Perched high in the Himalayas in a long-disputed region along the India-Pakistan border, Jammu and Kashmir is India’s only predominantly Islamic state. Since November 2011 Words of Hope has not been able to produce Kashmiri programs, forcing the radio broadcasts to be discontinued. Kashmir’s highest official of Sharia law not only banished the only Christian pastor, but also the coordinator of Words of Hope’s Kashmiri ministry. The charges were “propagating Christianity” and “luring Muslims to Christianity by exploiting their financial conditions and promoting immorality.” Their actual offense was baptizing people who had turned from Islam to Christ. The government of Kashmir agreed to enforce the verdict of the Islamic court with a “lifetime ban,” forbidding these Christian leaders from ever reentering the state. The Words of Hope ministry leader and his family were forced to flee the state, abandoning their home, possessions, and the small studio where Kashmiri radio programs had been recorded.
Our Director of Ministry to South Asia reports:
Christian ministry in the Kashmir Valley remains under threat of losing complete ground, as most Christian workers involved in evangelism work have left the valley. The few who remain are keeping a very low profile and are virtually underground. Even churches in Kashmir are telling the Muslim converts there to avoid attending church for fear of provoking the fundamentalists. Some Muslim converts have gone back to the Islamic way of life, but some believers continue to trust the Lord and meet secretly in homes to worship the Almighty God and to have fellowship.
- Pray for the few remaining believers to be steadfast in their faith despite threats and possible danger to their lives. Pray for safety and certainty for them.
- Pray for efforts to develop a website for the programs. Pray also for the security of those involved.
- North India
- East Pakistan
(Names withheld for security reasons)
Seven programs per week