Michael Evans Jr. and his Facebook page, "The Jerusalem Prayer Team," is in the thick of a battle he didn't see coming.
The page doesn't communicate news that could be controversial, but instead, uses Facebook Live to gather millions of people together in a virtual concert of prayer. Never would he have imagined that it would come under cancel culture attack and Big Tech censorship.
The COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental to the page's growth, which now has roughly 79 million likes and followers.
In a recent interview with Charisma staff, Evans spoke of the idea he pitched his team at the start of lockdown: "Hey, let's use this digital space to get together and to encourage people to pray," he said.
The prayer requests received through the comments covered requests from protection to provision and health, but a main prayer would always be focused on their namesake, Jerusalem.
Evans says, "We're going to pray for the Jewish people. We're going to pray for the Arab Israelis. We're going to pray for the Gentile Christians there; we're going to pray for an end to the bloodshed."
During the strictest seasons of the lockdown, they saw little opposition, but as the recent war between Israel and Hamas has escalated, so has the antagonism and threats against their page and against them personally.
Evans said that, "[The attacks] increased, not tenfold, it increased a hundredfold ... and it was very obvious that there was a coordinated attack, specifically against us. There are even YouTube videos that people have made, giving instructions on how to attack our Facebook page and get us shut down!"
Evans reports that even Middle East mainstream media Al Jazeera has joined in on the anti-Israel initiative.
Antisemitic hackers created their own fake "Jerusalem Prayer Team" page with around 1,000 followers, and then reported the real one with millions of followers, to Facebook to get shut down.
Evans says that they are in the review process with Facebook and he is praying that the social media giant will act with integrity and restore their page. He also is hopeful there will be some punitive action against the attackers for their blatant antisemitism, threats of violence and hate speech.
A Jordanian hacker, named Ahmed Saleh, is claiming responsibility for getting "The Jerusalem Prayer Team" page shut down and other radical Islamists are currently celebrating the removal of the page, Evans says.
And yet, Evans is optimistic. "They can shut down our Facebook page temporarily, but they can't stop us from praying," he believes. "And so, please join us in praying for peace in Jerusalem today. Please, join us in praying during this time for the Jewish people. They need our prayers."
Prayerfully, the Facebook page will be restored and the online prayers can continue once again, but until then, connect with them at jerusalemprayerteam.org.
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