Pakistan (MNN) — ISIS burned 45 people to death in Iraq. The murders came days after the grisly slayings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya.
Emboldened, the Taliban answered in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both attacks were on provincial police headquarters. Both were deadly. But that’s not all. *Nehemiah, Forgotten Missionaries International’s director in Pakistan, explains, “Prior to this news, a government hospital in Lahore, the children’s ward, they evacuated because there was a rumor that there was bomb there.” The group behind the attacks called them revenge for the execution of its members. “The Taliban Pakistan: they’re claiming responsibility for this. But […] this Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan group has more than 70 splinter groups in Taliban, so it’s very difficult to determine which group this is.”
Additionally, there are confirmed reports of Taliban Pakistan leadership taking on the Islamic State terror group’s name and methods. ISIS brutality affects the whole country, not just Christians. While it causes fear, it’s also causing backlash. “What we are getting from these people (is really a dislike for Islamic) teachings (because of violence) from the last two months. And now, 21 Christians were beheaded in Libya by ISIS. They’re killing people and quoting verses from the Quran.” Prior to that, the school attack in Peshawar was justified by the Quran. “They quoted a few verses from the Quran on why they were killing children.”
Bruce Allen with FMI says rather than gathering people to the cause, the vicious brutality on display has had a different effect. “The common citizens [are] beginning to question, ‘Is Islam really this violent? Is this what I personally am believing?’ They’re beginning to question the validity of their own faith, so this gives great opportunity to share the light of the Gospel with them.” It’s a stir that is growing, Allen adds. “It’s not just that they’re questioning personally or privately, in their own heart or perhaps in their own family; this is the discussion out on the street.”
Nehemiah says, “After these verses from the Quran, people want to know more about Christianity or they want to more about what is the reality [of Christ]. They want to follow the Light.” Allen agrees. That’s why it’s so important to have the tools at the ready. They have a shipment of the Gospels in both Urdu and Pashto, languages both spoken in Pakistan. “Even though there are more than a thousand of these books, Nehemiah says that they’ll be distributed easily within 50-60 days, so we need to keep the supply going for our evangelists and church planters.”
Remembering that ISIS used the Egyptian beheadings to openly declare war on Christians, evangelism and church planting can be dangerous in areas with shared ideology, like Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. Nehemiah says that’s why they need your help. “Pray for more courage and wisdom, especially for the Pakistani Christian community, so when Muslims or other seekers ask questions from the Christian community, they may answer correctly.”
In his closing thought, Allen reminds us that in spite of the horrifying headlines, there is hope. “The wicked things that men intend? God even uses those things. His power is stronger; His love is greater than those things. He’s using these tragic events to draw people to Himself.”
*Not his real name