Bomb Kills Christian Convert

8 May 2003

A Jordanian convert to Christianity has been killed by a bomb planted outside 
the home of a missionary couple in Tripoli, North Lebanon.

Initially the Police stated that Jamil Ahmad al-Rifai, 28, had himself planted 
the bomb; but it is now apparent that he was killed when coming to the aid of 
the Dutch missionary, Gerrit Griffioen, 52, and his family.

At 11.30pm, Tuesday 6 May, Griffioen’s German wife, Barbel, 44, realised there 
was an intruder in their garden. The Dutchman called to al-Rifai, his next door 
neighbour, to help; by the time they entered the garden the intruder had fled. 
Griffioen proceeded to extinguish the fuse and then gave chase. Meanwhile 
al-Rifai was carrying the couple’s three children out of the house; after that 
he returned to the garden. The 2kg bomb detonated when he was either trying to 
diffuse it or simply move it further away; the blast made his body almost 

The family survived the blast without injury, though according to Beirut’s Daily 
Star one of their children, a 9-year-old boy was slightly hurt. Griffioen has 
been repeatedly threatened during his 20 years of work in Lebanon. He is a 
widely known and well respected Christian leader.

A man, going by the name of Mohammad, is being held in connection with the 
bombing. Recently he had been attending meetings run by the Griffioens claiming 
that he wanted to become a Christian.

Last November American missionary, Bonnie Penner Witherall, was shot dead by an 
unidentified gunman in Sidon. Both Sidon and Tripoli are known to be centres of 
radical Sunni Islam.

Pray for the friends of Jamil and for the local Christian community who have 
been devastated by this incident. Ask that they would know the Lord’s peace and 
have a very real sense of His loving presence in the midst of their grief.

According to Middle East Concern the Griffioens would like prayer for Inner 
peace and calm as they recover from the trauma of this attack; also wisdom for 
the future given that they were the target of this attack.

Pray for protection of Muslim converts and missionaries.

Pray that Muslims feeling they are acting on behalf of the family of Jamil 
al-Rifai would not publicly condemn Lebanese or Jordanian Christians.

The Barnabas Fund’s e-mail news service provides our supporters 
with short urgent news briefs and prayer requests for suffering 
Christians around the world.  

Please do share these news items with your Christian friends and 
churches.  All news items are available on our website in a more 
colourful user-friendly presentation format which you can access, 
print and pass on.  

If you are not already receiving these news briefs directly from 
the Barnabas Fund and would like to, please contact us with your 
name, postal and e-mail addresses, and details of the church you 

The Barnabas Fund, The Old Rectory, River Street, PEWSEY, 
Wiltshire, SN9 5DB, UK, Tel 01672 564938, Fax 01672 565030, 
E-mail  Web

Return to Project Open Book