Believers brace for retaliatory attacks in wake of bin Laden killing

By May 3, 2011

International (MNN) —
Authorities are preparing for the possibility of retaliatory attacks from
extremists with links to al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden in

Terrorism analysts also warned the death of bin Laden had
the potential for more violence. While
his death represents a symbolic victory, it is not an end to the ideology
espoused by bin Laden.

Specifically, Christians in places like Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey and similar countries  are vulnerable. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "We're particularly concerned for our Christian
brothers and sisters in Pakistan that, somehow, they could be caught up in a
reprisal attack that was designed to get back at the Americans for this strike
against Osama bin Laden." 

Many of them have already been preyed upon by the militants,
or were targeted after the U.S. attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nettleton says, "For our staff, we
particularly want to be careful right now. We want to be hyper aware of what's going
on around us from a security standpoint."

Islamic extremists in Pakistan and members of the Taliban
declare Christians "infidels." Nettleton
explains, "You have all of these many al Qaeda groups around the world who
would say, ‘We're loyal to al Qaeda. We want the same things they want.'" And since
they view Christianity as a Western religion, any connection at all to
Christianity, NATO or Western countries poses a significant risk. Security is a concern, Nettleton admits. The future is uncertain. "What happens now? Are
there some bigger attacks than we've seen over the last year or so [where] they
say, ‘We're striking back because our leader has been taken down?'"  

Yet the Gospel is moving forward in many parts of the Middle
East and North Africa. One of the phenomena
regularly shared in this region are visions and dreams of Christ. It's because of this that the remnant church in
this region has the confidence to be bold in their response. "One of the amazing things about the people
that Voice of the Martyrs works with around the world is their incredible
courage to love their enemies," says Nettleton. "These radical Muslims would identify themselves
as enemies of the Christian. Yet, Christians
are going into those areas. They are sharing the Gospel; they are talking about
Jesus Christ."

However, for believers in areas like Pakistan, scrutiny can
be deadly. Prior to bin Laden's death,
key Christian leaders or those who were sympathetic to religious freedom were
struck down in high profile murders. Pray
safety for believers here.  hey are more
determined than ever to share the peace of Christ with the militant,s says
Nettleton. "We can pray that they can be
reached with the Gospel message during this time, and that they can grab a hold
of the truth when they're presented with
it. Pray for those that are doing outreach in the Muslim areas, that they would
have the boldness to share the Gospel."

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