India (MNN)– We dedicate our newscast today to a look at Christmas around the world. We start in India, where the Christmas celebration is largely ignored by this predominately-Hindu nation.
While Christians are able to celebrate Christmas, Ramesh Landge with Partners International says many Christians can't celebrate. He says in the state of Orissa, Hindu extremists have threatened to attack Christians. "Even some of the insiders have told these Christian leaders that they should leave their homes for a while, especially in the villages. People cannot celebrate what some have been trying to stop."
However, that threat of attack has been called off.
Nearly 500 Christians were killed in recent Hindu attacks in Orissa, sparked by the Maoist murder of a Hindu spiritual leader. Maoists claimed responsibility for the murder, but Hindu extremists blamed Christians, saying they killed him in retaliation for his vocal opposition to allowing believers to openly share their faith.
Thousands remain homeless as entire villages were destroyed.
This isn't the first time, Landge says. "In Orissa especially, people have been very, very fearful, because last year they were being attacked by radical Hindu organizations."
Despite the violence, "During Christmas many people are open to hear" the Gospel message, says Landge.
Partners International has been helping the homeless, and Landge will soon travel to the region. "I will be heading there in January to begin the second phase [of the relief effort]."
Landge requests prayer "for the people who are homeless. Pray that we will have a little more resources so we can provide aid to the people who do not have anything."
Pray also that God will soften the hearts of Hindus and draw them to Himself.