In this issue of the newsletter
New: Christmas for Refugees will help victims of Jihad in Mangu, Nigeria
New: Christmas for Refugees will relieve the despair of IDP children
New: More Christmas programs in Lebanon and Syria, fewer in Iraq
New: EVERYTHING YOU READ IN SOCIAL MEDIA HAS BEEN CENSORED
Taking Christmas for Refugees to Mangu
By William J Murray
The needs of terrorized Christian farmers are great: When I visited the IDP camps in Mangu, Nigeria I was shocked by the conditions compared to the IDP camps in Iraq. Everyone in the main Mangu camp was sleeping directly on concrete floors in a closed grammar school. Some had thin blankets but that was all. The clothes they wore were the clothes they had escaped the Fulani Herdsmen wearing.
The “kitchen” was a fire pit outside and there was no refrigeration.
Knowing in advance there was no refrigeration, the bulk foods we delivered while I was there did not require it.
We delivered mattresses for everyone at that IDP camp located inside the grammar school, but there are three more IDP camps. In addition, there are several “service camps” to assist people who are IDP’s but have found some shelter with friends or relatives.
Just in the area Nancy and I visited, more than 200 Christians had been murdered by the Fulani Herdsmen, mostly men who worked the land. The mothers and their children are now without a provider, and in an area with few jobs available for women who were wives of the farmers.
What can we do to help these Christian families whose homes and livelihood were stolen by Islamic violence? The Religious Freedom Coalition does not have the means to supply aid for long periods of time, but we can implement some of our existing programs for the children.
Christmas for Refugees: We can bring the Christmas for Refugees program to the hard hit areas closest to the location of the orphanage in Jos. I want to bring a Christmas experience to the IDP camps in Mangu. The programs would be similar to those we provided for IDP children in Iraq when the Islamic State ran the Christians out of their towns.
The Christmas programs we have provided for more than a decade have brought joy to the children, but also much needed help for their families, such as hygiene kits, food, blankets and other critically needed items. The programs would be held in two communities near Jos.
Our Christmas programs can help restore faith to the children and to the parents who remain.
The attacks were devasting and went beyond the communities in Mangu that I visited. Even the small amount we can do at Christmas will help in many ways because all was lost by these families.
Just as in the attack on our orphanage in 2021, the Christians who managed to escape death took only the clothes they wore as they ran. The Fulani then burned their homes. Clothing, food, and any books including family Bibles, were lost.
Joseph Dung Shut, the brother of the headmaster of our orphanage school, was murdered by the Sunni Muslim Fulani. He was killed during an attack on Christian farmers in the Banyit community of Heipang District located in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area.
The Fulani attacked with automatic weapons. As they departed, they burned the homes and businesses.
This is the post from the Stephanos Foundation shortly after the attack:
Stephanos Foundation Fact finding team visited Banyit village on 10th August 2023. It was gathered that the attack happened at about 1:00am (WAT) claiming the lives of about 21 persons. Some corpses were left in the pool of their own blood, others were hacked, and some burnt to ashes.
The funerals continued for days. Some funerals were attacked, and additional lives lost. Joseph Dung Shut’s relatives could afford to celebrate him at a funeral, but many victims had no funds for a funeral, so their mutilated bodies were just wrapped in blankets and buried.
Fighting the despair: I have placed my hands in prayer on the shaking bodies of the relatives of the dead. In the horrid loss they have suffered they have clung to the Lord for strength to continue their lives.
Many of the younger children do not yet understand the full impact. They will never go home again because they have no home to go back to. Many of the children lost their fathers.
Can the Christmas for Refugees program help these desperate children the same way it has reinforced the faith of Iraqi and Syrian Christian children? Yes, but in different ways. Many agencies provide different aid to both Christian and Muslim IDP’s in Iraq. But In Nigeria those agencies are absent. The Red Cross does nothing!
Our Christmas for Refugees program will meet basic needs and most importantly, reinforce the faith of the youth by helping them celebrate the birth of Jesus. The losses and grief of the children are great, and we must reinforce in them the need to come before the Lord and be comforted in Him.
Christmas programs in the Middle East and Nigeria
The Middle East: Tens of thousands of Christian refugees can’t go home to Syria.
Syria was the safest place for Christians in the Middle East before the Sunni Muslim uprising beginning in 2011 financed by the Obama Administration and Saudi Arabia. Even Israel funneled help to the Sunni Muslims trying to overthrow the secular government and hand control over to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Christians began to flee Syria to Jordan and Lebanon as the “opposition” financed by the West turned into the Islamic State, a terrorist organization that slaughtered anyone who disagreed with them at any level. As their homes and businesses were destroyed more Christians fled.
The situation in Iraq has become better and many Christians have moved back, but the conflict continues in Syria. Entire Christian towns no longer exist.
We can now reduce the size of the Christmas for Refugees program in Iraq as churches rebuild and take on their affairs. Yet in Lebanon and liberated parts of Syria, the programs are still desperately needed. The programs will expand in Syria this year.
Some Christmas for Refugees programs will still be held in northern Iraq. Again in 2023 Christmas programs will be held in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Christmas events will also be held for poorer Christian families in Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Lord and Savior.
Please pray for the success of the programs and the protection of the children.
Nigeria: The need for the Christmas for Refugees program is declining in Iraq, but the need is ever growing in Nigeria.
The Christmas programs are tremendously meaningful for the children at the orphanage, and adding programs at IDP camps will raise the spirits of the children there who have lost everything material — and often lost a
This year the children from our orphanage will be ministering the program for the children at the IDP camps.
What a tremendous symbolism! Our children from the orphanage who themselves have lost their parents, will be taking the Christmas program to the children of the IDP camp.
The orphanage children will bring worship music, praise services and games. They will distribute the food and gifts. A pastor will lead the children to an understanding of the Gospel and deliver an invitation for those children who don’t yet have a personal relationship with Him.
Because of the constant threats and attacks in the areas where the Christmas events will take place, your prayers are needed.
EVERYTHING YOU READ ONLINE HAS BEEN CENSORED
If it wasn’t delivered to you in an envelope with a stamp on it, then it was censored.
We can put just about anything we want to on our Internet site at www.ReligiousFreedomCoalition.org. – We just can’t tell anyone that it’s here!
We are being “restricted.” How? Our advertising is limited. Regardless of how much we spend on advertising the number and type of people we reach is “restricted” We can’t even use the word “Christian” in our advertising, or the ad will be rejected!
We are being “restricted” because we made “direct or indirect assertions or implications about an ethnicity or religion”. What does that mean?
It is referring to our ads directly mentioning that murderers of Christian farmers in Nigeria were Sunni Muslim Fulani Herdsmen. This factual information about attacks from an Islamic group goes against Facebook advertisement guidelines. That is because we specifically mentioned the attackers were Muslim.
Because our ads have been denied for specifically naming the murderers as Muslims, Facebook has restricted our account. This means our ads will continue to be restricted until a certain number of our ads are “approved” by Facebook.
Wow: In order to get our ads approved by Facebook, we must make submissions that do not mention any negative narrative on the Islamic murderers in Nigeria that are ravaging Christian towns. The ads must be fluffy, airy, and devoid of the truth.
We can run ads like: “Terrorists in Nigeria attacked a village and killed several people.” It doesn’t stop there: If the ad links to a video that identifies the murderers as Sunni Muslims, the ad will be rejected by Facebook.
Is this limited to Facebook? Instagram is part of Facebook and censorship exists there too. Almost all other media outlets we can advertise on have similar “restrictions.”
What is the effect of these “restrictions?” First of all, we can’t get the truth out to the general public about the continued persecution of Christians by Muslims. Secondly, we can’t raise funds on the Internet the way many organizations do.
We could raise money on the Internet for Christmas for Refugees … BUT … we could not run ads that have details or why the children are refugees. We would be forced to say something like: “they fled war.”
Please pray for a return of freedom of the press and expression in America.