Pakistan-another backward step.

PAKISTAN – Government surrenders to demands of Islamist protestors over “blasphemy”

Authorities in Pakistan have surrendered to the demands of Islamist protestors, with the government forcing the resignation of the country’s Law Minister and guaranteeing “no leniency” to those convicted of “blasphemy.”

Zahid Hamad resigned on 27 November after weeks of violent protests by Islamists, who accused him of “blasphemy” after he proposed changing the declaration made by candidates running for political office locally and nationally.

Muslim mobs have attacked Christian communities on multiple occasions following accusations of “blasphemy”; pictured are Christian homes destroyed in Lahore in 2015

The declaration – required for candidates running in any vote supervised by the country’s electoral commission – previously required them to “solemnly swear” to Muhammad being Islam’s “last prophet,” wording which was altered to “I believe.” Islamists alleged the change opened the way for members of the Ahmadi sect – who are viewed by them as apostates – to potentially run for office as declared Muslims. Ahmadiyyas were officially defined as non-Muslims by the government in 1974.

The street demonstrations, which paralysed cities across Pakistan, were ended after representatives from the country’s powerful military oversaw negotiations, in which the government caved in to Islamist demands.

As well as the resignation of the Law Minister, the government accepted a raft of demands made by the leaders of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Islamist party. The government agreed to guarantee that “No difficulty will be faced in registering cases under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code” (the “blasphemy” law which criminalises “defiling the name of Muhammad” and carries the death penalty); and “No leniency will be given to those convicted by courts for blasphemy.”

The Pakistani government’s capitulation in the face of violent Islamist protests sets a dangerous precedent, which is likely to make the situation of Christians accused of “blasphemy,” and those appealing against their convictions even more perilous.

From Pakistan Today here

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Belarus– Pray for Christians Detained for Distributing Christian Literature

Dec. 14, 2017 | Belarus
Pray for Christians Detained for Distributing Christian Literature

Police have detained and questioned members of an evangelical church in northern Belarus three times in the last two months for distributing Christian literature. On Oct. 14, police arrested Andrei Fokin as he and other believers distributed Christian books and magazines in the Lepel town market. He was released after a warning, but later fined for repeat offenses. On Nov. 4, police again interrupted their literature distribution, this time taking nine Christians to the police station. Prior to the Oct. 14 arrest, the church had served the community through its street library ministry since 2004 without objection from authorities. Pray that church members will be able to pay their fines and resume their library ministry without harassment.

 

Members of an evangelical church in Belarus were detained after distributing literature on the street.

 

Onw of the two men, an Illiterate evangelist and a prominent Pakistani Muslim accused under Pakistan’s “blasphemy laws is acquitted!”

Latest:

Christian Pastor Accused of Blasphemy in Pakistan Found Innocent

ICC Note:

Last year, Pastor Babu Shahbaz was arrested and jailed after being accused of committing blasphemy in Pakistan. According to the accusation, Pastor Shahbaz was alleged to have torn pages of the Quran and dumped them in the street, a crime punishable with life imprisonment. Last week, the Lahore High Court released Pastor Shahbaz after finding the evidence against him unconvincing. False accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan are common and often motivated by religious hatred or score settling. Will Pastor Shahbaz be able to return to a normal life? 

12/11/2017 Pakistan (Asia News) – The Lahore High Court has released a Protestant pastor on bail, detained for almost a year on charges of blasphemy. A copy of the verdict was sent to Asia News, in which the judges write that the Rev. Babu Shahbaz is “innocent”. His lawyer Nadeem Anthony reports with joy, “I thank the High Court for giving justice to this innocent Christian.”

On 6 December, Pastor Shahbaz was able to embrace his family. He was arrested on December 30, 2016 in the village of Kamahan [a suburb of Lahore, ed.], after a group of local Muslims found 150 pages of the Koran torn in the street. According to the accusers, the name of the pastor was printed on 100 pages.

Locked up in Lahore’s Jail Camp, the Rev. Shahbaz was accused of insulting the prophet under section 295-B of Pakistan’s penal code, a non-bailable offence carrying life imprisonment.

Judge Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan’s verdict reads: “The accused allegedly made an extrajudicial confession in police custody, therefore, same is not admissible in evidence. Polygraphic test is a weak type of evidence and the same cannot be relied upon blindly,” Justice Khan added. “No page of the Sipara (chapter) allegedly recovered from the possession of the petitioner was found to be torn. Mere recovery of a blue marker from the possession of the petitioner is by itself not sufficient to refuse bail to the petitioner because a blue marker is available in almost every second house of big cities of this country.”

Having ascertained the innocence of the Christian, the judge granted him the return home, upon payment of 200,000 rupees (over 1600 euros). Attorney Nadeem Anthony claims that, “minor courts are influenced by group pressure. I made no promises to the victim’s family. I only asked that their requests be heard. Similar cases require difficult work because of religious sensitivity on the issue. Often victims can not return to lead a normal life in their environment, because society ostracizes them.”

[Full Story]

Local evangelist in Lahore, Pakistan, is being accused under the country’s “blasphemy laws” after pages of the Quran with his name written on them were found strewn on a street. Babu Shahbaz Masih – an illiterate 41-year-old father of three – was detained by police on 30 December.

Babu Shahbaz Masih
Babu Shahbaz Masih

Haji Nadeem registered the complaint, claiming that torn Quranic pages were found in the road as he and his companions were on their way to mosque for Friday prayers. On a hundred of the pages were written the name of Babu Shahbaz Masih in blue marker. Police immediately detained Babu Shahbaz Masih, together with his wife and daughter, for their own safety. A large number of security personnel were deployed to the area to ward off trouble.

Haji Nadeem, a local Muslim shopkeeper and politician, is apparently jealous of Babu Shahbaz Masih’s brother, another shopkeeper, and is reported to be resentful of Christians for not supporting him in recent elections. There also appears to be ill-feeling towards Babu Shahbaz Masih by a local pir called Baba Gujjar, who lives on the street where the torn pages were found. A pir is the South Asian term for a Muslim spiritual guide in the Sufi tradition (mystical Islam) to whom Muslims go for healing and other requests for divine intervention. Baba Gujjar has been losing followers because many Muslims instead went for healing to Babu Shahbaz Masih’s home where he held special prayer meetings for healing. Personal grudges lie behind many “blasphemy” accusations in Pakistan.

Under Pakistani law, there is a mandatory life sentence in prison for desecrating the Quran. Local Muslims are amongst those who have voiced support for Babu Shahbaz Masih, affirming his innocence.

Christmas Facebook message from prominent Pakistani Muslim brings accusations of “hate speech” and “blasphemy”

A complaint of “hate speech” has been made by his fellow Muslims against Shaan Taseer, son of Salmaan Taseer, the former Punjab governor who was murdered in January 2011, and a formal case registered against him. Muslim hardliners, not content with this, are pressing for him to be charged with “blasphemy” which carries a death sentence.

Salmaan Taseer, father of Shaan, a Muslim who was murdered for speaking out on behalf of Christians and against the blasphemy laws(
Salmaan Taseer, father of Shaan, a Muslim who was murdered for speaking out on behalf of Christians and against the blasphemy laws(
Salmaan Taseer) / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The complaints come in response to a Christmas message which Shaan Taseer posted on his Facebook page. In the video message he requested prayer for minorities exploited under the “blasphemy laws”, laws which he described as “inhumane”.

Shaan Taseer’s father, Salmaan, was shot dead by his own bodyguard for supporting Aasia Bibi (a Christian mother sentenced to death under these laws) and calling for reforms to the blasphemy laws.

A complaint of “hate speech” was registered against Shaan Taseer on 30 December (a crime punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or a fine), but the Islamist group, Sunni Tehreek, are pushing for the police to charge him with defiling Muhammad’s name, a crime that carries a mandatory death penalty, threatening mass protests if the police fail to charge him. Shaan says he has received “credible death threats” from people who inspired his father’s killer, Mumtaz Qadri.

Battle over transgenderism

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Maths teacher takes school to court in ‘transgender’ row

Joshua Sutcliffe, a maths teacher who was disciplined after ‘misgendering’ a pupil, will take former school to court

Joshua Sutcliffe is taking his employers – an Oxfordshire school and its headmaster – to an Employment Tribunal, after accusations of gross misconduct by ‘misgendering’ a ‘transgender’ student. In November, Joshua was suspended and placed in isolation for telling students ‘well done girls’ while one of them wanted to be identified as a boy. He now says he has been unfairly dismissed by the school.

Exemplary record

Mr Sutcliffe, from Oxford, began working at the school in September 2015 and taught children aged 11-18. He has an exemplary record and has achieved excellent results, with his key-stage 3 students outperforming every parallel class.
On November 2, a complaint was made that he referred to the pupil as a ‘girl’, rather than ‘boy’. The child had self-declared as ‘male’, but Joshua, who had been given no formal instruction on how he was to refer to the pupil, said “well done girls” in her presence. When the pupil became irate Joshua sought to diffuse the situation and apologised. Nonetheless, an investigation began during which time Joshua was prevented from teaching and forced to spend all his time in isolation in the staff room.
Following the week-long investigation, the school found Joshua to have ‘misgendered’ the pupil, ‘demonstrating discriminatory behaviours’, and to have ‘contravened the school’s equality policy’. The school recommended dealing with the matter of ‘misconduct’ under its disciplinary policy.

In his time at the school, Joshua started running a successful Bible club, which was attended by over 100 pupils in its time before being shut down 18 months after its inception. The Headteacher initially told him that the Bible club could not run without a register and a curriculum, but when Joshua produced the required documents, the Head still insisted on cancelling the club, whilst at the same time allowing the school’s LGBTI, mindfulness club, and Qigong club to continue running without register or curriculum.

National outcry

The story was made public in November, provoking national outcry in support of Joshua. Following the media attention, the school postponed the pre-scheduled disciplinary hearing, and initiated further investigations against Joshua, alleging breach of confidence and bringing the school into disrepute.

In response, Joshua has now written to the Headmaster accusing the school of “increasingly oppressive” behaviour and of presuming him to be guilty of misconduct. He states that the School’s investigations are “unashamedly designed to silence me from speaking out about your malpractices”.

Impossible to continue working

The letter reads: “As a Christian, I do not share your belief in the ideology of transgenderism. I do not believe that young children should be encouraged to self-select a ‘gender’ which may be different from their biological sex; or that everyone at school should adjust their behaviour to accommodate such a ‘transition’; or that people should be punished for lack of enthusiasm about it. Implementation of these ideas is detrimental to the welfare of children, which I believe should be a paramount consideration. However, as a professional, I was always careful not to breach my employer’s policies so long as I was not forced to act contrary to my conscience.”

Joshua claims that the School has “systematically and maliciously” breached his rights, and has made it impossible for him to continue working for it. He continues:

“I am more than willing to answer all the unjustified allegations you are now advancing against me, and detail my own grievances about your totalitarian ‘equality’ policies and practices. However, I intend to do so before an independent Tribunal, not before yourselves acting as a judge and jury in your own case. I regret that our relations have reached this point, but I feel I have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against you without further notice.”

Impossible to continue working

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting the teacher, added:

“The teaching profession is becoming an ideological battleground as teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current sexual and gender ideology being imposed on our children in schools.

“We all know how much we change during our teenage years. It is vital that during those years we help our children to live in the biological sex they were born rather than encouraging them to change ‘gender’. If we encourage them to change gender it is not kind and compassionate; it is cruel.

“What we need is a culture in our schools which gives emotional support to children through puberty without encouraging them to make life-long decisions against their natural born biological sex.

‘If we collude in the transgender delusion we do not serve our children well, we harm them”.

Nadeem James latest victim of spurious blasphemy accusation.

 

Another Pakistani Christian, a tailor, has been sentenced to death for allegedly ridiculing Mohammed in a What’s App message to a Muslim “friend”. The High Court appeal is still to give its verdict. Pray this decision will be overturned and justice done.

Pray that Islamabad’s High Court suggestion to Pakistan’s National Assembly to amend the blasphemy law to include punishment for false accusation along same lines as the alleged crime will become law and prevent this repeated misuse.

 

More Nigerian terrorist carnage.

The response of the Nigerian authorities to these murderous attacks and threats is almost universally minimal or non-existent, it is a lawless, deplorable nation north of the capital. God’s people have no real protection as they ought (Romans 13:3,4 not applicable).

Kidnappings, Threats of Massacre Terrorize Christians in Kano State, Nigeria.

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – When the 50-year-old church elder and leader of Kano state’s Samaila village heard gunshots shortly before midnight, he rushed out of his house to try to find security agents.

POLICE ARRESTED HARUNA SAMAILA WHEN HE REPORTED DEATH THREAT BY ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS. (MORNING STAR NEWS)

It was a natural reaction for Mai’angwa Samaila, given recent Islamist attacks in northern Nigeria. What the elder for the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) did not know was that the armed Islamic extremists, having killed two Christians in front of their Catholic church building, were coming for him next.

Not finding him at home that night (Aug. 15), they instead kidnapped his wife, Safiya Samaila, 45. They then kidnapped two other women, 20-year-old Yaha Gabriel and Hauwa Bebi, 18, both members of the St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Samaila, in Tudun Wada Local Government Area (LGA).

Such kidnappings, along with threats of massacres by Islamic extremists, are continuing with the approval of some state officials in a concerted effort to eliminate Christianity, church leaders said.

Mai’angwa Samaila told Morning Star News how the killing of Yohanna Audu, 45, and Audu’s son, 18-year-old Micah Yohanna Audu, and the kidnappings were carried out. The gunmen first went to St. Michael’s Catholic Church, where Yohanna Audu, a church member whose house is beside the Catholic building, went outside.

“He went to find out who were the men on the premises of the church at that time of the night when they shot him, and he died instantly,” Samaila said. “His son, who heard the sound of the gunshot, ran out to find out what had happened since his dad had just gone to the church; he too was shot and killed.”

The armed Muslim extremists then went through the village to kidnap the three women, starting with his wife.

“As the shooting and capturing of the women was going on, some residents in our village rushed to the Catholic church and rang the church’s bell, alerting others on the attack on the village,” he said. “This forced the armed Muslim men to beat a retreat. This saved so many lives that would have perished during the attack.”

As the gunmen retreated, they shot at those who had run to the church building, Samaila said.

“The three women kidnapped were taken away,” he said. “I frantically called on heads of security agencies in our area, the police and army, but I was told that they were unable to come to our aid because their vehicles had no fuel or were in bad working condition.”

The gunmen contacted him and others the following day, demanding 10 million naira (US$27,510) for the release of the women, he said.

“We pleaded with them to release the women, but they refused,” he said. “They threatened to kill the women unless we paid the ransom. We had no other option than to tax ourselves and pay the money.”

The gunmen accepted 3 million naira (US$8,253) and released the women a week later, on Aug. 22, Samaila said. He and others recovered them in the Falgore Forest.

“We believe that Christian communities here are being persecuted because of our faith,” he said. “The government is aware about such invasions of Christian communities but has not done anything to put an end to the menace. The sad thing is that it is only Christians that are being killed or kidnapped in our area, as there was never any Muslim community attacked or a Muslim kidnapped.”

Death Threats

Morning Star News found that kidnappings of Christians in the Tudun Wada area have forced many Christians to flee, while many others continue to receive text messages and letters threatening massacres in their villages if no payments are made to kidnappers.

AMINU SALLAU RECEIVED DEATH THREATS FROM ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS. (MORNING STAR NEWS)

Haruna Samaila, a Christian who has received persistent phone threats from Islamic extremists, played recorded phone conversations he had with them.

“They threatened that unless I pay them 3 million naira [US$8,253], I will be killed,” he told Morning Star News. “I reported the threats to our church leaders, and they asked me to report the matter to police. When I did so, I was instead arrested by the police and detained. It took the intervention of our church leaders to get me released.”

Church leaders threatened to sue police for illegally detaining him, Samaila said.

“I will never allow them to kidnap me alive, they just have to kill me,” Samaila he said. “The government is insensitive to our plight. This is a conspiracy against us Christians in Kano. Those in authority and government know those armed Muslims carrying out these attacks against us, and that is the reason they are not concerned about our plight. It is a battle against Christianity and Christians in Kano state.”

A Christian whose adult son was killed by Islamic extremists in 2016 said he received a threatening letter from the gunmen on Nov. 21.

ECWA member Aminu Sallau, 60, told Morning Star News that a gang of nine Muslim extremists rode into Katsinawa village in the Tudun Wada LGA on motorbikes on Feb. 6, 2016 and shot his son, Usman Aminu, to death.

“Even yesterday [Nov. 21], the gunmen again sent a letter to me saying they were not yet done with me,” he said. “They stated in the letter that I should keep aside 3 million naira [US$8,253] for them, as they’ll be coming for the money at any time, and that failure on my part to give them the money would mean death for me.”

Sallau said he had no money to give them.

“I am prepared to die if that is the only price I have to pay for being a Christian,” he said.

Sallau said he narrowly escaped death in the attack that killed his son.

“I was listening to news on the radio when nine armed Muslim men stormed my house,” he said. “They came on three motorbikes and started shooting into the air. Three of them pointed their guns at my head and demanded I give them money.”

He had 80,000 naira (US$220) in the house and gave it to them.

“The gunmen were not happy that I had only a little money on me, so they tied my hands and legs and were about to take me away when one of them, who was standing guard in front of my house, rushed in to tell his colleagues that he had shot and killed my son, Usman,” he said. “On hearing this, I began to cry and shout, and in the midst of the confusion, the gunmen abandoned me and fled.”

Usman Aminu’s widow, 25-year-old ECWA member Hauwa Usman Aminu, said that her husband had returned from a business trip and had decided to check on his mother in their family home.

“He decided to visit his mom in their family home about 200 meters from our house,” she said. “It was there that the gunmen killed him. I heard sounds of gunshots shortly after my husband had gone out and knew that something was wrong.”

State Conspiracy

The Rev. Ayuba Hassan of the ECWA Church, Tudun Wada Dankadai, and chairman of the Tudun Wada Local Area Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said that armed Muslims are carrying out attacks and kidnappings on Christians in order to force them to embrace Islam.

“Christians here are being persecuted for refusing to embrace Islam,” he said. “We are constantly under attack. We are not allowed to freely worship as Christians. These kidnappings are aimed at forcing us to recant or make us run away from here so that they can take over our lands and expand Islam’s frontiers.”

The Rev. Murtala Marti Dangora, vice chairman of the CAN Kano State Chapter, told Morning Star News that Muslim officials in the state government are behind attacks on Christians in the state.

“These attacks are being instigated and supported by the agents of the Muslim-controlled Kano state government to force indigenous Hausa Christians, who we are, to embrace Islam,” he said. “Our refusal to do their biddings is what has made them adopt this strategy of kidnappings and attacks in order to force our people to tow their line. This is a jihad against the church of Jesus Christ.”

Kano state officials declined to speak with Morning Star News about attacks on Christians in the Tudun Wada LGA. The state police headquarters in Kano, a spokesman confirmed the attacks but declined to speak further, saying only that the cases are being investigated.

Hassan said Christian communities and villages attacked include Samaila (Tuku), Katsinawa, Beguwa, Jarkaya, Gidan Kuzuntu and Jitta Dutse.

“In Beguwa village, on 14 July, 2016, three Christians were kidnapped,” he said. “Those kidnapped are Shamaki Ali, Bature Hassan, and Magaji Salisu. A Christian woman was also raped there. The four victims are members of the ECWA Church in Beguwa village.”

On the same day in Jarkaya village, another Christian community, three members of the Catholic church were kidnapped, identified only as Abdu, Jamilu and his son, he said.

In Gidan Kuzuntu village, also a predominantly Christian community, Baba Yaji was kidnapped at about 1:30 a.m. on July 12, 2016, and the Rev. Julius Gospel, a Roman Catholic priest, was kidnapped on June 30, 2016, in predominantly Christian Jitta Dutse, the ECWA pastor said.

Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution. Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

Government of Pakistan Bows to Islamists on ‘Blasphemy’ Suspects, Critics Say

Mob rule in this pathetically ungovernable state that has long reneged on her founder’s vision for true equality and democracy.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Pakistan (Morning Star News) – The government’s inability to withstand the violent protests and demands of the upstart, Muslim extremist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) has also further imperiled religious minorities, especially Christians, as it resulted in the state tacitly agreeing to facilitate registration of blasphemy cases and assuring that officials will show no leniency to blasphemy suspects, they said. “The government’s succumbing to Islamists’ pressure will surely have an adverse effect on Asia Bibi’s case, as her appeal is likely to be taken up by the Supreme Court in December,” said her lead counsel in the high court, Saiful Malook, noting that the Islamist upsurge could influence judges. “It is Asia’s fundamental right to appeal her death sentence, but the naked threats made to judges from the podium at the protest sit-in at Faizabad, in full view of the state, and its subsequent surrender to their demands, does…

View original post 1,832 more words

Indian pastor and wife assaulted

Satan continues his onslaught against God’s people as he cannot attack Christ personally-what a coward!

Indian pastor and wife beaten up

David Livingstone - Indian PastorPlease pray for Indian pastor David Livingstone (pictured) and his wife Aram, who were beaten up when Hindu extremists attacked their church in north Karnataka.

A group of about 25 extremists interrupted a church service, and dragged the pastor and his wife outside, before beating them.

They also vandalised the building and destroyed the cross from the top of the small church. Release’s partner in India is currently providing them with legal assistance.

Pray that they will know God’s grace, strength and courage as they continue to witness for Christ.

(Source: Release partner)

A Victory for freedom for the propagation of the Gospel.

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Christian street preacher cleared of hate speech conviction

Daniel Courney had his conviction overturned by the Crown Court

A Christian street preacher has had his conviction for using ‘threatening and discriminatory language’ whilst preaching in Lincoln overturned by the Crown Court.

Daniel Courney, aged 33, had been convicted by Lincoln Magistrates on 14 September after the Crown Prosecution Service pressed charges over complaints by Muslims in the area. But at the Crown Court on Thursday, his conviction was overturned.

Above: Daniel (middle) with his street preacher friends

A crowd gathered, shouting him down

Daniel, an American missionary who served in the United States military and has been a missionary in Nepal and India for 8 years, was preaching on Lincoln High Street. During his sermon a heckling crowd gathered, shouting him down when he explained that Jesus is the only way to God.

A Muslim woman and her family who were walking by claimed the preacher singled her out and reported to the police that Mr Courney called her “ISIS” and said “go back to your country”. He denied making such a comment and the Crown Court agreed, quashing the sentence imposed by the Magistrates.

Freedom to preach the Christian message

Mr Courney had been arrested by police under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, and was charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

In court, Christian Legal Centre’s allied solicitor Michael Phillips argued that the law provides the freedom for him to preach the Christian message, a freedom which has been upheld in the courts for many years.

“I want to thank the Christian Legal Centre”

Following the case, Daniel said: “I came to the United Kingdom with its rich Christian history, to bring back the message of Jesus Christ. The message is a simple one: repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and do not follow false religions. Unfortunately I’ve had to travel to and from the United Kingdom four times in the last three months. I have had other restrictions on my liberty during that time. I have been held in police custody and accused of being a hate preacher. At all times I simply wanted to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to thank the Christian Legal Centre for the help and support and their free legal counsel.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre said: “We are proud to represent street preachers in our country as they share the love of Jesus Christ with people on the street. This case once again highlights the need for police operating in these situations to understand how the law protects free speech.

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Iran: Another Christian Convert Arrested in South-Western Iran

Latest: 

IRAN: Abdol-Ali Pourmand released on bail

 

Christian convert Abdol-Ali Pourmand (38) was temporarily released on 25 November, after five weeks in prison, on a heavy bail equivalent to approximately €51,000.

Pourmand, known as Elias among his fellow Christians, is a minister in the Payam-e Aramesh(Message of Peace) house church in the south-western city of Dezful in Khuzestan province. He was detained by the security authorities on 21 October 2017.

Two days before Pourmand’s arrest, plain-clothes security authorities raided and searched his home while he was working on his farm and confiscated Bibles, notebooks and Christian CDs. Later, he received a call from the Ministry of Intelligence summoning him to its office in Dezful. He went to the office and was arrested and later transferred to detention in the city of Ahwaz, capital of Khuzestan province, 150 km south of Dezful.

At the time of his arrest, Pourmand had been married for just two months. Three days after his arrest, he was allowed to make a short phone call to his wife. After about a month in prison, in another short telephone conversation with his family, he said he was constantly being transferred between different wards in the prison, and that prison guards had made one attempt to force him to participate in Islamic prayer, which he refused.

Another Christian convert arrested in Dezful in October, Mohammad Ali Torabi, was temporarily released on bail on 27 November. In prison, he and Pourmand were both forced to sign blank confession papers. This is believed to be a new method used by the government to fabricate evidence against Christians.

(Mohabat News)

Mohabat News – Another member of the Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) house church in Dezful, Abdol-Ali Pourmand (Elyas) was arrested on October 19, 2017 and transferred to Ahwaz.

Knowledgeable sources told Mohabat News that the security authorities raided Mr. Pourmand’s house when he was working on his farm. Plain-clothes security authorities searched his house thoroughly in his absence and confiscated a few Bibles and Christian CDs.

Later, Mr. Pourmand received a call from the Ministry of Intelligence. He was summoned to their office in Dezful. He went to the ministry’s office and was arrested on the spot.

Three days after his arrest, on October 21, 2017, Mr. Pourmand was allowed to make a short phone call to his family. During the call he told his family that he is told he will not be held there for long.

Mr. Pourmand has been married for two months and is currently separated from his new bride.

Three other Christians have been arrested in Dezful recently. Mohabat News has obtained confirmed reports of them being beaten in prison and threatened that if they don’t renounce their faith in Christ and turn away from their Christian faith they will be forced to leave the country or be beaten to death.

Persecution of Christians in the south-western province of Khuzestan has intensified in the last several weeks, especially in the city of Dezful.

Another member of the Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) house church, Mohammad Ali Torabi, also known as Davoud, had also been arrested at his work place on October 10, 2017. He was transferred to Ahwaz immediately after his arrest. His family was also told that he will be released soon, but he has not yet been released.

The Islamic regime of Iran has been using different methods, including harassment, terror, arrest and heavy sentences to persecute Christians over the last three and a half decades, especially Farsi speaking Christians in the country. Time and time again International Human Rights and Religious

Watchdog organizations have condemned the Islamic regime for its mistreatment of Christians, but they deny all reports of Christian persecution.
Despite Iranian government’s extensive programs for spreading Shi’ite Islam and punishing conversion to other religions by death, embrace of Christianity among Iranians citizens has been on the rise across the country./FARSI

PAKISTAN – A Christian Simon arrested for alleged blasphemy

More spurious but potentially life-threatening cases of accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan.

Simon a teenage man who recycles has been attacked, tortured and arrested after a fellow worker who bears him a grudge made false accusations of blasphemy.. Lord care for him, release him, guard and protect him.

Salman Taseer’s son charged with “hate speech”

A Christmas message (2016) calling for prayers for those charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws has led to death threats against the son of Salman Taseer, the Punjab Governor assassinated six years ago for his support of Asia Bibi and his opposition to the blasphemy laws. Read more

LATEST: Babu Shahbaz Masih has been released and charges dropped. PTL.

He will need to be careful along with his wife and children.

Meanwhile, in a new blasphemy case, Muslims in Pakistan have filed charges against Babu Shahbaz Masih (40), a Christian from Kamaha village, Lahore. He has been taken into custody, accused of desecrating pages from the Quran. Read more

PAKISTAN – Illiterate evangelist accused of Quran “blasphemy” released but family still unable to return home

After 30 days in custody, police have released Babu Shahbaz Masih, an illiterate evangelist from Lahore, who was arrested and accused of “blasphemy” in December after pages of the Quran with his name written on them were found in the street. Although he has been cleared of all charges, police have advised 41-year-old Babu, his wife and three children not to return home, as local Muslims are still pressuring police to charge him. Christians accused of “blasphemy” are rarely able to go back to their former lives, even if, as in Babu’s case, charges have been dropped, because of often violent threats from zealous Muslims.

From Barnabas Fund project partner

Babu has been released without charge, but he and his family are still unable to return home

 

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – Babu Shahbaz, a Christian from the village of Kamahan, near Lahore, was arrested by the police for alleged blasphemy. As Fides learns, on December 30 a formal complaint was filed to the police against Babu Shahbaz, under Article 295 b of the Penal Code of Pakistan. The complaint came after the Muslim, Haji Nadeem accused the Christian of having torn and thrown pages of the Koran in the street. Shahbaz is illiterate and cannot write.

Babu Shahbaz, 41, lives in the village of Kamahan, is married and has three children. An evangelical Christian who in the past 15 years has organized prayer meetings at his house, and many Christians and Muslims participate in the small home meetings, asking blessings and healing prayer. The local Muslims have shown impatience towards the growing popularity of Shahbaz and therefore have accused him of a false case of…

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Exciting when a Muslim scholar is converted!

Nov. 30, 2017 | Bangladesh
Pray for Imam Fedu, a New Christian Convert

Persecuted saint Myanmar

Nov. 30, 2017 | Myanmar
Pray for Htin and His Wife, Kicked Out of Their Village

Iranian Convert Loses Appeal of 10 Year Prison Sentence

ICC Note:

An Iranian convert has lost his appeal of a ten year prison sentence following his conviction of engaging in “missionary activities” and acting “against national security.” Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was sentenced in May along with three Azerbaijanis. These three men are no longer in Iran, and will not be forced to return. They were originally arrested in June 2016. Christians are poorly treated in prison, and are often singled out by guards for mistreatment because of their faith. Ten years imprisonment for simply being a Christian is tragically not unusual in Iran. We must continue to pray for those Christians, who like Naser, face a long unjust imprisonment.  

Wicked family behaviour in China!

Nov. 23, 2017 | China
Pray for Li Aijie, Beaten for Refusing to Divorce Her Husband

Another Iranian believer arrested.

LATEST:

Iranian Christian Released on $60,000 Bail After Signing Blank Papers

ICC Note:

An Iranian Christian in Southwestern Iran has been released on $60,000 bail after having been imprisoned for slightly over a month. Mohammad Ali Torabi is one of two Christians who were recently forced to sign blank papers. These papers can now be used to fabricate evidence against these men. The other Christian, Abdol Ali Pourmand, remains in prison. It is also reported that Christian prisoners are forced to pray the Islamic prayer during their incarceration. Iranian authorities are determined to make every aspect of life difficult for Christians, and the authorities have no regard for the religious freedom.

 

11/29/2017 Iran (Mohabat News) –    Mohammad Ali Torabi, a Christian man imprisoned in south-western Iran, was released on a 200 million Tomans (approx. 60,000 USD) bail on Wednesday November 22, 2017.

Mr. Torabi, who is 39 years old, is also known as Davoud among other Christians. He served in the Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) Church in Dezful. He had been arrested in his workplace on Tuesday October 10, 2017 and immediately transferred to Ahvaz, the capital of Khuzestan province.

Another Christian serving in Payam-e Aramesh Church, Abdol-Ali Pourman (Elias), was also arrested nine days after Mr. Torabi’s arrest. There are no further updates available on his situation other than that he is being held in Dezful prison.

During the investigation phase of these two Christian prisoner cases the two men were forced to sign an empty confession paper. It is believed the interrogators of their cases need those empty signed papers in fabricating evidence against these men.

In another incident, about one month after Mr. Pourmand’s arrest, he told his family in a phone call that he has been repeatedly transferred to different wards in the prison and even one time he was forced to participate in Islamic prayer, which he refused.

Forced or fake confessions and participation in Islamic prayer are two new tactics the Iranian government and judicial system have employed in order to increase their pressure on prisoners of conscience, including Christian prisoners.

It is worth noting that according to Iranian laws, it is not legal to force citizens to sign empty paper and anything added to a signed paper after it being signed should not have any legal merit in court. However, it seems the Iranian government is willing to bend its own laws in order to increase pressure on Christian convert citizens.

Iranian Christian converts are often arrested under political charges such as propagation against the Islamic government or action against national security. However, once Christians converts are arrested in Iran, the majority of their interrogators’ efforts is focused on convincing them to renounce their faith and become Muslims again!

[Full Story

Nov. 23, 2017 | Iran
Pray for Pastor Mohammed Ali Torabi, Being Held in an Unknown Location

More oppression in India

Home » Christian Persecution News » Asia » Christians in India Praise God in Spite of Police Brutality, Month in Jail

Christians in India Praise God in Spite of Police Brutality, Month in jail.

 

Four of the six Christians jailed and charged in Jharkhand state, India. (Morning Star News courtesy of Singhray Kullu)

India (Morning Star News) – Six Christians facing false charges, two of them beaten by police, were jailed for a month for praying for a sick woman in eastern India, they said.

After tribal Gondi villagers in Simdega District, Jharkhand state, attacked the Christians on Sept. 16, officers at the local police station refused to listen to the victims and hit two young men among them, 25-year-old Sajan Majhi and Kalender Majhi, 20, they said.

“The police hit Sajan Majhi and Kalender Majhi repeatedly,” said one of those arrested, 35-year-old Dasrath Karketta. “They didn’t give us a chance to speak. If they inquired of us, we could have explained what happened exactly, but they didn’t; instead, they scarred the face of Kalender Majhi. He bled also.”

The police beating followed the thrashing the Christians received from Hindu extremists in Ghosra village, who attacked them while they were praying for healing for the wife of Bikhru Majhi, sources said. Officers jailed the Christians and charged them with “promoting enmity between classes” and insulting religion. They spent a month in jail before being released on bail.

“We spent one month in jail joyously – we sang hymns, read the Bible, prayed and worshipped together in jail,” Karketta said. “We shared the gospel with other inmates in the district jail. There also, people came to Christ. We strongly felt the Lord was using us for His work and were happy about it.”

Karketta, the two young men and James Ba, 30, Balmuni Kumari, 19, and Jagdish Majhi, 50, went to the home of Bikhru Majhi after he asked them to pray for his wife, Nitu Devi, sources said.

“Bikhru Majhi heard our testimonies,” Karketta said. “He was amazed at how I got healed, and he wanted prayers for his wife.”

Before winning a battle against cancer, Karketta had visited several hospitals for treatment, exhausting his family’s financial resources, he said.

“We spent lot of money to a point that there was nothing left in our house, even no food for our children to eat,” Karketta said. “When I came to Christ, I got rid of all ailments, and now I am working, providing for my family and leading my life in Christ: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”’

Bikhru Majhi is Hindu but believes Christ can heal, and he routinely invites Christians to pray for his wife, who has long been ill, said Singhray Kullu, former pastor of the church in Ghosra village that the arrested Christians attend.

“Bikhru believes the prayers can heal her,” he said.

At around 8 p.m. on Sept. 16, a throng of Hindu villagers surrounded Bikhru Majhi’s house as the Christians prayed for his wife, said the only woman among the six arrested, Balmuni Kumari.

“They surrounded us and started beating the Christian brothers and me,” she told Morning Star News. “We told them it’s not conversion, we only came to pray for a sick woman.”

The villagers were furious, Karketta said.

“We tried telling them, ‘We did not come to murder, or get drunk, or steal, we came to pray at the request of Bikhru, and if this act of us offends you, we ask for forgiveness, please forgive us,’” Karketta said. “We tried our best to make peace, but they did not listen. They beat us, screaming, “Where is your God? Where is your Jesus? What can He do? Call him right now. We also want to see what He can do.’”

At around 11 p.m., police arrived and arrested the Christians, he said. They were taken to T. Tangar Police Station.

“We all are daily laborers, we depend on our earnings each day for our bread,” Karketta said. “From where arises the question of paying people and converting them?”

James Ba and Kalender Majhi of Banspahar village, Jagdish Majhi of Latapani village and Balmuni Kumari of Tukupani Baanstoli village were released on bail on Oct. 16. Dasrath Karketta of Khijri village and Sajan Majhi of Farsapani village were released on bail on Oct. 17.

Women’s Prison 

The 19-year-old Kumari was arrested along with the others at 11 p.m., though arrests of women are not permitted in India after sunset, a legal expert told Morning Star News. He added that if special circumstances require the arrest of a woman after sunset, police are required to assign female police officer.

“No female police constable came for me,” Kumari said. “I was the only woman, and it was frightening. I trusted the Lord.”

Her family came under severe pressure from the Hindus extremists while she was in jail, she said.

“The assailants threatened my mother and father,” she said. “They were asked to leave the village.”

Her brother told Singhray Kullu about the threats in Kumari’s home village.

“The family faced severe opposition because of their faith,” Kullu told Morning Star News. “The Gondis plotted to expel them from the village. Balmuni’s mother went into depression. Things turned normal after her release.”

The time in the women’s jail interrupted her university studies, Kumari said.

“Even in the prison, I prayed and worshipped with other Christians,” she said. “Every Sunday believing sisters from outside visited us and led us in prayer and worship.”

Some of the assailants later apologized to her, she added.

“The people who beat me that day came and asked for forgiveness after my release,” Kumari said. “But there is still bitterness in the hearts of some.”

The Christians were charged with promoting enmity between classes (Section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code), punishable by up to three years of prison and/or a fine; maliciously insulting the religion or religious beliefs of any class (Section 295-A), punishable by up to three years of prison and/or a fine; and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention (Section 34).

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, the hostile tone of his National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), against non-Hindus has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 15th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the countries where Christians experience the most persecution

INDIA: Christian children detained for a week

Posted on 

Police detained seven children for a week and two adults for ten days after Hindu extremists attacked a group of Christians travelling to a youth Bible conference by train. Police charged the adults with kidnapping and forcible conversion.

The photo shows a mother trying to comfort her crying daughter at the railway police station in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, before they were separated. The extremists beat parents who tried to regain custody of their children.

On 23 October, Anita Francis (50) and her daughter Sophia Francis (19) went to the railway station in Indore to take the Avantika Express for Mumbai with seven children – four boys aged 5, 13, 17 and 17, and three girls aged 5, 12 and 13. The children are relatives of Anita Francis, living in the same colony (where nearly 80 per cent of residents are Christians), and she had parental permission to take them to the annual Bible study conference for young people from all over India.

They boarded the train and had taken their seats when a mob of extremists from the Hindu nationalist organisation Hindu Jagran Manch entered their compartment and forced them off the train. The organisation is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sanghor RSS (National Volunteers’ Organisation), the Hindu nationalist parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The extremists asked Anita Francis how much money they had received to convert the children to Christianity, according to her nephew Alex Matera (19), who had come to see them off with his father, Anita’s brother Amrit Kumar Matera (52).

 Adults accused

Alex told Morning Star News that he tried explaining that all the passengers were baptised Christians going to a Bible study conference as they do every year. He said, “They gathered the children from where they were seated and collected them all at one place, interrogating and intimidating Anita without even giving her the chance to reply. The children were pushed and pulled in the most ruthless manner… We don’t know how these people got to know about the travel plans. They alleged we convert children forcibly.”

The Hindu extremists called the media to witness the alleged “kidnapping” of the children. Amrit said, “There was a mob waiting at the platform with media persons clicking pictures, recording videos and asking all kinds of questions. The presence of the media and the crowd was evidence enough that the Christians were ambushed with a well-planned strategy.”

The extremists verbally abused Anita, beat Amrit, Alex and the three older boys (beating the 13-year-old so severely that his leg became swollen) and dragged the Christians to the Government Railway Police station.

They tried to force us to hail Hindu gods,” said Amrit, “and when we did not, they beat us. They intimidated the children to repeat the slogans or else face the beating. The 5-year-old boy and girl were made to chant the slogan, ‘Hail lord Ram’ repeatedly. We felt so helpless as they intimidated the little children before our eyes, and we could do nothing to help them.

Anita had telephoned the children’s parents, who hurried to the railway police station, where the extremists assaulted them too, while police watched. Dennis Michael, father of sons Priyal (17) and Harsh (13) and daughter Anushka (12), already had a broken leg from an accident, and the extremists repeatedly struck his broken leg with their boots.

The police released Sophie and Alex at 11 pm but kept Anita and Amrit in custody, charged them with serious crimes (including kidnapping, forcible conversion and trafficking of minors*) and sent them to Indore’s Musa Khedi Jail.

Children detained

After some initial contact, parents who arrived at the police station were not allowed to see their children. Anita’s relative Tanna Machado, who came to the railway station after Anita called her, said: “What was inhuman was that the children were not allowed to use the restrooms since the time they were detained until 7 pm at night. They were neither given anything to eat until late night.”

The children were taken away – the girls to a shelter near the station; the boys to a children’s home on the outskirts of the city. Parents were not told where their children had been taken and were not allowed to see or speak with them in the week that followed.

Madhya Pradesh High CourtDennis Michael filed for habeas corpus on behalf of all the parents at the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court (pictured). The petition claimed the attack was politically motivated and stated, “The constitutional rights of the petitioners have been imperiled by illegal detention of their children without any reason.

At the habeas corpus petition hearing on 30 October, the court asked each child whose custody they would like to return to. All said they would like to return to their parents. The court ordered that they be handed to their parents immediately and asked the home secretary and the officer in charge of Indore Government Railway Police station to file a report.

The Indian Express reported that the families had not returned to their homes out of fear. Dennis Michael, speaking from an undisclosed location, said: “All these days I was moving around dazed looking for my children. Now that we have got their custody, we are too scared to return.”

Adults released on bail

Waiting at Indore jailOn 3 November, Anita and Amrit were released on bail after their lawyer submitted the high court’s habeas corpus ruling and supporting affidavits from the parents in the sessions court. (The photo shows friends and neighbours waiting for them to be released.)

The charges remain and the accused are trying to cope with the stigma of having been jailed for ten days. Anita is a well-respected retired teacher, while Amrit has taught at St Arnold School, Vijay Nagar, Indore, for 21 years. “I have not gone back to the school,” he said. “It is embarrassing to answer questions about my jail stay.”

On 17 November, Madhya Pradesh High Court ordered an investigation into the case against Anita and Amrit and into the allegations that the children were assaulted by Hindu Jagran Manch activists. The allegations were made by the parents in the writ petition and by the children in open court. The court reprimanded the railway police and asked the SHO to hand over case records.

The court stated, “The conduct of the SHO, Police Station, GRP Indore, in not handing over the custody of the children to their parents when they were brought to the railway station raises various doubts over his way of functioning and discharge of duties as SHO. Once the documents were shown to him by the parents and the children wanted to go with their parents, this court really does not know what prevented the SHO from handing over the children to their parents.”

Previous cases of children detained

The Indore case echoes an incident in May 2017, also in Madhya Pradesh, when the authorities detained 72 children on their way to a Bible camp. Police took the children off a train at Ratlam railway station and sent them to a shelter home following activists’ allegations of forcible conversion.

Rev Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, commented, “Earlier as well, in 2015, there have been cases wherein a child as young as eight months old was detained with the mother on charges of conversionWe also recorded an incident wherein a family of four from Bhopal was arrested near Chhindwara on alleged conversion charges, and children were separated from parents and kept in separate jails which were over 150 kilometers apart.”

He said law enforcement agencies are under pressure from non-state political actors, “and go the extra mile to placate them, while Christians pay the price. This must stop, and the chief minister must intervene to restore confidence among the Christian community.”

Madhya Pradesh is one of eight Indian states that have passed anti-conversion laws. Officially called “Freedom of Religion” laws, they are intended to stop Hindus converting to other religions but extremists use them as an excuse to accuse Christians of “forcible conversion” of Hindus.

(Indian Express/Morning Star News/Scroll)

* The police charged Amrit Kumar Matera and Anita Francis with: kidnapping, punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine; forcible conversion, punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine; trafficking of minors, punishable by 14 years to life in prison; crime with common intention; insulting the religion of any class, punishable by up to three years and/or a fine; obscene acts or songs, punishable by prison up to three months and/or a fine; voluntarily causing grievous hurt, punishable by up to seven years in prison; mischief by destroying or moving a landmark fixed by public authority, punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine; and sexual harassment. Later, Amrit Kumar Matera was also charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act.

Church in Chains has written to the Indian Ambassador requesting a meeting to discuss this incident and other attacks on Christians in India

Detailed Report: Christians Targeted for Brutality by ISIS Militants in Philippines

Terrible wickedness on both sides as there is in almost every battle and war.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Bombing of Marawi City-Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year, Amnesty International said in a report today.

The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property.

Philippine armed forces, meanwhile, detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed…

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Five Christians Killed, Five Others Missing in Muslim Herdsmen Attacks in Nigeria

These murders go on with impunity. Pray for increased protection and arming of civilians even.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

The Rev. Dacholom Datiri of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN). (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Five Christians were killed and five others are missing after attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s Plateau and Benue states in the past two weeks.

Two members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) were killed on Sunday (Nov. 12) in Plateau state’s Wereng village, Riyom Local Government Area (LGA), as they were returning to their village at about 9:30 p.m., area resident Gyang Dahoro, a COCIN elder, told Morning Star News.

Christopher Musa Chong, 28, and Bulus Dantoro, 35, were ambushed and shot death, and their corpses cut with machetes, according to Dahoro.

“The two did not return to the village on Sunday evening,” Dahoro said. “A search was organized, and their corpses were found in bushes the following morning with bullet wounds and machete cuts.”

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Martha-Kygizia

 

Martha has been detained in a psychiatric hospital, because her family deem her mad having left Islam to follow Christ. Pray for her succor by God and soon release. Pray for others under family and work pressure, for grace to stand firm.

Convictions of Malatya Murderers but still no justice. But some good news.

 UPDATE: A Muslim background believer came to faith as a result of being affected by these brutal murders in his home town of Malatya 10 years ago-pray for his establishment in the faith.

Pray these murderers will not escape justice!

Five Turks finally convicted of “Malatya massacre”

 

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LATEST:

UPDATE 27/7/17
Please pray for churches in Turkey who are concerned about a legal review of the sentences handed down last year to those guilty of murdering three Christians in Malatya in 2007. Last week, a court upheld the life sentences for the five perpetrators – but prison sentences for two high-ranking military men accused of planning the murders were declared ‘invalid’ and in need of review. Pray for justice for the families of the three murdered men: Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske. (Source: Middle East Concern) and for the conviction of those who masterminded the murders.

On Wednesday (28 September), five suspects charged with killing three Christians (pictured above, left to right, Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske) in Malatya in 2007 were finally convicted and sentenced to life in prison.  There are conflicting reports as to whether these convicted killers are at large or re-arrested.

UPDATE
Thank God for partial justice for the families of three Christians brutally killed in Malatya, Turkey, nine years ago. Yesterday, five men were convicted of murder and handed three consecutive life sentences each. Two military personnel were also given long jail terms: 16 other defendants were acquitted. Ugur Yuksel, Necati Aydin and Tilman Geske were tortured and killed at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya in April 2007. ?????However, because the convicted men plan to appeal, they remain at large: they have already been detained for the maximum limit of five years pending trial. It may take years for their appeal to be heard. The lengthy trial was made more complex by accusations that a criminal organisation was behind the murders, allegations that remain unproven. (Source: Middle East Concern)

Read the full story

UPDATE Thank God that a court in Turkey has awarded substantial damages (between £200,000 and £250,000) to the families of three Christians murdered in Malatya in 2007 – ruling that the Government was negligent in its duty to protect the men. Ugur Yüksel, Necati Aydin and Tilmann Geske were brutally killed at the publishing business where they worked. A court in Malatya ruled last week that officials ignored intelligence that Turkish nationalists were targeting the three Christians before they were killed. The trial of the five suspects continues, with the next hearing scheduled for March 1 (Prayer Alert, January 12). Pray for justice for the victims’ families. (Source: Morning Star News)

Are we near the end of the trial of the murderers of  Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and German national Tilman Geske drags on 7 years after their brutal deaths?

May the family and friends of the murdered men know peace.

May the Christians in Malatya continue faithful.

That all guilty will be convicted and some (DV) come to Christ.

That judges and officials will hear the gospel and be drawn to Christ.

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The victims

 

The accused


FOUR MALATYA MURDER SUSPECTS BLAME FIFTH

Four of the five suspects on trial for murdering three Christians in Turkey’s southeastern city of Malatya in 2007 have named the fifth suspect as the sole killer. The four men, now in their late 20s and each facing three consecutive life sentences, made their final defence appeals in court on 9 September (which was the 107th hearing in the eight-year long case).

The accused

  

The trial of the murderers of  Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and German national Tilman Geske drags on 7 years after their brutal deaths. The trial is into it’s 70th hearing. Pray for conclusion and justice.The three men were discovered bound to chairs by their hands and feet; each of them had been brutally stabbed and had their throats cut. Ugur was still alive when they were found but died later in hospital from his many wounds.

  

The three martyrs-Necati, Ugur and Tilman.

 

Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time, were arrested at the scene and charged with murder. They each carried a note that read, “The five of us are brothers, we are going to death, we may not return. Give up any legitimate claim against us.”

Their trial opened in November 2007, and there have been 38 hearings since then but no verdict in the case. It has been complicated by attempts to identify those who instigated the murders.

In its 2012 annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) named Turkey as one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom. Among the concerns raised about the country were “the delay of trials through lengthy procedures and the lack of convictions on some high profile cases”; the Malatya case was named as oneof them.

The shocking crime attracted high media coverage, and Tilman’s widow, Suzanne Geske, was interviewed on Turkish television shortly afterwards, where she expressed her forgiveness of her husband’s murderers. The couple had three children.

Necati was also married and had two children. Ugar was engaged; his fiancée has since married another Christian man.

Please pray for the conclusion of this trial and justice to be done .

 

Church leaders cannot train in Turkey.

It is almost impossible for churches to register officially-so people meet in unregistered house groups.

  • Pray for the victims families. Susanne Geske, Micah, Lukas and Miriam. Semse Aydin, Elisha and Ester.
  • For legal counsel who have been threatened.
  • For training of church leaders.
  • For easier church registration.
  • For the Lord to strengthen His people nationwide all at risk and despised.
  • ICC Note: Now six years removed from the brutal murders of three Christians in Malatya, Turkey, new evidence has been uncovered that provides additional support to the belief that the killings were part of a larger plot. The documents are believed to show that the murders were part of a network within the Turkish military and security forces that was aimed at discrediting Turkey’s ruling AKP party and creating the feeling of instability in the country. 

    09/26/13 Turkey (World Watch Monitor) – Nearly six years into the court trial over the murder of three Christians in southeastern Turkey, documents have emerged confirming that secret military units were involved in those assassinations and others.

    Malatya’s 3rd Criminal Court is forcing prosecutors and the military to turn over previously secret documents, throwing light on a shadowy network believed to be behind several decades of assassination and coup plots in Turkey.

    The court is conducting the trial of five men accused of stabbing, torturing and then slashing the throats of Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Christian Tilmann Geske in the Malatya office of Zirve Christian Publishing on April 18, 2007.

    Earlier this month, the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office handed over to the Malatya court confidential intelligence files seized from the General Staff’s Tactical Mobilization Group archives, known as the “Cosmic Room” in the Turkish media.

    According to the most recent indictment in the Zirve case, the documents confirm the existence and illegal activities of secret military units involved in extrajudicial surveillance and assassinations of members of Turkey’s Christian minority communities.

    “These documents have made it easier for us to see the big picture of what kind of an organization this is,” Zirve plaintiff lawyer Erdal Dogan told Taraf newspaper on Sept. 16.

    In effect, the attorney said, prosecuting Malatya’s Zirve case is revealing the structures that previously orchestrated the murders of two other Christians – Italian Catholic priest Andrea Santoro at his parish in Trabzon in February 2006, and Turkish Armenian editor Hrant Dink in front of his Agos newspaper office in Istanbul in January 2007.

    “The structure that committed the Zirve murders is the same structure that committed the Dink and Santoro murders,” Dogan told Hurriyet Daily News last week.

    In the Zirve case, the young suspects were arrested and put on trial, but the instigators behind them obscured their own identities by destroying evidence and mounting clever disinformation campaigns, according to the newly revealed documents.

    The assassinations have all been linked to the Ergenekon conspiracy, a ‘deep state’ organization embedded in various branches of the secular Turkish military. According to the Ergenekon verdicts handed down in August, the group’s express purpose was to discredit and bring down the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) government by targeting Christian minorities and causing civil chaos.

    *******************UPDATE***********************

    When will justice be done?

    As a result of changes to the Turkish judicial system, five murder suspects from the brutal killing of three Christians in central Turkey in 2007 may be set free. The new law reduces the number of years that a suspect can be held without conviction from ten years to five years. Now, nearly seven years since the murder, these men may be freed while the court case continues to drag on. The proceedings in the case have been far from smooth with the case being connected to larger conspiracy plots in the country. While the current judge in the case hopes to conclude the case by summer, it may once again be extended. (Photo: A 2008 snapshot of the five Malayta murder suspects. Photo Credit: World Watch Monitor)

     

    ******************LATEST********************

    Good Friday, April 18, marked the seventh anniversary of the murders of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske, who were viciously killed in 2007 in the offices of a Christian publishing house in Malatya. During graveside services held in remembrance of the victims, the Muslim family members of Ugur Yuksel, a Christian convert from Islam, cordially accepted a gift of a New Testament. A new law passed in February allowed the release of the five men accused of the murders, but the men have to wear electronic monitors until their trial resumes in June with a new judge and jury. Believers have noted a positive change in the way Christians are treated, saying they are more readily accepted as part of Turkish society.

Pakistani Christian Zafar sentenced to life imprisonment for blasphemy

UPDATE:

Pray for our brother Zafar who is in prison and in distress

Our brother Zafar is facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars in Pakistan over false accusations of ‘blasphemy’ – and really needs our prayers.

Zafar Bhatti, who is being held in Adyala Jail in Rawalpindi, was sentenced to life imprisonment in May, after he was accused of sending blasphemous text messages from his mobile phone. Five years on from his arrest, he insists he is innocent.

Please pray for our brother in Pakistan who is in distress and needs to know his Christian family worldwide are interceding for him.

Zafar says there have been several attempts on his life in jail, including a near-fatal poisoning in 2013. His health has deteriorated and he now suffers from a heart condition. He now hopes to take his case to appeal at the High Court.

  • Please lift Zafar to God and ask Him to comfort and sustain him. Please use the prayer that Zafar sent us to inspire your prayers on his behalf:

‘O my dear Lord Jesus, listen to my prayer; in my difficult times, I come to you. Release me from my captivity.

‘O Lord, forgive me my sins and have mercy on me; O Lord, listen to my prayer. I am your child. Hallelujah.’

  • Pray that God will provide for Zafar’s wife, Nawab Bibi, who is struggling to survive financially without her husband’s support. Thank God that Release partners have been able to provide her with some help. Pray that God will provide a good lawyer and funding for Zafar’s appeal.
  • Continue to cry out to God for justice on behalf of every member of our Christian family in Pakistan who has been persecuted through its notorious blasphemy laws. Pray that they will be set free from prison and the laws reformed, in the name of religious freedom and justice.

(Source: Release partners)

Nov. 02, 2017 | Pakistan
Pray for Zhafar Bhatti, Imprisoned Since 2012

 

CLAAS, a religious freedom advocacy group updated Voice of the Persecuted on the case of Zafar Bhatti, a Christian in Pakistan who was falsely charged of blasphemy and now sentenced to life imprisonment by a Pakistani court on May 3, 2017.

Bhatti had been charged under blasphemy law section 295C and telegraph act section 25D in 2012 for sending blasphemous text messages from his mobile phone, which is according to reports was not registered to his name. He denies the charges.

Since 2012, he has been imprisoned in Adiala Central Jail Rawalpindi. Considering the threats to his life, the case was conducted in the jail on April 24 but the judgment was reserved for later dates. On May 3, the Additional session judge jailed him for life.

Usually courts hand down a death sentence to those who are charged under 295-C, but because there was no concrete evidence against Bhatti, he was sentenced to life imprisonment instead.

In 2012 Islamabad, the lawyers’ bar passed a resolution that no lawyer will represent Bhatti in the court, but CLAAS accepted his responsibility. They’re also helping to care for his family.

Due to threats against the accused and their lawyers, CLAAS tried to move the case to Lahore but the request was denied.

Nasir Saeed, director CLAAS-UK said it is very unfortunate that even though there was not enough evidence against Bhatti, instead of freeing him, the court has sentenced him to life imprisonment because of pressure from Islamists.

“The blasphemy law is continuously being misused in Pakistan to take revenge and settle personal scores. Christians are the most targeted group, and several Christians have been burnt alive, and even their towns and churches are often attacked and set to fire.”

“The lower court’s judges always hesitate to make decisions on the merit, or free people accused of blasphemy, and instead transfer their burden to the higher court without realizing how their decision will impact the accused and their families’ lives.”

CLAAS says they will appeal against the lower court’s decision to the Lahore high court. They believe Bhatti is innocent and will be freed by the higher court. Unfortunately, it will take several years for his case to be heard by the High Court.

Please pray for Bhatti and his family who are suffering needlessly.

Recently Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a resolution to prevent abuse through introducing safeguards. However, all such calls have faced strong opposition in the past. Those who’ve demanded changes in the blasphemy law were silenced and threatened with death.  The governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti were savagely killed, as their acts were considered equal to blasphemy by hardliners.

Nevertheless, this latest resolution is clearly something to be welcomed and another reason to continue praying for the repeal of the laws so nobody has to suffer needlessly,  CLAAS told Voice of the Persecuted.

https://releaseinternational.org/media/download_gallery/PP_Zafar_Bhatti_Sept17.pdf

Meanwhile, Nabeel Masih, a 16-year-old accused of blasphemy in Punjab, has just been denied bail for the second time. He has been in jail since September after being accused of ‘liking’ on Facebook an allegedly blasphemous post. Nabeel’s friends say he’s been framed.

PAKISTAN – FURTHER “BLASPHEMY” ARRESTS AS FACEBOOK COOPERATES WITH PAKISTAN TO POTENTIALLY SHUT DOWN FREE SPEECH

Ashfaq Masih, a Christian bicycle mechanic from Lahore, was arrested by police on 15 June after being accused of “blasphemy” following his refusal to give a Muslim customer a discount for being a “holy man”. Police have officially registered a case against him, but at the time of writing it is not known if the allegations will result in Ashfaq facing criminal prosecution.

In early July, Pakistan’s Interior Minister met with Facebook’s Vice President of Global Public as the Pakistani government continued its efforts to introduce what would amount to a global Islamic blasphemy law on social media. They discussed “steps and actions being taken [by Facebook] to remove blasphemous content that is illegal in Pakistan”, and the Minister later affirmed “the understanding shown by Facebook … and the cooperation being extended to us on these issues”.

Last month, Pakistani authorities handed down the death sentence to a Shia Muslim man for posting “blasphemous” statements on social media, while a 16-year-old Christian boy from Punjab is currently being held in jail and denied bail after being accused of liking and sharing a post which “insulted” the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest Islamic site in the world.

Pray for Ashfaq Masih, who appears to be the latest victim in another case of Pakistan’s infamous “blasphemy” laws being used to settle personal grudges against the vulnerable Christian minority. Pray that the authorities will not give credence to the allegation against him and that he will be able to return safely to work. Pray that the people who run Facebook will not bow to demands to limit freedom of speech, which would amount to the creation of an online Islamic blasphemy law.

Mussie Yemane-Eritrea

Prisoners of Faith Alert
Christian separated from his family for 11 years!

Like many others who have been imprisoned in Eritrea, Mussie Yemane has never been charged with any crime. He is not a criminal – if anything his ‘crime’ is simply loving and seeking to serve Jesus Christ. For this, Mussie was arrested and detained in 2006 and has remained in detention ever since.

Will you pray for Mussie, for his wife, his children, his President, his nation and his fellow prisoners?

Pray that in his prison cell, Mussie may be able to recall clearly the faces of his loved ones and friends. Pray that he will be gracious, forgiving, full of hope and that his life will be a constant testimony to the enduring and unchanging love of God for men and women from every nation.

Click th link below to download/read the Prisoner Profile of Mussie Yemane

PP_Mussie_Yemane_Nov2017

Click on the link below to find out more about others like Mussie who right now are imprisoned in Eritrea, and help bring freedom to Eritrean prisoners of faith by supporting our Pray 173 campaign.

Christian maths teacher facing disciplinary hearing after calling pupil born female a ‘girl’

Christian Concern

 This is absolutely MAD, wicked, senseless and shows an increasing sick society and leadership-JK

Breaking News

Christian maths teacher facing disciplinary hearing after calling pupil born female a ‘girl’

Christian teacher Joshua Sutcliffe faces disciplinary hearing

A respected Christian maths teacher at a school in Oxfordshire is facing discipline for ‘misgendering’ a student.

Joshua Sutcliffe, from Oxford, began working at the school in September 2015 and currently teaches children aged 11-18. He has achieved excellent results, with his Key Stage 3 students outperforming every parallel class.

But on November 2, a complaint was made that Joshua referred to a pupil as a ‘girl’, rather than the desired ‘boy’.

Although born as a girl, the pupil had self-declared as ‘male’. Joshua had not been given any formal instruction on how to refer to the pupil. An investigation began immediately, during which Joshua was prevented from teaching and forced to spend all his time ‘in isolation’ in the staff room. He is now suspended, pending a further investigation.
Watch Joshua’s Story

‘Transgender ideology is being imposed’

Responding to the disciplinary process, Joshua commented: “I have been shocked and saddened by the actions of the school, which, in my opinion, reflect an increasing trend of seeing Christians, people like me, being marginalised in the public square, and our beliefs punished and silenced.

“While the suggestion that gender is fluid conflicts sharply with my Christian beliefs, I recognise my responsibility as a teacher and Christian to treat each of my pupils with respect and dignity.

“I have never looked to impose my convictions on others, I just try to earnestly live out the gospel of peace.

“I have balanced these factors by calling the pupil by the chosen name and although I did not intentionally refer to the pupil as a ‘girl’, I do not believe it is unreasonable to call someone a girl if they were born a girl.

“The aggressive way in which transgender ideology is being imposed is undermining my freedom of belief and conscience, as well as the conscience of many people throughout our nation who believe that gender is assigned at birth. 

“I have a deep conviction that we are all made in God’s image, male and female.

Watch Joshua’s Story

‘A flood of cases’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Joshua said:

“This case is one of a flood of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current transgender fad.

“We all know how much we change during our teenage years. It is vital that during those years we help our children to live in the biological sex they were born rather than encouraging them to change ‘gender’. If we encourage them to change gender it is not kind and compassionate; it is cruel.

“What we need is a culture in our schools which gives emotional support to children through puberty without encouraging them to make life-long decisions against their natural born biological sex.

“If we collude in the transgender delusion we do not serve our children well, we harm them.”

‘Discriminatory behaviours’

Following the week-long investigation, the school found that Joshua ‘misgendered’ the pupil, ‘demonstrating discriminatory behaviours’ and ‘[contravened] the school’s equality policy’. The school recommended dealing with the matter of ‘misconduct’ under the disciplinary policy.

Since the pupil started at the school, Joshua has tried to balance his sincerely held Christian belief that biological sex is God-given and defined at birth, with the need to treat sensitively the pupil. He avoided the use of gender-specific pronouns, and instead referred to the pupil by the pupil’s chosen name. Joshua admits saying “Well done girls” when he addressed a group of students including the pupil in question. The pupil became irate at this and Joshua sought to defuse the situation and apologised.

Bible club cancelled

Whilst working at the school, Joshua also began running a successful Bible club, which was attended by over 100 pupils before being shut down by the school 18 months after its inception. He was initially told by the Headteacher that the Bible club could not run without a register and a curriculum. Yet, after producing the required documents, the Head still insisted on cancelling the club. During this time, the school’s LGBTI club, mindfulness club, and Qigong club continued running without a register or curriculum.

Following a grievance meeting initiated by a deputy headteacher, it was found that the Bible club could continue running but only when the school was satisfied that it could be run in such a way that upheld the school’s policies. Determined to comply with the conditions and have the club reinstated, Joshua made numerous attempts over the following five weeks to follow instructions to reinstate the Bible club to be run in a way which upheld the school’s policies. After ignoring the issue over this period, the Head agreed to a meeting where the issues would be discussed.

International media attention

Since Joshua’s story hit the newspapers on Sunday, his case has been featured all over the news – on TV and radio as well as newspapers.

Along with Andrea Williams, Joshua appeared on ITV’s This Morning and has since given interviews to numerous radio stations. Nearly all the major UK newspapers covered the story, including in-depth articles in the Mail on Sunday, the Mirror and the Sun. It’s caught the attention of media around the world too – including the Washington Times and news services across Europe, Russia and China.

All of this attention has been a wonderful opportunity to share the good news about God and his plan for humanity, created male and female, in his image.

Douma-Chad

Douma (16) whose father was so angry at his conversion tried to kill him with a cutlass. He has been disowned and is in hiding.

Pray for his safety, care and wisdom for those discipling him and for a schooling solution

 

Another Eritrean prisoner dies

 

Martial law in this awful country:

ERITREA – Security forces shoot 28 dead

Armed security officers shot dead 28 protestors while violently suppressing a demonstration in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital on 31 October. The demonstrators were objecting to the government’s attempts to enforce its 2014 plans to transform all private and religious schools into state-financed and administered “community” schools. The government says that Christian students will be banned from wearing any religious items like crosses “to prevent interreligious strife.”

The protesters included over 100 students from a Muslim school who were protesting the arrest of their Honorary President for criticising the government’s actions. Armed security officers arrested demonstrators, beat some with sticks, and shot at them with live ammunition. Soldiers were still seen patrolling the streets at around 5 pm. Some released protesters report that they were mistreated.

In September, a Christian school was ordered to immediately close and give a list of all its students to the authorities. When the school resisted, the government shut it down and arrested two Christian leaders.

Barnabas Fund’s own special report on Eritrea, published in March 2017, concluded that the government pursues a “specific policy of religious persecution” against Christians.

From Asmarino Independent here

Eritrean mother of three dies in desert prison

Our sister Fikadu has died in an Eritrean prison camp within three months of her arrest.

Her three children do not have their father to care for them either: he was detained with Fikadu, along with his eldest son and every single member of their church, as our partners working in Eritrea reported in May. The young girls are with their grandmother.

#Furthermore: Nov. 09, 2017 | Eritrea
Pray for the Children of Believers Who Are in Detention Camps

Fikadu was detained during a mass arrest in Adiquala, part of an ongoing crackdown on evangelical Christians across Eritrea. By last week, she had died.

Please ask God to comfort Fikadu’s children and her husband.

The crackdown on Eritrea’s Christians continues. A total of 210 believers have been detained since April, mostly in raids on their own homes. In the first week of August, 23 Christians were arrested in Asmara. In July, 16 teenage girls on national service were detained in the same camp as Fikadu – as were other Christians and relatives who tried to visit them.

There have been reports of female prisoners having their hair shaved off. One woman arrested in June in Nefasit has reportedly become ‘mentally ill’ due to harsh prison conditions. The cause of Fikadu Debesay’s death is unknown but Metkel Abiet, the desert camp where she was held, is known for its extreme temperatures.

  • Ask our heavenly Father to comfort Fikadu’s children and her husband, and reassure them of His unfailing love.
  • Pray for the release of all 210 Christians detained since April – and the many other Christians behind bars in Eritrea. Some pastors have been detained indefinitely.
  • Lift up the Eritrean authorities in prayer, and ask God to touch their hearts. Pray for an end to their restrictive policies.
  • Join our Pray173 prayer campaign to help bring freedom for long-term prisoners of faith in Eritrea.

Chinese Dissident Gao Zhisheng probably detained again

Latest:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Christian Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Escaped, Recaptured
Nov.8th 2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that, with the help of two friends, Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng escaped in August from his home in Shaanxi, where he was under house arrest. For 23 days, he hid in a vacation house in Jiexiu city in neighboring province, until Shaanxi police mobilized a large number of officers to cross the border and recapture him. While his friends were detained, Gao vanished again and now is believed to be under police custody in Beijing.
One of his friends who assisted with the rescue, Mr. Li Fawang, was released on October 26 with bail pending trial. Four days later, he reached out to his reporter friend to recount how they successfully brought Gao out and give details of subsequent development.
Upon learning that Gao sought to escape from his house arrest, Shao Zhongguo snuck him out and the two met with Li Fawang in neighboring province Shanxi.  Li had pre-arranged with a local friend to provide accommodations for Gao until they found another safe haven. Their plan went unnoticed until about three weeks later when both Shao and Li were arrested and detained by the police.
Li briefly saw Gao when he was about to be transported back to Shaanxi for detention. The encounter was so brief that Li was unable to utter a word to Gao. Gao’s whereabouts became unknown after they parted ways.
Both Li and Shao suffered mistreatment in detention. They were shackled, rejected daily necessities, beaten, fed leftover food, and Li, who suffers from diabetes, was denied medicine for the first few days and lost his eyesight as a result.
Gao’s wife Geng He expressed her concern on Twitter earlier today, “Waiting, waiting…Finally the 19th Party Congress is over, yet we still have no news of Gao Zhisheng.”
Gao’s lawyers, Zhang Lei and Yan Xin, visited two Ministry of Public Security offices in Shaanxi province to inquire about Gao’s case on November 8. Officials from different offices all responded with, “No, we do not handle his case.
His disappearance is concerning, especially since his health has declined from the years in captivity as he suffers tooth loss and other health problems. He did not want to risk being captured so he turned down his friends’ offer to bring him to a dentist during the short period when he was free. Now recaptured, the government might permit harsher treatment and hide him indefinitely.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Though we are glad to know that Mr. Gao enjoyed brief freedom that was taken away from him for more than a decade, we are concerned about his treatment after being recaptured. In most cases, the Chinese government treats human rights advocates and Christians on the same level as terrorists once they are imprisoned, often putting them through torture and solitary confinement.Given Gao’s successful escape, he is subject to retaliation from law enforcement. We hereby urge the Chinese government to stop its unlawful detention of Mr. Gao immediately.”

China Continues to Hold and Presumably Torture Nobel Nominee Gao Zhisheng
 6th September 2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Nearly a month has passed since Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was presumably taken by state security from his home near Shaanxi’s Yulin city on the morning of August 13, where he was under house arrest. The whereabouts of Gao, reputed as the “Conscience of China,” are still unknown. As is typical in these cases, he could face torture in a black jail hidden away in rural province.
Gao became the target of Chinese authorities for defending the most vulnerable in China, including Christians, coal miners, and Falun Gong practitioners. He has been kidnapped numerous times, repeatedly endured torture, including beatings, sleep deprivation, and electric shock, and spent many years in jail and solitary confinement. The Chinese government released him in 2014, but placed him under house arrest.
The causes for his disappearance could be many, including President Xi Jinping’s retaliation for Gao’s recently published memoir, in which he heavily criticized the Communist Party and predicted a 2017 collapse of the regime; the upcoming 19th Party Congress, a major power show where Beijing wants no accidents and demands silence from dissidents; or interviews he recently gave to the media in Hong Kong and the US, detailing torture and inhumane treatment.
His older brother, Gao Zhiyi, was brought in by police on August 26 and briefly detained before being released. Zhisheng’s supporters believe that the detention prevented his brother from being inquired as to Zhisheng’s whereabouts. In addition, aTwitter account organized by his supporters called “Gao Zhisheng Caring Group” also recently posted, “So far the family and friends of Gao in China, two have been warned, and seven were summoned (among them two have disappeared) by the authoritiesThese nine cases are the known ones.
His disappearance is concerning when details of past torture and abductions, recorded in his books, are taken into account. Years in captivity have decayed his health as he suffers tooth loss and other health problems.
 
“Now that I know he has disappeared, I am in a state of emotional collapse,”  Zhisheng’s wife, Geng He, who currently resides in the US with their children, told Radio Free Asia.
Former Virginia congressman, Frank Wolf, when asked to comment on Mr. Gao’s disappearance, stated, “Mr. Gao was my adoptee for the Defending Freedoms Project five years ago, where I highlighted his case and pushed for his release. It’s truly unfortunate that after years he still doesn’t get to taste freedom. The sudden disappearance of Mr. Gao last month is worrisome in light of Liu Xiaobo’s death and knowing the secret arrests and horrendous torture Chinese government has put dissidents through. I urge the Chinese government to immediately release and sustain freedom of Gao Zhisheng.”

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “It is a shame that a country so eager to prove its legitimacy to stand among the world leaders, continues to violate basic human rights and secretly imprison and torture its own human rights defenders. China will never be looked up to unless it learns to respect its own citizens. Let us not forget the plight of Mr. Gao and many imprisoned Christians who suffer inhumane treatment. We ought to continue to press for their release and keep them and their suffering families in our prayers.”

 

 

A Chinese Activist: Out of Prison But Not Free

ICC is advocating for persecuted Christians at the highest levels. On August 7th, prominent human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng was released from prison but is not yet free. His lawyer told BBC News that Gao has been “utterly destroyed” after three years in jail. Since his release, public security officers “visit” him daily in shifts, each lasting two or three hours. As a result, he and family members are unable to live normal lives. In September, ICC joined 20 other organizations in calling on President Obama to address the case of Gao Zhisheng and other Christians in China enduring imprisonment and torture because of their faith. Please pray that the U. S. government and the international community will help bring Gao Zhisheng to the U.S. to receive medical treatment and reunite with his family.

 

 

Great answer to prayer. BUT Gao is a broken man, broken by the cruel totalitarian state machine.

Please pray for Gao Zhisheng, a prominent defender of persecuted Christians in China, who has just been released after a three year prison sentence. Reports suggest he has been held in solitary confinement for the whole three years, where he was fed a single slice of bread and piece of cabbage once a day. Ask God to give him strength as he recovers, and for wisdom for those attempting to help him get asylum in the USA, where his wife and two children live.

LATEST..

When Chinese authorities released Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng from prison on Aug.7, we didn’t hear anything from him, presumably because of the communist state’s one-year prohibition against him saying anything publicly that might “damage the reputation or interests of the state.”

His family had telephone conversations with him, but they didn’t hear much from him either. After some phone talks in which he said very little, the Los Angeles Times reported, his wife wasn’t sure whether he was still in too much pain to talk or had forgotten how.

It has become clear that isolation and torture left Gao, once a prominent attorney who defended Christians and the Falun Gong, unable to speak coherently. China Aid reports, “Gao has been utterly destroyed. He can barely talk – and only in very short sentences – most of the time he mutters and is unintelligible.  It is believed that he is now suffering from a broad range of physical and mental health problems; he has not been allowed to see a doctor since his release.”

As his wife, Geng He, pointed out to the Times, if he cannot even obtain adequate dental care, what hope does he have for obtaining help to recover his mental health? While she and their two children escaped to the United States in 2009 and are living in northern California, Gao is under virtual house arrest at Geng’s sister’s place in Urumqi, capital of China’s Xinjiang Province in the country’s far west. Dentists there don’t have the means to repair the damage malnutrition did to his remaining teeth, and the government has forbidden him to travel to Beijing, much less to the United States to be reunited with his family.

Gao’ s advocacy for religious minorities led to his conviction in 2006 for “inciting subversion,” and in 2007 he began serving a previously suspended sentence of three years in Shaya County Prison in Xinjiang region. After he wrote an open letter to the U.S. Congress about human rights abuses in China, authorities “disappeared” him on Sept. 21, 2007, torturing him for more than 50 days. Gao later revealed that his captors shocked his genitals with an electric baton and pierced them with toothpicks.

“As with the torture experienced during his pretrial detention, the purpose of this mistreatment was to extract a false confession,” noted a petition by Freedom Now, which works to free prisoners of conscience.

Thugs suspected of being agents of the state again abducted Gao on Feb. 4, 2009. He reportedly reappeared from March 28, 2010, to April 20 of that year, during which he described how police beat him for two days and nights, according to Freedom Now.

China announced on Dec. 16, 2011 that it would take him to prison to serve the three-year sentence imposed on Dec. 22, 2006, thus withdrawing the five-year probation then about to expire. In Shaya Prison since December 2011, Gao remained in isolation in a small cell with little light 24 hours a day, according to China Aid.

“Guards were strictly instructed not to speak with him,” the advocacy group reported. “He was not allowed any reading materials, television, or access to anyone or anything. He was fed a single slice of bread and piece of cabbage, once a day; as a result, he has lost roughly 22.5 kilograms (50 pounds) and now weighs about 59 kilograms (130 pounds). He has lost many teeth from malnutrition. It is believed he was also repeatedly physically tortured.”

His wife commented to China Aid that she was devastated by his condition.

“The only thing I feared more than him being killed was his suffering relentless and horrific torture and being kept alive,” she said. “We desperately need help from our adopted country and from President Obama and Secretary Kerry personally to demand the Chinese government to allow my husband to come to the United States for medical treatment. If President Xi Jinping has any sense of decency or humanity, after crushing my husband both physically and psychologically, the least he could do is allow me as a devoted wife to care for him.”

Jared Genser, head of Freedom Now, told China Aid he was heartbroken for Gao and his family.

“We knew that if Gao wasn’t killed, he would have suffered immensely,” Genser said. “But the situation is far worse than my limited imagination enabled me to contemplate. While China is a great power in the 21st century, the inhumanity and brutality that it has demonstrated by the torture of Gao Zhisheng shows its profound insecurity and fear of anyone in its population who stands up to its repression.”

Morning Star News

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo source: “Geng He” by medilldc (https://www.flickr.com/photos/medilldc/), used under CC BY 2.0 / Colour adjusted from original

Please pray for Gao Zhisheng, a prominent defender of persecuted Christians in China, who has just been released after a three year prison sentence. Reports suggest he has been held in solitary confinement for the whole three years, where he was fed a single slice of bread and piece of cabbage once a day. Ask God to give him strength as he recovers, and for wisdom for those attempting to help him get asylum in the USA, where his wife and two children live. Read the full story here: http://bit.ly/1w8RukR<br /><br /><br /> Photo source: "Geng He" by medilldc (https://www.flickr.com/photos/medilldc/), used under CC BY 2.0 / Colour adjusted from original

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ICC Note:

BBC reported that Gao Zhisheng, a prominent Chinese Christian human rights lawyer, has been released after 3 years in prison. Gao is best known for his work defending persecuted religious groups and other social groups.  In 2005, the Chinese government shut down his law firm and revoked his lawyer’s license. He was charged of inciting subversion and disappeared in 2009.

08/07/2014 China (BBC)– One of China’s most prominent dissidents, Gao Zhisheng, has been released after three years in jail.

His brother said he left the Xinjiang prison on Thursday morning and was now at his father-in-law’s home in Urumqi.

Fellow activist and close friend Hu Jia told BBC Chinese that Mr Gao was seeking dental treatment in Urumqi, the region’s capital.

Mr Gao, a prominent human rights lawyer, was arrested in early 2009. He was accused of inciting subversion.

He was released briefly in 2010, and claimed he was tortured while in detention. Shortly after that he disappeared again.

State media subsequently said in 2011 he would be jailed for three years for violating probation rules.

Mr Hu told the BBC that Mr Gao is “having problems with his teeth” but is expected to head to his hometown in north Shaanxi province after having treatment.

 

Gao Zhisheng timeline

•             2005: Authorities close down Gao Zhisheng’s law practice

•             Dec 2006: Convicted of subversion and sentenced to house arrest

•             Sept 2007: Says he was tortured during a period of detention

•             Jan 2009: Disappears; last seen accompanied by security officials

•             Mar 2010: Reappeared for a month before disappearing again

•             Dec 2011: State media says he has been jailed for three years

•             Jan 2012: Gao revealed to be in Xinjiang prison

•             August 2014: Gao freed from jail

 

‘Loose teeth’

The Associated Press reported that Mr Gao’s wife, Geng He, spoke to her husband later on Thursday.

Ms Geng and the couple’s two children are in the United States where they sought asylum in early 2009.

She told AP that it was clear there were security minders present as she could hear unfamiliar voices in the background.

*************MORE*************

NEWS UPDATES:
Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng has reportedly been released into ‘controlled freedom’, according to Release partner China Aid. Gao was freed from prison on Thursday and is currently with his brother in Xinjiang province. Gao has not been allowed to talk to anyone, not even his wife in the US. Some reports say he is accompanied by Chinese security agents. He was jailed for ‘inciting subversion’ after ‘violating probation rules’. Please pray that Gao will be granted full freedom and reunited with his family. (Source: China Aid)

Iranian Christian denied basic rights

Mohabat News – Since the family of the Christian convert prisoner, Abdol-Ali Pourmand, who has been in prison for two weeks, has not yet been officially informed of their loved one’s charges, their efforts to hire proper legal representation for him have been hindered.

Mr. Pourmand (Elias) who is 38 years old, is one of the ministers at the Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) house church in Dezful. He was arrested on October 19, 2017 and immediately transferred to Ahwaz.

PHOTO:  MOHABAT NEWS

His family told Mohabat News that the judge handling Mr. Pourmand’s case told them they do not have the right to hire a lawyer to represent him in court.

Even though Article 35 of the Iranian constitution recognizes the right for all prisoners to have proper legal representation, it is common practice by the Iranian judiciary to prevent religious prisoners and prisoners of conscious from hiring a lawyer to represent them in court.

Myanmar imprisonments

MYANMAR – Christian leaders convicted for exposing human rights abuses

Two Christian leaders, Dumdaw Nawng Lat, 67, and Langjaw Gam Seng, 35, were imprisoned for a combined six and a half years for “exposing the military’s crimes.” The Lashio District Court, in the northern Shan State, passed the sentence on 27 October 2017.

The two leaders assisted visiting journalists reporting on damage caused by military airstrikes to a church and other civilian structures in Muse, northern Shan State, in late 2016. Consequently, the military arrested them on 24 December 2016. Signed confessions that they supported the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) – which their lawyers claim were signed under extreme duress – were the only evidence used to convict them.

“The outrageous prosecution of the two religious leaders for reporting on abuses shows the need for international inquiries in Myanmar,” a spokesperson for Fortify Rights said.

Ethnic Burman identity is closely linked to Buddhism in this 87% Buddhist nation. Christianity is portrayed as a foreign religion, although it has been present since the late 1700s. The mainly Christian Kachin people suffer great persecution, including desecration of their churches, sexual violence, and forced conversions.

From Human Rights Watch here

Pakistani Christian in Derby brutally attacked by Muslims

UNITED KINGDOM – Pakistani Christian left hospitalised after attack by Muslims

A Pakistani Christian from Derby was beaten up on the evening of 20 October, for displaying a cross and Remembrance Day poppies in his car, he said. Tajamal Amar described his attackers as Pakistani Muslim men and explained, “I am not a brother [to them]. I am a kaffir [a derogatory term for non-Muslim]. They left me for dead. They hit me as if they were playing on a football pitch … I am Christian. Because of the poppies on my car, because of the cross in my car, I have been hit.”

The 46-year-old dad and food delivery driver suffered internal bleeding, extensive bruising and a broken nose that left him hospitalised. Tajamal told journalists it was not the first time he has been targeted. “Several times, local [Muslim] Pakistani people in Derby have taken offence from the fact that I am Christian. When they first find out, many stop talking to me. My wife and I have often been shunned. I fled from Pakistan to escape violence such as this, but more and more the same violence is coming into Britain. Freedom of religion should be the right of any British citizen but today I feel unsafe, even then nothing will stop me going to church.”

From The Express here

Wicked unofficial crackdown on Christians in Tamil Nadu.

Christians in India banned from worshipping together

Ten church congregations in Tamil Nadu have been told to stop meeting for worship – and 20 more have been threatened with similar bans.

Hindu extremists put pressure on local officials to close down the churches in Coimbatore district – by insisting they stop worship until they gain official permission to meet. Applying for a permit can take at least 18 months and sometimes several years, local Christians say.

Please pray for our Christian family in Tamil Nadu who are facing what appears to be an orchestrated campaign of persecution from Hindu extremists.

Officials and police who issued the orders appear to be acting after complaints from the Hindu nationalist organisations including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). These groups have threatened to lodge complaints against 20 further churches. Most of these congregations have been meeting for many years.

‘It is a well-planned conspiracy against the Christian community,’ said Pastor Johnson Sathyanathan, president of the Synod of Pentecostal Churches of Coimbatore.

Hundreds of local Christians have demonstrated against the move. The minister of Internal Affairs of Tamil Nadu has instructed senior police and politicians to intervene and ensure worship services can resume.

  • Please pray that Christians in Tamil Nadu who are currently barred from meeting as a congregation for worship will find other ways to worship and have fellowship. Praise God that as our Indian brothers and sisters draw near to God, He will draw near to them (James 4:8). Pray that God’s presence will fill their homes.
  • Pray that the orders to halt worship services will soon be withdrawn.
  • Pray that high-profile state officials such as the minister of Interior Affairs will take a stand and ensure religious liberties are upheld in Tamil Nadu, and across India.

(Source: Morning Star News)

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Support Felix in prayer

Case news

Breaking News

Court allows expulsion for expressing Biblical teaching

Christian student Felix Ngole will appeal today’s ruling

The High Court has rejected Felix Ngole’s attempt to reverse his expulsion from a university social work course because he expressed his biblical beliefs on Facebook.

But, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Felix has announced that he will appeal the ruling.

He says that he is very disappointed by today’s ruling which “supports the university’s decision to bar me from my chosen career because of my Biblical views on sexual ethics.” 

“I intend to appeal this decision which clearly intends to restrict me from expressing my Christian faith in public,” he adds.

Explaining the significance of the case, Andrea Williams, says:

“The court has ruled that although Felix is entitled to hold Biblical beliefs on sexual ethics, he is not entitled to express them.

“But freedom to believe without freedom of expression is no freedom at all!

“Many views are frequently expressed by students on social media and in other contexts. It is the expression of Biblical ethics that has been singled out for sanction by the university.

“The university has acted as ‘thought police’. This ruling will have a chilling effect on Christian students up and down the country who will now understand that their social media posts may be investigated for political correctness.

“Rulings like this show that society is becoming increasingly intolerant of Christian beliefs and values. Christians are being told to shut up and keep quiet about their ethical views or face a bar from employment.

“We completely support Felix in appealing this ruling in an effort to protect basic freedoms in society.”

Thank you for your prayers and support for Felix and the Christian Legal Centre team.

Please continue your support as Felix prepares for the next stage, helped by the Christian Legal Centre. 

Yes, I want to support Felix in the next step of his challenge

‘Expressing Biblical beliefs’

In 2015, while studying for an MA in social work at the University of Sheffield, Felix engaged in discussion on Facebook prompted by the story of the American registrar Kim Davis who was imprisoned after she declined, on conscience grounds, to register same-sex ‘marriages’.

Felix expressed his Christian beliefs on the issue and argued that “same sex marriage is a sin whether we like it or not. It is God’s words and man’s sentiments would not change His words”.

He was asked for Biblical support for his arguments, and quoted various passages to demonstrate this.

Nearly two months later, Felix received an email from a university official informing him that his Facebook comments were being investigated. He was later interviewed by an investigatory team, and subsequently removed from his course by a panel chaired by Professor Marsh, an LGBT rights campaigner.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Felix sought to challenge the university’s decision in a judicial review which was heard in the High Court over two days.

Today, however, the court has ruled that the university acted lawfully in removing Felix from his course.

‘Perception of discrimination’

The court heard that the university’s investigatory team “accepted that Mr Ngole was fully entitled to his religious beliefs, and had acted with honesty and integrity.

The university said that it was not Felix’s beliefs that were at issue, but his public posting of these beliefs. The university said that this expression of his views “may have caused offence to some individuals”.

The university argued that it was right to sanction Mr Ngole and bar him from his chosen profession despite the fact that Mr Ngole had lawfully expressed his Christian views as a practising Christian, outside of his professional studies, in a context in which he was not identified as a social work student, and despite this expression having no impact on his work and professional abilities!

The university agreed that there had been no cause for concern or evidence of Felix acting in a discriminatory fashion, whether on placement or otherwise.

The university’s decision was not based on speculation that Mr Ngole would discriminate in the future either. No discrimination by Felix had actually occurred, or was expected to occur.

What in the end was judged to have justified the university’s actions was a risk of damage by perception:

The court ruled that “It was how [Felix’s comments] could be accessed and read by people who would perceive them as judgemental, incompatible with service ethos, or suggestive of discriminatory intent.

“That was a problem in its own right. … But whatever the actual intention was, it was the perception of the posting that would cause the damage. It was reasonable to be concerned about that perception” (emphasis added).

Help Felix continue his challenge

The Christian Legal Centre is not charging Felix for the support that we are giving him. His case is important for all of us.

But we are only able to offer support to those who need it because of your generosity. Thank you.

Felix’s case is about the freedom to hold and express biblical beliefs.

If you can, please make a gift to help us support Felix as we prepare for the next stage. All donations, however large or small, make a difference. Thank you.

Yes, I want to support Felix in the next step of his challenge

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High Court hears Felix Ngole’s challenge

Thank you for your prayers for Felix Ngole and the Christian Legal Centre team during this week’s High Court hearing.

Felix was removed from a social work course at Sheffield University after he expressed his Christian beliefs about marriage and sexual ethics during a Facebook discussion.

With help from the Christian Legal Centre, he is challenging the decision at the High Court. Thank you for your support which has made this possible.

Standing Counsel Paul Diamond highlighted the importance of the case, saying that left uncorrected, Felix’s experience could be the beginning of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ culture for Christians in public service. He also argued that the European Convention on Human Rights protects Felix’s expression of his beliefs.

The court also heard how the chair of the committee that removed Felix is a longstanding LGBT activist but this interest was never declared. Further evidence was submitted about a visit to the university of a controversial Islamic teacher just a short time after Felix was told that he was being investigated for his defence of a mainstream, Christian understanding of marriage on Facebook.

Please continue to pray. We are now waiting for a ruling in the case which could take several weeks.

Felix has asked for your continued support in this important case.

Read Felix’s request for your help
Donate now to stand with Felix

‘Politically incorrect’ Bible on trial

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of [Felix’s] case”, says Tim Dieppe, as he reflects on this week’s High Court hearing. He outlines some of the arguments made and evidence submitted, before concluding: “Basic freedoms in our society are at stake. It is not really about the politically incorrect student, it is about the politically incorrect Bible … It shows the true intolerance of those who argue for tolerance.” Gavin Ashenden has also written about what is at stake.
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Breaking News

Christian student granted judicial review after being expelled over views on sexuality

Felix Ngole has been granted permission for a judical review
 
Thank you for praying for Felix ahead of his hearing at the High Court.
We give thanks that on Tuesday (25 April) the High Court granted Felix permission for a judicial review of the decision to expel him from the University of Sheffield, after he expressed the Christian view of marriage and sexuality during a Facebook discussion.
Read Andrea Williams’ comment on the case
Help us protect gospel freedoms

Christian bar to office

Andrea Williams writes:
Felix Ngole puts another face to the increasing alienation of Christians from the public square.
In 2016 he was expelled from the University of Sheffield for expressing support for the biblical view of sexuality during a Facebook discussion.
Yet in an important ruling today, justice prevailed as the High Court granted permission for Felix to judicially review the University’s decision to expel him.
Read Andrea’s full comment
Yes, I want to stand with Felix

Donate to support Felix

The Christian Legal Centre is not charging Felix for the support that we give him. We are able to offer support to those who need it because of your generosity. Thank you.
But, as ever, this case is not just about Felix. It’s also about the freedom to hold and express Christian beliefs in public service.
Please help us to support Felix and others like him, by making a donation, however small, if you can.
Yes, I want to donate to support Felix

What to pray for the persecuted.

General global prayers are OK but specific prayers are better for specific people!

Biblical guidance:

For endurance to persevere knowing the hope that God gives…Colossians 1:27.
Count it all joy (I Peter 3:9,14,17)

They ask for courage, and strength to face the day. That the Holy Spirit would strengthen the persecuted believers…Ephesians 3:14-21
To be comforted and that their immediate needs be met.
They ask for those who can help to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
That the persecuted would know how to share the gospel…Exodus 4:12 Gospel will spread (Ex.1:12)
Pray that persecuted believers will know Christ in deeper ways… Philippians 3:7-11

Pray that persecuted believers will know how much God loves them…Romans 8: 38,39. Submitting to his chastening and sovereignty (Ex.50:20, John 19:11)

Please pray that Christ will soften the hearts of their persecutors…Matthew 5:44

Search rest of this site for topics of prayer.

Port Authorities in Sudan Detain Bible Shipment without Explanation

Port Authorities in Sudan Detain Bible Shipment without Explanation

UNITED WITH THE PERSECUTED

(Morning Star News) – Authorities in Sudan have detained a container of Bibles in Port Sudan without explanation for at least two years, a source said.

A Bible Society in Sudan representative told Morning Star News the container was one of two containing Arabic Bibles detained more than two years ago. The other container was released shortly after appeals to port authorities.

The detained shipments were destined for Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, said the source, who asked to remain unnamed for security reasons. At present the Bible Society in Sudan does not have a single copy of an Arabic Bible available in Khartoum, he said.

Other shipments of Bibles at Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, have also been detained over the past two years, he added.

A church leader said availability of Bibles and Christian literature in the country is increasingly limited.

“There is difficulty in getting Bibles in the country,” he said.

The Bible Society in Sudan representative said a port official in the past week has been more willing to consider releasing the shipment. Sudan links Christianity with the West, and Christian leaders speculated that Sudan may be opening to releasing the shipment as the U.S. administration lifted sanctions on Oct. 12. The sanctions had been in place since 1997 for Sudan’s terrorist ties and human rights violations.

Port officials were unavailable for comment.

Other international Bible providers have also complained of Sudan detaining shipping containers full of Bibles – usually due to corruption, but in some cases also to keep Judeo-Christian scripture out of the country.

Detainment of Bibles in Sudan also took place before 2011, with one shipment held up for nearly four years, the Bible Society source said.

Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, President Omar al-Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language. Church leaders said Sudanese authorities have demolished or confiscated churches and limited Christian literature on the pretext that most Christians have left the country following South Sudan’s secession.

The Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowments announced in April 2013 that no new licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population.

Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese. Besides raiding Christian bookstores and arresting Christians, authorities threatened to kill South Sudanese Christians who do not leave or cooperate with them in their effort to find other Christians.

Sudan fought a civil war with the south Sudanese from 1983 to 2005, and in June 2011, shortly before the secession of South Sudan the following month, the government began fighting a rebel group in the Nuba Mountains that has its roots in South Sudan.

Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2017 report.

Sudan ranked fifth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians face most persecution.

The Copts of Egypt

Can you find the error here?

“Nicene Creed” according to Coptic Church

Answer: This was the original Nicene Creed of 325 AD  BUT it was revised at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD with the words “and the son” inserted after “proceedeth from the Father”. Sadly the Eastern Orthodox Church and Coptic church are alike mainly bereft of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit (i.e they are dead orthodox churches) as a result, though there are renewal movements in Egypt.

 

More disgraceful Nigerian military complicity.

NIGERIA – Muslim Fulani herders continue onslaught against Christian communities

Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked Mai Farin Mota, killing four people in the predominantly Christian village in Plateau State. Eyewitnesses report that the attack began at 9pm on 13 October. The army and police failed to respond while the attack continued for over six hours, despite frantic phone calls for help.

Earlier on 11 October in a similar attack in nearby Jebu Miango, 10km from Jos, herdsmen destroyed several houses and killed three people. The community later protested against the soldiers at the nearby military checkpoint after a victim reported that some of the attackers were wearing military uniforms.

A local Christian also reported that a soldier taunted him, “Why don’t you ask your God to guard you?” when approached for help.

There has been an upsurge in Fulani terrorist attacks in Nigeria, and local reports say up to 30 people have been killed in the last month. The recent murder of a former top civil servant in one such attack has prompted the national parliament to call for an investigation.

From Global Christian News here

Top

Mob rule in India

More Hindu thuggery with apparent impunity

Patna: Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi during a program in Patna, on July 23, 2017. (Photo: IANS)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two Christians Hospitalized in Critical Condition After Brutal Assault on Church in India
Christian Persecution Continues to Escalate as State Elections Near in Chhattisgarh
10/18/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Christians attending a worship service in Jaripara village, located in the Dantewada District of India’s Chhattisgarh State, were brutally assaulted by suspected Hindu radicals on Sunday, October 15. According to witnesses, a mob of more than 300 attacked the Bastar for Christ Movement (BCM) Church and beat the congregants, leaving nine seriously injured, including two in critical condition at the government hospital in Dantewada.

According to witnesses, more than 300 people encircled the BCM Church around noon on October 15 as a worship service was being conducted. The mob then disrupted the service, dragging Christian worshipers out of the church and into the street. There, the mob ordered the Christians to renounce their faith. When the Christians refused, the mob attacked and beat the Christians with sticks and slippers. Christian women were stripped by the mob and even Christian children were not spared. The mob then vandalized the BCM Church and set fire to the church’s furniture.
As a result, many Christians were injured, including Raju Sodi and Sangetha Kartami who sustained serious injuries to the head and hands. Both Raju and Sangetha were rushed to a nearby hospital following the attack and were later transferred to the government hospital in Dantewada as their conditions were deemed critical.
The attack on Jaripara’s Christians is inhuman and highly condemnable,” a local pastor, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICC. “These attacks are popping up on the backdrop of the state elections that are nearing. The BJP, who is in power in the state, makes it all the more easy for the Hindu radicals to carry on the hate campaign against religious minorities for the political gains.
Local police refused to file a First Information Report (FIR) when the Christians contacted the police. According to local Christians, Hindu radicals had filed an FIR on the Christians prior to the attack. Jaripara’s Christians had to protest for more than 24 hours to have police accept their complaint about the brutal attack and it remains doubtful that local police will bring the perpetrators to justice.
Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have continued to escalate under the rule of the current BJP-led government. Anti-minority rhetoric used by BJP leaders for political expedience coupled with an atmosphere of impunity for those who attack minorities is much to blame for this escalation in violence. According to Open Doors USA, Christians in India were attacked 410 times in just the first six months of 2017. This marked a dramatic increase from the 441 attacks recorded over the entire year of 2016.

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India are becoming an almost daily occurrence. Hindu radicals across the country seem to have been given a wide berth by local authorities to pursue their hate campaigns against Christians and other minorities. This inability or unwillingness to protect and enforce the rights of Christians must come to an end. While Article 25 of India’s constitution guarantees full religious freedom for all citizens, the lack of India’s enforcement of this freedom leaves Article 25 as just words on paper. India’s leaders must do more to confront the issue of growing religious violence. Until then, Christians across India will continue to feel like second-class citizens vulnerable to religiously motivated assault.

Marat Niyazaliev has had all charges dropped-PTL.

June 2nd 2017. Latest….. He has been released as all charges dropped. He is very thankful.

Dec. 09, 2016 | Kyrgyzstan

Jakarta governor Ahok sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy

Shock sentence comes after hardline Islamist groups called for Christian official to be jailed for referencing Qur’an verse

Ahok supporters protest outside the court in Jakarta.
Ahok supporters protest outside the court in Jakarta. Photograph: Mast Irham/EPATuesday 9 May 2017 First published on Tuesday 9 May 2017

An Indonesian court has found Jakarta’s Christian governor guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to two years in prison, in a trial that was widely seen as a test of religious tolerance and pluralism in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, was “found to have legitimately and convincingly conducted a criminal act of blasphemy, and because of that we have imposed two years of imprisonment”, the head judge, Dwiarso Budi Santiarto, told the court.

“As part of a religious society, the defendant should be careful to not use words with negative connotations regarding the symbols of religions, including the religion of the defendant himself.”

Another judge, Abdul Rosyad, said reasons for the stiff sentence included that “the defendant didn’t feel guilt, the defendant’s act has caused anxiety and hurt Muslims”.

After the verdict, the five-judge panel ordered Ahok’s immediate arrest. Ahok has said he will appeal.

The blasphemy charge related to Ahok’s use of a passage of the Qur’an during campaigning for his re-election in September, which hardline Islamist groups said amounted to insulting the holy book.

He insinuated that his opponents had used a Qur’anic verse to trick people into voting against him. An edited version of his speech went viral online, sparking outrage.

Ahok, a Christian with ethnic Chinese roots, is a double minority. His trial came after large protests against him in the capital that drew hundreds of thousands on to the streets.

On Tuesday, hundreds of members of hardline Islamist groups gathered outside the south Jakarta courtroom amid a heavy security presence, calling for Ahok to be given the maximum penalty.

As news of the sentence emerged members of the crowd shouted “God is greatest”.

The government has been criticised for not doing enough to protect religious minorities, but President Joko Widodo, an ally of Ahok’s, has urged restraint over the trial and called for all sides to respect the legal process.

Thousands of police have been deployed in the capital to prevent clashes between Ahok supporters and opponents. “Both groups will have the opportunity to demonstrate, but we are taking steps to prevent clashes,” said the national police spokesman, Setyo Wasisto.

Ahok lost his bid for re-election in an April run-off to a Muslim rival, Anies Baswedan.
He will hand over to Baswedan in October. The vote was the most divisive and religiously charged in recent years.

Prosecutors had called for a suspended one-year jail sentence for Ahok on charges of hate speech. His opponents believe that is too light. The maximum sentence is five years in prison.

Andreas Harsono, an Indonesia researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the verdict was “a sad day for Indonesia”.

“Ahok’s is the biggest blasphemy case in the history of Indonesia. He is the governor of Indonesia’s largest city, an ally of the president. If he can be sent to jail, what could happen to others?” he said.

Harsono said more than 100 Indonesians have been convicted of blasphemy in the past decade, and acquittals in such cases were extremely rare.

Todung Mulya Lubis, a human rights lawyer who also defended the Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, said it was worrying that one judge cited the leader of a hardline Islamic group known as the Islamic Defender’s Front as an expert in the judgment.

“Rizieq Shihab cannot be considered as an expert because he openly, publicly accused Ahok of blasphemy, so he is not an independent, neutral expert anymore. But the judges mentioned his name in their judgment and I thought this is not correct.”

“The judges also talked about experts from [the Islamic organisation] Majelis Ulama Indonesia. With all respect, I don’t think they can be considered as experts because they had taken sides already, long before the trial.

Lubis said the verdict set a “bad precedent”, adding: “Religion is a private matter … so when you put it in the criminal code it can be used by people to discredit and suppress others. This is the problem with the blasphemy law. This is a very sad moment for us.”