Call to pray for Pastor Andrew Brunson

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(Voice of the Persecuted) Andrew Brunson is an American citizen who lived in Turkey for over 20 years. He led a small church in Izmir and, along with his wife, had raised their three children there. The couple then decided to apply for permanent residency in this nation of people whom they greatly loved. On Oct. 7, they were called to a local police station with no worries beliving they were finally approved for residency. However, the Brunson’s were detained and his wife released shortly after. Andrew’s arrest followed the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016. The Turkish government is using evidence based on the testimony of a “secret witness’ against Andrew who maintains his innocence. Now Andrew is facing the third hearing of his trial, next week. Some are calling the case a sham trial to force the U.S. to hand over Fethullah Gülen, believed to be the mastermind of the July 2016 failed coup by President Erdogan’s government. In March of this year, his daughter spoke on behalf of her father in front of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Many are warning of the recent changes taking place in Turkey. It has one of the lowest rankings in the world in terms of freedom of press. The regime continues to abuse the rights of its citizens, including freedom of speech, of association, and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. Those not belonging to Sunni Islam are under suspicion and Christians in Turkey, a small minority, have been under increasing pressure and victims of intolerance.

At the last hearing, Andrew repeatedly denied charges that he was involved with terrorism and espionage. Brunson said in his defense,

“I am helping Syrian refugees, they say that I am aiding the PKK. I am setting up a church, they say I got help from Gülen’s network.”

There is not one photograph or tape recording praising the PKK at the (Izmir) Resurrection Church. Our church had several Turkish followers. Our doors were open to everyone. I strived to prevent politics entering the church.”

“My service that I have spent my life on, has now turned upside down. I was never ashamed to be a server of Jesus, but these claims are shameful and disgusting.”

In an effort to be united in prayer before and when Andrew enters the courtroom, Voice of the Persecuted and Persecution Watch is inviting Christians to join together on an 8 hour open prayer conference call that will begin at 7 p.m. EST on Tuesday, July 17th and continue to 3 a.m. EST on the 18th.

Andrew’s wife recently shared,

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for persevering in prayer with us. I pass on your comments to Andrew from time to time. YOU, the body of Christ, are truly amazing! Where else do people love and pray for others they’ve never met? What a testimony YOU have been. The summer heat means Andrew can’t sleep well as he is constantly drenched in sweat. He makes a point of offering that up as a sacrifice. He is not wanting to exaggerate the discomfort of heat – he knows that many have been in much worse conditions.
He has been calmer recently as is trying to see things through the lenses of demonstrating the value, the worth of Jesus – that those whom He loves and who love Him are willing to suffer for him. He often prays “Father, cause to burst into flame in me the love you have for Jesus, that I may be a fervent, ardent lover of Him, willing to undergo whatever is asked.”
Please remember the next hearing date – July 18.

When one hears about the persecuted, they may ask, “What can I do, I am only one person?” It’s simple, that person can pray. James reminds us that the prayer of a righteous person is very powerful and effective. (James 5:16).

Jesus says that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed we can move mountains. For nothing will be impossible for us (Matthew 17:20).

Imagine one person who is righteous and has faith as small as a mustard seed. What can that person accomplish in their prayers? Then imagine hundreds, if not thousands, of intercessors with that same mustard seed faith. What can they accomplish in Christ through their prayers?I

In Hebrews 13:3 we’re asked, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” In this verse, those being described as in prison and being mistreated were Christians experiencing persecution for their faith. The verse also highlights the oneness we should feel as believers in the Body of Christ.

As the next court date draws near, let us not forget the importance of the call in Hebrews 13:3. Brothers and sisters, let us continue to remember, in our prayers, Andrew Brunson and the thousands of brothers and sisters imprisoned for their faith throughout the world.

“If only you would tear the heavens open and come down, so that mountains would quake at your presence—just as fire kindles brushwood, and fire boils water—to make your name known to your enemies, so that nations will tremble at your presence! When you did awesome works that we did not expect, you who came down, and the mountains quaked at your presence. From ancient times no one has heard, no one has listened to, no eye has seen any God except you who acts on behalf of the one who waits for him.”  Isaiah 64:1-4 (CSB) BELIEVE!

PLEASE PRAY:

  • That Andrew will be able to sleep better (the summer heat is making prison conditions particularly difficult) and know God’s peace
  • That the lies and false accusations in this trial will be uncovered and Andrew’s innocence of all charges will shine through
  • That the Lord will bless all legal and diplomatic efforts on Andrew’s behalf
  • That Andrew will be acquitted of all charges and released

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Eritrean repression and persecution continues

Eritrea represses all religious freedom in the country. In 2002, they enacted laws that allowed for only four legal religions: Roman Catholic, Eritrean Orthodox, Lutheran, and Sunni Islam. However, these four religions come with significant stipulations.

To join any of these religions, one must make four pledges: 1) Their loyalty is to the government, not the Church, family, or God, 2) They will never be “born again,” 3) They will not carry a Bible outside of their home or Church, and 4) They will turn in any evangelists or missionaries that they encounter. These pledges have forced many Christians to worship in underground churches or flee the country

 

Pray for “Shiden” arrested while in military age 22, terribly tortured for 13 years recently released.

Twen Theodros similarly has suffered abuse for the last 13 years in prison without charge and no access to lawyer. Her prison is now near relatives. She leads a group of women in prison.

Nigerian leader’s nonsense

As hundreds more Christians are butchered in Nigeria listen to the nonsense spouted by president Buhari. President Buhari  told a post-attack gathering of leaders “to learn to live peacefully with their neighbors”, and that “the Fulani are known to be peaceful and carry stick, but are not known to have guns.” Buhari’s seeming indifference has left many people in Jos angry over the continued violence and inaction by the government.

Buhari

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Massive Attack Shows True Horror
of Fulani Crisis

Barkin Ladi, Nigeria Mourns Murder of Hundreds of Christians
07/06/2018, Washington, DC – ICC has confirmed that the death toll in recent attacks on villages near Jos, Nigeria has risen to more than 230 Christians. The attacks are believed to have been conducted by Fulani militants who used machetes and firearms to slaughter the predominantly Berom villagers. The police originally reported that 86 had been killed, but our local representative was part of the body recovery effort and has confirmed this much higher number.

The series of attacks took place in the villages of Xland, Gindin Akwati, Ruku, Nghar, Kura Falls, Kakuruk, Rakok, Kok, and Razat. All of these villages are in the districts of Gashish and Ropp in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. Many of the victims were women and young children. The youngest person known to have been killed was a three-month-old baby boy who was slaughtered by machete.

The first attack took place Saturday after the funeral of a relative of an important clergyman in Gashish District. Pam Chollom, a pastor who leads the Church of Christ in Nations reported, “Fulani people attacked our members who attended the burial of the father of one of our clergy…The armed Fulani ambushed the sympathizers on their way back from the burial, attacked and killed 34 persons from Bekan village, 39 others from Kufang, and 47 from Ruku Village.”

A resident reported via telephone to Morning Star News that 70 corpses have been recovered in the village of Nghar, and that the entire village had been burned.

In Xland and Gindin Akwati villages, the herdsmen killed about 60 Christians, another resident reported over the phone. Multiple churches, worship buildings, and pastors’ homes were targeted in these attacks. Thousands of people have been displaced in these villages and are now unable to access their homes or work on their farms.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari released a response to the attacks via Twitter: “The grievous loss of lives and property arising from the killings in Plateau is painful and regrettable. My deepest condolences to the affected communities. We will not rest until all murderers and criminal elements and their sponsors are incapacitated and brought to justice.”

There has been controversy over whether or not the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) claimed its people had committed the attacks. A published article credited Danladi Ciroma, a MACBAN leader, with saying the attack was conducted by Fulani in reprisal for the rustling of cattle. However, a subsequent report claimed that Ciroma never made these statements. The conflicting reports have added confusion to an already chaotic situation.

Nathan Johnson, ICCs Regional Manager for Africa, said “It is time for the Nigerian government to stop its political talk and begin to protect the lives and property of all its citizens. The Buhari regime must also punish these perpetrators who are literally killing babies in their beds. If they are unwilling or unable to provide security to their own people and punish these criminals, then the international community will have to step in to ensure such massacres are not repeated.”

Lord care for Jiang.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jiang Tianyong (third from right) stands with other
Chinese human rights defenders during a ChinaAid
trip to Washington, D.C. (Photo: ChinaAid)

ChinaAid

(Henan—June 28, 2018) He went missing a year and a half ago. Now, he’s being forced to take medication, possibly causing him to lose his memory.

When Jiang Lianghou, the father of imprisoned human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong, visited his son in prison, the younger Jiang said he is being forced to take unknown medication twice a day, a Radio Free Asia report said. His father noted that his memory seemed markedly decreased, prompting worries that the memory loss is tied to the new medicine regiment.

Jiang Tianyong’s wife, Jin Bianling, who fled to the United States after her husband’s arrest, said her father-in-law informed her that Jiang Tianyong was barred from exercising outdoors and described the prison conditions as “terrible.”

On a previous visit, Jiang Tianyong’s father noted that his son’s legs were red and swollen, spiking concerns that he may have been tortured.

Additionally, authorities are not permitting him to use the money his family raised to buy necessities and have denied him the clothes they have sent.

Jiang Tianyong vanished while returning home from a trip to visit Chen “Gloria” Guiqiu, the wife of the then-illegally incarcerated lawyer Xie Yang, on Nov. 21, 2016. For a month, his family wondered if he was even alive, but he was later found to be in a “black jail,” or an unofficial prison notorious for mistreating inmates. He was formally arrested on May 31, 2017, and he remained out of contact with the outside world for 10 months.

During his trial, prosecutors used statements Jiang Tianyong had made since 2009 and acts of helping other wrongfully-imprisoned human rights attorneys as evidence of his crime. Under authoritarian pressure, Jiang Tianyong also plead guilty to fabricating a rumor that Xie had been tortured by authorities, despite the fact that Xie’s mistreatment had already been proved.

On Nov. 20, 2017, he was sentenced to two years in prison. When wives of persecuted lawyers and tireless advocates for rule of law Wang Qiaoling, Li Wenzu, Yuan Shanshan, and another woman named Ermin heard of his sentencing, they attempted to attend the hearing, but the police blocked off all roads within a one-kilometer radius of the court and brutally beat the women when they arrived.

“They twisted my entire body around, broke my wrists, and pinched me behind my cheeks,” Wang said. “It was so painful that I couldn’t even speak. They other two police officers in plain clothes pushed Li Wenzu to the ground and dragged her for 50 meters. Her jacket was ripped off, and her phone was also stolen.”

Li said, “The police in Hunan were fierce and brutal. I almost suffocated when I was dragged on the ground with the jacket covering my nose.”

The discovery that Jiang Tianyong is being forced to take medicine coincides with a suspected government plan to slowly kill off human rights defenders. Huang Qi, another human rights advocate is near death after mistreatment in prison. On July 13, 2017, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and famed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo passed away of liver cancer after receiving inadequate treatment in prison, as did another human rights activist, Yang Tianshui.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by human rights defenders, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.


UPDATE:
Please continue to pray that God will protect our Chinese brother Jiang Tianyong, a lawyer serving a two-year sentence for ‘subversion’. Our partner China Aid reports his family’s concerns that he is being tortured and forced to take drugs, possibly to cause memory loss. His wife, Jin Bianling, has fled to the US. Jiang vanished in November 2016, was held in an illegal detention centre and was only formally arrested in May 2017.

(Source: China Aid)

Something positive in India?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BJP Minister Acknowledges that Anti-Conversion Legislation Targets Christians and Plans Repeal

Christian Leaders Applaud Chief Minister’s Positive Action

07/02/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, a state located in northeastern India, has claimed that the state’s Freedom of Religion Law, more commonly known as an anti-conversion law, targets Christians and that he will take steps to repeal it.

On Thursday, June 28, Chief Minister Pema Khandu, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said, “The anti-conversion law could undermine secularism and is probably targeted towards Christians.” This statement was made while the Chief Minister addressed an event hosted by the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association as reported by The Hindu.

“Any misuse of the law leading to torture of people could trigger large-scale violence in the state and could break Arunachal into pieces,” the Chief Minister explained. He then assured that the law would be brought before the next assembly session for repeal as it “could be misused by irresponsible officials.”

Arunachal Pradesh was the third state in India to enact an anti-conversion law in 1978. Currently, seven states, including Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujrat, and Uttarakhand, have enacted similar legislation to limit religious conversion.

Besides regulating religious conversion, these laws also make it illegal to convert or attempt to convert someone from one religion to another by means of force, inducement, coercion or fraud. However, state governments have not defined the terms “force,” “inducement,” “coercion,” or “fraud” in the context of religious conversions. Due to this legal ambiguity, these laws have been widely abused by radical Hindu nationalists to harass and intimidate Christians while claiming to be under the auspices of state law.

“I welcome the move of the Chief Minister and applaud him for his conviction and much-awaited declaration,” Dr. Michael William, President of the United Christian Forum, told ICC. “Freedom of Religion acts are completely contrary to Article 25 of the constitution of India. They target peace-loving Christian minorities of the states in which they are implanted.”

“We rejoice at the anticipated striking down of the act in Arunachal Pradesh,” Dr. William continued. “We hope that the elected representatives of other states will see the light and correct these anti-constitutional acts soon.”

The BJP has held power in Arunachal Pradesh since late 2016. Arunachal Pradesh is a Christian-majority state by a small margin, being approximately 30% Christian and 29% Hindu; an atypical religious composition for an Indian state.

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are very happy to see Chief Minister Pema Khandu acknowledge the suffering of Christians within his state and promise to take positive action. These laws are widely abused by Hindu radicals due to the legal ambiguity within the laws themselves. Often, these laws provide an easy justification for radicals to attack Christian leaders with impunity. One simply needs to claim that a pastor was forcefully converting people following an assault. As a result, instead of arresting the pastor’s assailants, the police will arrest the assailed pastor following an attack. With attacks on Christians skyrocketing, the repeal of this law will be a great step toward India enforcing religious freedom for all.”

America ups the ante over Pastor Brunson’s detention

Time he was justly freed.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(World Watch Monitor) The American Charge d’Affaires in Ankara has said that Turkey’s continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson on spying and terrorism-related charges is impeding US-Turkish relations.

Philip Kosnett said there is a “strong sense of unity in Congress between Republicans and Democrats” on the need for Brunson to be released and “a similar sense of unity between Congress and the administration that in order for the relationship between Turkey and the US to progress, we need to resolve that status not only for Brunson but also for other American citizens and local Turkish employees of US missions who we feel are detained unjustly under the state of emergency”.

According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Kosnett said that resolving those cases would improve “prospects for progress” in other areas of co-operation, such as security in northern Syria. He was speaking to reporters yesterday as it emerged that…

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More impunity in India

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ten Christian Families in India Driven Out of Village After Refusing to Recant Faith

Christian Leaders in Jharkhand Report Increased Persecution

07/03/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that 10 Christian families in the Latehar District of India’s Jharkhand State were driven out of their homes after refusing to recant their Christian faith in early June. Since then, these families have not been able to return to their homes with local authorities unable or unwilling to provide assistance.

On June 5, 10 Christian families from Pahli village in Latehar District were summoned to a meeting with local radicals who told them to recant their Christian faith or leave the village. When the Christians refused, they were severely beaten and driven out of the village. After forcing the Christians out of the village, the radicals locked down the Christians’ homes.

“We are living in fear, away from our homes,” Shyamlal Kujju, age 25, told ICC. “It is almost a month since my house is locked by Hindu radicals and there is no attempt by the police or the government to resolve the issue. Our lives are devastated as we hide ourselves from the Hindu radicals. We do not know how long this will continue.”  

According to Kujju, the 10 Christian families regularly worshiped in the home of a fellow Christian prior to the June 5 attack. The incident has been reported to local police in Balumat and police have unlocked some of the Christian houses, but took no action against the radicals.

In September 2017, Jharkhand adopted a Freedom of Religion Law, more commonly referred to as an anti-conversion law. This law both regulates religious conversions and criminalizes forced conversions. The term “forced conversion” remains legally ambiguous and Hindu radicals often abuse these laws to falsely accuse or justify assaults on Christians.

According to Christian leaders in Jharkhand, since the law was adopted, attacks on Christians have increased. Pastor Rajdev Toppo, a pastor familiar with Pahli village and the Latehar District, said, “Things have become increasingly difficult to serve as a pastor in Latehar. On a daily basis, I am threatened and ridiculed for teaching Christians the Word of God. The local government has not been helpful, including when cases of the Christians were taken to the police and administration.”

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are deeply concerned to see that 10 Christian families have been beaten and displaced for merely exercising their religious freedom rights. Article 25 of India’s constitution says that every individual has the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate the religion of his or her choice. This right has obviously been denied to these 10 Christian families in Pahli village. Local authorities must take decisive action to correct this denial of rights and arrest those involved in the June 5 attack. Without enforcement, India’s religious freedom rights will remain only words on paper and attacks on Christians and other religious minorities will continue to rise in both number and severity.”

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

Death Toll in Jos, Nigeria Attacks at 218, including Pastor, Wife and Son

We must sympathise with these mainly Christian people, agree with their calls for action and change, pray for justice but there is no excuse for violent protest.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Protestors on their way to Plateau state governor’s residence in Jos, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – An Assemblies of God Nigeria pastor, his wife and son were among at least 218 people killed in Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacks on predominantly Christian areas near Jos on June 23-25, a denominational leader said.

Two days after the general superintendent of the AG-Nigeria denomination, the Rev. Chidi Okoroafor, reported the deaths of the Rev. Musa Choji and family members in the Barkin Ladi area near Jos, the federal government on Thursday (June 28) ordered the arrest of a pastor who organized protests of the killings, Christian leaders said.

The Rev. Isa Nenman, a pastor in Jos, was arrested on Thursday after the protests reportedly resulted in property destruction when he led demonstrators to the Government House, the residence of the governor of Plateau state, on Wednesday (June 27)…

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Two Christians Ambushed, Killed in Central Nigeria

This just goes on and on as the cup of suffering and the cup of iniquity both are filled to the final brim and the Lord puts an end to both.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Peace Joseph, 6, slain in attack in Miango, Nigeria on March 8. (Morning Star News)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Sunday (June 10) killed two Christians and seriously wounded another in central Nigeria as they made their way home from a church service, local sources said.

Ibrahim Weyi, 45, and Larry More, 53, were said to be hacked to death when herdsmen ambushed them at 7:40 p.m. as the Christians were going home on a motorcycle from an evening worship service in Plateau state’s Kwall village, in the Bassa area, Patience Moses told Morning Star News.

A third Christian, 23-year-old Samuel Weyi, was wounded in the attack, the local resident said. All three belong to the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Kwall, another resident, Lawerence Zango, told Morning  Star News. Weyi is receiving treatment at an Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in…

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Prayercast Ramadan Challenge: Day 23 – Safiya’s Story

Lovely testimony of how the WORD of God changed a needy Muslim woman!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

The Arab World is a land of spiritual darkness. Oppression and fear are commonplace.

Yet the Light of Christ continues to transform real lives.

As a child, Safiya witnessed the beheading of a Muslim woman.  Her life was consumed with fear.

Until she met Jesus.

Now she wants to tell the nations about the love, grace, and mercy He offers!

As we continue on the nightly prayer conference call during Ramadan, using the Prayercast Ramadan Challenge prayer points, let us unite in prayer that the church in Kuwait will grow. Let us pray that there will be those who will come under the shadow of Jesus, and for the Light of Christ to shine in Muslim nations.

  • WATCH her compelling story here.
  • PRAISE Jesus for His light that casts out darkness and His love that casts out fear.
  • PRAY for thousands more, like Safiya, to know the love, grace…

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US missionary, captive for 20 months, is alive, reports Niger’s president

Some encouraging news for the families of the kidnapped.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

For 20 months, there has been no news of Jeff Woodke (Photo: Facebook/Blaise Gaitou)

(World Watch Monitor) A US missionary kidnapped in Niger in October 2016 is alive, according to the West African nation’s president.

Jeff Woodke, who worked for Jeunesse en Mission Entraide et Developpement (JEMED), a branch of the US-based Youth With a Mission, was abducted by unknown assailants late in the evening of Friday 14 October, 2016, from the town of Abalak in northern Niger.

For 20 months, there has been no news of Woodke, but on Monday, 4 June, President Mahamadou Issoufou told TV channel France24 that both he and a German aid worker kidnapped in April this year are alive.

“We have some news; we know they’re alive,” the president said. “We continue to create the conditions for their release. Perhaps the contacts that are underway will help to achieve that goal.”

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Pray for Justice

Teenage Pakistani Christian maid killed by Muslim employers

for ‘not cleaning properly’


22 May 2018

A 17-year-old Christian young woman who worked as a maid for a Muslim family was murdered on 6 May 2018, “for not cleaning the house properly”.

Kainat Masih came from a poor Christian family in Gujranwala, Punjab and worked as a domestic staff for a local Muslim family. Kainat’s father, Salamat, went to the house where she worked to meet her on 6 May. Arriving around 2 p.m., he witnessed Kainat’s employer and his wife, along with two other men and a woman, assaulting her.

 

He later described to police how that they were holding down Kainat’s arms and legs and had tied a rope around her neck and were attempting to strangle her. Salamat begged them not to kill his daughter, but they ignored his pleas and Kainat was killed in front of him. According to Salamat, his daughter was murdered for supposedly not cleaning properly.

At the time of writing, Kainat’s murder is under investigation by police in Gujranwala, but no arrests have been made.

The majority of Pakistani Christians live in poverty, confined to menial jobs and are vulnerable to abuse and false accusation by their employers. In 2015, a Christian mother working in the house of a local Muslim family in Lahore was beaten by her employer and police officers, after denying accusations that she had stolen money and some gold. She was left with broken leg and hand, and her 20-year-old son was later taken away and beaten to death in police custody.

AND……

Pakistani Christian girl kidnapped, forcibly converted and

married to Muslim man


5 June 2018

A teenage Pakistani Christian from Punjab has been kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to a 25-year-old Muslim man.

Local Muslim women known to Ribqa Masih’s family tricked the teenager into accompanying them on a trip to Sahiwal on 9 April. Instead of returning within two hours, as they had claimed they would, they took Ribqa to the town of Depalpur, around 30 miles east, where she was forcibly converted to Islam and compelled to marry a 25-year-old Muslim man.

Pakistani Christian women and girls are extremely vulnerable to kidnap and forced marriage

Ribqa’s father, who works as a labourer, spotted his daughter being driven away in a car and tried to halt the vehicle. But two men travelling in the car got out and threatened him with guns. Ribqa’s abduction has been reported to police, but at the time of writing no arrests have been made.

Non-Muslim girls and young women in Pakistan are very vulnerable to kidnap, forced conversion and marriage to Muslims, and authorities rarely intervene. A report compiled by a Pakistani NGO in 2014 estimated that every year at least 700 Christian and 300 Hindu girls and young women in Pakistan suffer similar abuse.

Nigerian atrocities continue.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nigeria’s Middle Belt Report: May Sees Largest Attack in 2018 and Growing International Recognition of Crisis

06/06/2018 Washington, DC (International Christian Concern) – May continued to be a month of devastation and death for Nigeria’s Middle Belt region. During the month of May, there were more than 30 attacks with more than 150 people killed. Though there were fewer deaths this month than the preceding ones, May also saw the largest single attack this year. On Saturday, May 5, Fulani militants stormed Gwaska village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State. During this single attack, militants killed 71 people and destroyed many properties in the village.

There have also been statements made by victims of these attacks that military personnel in the region colluded with the Fulani militants prior to the attack. Prior to an attack in Numan, Adamawa State, villagers said that the military entered the village to enforce the disarmament of citizens. Shortly after this, the Fulani militants invaded the town and killed more than a dozen people. Though this may not be a sure sign of collusion, it is at least another sign of the ineptitude of the Nigerian military in protecting its people.

Below are the largest attacks that took place in May.

1. May 2, 2018: Fulani militants attacked four villages, Bang, Nyanga, Bonki, and Nzomosu, killing at least 15 and completely destroying the villages. Other sources have numbered as many as 30 dead.

2. May 5, 2018: Fulani militants attack Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State, killing 71.

3. May 14, 2018: Fulani militants kill 10 Tiv during an attack on Ilai and Ido-Gbede villages of Ijumu LGA.

Despite the massive attack and possible military collusion, there have been signs of possible change. There is more international attention on this issue than previously seen. After President Trump’s statement in April, lawmakers and politicians in the United States have started to speak out against the violence as well. Congressman Smith said, “Congress is watching the situation in Nigeria with growing concern, as the Nigerian government there appears too often to be indifferent to attacks by Fulani herdsmen on predominantly Christian farmers.” This growing concern by other nations may be the necessary catalyst for change in Nigeria.  

More Chinese Government Persecution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Tiananmen Anniversary, China Detains Dozens of Christians in Sichuan

06/05/2018 Washington, DC (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on June 4 at 3:30 pm, local authorities raided Autumn Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan, China to summon pastor Wang Yi and preacher Li Yingqiang ahead of their scheduled prayer vigil for the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.
Pastor Wang Yi

Two hours later, pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, four preachers Li Yingqiang, Zhang Xudong, Ge Yingfeng, An Yankui, 11 other members of the church including Weng Guanghe, Liu Yingxu, Dai Zhichao, and Ran Yifei were taken away by the police.

In the process, preacher Li Yingqiang was brutally pushed against the wall, choked, and slapped multiple times by police officers. The authorities also cut the church’s electricity and placed a notice on the wall which reads, “[…] this is not an authorized place for religious gathering, […] please go to an authorized and registered religious venue to participate in religious activities.”

A source in China who wishes not to be named confirmed with ICC that, at the time of writing, the entire group is still being held by the government. Neither pastor Wang Yi nor his wife could be contacted.

June 4 marks the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in China, where an estimated several hundred to thousands of student protesters were killed by the government, with more than 10,000 people arrested during and after the protests.

According to South China Morning Post, since 2009, the Church has designated the period between May 12 and June 4 its “prayer month” to remember the natural and man-made disasters that have hit China on those two dates. May 12 was the anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Sichuan in 2008 while June 4 was the anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown.

This was not the first time that Pastor Wang Yi has been targeted by the government. On May 12, he and dozens of his congregants were detained before they could hold a memorial service for the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. He has also been barred from participating in overseas Christian conferences several times in the past years. The underground church pastor is known for his resiliency and outspokenness against the government’s crackdown on Christians.

The leadership of the church sent out an urgent message yesterday, telling people that “as long as there is one body in Christ who has not returned home, we will not cease praying. May God use prayers to overturn the hearts of people in power!”

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Chinese Christians continue to face a growing crackdown under President Xi Jinping, especially those who refuse to submit to the government’s control. It’s shameful that three decades after the infamous Tiananmen incident, Beijing is still fearful of its people, viewing people of faith and activists as the state’s enemy. China will never be a great country unless it learns to listen and respect the rights of its citizens.”

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BREAKING: Supreme Court sides with Christian baker who refused to do gay ‘wedding’ cake

In a major religious liberty victory, the United States Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 that the government may not force Christian business owners to participate in same-sex “weddings.”

The Court determined the Christian business owner in question, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, did not get fair hearing…

Continue reading this article…

Turkey Turns On Its Christians

It will be interesting to see how God judges Erdogan and his nation.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

The ultra-nationalist Islamist group Alperen Hearths staged a forced conversion of Santa Claus to Islam, putting a gun to the head of an actor dressed as Santa Claus. This photograph was then posted on Twitter.

(Middle East Forum) While Christians make up less than half a percent of Turkey’s population, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Reconciliation Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) depict them as a grave threat to the stability of the nation. With Erdoğan’s jihadist rhetoric often stereotyping Christian Turkish citizens as not real Turks but rather as Western stooges and collaborators, many Turks seem to be tilting toward an “eliminationist anti-Christian mentality,” to use historian Daniel Goldhagen’s term. Small wonder that the recent launch of an official online genealogy service allowing Turks to trace their ancestry has kindled a tidal xenophobic wave on the social media welcoming the fresh possibility to…

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No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17)

It remains to be seen how God will turn this wicked deceitful legislation against the radical Hindus of this sad idolatrous nation!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christians Falsely Accused of Forced Conversion in India’s Jharkhand State

Christian Leaders Say Anti-Conversion Law Has Led to Increase in Harassment

 

06/01/2018 Washington, DC (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that at least 15 Christians in India’s northeastern state of Jharkhand have been falsely charged with forced conversions during the month of May. According to local Christians, this series of charges is a product of increased harassment experienced by the Christian community since Jharkhand passed the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017.
On May 12, 11 Christians were charged under Section 4 of the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017 after they gathered for prayer at a Christian home in Medhasai village, located in the Chaibasa District of Jharkhand. Susheela Barla, Manseed Kandulna, Sunil Horo, Jeevan Kandayaburu, Jone Suren, Mojes Gagarai, Sekindar Bading, Basanth Manji, Vijaya Thikki, Rajesh Kalkho, and Mothilal Ho were all charged of engaging in forced conversions (FIR no. 15/18) and have fled their homes fearing arrest.
On May 30, four more Christians, including two Christians youths to be married, were arrested for fraudulent conversion activities in Porker village, located in the Simdega District of Jharkhand. Rupesh Manji, age 24, and Sumanthi Kumari, age 20, were engaged to be married on May 30, but the local Sarna tribe opposed the wedding. When the young couple approached police for help, they were taken into custody and falsely charged under the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017 (FIR no. 05/18). Two more Christians, Pastor Sudarshan Manji and Nilam Devi, were arrested along with the young couple.
“[These] anti-conversion laws, ironically titled freedom of religion laws, are actually aimed at taking away the freedom of religion and rights of tribal and other marginalized sections of the Indian society,” Rev. Vijayesh Lal, General Secretary Evangelical Fellowship of India, said in a press statement following the passage of the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017.
Section 3 of the law states, “No person shall attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means, nor shall any person abet any such conversion.
Punishment under this bill includes imprisonment of up to three years, a fine of 50,000 Rupees, or both. Similar laws exist in seven other states in India and state governments have not defined the terms inducement, coercion, force, or fraud in the context of religious conversions. Due to this ambiguity, these laws are widely abused by Hindu radicals to harass and intimidate Christians while claiming to be operating under the auspices of state law.
Pastor Rajesh Bage, who serves as a pastor in Simdega District told ICC that the arrests of Christians have become more frequent since the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017 became a law. The latest arrests of four people in Porker village is the effect of the anti-conversion law that came into effect from last year August,” Pastor Bage told ICC.
Another Christian leader from Jharkhand, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “It is becoming more clear that the anti-conversion law was brought by the BJP to target Christians in the state. Hindu radicals are feeling empowered and enjoy a free hand to attack Christians. It is very unfortunate what is happening to Christians in Jharkhand.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are deeply disappointed to see Christians in Jharkhand being harassed under the auspices of state law. These Freedom of Religion Laws are widely abused by Hindu radicals due to the ambiguity within the laws themselves. These laws provide an easy excuse for radicals to attack Christian leaders with impunity. Following an assault, one simply needs to claim the pastor was forcefully converting an individual. As a result, instead of the pastor’s assailants being arrested, it’s the assailed pastor who is arrested. With attacks on Christians skyrocketing, the adoption of a law that would only incite more violence seems to be another step away from India enforcing religious freedom for all.”  

What do you know about Evin Prison, Tehran?

Approximately ten Iranian believers are incarcerated here (see under Iran category posts).

Evin Prison in Iran Sanctioned 


by U.S. Treasury

Christians Imprisoned in Evin Tortured for Their Faith

06/01/18 International Christian Concern (Washington D.C.) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that effective May 30, 2018 the U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Evin Prison because of its reputation of grievous human rights violations.
According to the Treasury Department’s statement“Prisoners held at Evin Prison are subject to brutal tactics inflicted by prison authorities, including sexual assaults, physical assaults, and electric shock…  senior regime officials regularly downplay the torture and abuse that occurs in Evin Prison, the abuse of prisoners, including political prisoners, continues once sham inspections into the prison conditions end.”
While the exact number of Christians imprisoned in Iran is unknown, ICC has documented at least 10 converts serving their sentences in Evin Prison. In these cases, the average prison sentence length is nine years. At least three Christians are currently released from Evin on bail, a sum which is often an insurmountable financial burden for the families.
“Christians held in Evin are subjected to physical and verbal abuse by not only the authorities but also by some other Muslim inmates. They are denied access to Bibles, phone calls and family visits. Evin Prison is run by the intelligence who behave in complete impunity. It is one of the worst places of detention in Iran, especially for those who converted from Islam,” said Mena of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Matias Perttula, ICC’s Advocacy Director, said, “It is essential that the United States continue to take a strong leadership role in pressuring governments like that of Iran to safeguard all essential human rights for their citizens, including religious freedom. Iran must be called to account for the wanton brutality taking place in Evin Prison as well as its wider restrictions on religious freedom.”
Dr. Mike Ansari of Heart4Iran, an Iranian Christian partnership platform, told ICC“Most of the arrested individuals are coerced to divulge information about their house-church activities and those of their friends, under threat of criminal prosecution or arrest of family members… Therefore, the case of every arrested Iranian believer is of utmost importance and should be monitored.”
A former prisoner in Evin shared with World Watch Monitor“If a prisoner’s case got attention, they stopped torturing or raping them because they knew the world was watching. We heard of many cases of prisoners who had no voice outside, and many things happened to them.”
Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Iran’s Islamic regime views Christianity as a threat to national security. It is no coincidence, then, that so many Christians are imprisoned in the country’s harshest jail. The punitive posture of the regime has led to the conversion of many Iranians, which has only intensified the targeting of Christians for harassment and persecution. The physical and mental torture experienced by Christians in Evin Prison will affect them long after their sentences are over. Their plight cannot be ignored.”

Nigerian girl-pray for justice.

No Justice for Florence,

Case Continues To Go Unheard

By Nathan Johnson

Nigerian bush

05/25/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “My name is Florence Hosea, 15 years of age. I am [the oldest of six siblings]On the 23rd day of March, 2018, an unimaginable thing happened to me when I went in search of firewood in interior bush of Sale hamlet of Kadunu at about 4:12 p.m. While I was busy gathering the firewood, I heard crunching footsteps behind me. In fear, I turned, but was shocked to see a Muslim youth I knew by name, Ibrahim Haruna, steadily advancing towards me. When I asked him what brought him into the bush, he responded that today, I would not return to my parent’s home!”

Throughout many areas of Nigeria, women hold less legal standing than men. This is even more evident when the women are Christian. Along with the other types of violence in Nigeria, forced conversion and forced marriage are still prevalent. Young women are often kidnapped and forced into marriage with Muslim men, forcing them to convert to Islam as well.

“After he finished raping me, I was dragged through the bush into one Muslim’s community called Ramani Russia of Kadunu, where the rapist took me to the house of Nuhu and held me. He said that if I tried to fight, either he or his friends would kill me. He further threatened to trail and kill me or my family members if I made his crimes public,” she continued. “To my further dismay, I was kept under watch by Nuhu’s wife, who ought to have heard my several pleas as a woman and let me go. In spite of my repeated pleas, [she continued to hold me against my will.] I had no option but to spend the night with her until the following morning.”

After the long night, Florence was confronted by her rapist again the next morning. “Then Ibrahim, my rapist, with another youth came to ensure I was still being held… They brought food to me but I [did not eat it for fear] of either being poisoned or [drugged]… After several minutes, Ibrahim and his friend came back and asked me why I refused to eat the food. I replied that I was ok. He became angry and forced me to put on an Islamic veil… Out of fear, I quietly accepted and wore it after little protest.”

Sadly, this type of attack is common among groups such as Boko Haram. They use intimidation, force, and indoctrination to convert young people, particularly women, to radical Islam. The veil and the threats against her family were part of an attempt to pressure Florence to renounce her faith and convert to Islam.

It was not until later that day that she was rescued by police. “While we were still in the same room, a police officer in company of another person barged in and took me to [the] police outpost of Kadunu,” continued Florence.

Despite her testimony and the police finding her in the house, there have been no arrests. She has been trying to fight this with the help of her family, church, and International Christian Concern. If her case is unable to move forward at the local level, it is very unlikely that there will be any justice for Florence.

India’s decline in religious freedoms.

Indian Christians Continue to Suffer as

Modi and the BJP Mark 4th Year in Power

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

 

Attacks on Christians Rise 232% Under BJP-Led Government

05/26/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) marks the fourth anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ascension to power with continued concern over the deterioration of religious freedom in India. Since their rise to power, attacks on religious minorities, especially Christians and Muslims, have dramatically increased, leading many to fear for the future of religious minorities in India.

On March 26, 2014, Prime Minister Modi and the BJP-led government rose to power in a landslide victory in the 2014 national elections. Founded on a Hindu nationalist platform, many minorities feared that the rise of the BJP and its leader, Prime Minister Modi, would lead to increased hostility against their communities. Four years later, many of those fears have been realized.

According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India, incidents of persecution against Christians in India have increased from 147 in 2014, 177 in 2015, 250 in 2016, to now 351 in 2017. This marks a 232% increase in documented incidents of persecution faced by Indian Christians under the Modi administration.

These attacks ranged from physical assaults, to church vandalism, to social boycotts against Christians, to even the murder of Christian leaders. Many of these attacks were reportedly carried out by members of radical Hindu nationalist groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or the Bajrangdal, emboldened by the “tacit approval” of the current government. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), “Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tacitly supported these groups and used religiously-divisive language to further inflame tensions.”

In 2018, ICC conducted a survey of 1,000 Indian Christians regarding the current administration and issues of religious freedom. Of those surveyed, 84.45% said that minorities are less protected under the current administration of Prime Minister Modi and the BJP-led government. In states where anti-forced conversion laws are in force, and often abused by Hindu radicals to attack Christians, 77.24% of Christians reported experiencing discrimination seven or more times in the last year.

“There is a sense of impunity,” Dr. John Dayal, spokesperson for the United Christian Forum, told ICC. “It has been a painful four years for the Christian community.”

“State impunity is aggravating the issue, as is the officials’ collusion in harassment and repressive laws severely curb Freedom of Religion and Belief,” Dr. Dayal continued. “The leadership of Modi and the BJP has led to violence that has bruised both the constitution and psyche of the country.”

Pastor Santhosh Kumar Shiypuri, a recent survivor of an attack by Hindu radicals, said,“We have been forced to stop several house churches in and around Kanpur. In most cases, the police favor the Hindu radicals as the government both at the state and national levels are pro-Hindu political parties.”

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Today marks the end of another difficult year for Christians in India. Religious intolerance and hostility continue to rise as the BJP-led government fails to confront radical Hindu nationalist groups that perpetrate much of the violence against India’s religious minorities. If India is to continue to be considered one of the world’s leading secular democracies, this trend cannot and must not continue.” 

Iranian Convert Loses Appeal of 10 Year Prison Sentence

Remember those in prison (Heb.13:3)

LATEST:…

Mohabat News — Iranian Christian prisoner, Mr. Naser Navard-Goltapeh’s family have expressed their growing concern over his health as he is suffering from a severe case of gum infection which requires immediate medical attention.

One of his family members told Article 18 ministries in an interview, “if he does not receive immediate medical attention we are afraid he might lose all of his teeth.”

 

Mohabat News — Last May, the Iranian Revolutionary Court had sentenced Naser Navard-Goltapeh to 10 years in prison for his faith. He has now been transferred to the infamous Evin prison in Tehran to serve his sentence.

Mr. Navard-Goltapeh had appealed his sentence but an appeals court upheld his sentence on November 12, 2017 in branch 36 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The sentence was approved in the appeals court in spite of Navard-Goltapeh’s attorney providing numerous grounds for his innocence.

The spokesman for the Article 18 organization, a Christian rights advocacy group, Kiarash Alipour told Mohabat News regarding Mr. Navard-Goltapeh’s accusations, “The court based its decision to convict Naser Navard-Goltapeh on a report by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, allegedly providing ample evidence that he attempted to undermine national security through establishing an ‘illegal house church network’. However, when asked for the report to be presented to his attorney, the court refused”.

He added, “In the appeals court, the judge surprisingly asked Mr. Navard-Goltapeh to convince the Ministry of Intelligence of his innocence in order to ease his sentence”!

It appears that the plaintiff in Mr. Navar-Goltapeh’s case is the Ministry of Intelligence itself. In earlier cases as well, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence had asked Christian prisoners to “cooperate” with them in order for their sentences to be eased. It is not clear what the ministry means by “cooperation”.

Mr. Naser Navard-Goltapeh had been arrested on June 24, 2016 in a private gathering along with three Christians from Azerbaijan’s “Word of Life” church in Baku.

All four Christians arrested in that incident were held in solitary confinement for two months and subjected to intense interrogation. They were all charged with “illegal gathering, collusion and evangelism” and eventually released temporarily on a heavy bail. The three Christian citizens of Azerbaijan returned to their home country after being released.

In an interview with the Article 18, Mr. Navard-Goltapeh’s attorney, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz said, “My client has not broken any of the criminal code and is not guilty of his charges. All other Christians arrested with him also confirmed all of their meetings were strictly focused on their faith and worship and nothing else.”

Three Azerbiajanis convicted with him were allowed to leave the country.

Earlier this year, four UN human rights experts raised concerns over the Iranian judicial system not providing Christians with a “fair and transparent hearing”.

These experts noted, “Members of the Christian minority in Iran, particularly those who have converted to the faith, are facing severe discrimination and religious persecution.”
Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List has placed Iran among the top 10 countries where Christians are persecuted the most.

The Islamic regime of Iran systematically shuts down anyone trying to spread Christianity in the country. Christians in Iran are regularly faced with arrests that most often leads to long-term prison sentences.

 

Libya (ppt)

This is another failed state along with Somalia. Destruction of the much of the infrastructure by rival militant factions brings this country into the spotlight. It is characterised by anarchy. This was where 21 Egyptian Copts were publicly murdered and then later seven Egyptian Christians were found murdered on a beach.

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Further clip and prayer (listen with discretion)

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Ten killed as Christian college attacked in South Sudan

Evil continues in this strife-torn land.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Residential accommodation at the Emmanuel Christian College training centre in Goli, South Sudan. (Photo: Open Doors International, 2009)

At least ten people, including five children, have been killed in an attack on a college in South Sudan teaching Theology, Education and Business, according to the Christian charity Open Doors International.

Three guards and five students – one secondary and four primary school pupils – were among the victims of the 14 May attack on the Emmanuel Christian College (ECC) in Goli, in Yei county. A displaced father and son, who had taken refuge there after fleeing Mundri, were also killed.

The attackers also raped the 14-year-old daughter of a staff member, Open Doors reported, and vandalised and looted college offices, single-staff houses, classrooms and the library.

Witnesses reportedly told Open Doors the attackers were from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the main force which formerly fought Africa’s longest-running…

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Sentence Upheld for Pastor in Algeria Stopped for Carrying Christian Literature

Disgraceful discrimination against God’s people in Algeria.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Creative Commons 3 – CC BY-SA 3.0

Algeria (Morning Star News) – A case that began with police in Algeria stopping a Christian suspected of carrying Bibles in his car ended yesterday with a large fine for the church leader.

A judge in Tiaret, 600 kilometers (372 miles) southwest of Algiers, on Wednesday (May 16) denied pastor Nouredine Belabed’s appeal of a sentence of a 100,000-dinar (US$868) fine and payment of court fees under a controversial law that forbids “undermining the faith of a Muslim.” Belabed had received the sentence on March 8, including a three-month suspended prison term reduced from what had been a two-year prison term.

The 37-year-old father of three was traveling with a companion, identified only as 26-year-old Khalil, to Tiaret on March 14, 2015 when gendarmes stopped their vehicle, Pastor Belabed told Morning Star News. National Gendarmerie in Tiaret had contacted officers in…

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Indonesia church bombings: police say one family and their children behind attacks

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

Suicide Bombings at Three Churches in

Indonesia Kill 13

 

Bombings Marked as the Deadliest in Indonesia Since 2002

05/14/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on May 13, bombings at three churches in Surabaya, East Java, killed 13 and wounded more than 40 shortly before Sunday services.

The explosions took place at Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church (STMB), Surabaya Pentecostal Church (GPPS), and the Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church (GKI). According to East Java Police, the first explosion took place at STMB. The second and third explosions followed five minutes apart.

Jakarta Post noted that attempted attacks were also reported at two other churches – Saint Jacob’s Church in West Surabaya and Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral. However, the bombs failed to explode.

A family of six – a father, mother, two sons, and two daughters – belonging to the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a group linked to the Islamic State, is behind the suicide bombings. They recently returned from war-torn Syria, where they lived in an area controlled by the Islamic State.

National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian confirmed that the father of the family initially brought his wife and two daughters – 12-years-old and 9-years-old – to GKI before making his way to Surabaya Pentecostal Church.

The bomb blast at STMB was carried out by the two brothers – 18-years-old and 16-years-old – who carried a lap-bomb with them on their motorcycle.

The bomb attacks are the deadliest in Indonesia since the 2002 Bali bombings, which left more than 200 people dead and hundreds more injured.

Pastor Yonathan Biantoro, one of the pastors of Surabaya Pentecostal Church, told ICC,“Honestly I am really sad about this. We as members of this church really hope that we would have a peaceful environment when we are in our devotion. We want the government to protect us with our constitutional rights and we are concerned about our religious freedom. I believe there is not a religion that would allow its followers to kill each other. We will however not be intimidated by the bombing. We still love them and forgive. We hope they will not do this ever again.”  

Three of his church staff members passed away on Monday due to severe burns.

“They try to create fear in us, instead we grow, trust, and hope in Him. God is still in control, our churches united in prayers and believe God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The gate of hell and its power cannot conquer His church,” Budi Setiawan, National Superintendent of Assembly of God Indonesia, shared with ICC.

The executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, Usman Hamid, called for the government to take swift action and to bring whoever was responsible to justice.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The terrorist attacks at the three churches in Indonesia are pure evil. ICC strongly condemns the reprehensible acts of violence against innocent lives. The use of minors as suicide bombers is sickening and shows the absolute disregard for humanity in radical ideology. Our hearts break for the victims, knowing the horror they have experienced at their houses of worship, and we urgently ask for your prayers for Indonesia.” 

  • Please ask God to comfort and heal survivors and mourners: thank Him that He is close to those who mourn (Psalm 34:18).
  • Pray that Islamist militants in Indonesia will become weary of bloodshed and sickened by the death cult that they have joined. Ask God to give them a hunger for a new life and pray they will find that new life in Him.
  • Pray that the Government will heed calls for greater security at churches, amid a worrying increase in militant activity in Indonesia in recent years.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/13/deaths-bomb-attacks-churches-indonesia-surabaya

Hindu Extremists’ Level Spurious Accusation of ‘Conversion Racket’ in India, Sources Say

Satanic injustice…..BUT they are prepared I believe,”My papa always told us that following Christ is not an easy path and that we need to be ready for everything,” she said. “Now I can recall him telling us, ‘There will be suffering, oppression, but we must stand for Christ. Christ, and Christ alone.”

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(From left) Rajni Pradhan and couple Sarah and Subash Kumar, after appearing in court two days after their arrest. (Morning Star News)

India (Morning Star News) – Christians in eastern India were worshipping on April 29 when Hindu extremists attacked and had them arrested on baseless accusations of operating a “conversion racket,” sources said.

Three of seven Christians arrested have been in jail since then, and yesterday a judge in Danapur, Bihar state, rejected their plea for bail.

Some 60 Hindu extremists stormed into the house church service where 50 Christians had gathered to worship, 19-year-old Angel Pariyar told Morning Star News.

“It was a difficult and tense moment for us,” she said. “A huge crowd surrounded our house, and they stopped us from even going inside our own house. We were made to stand outside as they called up police and reported against us, calling our worship service…

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Children top targets of Cuban government’s anti-Christian discrimination


3 May 2018

Christian children are particularly being targeted by authorities in Communist Cuba, according to the latest report from the independent United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Researchers found “community officials discriminate against Christians in employment and schools, including denying some Christian children food in schools”.

In 2017, Cuban authorities prosecuted a church pastor and his wife for seeking to home school their children so they could receive a Christian education. The pastor was charged with “acting contrary to the normal development of a minor” and sentenced to one year of correctional labour, which was reduced to six months of house arrest on condition his children attended a government school. The pastor was also banned from leading his church, and ordered to take up a low-paid government job checking the local the water supply for disease.

Education is strictly controlled by the government in Communist Cuba and Christians have been prosecuted for home schooling their children

The report, released on 25 April 2018, also reported that authorities threatened church buildings with confiscation or demolition: “In some cases, the officials confiscated property deeds, leaving the religious communities vulnerable to charges of maintaining illegal properties and the risk of such properties being destroyed or confiscated.”

Government restrictions on new buildings mean that many Protestant congregations meet as “house churches” in private homes. However, since 2005, house churches have been required to register with the government and submit detailed information on their members and activities. They are not allowed to hold more than three meetings per week.

The government also places restrictions on the import of religious literature: in April 2018, the Cuban government’s Religious Affairs Department returned to the USA a shipment of 17,000 NIV Bibles, whilst accepting only KJV Bibles.

Global Christian News https://www.globalchristiannews.org/article/children-are-top-targets-of-cuban-anti-christian-discrimination/

Central African Republic church attack leaves 15 dead, including church minister


3 May 2018

A church minister and at least 15 people were killed in an attack on a church service and Christian neighbourhood in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, on Tuesday 1 May.

A local church leader told Barnabas Fund, “We were holding our church leaders’ retreat. Unfortunately from ten until three in the afternoon, there was constant gunfire by armed groups … Apparently well informed of a programme taking place at the church … they surrounded the building and went in while a service was being held, throwing grenades and firing at the participants. They killed the minister on the spot along with five others, and inflicted a number of injuries.”

The attackers then rampaged through the Christian neighbourhood, “looting shops and killing one of our church members in front of his house … Reprisal attacks have been reported in various parts of the city since, and we fear that the situation could get out of hand.”

Christian communities in the CAR continue to be the targets of attacks; the country has been wracked by violence since 2013

The Central African Red Cross later reported that 99 people had been wounded. The attack took place on the edge of the predominantly Muslim “PK 5” neighbourhood of the city. Local sources have claimed the church was targeted in “retaliation”, after security forces mounted an operation against a Muslim armed group based in the PK 5 district, which has previously attacked UN peacekeeping forces.

The same church was attacked in 2014, when gunmen armed with grenades killed a church minister and several worshippers.

The Christian-majority Central Africa Republic has been blighted by violence since 2013, when the Seleka Islamist armed group briefly overthrew the government. Despite the agreement of a ceasefire in June 2017, Christian communities continue to be the targets of attacks. Violence continues between Seleka Islamists and “anti-balaka” militia, who misleadingly call themselves Christians, despite their actions being condemned by church leaders.

From Barnabas Fund contacts

Kyrgyz Christian convert mum held captive beaten by Muslim family


3 May 2018

A Christian woman in Kyrgyzstan, who recently converted from Islam, was held captive in her home and beaten by her Muslim family last week for refusing to renounce her faith in Christ.

“Gulum”, who has a two-year-old son, was held in her home for two days by her family in Tokmok before being taken to the mosque in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, 60km away, where she was held and questioned intensively by Islamic clerics in front of her young son.

Gulum remained strong in her faith and said to her interrogators: “Are you against that I believe in God? … Do mother and husband have right to beat me?” This challenged her captors who then allowed her to return home.

 

Her husband and many other relatives remain very hostile to her Christian faith. Gulum is also under pressure from local clerics to return to Islam and fears possible arrest.

A local pastor and her sister, also a Christian convert from Islam who has experienced persecution, have contacted Barnabas Fund to request prayer support for Gulum at this time.

The population of Kyrgyzstan is 86% Muslim and follows Sunni Islam. While Kyrgyzstan has remained a secular state since the fall of Communism, there has been a strong revival of Islamic practices since the country gained independence.

According to the Hanafi school of sharia, which is the predominant type of Islam in Kyrgyzstan, adult female apostates from Islam should be imprisoned. A main Hanafi textbook also mentions the teaching that they should be “beaten with severity” daily until they renounce their Christian faith. Adult male converts from Islam are punishable by death according to every school of sharia law.

Christians in Kyrgyzstan have faced dramatic reductions in their freedoms in recent years. There are also proposals to tighten the already restrictive 2009 Religion Law, which effectively outlaws unregistered Christians gathering together for prayer or worship.

From Barnabas Fund contacts

Brunson’s trial highlights Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ tactic

And please also remember our American brother, Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is on trial in Turkey and facing serious charges including terrorist links. At a hearing last week, many local church leaders, as well as US officials, attended to hear Andrew and his lawyer give a ‘very strong and articulate’ defence. The next hearing is scheduled for July 18.

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Erdogan, Turkey’s president is a small minded tyrant!

What a travesty…

Turkey court rules to send Andrew

Brunson back to prison until next hearing

NORINE AND ANDREW BRUNSON

After the second hearing of Pastor Andrew Brunson’s trial, a Turkish court ruled to keep him behind bars until the next hearing scheduled for July 18, 2018. The ruling came after a secret witness accused Brunson of helping a terrorist organization and planning to create a Christian Kurdish state. Reports claim that secret witnesses are testifying via a video link with their faces blurred and voices altered.

Andrew repeatedly denied the prosecutor’s charges that he was involved with terrorism and espionage. Brunson said in his defense,

“I am helping Syrian refugees, they say that I am aiding the PKK. I am setting up a church, they say I got help from Gülen’s network.”

There is not one photograph or tape recording praising the PKK at the (Izmir) Resurrection Church. Our church had several Turkish followers. Our doors were open to everyone. I strived to prevent politics entering the church.”

“My service that I have spent my life on, has now turned upside down. I was never ashamed to be a server of Jesus, but these claims are shameful and disgusting.”

Brunson’s lawyer said that when a case lacks evidence, ‘it’s kind of become the custom’ to use secret witnesses that have no credibility or link to reality.

Three witnesses for Andrew’s defense were not permitted to testify on the grounds that they were also suspects in the case.

USCIRF Vice Chair, Sandra Jolley said the proceedings “were dominated by wild conspiracies, tortured logic, and secret witnesses, but no real evidence to speak of.”

“Worse still, the judge’s decision at the conclusion of today’s hearing to dismiss all of the witnesses called by Pastor Brunson’s defense without listening to a single minute of their testimony is simply unconscionable.”

“The truth is that this case is part of a larger decline in personal freedoms, including religious freedom and human rights, that we are witnessing in Turkey in recent years,” she said. “We are looking to the Turkish judiciary to uphold pastor Brunson’s innocence,” she stated.

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemned a new indictment issued by Turkish prosecutors this week.

“USCIRF urges President Trump and others in the administration to redouble their ongoing efforts to secure Pastor Brunson’s release. No stone should be left unturned in our efforts on behalf of this unjustly imprisoned American. We call again for his immediate release and, if this is not forthcoming, for the administration and Congress to impose targeted sanctions against those involved in this miscarriage of justice,” said USCIRF Vice Chairs Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga.  Read full press release here

66 U.S. Senators and 50 Members of the European Parliament have sent letters to Turkey’s President demanding Pastor Andrew’s freedom.

It’s very disappointing for the many hoping and praying for his release. Some may also be struggling with the reason his imprisonment is being allowed. However, we will not lose hope knowing our God is with Andrew and trust His plan for his future.

Andrew’s wife shared,

Again, the Spirit of the Lord was on him to speak the truth clearly and have a good testimony during the 10 hour hearing. So glory to God and thank you for your prayers! It was very encouraging to have three members of USCIRF there, as well as Charge D’Affaires Phil Kosnett. Also, a number of believers and pastors, including from our home church. I know that meant a lot to Andrew.
Unfortunately, the next hearing is not until July 18.
On the way back we drove by a convoy of at least four vehicles – that much security was most likely Andrew being transported back to the Buca prison. That was a relief, but also so very sad and hard to drive by… Just like in the courtroom, so close, but so far…
So many prayers from so many places, so much fasting. This is not in vain. Surely a very big work of God is coming from this huge wave – really a tsunami – of prayer. THANK YOU!

During his imprisonment, Andrew wrote a song calling ‘worthy of my all’.

You are worthy, worthy of my all
This is my declaration in the darkest hour
Jesus, the Faithful One who loves me, always good and true
You made me yours, you are worthy of my all

I want to be found worthy to stand before you on that day
With no regrets from cowardice, things left undone
To hear you say, “Well done, my faithful friend, now enter your reward”
Jesus, my joy, you are the prize I’m running for

We believe the Lord is giving our brother Kingdom opportunities, as He has with others since the beginning of our faith. We pray God will comfort Andrew, his wife and family as they wait for the next hearing. We also ask for guidance and strength to endure, and supernatural joy to fill their hearts. In Jesus name, Amen

We would like to thank the ministry partners and the many intercessors for participating in our 24 hour prayer call for Andrew Brunson.  Much fervent prayer went up for our brother imprisoned for his faith in Christ.  Also, heartfelt prayer went up for our persecuted family, worldwide.  They who follow Jesus Christ and pay a high price.
We believe our prayers were anointed of Jesus and ascended in the power of the Holy Spirit into the throne room itself. So again, a heartfelt thank you, to the intercessors and ministry partners who made this call possible. Most importantly, we thank and praise our glorious God and King who enabled us, as one family, to connect with Him on behalf of our brother Andrew and our persecuted brothers and sisters.  Keep praying!

THANK YOU TO THE PRAYER TEAM OF A CHURCH IN MAROUA, CAMEROON AFRICA WHO PRAYED AS ONE WITH US BY REQUESTING PRAYER POINTS DURING THE PRAYER CONFERENCE CALL FOR ANDREW BRUNSON.

.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

A photo of the Rev. Andrew Brunson during his time in prison. Photo courtesy of World Witness

(World Watch Monitor) On the eve of jailed US pastor Andrew Brunson’s second court hearing in Turkey, growing international comment has focused on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s transparent “hostage diplomacy” tactic, one of several issues seriously souring his nation’s relations with the United States.

The upcoming 7 May hearing near Turkey’s third-largest city of Izmir marks Brunson’s 19th month in custody. According to statistics released last week by the Turkish Justice Ministry, the Protestant pastor is one of 35,000 suspects under arrest and awaiting trial in Turkey on suspicion of supporting the accused perpetrators of a failed coup attempt against the Turkish government nearly two years ago, on 15 July 2016.

After 23 years in open church ministry in Turkey, Brunson was detained during Ankara’s widespread crackdown against the…

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Disgraceful sentencing of Indonesian Pastor

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

Pastor Sentenced to Four Years in Prison on Blasphemy Charge in Indonesia

Abraham with his wife.

05/07/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on May 7, the Tangerang District Court in Indonesia sentenced Reverend Abraham Ben Moses to four years in prison and issued him a 50 million Rupiah fine (~3,500 USD) for religious defamation.

If he cannot afford to pay the fine, “it can be replaced with a one-month prison term and we also give the defendant a chance to refuse the verdict seven days from tomorrow to appeal to the High Court,” said presiding judge Muhammad Damis at the hearing.

According to Voice of the Martyrs, Reverend Abraham, 53, is a well-known former Muslim and Christian apologist in Indonesia. As part of his ministry, he is involved with online evangelism and debates with local Muslim groups.

Abraham was arrested on December 5, 2017, after a video went viral that depicted him sharing his faith with a Muslim taxi driver. In the video, he speaks with the taxi driver about converting to Christianity and the Prophet Muhammad’s flawed teachings on marriage. 

Members of Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah, immediately lodged a complaint against him on December 8.

According to Jakarta Post, Damis said that “Abraham was convicted under Electronic and Information Transactions Law No. 11/2008 as he intentionally spread information intended to incite hatred against an individual, group and society based on religion.”

Although the verdict was more lenient than the prosecutors’ demand of a five-year prison term, Abraham’s legal team plans to file for an appeal. 

A Muhammadiyah official, Pedri Kasman, admitted that he was content about the verdict. “This decision should be appreciated and should serve as a valuable lesson for all parties,” he said.

In a message to Indonesian Christians, Abraham’s wife Sara Ibrahim asked Christians to “pray for pastor Abraham’s punishment to be lighter.” I would say pray he will be exonerated-JK!

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The Indonesian government should revisit the country’s blasphemy law, as it is increasingly being exploited by radical Muslim groups to target individuals who they find to be offensive and theologically ‘out-of-line.’ To honor religious freedom as enshrined in Indonesia’s constitution, the government must respect all religions and stop criminalizing Christians when they are merely exercising their right to free speech.” 

Fulani Militants appear to murder with impunity in Nigeria

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

Nigeria’s Middle Belt Report: Dozens Murdered in Churches as Attacks Increase

05/07/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – For Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, April has been the deadliest month in 2018 thus far. Over the past month, there have been reports of more than 350 people killed in the Middle Belt due to the Fulani militant crisis. These attacks spanned eight states; however, the vast majority of the attacks took place in Benue State. Of the 27 attacks that have been reported, 20 of them took place in a state which has already outlawed open grazing in an attempt to end the violence. This shows that these attacks are not merely about farmers denying herders land. These herders were not denied land by the farmers, but by the government who told them that they must purchase land to graze on.

In a more blatant show of religious motivation, Fulani militants also carried out two attacks on churches in Benue State this past month. On April 24, Fulani militants stormed St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Mbalom. During the attack, they killed two priests and at least 17 parishioners in addition to burning down more than 50 homes. Less than a week later, Fulani militants attacked and killed seven internally displaced people who were taking refuge in a church in Mbamondo.

Below are the largest attacks that took place in April.

1. April 14-16, 2018: Fulani militants attack several villages in Nasarawa State, killing at least 39 and destroying more than a dozen homes.

2. April 24, 2018: Fulani militants attack St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Mbalom, killing two priests and 17 others.

3. April 26, 2018: Fulani militants attack three villages, Tse-Umenge, Mbakpase and Tse-Ali villages, killing 39 and destroying more than 150 houses.

In spite of the tragedies, there are encouraging signs of progress. In April, President Trump hosted Nigeria’s President Buhari in Washington D.C. During an interview, President Trump said, “We’ve had serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed [in Nigeria]. We’re going to work on that problem and work on that problem very, very hard.” This brings hope that the international community is starting to realize the dire situation that is taking place in Nigeria. It is time for the Nigerian government to direct its full attention toward these deadly militants. 

SUGGEST you write to the Nigerian High Comission in London and complain and let them know the world is watching their nation’s inability to enforce law AND ORDER.

More from Sudan

  1. Pray for 8 Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) leaders west of Omdurman arrested after refusing to stop worship and hand over control of a church so were charged with a public order offence.
  2. Rafat Obid and Rev. Daniel William of Sudanese Evangelical Presbyterian Church (SPEC) unjustly convicted in October on charges after their denomination resisted government attempts to take over its leadership and sell off church property.

A determined government offensive by the Islamic government under  president Al-Bashir is set on wiping out the church in  Sudan (north.

Pray God’s people may rejoice in the gift of suffering for their Saviour. “It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29). WHAT AN ATTITUDE TO HAVE!

Elisha abducted, Pakistan

Pray for Elisha aged 12, abducted November 2017 and raped and forced into “marriage” with a Muslim abductor. Her father is bringing charges but is being threatened by the kidnappers family.

This is TYPICAL of a multitude of similar situations all over Pakistan!

Kim Dong Chul -North Korea

Hope for
Kim Dong Chul 

Hopeful news overnight from North Korea – Kim Dong Chul, a missionary and businessman serving a 10-year sentence, was moved from labour camp to a Pyongyang hotel amid speculation that he will be released soon.  Read more
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Buhari of Nigeria guilty of ignorance and collusion.

President Trump Calls Out Killing of Christians in Nigeria

 

Fulani Crisis Mentioned During Presidential Conversation

05/03/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that President Trump and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria have met in Washington D.C. where they planned to discuss security and economics in Nigeria. However, during the initial televised meeting of the two leaders, President Trump also said that they need to discuss the killing of Christians in Nigeria.

“We’ve had serious problems with Christians who have been murdered, killed,”President Trump stated. “We’re going to work on that problem and work on that problem very, very hard.” This statement and visit took place only days after 18 Christians, including two priests, were killed in Benue State, Nigeria, during a burial service. The assailants in this attack are believed to be Fulani militants. This hostile group, though only a radicalized fraction of the larger ethnic community, has conducted many attacks so far this year, especially in Benue State.  (Buhari is a Fulani!-JK)

To date, the exact reasons for these attacks have been difficult to pinpoint. Unlike Boko Haram and other extremist groups, the Fulani militants do not have a defined goal or structure. They have, however, conducted more large-scale attacks and caused more devastation over the past year than any other group in Nigeria. 

When asked about President Trump’s comment, Rev. John Terlumun of Benue State said, “Trumps’ comments were very soothing, and have given us hope for a quick intervention in the madness of Islamic terror on our people. We are very thankful for his help.”

Solomon Musa, President of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, said, “President Trump’s comment to President Buhari on the killings in Nigeria is very timely. We couldn’t have hoped for anything [more]. But I [would] rather also talk about what Buhari said. Buhari told President Trump that herdsmen carry sticks and not guns, but that’s quite strange… It’s strange what Buhari said because the other week he was saying that the people killing Nigerians were trained by Muomar Gadaffi.”   !!!!!!-JK

It is not only President Buhari who can’t determine the source of the conflict either. The governor of Kaduna State said that the killers are Fulani radicals from 14 African countries. The Minister of Defense, Monsur Dan Ali, said that the killings are a result of anti-open grazing laws. The Inspector-General of Police said that the killings in Benue are a communal conflict. Finally, the Director of State Security Services said that the killings are led by ISIS. It is no wonder that the government has not effectively stopped these killings since they cannot agree on why they are happening.

ICC’s Regional Manager, Nathan Johnson, stated, “It is amazing to see that this cause is finally getting some of the attention that it deserves. We are very glad to see that President Trump was willing to stand up for the many Christians who have lost their lives to this crisis in Nigeria. We hope that this interaction will lead the Nigerian government to finally respond to this devastating situation.” 

Asia Bibi’s final appeal against blasphemy to be heard in Supreme Court “soon”.

LATEST Below!

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.

LINK

 

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.

Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, told The Express Tribune that the court’s additional registrar had conveyed to him that the case was likely to be fixed for hearing in November. However, if for some reason there was a delay, it would definitely be listed in December.

“I have been told that currently the Supreme Court’s special bench is hearing criminal appeals filed in 2015. The Aasia case was listed the same year. Therefore, it will be heard during the ongoing year,” said the lawyer.

Legal experts say it’s unclear if a bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will resume, or the special bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, will hear her case.

The 51-year-old Christian, has been on the death row since November 2010 after being convicted of controversial blasphemy charges during an argument with a Muslim woman. Aasia’s case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for her retrial and was subsequently shot dead by his guard, Mumtaz Qadri, in January 2011.

In 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld Aasia’s death sentence, but the Supreme Court stayed her execution in July 2015.

Lord please sovereignly cause her to be acquitted and leave this rotten country for her own safety!

Background:

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2 Votes

Aasia Bibi with her children before blasphemy charges

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.

Whilst Aasia Bibi’s defence believe they have a strong case, there is huge pressure from Muslims to uphold the death sentence.

Aasia Bibi’s husband and two of her children
Aasia Bibi’s husband and two of her children

Speaking directly to Barnabas Fund’s contact in Pakistan, Aasia Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih requested prayer for protection and that justice will prevail. He has also asked that specific prayers be made for the lawyers defending Aasia Bibi, as well as the judges who will hear the case. He said that the family are well and thankful to Barnabas Fund for helping them to purchase a house.

Commenting on the significance of the appeal, Dawn, an English-language newspaper in Pakistan, wrote, “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.”

Should the judges rule in favour of Aasia Bibi, there is the risk that she and her family will be targeted by vigilantes as have many others acquitted of “blasphemy” charges in Pakistan. It is symptomatic of the increasing Islamisation of Pakistan and the immense difficulty that Christians in particular have in defending themselves against false accusations. Whilst it would be a huge victory for justice should Aasia Bibi be acquitted, more challenges could yet lie ahead for her and her family.

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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Bible translation

Over 160 million people, speaking 1700-1800 languages, do not have access to a single word of Scripture in their language. 1.5 billion people do not yet have a complete Bible in their language. How can their lives be transformed? Let’s pray for them and ask God to provide all the resources they need so his word can go out to them.

Important videos-what will you do?

Follow up video…

Ashers update

It could be a month or two till we get a verdict! Five high court judges have to decide.

From IRISH TIMES:

Man at centre of ‘gay cake’ case facing heavy burden, court hears

Activist Gareth Lee took action against Ashers bakery over gay rights message refusal

Gay rights activist Gareth Lee, leaves the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Gay rights activist Gareth Lee, leaves the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The man at the centre of the “gay cake” case is bearing a “heavy burden” because of the legal battle, the Supreme Court in Belfast has heard.

The case surrounds the refusal of the Christian owners of Ashers Bakery to make a product iced with the slogan ‘Support Gay Marriage’ after it was ordered by gay rights activist Gareth Lee in May 2014.

Mr Lee took legal action and the bakery was found by the District Court in Belfast to have discriminated against him by refusing to make the cake.

The bakers lost an appeal against that ruling in the Court of Appeal in October 2016. It is now the subject of a Supreme Court hearing in Belfast.

Owner of Ashers Bakery Daniel McArthur arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast . Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Owner of Ashers Bakery Daniel McArthur arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast . Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

At the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast in Wednesday, Mr Lee’s barrister Robin Allen QC said: “This is what was a relatively small incident in his life which has become enormously significant and continues to be so.

“That is a heavy burden to bear for one individual.”

The original case against the McArthur family, who own Ashers and are backed by the Christian Institute lobby group, was taken by Mr Lee with the support of Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission.

Mr Allen said the equality commission was seeking “legal certainty” and stepped in because only a millionaire could afford to litigate this case.

“In the context of this case it is super-difficult because in relation to the provision of goods, facilities and services you are talking about a prohibition on discrimination on transactions which may range from a box of matches up to a long-term contract.

“In many cases, particularly true in a divided community, prohibition in relation to goods and services is a task which is difficult to police through a commission or litigation.”

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK or Ireland where same-sex marriage is outlawed, with the DUP staunchly opposed.

Mr Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, requested a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie for a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.

His £36.50 order was accepted and he paid in full but, two days later, the company called to say it could not proceed due to the message requested.

Northern Ireland’s attorney general John Larkin QC has said the Court of Appeal ruling on Ashers was wrong.

Evangelical Christians Daniel and Amy McArthur, who own Ashers, have argued through their lawyers that the state is penalising them, with the courts effectively forcing them to make a cake whose message they disagree with as a matter of religious conscience.

“Mr Lee does not have the right to compel Ashers to express a message to deliver content which is inconsistent with their religious beliefs,” Mr Larkin said.

He added the McArthur family could avail of the European Convention on Human Rights to refuse to express a political opinion which was contrary to their religious beliefs, warning there was no objective or reasonable justification for interference.

He contended nothing in Northern Ireland constitutional law forced a choice between being the courier or conduit of a message to which they objected on religious grounds or exposure to civil liability in the courts.

One of the Supreme Court judges, Lady Hale, said people should not expect their answer on the case immediately.

“This is not to say that we don’t hope that it might be before the summer but these cases are by definition complex and difficult and there are five people who have to make their minds up so that… takes more time than simply the jury verdict, even at the end of a long trial.”

Protests in Nigeria

Women and Youth Protest in Plateau, Nigeria

 

Hundreds Angry About Continued Fulani Militant Violence

04/25/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that hundreds of protesters stormed the Plateau State House of Assembly in the early hours of Thursday, April 12 to stage a peaceful rally against Fulani militant attacks. The Internally Displaced Women of Daffo District of Bokkos Local Government Area (LGA), a Fulani militant victims group, and others gathered outside of the Plateau State House in order to protest the killing of men, women, and children by Fulani militants in their homeland.

The women alone, numbering over 100, were dressed in black and carrying placards that read phrases such as, “JUSTICE4DAFFO,” “Arrest and Prosecute Killer Herdsmen,” “Ransack Fulani Settlements,” “Where Is State Emergency Management Agency,” and “We Have Been Made IDPs in Our Homeland,” among many others. Many of these statements were meant as demands presented to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.

Mrs. Comfort Matawal, the leader of the group, said in a letter to the House, “It is no longer news that Daffo District in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State was recently hit by violent attacks by persons believed to be Fulani herdsmen that have been residents in the communities for years. This has led to 32 deaths, 10 severely injured, 10 missing persons, and over 7000 displaced.” However, Bokkos isn’t the only LGA affected in Plateau State either. There have been at least 20 attacks in the state that have killed more than 100 people in 2018.

Another group that was present at the protest was the Middle-Belt Youth Arise group. This is a group that represents the young men of Plateau State. The spokesperson of the group, John Eche, said, “We are saying enough is enough. All ad hoc military operations in Nigeria henceforth should have a time limit. Our military is mighty. They have good track records. They go on peace-keeping abroad and everything goes fine. We call on them to be patriotic. The youth further call on [the] federal government to immediately end the rising pogrom, and ensure arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of the heinous crimes and bring them to justice.”

In response to the protestors, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Peter Azi, commended the groups for staging a peaceful rally to demonstrate their concerns. He stated, “The government of Plateau State is trying its best to ensure that the security issue is resolved based on its five pillar thrusts, of which security is one.” He continued, “As a House, we will relay all your demands to the Executive Governor of Plateau State for necessary actions.”