It is impossible to overstate the difficulties faced by citizens of countries where Islamists seek to have control and impose their ideals.
Two such countries are Sudan and Ethiopia, both of which have Christians in the upper echelons of government who are struggling to hold their heads up in the face of continuing Islamist pressure and threats.
Sudan – government yielding to Islamist pressure
On 10 July 2020, Sudan's Justice Minister, Nasredeen Abdulbari, announced that the transitional government had passed a package of laws aimed at ending discrimination and human rights abuses.
However, there continues to be strong pushback by elements of the previous extremist regime, basically ignoring these laws. Boutros Badawi, a senior adviser to Sudan’s Minister of Guidance and Religious Endowments, the department overseeing religious affairs in the country, was attacked by armed men in Khartoum on 2 July.
One assailant pointed a gun at Mr Badawi’s head and threatened to kill him if he continued to say anything about confiscated properties belonging to churches, or the issues surrounding the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church committees.
The government's response to these attacks and intimidation has been totally unsatisfactory.
Earlier this year the government relented on a new history curriculum, wilting in the face of Islamist pressure and threats. Today, customs officials are refusing to release a shipment of Bibles in defiance of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Act 2020 which eliminated customs duties for religious literature.
Many who have supported the 'people's revolution' for a New Sudan are increasingly concerned that the transitional government seems more eager to appease Islamists than defend rights and freedoms.
Comprising a mere six percent of the population, Christians fear their rights might be deemed expendable and traded away for peace with Islamists.
Ethiopia – government yielding to US pressure
On 28 June, after more than seven months of brutal war, Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed (who is a Christian) yielded to US pressure and declared a unilateral ceasefire in Tigray, enabling the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) to regain control of the Tigray capital Mekelle.
Having started the war, the TPLF rejected the ceasefire, consolidated, and in violation of the terms of the ceasefire, advanced beyond the borders of Tigray.
In mid-July, TPLF forces - now going by the name, Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) - invaded Afar Region in a failed attempt to capture the highway that links Addis Ababa to ports on the Red Sea. They also invaded Amhara Region and on 5 August seized control of the historic city of Lalibela - a UNESCO heritage site, famed for its ancient rock-hewn churches.
More than 300,000 civilians have been displaced in Afar and Amhara Regions and hundreds killed. Delivery of aid has been disrupted and it has been confirmed that the TPLF is forcibly recruiting children as soldiers.
On Wednesday 11 August the Oromo Liberation Army (also known as OLF-Shane; the group responsible for numerous massacres of Amhara Christians throughout Oromia Region) announced it had forged a military alliance with the TPLF.
Meanwhile, the TPLF's boast that it is making great gains on the battlefield, is nothing but a lie. The TPLF may have had momentum in July, but according to Gregory Copley, President of the International Strategic Studies Association, 'The tide of war on the ground has already moved in favour of the Ethiopian government...' (6 August).
We can expect the TPLF and OLA to ramp up the propaganda so they might pave the way for their allies - in particular, the US Biden administration - to join their battle against the most popular and promising government Ethiopia has had in generations.
US-allied Egypt, the Sudanese military (which is a front for Sudan's Islamist deep state) and jihadists everywhere want Ethiopia weakened and even destroyed.
The collapse of Ethiopia would precipitate a Christian crisis of monumental proportions and herald the decline of another of the world's most rich and ancient Christian cultures.
The Ethiopian Church is not just historic! On the contrary, having been refined through suffering and revived through prayer, the Ethiopian Church is alive and dynamic with great missionary vision and energy.
Muslims and elites with great influence are coming to Christ. Churches are being planted and missionaries are being sent throughout Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, as well as into the Sahel and among the Fulani, and into Asia, Europe and the Americas.
We need to pray that God would
· bless and protect Prime Minister Hamdok, Justice Minister Abdulbari, and all who are working for reform in Sudan with wisdom and strength - may the Holy Spirit guide them as they lead God's people
· bless and protect Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, his family and officials in government and grant them wisdom and strength
· frustrate every evil plot aimed at destabilising the governments and derailing reform; may Satan's powerful grip be broken; may the will of the sovereign Lord prevail
· bless Sudan and Ethiopia to be a blessing to others
· thwart all evil plots designed to foment rebellion, unleash chaos, destroy security, perpetuate lies, bring down governments and fragment the countries; may God's good plans for Sudan and Ethiopia prevail
· draw many more people to Christ
And let us not forget the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan!For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Peter chapter 3 verse 12
Aira Chilcott is a retired secondary school teacher with lots of science andtheology under her belt. Aira is a panellist and editor for PSI and indulges inreading, bushwalking and volunteering at a nature reserve. Aira is married to Billand they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html