International (MNN) — FMI’s Bruce Allen says attacks against churches are on the rise in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. Pakistan, which is ranked #5 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, has been hit the hardest by the increase. Allen says FMI is working towards physically fortifying the churches of FMI support pastors and church planters.
“We need to make them safer places as well as give them the tools in order to respond to attacks. So, we want to provide them with razor wire that they can put over the walls of their church compounds,” Allen explains.
“We want to provide the CCTV, the closed-circuit TV and off-site monitoring stations so that they can see what is happening and who’s entering as well as have that archival footage in case there is an incident, that they know who and how many attackers and things like that police or other people would need to see.”
FMI also hopes to add sandbags for bunkers, multiple first aid kits for each congregation, and first aid/emergency training for security issues to further fortify worshipers. Bangladesh and Indonesia’s governments are providing police and army personnel to secure the local churches. However, the Pakistani government has not taken such strides to protect its Christian minority.
Why the Rise in Persecution?
Allen says persecution is rising due to increases in militant Islam across this region. There are many known organized terrorist groups inside Pakistan, including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, and ISIS. After being in the country, these groups begin to leave an impression on local society. The average Pakistani, influenced by the ideology of the militant extremism, has begun to view Christians and other minorities as second, third, or even fourth class citizens who they can treat worse than animals. Furthermore, ISIS members have been returning home to Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
“The Indonesian fighters are coming back home to Indonesia and they’re bringing back that radical ideology with them. And it’s kind of like an infection across society,” Allen says.
How to Help
However, there are several ways the global Church can come alongside their brothers and sisters in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Start by giving to an organization like FMI. FMI holds ongoing training conferences to teach on apologetics, evangelism, but also on managing risks like congregation needs and persecution in each of these countries.
“We address all sorts of those sorts of risks the church leaders face. That’s what we do on an organizational level. But we need the support of people, well say an army of people, that can help us resource our brothers and sisters. They are in impoverished areas. Their government is not helping them. Their society certainly not helping them, so the help has to come from outside,” Allen says.
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Another way to help is through prayer. Pray with the recognition that despite the persecution in these countries, these nations belong to God. Ask God to answer the needs of His people in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Pray He would bring these countries to redemption in Him.
Also, pray for FMI supported church leaders and their congregations who are targets for or have already experienced persecution. Pray for their perseverance and endurance as they face church attacks, pressures from local society, and even cases of murder and forced marriages. Ask God to give these Christian leaders wisdom in counseling families and effectiveness when working with police.
Header photo courtesy of FMI.