Bobbie Houston Urges: "Pray For ISIS Rape Victims" - Hope 103.2

Bobbie Houston Urges: “Pray For ISIS Rape Victims”

Hillsong’s Bobbie Houston has called on Christian women worldwide to join the fight against the evils of ISIS — not by taking up arms, but by praying.

By Clare BruceThursday 27 Aug 2015FaithReading Time: 5 minutes

Hillsong’s Bobbie Houston has called on Christian women worldwide to join the fight against the evils of ISIS  — not by taking up arms, but by praying.

On social media and in a post on the Hillsong blog, the pastor and wife of Brian Houston has called for women of faith to pray at 12pm each day, asking God to intervene against ISIS and its “theology of rape”.

Bobbie made the call after reading a New York Times expose of  the sexual atrocities being committed by ISIS militants against the Yazidi women of northern Iraq and north-eastern Syria.

The article, written by Romanian-born foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, describes the systematic abduction and rape of thousands of women and girls as young as 12.

Other sources say victims are as young as eight.

ISIS Considers Sexual Violence A Religious Act

Callimachi writes that the rapists often kneel in prayer before and after their violent acts, believing that their religion encourages it.

“He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever,” said one 12-year-old victim according to the article. “He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God.”

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Another, who was just 15, said of her captor: “every time that he came to rape me, he would pray.”

The article says women are being moved around in trucks and held in warehouses for trade as sex slaves. It adds that Islamic State’s culture of sexual violence and slavery is institutionalised and officially supported in the terrorist organisation’s upper echelons.

Who are The Yazidis?

Yezidi refugees

Under attack: Yezidi refugees on Mount Shingal (Sinjar). Photo: Rudaw / ekurd.net

The Yazidis are an ethno-religious minority with roots in the Zoroastrian, Christian and Muslim faiths. They are targeted by ISIS as they don’t conform to Islam.

In August 2014 ISIS launched a genocidal campaign against them, forcing tens of thousands to flee to Mount Sinjar – a mountain believed in local legend to be the final resting place of Noah’s ark, according to The Guardian.

The crisis was widely reported in international news media at the time, and foreign aid was rushed in and airdropped to try and help the victims.

A support group called Yazda says the genocide has led to the deaths of up to 5000 civilians, abductions of up to 7,000, and the displacement of 400,000 people from their homeland in Sinjar, Nineveh Plain and Syria.

How Bobbie’s Call To Prayer Began

Bobbie Houston instagram post

Call to action: Bobbie Houston’s instagram post asking friends to pray at 12pm each day

Bobbie’s call to prayer for the Yazidi women began as a spontaneous Twitter and Instagram post on August 17.

Her post suggested, “Perhaps if we committed ourselves to pray each day at 12 (the girl was 12yrs old) for a few moments.”

She asks the women of coloursisterhood (followers of Hillsong’s annual Colour women’s conferencesin Australia, Europe, USA and Europe) to pray for not only victims, but perpetrators too.

“Yes. Pray for the enemy,” she writes. “All I know is that PRAYER MAKES A WAY. Set your phone alarm to 12midday & send a prayer into the ATMOSPHERE.”

Victims Want Believers To Pray

Girl Cry For Help

Ms Houston — whose church is supporting Iraqi Christians — said that days after her Instagram post she received a phone call from a pastor in the area, who is working with some of the victims.

The pastor told her that “the women are simply asking for prayer… they just want to know that they are not alone”.

In the Hillsong blog post, published a few days after her initial Tweet (August 20), Bobbie implies that the real enemy is spiritual and says prayer can “put a dent in the plans of an insane (spiritual) enemy”.

“I am not writing this blog to polarize anyone’s heart or faith against another,” she writes. “We are all citizens of this earth, brothers and sisters, entrusted to watch over one another and bring truth and freedom into the reality of this precious gift called “life”.”

The Power Of Prayer

She said it was no longer enough to just be shocked.

“I’m doing this because we cannot turn away from a harsh reality that is literally happening under our noses and on our watch…Prayer is eternal. It carries no bias or prejudice.”

She reminded her readers that “things have happened” when women have united in prayer in times past.

“The Word of God…clearly teaches that prayer makes a way where there often seems to be no way,” she says.

Praying By Twitter And Instagram

Bobbie Houston instagram post

Pray-by-tweet: One of Bobbie’s typed prayers

The Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts Bobbie uses have over 430,000 followers combined, and she has used them in recent days to type her midday prayers.

In one, she prays for “sustained strength in the hearts of those suffering”.

“Lord…Bring them relief, shelter, HOPE. Heal their aching bodies and hearts. HELP THEM TO LOOK UP FATHER and sense that they are not alone and that help is on the way. We speak life, strength and salvation into their souls. In your Name Lord”.

She also includes a prayer for governments and world leaders, asking God to give them “the breakthroughs they need to quench this evil”.

Bobbie often uses social media to call attention to social justice needs and to get her “@ColourSisterhood” followers praying for various causes.

Other recent posts on her Instagram feed have called for prayer over abortion, gang violence in Cape Town (where Hillsong has a church), a child abduction, and the Charleston massacre.

Non-Profits Giving Victims Practical Support

One charity doing practical work to help women who have been rescued out of ISIS is Yazda, a US-based non-profit organisation.

They support and advocate for the Yazidis around the world, particularly survivors of the genocide.

Their multi-faceted program works in partnership with other groups to provide “humanitarian, psychological, health, legal, and social support”, helping women recover and re-enter normal life.

The Christian aid organisation Samaritan’s Purse has also provided the Yazidis with sanitation, relief supplies and other aid.