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Friday, January 12, 2007

Persecution Harder Among Muslims Who Convert to Christianity, But Saved Souls Bring Great Joy to Believers

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

MALABAR , INDIA (ANS) -- Persecuted Christians soon willingly forget hardships and forgive torture and beatings they have experienced when they see the unlimited number of lost souls who are coming to Christ and experiencing Salvation.

Pastor Paul Ciniraj of Salem Voice Ministries addresses a huge crowd of Muslim background believers during a day of prayer and fasting in Malabar, India.
That was the thrust of a message by Pastor Paul Ciniraj Mohamed, the Director of the Salem Voice Ministries (SVM), based in Kerala, India, as he inaugurated a day of fasting and prayer for persecuted Christians at the annual conference of the SVM held in Malabar, India on Friday, January 12.

Ciniraj likened the experience of these believers to that of a woman forgetting the intense pain of labor during childbirth, and rejoicing when she sees the baby she has given birth to.

Ciniraj said Christian missionaries to the Muslim world and converts to Christianity from Islam are facing severe persecution around the globe.

"Many are murdered, shot dead, burned dead, beaten, kidnapped, lose their houses, lose their children and their families. But their blood is becoming the seed of the church and millions of million Muslims are converting to Christianity day by day."

Salem Voice Ministries is involved in this great task to evangelize and establish the underground house churches in different nations, Ciniraj explaimed.

He continued: "There are about one billion and six hundred million Muslims all over the world. You may think is it possible to evangelize them? Yes! It is possible and within few years all of the Muslim nations will accept Jesus as Lord. Because our Lord 'is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, ' " (2 Peter 3:9).

Ciniraj said that each and every believer must possess a missionary spirit to convey the Gospel of the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the Muslims "without pride, prejudice and fear."

He also described how Salem Voice Ministries approach Muslims with the Gospel.

"Allah and Yahweh are not the same God," he said. "If one did not believe in Jesus as the living God then it is impossible to say they are the same God. We, the Christians must be clear that Muslims believe in Jesus, although not the same exact Jesus of the Bible, and (must) be direct and unabashed about our faith when we witness to Muslims."

Ciniraj said the Islamic concept of Jihad is prescribed in both the Koran and Hadith, "But there are some specific protocols in Islam, like women do not carry out Jihad. And also Islam has a lower view of woman than Christianity.

"Although Jesus is acknowledged in the Koran, it has a low view of Jesus. He is portrayed as only human, not as the Savior. According to Islam, Jesus never died on the cross but was replaced by someone before he was crucified. And Islam has a low view of the Bible too," Ciniraj said.

Islam does not believe in religious freedom, he said. "Iit is the most work-based religion in the world. A Muslim works hard to do good deeds and hope that Allah will like him and allow him to go to Heaven when he dies -- but there are no guarantees. And Islam is divided among denominations."

Millions are coming to faith in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, Ciniraj said. "It is mainly because of eternal security. And also they are attracted by the unconditional love and intimacy with God offered in Christianity."

In his report to the conference, Pastor Shaji Ipe, the General Secretary of the SVM, it was stated that about 500 missionaries of Salem Voice Ministries are laboring for the Gospel in Muslim-populated countries.

"They approach Muslims with prayer and the divine love of Jesus Christ. Firstly they find out and visit depressed families which have any of its members held in prison or have long term sickness. Usually they won't get enough care and love from the neighbors or relatives, but are criticized and abused unnecessarily," Ipe siad.

"(Our) missionaries show them real love with counseling, nurturing, clothing, medications and healing. They assist those families by cleaning the house, cooking the food, bathing the sick, etc. They make concrete relationships with each of the families. At the same time they keep good relationships with neighboring families too. And they gather together children and adults to share with them stories and fun. In this way they start Bible classes and worship services," Ipe continued in his report.

"Another dramatic development is that many Muslims -- including Shiites in Iran and Iraq -- are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus and thus coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy of Joel, 'In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days…And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved,' " (Joel 2:28-32).

According to the research of Prof. Ilyas Ba Yunus, Al Jazeera.net, a leading Islamic TV channel, reported that six million Muslims are converting to Christianity in Africa every year, Ipe said.

"Thousands of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, North African, Kashmiri, Indian, Central and South Asian Muslims turn to Christ. Around 50,000 youngsters ex-communicated from Islam in Malaysia because of their Christian faith. Some 35,000 Turks converted to Christianity last year. A vast number of Mullahs and Imams accepted Christ. Two million ethnic Muslims converted to Christianity in Russia. 200,000 UK Muslims and 10,000 French Muslims also converted to Christianity," he said.

Ipe concluded his report by quoting of Joel C. Rosenberg, the author of the New York Times best selling political thrillers, THE LAST JIHAD (2002), THE LAST DAYS (2003), THE EZEKIEL OPTION (2005), and THE COPPER SCROLL (2006), with more than one million copies in print, who writes that, "More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history. A spiritual revolution is underway throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. As a result, a record number of ex-Muslims are celebrating Christmas this year, despite intense persecution, assassinations, and widespread church bombings."

The huge crowd attending the conference included a majority of believers in Jesus Christ from the Muslim community.


To see this news item at the original site, log-on to: http://salemvoice.org/news124.html  

For further information on this news item, contact:
Pastor Paul Ciniraj, Director,
Salem Voice Ministries,
Devalokam (P.O), Kottayam,
Kerala-686038, India.
email: salemvoice@gmail.com  
web: http://salemvoice.org  


** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is the Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Lake Forest, California. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in September, 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.

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