Muslim clerics want evangelistic work restricted in Algeria

By January 11, 2008

Algeria (MNN) — Disconcerting news is coming from Algeria
and Afghanistan.

Glenn Penner of Voice
of the Martyrs' Canada
says Islamic scholars there are calling for a crackdown
on Christians. "This head of the
Islamic Association is claiming that a convert gets paid over seven thousand
dollars if they become a Christian. So
all you have to do is start spreading these lies around enough, and the government
might say, 'We probably should do something about this.'" 

He's referring to Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Al-Shayban who says Christian
missionary campaigns have "reached the point of aggressions against
Algerians." According to the Arabic
TV station, "Al Arabiya," Shayban called for the crackdown under the
religious practice law for non-Muslims.

The tone isn't limited to Algeria. It's also being felt in
Afghanistan. According to Penner, members
of the Afghanistan Islamic Council warned President Hamid Karzai not to allow
foreign missions into the country, especially to the impoverished areas.

The council claimed that missionaries in Kabul and in the provinces
were forcibly converting Muslims, enticing them by giving them Bibles and
promising to send them abroad. The Islamic scholars warned of serious
consequences if the government did not stop Christians from preaching and

Penner believes the Islamists are spreading misinformation
to stir nationalist sympathies. As to
whether this will curb evangelism, he says, "They take what is a very
innocent act and give it serious implications. For those who are ministering in that country, both nationals and expatriates, certainly, they're
going to be looked at with more scrutiny and suspicion. We need to be praying
for them that they'll continue to operate with integrity and yet continue to
operate fearlessly as they try to win men and women to Christ."

Ask God to thwart the attempts of those who seek to hinder
His work in Afghanistan and Algeria. Pray that His servants in these countries
will be emboldened to carry on their service to Christ wherever God leads them.
Pray that those who accuse Christians of forcible conversion will see that that
the Gospel message is one of a free gift, not coercion.

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