Gender-based violence remains a thorn in Sri Lanka’s attempt at making a safer environment for girls and women. Compounding the issue, societal norms and religious license to harm young girls make the entire scene a nightmare for the victims. A dubious religious law by the Muslim Marriage Board in Sri Lanka allows girls above the age of 12 to be married off to men. The girls’ consent is not required. To make matters worse, the laws in Sri Lankan governing marriage allow this practice. What the Taliban does to Afghan girls by forcing them to marry their fighters is condemned internationally. However, the same predatory practice has legal status in Sri Lanka, and the world chooses to look the other way.
Pray for God’s children in the Sri Lankan legislature to bring laws to ban these barbaric practices that seek to harm children and traumatize them for life (The Bible, Proverbs 31:8-9).
Pray for the emotional healing of the victims brutalized by this heinous tradition in the name of religion. Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort them (The Bible, Psalms 138:7).
Sri Lanka’s long history in Buddhism seems to have lost its essence in recent years with many violent campaigns against minorities. Sri Lankan Tamils, Christians, and Muslims face persecution from the Buddhist majority community. Over a million tourists arrive in Sri Lanka annually. Home to eight World Heritage sites, the country is a scenic South Asian destination renowned for its cuisine, culture, breathtaking sceneries, and rich history. In recent years, a mistimed ban on fertilizers created a massive food shortage. Eventually, Sri Lanka missed payments and came alarmingly close to bankruptcy. The IMF, India, and a few other international players played crucial roles in preventing such a situation. The economic recovery is slow.
Recently, Iran launched a ballistic missile strike on Iraq’s northern city of Irbil, which resulted in injuries to ten civilians. The United Nations has condemned this act as “reckless and imprecise.” This attack is one of many recent events that have increased tensions across the Middle East. Iraq has strongly denounced the Iranian aggression on Irbil and promised to take legal action against it.
Pray against escalating border tensions between Iraq and Iran (The Holy Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Modern Iraq occupies what was once ancient Mesopotamia, but the world now knows Iraq less as a memorial to its vibrant history and more as a bloody battleground. It ranks 18th in the World Watch Report 2023 by Open Doors for Christian persecution. The current president is Barham Salih. The incumbent Prime Minister of Iraq is Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, who holds most of the executive authority. In Iraq, Islamic extremist groups continue to impose their ideology to influence society. Persecuted Christians were pressured to conform to the Islamic way of life. They often face physical abuse or threats of kidnapping. The Iraqi government discriminates against Christians in various contexts, from the workplace to traveling checkpoints throughout the country. Blasphemy laws are available to punish Christians who try to spread the Gospel message.