More Eastern Ukraine pressure

Authorities in eastern Ukraine shut down all Evangelical churches


23 October 2018

All Evangelical churches in the Lugansk People’s Republic face forced closure, as authorities in the self-proclaimed autonomous region in eastern Ukraine, overrun by forces loyal to Russia,  are understood to have banned their activity. Congregations are emptying church buildings of books and furniture. Church leaders contacted Barnabas to ask for prayers “that God gives wisdom and strength in this situation”.

Barnabas Fund has provided vital supplies, such as coal, to vulnerable Christians in eastern Ukraine

In February 2018, authorities in the LPR announced that all religious associations would need to register by August and in July banned the activity of one group of evangelical churches, which were described as an “extremist religious organisation”. In August, a pastor and other leaders were arrested and detained in a raid on a church service in Alchevsk.

The LPR was formed in 2014 as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Evangelical churches have been repeatedly targeted by separatist elements.

Lift up the Evangelical Christian community in eastern Ukraine. Pray that in the midst of threats and uncertainty they will rejoice that they have been counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s Name (Acts 5:41). Pray for wisdom and strength as they are forced to become an “underground” church and that they will know the presence, comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

From Barnabas Fund contacts

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Rwanda president Paul Kagame has shut down thousands of churches.

Rwanda’s authoritarian leader closes thousands of churches


23 October 2018

The government of authoritarian president Paul Kagame has shut down thousands of churches across Rwanda, citing building code violations in a move that has reportedly left some Christians meeting to worship in caves.

The closures began in the Christian-majority East African country in February following the introduction of much stricter building regulations. It is thought as many as 7,000 church buildings may have been forced to close. Churches are now meeting secretly, as group prayer is prohibited anywhere other than in government approved buildings.

Thousands of Rwandan churches have been closed down under the orders of President Paul Kagame’s government
Image credit: Department for International Development

One analyst told journalists, “The church closures are much more politically influenced than the government says. It signals to the churches that they are under observation, just like other social organizations in Rwanda.”

Kagame secured election for a third term as Rwanda’s president with 99% of the vote in 2017 after amending the constitution to abolish a previous two term limit. Under Kagame Rwanda has seen a time of economic growth and restoration of social order following the 1994 genocide. He has worked to forge ties with America and Rwanda is a significant recipient of US aid, but Kagame’s administration has received criticism for the pressuring and arrest of dissenters and political opponents. This has not deterred support from Christians: following his election victory in 2010, US megachurch pastor Rick Warren prayed for Kagame at his swearing in ceremony, celebrating with him “on behalf of the United States of America”.

Praise God that even in our present evil time He remembers mercy (Hab. 3:2). Give thanks that He has restored relative prosperity and order in Rwanda since a time of great darkness and genocide in 1994. Pray that the Lord who judges and exalts (Psalm 75:7) will grant Paul Kagame wisdom as a leader, that he will relax restrictions on Christian worship and that stability will continue.

From Barnabas Fund contacts

Young Kirgyz convert fighting for life after severe beating by Muslims.

Young Kyrgyz Christian convert fighting for his life after severe beating by Muslims


23 October 2018

Three Muslim men badly beat a Christian convert in the village of Tamchi in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan, on 17 October, leaving him fighting for his life.

The attackers cornered Eldos, a 25-year-old convert from Islam, alone in a courtyard and attempted to force him to say the shahada (the Islamic creed). Recitation of the shahada is considered conversion to Islam. He was viciously beaten and left bleeding with severe concussion, a jaw fracture, knocked-out teeth, an eye injury and suspected brain haemorrhage.

Kygyz converts to Christianity can face violent opposition from Muslim family members and community

Allegedly, the police attempted to disguise the religious motivation for the attack by claiming Eldos was beaten for playing loud music. They forced him to sign a verbal statement they took from him to this effect, before he was taken to hospital. However, his lawyer confirmed that Eldos had been unable to speak at the time because of the injury to his jaw.

At the time of writing, Eldos remains in a life-threatening condition in hospital, where he has undergone surgery to reconstruct his jaw.

Since the introduction of a very restrictive Religion Law in 2009, many Christians in Kyrgyzstan live with constant persecution. In 2017 an increase was seen in the harassment and persecution of Christian schoolchildren; in October a pastor’s grandson was severely beaten at school for being a Christian. In May 2018 a Christian woman in Kyrgyzstan, recently converted from Islam, was held captive in her home and beaten by her Muslim family for refusing to renounce her faith in Christ.

Pray that our brother Eldos in Kyrgyzstan, severely beaten and fighting for his life in hospital, will know the tender lovingkindness of the Lord who makes alive and heals wounds (Deuteronomy 32:39). Ask that he will hold fast in his faith, secure in the knowledge that God will keep and protect us forever from the wicked (Psalm 12:7).

From Barnabas Contacts

Dozens of Christians Killed in Muslim Attack on Market in Kaduna State, Nigeria

More planned killings and destruction by Muslim mob.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Wikipedia, Himalayan Explorer based on work by Uwe Dedering)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslims attacked a market in Kaduna state, in north-central Nigeria, on Thursday (Oct. 18), killing dozens of Christians and burning a church building, sources said.

Area residents said a Muslim at the market in Kasuwan Magani, 36 kilometers (22 miles) south of the city of Kaduna, began yelling “Thief!” in the late afternoon in a move calculated to cause pandemonium ahead of an attack on Christians and their homes and businesses.

“A Muslim raised a false alarm about a thief in the market, which caused stampede, and then other Muslims started chanting ‘Allahu Akbar [the jihadist slogan, God is Greater],’ attacking Christians, burning houses and shops belonging to Christians in the town,” area resident Kefas Mallam told Morning Star News.

The Rev. James Moore of the town’s Evangelical Church Winning…

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Encouragement in the Midst of Suffering

There are no words to describe these killers.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(Voice of the Persecuted) What does it mean to tell a 15 year old Nigerian girl that she is a slave for life. Particularly when she sees or hears that another young woman has been executed.

We were deeply saddened to hear the Boko Haram had executed Hauwa Limon.  She was a 24 year old midwife who worked for the International Red Cross.  Hauwa wanted to help displaced mothers deliver their babies. She was a Muslim yet executed by the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram. Their defense for executing her, she became an apostate when she went to work for the Red Cross. The first local chapter of the Red Cross was established in 1881 at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dansville in New York.

How can our hearts not be saddened over this senseless killing. One can only hope that in her final moments she cried out to the…

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Boko Haram threatens to kill Christian teenager

Brave girl!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(Voice of the Persecuted) Urgent prayers needed for Nigerian Christian teenager threatened to be executed today by Boko Haram. 15 year old Leah Sharibu was among over 100 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a school in Dapchi, Northern Nigeria on Feb. 19, 2018. It was a kidnapping that mirrored what happened in Chibok four years earlier when 276 girls were abducted from the school in Chibok, Borno State. A month after the Dapchi abduction on March 22 the militants released 104 of the schoolgirls, with the exception of Leah. The teenager was the only Christian in the group. Boko Haram members told Leah to renounce her Christian faith and become a Muslim or they would not let her go. The Muslim schoolgirls begged her to do it and go home with them, but she refused to deny her faith in Jesus and is still…

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Twelve Christians Arrested in Nyala, South Darfur

 

No Charges Issued by the National Intelligence and Security Services

10/15/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 13, 12 Christian men from Darfur were arbitrarily arrested by officers from the Sudan National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) for mingling with the local Muslim community. Reverend Kuwa Shamal confirmed, “The arrests were done at Nyala market while the young men were interacting with Islam adherents, building rapport for witnessing, when Sudan’s security authorities surrounded them and led them to the police station, handcuffed.”
Rev. Kuwa Shamal (right)

Darfur is a predominantly Muslim, war-torn region. The constant conflict between the Arab Muslims and Christians led to the secession of South Sudan in 2011, after which Sudan pressed harder for adopting stronger Islamic policies.

Commenting on the incident, a lawyer who represents Christians prosecuted in Sudanese courts, expressed, “Until now, the Christians have not been asked what was happening or given a chance to explain what they were doing. This is a total breach of the law of the land that gives freedom of worship and sharing of one’s faith. It is also unlawful to detain anyone without trial.”

Adding to the matter, Rev. Kuwa said, “Some of the arrested men are disciples that I baptized in 2015 when they left Islam and converted to Christianity. The detainees have been doing a recommendable work of sharing the Good News in Darfur, and we pray for their immediate and unconditional release.”

Christians in Sudan who convert from Islam often face discrimination and hostility as a result of their faith. They are considered apostates who deserve the death penalty, according to radical Muslims throughout Sudan.

While speaking with ICC, Pastor Abdulrahem Yoshua of the Sudan Christian Assembly (SCA) sympathized with the arrested brothers and petitioned “all Christians in Sudan and all over the world to stand with the 12 during this trying moment. I sympathize with them because I have gone through the same ordeal a few years ago.”

Another American Missionary in Turkey targeted.

This past Saturday I was arrested by the police during a routine ID check at the Ankara train station. I had arrived to speak at a youth event, and then to preach at the international church the following day. Others filled in and so that wasn’t a problem, though it did cause a lot of believers in Ankara to pray for me. 🙂

Praise God, I’ve been set free, and have a 15-day visa. Need to talk with the lawyers to decide next moves. Thanks to all who have prayed, I’m doing great, glad to be back with my wife and other loved ones.David Byle

More background.

Some of the members of the youth group spent several hours Saturday evening going from police station to police station, trying to find where they had taken me. I had been taken to the main police station’s terrorism department’s jail, which obviously was not open to visitors.

For many hours Saturday I was interrogated by multiple policeman, who painstakingly typed up my answers in their computer. One of the interrogators was obviously from the secret police, as he knew the names of all sorts of Christian workers and activities around the country, and asked about my connections with them.

They asked so many questions about so many things that several times I thought to myself that I wouldn’t need to write up my own memoirs later on, if only they would share with me all the copious notes they had written about me. 🙂

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon I was released and given a 15 day exit paper, during which time I must leave the country. They told me I’ll have to pay a fine for overstaying my visa, but it wouldn’t cost much, and if I do they wouldn’t put an entry ban on my file, thus enabling me to return on a tourist visa.

My friends and coworkers were working feverishly to help me while I was in there. Andrew Brunson’s lawyer, Cem Halavurt agreed to help me, since my own lawyer felt that since they were apparently accusing me of a crime (doing things “linked to terrorist groups,” though they ended up not pressing any charges) that it was no longer an area she was able to help with. He sent another lawyer who managed to visit me in the prison Sunday morning for about 30 minutes. Cem himself had bought an air ticket to fly to Ankara today (Monday) to help, but thankfully didn’t have to because I was released yesterday.

It’s hard to know exactly why they decided not to deport me (as they were planning to do on Saturday). It could be that they don’t want to disturb relations with America right when things seem to be getting better now that Andrew Brunson has been released. Or it could have been the Supreme Court decision from February 2017, which explicitly prevents the government from deporting me until they have time to look at my case and make a decision. Maybe it was a bit of both.

Whatever the case, I was happy to take the many opportunities that arose to explain the good news of Jesus to various different policemen. Even now, just a few minutes ago, when Ulrike and I arrived at the train station for our return journey, two of the policemen with whom I had spent so much time on Saturday came up to me to greet me and wish me well on my return journey.

I’ve met with some church leaders, some of which seem to think that our time of ministry here in Turkey is coming to an end. Others are expecting I’ll be able to stay, somehow, someway. I got a call from a staff member of the US Embassy this afternoon, who also encouraged me to make sure I leave the country in 15 days. They are aware of my situation, and have also informed people at the Istanbul Consulate, in case I need any help from them.

Tomorrow will be an important day, as we meet with lawyers, ministry colleagues, fellow BCC leadership team members, members of the BCC board, colleagues and leaders from our mission sending agency, to decide what steps to take next.

It might be as simple as making an exit trip out of Turkey, returning shortly thereafter with a tourist visa, then applying and (highly unlikely) receiving a residence permit. Or they may let me come back in on a 3-month tourist visa, but then need to be away from the country for 3 months before coming again. Or they may put a one year, 5 year or permanent entry ban on me (despite promising not to–one never knows).

These last two days Ulrike and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support, not only from believers here in Turkey, but from literally all around the world. It means a lot to us and encourages us greatly to know we’re not alone, that we’re a part of such a great family, God’s family.

It goes without saying that we value your prayers as we consider what to do in this situation. We’ll try to send more information in the upcoming weeks as things become clear. Our hearts are at peace. We long to stay in Turkey with the people we have grown to love here, but are resigned to do whatever God wants. To him be all the glory. Amen.

David & Ulrike

What would your church do in the face of this threat??

Montagnard House Church in Central Vietnam Faces Shutdown

Local Authorities Plan to Close the Church on October 14

UPDATE??
10/13/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 7, local authorities attempted to shut down a Montagnard church and took their leader in for interrogation in Daklak Province, Vietnam.

On Sunday morning, more than 20 churchgoers gathered at the home of Christian leader Ama Sim for service. Approximately 13 officials from the Cuor Dang commune and Cu M’Gar district suddenly entered the home as the group was praying.

Officials asked the members to stop their religious activities and leave. The group refused and responded by saying that if any action were to be taken, it must be after their service.

Given the cramped space, the officials could not enter and only stood at the door until the group finished. They then demanded that Ama Sim be taken back to their office for investigation. The church refused, worrying that he might disappear if taken into custody, so they stood their ground until the officials relented.

Finally, the officials threatened them, saying, “We are giving you [a] warning this time, but next Sunday if you still gather, we will bring more crowds to shut you down.”

The church is asking for prayer for the Ede Border Evangelical Group, in Cuor Dang Commune, M’Gar District, Daklak Province.

The communist government in Vietnam is nervous about large gatherings of people for fear of ‘subversive activities.’ Many religious gatherings fall victim to this suspicion, with believers often attacked, detained, or imprisoned on trumped up charges.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Montagnard Christians in Vietnam have long faced persecution and discrimination for their ethnicity, Christian faith, and role of fighting alongside the US during the Vietnam War. It is shameful that the government continues to violate the freedom of belief and religion, as enshrined in Vietnam’s constitution, especially toward minorities.”

For interviews with Gina Goh, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

Pakistan: Islamic groups threaten Supreme Court judges ahead of Asia Bibi ruling

The evil blasphemy saga continues-let us pray MOB RULE LOSES!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(World Watch Monitor) Radical religious groups in Pakistan have called for mass protests and threatened the judges of the country’s Supreme Court in Islamabad ahead of their ruling in the blasphemy case of Christian woman Asia Bibi.

The hardline Islamic party, the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), threatened the judges in a press conference on YouTube, saying that if Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, were to receive clemency, the justices would meet a “horrible” end, reported AFP.

Meanwhile another religious group, the Red Mosque in Islamabad, asked the Supreme Court to order that, if Asia Bibi is released, she would not be able to leave the country.

“Western forces are trying to get Asia Bibi out of the country but she should be hanged,” the petitioner, Hafiz Ihtesham Ahmed, told AFP.

The TLP also announced it would hold a rally on Friday, 12 October, and on social…

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It is believed Aasia Bibi will be released.

LATEST Below!

AT LAST! BUT SHE AND HER FAMILY WILL NEED ASYLUM OUTSIDE PAKISTAN!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Asia Bibi to Be Acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court

Apex Court’s Decision Brings Close to Pakistan’s Most Visible Case of Persecution

 

10/08/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the final appeal for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad, was heard by Pakistan’s Supreme Court earlier today, October 8. According to sources reached by ICC, the three-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, will reverse Bibi’s death sentence.

According to these sources, although the decision to reverse the judgment against Bibi has been made, the court has ordered the media not to comment until the decision is formally announced. This formal announcement could be made at any time.

“I’m very hopeful for Asia’s release and acquittal,” Sajid Christopher, President of Human Friends Organization, told ICC. “[Bibi’s lawyer], Advocate Saif-Ul-Malook, prepared very well. He pointed out all the contradictions in the FIR and witness statements. I am very confident that Asia is innocent.”

“I am hopeful of justice being served,” Cecil Chaudhry, Executive Director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, said. “I am hopeful that sanity prevails and [Asia] gets her rightful justice.”

In October 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan indefinitely adjourned Bibi’s appeal after one of the three justices hearing the case recused himself. Since then, Bibi’s appeal was pending before the Supreme Court.

“Asia Bibi’s case is an example of the widespread abuse of the blasphemy laws and persecution facing Pakistani Christians,” Peter Jacob, Executive Director of Center for Social Justice, told ICC. “Law enforcement and justice system should consider that the victims of blasphemy laws undergo enormous suffering years before they get relief from the courts.”

Bibi has been on death row since her conviction and death sentence were announced by the Sessions Court in District Nankana, Punjab in 2010. Her High Court appeal was also delayed and rescheduled seven times, but was finally held on October 16, 2014 at the Lahore High Court. During that appeal, Justice Anwar-ul-Haq, one member of a two-judge bench, confirmed Bibi’s death sentence. On July 22, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pakistan accepted Bibi’s petition for her case to be reviewed and suspended her death sentence.

The blasphemy accusation against Bibi is based on flimsy evidence from a dispute that took place in June 2009 between Bibi and a group of Muslim women with whom she had been harvesting berries in Sheikhupura. The Muslim women became angry with Bibi when she, a Christian whom they considered unclean, drank water from the same water bowl as the Muslim women. An argument between Bibi and the Muslim women ensued and the Muslim women later reported to a local cleric that Bibi had blasphemed against the prophet Muhammad.

ICC’s Regional Manager, William Stark, said, “It is amazing to see Asia finally receive justice after almost a decade in prison. It has been nine long years since Asia had this false blasphemy accusation completely change her life. We here at ICC are hopeful that the Supreme Court will soon formally announce Asia’s acquittal. It is ICC’s hope that, with this decision, the Supreme Court will lay a foundation for reforming Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws and signal to both Pakistan and the world that justice will prevail over extremism, even when a religious minority is accused of blasphemy.”

Appeal starts Monday October 8th 2018

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has said that the Supreme Court will hear Asia Bibi’s appeal against her blasphemy conviction “soon”, and that he will preside over the bench.

 

In October, it was reported that the Supreme Court was likely to hear Aasia [Asia] Bibi’s blasphemy case during the next couple of months..

 

Describing her case, Bibi said she was working in a field when she was asked to fetch water. Because she is a Christian, some of her Muslim co-workers objected, saying that she should not touch the water vessel as she would make it unclean. An argue began and harsh words were exchanged. Bibi claims the women later accused her of blasphemy in conspiracy with another Muslim woman. Bibi maintains her innocence.

But let us not forget others imprisoned or on death row for blasphemy who are innocent namely IMRAN GHAFUR (2009), ZAFAR BHATTI and FARHAN AZIZ.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

free-asia-bibi-death-sentence

LAHORE: The Supreme Court is due to hear the final appeal against the execution of Asia Bibi, a Christian, accused for blasphemy, on Thursday. Some insist it is not just a fight for one life, but a battle for the nation’s soul as the state walks a razor-sharp line between upholding human rights and appeasing populist hardliners.

This will be the final appeal for Asia Bibi, some six years after she was sentenced to death, accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water.

“There is no question that what is at stake is the very soul of the state and Pakistan society: does Pakistan respect the rights of the most vulnerable? Does it defend those rights against spurious allegations even where those allegations involved matters that are sacred to most Pakistanis?” Mustafa Qadri, an expert on human rights in South…

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More murders northern Kenya

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Two Christian Teachers Murdered in Northeastern Kenya

Islamic Radicals Continue to Target Christian Teachers in Mandera

Al shabaab

10/11/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the morning of October 10, Somali Islamic militants ambushed a school at 1:00 a.m. in Mandera East and bombed the teachers’ house. As a result, two non-local teachers were killed and three others were severely injured. Non-local teachers living in northeastern Kenya are commonly targeted by Muslim radicals because they are a predominantly Christian group.

The two victims, Johnstone Okumu and Simon Wekesa, taught at Arabia High School which is situated along the porous Kenya-Somalia border, a terrorist hotbed. While speaking with ICC, the senior police commander of Mandera confirmed, “We have lost two teachers to a terrorist attack early this morning at Arabia Boys School. We are already pursuing the attackers in collaboration with our forces in Somalia in case they have crossed the border.”

Several teachers have expressed their concern about the continued hostility and spate of attacks targeting teachers and non-locals who live and work in northeastern Kenya.

“It is unfortunate that innocent teachers who are out to bring light and open up the northeastern region are being slaughtered time to time just because of their faith,” said Mr. Martin Kamutu, a teacher in Mandera. “It is painful to lose our colleagues through such a heinous act of cowardice. Our hearts bleed because even after dedicating our time and professionalism in serving this community, they still hate Christians.”

Esita Katunge, a senior teacher in Elwak, Mandera, expressed, “Non-local teachers have suffered enough. The government declined to give us transfers to safer school and promised to protect us, but until now security has not improved.”

Rev. John* of Mandera said, “This is another bad example of what religion can do. We are losing Christians at a very high rate in Mandera. Last month we lost five to terrorism and now again we have lost two teachers. We ask the international community and human rights groups to get involved in northern Kenya.”

This attack on Christian teachers in northeastern Kenya took place barely eight months after three teachers of Qarsa Primary School were killed in a similar way on February 16, 2018. In 2014, 28 teachers were massacred after al-Shabaab militants attacked a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera, singling out Christians passengers.

Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “It is sad that those serving and teaching in northeastern Kenya are often targeted and attacked for their faith. The border with Somalia must be secured and the terrorist group al-Shabaab must be stopped. We hope to see these killings end and for teachers to be able to practice whatever faith they choose in safety.”

Christians are still second class citizens in Egypt.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Church Legalization Remains Hot Issue Seven Years After Maspero Massacre

Security Forces Remain Complicit in Christian Persecution

10/09/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) and Egypt’s Christian community are commemorating today as the seventh anniversary of the Maspero Massacre. On October 9, 2011, the Egyptian army killed dozens and injured hundreds who were protesting the government’s closure of an Aswan church. Seven years later, churches are regularly closed and security forces remain complicit in a number of attacks against Christians.

On the day of the incident, Egyptians peacefully gathered in Cairo to demand equality after an extremist mob burned and looted a church in Aswan. Security forces responded by closing the church. Protesters gathered and the military responded with violence in what was regarded as an attempt to sever Christians from the rest of Egyptian society.

One witness told ICC at the time, “The army and police were waiting for us about 200 meters away from the Maspero TV building. They started firing at us before two army armored vehicles came at great speed and drove into the crowds, going backwards and forwards, mowing people under their wheels.”

Those responsible for attacking the protesters have never been held accountable. Today, the situation for Egypt’s Christians has worsened and church legalization remains a contentious issue. Security forces continue to actively encourage the marginalization of Christians from Egyptian society.

“In Egypt’s constitution, it is said that Egypt is a Muslim country and the country’s religion is Islam,” explained Karim, a Bible student, to ICC. “With this item in the constitution, it gives the idea to radical Muslims that having a church is not part of the Islamic country and that Christians are not a part of the Islamic community. Therefore, they condone having night clubs, but not having a church.”

Churches seeking official recognition are at an increased risk of mob violence. While the government has passed legislation purported to make it easier for churches to acquire legalization, the process is slow and security forces maintain the ability to indefinitely close any church for vague reasons.

Sami, a Christian factory owner, stated, “You can’t ignore the inheritance which is the mind of a Muslim person who has been raised on the idea that approving the building of a church is against Islamic teaching. And now you are coming to a committee which is responsible to study the cases and asking them to study [thousands of] cases of church legalization, what do you expect?”

There are multiple examples of the security forces either delaying their response to attacks or idly standing by. The village of Sultan has experienced five attacks since July because of this. A statement issued last month by the diocese warned, “The extremism in the neighboring village of Sultan has been experienced for weeks because of the lack of deterrence. The infection has spread.”

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The Maspero Massacre was a brutal crackdown against Egypt’s Christians, who continue to suffer endless violence and hardship. It is their basic human right to worship and pray inside a church. But through slow bureaucracy, a neglect of justice, and a misapplication of security, Christians are denied religious freedom. The government must take concrete steps toward rectifying these wrongs and ensuring the protection of Christians’ civil rights.”

Iran is a vile regime!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Iran’s Judges Further Criminalize Christianity

Two Believers Sentenced for Affirming Basic Christian Doctrines

10/04/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on September 22, 2018, Iran’s judiciary affirmed the jail sentences of two Christians. The verdict wrote that believing in the Bible’s authority and Jesus as Lord are attacks against Islam. Saheb Fadaie was sentenced to 18 months and Fatemeh Bakhteri to 12 months in prison for “spreading propaganda against the regime.”
Saheb and Fatemeh.

Dr. Mike Ansari of Heart4Iran, an Iranian Christian partnership platform, told ICC, “If there is no codified law with respect to a particular issue, judges must deliver their judgments on the basis of authoritative Islamic sources. Iranian courts typically follow the lead of conservative clerics such as Ayatollah Khomeini who viewed apostasy a crime punishable by death.”

“In the last few years, most extrajudicial killings in Iran have been slowly replaced with arbitrary arrest and detention,” Dr. Ansari continued. “Most of the arrested individuals are coerced to divulge information about their house church activities and those of their friends, under the threat of criminal persecution or arrest of family members.”

Judge Mashaullah Ahmadzadeh was one of the judges involved in the sentencing. He is the head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, Branch 26. He is heavily complicit in Iran’s human rights abuses, and has presided over several cases which led to the imprisonment of Christians. The purpose of the Revolutionary Court is to try ideological opponents of the Islamic regime.

Judge Ahmad Zargar is currently on the European Union’s sanctions list for serious human rights violations, including overseeing miscarriages of justice. In addition to his role as an appeal judge, he is a hojjatolislam, a clerical position immediately below that of an ayatollah. He presided over Fadaie’s appeal, as well as those of several other Christian prisoners.

Both Christians were arrested while attending a house church in May 2017. Fadaie is currently serving a separate jail sentence in Evin Prison, Iran’s most notorious jail. Their sentencing comes at a time when the Iranian regime has increased the amount of pressure on the Church.

“As Christianity grows rapidly in Iran, the Islamic government and the clergy in power are alarmed. Their only strategy to slow down this growth is through a campaign of fear, violence, and intimidation… We expect the persecution in Iran will increase as the Islamic government feels threatened by the spread of Christianity among Muslims in Iran,” explained Dr. Hormoz Shariat, president and founder of Iran Alive Ministries.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The suppression of religious freedom and abuse of humans rights is what we have come to expect from Iran’s judiciary. The judiciary is not only sentencing Christians to jail—they are sending them to be tortured while imprisoned and harassed for life by the Intelligence Ministry. By deepening its criminalization of the Christian faith, the judiciary is inflicting significant and irreversible trauma on believers.”

Four Children, Grandmother among 17 Christians Slain in Attack by Muslim Herdsmen in Nigeria

These stories are becoming absolutely and terribly regular and heart-wrenching and I hold the Nigerian Government at least partly responsible for doing little or nothing to stop these cowardly murderers.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Muslim Fulani herdsmen have become heavily armed in recent years. (File photo)

(Morning Star News) – Armed Fulani herdsmen accompanied by militants in Nigerian army uniforms killed 17 Christians in their homes in the heart of Jos, north-central Nigeria, on Thursday (Sept. 27), including four children, area sources said.

At about 7:30 p.m. in an area known as Rukuba Road, the assailants broke into one home shooting randomly and killed 14 members of one family, including 15-year-old Ishaya Kogi, 17-year-old Jonathan Kogi, Cynthia Kogi, 22, and Lucky Kogi, 25, their uncle told Morning Star News.

Two of Lucky Kogi’s children, 3-year-old Majesty Lucky and Blessing Lucky, 14, were also killed in the assault, he said.

“When the Fulani herdsmen came, they shot into the house randomly, breaking and forcing their way into rooms shooting defenseless women and children and anyone in sight,” the mournful Rogu Audu, who lost his…

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More than 20 Christians drown escaping Fulani atackers

More guilt on the security forces of Nigeria.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

The five villages are all situated along the Benue River. (World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch Monitor) A pastor was one of at least 27 people who lost their lives following fresh attacks carried out by Fulani militants on five predominantly Christian communities in northeast Nigeria in recent days. Many of them drowned as they attempted to escape via the local river.

Various sources contacted by World Watch Monitor confirmed that the attacks took place between 13 to 16 September, and affected the villages of Gon, Bolki, Ndumusu, Yotti and Yanga, in Numan local government area (LGA), Adamawa state.

This is the same area where 3,000 homes were destroyed in December 2017, after fighter jets sent by the Nigerian Air Force were alleged to have fired rockets at villages where Fulani herdsmen were attacking Christian residents, according to a February report by Amnesty International.

A local pastor, who wanted…

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Leah Sharibu’s Father, Church Raise Plea after Boko Haram Threat

I believe it would be right to pray for the utter destruction of Boko Haram unless some repent and desert and lead a bunch of skilled mercenaries or SAS to their hideaways.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Parents in Chibok, Nigeria mourn the loss of girls kidnapped in 2014. (VOA)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Following disclosure of a video by Boko Haram Islamic extremists threatening to kill Christian high school student Leah Sharibu within one month, Christian leaders in Nigeria have declared three days of prayer and fasting.

In the video disclosed last week, the terrorists are shown killing an aid worker. In a comment to Morning Star News, the 15-year-old Leah’s father, Nathan Sharibu, pleaded with the terrorists to have mercy on his daughter, who was not released with more than 100 kidnapped high school girls earlier this year because she refused to convert to Islam.

“I plead that the leaders of the group have mercy on my daughter and spare her life,” Sharibu told Morning Star News by phone on Monday (Sept. 24). “I also want to plead with the Nigerian government…

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Chinese Dissident Gao Zhisheng probably detained again

Latest:

Christian Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Re-imprisoned
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China Continues to Hold and Presumably Torture Nobel Nominee Gao Zhisheng
 

 

26th September 2018 – Nearly twelve months 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 13th 2017, 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.”

 

 

LATEST..

When Chinese authorities released Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng from prison on Aug.7th 2017, 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

 

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.

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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)

Nigerian girls still in captivity…


120 Days Later: Leah Sharibu Still in Captivity for Her Faith

15-Year-Old Christian Girl Still Being Held Captive Four Months After Release of Peers

Leah Sharibu

Update

 

 

Boko Haram has threatened to kill Leah Sharibu in one month unless the Nigerian government meets its demands. One of three humanitarian workers the terrorists abducted in March was killed this week as the government refuses to negotiate with Boko Haram.

Please pray urgently for Leah’s release!

Read the full story

 

07/18/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Leah Sharibu is still being held by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. It has been 120 days since the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls. Sadly, Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl among them, is still in the clutches of Boko Haram. At present, there are no known efforts by the President Buhari-led Nigerian government toward securing Leah’s release, nor the release of the 105 primarily Christian Chibok schoolgirls who have been held captive by Boko Haram since 2014.

ICC spoke with Leah’s father, Nathan, who shared, “There is still no news about our daughter. We need help from whosoever to mount pressure on the federal government of Nigeria to do whatever it can to get our daughter released.” Leah’s father, who is still working and trying to maintain his family’s life in northeastern Nigeria, said of Leah’s mother, “She is feeling lonely and I don’t want her to get too depressed.”  He calls on Christians everywhere to continue to pray for the family.

Not only has their 15-year-old daughter been in captivity for a total of five months since the abduction in February, but they also had to send their son to a school that is further away because they fear for his safety. In the midst of these difficult choices, the family continues to live in a region that is vulnerable to attacks by Boko Haram. Just days ago, the terrorists struck a military base close to them, causing many casualties.

Controversy surrounded the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls. Some saw the Nigerian authorities as complicit in the saga. Some believed that public funds were advanced to the insurgent group in order to secure the release of the girls, thereby arming the group to continue its murderous acts. Most wondered why the only Christian girl among them was not released if there was no religious, anti-Christian motivation. Her freed classmates reported that it was because Leah refused Boko Haram’s demand to renounce Christ and convert to Islam.

Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “With the build-up of political activities toward the 2019 elections, it is unclear if the release of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok schoolgirls is a priority to the Buhari administration any longer. We, as the concerned international community, must continue to work on behalf of Leah and the other Chibok girls still in captivity. We must not let people forget the danger and suffering that these courageous young women are facing daily.”

 

 

Did you know another 100 or so Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped recently but released shortly thereafter no doubt as an exchange for Boko Haram insurgents in prison?

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
www.persecution.org | E-mail: icc@persecution.org
Media Contact:
Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator
E-mail: press@persecution.org
(301)-859-3842 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

All but One of the Dapchi Schoolgirls Released, the Only Christian

 

Boko Haram Keeps Christian Girl Who Refused to Renounce Faith

03/22/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Boko Haram has released all but one of the Dapchi schoolgirls who were kidnapped on February 19. The only girl who was not released is also the only Christian among the group. Her name is Leah Sharibu and she is only 15 years old. Do pray for her.

The girls were released by Boko Haram in a ceremony in the town of Dapchi. The terrorist organization reached an agreement with the Nigerian government that there would be no interference with the return. In the early hours of March 21, Boko Haram drove into the town with nine trucks and unloaded all of the girls, except the five that died during the kidnaping, and Sharibu.

One of girls who was released confirmed to The PUNCH“One girl, Leah, is still with them [Boko Haram] because she is a Christian. About five are dead but it was not as if they killed them – it was because of the stress.”

Saddened by the continued absence of his daughter, Nata Sharibu, Leah’s father, told RayPower 100.5, a Nigerian radio station, “They gave her the option of converting in order to be released, but she said she will never become a Muslim.” He continued, saying that he is “very sad [that she has not been freed] but [is] also jubilating, too, because [his] daughter did not denounce Christ.” 

It has also been nearly four years since the abduction of the 276 schoolgirls from Chibok. Today, there are still more than 100 schoolgirls missing from that incident. The vast majority of the Chibok girls were Christian as well. Since the incident in Dapchi, Borno and Yobe states have closed down all boarding schools in order to protect their children. This, however, is one of the main goals of Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden.” Giving in to the group’s goals will only further incite them to continue their attacks and abductions.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, stated, “It is truly joyous that these girls were able to rejoin their families. However, we wish to see Leah returned as well. This cowardly act has shown that the terrorist organization truly despises Christians and their faith. We call on the Nigerian government to act swiftly to secure the release of Leah and the remaining missing girls from Chibok.”


For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator:press@persecution.org

More Myanmar genocide

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Syrian Christians who have survived kidnapping by IS struggle to return to their homes – will you help?
Help Kachin Christians facing genocide in Myanmar (Burma)
Kachin state
“Because I am Christian, they made me imitate Jesus on a cross like the crucifixion. We were treated like animals because they look down on Kachins.” One victim in Myanmar (Burma) described being humiliated for his faith by the Army.

The desperate plight of Kachin Christians facing brutal repression from the military in Myanmar (Burma), was highlighted in a U.N. report released this week, featuring over 800 individual testimonies from victims.

Barnabas has provided educational materials and helped to set up class rooms so that children will not miss out on learning
Barnabas has provided educational materials and helped to set up class rooms so that children will not miss out on learning

The report makes an urgent call for an international genocide tribunal to bring to account Army officials for over 40 years of cruel genocide against Rohingya Muslims, and acknowledges identical tactics of ethnic cleansing and persecution against the mainly-Christian Kachin people.

Barnabas aid through Christian partners reached homeless Kachin

10,000 Kachin Christians fled from aerial bombardment in April this year. Sky news reported other aid agencies were unable operate in the region, but Barnabas was already getting practical help to displaced Kachin people, working through our local Christian partners.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we have provided rice, dried fish, tarpaulins (for shelter), sleeping mats, medicines, underwear, kitchen supplies, and other needs for approximately 5,400 Kachin people fleeing attacks. At one camp, a kindergarten of 184 children has been provided with a generator and can study in the evening without risk of candles setting their shelter on fire.

Can you help these courageous believers return to a normal life?

These courageous believers have been through relentless trauma and hardship. Many displaced Christians now have basic shelter, but life in a displaced peoples camp is far from easy and now a food shortage is reported.

Displaced Kachin people are living in basic bamboo and tarpaulin constructed accommodation in the IDP camps
Displaced Kachin people are living in basic bamboo and tarpaulin constructed accommodation in the IDP camps

With your support, they can have access the basic essentials they need to return to a semblance of normal life.

One grateful Christian grandmother, who got help from Barnabas Fund, said, “I am old, but I am worried about the future of my children and grandchildren. Thank you for coming and visiting us. Thank you for bringing aid and thank you for praying for me.”

Will you be an answer to their prayers today?

Please pray for these refugees

181 Montagnard Refugees Still Detained in Bangkok

By Gina Goh

09/19/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – More than three weeks have passed since Thai authorities arrested and detained 181 mostly Christian Montagnard refugees on the outskirts of Bangkok on August 28. International Christian Concern’s (ICC) sources have confirmed that all of the adults were sent to Immigration Detention Center (IDC) last week, while 50 children, including young boys, girls, and infants, were sent to three different shelters.

A local source who wishes to remain anonymous told ICC that these shelters “are not ‘migrant shelters,’ but rather shelters designed for Thai children who cannot stay in their homes. These shelters are not prepared to care for large numbers of children who do not speak Thai, or for breastfeeding children separated from their mothers.”

Despite local rights groups’ attempts to visit the children, they have not been granted permission. This means that these children have not seen their parents, nor any familiar faces from local NGOs, for nearly three weeks. Separation anxiety and fear will take a toll on these children’s health with each passing day.

Montagnards, also known as the Degar people, are an indigenous people group of approximately one million living in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Persecuted for their ethnicity and Christian faith, many of them chose to flee their homeland to seek a future where they can be treated with dignity and enjoy the freedoms that they were deprived of in Vietnam, such as basic rights to hộ khẩu (household registration that grants Vietnamese citizens access to public services) or the freedom to worship at churches without government interference.

They set foot in Bangkok, Thailand, given the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has an office there and can help process refugee or asylum status for them. Although Thailand itself is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, and as a result rules out legal obligations to protect refugees or legally recognize that status, many still hope that they could use Thailand as a springboard to a third country if they are fortunate.

“For the Montagnards who weren’t arrested, they are living in fear every day. They all got kicked out from their apartments by the landlords because the police came to harass the landlords.”

In fact, most of these recently detained Montagnards have either refugee or asylum status, along with others in the process of applying for one.

The latest arrest came as a shock especially to the local NGOs working on refugee issues, “since UNHCR and Thai immigration appeared to have set an agreement in place since January to not arrest anyone registered with UNHCR,” a source familiar with the matter informed ICC.

He added, “This [arrangement] is potentially even more devastating since Thailand has usually allowed children to stay with their parents.” From an advocacy perspective, it is also disheartening because the NGOs “have seen significant progress in the past 12 months, with bail being open, fewer arrests, and government moving towards their own screening mechanism, but this is a major, major setback and a scale of arrest we have not seen in years.”

They hope that this was merely a result of inter-governmental miscommunication, not something that the government will continue to implement down the road.

Grace Bui, the Thailand Program Director at the Montagnard Assistance Project also shared her concerns with ICC, “For the Montagnards who weren’t arrested, they are living in fear every day. They all got kicked out from their apartments by the landlords because the police came to harass the landlords.” She continued to highlight the biggest challenge for her right now, which is “finding housing for them. We also need to find money so they can put down deposits and first [month’s] rent. It is not easy because most of the landlords in the areas are afraid and don’t want to rent to the Montagnards. Many of them are hiding in the park or temples.”

Human rights groups have called on the Thai government to release these detainees, yet nothing has been done. Bui is determined to free them with a petition calling on Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to grant them freedom immediately. Click here to voice your support for their release and continue to lift these Montagnard refugees up in prayer.

Religiously Motivated Acid Attack Killed Pakistani Christian

Awfully wicked persecution. May the attackers be brought to justice.

Link

He subsequently died:

09/19/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) learned that Faraz Badar, a 26-year-old Christian resident of Gujranwala, died in a Lahore hospital on September 15, 2018. He succumbed to burn injuries that he received when unidentified attackers sprayed acid on him during the early hours of September 5, 2018 in Gujranwala. Faraz was brought to Meo Hospital in Lahore when his condition deteriorated.

Badar Masih, Faraz’s father, informed ICC that “Faraz was a young graduate and serving as Assistant Admin Officer in a local hospital for about two years. On September 5 at around 2:00 a.m, when he was going home from the hospital some unknown assailants sprayed acid upon him.” This is not the first time Faraz has been attacked.

Masih continued, “A few months back, Faraz was beaten by some men who were covering their faces. However, we did not report it to the police, as Christians are often not heard in police stations.”

Talking to ICC over the telephone, Faraz’s mother shared that “Faraz often complained that some of his Muslim staff members were unhappy with his excellent performance and they disliked Faraz for his honesty and Christian background.” While she admitted that they had no evidence of the allegations, it is not an uncommon occurrence.

While reflecting on her son’s life, Faraz’s mother added, “My son was running my kitchen. He was very gentle to everyone in the vicinity. He had no enmity. He was an active member of the Church. However, he was usually not given a day off to go to Church for Sunday prayer service.” 

Masih claimed, “My son was targeted for his Christian faith. I don’t think we, the Christians, are safe in Pakistan. However, it is our country and we love it with our soul and spirit. We won’t seek refuge.”

“We [still] want justice from the government,” pleaded the mother. Masih’s family is not alone in their experience.

In April, a Christian girl named Asma Yaqoob was attacked by a Rizwan, a Muslim man, for refusing his marriage proposal. She later died during treatment on April 22, 2018.

Social activist Ayube Qaiser told ICC, “It is sad to note that increasing religious hatred and intolerance manifesting in different incidents is making life unbearable for religious minorities in the country. Their trust in the state as a protected citizen is being damaged badly. Often Christians are not accepted by their Muslim colleagues. They face different false allegations until they are removed from their post…This particular case is simply target killing on account of religious motivation.”

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

According to (CIP) a young Pakistani Christian suffered life-changing injuries during an acid attack, a crime most often seen against women. Gujranwala’s Faraz Baddar was attacked by unknown men and details emerged that Faraz has been attacked previously and tortured by the attackers.

Faraz is employed at a local hospital in Gujranwala. He worked as manager in the hospital. Purportedly, the attack is a result of religion based dislike. Social media reports claim that the attack comes as a result of extreme emotional hatred due to his Christian faith. It is speculated that he was disliked, because his co-workers did not like being working under the authority of a Christian.

Please pray for his safety and healing.

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Brave Chinese Church Leaders Declaration.

Would you sign this? Would your pastor and elders?

China’s church leaders take a brave stand for freedom of religion


18 September 2018

More than two hundred Chinese church leaders have issued a brave declaration calling for religious freedom, in an echo of the stands taken by German church leaders against the Nazis in the 1930s and Romanian church leaders against the Communist regime in the 1980s.

The persecution of religion, but especially Christianity, is growing in China. On 10 September, the Chinese government announced new draft measures to control online religious activity that will ban the live streaming of church services, requiring organisations publishing religious information online to obtain a licence. The regulations also prohibit foreign pastors from preaching online.

Earlier this month, authorities shut down one of the largest unofficial churches in Beijing – such congregations are known as “house churches” – after church leaders had refused to allow government authorities to install CCTV cameras inside the building.

Christian leaders have witnessed a pattern of increased pressure since new religion regulations came into force in February 2018.

In response to the rise in persecution of Christians, 279 Chinese pastors issued a public declaration on 12 September 2018 calling on the government to allow full religious freedom. These Chinese church leaders have shown remarkable courage in speaking truth to power. Their declaration concludes, “For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses – even the loss of our freedom and of our lives.” (The declaration is reproduced in full below.)

It is not the first time that Christian leaders have taken a stand. In 1934, a group of Evangelical church leaders in Germany issued the Barmen Declaration. It rejected all state control of church activity and religion and thus placed the German Evangelical Church on a collision course with Hitler’s Nazi regime. Among the supporters of the declaration was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and theologian who later died in a concentration camp. Around thirty-five church leaders in Romania released a similar proclamation in 1989 against the attempts of Ceaușescu’s Communist regime to control the church and curtail religious freedom. They asked for churches to be permitted to worship freely and to be able to train their children in the ways of the Lord.

Today, it is Chinese pastors who are bravely taking a stand for religious freedom in the face of state repression. The freedoms they call for in their joint declaration are the same as those that Barnabas Fund is asking to be enshrined in law within the UK and to be protected for Christians globally.

A Joint Statement by Pastors: A Declaration for the Sake of the Christian Faith

We are a group of Chinese Christians, chosen by the Most High God to be His humble servants, serving as pastors for Christian churches throughout various towns and cities.

We believe and are obligated to teach the world that the one true and living Triune God is the Creator of the universe, of the world, and of all people. All men should worship God and not any man or thing. We believe and are obligated to teach the world that all men, from national leaders to beggars and prisoners, have sinned. They will die once and then be judged in righteousness. Apart from the grace and redemption of God, all men would eternally perish. We believe and are obligated to teach the world that the crucified and risen Jesus is the only Head of the global church, the sole Saviour of all mankind, and the everlasting Ruler and supreme Judge of the universe. To all who repent and believe in Him, God will give eternal life and an eternal Kingdom.

In September, 2017, the State Council issued the new “Regulations on the Administration of Religious Affairs” and began implementing these regulations in February, 2018. Ever since then, Christian churches across China have suffered varying degrees of persecution, contempt, and misunderstanding from government departments during public worship and religious practices, including various administrative measures that attempt to alter and distort the Christian faith. Some of these violent actions are unprecedented since the end of the Cultural Revolution. These include demolishing crosses on church buildings, violently removing expressions of faith like crosses and couplets hanging on Christians’ homes, forcing and threatening churches to join religious organizations controlled by the government, forcing churches to hang the national flag or to sing secular songs praising the State and political parties, banning the children of Christians from entering churches and receiving religious education, and depriving churches and believers of the right to gather freely.

We believe that these unjust actions are an abuse of government power and have led to serious conflicts between political and religious parties in Chinese society. These actions infringe on the human freedoms of religion and conscience and violate the universal rule of law. We are obligated to announce bad news to the authorities and to all of society: God hates all attempts to suppress human souls and all acts of persecution against the Christian church, and he will condemn and judge them with righteous judgment.

But we are even more obligated to proclaim good news to the authorities and to all of society: Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the Saviour and King of mankind, in order to save us sinners was killed, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God, destroying the power of sin and death. In His love and compassion God has prepared forgiveness and salvation for all who are willing to believe in Jesus, including Chinese people. At any time, anyone can repent from any sin, turn to Christ, fear God, obtain eternal life, and bring great blessing from God upon his family and country.

For the sake of faith and conscience, for the spiritual benefits of the authorities in China and of society as a whole, and ultimately for the glory, holiness, and righteousness of God, we make the following declaration to the Chinese government and to all of society:

    1. Christian churches in China believe unconditionally that the Bible is the Word and Revelation of God. It is the source and final authority of all righteousness, ethics, and salvation. If the will of any political party, the laws of any government, or the commands of any man directly violate the teachings of the Bible, harming men’s souls and opposing the gospel proclaimed by the church, we are obligated to obey God rather than men, and we are obligated to teach all members of the church to do the same.
    1. Christian churches in China are eager and determined to walk the path of the cross of Christ and are more than willing to imitate the older generation of saints who suffered and were martyred for their faith. We are willing and obligated under any circumstance to face all government persecution, misunderstanding, and violence with peace, patience, and compassion. For when churches refuse to obey evil laws, it does not stem from any political agenda; it does not stem from resentment or hostility; it stems only from the demands of the gospel and from a love for Chinese society.
    1. Christian churches in China are willing to obey authorities in China whom God has appointed and to respect the government’s authority to govern society and human conduct. We believe and are obligated to teach all believers in the church that the authority of the government is from God and that as long as the government does not overstep the boundaries of secular power laid out in the Bible and does not interfere with or violate anything related to faith or the soul, Christians are obligated to respect the authorities, to pray fervently for their benefit, and to pray earnestly for Chinese society. For the sake of the gospel, we are willing to suffer all external losses brought about by unfair law enforcement. Out of a love for our fellow citizens, we are willing to give up all of our earthly rights.
  1. For this reason, we believe and are obligated to teach all believers that all true churches in China that belong to Christ must hold to the principle of the separation of church and state and must proclaim Christ as the sole head of the church. We declare that in matters of external conduct, churches are willing to accept lawful oversight by civil administration or other government departments as other social organizations do. But under no circumstances will we lead our churches to join a religious organization controlled by the government, to register with the religious administration department, or to accept any kind of affiliation. We also will not accept any “ban” or “fine” imposed on our churches due to our faith. For the sake of the gospel, we are prepared to bear all losses – even the loss of our freedom and of our lives.

 

Please pray:
  • Give thanks for the quiet courage of the 279 Chinese church pastors, who are taking a great risk by publicly declaring their allegiance to Christ and the Gospel and calling for full religious freedom. Pray that the Lord will keep them safe from those who would seek to do them harm (Psalm 140:4) and that their stand will bring about positive and lasting change for Christians in China.
  • Pray for Barnabas Fund’s Our Religious Freedom campaign, in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Thank God for the way the campaign has already mobilised Christians in all three countries and the wider support it has received, even from some secular groups. Pray that politicians will be receptive to enacting Godly values of truth, justice and righteousness (Jeremiah 4:2) and that the Lord will use the campaign to serve His divine purposes.
  • Ask that the Lord remind Chinese Christians to be submissive and obedient to rulers and authorities (Titus 3:1) even as they walk as children of light under the supreme authority of His will. Pray that the Lord who changes the times and seasons (Daniel 2:21) will incline the Chinese authorities to wisely consider the declaration of the 279 pastors and soften the hearts of government leaders.
  • O Lord, we praise and thank you for Your Word which endures forever (Isaiah 40:8). We pray that Christians in China will hold fast the Word of life (Philippians 2:16) and seek the Holy Spirit in prayer in these times of increasing pressure. Despite new restrictions on online ministry, we ask that Your Word will continue to go out across the land to accomplish Your sovereign will.

Pakistan Update

Pakistani Christians Endure Fourteen Violent Attacks in August

By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent
Imran Khan

09/13/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In August of 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, gave his first speech to the constitute assembly. During this speech, he established goals and shared the direction for the new country on the basis of secularism, equal rights, and the protection and dignity of every citizen regardless of religious identity.

Seventy-one years later, on August 19, Imran Khan, the newly-elected prime minister of Pakistan, declared Jinnah to be his role model and made a commitment to follow in Jinnah’s footsteps in his first speech as prime minister. Furthermore, like Jinnah, he made commitments to ensure the protection of religious minorities in Pakistan and claimed that he appreciated their contributions to the country’s history.

While both speeches expressed a deep concern for leading the country on values of justice and equal citizenship, Khan’s commitment now appear rootless. Shortly after his speech, dozens of cases of Christian persecution were reported, marking this August as a particularly challenging month for Pakistani Christians.

In the month of August alone, International Christian Concern (ICC) documented 14 cases of severe persecution, human right violations, and violence against Christians. In less than 31 days, four Christians were killed, including Vicky Saleem in Lahore, Amara in Sheikhupura, Yousaf Masih in Okara, and Mehwish Shaukat in Hyderabad. Three women were raped in Sialkot, Khanewal, and Waziabad and three more were forced to convert to Islam in Karachi, Sargodha, and Sahiwal. Entire Christian communities also suffered greatly, as a community in Kasur was attacked and beaten for seeking to protect their church.

ICC also documented 11 Christians who were severely beaten and tortured throughout Pakistan. These Christians included Vickram John who lost an eye, Beenish who suffered spinal cord damage, and Elwin John who was beaten in Karachi. Doctors in Khanewal also had to remove the uterus of a Christian teenager who was brutally raped by three men.

“The discriminatory, biased, and violent situation against the marginalized groups will neither lead the country to betterment nor give [a] good name to Pakistan.”

The increasing incidents of violence against vulnerable groups need to ring alarm bells and call for timely intervention by state authorities,” a church secretary in Pakistan told ICC. “The social fabric of our society is marred with intolerance and social hostility coupled with the prevalence of social discrimination which creates a challenging situation of marginalized groups in Pakistan.

For Yousaf Jalal Gill, the Executive Director of Umeed Partnership Pakistan, he felt that the violent attacks and discrimination against Christians is due, in part, to the “unchecked and unmonitored activities of the organizations which belong to the philosophy of jihad.”

Secondly, Gill claimed, “The hate-based curriculum taught in the educational institutions and hate sermons by clerics using amplifiers provide a foundation [for] the faith-based violence and discrimination.

To counter these elements, Gill suggested, “Individuals, organizations, and institutions engaged in promoting interfaith harmony and interfaith dialogue have to take the lead in fostering the message of equality and acceptance of every individual’s faith. Especially in the [underdeveloped] localities.

Muslim human rights activist and director of CAPS Organization, Shakeel Wahidullah, told ICC that he was shocked over the series of anti-Christian incidents in August. “It is [a] sad and alarming situation for those who do not belong to the majority population of the country,” Wahidullah told ICC. “The discriminatory, biased, and violent situation against the marginalized groups will neither lead the country to betterment nor give [a] good name to Pakistan.

Wahidullah urged the authorities “to wake up and consider other faith groups as equal citizens and ensure protection to all of them.

While little has been done to compensate the victims of the 14 incidents documented by ICC in August, many hope that the new government under Imran Khan will take action. If Khan is to truly follow in the footsteps of Jinnah, he must ensure justice for these victims and show that they are equal citizens regardless of whether they worship at a mosque, temple, or church.

 

Iranian Christians’ appeal

Several Christians in Iran are appealing sentences ranging from 5 to 10 years. They include: Hadi Asgari, Amin Afshari, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz and his wife Shamiram Khabizeh, Eskander Rezaei,  Suroush Saraei, Mohammad-Reza and Yasser Saheb (latter two sentenced to lashes for consuming communion wine).

Ramil Bet Tamraz
Ramil has been given a four-month jail sentence for ‘acting against national security’ because of his involvement in house churches in Iran. His parents, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz and Shamiram Isavi, are serving suspended sentences for their own church activities. Ramil was held for two months after his arrest in 2016. Pray that his appeal succeeds so he will not have to serve the rest of his sentence.

LATEST on Bet Tamraz family…

nor a crime or against national security to gather at a home and pray”

Daughter of imprisoned Iranian pastor speaks out ahead of appeal: “It’s not a sin nor a crime or against national security to gather at a home and pray”


4 September 2018

An Iranian Christian whose father, mother and brother have all been handed jail terms has spoken out against their verdicts.

Ahead of a planned legal appeal, Dabrina Bet Tamraz stated, “My father and mother have been given heavy sentences without any evidence. The verdict against my father says he attended religious seminars in the US, Sweden and the Netherlands even though he has never stepped foot in those countries.”

Dabrina’s brother, Ramiel, became the third member of the family to be sentenced to jail for “acting against national security” in June

Dabrina’s father previously pastored an Assyrian church in Tehran. Iranian authorities normally permit Christians from the Assyrian and Armenian ethnic groups to meet openly, but Victor’s church was closed down in 2009, because the congregation worshipped in the Farsi, the language spoken by most Iranians, who are Muslims. Victor and his wife then held meetings in their own home, prior to their arrest. They have been given jail terms of five and ten years, respectively, for “acting against national security”, but are appealing against the sentences. In June, Dabrina’s brother Ramiel became the third member of the family to be sentenced to jail for “acting against national security”.

Dabrina insists, “Using the Persian language [Farsi] in church cannot be considered a crime … It’s not a sin nor a crime or against national security to gather at a home and pray.” Iranian authorities fiercely persecute Farsi-speaking Christian congregations, almost all of whom are made up of converts from Islam.

Nine killed in rebel shelling of Syrian Christian town

Nine killed in rebel shelling of Syrian Christian town


Perhaps proof that Assad is the lesser of two evils!-JK
11 September 2018

Nine civilians from the Christian-majority Syrian town of Mhardeh died on Friday 7 September, when shells or rockets fired from a rebel-controlled region hit built up areas. According to local sources, a further 20 people were reportedly injured in the attack on the town, which is located around 14 miles north-west of the city of Hama.

Three children at a Christian school in the Syrian capital Damascus were killed in March, when rockets hit the school

Throughout the conflict Christian civilian areas in Syria have been deliberately targeted with rocket attacks and shelling by jihadist rebel groups, although these attacks have gone largely unreported by Western media.

More Hindu violence

Three Pastors Severely Injured in Attack on Spiritual Retreat in India

Hindu attackers.

Attacks on Christians Rise as Radicals Enjoy Near Impunity

09/10/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) severely injured three pastors in an attack on Saturday, September 8. The attack took place under the close watch of local policemen in Premnagar, located in the Barely District of India’s Uttar Pradesh State, where Christians were holding a two-day spiritual retreat. Pastor Ashok Benjamin, Pastor Vijay Masih, and Pastor Shivcharan were among those injured in the assault, sustaining wounds to their heads, hands, and lower backs.

Local sources told ICC that a mob of 50 radicals under the leadership of Pawan Arora, the district chief of the VHP, and a few policemen attacked a hall where approximately 25 Christians were meeting for a two-day spiritual retreat. While hurling verbal insults at the Christians, the mob savagely beat the three pastors who were leading the retreat.

“All of this happened in the presence of the police,” Pastor Masih, a 36-year-old pastor who was gravely injured in the attack, told ICC. “The police did not come to our rescue. Rather, they joined the mob in accusing us of doing forcible conversions.”

“I have terrible pain in the lower end of my spinal cord,” Pastor Masih continued. “The whole area is swollen as they kicked me there with force. Now, I am unable to walk.” 

“Over a dozen people hit me with stones on my head, kicked me, and punched me,” Masih said, describing the attack. “I was in shock and did not know what to do. Their intention was to kill us, but God saved us from the mouth of death.”

“They want to kill my husband because he is a pastor and preaches about Jesus,” Sandra Ashok, Pastor Ashok Benjamin’s wife, told ICC. “My husband received multiple fractures to the nose and [a] clot in the eye. They also hit him on the head. He was bleeding heavily from his nose and also his head.”

After the attack, Pastor Benjamin was able to stand witness in the police station amid a large crowd. As he reported the attack, still covered in his own blood, the police asked him what he was doing at the retreat.

“Our lives are in danger with the negative publicity we receive, claiming we do forcible conversions,” Pastor Masih explained. “Still, I will not stop preaching Jesus.”

Although there was pressure from VHP members, the police did not file forced conversion charges against the three injured pastors. Instead, the police forced the Christians and radicals to agree to a compromise.

Two other anti-Christian attacks led by Hindu radicals took place in Uttar Pradesh in the past week. On September 2, police arrested pastors in Faizabad after they were falsely accused of forced conversions. The police kept the pastors in police custody for more than five hours, but later released them due to a lack of evidence.

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the continued attacks on Christians in India, especially in Uttar Pradesh. Every day, new reports of persecution are being documented. Many Christians fear this may be the new normal for their community as Hindu radicals have been allowed to attack Christians and other minority communities with impunity. India must take steps to counter this growing wave of intolerance and violence. Until then, the attacks will likely continue to increase in both number and severity.”

Lord protect thy people in Vom

URGENT: Imminent attack feared in northern Nigeria
Map

 Fulani militants

Rumours are circulating that Fulani militants are poised to attack the town of Vom in north eastern Nigeria, it is just south of Jos.

The town lies on the major arterial road between Abuja, the capital, and Jos, the Plateau state capital. If this raid takes place it could have devastating consequences for those living in the region.

Our contacts in the area, fearful of an attack any day, have asked for urgent prayer that God would intervene. Please join us and them in praying that God would prevent any attack on Vom.

One Christian murdered and another loses sight in one eye in attack by Muslim neighbours.

 

Nasty Muslims attack and maim Christian neighbours. May they receive justice.

08/28/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In August, two Christian families became the victims of Pakistan’s ever-growing religious intolerance. In both incidents, the families were subjected to extreme violence due to the low social standing Christians are afforded in Pakistan’s Muslim-dominated society.

Anti-Christian discrimination is widespread in Pakistan. Christians are often viewed as the lowest of the low in Pakistani society. This view is exemplified by the extreme over-representation of Christians in Pakistan’s undesirable sanitation professions, including sewer workers and street sweepers. Some reports estimate that nearly 80% of sanitation positions in Pakistan are held by Christians, who make up only 1.5% of the country’s total population.

On August 2, this attitude of intolerance cost Vicky Masih, a Christian from Lahore, his life.

It was the wedding anniversary of Vicky and his wife,” advocate Tariq Zia told International Christian Concern (ICC). “Vicky was asked by his Muslim friends to meet them at Muhammad Abbas’ house and celebrate with them.

Muhammad Ilyas, another one of Vicky’s Muslim friends, had to pay back a handsome loan to Vicky,” Zia continued. “When Vicky asked for his money back, Muhammad Ilyas abused Vicky and said that he will teach a lesson to the choora.” “Choora” is a derogatory term used against Christians that denotes them as dirty and untouchable.

“Within no time, the party turned into an exchanging of harsh words, a physical clash, and ended with Vicky’s murder,” Zia reported.

According to reports, Vicky was shot in the stomach and abandoned while at Muhammad Abbas’ house. He later died at the hospital, leaving behind a wife and three young children.

“This is a sign of prevailing intolerance against Christians in this Islamic society. It is a result of the hate-based curriculum taught in the educational institutions, hate speeches, and other unmonitored publications against Christians.”

Separated by only 16 days and 750 miles, Alvin John and his family were attacked and beaten by a mob in the Mehmoodabad neighborhood of Karachi after he refused to allow a Muslim to forcibly marry his 19-year-old daughter.

I shifted my family to this rented house about 10 months ago,” John told ICC. “At first, we were asked to leave by some Muslim neighbors because of our Christian faith. But since Easter, we have been pressurized, threatened, and teased.

My 19-year-old daughter Aresha then became the target,” John explained. “They would follow my daughter in the streets and markets, offering her a bright and secure future if she converted, and often abused her for her Christian faith.

When this harassment became too much to bear, John reach out for help. “Two week back, we tried to negotiate with the elders of the area to settle the issue,” John said. “However, this bounced back as an attack on all of us.

A mob of Muslims, led by Muhammad Samad Zaheer, attacked me and my family around 11:00 p.m. on August 18,” John told ICC. “They damaged the left eye of my son, Vickram John. Initially, the doctors have no hope for his eyesight.

The attackers also broke most of the house stuff, furniture, doors, and windows,” John continued. “We cannot go back to the house as there is unrest in the neighborhood. We are now taking shelter with relatives.

Kashif Anthony, a coordinator for the National Commission for Justice and Peace in Karachi, condemned the “cruel attitude” shown toward Christians. “This is a sign of prevailing intolerance against Christians in this Islamic society,” Anthony explained. “It is a result of the hate-based curriculum taught in the educational institutions, hate speeches, and other unmonitored publications against Christians.

Until Pakistan takes concrete steps to stem this tide of intolerance, widespread discrimination against Christians will continue to grow. With that growth of intolerance, there will be likely more attacks on Christians in Pakistan.

Thankfully police did intervene to stop mob violence in another town where a youth, now still in custody was accused of blasphemy.

Also bring before the Lord Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, Imran Khan. In his first speech following his party’s victory in July’s elections, the former cricketer stated “I am saying to you today, that for the first time, Pakistan’s policies won’t be for the few rich people, it will be for the poor, for our women, for our minorities, whose rights are not respected.” Pray that he will have the integrity to be true to his word and the humility to know that it is God who has placed him in a position of authority (Proverbs 8:15).

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Vikram John. (Morning Star News)

Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A young Christian man in Karachi, Pakistan lost sight in one eye when armed, Muslim neighbors attacked his family, his father said.

Vikram John, 25, lost sight in his left eye after Muslim neighbors who had pressured his family to leave the neighborhood with months of harassment beat him and other family members on the night of Aug. 18, his father Alvin John told Morning Star News by phone.

“After exchanging a few hot words with the Muslim youths led by a political activist named Ihsan, Vikram came inside the house,” Alvin John said. “Moments later, bricks and stones came smashing through our window glass and hitting our gate. The attackers threatened us, saying to move out of the neighborhood if we wanted to stay alive as they hurled curses and abuses on us.”

Earlier in the evening…

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Nigerian atrocities continue.

More Christians ab=nd their pastors murdered in recent attacks in north and central Nigeria,

Two pastors among scores killed by militants in Nigeria

Two congregations in Nigeria are mourning the death of their pastor after three days of violence across four states.

Unidentified attackers shot Pastor Michael Akawu on a Saturday night in Gwagwalada, Abuja – just a few hours before suspected Fulani murdered Pastor Hosea Akuchi at his church in Guguwa, Kaduna. Pastor Hosea’s widow, Talatu, was kidnapped: her family have received a 5m Naira (about £10,000) ransom demand.

At least 65 other people were killed in attacks on villages in Plateau and Borno states over the same weekend and the following day.

Please pray for all those mourning loved ones in Nigeria.

The heaviest toll was in Malari village in Borno state, where 63 people died on August 20, apparently at the hands of Boko Haram. Two people were shot dead in the Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau state – one by Fulani herdsmen and one allegedly by security personnel tasked with protecting the village from attack.

The Christian Association of Nigeria called the security situation ‘reprehensible’ and urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies to bring an end to the ‘senseless killings’.

Buhari.

(Source: Release partners)

MORE…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fulani Militants Burn Pastor and Family Alive

Attacks on Nigerian Villages Leave Seven Dead and Many Displaced

08/30/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Fulani militants raided several villages in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria on August 28. As a result, seven people were killed, including three children and a pastor. These individuals were Rev. Adamu Gyang Wurim (pastor of COCIN LCC Shonong), his wife and three children, Mr. Pam Dusu, and Aaron Yakubu.

The villages attacked included Werre, Abonong, Ziyat, Bek, Nafan, Sagast, Rawuru, and Rambuh in the Ropp, Foron, and Fan Districts.

In confirming the incident, Barrister Dalyop Solomon Mwantiri, a local lawyer, visited the scenes of the incidents and  interviewed Mr. Gyang Adamu, one of the three surviving children of the pastor. He said, “I’m a 300 level civil engineering student at University of Jos. I was in school when the incident happened. I got to know about the attack when I saw a post on Facebook that Abonong village, [my home], was under attack. Immediately, I placed several calls trying to get in touch with my family members, but none rang through. When I called a friend to find out about the situation, the report I received was very devastating; I couldn’t believe that all my family members have been engulfed in the pogrom. On reaching home,  I saw my daddy and younger ones burnt beyond recognition. The sight of the gory incident broke me down.” He continued, “The three of us left don’t know what to do, especially now that we are still students who have nothing to hold on [to].”

Mr. Gwom Pam Dusu, a financial secretary of the Roman Catholic Church of Ziyat village, shared, “We were going out for surveillance, having received local security information about an impending attack planned by Fulani herdsmen with their hired mercenary. We heard heavy gunfire all over Ziyat and other neighboring villages.” When asked whether the security information gathered was forwarded to security agents, Mr. Gwom responded affirmatively, saying, Security personnel stationed at Bek of Foron District didn’t do anything to avert the terror attacks.”

The attack lasted for over four hours before security personnel arrived on scene. This was well after the attackers had razed much of the villages of Abonong and Ziyat, and looted valuables such as mattresses, food, electronics, and domestic animals. Three churches were targeted during these attacks.

Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, said, “This continued fight in an area known to have many attacks is astounding. The fact that the government allows the continued destruction and killing of its villages and citizens shows a lack of care or ability. If this continues, there will have to be international intervention or else Nigeria may devolve into a major civil war.”

More oppression in China

On Tiananmen Anniversary, Chinese Government
Detains Several Christians

Wang Yi and his wife.

CHINA On June 4, the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crack-
down in China, local authorities raided Autumn Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan, China. During the raid, authorities took Pastor Wang Yi, his wife, four
other preachers, and 11 other members of the church into custody. At the time
of writing, the entire group is still being held and Pastor Wang Yi and his wife
could not be contacted.
Pastor Wang Yi has been harassed by the government several times prior
to this incident. On May 12, he and several members of his congregation
were detained leading up to a memorial service for those affected by the 2008
Sichuan earthquake. The pastor, who is widely recognized for speaking out
against the government’s crackdown on Christianity, has also been banned
from participating in international Christian conferences on multiple occasions.

Quetta, Baluchistan, Pakistan

 Quetta circled

 

Quetta, the mountain-ringed capital of dry, Muslim-dominated Baluchistan has been the scene of many violent anti-Christian atrocities this year.

A massive suicide bomb in a Methodist church killed ten and injured fifty last December.

In two drive-by shootings in April several were killed and injured. Fifteen Christians have been killed in the province in the last four months. Christians are calling for *increased security to combat Islamic State who admit to this cowardly violence.

Most of the world’s 10 million Baloch live in Pakistan and a million in Karachi. *Difficult to reach but responsive (Operation World).

Pakistan Powerpoint

 

IRAN: Prison sentence for Christian convert in Bushehr

Another case of Iranian government oppression and scapegoating of a Christian believer.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

“interrogations were obviously indicating that they were looking for the accused’s confession to communication with abroad, especially America, Britain and Israel.”

Mohabat News– the Christian convert, “Payam Kharaman”, has been sentenced to one year in prison on charge of propaganda activities against the system and in favor of Zionist Christianity through holding house meetings, evangelism, and invitation to Christianity and inclination to the land of Christianity. This Christian convert was among 12 citizens who were arrested in Bushehr (on Tuesday, April 7, 2015).

The cases of these 12 individuals with similar accusations have been under review until late April, 2018 while they were released on bail.
According to the verdict issued by Islamic Revolutionary Court of Bushehr headed by Judge Abbas Asgari, Payam Khoraman and 11 other individuals including “Shapour Jozi” and his wife, “Parastoo Zariftash” were sentenced to one year in prison, and they would be informed of the…

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Kenya injustice

Unusual case in Kenya where pastor is accused of what accusers are actually guilty of doing!

Pastor Arrested Over False Accusation of Human Trafficking

08/17/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that last Wednesday, August 8, 2018, police in Tiaty, Kenya arrested Pastor David Kimeu over alleged involvement in human trafficking. David Kimeu is not only a pastor, but a full-time missionary with the Africa Inland Church Mission Department (AICMD).  He has dedicated his time to rescuing girls from female genital mutilation and forced marriage. However, the local elders from his community falsely accused him because they strongly advocate for these outlawed practices.

“We were getting ready to take 16 girls for a three-day Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) camp when security officers surrounded our home, claiming that the girls were kidnapped, and we were summoned to the local police headquarters for questioning. All the girls were separated and asked to write statements about what was going on in our home,” Pastor David Kimeu told ICC.

On Thursday, August 9, Pastor David appeared before the Tiaty magistrate to answer questions pertaining to charges of human trafficking and the unlawful operation of a rescue center.

Pastor David also informed ICC, “The files of the 16 girls presented before the magistrate by the prosecutor were read and a determination made. My wife and I were cleared of the charges because the girls indicated that they had taken refuge in our home for fear of being circumcised and married off to old men before they could finish their studies so that their parents can receive huge amounts of cattle dowry payment…Consequently, the girls have been separated from us and taken for custody in other orphanages and rescue shelters.”

Many communities in Kenya still practice female genital mutilation, despite knowing the potentially life-threatening medical problems it can cause. The Church in Kenya has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts to stop this practice that hinders young girls from pursuing their dreams after being forced to marry older men. Rescue shelters have been opened to protect, counsel, and empower girls who have been mutilated or escaped mutilation.

“We have always met resistance because of our efforts to curb female genital mutilation (FGM) rite of passage in this community and the allegations of human trafficking leveled against my wife and I are malicious and uncalled for…We fear for our lives because the same people that called the police to arrest us are threatening to destroy our home, church, and the school we opened for the community. We have repeatedly faced death threats from known and unknown people and the local chief and police have taken no action. In May, my wife was confronted by armed men who threatened to stop interfering with the girls in the villages. We need your prayers and encouragement as we continue with the Lord’s work in Tiaty,” lamented Pastor David.

The Kenyan parliament passed the Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2011, stating that violators will be punished with up to three years in prison for FGM and life imprisonment in cases that result in death.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, stated, “We pray for Pastor David and his family, so that God can deliver them from this trial and they can continue to help many of these vulnerable, young girls who are only children. We hope that the authorities and the judge show grace over the accused victims and carry out a fair trial. Please keep the pastor and his ministry in your prayers.”

China-U.S. Pastor Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Missionary Work

May. 18, 2018 | China
U.S. Pastor Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Missionary Work

15/8/2018 Pastor faces 6 more years in China prison

Chinese-American Pastor John Cao has already spent more than a year behind bars – and has six more to go. He was arrested in China for ‘illegal border crossings’ in March 2017 – even though he’d had official approval of his regular charity missions into Myanmar for years.
Please pray for justice and John’s release. Pray too that his family, based in the US, will be allowed to see him.

Click the image to download the Prisoner Profile for John.

UKRAINE: Faith groups face armed raids, worship bans and fines

A litany of persecution unleashed in Russian controlled east Ukraine. Pray for the saints.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine – vector map

(Forum 18) Armed men – often from the State Security Ministry or police of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic – often raid religious communities, halt worship meetings and seize religious literature. Courts hand down fines of several weeks’ average wages to punish “illegal” worship meetings. A further ban on unapproved worship is imminent.

Authorities of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, an unrecognised entity in eastern Ukraine, have regularly halted worship meetings by a range of religious communities, seized religious literature and fined religious leaders.

The most recent raid came on a Pentecostal Church in Alchevsk on 6 August, with two court cases due on 8 August. Earlier raids included those on Baptist and Jehovah’s Witness communities in Krasnodon, Gorodyshche, Molodogvardeisk, Stakhanov, Nagolno-Tarasovka, Chervonopartizansk, Alchevsk and Luhansk. Many individuals were fined several weeks’ average wages for holding “illegal” worship meetings…

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Nigerian genocide

 

Notes from a recent article in the English Churchman by Rev. Soja Bewararang of Christian Association in Nigeria: facts and a call to action-please pray.

  1. Over 6,000 people mainly women, children and the aged have been maimed or killed so far this year by Fulani herdsmen.
  2. The perpetrators are never arrested and go free.
  3. The perpetrators aim at ethnic cleansing, land grabbing and forceful ejection of Christian natives.
  4. Heads of security and the president himself (see pic of Buhari) appear complicit in all this because of their ethnicity and religion.
  5. Villages must be rebuilt and people protected.
  6. The leaders of the cattle herders ought to be arrested and tried.
  7. The abduction of under age Christian girls and their rape and forced marriages must be investigated, stopped and perpetrators arrested.
  8. More must be done to free the Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu.

Uttar Pradesh violence against Christians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Five Incidents of Anti-Christian Violence Hit Uttar Pradesh

Harassment and Physical Assaults Becoming the New Normal for India’s Christians

08/06/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented at least five anti-Christian incidents in India’s Uttar Pradesh state over the final weeks of July and early days of August. These incidents included the disruption of church services, a physical assault, a false criminal complaint, and the institution of a social boycott against 12 Christian families.

On July 20, a mob of Hindu radicals brutally beat Pastor Surem Samuel and his family. As a result, Pastor Samuel’s 23-year-old son, Abhinav Samuel, was hospitalized for several days.

According to Pastor Samuel, head of the Methodist Church of Bijauli village in the Meerut District of Uttar Pradesh, a mob of Hindu radicals broke into the church at 10:30 a.m. on July 20. “Without a word, they started to beat us with bricks,” Pastor Samuel said. “My wife, my younger son, and myself have sustained injuries, but my older son, Abhinav, collapsed on the ground after hard hits by bricks. Later, he was rushed to the hospital and was treated for three days in an intensive care unit.”  

“This is not the first attack in my 10 years of ministry in this place,” Pastor Samuel explained to ICC. “But, this time is the worst. The congregation of my church is worried as church meetings are now conducted with the police guarding us.”

On July 22, Hindu radicals disrupted worship services in two churches in Meerut. Pastor Narendra Jacob, head of Eternal Hope Church, reported, “The worship was disrupted in two separate incidents in Meerut. Worship at Beersheba Church of God and Eternal Hope Church, both in the city of Meerut, were disrupted by a group of Hindu radicals accompanied by police. The Christians attending the churches and the pastors were threatened by the angry mob.” 

On August 2, the Saini, a caste group within Hinduism, instituted a social boycott against 12 Christian families in Nagphani village, located in the Moradabad District of Uttar Pradesh. A local Hindu newspaper, Jagaran, featured the story of the Christians being socially ostracized after refusing to recant their Christian faith.

Also on August 2, a false criminal complaint was filed against a Christian in Bulandi village in the Jounpur District of Uttar Pradesh. The complaint was filed against Durga Prasad Yadav, a Christian who leads worship in Bulandi and is constantly harassed.

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the continued surge of attacks on Christians in India. Every day, new reports of persecution are documented. Many Christians fear that this may be the new normal for their community as Hindu radicals have been allowed to attack Christians and other minority communities with impunity. India must take steps to counter the growing wave of intolerance and violence. Until then, the attacks will likely continue to increase in both number and severity.”

For interviews with William Stark, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org
About ICC
International Christian Concern is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on human rights, religious freedom and assisting the persecuted Christian Church around the world.

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E-mail: press@persecution.org
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Assault on Christian Leader in Nepal Reflects Growing Threat

Now Hindu violence spills over into Nepal.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Pastor Sagar Baizu of the Federation of National Christians in Nepal. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Pastor Sagar Baizu, 46, had finished one meeting and had an hour before the next one, so he decided to stop at a café on a major thoroughfare in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, on July 19.

As he was about to sip a coffee in the crowded café at 2 p.m., six to eight men suddenly attacked the spokesperson and co-general secretary of the Federation of National Christians in Nepal (FNCN) from behind.

“They beat me for a minute and a half and suddenly fled the site,” Pastor Baizu told Morning Star News. “They said, ‘We will blast your church and all the churches with bombs and shoot you and all your leaders.’”

He became dizzy from many blows to his head by two of the assailants and could not…

View original post 475 more words

Indonesian Christian Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Facebook Post

 

Martinus Gulo Found Guilty of Blasphemy Against Islam

 

07/25/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 24, the Medan District Court in Indonesia sentenced Martinus Gulo to four years in prison and a fine of 1 billion Rupiah (approximately 68,914 USD) for religious defamation. He may also choose to serve an additional six months in jail if he cannot afford to pay the fine.

The 21-year-old Christian was found guilty of blasphemy due to a Facebook post that insulted the prophet Muhammad under the country’s Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) law, which many find controversial. His arrest came in March after the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) reported his online post to the police.

Rappler reported, “Gulo, who is Christian, told authorities that he made the post because he was upset that his own religion was criticized online.”

Christians only account for roughly 10% of Indonesia’s population, while 87% of the country is Muslim.

Gulo’s conviction comes after an Indonesian Muslim was jailed for five years in April under the same law for a Facebook post that radical groups deemed offensive.

The verdict was lighter than the prosecutors’ demand of five years in prison. Gulo and his legal counsel have five days to appeal the decision.

According to Southeast Asian online media outlet Coconuts, “Indonesia’s controversial blasphemy laws have been under intense scrutiny in the past few years, particularly after the jailing of former Jakarta Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama in 2017 for blasphemy against Islam. Many domestically and abroad, including the United Nations, have called for abolishment of the laws as they are prone to political manipulation and have been used to unjustly persecute religious minorities.”

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “To put somebody in jail for four years for a Facebook post shows how Indonesia’s blasphemy laws can easily be exploited by radical Muslim groups. Anyone can fall victim to these laws, especially if such groups consider your speech offensive or incorrect. Therefore, Christians become easy targets as many radical Muslims seek to erase the existence and influence of Christianity. Indonesia must revisit its blasphemy laws if it wants to be seen as a champion of religious pluralism.”

For interviews with Gina Goh, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org
About ICC
International Christian Concern is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on human rights, religious freedom and assisting the persecuted Christian Church around the world.

Plateau Killings: How Ex STF Commander, Gen. Atolagbe was victimized for choosing justice

Sad government collusion with murdering terrorists!

The Special Task Force (STF) commander in plateau state Maj. Gen. Atolagbe has been removed!

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (NACBAN) and their Fulani patrons in Aso Rock did this.

Gen Atolagbe has served the Nigerian army for about 30 years and about 27 years of this is with the United Nations,he is a professional soldier.

He’s problems started when he refused to allow the Fulani terrorists have a field day in plateau state, he arrested 11 Fulani terrorists and paraded them, the first time this happened in Nigeria after they attacked and killed people, he was ordered from above to transfer them to Abuja where they intended to bury the story but he refused saying they should be tried in the jurisdiction of the area where the crime was committed!

He went further to arrest another 7 Fulani terrorists and a third arrest of another 7 making a total of 25 high profile Fulani terrorists, including the financier of Fulani herdsmen terrorists in Nigeria who had bank transaction evidence linking him to a lot of higher ups in the country and also he exposed the armourer of Fulani herdsmen terrorists to the General during interrogation, his revelation was to say the least shocking!

Gen Atolagbe was ordered from above to stop arresting Fulani terrorists and release the ones arrested to ogas at the top but he refused,saying justice must be served.

Just yesterday (July 23, 2018), he was invited to the National Assembly where he said he could soon be relieved of his post but that he would always stand by the Truth.. It happened today! (July 24, 2018).

He had used advanced finger prints technology on the bullet casings used by the Fulani terrorists to apprehend them,a technology I learnt he bought with his own money after the Defense HQ refused to get it for him!

All for his quest for justice!
It is now glaring that the Fulani herdsmen terrorists have godfathers in Aso Rock and can kill Nigerians anytime and anywhere and get away with it!

Nigerians must rise up and say no to this Buhari govt sponsored Fulani expansionist movement!

This great country of ours is under serious threat…

We must wake up!

My name is Adebayo lion Ogorry and I have said my mind!

Christian ex-magistrate given leave to appeal.

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Ex-magistrate wins permission to appeal his removal from role at NHS trust

Richard Page has been given permission to appeal his removal as a non-executive director of an NHS trust

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Richard Page has won permission to appeal the decision of the Employment Tribunal in the case he brought against the NHS Trust where he worked.

Richard served as a magistrate but was removed from the bench for his belief that a child is better served by having a mother and a father.

At the time, he was also serving an NHS trust as a non-executive director, but because he spoke out in the media about his pro-family beliefs, he was then suspended from his NHS role as well. In March 2016, he was blocked from restarting the role.

Richard had served the NHS for over 20 years and as a Director of Finance was successful in running his trust within budget. He later moved to fixed-term, non-executive roles. In March 2016, after Richard’s removal from the Magistracy, he and was subsequently blocked from restarting the role.

Pro-family TV appearances “likely to have a negative impact”

In 2014, Richard was dismissed as a magistrate by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, after expressing his view that it was in a child’s best interests to be raised by a mother and a father. After appearing on television and in various media outlets explaining his case, Page was suspended from his NHS role in 2016.

In August 2016 a Termination of Appointments Panel (TAP) concluded “it was not in the interests of the health service for you to serve as a non-executive director in the NHS“. The decision was driven by the idea that Richard’s views would be “likely to have a negative impact on the confidence of staff, patients and the public”.

Then, in August 2017, Richard, assisted by the Christian Legal Centre, took his case to the Croydon Employment Tribunal where, unfortunately, the decision of the TAP was upheld. Richard sought permission to appeal.

Judge allows appeal to proceed

Yesterday, at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London, Mr Justice Kerr found in Richard’s favour, which meants that his appeal can now proceed. In his summing up, Mr Justice Kerr said that the Employment Tribunal had failed to adequately investigate whether Richard had suffered either direct or indirect discrimination on account of his faith and permission was also granted on grounds of victimisation.

Outside the Tribunal, Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern said; “We are absolutely delighted that Richard will continue to seek justice. It is vital that people like Richard who are passionate about service in public life are free to speak and live out their Christian faith. They should not be censored or punished for their faith”.

We give thanks to God for this development.

Please pray that the appeal, to be heard at a later date, would be successful, and that the freedom to speak truthfully about Jesus, and his good pattern for family life, would be protected.

Make an online gift to support Christians like Richard

Two Pakistani brothers (among many, many more) incarcerated for nine months in a Bangkok detention centre.

Fearing for their lives after blasphemy allegations in Karachi these two young men fled for asylum to Thailand BUT were incarcerated in a lounge-size room filled with 100 men and only two toilets and very little water. Many became ill including these men with hives and scabies. ,others got TB.

Bring to the Lord two Pakistani brothers incarcerated for nine months in a Bangkok detention centre, that He will give them grace and peace as they recover from their ordeal (Colossians 1:2). Ask that God will bless them as they continue to seek His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) and that their testimony will lead others to Christ.

Christians in Darfur, Sudan Arrested during Combined Worship of House Churches

Sudanese regime persecution intensifies under Bashir.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Market street and post office in Nyala, South Darfur, Sudan. (Wikipedia)

(Morning Star News)– Security officials in Sudan last week arrested 13 Christians during a worship service in the Darfur Region, sources said.

Personnel from Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) interrupted the worship service the afternoon of Oct. 10 in Nyala, capital of South Darfur state in western Sudan’s Darfur Region and arrested all 13 Christians present (not Oct. 13 while evangelizing Muslims, as reported elsewhere), the sources said.

NISS personnel gave no reason for arresting the Christians, members of four different churches who had come together for the service, except to say that they were all converts from Islam, the sources said. Authorities are targeting Christian converts from Islam in Darfur, they said.

“We are worried because their whereabouts are still unknown,” said one source, adding that he feared they might be tortured. “The Christians…

View original post 328 more words