Quetta, Baluchistan, Pakistan

 Quetta circled

 

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

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

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

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

Pakistan Powerpoint

 

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IRAN: Prison sentence for Christian convert in Bushehr

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

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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

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Kenya injustice

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

Pastor Arrested Over False Accusation of Human Trafficking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the image to download the Prisoner Profile for John.

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

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

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine – vector map

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

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

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

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Iranian Christians’ appeal

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

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

Nigerian genocide

 

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

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

Uttar Pradesh violence against Christians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Five Incidents of Anti-Christian Violence Hit Uttar Pradesh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Contact
Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator
E-mail: press@persecution.org
Phone: (301)-859-3842

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Assault on Christian Leader in Nepal Reflects Growing Threat

Now Hindu violence spills over into Nepal.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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

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

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

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Indonesian Christian Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Facebook Post

 

Martinus Gulo Found Guilty of Blasphemy Against Islam

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sad government collusion with murdering terrorists!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This great country of ours is under serious threat…

We must wake up!

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

Nigerian girls still in captivity…


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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

Boko Haram Keeps Christian Girl Who Refused to Renounce Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Christian ex-magistrate given leave to appeal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge allows appeal to proceed

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

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

We give thanks to God for this development.

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

Make an online gift to support Christians like Richard

Pastor Andrew Brunson now under house arrest!

Latest

The fourth hearing in his case is scheduled for October 12.

  • Pray that God will sustain Pastor Andrew and Norine and deliver them from the lies that hold him captive. Pray these lies will be exposed (Luke 8:17) and the truth revealed.
  • Thank God for the powerful witness of Pastor Andrew’s grace and forgiveness towards his persecutors, including those he once counted as friends.
  • Pray that God will speak into the hearts of those who are testifying against Pastor Andrew and convict them of the need to speak the truth and defend him.

(Sources: Middle East Concern; US Commission on International Religious Freedom)

JOIN THE PRAYER CALL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew’s wife recently shared,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE PRAY:

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

Violent action against Christians in India has gone almost entirely unchecked by local authorities

Hindu radicals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Indian Christians Suffer Fifteen Attacks in Fourteen Days

New Wave of Persecution Has Leaders Concerned for Future of India

 

07/16/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented at least 15 separate anti-Christian incidents across India in the past 14 days. These incidents include physical assaults, a church demolition, forced conversions, false accusations of forced conversions, and social boycotts.

On July 2, 35 Hindu radicals attacked 150 Christians who were gathered for prayer in a meeting hall in Raikashipur village located in the Pratapgarh District of India’s Uttar Pradesh State. More than 20 Christians were injured in the assault, including several suffering broken limbs.

On July 6, six Christians were forcefully converted to Hinduism in the Kunti District of India’s Jharkhand State. On the same day, six Christian families from a village near Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, were given an ultimatum to recant their Christian faith by July 15 or face “severe consequences.”

On July 7, 25 Christians in the Dumka District of Jharkhand State were arrested after local villagers falsely accused them of attempting forced conversions. Sixteen Christian have been formally charged and sent to jail. The Christians were accused after participating in a public preaching event held in Phulpahari village.

On July 8, Hindu radicals assaulted a pastor, his wife, and three other Christians inside a prayer hall in Paguthampalayam village located in southern Tamil Nadu State. According to local Christians, the assailants also stripped the pastor’s wife. Following the attack, four of the Christians were arrested by police after radicals filed police complaints against them.

Also on July 8, a mob of 150 people, believed to be Hindu radicals, forced their way into a church in Bommalaramaram village, located in the Yadadri District of Telangana State, and assaulted the pastor and other church members. After two hours, they forced the pastor to sign a document stating that he would discontinue building the church he was in the process of constructing in Bommalaramaram.

On July 9, Pastor Sabu Thomas was praying with a family inside their home when someone locked the door from the outside, called the police, and reported that he was engaged in forced conversions. Pastor Thomas was arrested, but later released by police in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

On July 13, Pastor Thomas George and his wife, Binu Thomas George, were falsely accused of attempting forced conversions and were arrested in Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh State.

On July 14, a church building in Sangameswar village, located in the Kamareddy District of Telangana State, was demolished by the village Surpanch after gathering signatures from villagers opposed to the church. According to local Christians, the intention of the village Surpanch is to make Sangameswar “Christian free.”

Also on July 14, Hindu radicals lodged forced conversion complaints against Christians in two locations in Madhya Pradesh. One complaint was lodged by activists from the Durga Vahini group in the Alirajpur District. The other complaint was lodged by VHP activists near Bhopal. After filing the complaints, the Hindu activists demanded that police shut down all Christian activities in the area.

On July 15, a Christian family was socially boycotted in Kotetharaa village, located in the Janjgir-Champa District of Chhattisgarh State. Hindu villagers were told that they would have to pay a 10,000 INR fine if caught speaking with the Christian family.

Also on July 15, a church located in Santkabeer Nagar, located in Uttar Pradesh State, was attacked. Local reports indicate that one Christian was injured in the assault.

Again on July 15, a church was attacked during a worship service in Rajendra Nagar, located near Raipur in Chhattisgarh State. The assailants beat men, women, and children who attended the church service. The Christians were further assaulted at the police station by an angry mob of Hindu radicals.

On July 15, Hindu radicals, along with police, disrupted a church service in Birne village, located in India’s Uttar Pradesh State. The Christians were forced to agree to stop their prayer meetings and other Christian activities. They were also told that they could not hold such meetings without permission from the local authorities.

All of these events demonstrate a growing anti-Christian sentiment in India. This sentiment has manifested itself in violent action and has gone almost entirely unchecked by local authorities. Christians in India live knowing that their police and government will more likely participate in persecution, rather than defend them against it.

Dr. John Dayal, President of the United Christian Forum, said, “We [Christians] are becoming increasingly concerned at political, social, and economic developments in our country that may fracture, if not irretrievably impact, the very foundations of conditional democracy.” 

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the tidal wave of attacks on Christians over the past two weeks. Every day, new reports of persecution come in from what seems like every corner of India. Many Christians fear that this may be the new normal for their community as Hindu radicals have been allowed to attack Christians and other minority communities with impunity. India must take concrete steps to counteract this wave of intolerance and violence. Until then, the attacks will likely continue to increase in both number and severity.”

Imagine being beaten up at your church for praying?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Twenty Christians Severely Injured in Assault on Prayer Gathering in Northern India

Radicals Falsely Accuse Christian Victims of Forced Conversions

07/09/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that last Monday, July 2, 20 Christians were seriously injured in an assault on a prayer meeting in Raikashipur village, located in the Pratapgarh District of India’s Uttar Pradesh State. According to local reports, a mob of 35 Hindu radicals stormed the meeting and beat the group of over 150 Christians gathered for prayer. Following the assault, the village Pradhan (village president) filed multiple false criminal charges against six of the Christian victims.

Ram Kumar Gautam, a 42-year-old Christian, has led prayer meetings in Raikashipur village every Monday for the last five years. On average, 300 people participate in these services in a makeshift shed.

On July 2, around 2:00 p.m., the mob arrived at the prayer meeting in several vehicles. The radicals stormed inside the meeting hall and beat the Christians gathered there with wooden lathies and sticks. The attackers also fired a gun into the air five times to frighten the Christians. When the attack ended, 20 Christians were seriously injured, 10 motorcycles were damaged, and the furniture inside the makeshift shed, including musical instruments and chairs, was destroyed.

“I didn’t sleep or eat properly for nearly a week now,” Ram Kumar Gautam told ICC.“The attack on our prayer meeting last Monday has had devastating consequences. Many have serious injuries with their limbs being broken. Also, a false case was booked against six of us under stringent IPC sections.”

The radicals lodged false criminal charges against six Christians, including Gautam. These charges have reportedly been lodged by the village Pradhan, under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 452, 323, 504, 506, 392, and 295A.

“We peacefully conduct prayers every Monday and people voluntarily attend these prayers,” Gautam explained. “We don’t even talk about conversions, but I am accused of converting people. People come to our prayer and get healing. That’s why people choose to regularly attend the prayers.” 

Rev. Sanjay Robinson, President of Massih Seva Dhal, said, “There is no Freedom of Religion Act, popularly known as an anti-conversion law, in place in Uttar Pradesh, yet pastors and Christian workers are being frequently harassed by Hindu hardline groups with accusations of forced conversion. The gruesome incident on Christian worshipers in Raikashipur village reflects the pattern and plot of the Hindu hardline groups.” 

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are concerned by the recent upsurge in attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India. Article 25 of India’s constitution says that every individual has the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate the religion of their choice. For more than 150 Christians, this right was violated last Monday when Hindu radicals assaulted them for merely practicing their faith. India’s authorities must bring these 35 Hindu radicals in Raikashipur to justice. Until then, India’s religious freedom rights will remain only words on paper and attacks on Christians and other religious minorities will continue to rise in both number and severity.

How would you like to have your church barricaded by thugs?


Yizhuang Campus of Beijing’s Largest House Church Forcibly Barricaded
Zion Church Targeted as Government Cracks Down on House Churches

07/10/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 5, Yizhuang campus of Zion Church, the largest house church in Beijing, has been blockaded by a group of “thugs” employed by the local authorities. The group prevented church members from entering the third floor where the campus is located and hurled insults and threats at the Christians, calling their faith a cult.

In a prayer request to fellow Christians shared via WeChat (a popular Chinese messaging app) on July 8, Yizhuang campus worshippers detailed the ongoing oppression from the government against their church.

Six individuals guarded the entrance to the church and prevented church members from attempting to unlock the government-imposed padlocks. They also prevented the church administrator from entering the church to retrieve computers and church documents.

Yizhuang campus recently prepaid the rent for another quarter, with its lease up for renewal in 2020, yet churchgoers were barred from worshipping in their own church.

Frequented by more than 1,500 Christians with eight campuses throughout Beijing, Zion Church recently became a prime target of the Chinese government. In April, authorities in Beijing requested that the church install surveillance cameras inside their building. After the church leaders refused, the government cut of the church’s water and shut down electricity to their elevator. The government also pressured the church’s landlord to not renew their lease.

Beginning in May, many Zion Church members were approached by residential and communal authorities, offered solutions to job issues, financial benefits, and better education for their children should they decide to leave their church. Those who refused have been put under surveillance.

According to China Aid, the church’s WeChat public account was blocked on June 12, and all of their sermon videos shared on other Christians websites have been deleted.

A Christian in Beijing familiar with the situation shared with ICC that the lease of Zion Church’s main building is up for renewal in mid-August. Given the intensifying crackdown against the church, it is concerning what will happen to the church next. Beijing authorities intend to intimidate other house churches by using Zion Church as an example.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The latest crackdown against house churches in China is reflective of President Xi’s disregard for religious freedom. China is experiencing the worst Christian persecution since Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. The US and international community should not turn a blind eye to the injustices committed against Chinese Christians. Let us continue to pray for strength and wisdom for the Church in China as they navigate through intensified oppression.”

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

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Eritrean repression and persecution continues

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

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

 

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

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

Nigerian leader’s nonsense

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

Buhari

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Massive Attack Shows True Horror
of Fulani Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord care for Jiang.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

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

ChinaAid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

(Source: China Aid)

Something positive in India?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Christian Leaders Applaud Chief Minister’s Positive Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

America ups the ante over Pastor Brunson’s detention

Time he was justly freed.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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

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More impunity in India

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Christian Leaders in Jharkhand Report Increased Persecution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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

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

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Two Christians Ambushed, Killed in Central Nigeria

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

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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

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

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Prayercast Ramadan Challenge: Day 23 – Safiya’s Story

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

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

Yet the Light of Christ continues to transform real lives.

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

Until she met Jesus.

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

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

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

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

Some encouraging news for the families of the kidnapped.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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

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

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

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Pray for Justice

Teenage Pakistani Christian maid killed by Muslim employers

for ‘not cleaning properly’


22 May 2018

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

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

 

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

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

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

AND……

Pakistani Christian girl kidnapped, forcibly converted and

married to Muslim man


5 June 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Lift up Pakistani pastor Zafar Bhatti. We pray for his spiritual and physical protection in prison and that his life sentence be shortened.

Ask the Lord to give Pakistan’s politicians courage and wisdom to  reform the blasphemy laws which are often used to target Christians. We want to see an end to the imprisonment and killing of innocent people.

Ask for the Lord’s special protection of Christian women and girls who are at risk of abduction, rape, forced marriage and forced conversion to Islam.

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Pray for Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel who were sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2014. We pray that their sentences would be appealed and they would be released. We also pray for the Lord’s provision and protection for their four children.

Pray for the release of Imran Ghafur Masih who is serving a life sentence because a neighbour falsely accused him of burning pages of the Koran.

Ask that the Lord through His Spirit would reassure and encourage Christians in Pakistan that they have infinite value and worth in Christ even though they are so lowly regarded in their country

Nigerian atrocities continue.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

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

Below are the largest attacks that took place in May.

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

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

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

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

More Chinese Government Persecution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On Tiananmen Anniversary, China Detains Dozens of Christians in Sichuan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading this article…

Turkey Turns On Its Christians

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

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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

 

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

What do you know about Evin Prison, Tehran?

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

Evin Prison in Iran Sanctioned 


by U.S. Treasury

Christians Imprisoned in Evin Tortured for Their Faith

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

Nigerian girl-pray for justice.

No Justice for Florence,

Case Continues To Go Unheard

By Nathan Johnson

Nigerian bush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India’s decline in religious freedoms.

Indian Christians Continue to Suffer as

Modi and the BJP Mark 4th Year in Power

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

 

Attacks on Christians Rise 232% Under BJP-Led Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iranian Convert Loses Appeal of 10 Year Prison Sentence

Remember those in prison (Heb.13:3)

LATEST:…

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Libya (ppt)

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

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Vietnamese persecution

VIETNAM Christian lawyer Nguyen Van Dai and Pastor Nguyen Trung Ton are both still in custody in Hanoi since their arrests in December 2015 and July 2017 respectively – because they have called for greater religious freedom. They have been barred from meeting their lawyers.

Last month, Christian activist Maria Tran Thị Nga, a mother of two young children from Ha Nam province, was found guilty of ‘propaganda against the state’ and sentenced to nine years in prison and five years under house arrest. Her harsh sentence and irregularities relating to her trial have prompted an international outcry. Pray her sentence will be reduced.

Christian bloggers have also been targeted: last week, a court in Nghe An province upheld a five-year prison sentence against Nguyen Van Oai for his pro-democracy campaigns.

  • Thank God for the way that relations between the Government in Hanoi and religious groups have improved slightly in recent years. Pray that the new law will not threaten this progress.
  • Pray that God will use His people who have spoken out about religious rights and about Him to draw many in Vietnam into a close personal relationship with Him.

– Nationalist gangs terrorise Christian community

Gangs of nationalist youths have terrorised a Christian community in Song Ngoc, north-east Vietnam, attacking a church and homes and targeting Christian business owners. Local Christian leaders have appealed to the authorities to act, noting that “we see that the attacks have been carried out in an orchestrated manner, and the police know well what is occurring, but are ignoring what is going on”. The acts of intimidation and violence have taken place throughout June. Some of the perpetrators have called for the expulsion of two church leaders who are helping impoverished local fisherman in a legal case against the government following a marine pollution disaster in April last year (2016).

Vietnam’s communist government ruthlessly cracks down on dissent and Christians are viewed as enemies of the one-party state. All churches are required to be officially registered with the authorities. In November 2016, the government passed a new religion law which was hailed by state media as guaranteeing religious freedom, although the vague legislation banning any religious activity that could “harm social order and/or national unity” seems likely to give authorities leeway to crack down on religious freedom, where it is deemed against the interests of the state.

From UCA news here

Appalling persecution in Vietnam.

Jan. 04, 2018 | Vietnam
Pray for Three Families Evicted from Their Village

Three Christian families were recently forced from their homes by relatives, with the tacit approval of village authorities. The attackers demolished the Christians’ houses and took their farmland, so the believers and their children have been forced to live under a tarp in the jungle. Police have refused to get involved, saying the incident was a family matter. A VOM worker will meet with the Christians to encourage them. Pray that these Christians will be restored to their families and that their faith will remain strong through this trial.

Pray for authorities/government intervention to address this cruelty.

The three families are living under a tarp in the jungle.

 

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.

15/8/2018 THIS CASE WAS THROWN OUT-PTL!

  1. 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!