the Darkness for the Children of Haiti (Thomas Nelson, 2015).
NOTE: There will be no Globe Trot on Wednesday and possibly Friday, as I begin later this week travel to Europe and farther east, with intermittent internet. I hope to try to catch up along the way.