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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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/

More Pakistani Christians Murdered

UPDATE:

Jihadi attacks forcing out Quetta Christians


3 May 2018

Christians are leaving the southern Pakistani city of Quetta following a wave of targeted attacks by jihadists.

Two Christians were killed and four seriously injured when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on worshippers leaving a church service on 15 April 2018, while four Christians were killed in a drive-by shooting on Easter Monday (2 April 2018). In December 2017, a suicide bombing at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church left nine dead and over 50 injured. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for all three attacks.

Nine Christians died and over 50 were injured in the attack on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church on 17th December 2017. The pastor told Barnabas, “We are under threat of further attacks”

One Christian, speaking on condition of anonymity, told journalists: “We have been living for centuries in Quetta but due to targeted killings of the Christian community, I have lost nine of my family members and friends. Many of our relatives shifted to Karachi and we will also leave Quetta due to the deteriorating security situation … Leaving [our] home town is quite tough but we have no other option.”

The pastor of Bethel Memorial Methodist Church told Barnabas Fund, “We are under threat of further attacks and the local police have provided us with some protection at the church. I have faith in Jesus Christ, with His angels to protect us. Some people are leaving, but He is with us and makes us brave in heart to stay in Quetta.”

From Barnabas Fund contacts

via 4 Christians killed for faith by Islamists in Pakistan

International Christian Concern

At Least Two Christians Killed in

Drive-By Shooting in Pakistan

 

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Third Attack on Christians in Quetta

04/16/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that at least two Christians were killed and three others were wounded when gunmen opened fire on a group of Christians gathered in the Essa Nagri area of Quetta, Pakistan. ISIS’s local branch claimed responsibility for Sunday’s deadly attack, marking its third attack on Christians in Quetta in recent months.

“Four men on two motorbikes opened indiscriminate fire” on a group of Christians,“killing two people while injuring three others,” local police official Abdul Razzaq Cheema told AFP. The shooting took place around 5:30 p.m. Victims were rushed to Bolan Medical Complex in Quetta where two of the victims, Azhar Iqbal and Rahid Khalid, succumbed to their wounds.

The attack took place in the Christian-majority neighborhood of Essa Nagri in Quetta. Following the attack, hundreds of Christians gathered to protest the killings. Protesters burned tires and blocked traffic as they called on the government to provide their community with greater security.

“The Christian community in Quetta has yet again become a target of rising intolerance and violence in society,” Pakistan’s National Commission for Justice and Peace said in a statement. “[We] strongly condemn these acts of terrorism and violence.”

Sunday’s shooting marks the third attack on Christians claimed by ISIS in Quetta. In December 2017, ISIS suicide bombers attacked Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, killing nine and injuring dozens more. Two weeks ago, on April 2, ISIS claimed responsibility for the targeted killing of a Christian family riding in an auto-rickshaw in Quetta. Following the attack, ISIS said that a “covert unit” of its militants “managed to target a number of the combatant Christians.”

“The Christian community is feeling insecure and threatened,” Pastor Simon of Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta told ICC. “We are not safe at places of worship, schools, or residential apartments. The majority of Christians are so depressed they are not sending their children to school and even avoid going to gatherings such as social or religious events.”

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Pakistan in condemning this heinous attack. No one should fear being attacked and killed because of their religious identity. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Christians in Quetta have had to face this extreme violence. Pakistan’s authorities must do more to secure Christians and their places of worship. Pakistan must also make efforts to root out the extremist elements perpetrating these attacks. Until then, it is likely that attacks on the Christian community of Quetta will continue.”  

Pakistan’s Christians shocked and fearful after third attack

Azhar and Rahib were shot in broad daylight on the streets of Quetta city this week – the third extremist attack on local Christians in just four months.

Christians in southern Balochistan province are now living in fear as 15 believers have been murdered since mid-December. Islamic State (IS) says it carried out the attacks.

Please pray that God will comfort Azhar and Rahib’s families – and every other believer in Quetta.

Four gunmen on motorbikes shot Azhar, 26, and 16-year-old Rahib as they sat outside Azhar’s home opposite a church in the mainly Christian Isa Nagri area on Sunday evening. Three others were injured in the shooting, including two girls, aged 11 and 13.

Azhar’s father, Hakeem, says staff at the medical centre where Azhar was taken ‘didn’t know how to treat bullet wounds’ as there was no senior doctor present. Azhar later died. ‘The terrorists have not just killed Azhar, they have also killed me and his mother,’ says Hakeem.

The attack follows an incident in Quetta on Easter Monday when four members of a familywere shot dead. At least nine Christians were killed in a suicide attack on a Methodist church in the city just before Christmas.

  • Pray that God will console and provide for Rahib and Azhar’s families. Rahib’s father is paralysed so Rahib, his only son, was considered the family’s future breadwinner.
  • Pray that the Pakistan Government will heed local Christians’ calls for greater protection and increased security for their community.
  • Pray that God will thwart the plans of Islamist extremists in Quetta and across Pakistan – and lead them to repentance and new life in Him. Thank God that He loves Pakistan and all its people. (See below for more on our #Pray50 campaign.)

(Source: Morning Star News)

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.

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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.” 

Shamil

Shamil is a former mullah in Azerbaijan who came to faith but was ostracised by his community. He and his family have been threatened and beaten. Pray for safety and ask God to help and strengthen them to stand firm.

Hamida

Hamida is a believer from a Muslim background in Kyrgystan whose husband has beaten and threatened her with divorce and locked her in her house for refusing to renounce her faith. Pray for her safety, need of fellowship and for God to change her husband’s heart.

Tajikistan- Pray for Gulnora, Wife of Imprisoned pastor

Feb. 01, 2018 | Tajikistan
Pray for Gulnora, Wife of Imprisoned Pastor

IRAN-Pastor’s wife gets five-year jail sentence

LATEST:

Please continue to pray for our Iranian sister, Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, who was back in court last week for an appeal hearing. Shamiram is appealing against a five-year sentence, while her husband, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, is appealing against a ten-year sentence. A further hearing for Shamiram’s appeal is expected soon. (Source: Middle East Concern)

  Shamiram’s conviction followed that of her husband, Pastor Victor Tamraz, on the same charge in July. (Source: Middle East Concern). Sounds like this appeal was unsuccessful (April 27th 2018-Open Doors)The wife of an Iranian pastor sentenced to ten years in jail has been given a five-year prison term of her own. Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor Bet-Tamraz, was convicted of ‘acting against national security and against the regime by organising small groups, attending a seminary abroad and training church leaders and pastors to act as spies’, according to our partner, Middle East Concern.

Victor.

Please remember this couple in your prayers and also all our imprisoned Iranian brothers and sisters in Christ.

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Christian Family Remains in Village Despite Persecution

Apr. 26, 2018 | Laos
Christian Family Remains in Village Despite Persecution

Burkina Faso: concerns over reported rise in extremism

Burkina Faso not associated with extremism till now.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

A church in Burkina Faso, where over 20% of the population is Christian. (Photo: khym54 via Flickr; CC 2.0)

Christian and Muslim leaders in Burkina Faso met last week to discuss interreligious dialogue amidst growing concerns about the spread of violent Islamic extremism in the country, reports Fides.

The landlocked West African nation, which borders Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast, is majority-Muslim (around 60%), but also has significant numbers of Christians (over 20%, the vast majority of whom are Catholics) and followers of indigenous beliefs (15%), according to the latest census (2006).

On top of a rise in violent extremism, delegates of the Second General Assembly 2018 of the Episcopal Commission for Islamic-Christian Dialogue noted an increase in radicalisation and the use of religion to drive political agendas.

“We are called to live together,” Muslim leader Iman Boureima Drobo told delegates. “We must learn to do…

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A believing grandmother pays the ultimate price.

Apr. 19, 2018 | India
Pray for Family of Grandmother Killed for Praying in her Home

Iranian Christian Converts, Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Askari charged.

LATEST:

Hadi Askari released on bail
Hadi Askari (40) a Christian convert from Islam, has been granted conditional release from prison in Iran after posting bail. He left Evin Prison on Wednesday 11 April after twenty months’ imprisonment and is now waiting for his appeal against his ten-year sentence to be heard.

Iranian Christians strong in their faith
Praise God that despite being under pressure to convert back to Islam, Iranian believers Amin Nader Afshar and Hadi Askary, who both have long prison sentences, are reported to be firm in their faith! Pray that their appeals will succeed. Please also pray for our Iranian brothers Eskandar Rezaei and Suroush Saraei who were each sentenced on December 28, 2017, to eight years in prison. They are now appealing their sentences: pray their appeals will be heard swiftly and be successful.
Pastor Victor Bet Tamarz (10 year sentence), Amin (15 years), Hadi (10 years) bail £46,000 each. Lawyer will appeal.

IRAN – Two Christian converts have finally been charged by the authorities, seven months after being abducted by armed men as they picnicked with their families. Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Askari, both converts from Islam, have been incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison since September. Both men have been convicted for ” acting against national security” and “organizing house churches”. They have filed appeals.  Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz is on bail.

May the two men recover from hunger strike and their sentences be repealed.

The Iranian government brutally represses Farsi-speaking (i.e. Muslim background) churches, often called house churches. The persecution of Iranian Christians worsened in 2016.

From Mohabat news here

afshar_hadi

Imprisoned Christians end hunger strike in Iran

Earlier this week, two Christian converts who have been in prison since August 2016 ended their hunger strike after being promised medical care and progress in their case.
On 5 February, Amin Afshar Naderi (on left of image) and Hadi Askari (on right) went on hunger strike to demand medical care and to protest about delays in their case. No charges have been brought against either man.
On Tuesday (14 February), the Head of the Attorney General’s office Ali Akbar Bakhtiari and his deputy visited Naderi and Askari in Evin Prison in Tehran. They promised to investigate their case and that of others imprisoned for their religious beliefs, so Naderi and Askari ended their hunger strike.+

Prisoners of Faith Alert

Imprisoned twice in two years
Iranian Christian Amin Nader Afshar (pictured) is currently in prison in Iran for the second time in two years simply because he became a follower of Christ and seeks to live out his faith in his community.
Amin, together with several Christian friends, was arrested in August 2016 and remains in custody with no immediate prospect of release. Please pray for this dear brother, his family, his two Christian friends also incarcerated in Evin prison in Tehran, and for many other Iranian prisoners of faith.

Further updates reveal that Christian convert prisoner, Amin Afshar Naderi is still being held in Evin prison, despite earlier reports about his release.

Mohabat News – On October 19, 2016, a report came out of Iran that three of the five Christians arrested earlier in Firouz-kouh county, had been released. However, follow-up efforts have revealed that one of the three Christians previously thought to have been released, Amin Afshar Naderi, is still being held in prison.

Knowledgeable sources told Mohabat News that the other two Christians, Mohammad Dehnavi and Ramil Bet-Tamraz, son of Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz were in fact released on bail, while their fellow believer, Amin Afshar Naderi still remains in prison.

As previously reported, the two Christians who were in fact released, had to post very heavy bails. They will be released until the day of their trial. As of now, three of the five believers still in prison are Amin Afshar Naderi, Amir Saman Dashti and Hadi Asgari, none of whom are officially charged yet. There are no further updates on their case and how long they will be held in prison in uncertainty.

Keeping political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in prison without any official charge is a known tactic of the Iranian government in order to pressure such prisoners.

These five Christian prisoners had been arrested on August 26, 2016 in a raid on a family gathering in Firouz-kouh county.

Reports from that incident state the plain-clothed security authorities beat a number of those attending the family gathering and after arresting five of them, they left their families with no news on the whereabouts of their loved ones. Their families said they checked with many prisons across the country but they were told such names are not registered as official prisoners in their system.

As many Iranians have shown incredible interest in Christianity in recent years, the Iranian Islamic regime has ramped up its campaign to crack down on Iranian Christian converts and prevent the spread of house church gatherings. Iran falsely sees its citizens’ conversion to Christianity as a threat to its existence and national security.

 

North Korea-pastor Kim Kuk-gi.

1 July 2015

CNNclip

I cannot believe these Christians would act as paid spies and carry forged currency!

Among other things Kim was accused of spreading “religious propaganda” from an “underground church” he ran in Dandong, which has a large ethnic Korean community and is a hub of both official and illicit cross-border trade.

In 2014 North Korea sentenced a South Korean missionary to hard labour for life on charges of espionage and setting up an underground church.

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the North Korean constitution it does not exist in practice and religious activity is severely restricted to officially recognised groups linked to the government.

Pyongyang views foreign missionaries as seditious elements intent on fomenting unrest and those who are caught engaging in any unauthorised activities in the North are subject to immediate arrest.

This month’s Prisoners of Faith Alert is an update on the prisoner profile for pastor Kim Kuk-gi. This ordained Presbyterian minister was recently sentenced to life imprisonment in a North Korean labour camp. When news of the sentence was made public Release’s partners in South Korea requested prayer for Brother Kim and his family.

Thank you for supporting and caring for Christians in prison. Be assured: your prayers bring comfort and encouragement to our persecuted brothers and sisters.

Please consider writing a simple card or letter of encouragement to Pastor Kim’s family (see attached pdf).

By praying for, supporting and writing to, and on behalf of, prisoners of faith you are fulfilling the biblical exhortation to ‘REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON’ (Hebrews 13:3).

Nigerian anarchy

 

Linda Maina (17) was abducted on her way to a wedding and forcibly “married” to a Muslim as part of a national Islamic plot to destroy as many Christian girls as possible. Her distraught father said it appeared the Muslims can do what they want and the security forces are in league with them. At a Sharia court hearing neither she nor her father nor his lawyer were allowed to speak. Pray for this girl and hundreds more like her who are being held against their will. Remember the Chibok girls  100 of whom are still detained four years after their kidnapping.

Syrian conflict

BF-logo.jpg
Syrian Christians at prayer
Christians of Syria thank God, even at this time of crisis: remember them today
Donate now
Syrian Christians are very grateful to their brothers and sisters around the world who joined with them in praying and fasting for Syria on Friday. When the US, France and UK fired their missiles at Syria early on Saturday morning (14 April), it was a terrifying experience for people in Damascus and Homs, especially for the children, but it seems no one was killed. Syrian Christians praise God for His intervention.

Syrian Christian mother and child
Syrian Christian mother and child

“We ask people to pray for peace for Syria and its people,” said one Syrian Christian to Barnabas Fund on Saturday. “We offer our prayers for … the deliverance of Syria from all kinds of war and terrorism,” wrote a group of senior church leaders the same day.

Assurance that God is with them

A Christian leader has spoken to Barnabas Fund of the Syrian Christians’ conviction that God is with them at this time, as He has been during the last seven years of war. Many have been killed and wounded; many have fled to seek refuge both internally and externally; mothers are in great distress each day as they send their children off to school, wondering if they will ever see their little ones again, longing to be with them if a missile strikes. Yet Syrian Christians continue to believe and to express their confidence in God that He will be their Helper and their Protector, that He is sovereign, and above all else that He is with them at this time of great trial.

Syrian Christians at prayer
Syrian Christians at prayer

They call upon the international community to find ways of peace, and for Christians around the world to pray with them and for them. They fear that an international war in their beloved homeland will not only devastate the whole Syrian population but could be a catastrophe for the Syrian Christian community and for all Christians in the Middle East.

Indeed, the damage to Christians in Islamic contexts could go still further. A Pakistani Christian leader said last month that a war in the Middle East could trigger attacks on Christians in Pakistan. For whenever the West attacks Muslim people, Muslim extremists retaliate by attacking vulnerable Christian minorities.

Will you keep praying with and for our Christian brothers and sisters?

Abraham in Indonesia

Prisoners of Faith Alert
Pray for Christian arrested on false charges

Well-known Christian apologist Abraham Ben Moses was arrested last December after authorities learned of a video in which he shares the gospel with a Muslim taxi driver. The 53-year-old  from Tangerang, Java, has been charged with blasphemy, hate speech and violating Indonesia’s information and electronic transactions law and is currently being held in prison. If convicted, he faces up to five years behind bars. Please pray for his health while he is in detention, as he suffers from a blood glucose disorder.

Click the image to download the Prisoner Profile for Abraham.

Click on this link to find out more about others who have been imprisoned for their Christian faith.

Nigerian security non-existent

Apr. 12, 2018 | Nigeria
Pray for Christians Recovering from Repeated Attacks on their Village

Andrew Brunson trial

Disgraceful scapegoating of a godly missionary for political ends.

Brunson Trial Further Delayed 

American pastor Andrew Brunson (50) appeared in court in Izmir on Monday (16 April) to face charges of aiding terrorist groups that could result in a 35-year prison sentence. After the indictment was read and Andrew responded, the judge adjourned the trial for three weeks.

Andrew stated that he is a servant of God and that his motive in coming to Turkey was to preach Jesus Christ and raise disciples. He said he loves Turkey, has been praying for the country for 25 years and has done nothing wrong. 

Andrew has been in prison in Turkey since October 2016.

Read the full report

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

A Turkish court approved an indictment against Black Mountain native Andrew Brunson, clearing the way for a trial on April 16, 2018 that could result in his being imprisoned in that country for up to 35 years.

On March 28, Sen. Thom Tillis announced that he met with imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson on March 26 at Buca Prison in Ismir, Turkey.

“Pastor Brunson is strengthened by his love for his family and his faith in God, but his health has deteriorated,” Tillis said in a statement. “He has lost 50 pounds and spends 24 hours a day in a cell with limited human contact.  He is attempting to visit a doctor this week, which involves him being handcuffed and transported with several armed guards. He fears the possibility that the American government accepts the indictment and forgets about him, which we will not allow to happen.

“There should be no…

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MORE ERITREAN ARRESTS

ERITREA: Newlyweds among 32 Christians arrested in Asmara in March

The newlyweds and their guests were arrested on 5 March at the couple’s home. Ten friends were visiting for a traditional coffee ceremony to welcome the bride when local security officers forced their way into the house and arrested all twelve people present. They were taken to Asmara’s No. 5 Police Station.

The authorities released eight of the group two days later, after they presented valid travel IDs (documents of permission to move around Eritrea). The four remaining Christians, including the newlyweds, were moved to Adi Abeito Prison, north of Asmara. The couple was split up after the arrest, and the bride was released on 27 March, but the groom and two guests remain in prison.

Twenty more Christians were arrested on Sunday 25 March, all of whom remain in detention, but no further news has emerged yet about their case.

Eritrea’s human rights record condemned at UNHRC

Afiwerki the cruel Eitrean dictator.

 

On 12 March, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held an enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, during which speakers from many organisations and countries condemned Eritrea’s human rights record.

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore said in her opening statement that over one hundred people were arrested in Eritrea in 2017 for practising religions not officially recognised by the state. (Since 2002, the Eritrean government has banned all religious groups except the Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches and Sunni Islam.)

Sheila B. Keetharuth (pictured below), Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, said her monitoring of the current situation showed that the patterns of human rights violations continues unabated.

 

United Nations Watch, a monitoring group for the UN, said religious freedom continues to be denied in Eritrea, with thousands of Christians facing detention, and asked why the Special Rapporteur’s report failed to closely assess this situation.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted the arrest of dissenters and their family members by security agents and stressed that the Commission of Inquiry had found that Eritrea had committed crimes against humanity.

The European Union and 13 individual countries took part in the dialogue, during which Ireland reiterated its call on the Eritrean government to enact the political and legal reforms required to end human rights violations, end impunity and ensure accountability for past violations.

Eritrea was not present to make a statement as the concerned country.

(UN Human Rights Council/World Watch Monitor)

Six Christians Hospitalized After Assault on Prayer Gathering in India

International Christian Concern

Six Christians Hospitalized After Assault on Prayer Gathering in India

 

Christian Persecution Continues in India Following Difficult Easter Holiday

04/09/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that an annual prayer gathering in Vakel village, located in the Bastar District of Chhattisgarh, was attacked by Hindu radicals last Thursday. The April 5 attack left many injured, including six Christians who required hospitalization at the district hospital in Jagdalpur.

According to Rev. Ratha Netam, one of the speakers at the prayer gathering, the event was organized for Christians from the Vakel area as a day of prayer at the Village Evangelical India Mission (VEIM) Church. At 7:30 p.m., a mob of 70 people forced themselves into the church, shouting pro-Hindu slogans and carrying wooden clubs. These radicals then beat many of the 60 Christians in attendance and severely injured six, including Pastor Kasinath Baghel, Shanti Baghel, Pansila Baghel, Kanti, Pastor Bodra, and Savitri.

“When I saw the Hindu fanatics shouting at believers asking for me to kill, I [was] afraid and went into my home,” Pastor Kasinath Baghel, one of the six injured Christians, told ICC. “Three of them entered in my home, held my hands, brought me out and beat me mercilessly. When they were beating me I was frightened greatly and thought that if I were killed what would [become] of my children and wife.” 

“They misbehaved with me,” 40-year-old Shanti Baghel told ICC. “They did not even consider me as a woman. They continued to harass me and beat me with the wooden clubs. I was helpless. I was hoping that God will protect me from the hands of these attackers while others ran for their lives to nearby forests.”

Pansila Baghel, a teenage girl who was abused by the attackers, said, “When extremists pushed me, I fell to the ground. They beat me and hurled abusive language. One of the attackers told me to give up my ration card, even citizenship, because India is only for Hindus.”

“This attack on poor tribal Christians is unacceptable and a gross violation of [their] fundamental rights,” a local Christian leader told ICC on the condition of anonymity.“The police must act impartially and book the culprits.”

The Christian community reported the attack to local police and filed a complaint. So far, none of the culprits have been arrested.

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India are becoming an almost daily occurrence. Hindu radicals across the country have been given a wide berth by local authorities to pursue their campaigns of hate against Christians and other minorities. This inability or unwillingness to protect and enforce the rights of Christians must come to an end or attacks on Christians will continue to rise in both number and intensity.”

More Pakistani discrimination and MURDER.

Pakistani hospital staff killed Christian who stood up for pregnant sister


5 April 2018

Staff and doctors at a hospital in Lahore beat to death a Christian man who stood up for his pregnant sister after staff discriminated against her.

Kiran Saleem visited the hospital in Lahore on 26 March to see a gynaecologist, but the female doctor on duty asked a nurse to see the pregnant Christian woman. Kiran insisted she wanted to be seen by a doctor. During the ensuing argument, the female doctor reportedly slapped Kiran.

Kiran’s three brothers – Sunil, Johnson and Anil – who visited her at the hospital, reported the incident to a local news channel, but were then threatened by hospital security guards. They began to beat the Christian men, aided by at least three doctors.

 

Sunil was beaten for around 30 minutes and sustained critical injuries. Although he was then admitted to the hospital, no doctor attended to him and he subsequently died.

Police have registered an initial report of the murder, which names several doctors and security staff at the hospital, but at the time of writing no arrests have been made.

http://www.globalchristiannews.org/article/hospital-staff-beat-christian-who-stood-up-for-pregnant-sister-to-death/

Church of Scotland slides further into apostasy

David Robertson of Christian Concern recently responded to The Church of Scotland’s pastoral guidance manual that embraces and approves transgenderism. Challenging Covenant Fellowship Scotland’s approval of the Diverse Gender Identities and Pastoral Care document, he slams CFS and the CofS’ “continued trajectory into apostasy” saying “the implications of the statement from CFS… indicate the weakness, blindness and hopelessness of the situation for evangelicals within the CofS.”

Two Christians in Iran given eight-year prison sentences

Two Christians in Iran appeal over eight-year prison sentences.

Apr. 05, 2018 | Iran
Two Believers Await Ruling on Eight-Year Prison Terms

Iranian Christians Eskandar Rezaei and Soroush Saraei (pictured, Eskandar on left) have each been sentenced to eight years in prison. Arrested in July 2017, they were both charged with “acting against national security”, while Soroush was also charged with “forgery” for issuing letters as pastor of the Church of Shiraz for students seeking exemption from Islamic studies classes.

On 28 December 2017, they were each sentenced to seven years in prison for “acting against national security” plus one year for proselytising and forming house meetings. They are appealing the sentences.

Children abducted in Myanmar

Pray for Christian Orphans Abducted After Sharing the Gospel

Fulani murderers continue to wreak havoc with apparent impunity.

International Christian Concern

Nigeria’s Middle Belt Report: Fulani Militants Again Outpace Boko Haram as Biggest Threat in March 2018

04/04/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The uptrend in attacks in the Middle Belt by Fulani militants continued in March, with the heaviest attacks taking place in Plateau and Taraba states. Throughout this past month, there were 27 attacks by Fulani, only six of which involved any fighting from those who were attacked. These 27 attacks led to the deaths of 225 Christians, the destruction of tens of thousands of dollars in property, and thousands of families displaced from their homes. During this same period, Boko Haram killed 37 people, many including military personnel with whom they were engaged in combat. These statistics show that not only is the Fulani crisis a bigger issue at the moment, but also that in more than 75% of cases, the Fulani attacked unarmed and defenseless civilians.

Plateau State suffered the greatest losses during this period with 107 Christians losing their lives. Despite this, there have been no major attempts by the Nigerian government to hold the Fulani accountable or disarm them. Both of these steps must happen if this violence is to be stopped.

Listed below are the biggest attacks that took place in March.

1.  March 5, 2018: At least 24 were killed in a Fulani attack on the Idoma village of Omusu in Okpokpwu LGA.

2.  March 12, 2018: Fulani militants attacked the Dundu area of Kwal in the evening. Twenty-five were reportedly killed.

3.  March 14, 2018: Fulani militants attacked several villages in Dekina and Omala LGAs. Thirty-two were initially reported dead, with the number later raised to around 50. Hundreds were displaced following the violence.

This serious situation requires a serious response. Thus far in 2018, Fulani militants have killed more people than Boko Haram and affected a much larger area. Despite this, the federal government in Nigeria has paid little attention and allowed these militants to get away with mass murder. Even in areas where they have provided small amounts of security personnel, it has proven to be completely ineffective. We continue to call on the Nigerian government to reclaim the land that has been stolen by Fulani militants, rebuild the communities that have been destroyed, and protect Nigerian citizens from future attack.

Algerian Christian released after 18 months.

LATEST:

(World Watch Monitor) The daughter of Slimane Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian who has spent the last 18 months in prison for insulting Islam and its prophet, has announced her father’s release.

“Finally my father … has been allowed back to us,” his daughter, Tilelli, wrote on her Facebook page on Easter Saturday. “Thank you for your support.”

Algerian newspaper El Watan reported that Tilelli and her mother had been on their way to visit him in prison when he called, saying that he had been released and was about to take a taxi home. Tilelli reportedly told him to wait, after which they picked him up and travelled home together.

“I am filled with joy to be reunited with my family, who have suffered tremendously,” El Watan reported Slimane Bouhafs as saying. “It was too much… I suffered a terrible injustice. I did not hurt anyone, I did not kill anyone. I was deprived of my freedom unfairly.”

He added that he had “seen unbearable things in prison” and thanked people from all over the world for sending him letters of support.

Who is Slimane Bouhafs?

Slimane Bouhafs, a convert from Islam, was arrested on 31 July 2016 for posting a message on social media about the light of Jesus overcoming the “lie” of Islam and its prophet. He also published photos showing the execution of a civilian by an Islamist terrorist.

He was adjudged to have insulted Islam, the state religion in Algeria. The penal code provides for a penalty of three to five years in prison, along with a heavy fine, for such an offence. Bouhafs was initially given the maximum sentence, before it was reduced to three years and then, following a presidential pardon, further reduced.

However, the family’s request for parole in October, owing to Bouhafs’ ill health, was rejected.

A source who preferred to remain anonymous told World Watch Monitor at the time of the initial sentencing that a five-year sentence was “severe in view of a rather minor offence”. Such comments on social media are common in Algeria without usually triggering the wrath of the authorities, the source added. In January 2017 a court in Bouira (100km east of Algiers) sentenced another Algerian Christian to a year in prison for items he posted on his Facebook page, adjudged to be insulting to Islam and its prophet.

During his incarceration, Bouhafs spent time in three different prisons. Initially he was imprisoned in the northern city of Setif, but was then transferred to Constantine and later Jijel, despite the family’s request that he be moved to Béjaïa – in the Kabylie region where he is from and where there is a relatively large Christian community.

While in prison, his health deteriorated due to his inflammatory rheumatism, a disease that worsens under stress and requires a special diet. He also reportedly suffered aggression from his fellow prisoners because of his Christian faith.

Protests

Bouhafs’ family protested against the verdict, supported by Algerian and international human rights groups. His daughter Tilelli stressed that her father had only shared someone else’s posts on Facebook, adding: “I wonder why there is this rage against my father, who did not have a high profile on Facebook.”

Another daughter, Afaf, described her father as a man who had always defended the interests of his country from a young age. She said he is known for his commitment to democracy and religious freedom in all his writings published on his Facebook page.

According to Said Salhi, vice-president of Algerian League for Human Rights (LADDH), the verdict was “part of an escalation” and a result of “abusive” use of article 144 (bis) of the Algerian law.

In October 2016, a crowd gathered in the northern city of Tizi Ouzou to lobby for Bouhafs to be allowed access to medical treatment.

They also called for a change to the law that punishes anyone deemed to have insulted Muhammad or “denigrated the dogma or precepts of Islam”.

In May 2017 the LADDH organised a rally in support of Bouhafs in Béjaïa’s city centre. In a statement the group said the Algerian government had been responsible for “repeated violations of human rights and freedoms” and demanded “the release of all detainees of political or religious opinions”.

Bouhafs’ conviction was seen by some as a means of silencing him because of his political activism. He belongs to a movement for the self-determination of Kabylie (known as MAK), a separatist group not tolerated by the authorities. MAK activists are regularly harassed and arrested.

 Slimane Bouhafs ends hunger strike

Algerian Christian Slimane Bouhafs has ended his hunger strike in prison. His family is relieved, having been very concerned for its effect on his health.

Algerian Christians have requested continued prayer that Slimane will know the Lord’s strength and healing and that he will be granted a transfer to a prison closer to his family home.

Read his Prisoner Profile

 

 

 

Latest: Algerian Christian’s sentence reduced to three years

Slimane Bouhafs’ five-year sentence for “blasphemy” has been reduced to three years.  An appeal against the conviction will now be made to Algeria’s Supreme Court.

Read the background to the case
Slimane (pictured), who was due in court in Algeria today to appeal against a five-year jail sentence for ‘blasphemy’ – his punishment for a Facebook post.
Please pray that the court will acquit our brother in Christ: earlier this month he was given the maximum punishment for defaming Islam and its prophet: a lengthy jail term and a hefty fine. Slimane Bouhafs’ only ‘crime’ was to post on social media a comment about the ‘light of Jesus’ overcoming the ‘lie of Islam’. He also shared a photo of someone being executed by an Islamist terrorist.
It has emerged that Slimane was subjected to long interrogation sessions after his arrest and was denied access to a lawyer. He has been behind bars since his conviction on August 7.

  • Please ask God to keep Slimane in His perfect peace and protect him. Slimane suffers from gout.
  • Pray that God will strengthen his family and his church.
  • Pray that Slimane’s appeal will be successful and that the Algerian judiciary will uphold religious liberties in its nation

YEMEN

Since the posts below were shared some 4 years ago, a major civil was between the Saudi-backed government and Huthi rebels backed by Iran has claimed scores of thousands of lives along with epidemics like cholera etc. Just today the UN head Guttierrez said Yemen is a humanitarian catastrophe and he is seeking to raise 2 billion dollars in aid. But for lives to be saved the fighting must stop. Pray to the Lord who makes wars to cease.

 

YEMEN

Leader: President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi Population: 27.2 million (a few thousand Christians) Main Religion: Islam Government: Republic World Watch List Rank: 10 Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism There is some religious freedom for foreigners here but evangelism is prohibited and Yemenis who leave Islam may face the death penalty. Muslim-background believers are forced to meet in secret. If their faith is discovered, they face severe persecution from authorities, family, and extremist groups who threaten ‘apostates’ with death if they do not recant. Insecurity caused by Islamist movements makes Yemen very unstable. Christians are believed to be under surveillance by extremists and expat Christians can be a specific target for these extremist groups.    

PLEASE PRAY:

  • The number of local believers is estimated at just a few hundred. Ask the Lord to encourage them and increase their numbers
  • Several expat Christians have been kidnapped in recent years. Pray for protection for foreign Christian workers and NGOs
  • Al-Qaeda-linked groups are gaining more power. Pray that Yemen’s leaders will be able to restore peace to this deeply divided country.

PERSECUTION DYNAMICS

Yemen is very unstable and its situation has deteriorated since the Arab Spring riots of 2011. The country is balancing on the brink of civil war. In the chaos, Al Qaeda militants have seized the opportunity to spread to parts of Yemen where formerly the government maintained some sort of order. These developments have led to an increase in oppression of Christians. Kidnappings of foreigners occur regularly, and Christians are believed to be under surveillance by extremists. Several expat Christians have been kidnapped, though it is hard to discern to what extent religious factors play a role. Migrant Christian fellowships have been raided and forced to stop meeting. Muslim-background believers face strong family and societal pressure. Threats from family, society and extremist groups are very serious and indigenous Christians have been killed for their faith, even by the current government. Due to this risk, many believers have had to go into hiding or even flee the country. Female converts are under threat of forced marriage once their conversion is revealed.  

Powerpoint

Worrying news from Philippines

PHILIPPINES – ISLAMISTS PLOTTING ANOTHER MARAWI

The Islamist group linked to Islamic State, which murdered Christians and destroyed churches when it seized Marawi city on the southern island of Mindanao in May 2017, is “regrouping, retraining and recruiting for another attack”, a Philippines’ army spokesmen told journalists on 5 March 2018.

The city was devastated recently in the war for it’s liberation:

 

Marawi was only retaken after a five-month siege, during which Christians were singled out. Some were murdered, while others were abducted, forced to make bombs and used a human shields, while Christian women were kept as sex slaves. Amnesty International later reported that nearly all the civilians murdered by Islamic militants during the siege of Marawi were Christians.

Islamist rebel groups on Mindanao have been engaged in a long-running struggle against the government. In 2014, the government agreed a peace deal with rebels which created a semi-independent Muslim region on Mindanao, but Christian villages continued to be targeted by militants, even before the capture of Marawi.

Uphold in prayer our Christian brothers and sisters in the southern Philippines. Pray for complete healing for the physical and psychological scars that remain after the Marawi siege and ask that they will know the Lord as their rock and refuge in the face of evil (2 Samuel 22:3

More Hindu violence in India

INDIA: Hindu extremists attack Christians in Tamil Nadu

Hindu extremists carried out a brutal attack on Christians at a Pentecostal church service in Tamil Nadu state, southern India, on Sunday 11 March. They stripped and repeatedly kicked the pastor’s wife in the face, leaving her unconscious, and also attacked the pastor, vandalised the premises and took Bibles and personal items which they burned in the middle of the road.

The attackers, members of Tamil Nadu-based extremist group Hindu Munnani, stormed the Pentecostal church in Sikandar Chavadi, Madurai District, during its Sunday morning service, before later that day attacking four other Pentecostal churches in Madurai. The extremists’ leader, Thangam Venkatesh (district secretary of the Hindu Munnani), was accompanied by an armed policeman as his personal security officer.

The attackers first tried to seize the Bible from the pastor’s wife, Persis Jacob (38), but she clasped it close to her heart. “I will die, but I can’t do without the Bible,” she said.

They wrestled the Bible from her, pushed and slapped her and stripped her of her sari. When she pleaded with them to let go, the security officer told her to prostrate herself at Venkatesh’s feet and beg him to forgive her. One of the attackers told her, “If you and your husband convert back to Hinduism right here, we will spare you alive. If not, you will be brutally killed.”

She tried to prevent them applying vermillion to her forehead, a sign of conversion to Hinduism, but they struck her in the face with the key to the church building, leaving a scar.

Pastor Ravi Jacob (41) told Morning Star News in tears: “She was kicked in the face with shoes. I tried hard but couldn’t protect her. She fell unconscious. She was lying there unconscious without her sari.

Church members managed to lift the unconscious woman into their arms, while an extremist told Pastor Jacob, “This attack should stand as an example to all the pastors in Tamil Nadu. It should teach them a lesson so hard that there will not be any church service, and no worship of Jesus on this Tamil land.”

The extremists dragged the pastor out and punched him repeatedly, injuring him in the face and leaving his mouth bloodied. As he struggled for breath, they grabbed Bibles, his mobile phone, watch and a microphone and set them on fire.

Pastor Jacob said Venkatesh then threatened to kill him: “He asked me how I would prefer to die, and that he had only two options to offer meOne, he said, he would hang me in public. And, the other that he would burn me alive.”

A mob of about fifty extremists chased Pastor Jacob more than a kilometre from Sikandar Chavadi. He told Morning Star News, “They issued threats that they will strip me and chase me naked – I ran as fast as I could. They mocked me, and some were photographing. They said I should be put to shame by videotaping me nude and chasing me on the main road, and by circulating it widely to the public, saying that they can stop ‘conversions,’ and that it will be an end to Christianity.”

The Jacobs’ daughters, aged 14 and 10, who were present in church during the attack, were left traumatised. “They are not going to school,” said Persis. “They have never seen anything like this attack before.”

Speaking of her own recovery, however, she said: “When I was undergoing treatment in the hospital, I heard a voice that assured me, ‘No person shall lay a hand on you.’ It comforted me greatly.”

Attacks on other churches

The Hindu extremists later went to four other Pentecostal churches in Madurai District and threatened to target the Christians’ homes if they did not close the churches within a week. 

Thangam Venkatesh and Pastor Jerome JagatheesanTwo hours after the first incident in Sikandar Chavadi, the extremists arrived at Bethesda Worship Centre in Koodal Pudur, where they stripped and sexually assaulted two women, Mariyammal (40) and Annal (51), and slapped and punched a third, Bava Dhaarani (23). The attackers threatened Pastor Jerome Jagatheesan, calling him obscene names and telling him he would be killed in five days. They said, “If you want to serve Jesus Christ, go to Bethlehem or the Vatican. Worship him there. Why do you want to make India impure?

The image is a still from a video of Thangam Venkatesh (left) shouting abuse at Pastor Jagatheesan.

Describing the attack, Pastor Jagatheesan said, “They verbally assaulted us with obscene words and asked us to stop our activitiesThey stripped two female members of the church, ages 51 and 40, and a young 23-year-old woman was punched in her chest. Her mobile was thrown away.”

Police Response

On the evening of the attacks, after attending to medical emergencies, Pastor Jacob went to Alanganallur police station with Mariyammal from Bethesda Worship Centre. They both tried to file First Information Reports (FIRs) against ten Hindu Munnani members, but the police refused to register the case – they only gave the pastor a Community Service Register receipt and told him to leave. The receipt described the attackers as “unknown culprits” and did not name any Hindu Munnani members.

When Mariyammal tried to lodge her complaint she was told police could “only take one complaint per church” and the church pastor had already made a complaint.

In the days that followed, Christian advocacy groups, NGOs and hundreds of Christian protesters called on the police to register FIRs, and on 14 March they registered three FIRs on complaints by Pastor Jagatheesan and others against “50 known persons”. The FIRs did not disclose any names.

On 20 March, local news outlets reported that Venkatesh and two other extremists had been arrested, but details were not revealed.

A source who requested anonymity said, “The Hindu extremists sent threats directly to the church leaders that if anyone complains to the police, the consequences will be unbearable. He [Venkatesh] is aiming for a ticket from the party in the upcoming elections. He is more likely to be BJP’s [Bharatiya Janata Party’s] candidate.

A Facebook account in Venkatesh’s name had posted updates on attacks on Christians and included anti-Christian hate speech. Other members of Hindu Munnani also posted videos of the Madurai attacks on Facebook.

(Asia News/The Hindu/International Christian Concern/Morning Star News/World Watch Monitor)

Iranian Christian convert detained since before Christmas

An Iranian convert to Christianity arrested more than two months ago remains in prison in the conservative north-western city of Tabriz, according to rights group Article 18.

Ali Amini (Article 18)
Ali Amini, also known as Philip (Article 18)

Ali Amini, known by his friends as Philip, was arrested by revolutionary guards at his workshop in the city on 10 December. His mobile phone and laptop were also confiscated.

His elderly father was present during the raid, and watched as his son was taken away. Amini is married and has two young children, aged one and three.

“Every year, pressure on Christians increases ahead of Christmas,” Article 18 reported, adding that four other Christians were arrested over the Christmas period in 2017 – in Karaj , a city just to the west of the capital Tehran.

Four UN officials recently expressed concern over three other Christians sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in prison last year. Their appeals were due to take place on 4 February, but were postponed. A fourth Christian, Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi, was also sentenced alongside them.

“We are deeply concerned by the long jail sentences imposed at a previous hearing on Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Asgari for allegedly ‘conducting evangelism’ and ‘illegal house church activities’, and similar charges that, according to the authorities, amount to acting against national security, completely contrary to Iran’s international obligations,” said a statement by the four officials, including Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and Asma Jahangir, who was Special Rapporteur on Iran until her death on Sunday (11 February).

“We are additionally concerned about the lack of healthcare made available to them while in detention and, in particular, about the current health condition of Mr. Asgari, who remains in prison,” they added.

Asma Jahangir previously expressed her concern about the treatment of Iranian prisoners, referencing a prison in Karaj, where at least one Christian – Ebrahim Firouzi – is currently being held and last year went on hunger strike to protest against Iran’s treatment of Christians.

Amnesty International has also spoken out about the mistreatment of Iranian Christians in prison, referencing the case of Maryam Naghash Zargaran when it accused Iran of “cruel” denial of medical care in its prisons.

In their recent statement, the UN experts added: “We are aware of several other reported cases in which members of the Christian minority have received heavy sentences after being charged with ‘threatening national security’, either for converting people or for attending house churches.

“This shows a disturbing pattern of individuals being targeted because of their religion or beliefs, in this case a religious minority in the country.

“Members of the Christian minority in Iran, particularly those who have converted to the faith, are facing severe discrimination and religious persecution.

“The authorities must ensure fair trials for all, including the religious minorities in the country. We also urge the Government to immediately and unconditionally release all those who have been arrested and detained for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief.”

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.

 

Pakistani Christian youth being rounded up and disappeared.

Voice of the Persecuted Asian correspondent – Since March 2018, the Christian area of Youhanabad in Karachi city, Pakistan has been raided 3 times by secret agencies who arrested 24 young Christian males. The first raid was conducted on March 30 in which four people were arrested,  followed by another raid on April 15th with six people arrested. 14 more were taken into custody during the latest raid on May 8th. Each time, the raids were conducted between 2 – 5am when people are sleeping in the comfort of their homes.

Most of those arrested were educated males as young as 15 years old. Christians in the area shared horrific accounts where secret agents forcefully entered their homes by climbing over the walls or cutting through the locks. The agents verbally abused the women, while the young men were lined up in the street to be identified by a local named ‘Shiraz’. Apparently Shiraz had an inclination towards criminal activities and was arrested for those activities prior to the the raids. Some claim Shiraz had been asked to identify and falsely accuse the young Christian men with possession of arms and robberies.

Khurram Shahzad, a dental technician, was arrested on May 8. His wife told the press that when her husband tried to ask the grounds of his arrest, they beat and dragged him out. Witnesses claim a police mini truck with no license plate on the vehicle was used in the raid.

Akash Younus, a 15 yr. old Christian boy, was arrested on April 15, but it’s suspicious that the FIR (first incident report) was registered on April 20th. He said he had been taken to a secret location and subjected to brutal torture during his detention. He claimed that he was beaten with clubs and electrocuted as they tried to force him to admit to false charges of burglary and the possession of illegal weapons. 3 days later, he was released on bail.

Imran Robin, also a 15 yr. old, was arrested along with his elder brother, Kashif Imran, who is a 10th grade student going through board exams when he was arrested. It is believed all those arrested were likely being forced to admit to the false charges.

UCA News reported that Christian residents of Youhanabad held a protest outside St. John’s Church in Karachi against police raids on May 15. A lawyer has been hired and a report filed to contest the police claims.

Fearing more raids, parents of the Youhanabad Christian community stopped sending their children to school, or moved their youth elsewhere to protect them.

There are approximately 70,000 missing people in Pakistan, according to Defence for Human Rights Pakistan. ‘There are no formal applications against the missing persons thus forcefully disappeared.’ Source Wikipedia.

Please continue to pray for Pakistani Christians as the state continues to use gruesome tactics to subdue the community.

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) is on the ground in Thailand offering relief for Pakistani asylum seeker families. We’ve also initiated support for brothers and sisters suffering inside the Immigration Detention Center (IDC). We intend to send in more food, hygiene products and the much-needed sundry items not offered to them by the detention centre. Donations, whether large or small, aid in our ability to carry out this mission which is highly appreciated by our persecuted family. Go with us to Thailand sharing your blessings with these dear brothers and sisters who have suffered so much. God bless you and your families.

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

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