It takes a nation to protect the nation
In an alternate universe, that is. Instead, Release International have this:
MALI Appeal: Please help displaced Christians
During the past twelve months, 400,000 Malians in the north of the country have fled to the south or to neighbouring countries. This is an exodus twice the size of the refugee crisis in Syria. It follows the March 2012 National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) insurgency to form the independent state of 'Azawad' in the northern sector. The MNLA is a grouping of Tuaregs and Muslims, allied to Ansar Dine, an Islamist group with links to al-Qaeda.
The insurgency was started in the 1990s by Tuaregs who recruited child soldiers, terrorised the population, and raped hundreds of girls and women. But in October 2011 the MNLA was formed, and armed with fighters and weapons from the Libyan civil war, quickly seized the initiative. They enforced the wearing of the burkha, destroyed churches and homes, as well as Sufi shrines, mosques and libraries; and punished wrongdoers by public floggings, amputations and executions. Christians were especially targeted.
In January 2013 the government appealed to France for military help. Although the allies rapidly retook the rebel-controlled towns, all the Christians who could flee have done so.
Ed Walker, a consultant to Tearfund, tells us: 'Every church has been destroyed and other Christian buildings have been taken over. I asked a number of displaced church leaders and Christians whether any Christians were left and they all felt that, with the exception of the old, every other Christian had left.' The Alliance of Protestant Churches in Mali also says, 'All the churches, development and social institutions are now destroyed.'
Mali has always been a dangerous place for Christians. We have the testimonies of three converts from a Muslim or animist background who were captured by their families, tied to a tree or a post, denied adequate food and water for up to six days, and beaten repeatedly, to try to make them give up their faith and return to Islam.
So now more than ever before we need to support our partners as they continue to provide safe houses for Muslim-background believers; pastoral, medical and practical support; and trauma counselling for the bereaved or witnesses of atrocities.
Please could you give £25 or even £5 to help your brothers and sisters in Christ?