May News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: App Expands Global Gospel Outreach by Adding Arabic, the popular Bible app from the Audio Bible ministry Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH), is now available for use in Arabic. Spoken by more than 221 million people throughout the world, Arabic now joins Spanish and English as the major trade languages available for users to navigate the app. Since their Digital Bible Project started last year, Arabic has consistently been in the top five languages accessed across the multiple platforms offered by FCBH. In addition to the app, the ministry's Audio Bibles can be accessed via podcast on iTunes, as well as streaming and download directly from its website, all free of charge. FCBH currently has Audio Bibles in 538 languages, with 188 of those available for reading and listening on the Bible app, helping make the Digital Bible Project the world's largest resource of Bible recordings and texts. (Faith Comes By Hearing)

COTE D’IVOIRE: Persevering Amid Crisis
Côte d’Ivoire is in a desperate situation after a political impasse has created violence in the streets. The death toll has reached 400 and over 450,000 people have been displaced. Nearly 77,000 have registered as refugees in Liberia, and many are stuck suffering with nowhere to go. As the situation deteriorates, TWR continues to broadcast radio programs that bring hope to the afflicted. While the medium wave transmitter in Benin broadcasts to the whole country of Côte d’Ivoire, the programs are also heard over an FM station in Abidjan. (TWR)

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: MAF Shuttling Vaccine, Humanitarian Workers to Combat Measles Epidemic
MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) is airlifting emergency immunizations and humanitarian health workers into remote areas of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to fight a measles epidemic sweeping this embattled African nation. With the logistical support of MAF, the international nonprofit Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) is at the forefront of combating this highly contagious disease. “Even the few existing roads in DRC are in poor condition from lack of maintenance, and in the rainy season they're totally impassible, hence air travel is the sole means of transport to most of the country,” said John Boyd, MAF president and CEO. Health and humanitarian workers report that the measles virus has spread beyond a few rural areas to cities and is poised to move beyond five provinces to the rest of the country. The highly contagious disease can lead to pneumonia, severe dehydration, blindness, and death, especially among children. (Assist News Service)

IRAQ: “Religicide” Exterminating Iraqi Christians
More Christians have been fleeing Iraq in recent months than ever before. Carl Moeller with Open Doors USA says extremists are calling for the complete extermination of believers in the country. “We've been calling this a 'religicide,' which is the systematic destruction and elimination of a religious group simply for being that religious group. And we see this now unfolding in a very shocking way,” says Moeller. The number of Christians in Iraq has dropped dramatically in the last few decades from 850,000 believers in 1991 to 345,000 believers in early 2010. Today, this number is perhaps less than 250,000. The loss of so many believers in just a year can be attributed in part to one significant event: the sixty Christians who were killed in October 2010 in a terrorist attack by al-Qaeda-linked groups at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. At the current rate of the exodus, Iraq will not have any Christians left in three years, according to an Open Doors' field worker. (Mission Network News)

KENYA: Kenya Christians and Muslims Debate Hijab in Schools
Muslim leaders in Kenya are calling for government action on Christian schools that have banned students from wearing the hijab, the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim girls and women. Church leaders have defended the ban, saying teachers have the right to determine dress code in the schools, according to a denomination's religious traditions, discipline, and philosophies. Sheikh Juma Ngao, the Kenya Muslim National Advisory Council (KMNAC) national chairman, said denying the hijab was an affront to the rights of Muslim followers and could triggers mass withdrawal of Muslims from the schools. (Ecumenical News International)

MIDDLE EAST: Refugees Find Healthcare, Comfort at Church Clinic
The recent political and humanitarian turmoil in the Middle East has created a host of needs. As conditions get increasingly worse, many are fleeing. However, one church has become a beacon of hope and health for many who have fled. More than one million Iraqi refugees—Sunnis, Shiites, and Christians—have flooded into this undisclosed nation over the past dozen years. For most refugees, healthcare is more or less out of the question. In 1998, the church asked an American internist and pediatrician to host a monthly free clinic for Christians attending the church. With the support of ReachGlobal, the clinic is now open twice a week and sees patients from numerous other countries and religious backgrounds. (Mission Network News)

SAUDI ARABIA: Christians in Prison, Beaten
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that two Indian Christians working in Saudi Arabia have been arrested in Batha, Riyadh, and sentenced to forty-five days in prison. They were accused of proselytizing. ICC contacts in Saudi Arabia believe they were arrested to keep them from practicing Christianity privately in their home. While in prison awaiting trial, their apartment was ransacked. They face uncertainty regarding their future. An employer has returned the passport of one of the Christians, making it clear that his job is no longer available, and that he will be expelled. The other Christian awaits information regarding his legal status and job. Saudi Arabia has a long history of quietly cracking down on Christians. (Assist News Service)