DARE TO DREAM FOR EQUALITY
Religious, gender, social and ethnic inequality are major concerns people deal with in the Middle East and North Arica. While the severity of the inequality may differ, these issues are prevalent across the region.
People in the MENA are dreaming for equality. Governments are restricting the rights and movements of religious minorities such as Christians, of women, of ethnic groups who may have been living in the country for generations, and of more recent ethnic groups such as refugees.
The messages we receive at SAT-7 reveal unique insights into these difficult circumstances across the MENA region.
THE VOICE OF CHRISTIANS IN THE MENA
Christians are a minority in the region, despite the Middle East being the birthplace of Christianity. They have been driven out by wars, are discriminated against and are actively persecuted to various degrees across the region. Nevertheless, they continue to persevere in their faith.
“There are many spies in my area, if they find out we are in contact with you, they will arrest us and cause us a great deal of trouble” explains Edin, from Afghanistan. “They have confiscated our satellite dish a number of times, but each time we bought another one, and when we are alone, we watch your programs. These are the conditions here… what else can we do?” he adds.
WOMEN OF THE MENA
Women in the Middle East and North Africa have fewer rights than men and are often considered second class citizens. A woman’s status in her family and in her society is largely dependent on a male relative, or her role as a mother or a wife.
1 in 5 girls in the MENA are married before the age of 18.
Unfortunately, many women in the region also face verbal and physical abuse and can become victims of honour killings.
Government surveys conducted in Turkey have revealed that in 2016, 328 women were murdered by their brothers, husbands, sons or fathers. In 2017, this number rose to 409. In the last ten years, 2337 women were murdered.
SAT-7 addresses such difficult and taboo topics through its programs, which educate both men and women. The results are evident in the feedback from viewers.
Sait, a male SAT-7 TURK viewer states “Men and women are equal. God made them equal. This is why the freedom of the woman is important”.
Ranya, a female SAT-7 ARABIC viewer writes “I cried while watching the short movie Braid, and how women were fighting for their freedom through their respect, politeness and by keeping themselves pure”.
REFUGEES, UNLOVED, UNWANTED
According to the UNHCR, there are currently 25.9 million refugees worldwide, more than half of all refugees come from the MENA region.
As the years pass, and there seems no end to the refugee crisis, sympathy for refugees is waning, but a desperate need remains. SAT-7’s programs share God’s love for all people, non-refugees and refugees alike.
Necati, a SAT-7 viewer in Turkey, which hosts 3.7 million refugees, wrote to SAT-7 TURK, sharing the impact that the channel is having on him, “You’re doing a great job talking about refugees. I now understand that we are all refugees in this world. You talked about how we should be gentle and kind to refugees”.
PRAY FOR EQUALITY
Christians across the MENA dare to dream of the day they can worship God freely. Pray for religious equality across the region and pray for a change in societal attitudes towards Christians.
Pray that women across the MENA will discover their equal value in Christ, and that they will become a force for change.
Refugees dare to dream of the day they will once again have a home and have an equal status with their neighbours. Pray for their perseverance and pray for organisations such as the UNHCR, who are working hard on relocating them.
This article is part of SAT-7’s Week of Prayer 2019 – Dare to Dream. Please join us in praying for the people of the Middle East and North Africa. Click here to access more resources and download our prayer guide.