First Investigation of Police Brutality against the Rohingya
Four border police officers in Myanmar have been detained after a video surfaced online showing two of the officers beating unarmed Muslim Rohingya men in the border state of Rakhine. The incident is putting more pressure on the government to address tensions between authorities and the Rohingya, a persecuted religious minority. Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has faced international criticism recently for what human rights advocates see as her failure to respond appropriately to state-sanctioned violence against the Rohingya. This is the first full investigation into police brutality in Myanmar against the religious minority.
Lord, we pray for all who are persecuted for their faith around the world — both those who are Christians and those who are not. We pray that you might move Myanmar’s leader to be responsive to this tragedy, and to move toward policies that protect the vulnerable Rohingya people.
Istanbul Nightclub Shooting
On New Year's Eve, 39 people were killed during a gun attack at a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. Turkish authorities have identified the gunman but have not released his name. Altogether, at least 36 people are being held in connection with the shooting, but the gunman remains at large.
For Turkey, which has seen so many attacks in recent months, we lift our prayers for peace and safety, Lord. We pray that the violence ISIS is using to cause terror and instability will be thwarted, so that the people of Turkey — especially those who are vulnerable and marginalized — might live in peace.
Ceasefire Deal in Syria
A ceasefire backed by Russia and Turkey is in jeopardy five days after it began in Syria, with government forces pushing offensives around Damascus and rebels threatening to suspend participation in new peace talks. The United Nations security council approved of the deal, and further peace talks are scheduled to happen in Kazakhstan soon. Like previous ceasefire deals in Syria, this latest one has been shaky from the start, with repeated outbreaks of violence in some areas, but it has largely held so far.
Lord, we are weary of the continued story of precarious and half-hearted attempts at peace in Syria. We lift in prayer the people so victimized by the posturing of power players in this situation. Deal swiftly and justly with the forces of evil in Syria, we pray.
“Smog Refugees” in China
In the past few weeks, tens of thousands of “smog refugees” have reportedly fled northern and central China following hazardous pollution and heavy smog levels that force almost half a billion people to live under a blanket of toxic fumes. Climate activists have been warning of a smog crisis since the summer months due to increased funding into heavily polluting industries such as those involved in manufacturing cement and steel.
God, for all who are threatened by the smog in China — especially those who are sick, young, old, or too poor to find relief — we offer our prayers. Help the world to commit itself to dealing with the global threat that pollution poses to all of us.