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Bold Believers in Syria

Bold Believers in Syria includes stories, history and culture facts, activities, and recipes that help children understand the daily lives of people in a country where civil war has driven more than 750,000 Christians from the country. The 48-page book is available free from the Downloads section of this site.

Countries Story

Qatar

Qatar

Qatar

RESTRICTED

Capital
Doha

Size
Slightly smaller than Connecticut.

Main Languages
Arabic

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 2:00 p.m. in Qatar.

History
Qatar became an independent country in 1971. The emir who ruled the country after that wasted his nation’s money. (An emir is a ruler in some Muslim countries.) The emir’s son, Hamad, took control away from his father in 1995. Now Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world, earning its money from selling oil. Hamad also helped start Al-Jazeera, an Arabic TV network. Hamid transferred power to his son, Tamim, in 2013.

 

Religion
Mostly Muslim.

Persecution
Islam is the official religion. Most of the people who follow other religions are workers who come from other countries to earn money in Qatar.

Muslims may not legally become Christians. Anyone who tries to lead a Muslim to Christ can go to prison. People who own CDs, DVDs, or written materials that support or help missionary activities can be imprisoned for up to two years.


Countries Story

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

RESTRICTED

Capital
Riyadh

Size
Slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US.

Main Languages
Arabic

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 2:00 p.m. in Saudi Arabia.

History
Long ago, most of the people on the Arabian Peninsula were nomads. Isaiah 13:20 talks about Arabians pitching tents. Muhammad, the man who started Islam, lived on the Arabian Peninsula in the early 600s A.D. He and his followers united the Arabs as Muslims. The region became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, ruled by King Abdul Aziz. Today the country is rich from selling oil.

 

Religion
Muslim.

Persecution
Christians are not allowed to have church buildings in Saudi Arabia. Non-Muslims must worship in private. Even when they do, they may be bothered by the police and arrested for their faith. Sharing the gospel with Muslims is illegal. All women must dress according to strict Muslim rules.


Countries Story

Somalia

Somalia

Somalia

RESTRICTED

Capital
Mogadishu

Size
Slightly smaller than Texas.

Main Languages
Somali, Arabic, Italian, English

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 2:00 p.m. in Somalia.

History
In recent years, Somalia was said to be the most lawless country in the world. The country became independent from Britain in 1960. After the leader was overthrown in 1991, Somalia suffered from disease, famine, and violent groups trying to take control.  The country had no government for two decades until 2012.
Religion
Mostly Muslim.

Persecution
Islam is the national religion. Few Somalis are Christians, and many of them keep their faith secret. Christians who follow Jesus openly or share the gospel with Muslims are in danger of serious persecution. The al-Shabab terrorist group attacks those they suspect of not following the group’s strict form of Islam. Even with the risk of persecution, some Somalis are trusting God with their lives and turning to Jesus.


Countries Story

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

HOSTILE

Capital
Colombo

Size
Slightly larger than West Virginia.

Main Languages
Sinhala, Tamil

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 4:30 p.m. in Sri Lanka.

History
Sri Lanka used to be called Ceylon. Britain ruled Ceylon until the country became independent in 1948. A 1956 law declared Sinhala to be the official language. Many Tamil-speaking people were angry. The law was later changed, and now Tamil is also an official language. But bad feelings between the Sinhala and Tamil people led to decades of war .
Religion
Mostly Buddhist, many Hindu, some Christian and Muslim.

Persecution
About 80% of the people are Sinhalese. Most of them are Buddhists. The government supports the majority Buddhists and does not provide adequate protection for Christians. Dozens of attacks on churches and against Christians are reported.


Countries Story

Sudan and South Sudan

Sudan and South Sudan

Sudan

RESTRICTED

Sudan Capital
Khartoum

Main Languages
Arabic

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 2:00 p.m. in Sudan.

South Sudan

South Sudan Capital
Juba

Main Languages
English

Time
At 6:00 a.m. U.S. Central Standard Time, it is 2:00 p.m. in South Sudan.

Interesting Fact
The new flag of South Sudan is one of only two country flags that has six colors as part of its main design. (The other is South Africa’s.)

 

History
Sudan became an independent country in 1956. It was the largest country in Africa. The North and the South often did not get along. Muslims who ruled the North often controlled and fought against Christians and others in the South. Many people around the world worked and prayed for peace in Sudan, and there were improvements in the early years of the 21st century. But more fighting started in the western region of Darfur, bringing much sadness and many problems to that area. South Sudan became an independent country on July 9, 2011.

Religion
The majority of the people in Sudan are Muslims. The majority of the people in South Sudan are Christians or animists.

Persecution

In Sudan, it is against the law for Muslims to become Christians. Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men. Pastors and Christian workers have been arrested, and churches have been demolished. In the Nuba Mountains, the government bombs Christians and non-Arabs.