More disgraceful Nigerian military complicity.

NIGERIA – Muslim Fulani herders continue onslaught against Christian communities

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

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

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

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

From Global Christian News here

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Fruit among Syrian Refugees

God is using war to save his elect among the refugees from Syria and Iraq.

Oct. 19, 2017 | Lebanon
Pray for Nahala, a Syrian Christian Sharing Jesus in Refugee Camps

An audio Bible app allows Syrian refugees to study the Bible themselves

Mob rule in India

More Hindu thuggery with apparent impunity

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

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

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

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

More Fulani Atrocities

The Nigerian military are at best incompetent and at worse absolute cowards!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fulani Militants Raid Village, Kill 28 Women and Children
Villagers Hiding in School, Found by Militants and Slaughtered 
10/17/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Fulani militants raided Nkedoron community in Plateau State, Nigeria. During this raid, the militants attacked and killed at least 28 people, mostly Christians, including many women and children. This struggle between Fulani militants and Christian farmers has been an ongoing and bloody struggle for years. As the Fulani continue to migrate south, militants clash with more Christian villages. This year alone, there have been more than 30 attacks on these Christian villages, leaving more than 250 killed and hundreds of homes burned down.
Rev. Andrew Okebe, the Zonal Coordinator of Christian Association of Nigeria, Miango District, told ICC, “The soldiers had told the women and children to go and hide in the primary (elementary) school class at night while the men in the village constituted a vigilante group and join[ed] the soldiers in patrolling the area. Sadly, the militia descended and the soldiers fled, leaving the defenseless villagers to be massacred by the terrorists.”

According to Rev. Okebe, these persistent attacks have left villagers feeling like the security operatives assigned to their communities are not committed to protecting and securing their lives from the aggressors whom they believe to be Islamic jihadists who want occupy their land. This attack followed only a few weeks after a Fulani militia invaded Ancha, a neighboring village to Nkedoron, where 20 members of a Baptist church were murdered in cold blood.

The most disturbing part of this attack is that there were members of the military stationed in the village. These soldiers are a part of Operation Safe Haven, which is the government’s attempt to confront the Fulani militant violence in the Middle Belt. Even though these soldiers were on the scene before the attack, they did nothing to prevent this terrible atrocity. It has left many questioning the dedication of these men to protecting the communities they are charged with protecting.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, stated, “We pray for those who are suffering the pain of loss. This unbelievable act of violence is becoming all too common for Christian villages in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region. The government of Nigeria must not only condemn the violence, but take the necessary steps to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and unable to commit these acts again. Until then, Christian villagers in the Middle Belt will be left to wonder if their community will be next.”
For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

Liberation of Raqqa

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241, Washington, D.C. 20006
Media Contact:
Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator
(301)-859-3842
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Raqqa Liberated After Three Years of ISIS Occupation
Christians Left in a Tense Situation as Violence Continues in Syria
10/17/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated the majority of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and a city central to ISIS’s activities in the Middle East. ISIS had fully captured the Syrian city in January 2014.

Raqqa’s liberation three years later carries significant symbolic weight in the fight against ISIS. After the city’s capture in 2014, it quickly evolved into the extremists’ headquarters where they put their brutal vision into practice. The militants’ merciless battlefield tactics extended into their management of the city. Mass executions and terror became the norm as religious police patrolled the streets.
Before the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, an estimated 10 percent of Raqqa’s population was Christian. Most abandoned the city while ISIS was still establishing their headquarters. A few thousand, however, choose to remain. Raqqa’s three churches were destroyed and closed. The largest, the Armenian Catholic Martyrs Church, was converted into an Islamic center that screened videos meant to attract new recruits. Christians were forced to register with the militants and pay a jizya tax in exchange for their safety.
In December 2014, ISIS released a set of rules restricting the behavior of Raqqa’s remaining Christians. Christians were banned from engaging in public acts of worship, repairing damaged churches, and reading the Bible aloud. Breaking any one of these rules was potentially punishable by death.
In March 2016, ISIS militants issued a decree banning Christians and Armenians who remained in the city from leaving. It was estimated that the Christian families who remained in Raqqa at this time numbered in the dozens.
John, a Christian who chose to remain in Raqqa, told World Watch Monitor last year, “You’re constantly alert, never looking into someone’s eyes when walking on the street; always aware of what to say and not to say.” He continued, “I saw a lot of cruelty. Every Friday they executed people. I was there when they beheaded the first man in public. They could not behead him with the first cut. He suffered so much they finally shot him.”
The liberation of Raqqa has been heavily anticipated since the liberation of Mosul from ISIS four months ago. In anticipation of ISIS’s defeat, some Christians managed to successfully escape with the help of coalition forces. According to reporting from the National, a Christian soldier who was part of the coalition said, “We got a Christian family out… This is our goal in the campaign to liberate Raqqa.”

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The cruelty with which ISIS captured and administered Raqqa has left deep scars on the entire Middle East region. ISIS intended Raqqa to serve as an example of the goals for their so-called caliphate, and it was from here that they planned their terror across the region. Raqqa was once home to a thriving Christian community, most of whom fearfully fled because of ISIS’s efforts to eliminate all signs of Christianity. Those Christians who became entrapped inside Raqqa experienced indescribable suffering because of their faith. The liberation of Raqqa is a much-needed step in the war against ISIS; however, the broader violence in Syria continues to create a dangerous situation for Christians. There is much healing and rebuilding that is needed before Syrian Christians will consider returning to their homes.”

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

 

INDIA – Place of anti-Christian violence becomes a place of inspiration for Indian Christians

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Christians pray in India

(Agenzia Fides) – The victims of anti-Christian violence perpetrated in the Indian state of Orissa in 2007 and 2008 “are testimonies of authentic faith, that overcame difficulties and persecution, and today inspire many people in India and abroad”: says Archbishop John Barwa, at the head of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, in the Indian state of Orissa (or Odisha), to Agenzia Fides. The district of Kandhamal, theater of that violence, has become a “place of pilgrimage where one listens to the testimony of survivors and therefore share solidarity with the victims, where economically poor people, but strong and rich spiritually”, explains the Bishop.

Fides learned, a delegation of 45 women, representatives of 14 Indian regions, convened by the Bishops’ Conference of India for the National Meeting on “The Role of Women in creating the Family” gathered in Kandhamal. The delegation was led by Mgr. Jacob Mar Barnabas…

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Our brother in Algeria is behind bars – for a Facebook post

LATEST: 

ALGERIA: Christian sentenced to five years in prison for blasphemy

 Slimane has gone on hunger strike desirous to be moved to a jail nearer his family.

UPDATE   Please pray for our Algerian brother, Slimane Bouhafs, whose family has appealed on his behalf for a presidential pardon – which they see as their last resort to have him set free. Slimane is serving a three-year sentence for ‘insulting Islam’ in posts he made on social media. His appeal to the High Court in September was unsuccessful. Ask God to sustain Slimane, whose family say he is suffering ill health linked to inflammatory rheumatism. (Source: World Watch Monitor)

An Algerian Christian has been sentenced to five years in prison – the maximum term – and heavily fined for blasphemy against Islam and its prophet.

Slimane Bouhafs (49) was arrested on 31 July 2016 for posting a Facebook message about the light of Jesus overcoming the “lie” of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed. He also published photos showing the execution of a civilian by an Islamist terrorist. Slimane was arrested near his house in Bousselam, Sétif province, in the Kabylie region of northeast Algeria. He was brought before the prosecution without access to a lawyer and was jailed in Sétif prison, where he began a hunger strike in protest at his arbitrary detention.

On 7 August, Slimane appeared before a judge in Sétif town (300km from Algiers, the capital) and was convicted of insulting Islam (the state religion, according to the constitution) and the Prophet Mohammad, a charge punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine of 50 000 – 100 000 Algerian Dinar (the equivalent of approximately €410 – €820). He was given the maximum sentence and the maximum fine.

The Vice-President of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, Said Salhi, denounced what he called “this attack” on the guarantees of freedom of conscience and worship enshrined in the constitution.

Slimane became a Christian in 1997 and was baptised in 2006. His daughter Afaf said he has always defended the interests of his country and is known for his commitment to democracy and religious freedom in all his writings published on his Facebook page. He belongs to a separatist group called the Movement for Self-Determination of Kabylie (MAK), and is chairman of the St Augustine Coordination of Christians in Algeria, which defends minority rights and freedom of religion. The heavy sentence is thought to be a way of silencing him because of his political activism.

The organisation Front Line Defenders has stated that it “strongly condemns the heavy sentencing of Slimane Bouhafs as it is believed to be solely related to his peaceful and legitimate work for the promotion and protection of freedom of conscience in Algeria“.

Slimane’s family members have denounced what they called a “sham” trial and say they are deeply concerned as he suffers from a chronic illness and his health has already deteriorated in prison. His daughter says he suffers from inflammatory rheumatism, which worsens under stress. “He needs to follow a special diet,” she said.

A source who wished to remain anonymous told World Watch Monitor that the maximum sentence was “severe in view of a rather minor offence“, adding that such comments on social media are common in Algeria and do not usually trigger the wrath of the authorities.

The President of the Protestant Church of Algeria says its lawyer will appeal the verdict.

Kabylie
The vast Kabylie region, which is about the size of Denmark, has a strong sense of regional identity and resists the control of the central government in Algiers. It is mainly Berber, while the rest of Algeria is mainly Arab, and is home to most of Algeria’s tiny but fast-growing Christian minority. The authorities regularly harass and even arrest MAK activists.

Kabylie has a history of harbouring armed groups, and the Algerian army regularly carries out searches in an effort to eradicate terrorism. The region’s forests and cave-riddled mountains provide cover for guerrillas: it was a refuge for fighters during the Algerian War of Independence against the French colonialists, and in the 1990s, during the Algerian Civil War, became a hideout for the Armed Islamic Group, which later became Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Read more about Algeria in Church in Chains’ Algeria Country Profile

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(Front Line Defenders, World Watch Monitor)

Pray for our brother who was convicted of ‘blasphemy’ for a post on Facebook in which he described the ‘light of Jesus overcoming the lie of Islam’. He also shared a photo of someone being executed by an Islamist terrorist.

The 49-year-old was arrested on July 31 in the Kabylie area of Steif province and interrogated in the absence of a lawyer. He appeared before a judge on August 7 and was given the maximum jail sentence for blasphemy under Algeria’s penal code – and a large fine.

His family and an Algerian human rights group appointed lawyers for him: the court claimed that he had decided to defend himself. The Protestant Church of Algeria says it intends to appeal against the verdict.

  • Pray that our brother will know God’s peace and protection. He is reported to suffer from a chronic illness. Pray that God will comfort his family too.
  • Pray that his appeal will be heard quickly and will be successful.
  • Pray for officials in Algeria, that they will start to see Christians as a force for good, rather a threat.

(Sources: Middle East Concern; Premier Radio)

Andrew Brunson-Turkey.

Latest Update:Andrew Brunson (World Watch Monitor)
In the midst of persecution and intense stress, Andrew has been inspired to write a worship song. During a visit last week by a delegation from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Andrew expressed his thanks to those praying and lobbying for his release. ‘Knowing that I am not forgotten is important to me,’ he said.

  • Please use the words of Andrew’s song to inspire your prayers for Andrew and his wife, Norine: pray that God will fill them both with His peace and joy. Stress has caused Andrew to lose three-and-a-half stone in weight.
  • Pray that Andrew’s legal team will have wisdom and courage in negotiating his release.
  • Thank God that the Turkish Government is coming under increasing scrutiny over Pastor Andrew’s case, due to international prayer and advocacy. Pray they will release him soon.

(Sources: Middle East Concern, USCIRF)

 

Please continue to pray for the release of our American brother Andrew Brunson who’s imprisoned in Turkey. President Erdogan has raised the possibility of an exchange, releasing Pastor Andrew in return for the extradition from the US of Islamic cleric Fetullah Gulen. Andrew is accused of links with the Fetullah Gulen organisation which Turkey blames for last year’s failed coup. The state prosecutor has asked for four life sentences, one of which relates to ‘spying’. (Source: Middle East Concern)

Pray for our American brother, Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces new, more serious charges which carry a potential life sentence. A judge accused Andrew of crimes including spying and plotting to overthrow the Turkish Government, via a video link between court and the maximum-security jail in Izmir where he’s being held. Pray that Andrew will be considered for a possible prisoner exchange between the US and Turkish governments and will be released soon. (Source: Middle East Concern)

 

Sep. 07, 2017 | Turkey
Pray for Pastor Andrew Brunson, Charged with Spying

TURKEY: Pray for end to pastor’s prison ordeal
Pastor Andrew Brunson (left) has been behind bars in western Turkey since October – because officials suspect he’s a ‘terrorist’. In fact, he and his wife, Norine, love Turkey and have served its people for the past 23 years.
Pray that Andrew will be released immediately so that he and Norine can continue their ministry at Izmir Resurrection Church.
Their nightmare began on October 7 when they were summoned to Turkey’s Interior Ministry. They thought they were being called to a meeting to discuss their application for permanent residency. Instead, they were arrested and detained.
Norine was released after two weeks but Andrew was charged with having links to the Gulen movement which the Government blames for last year’s attempted coup. More than 40,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the failed plot.                            In the past four years, at least 100 pastors serving in Turkey have reportedly been denied visas or permits, and forced to leave. Several pastors have been accused of being ‘a threat to national security’. Many fear the Turkish authorities are taking advantage of current insecurity to clamp down on Christianity.

  • Ask God to protect, encourage and strengthen Andrew. As a foreigner, the American pastor has to apply to the Ministry of Justice for each family visit, while Turkish prisoners are allowed such visits once a week. Pray that Andrew will be freed soon.
  • Pray that Andrew’s fellow inmates will be touched by his witness.
  • Pray that Christians in Turkey will stand firm in their faith and not be discouraged by the recent crackdown.

Please write to Turkey’s Minister of Interior, H E Süleyman Soylu, asking for Andrew’s release, using the sample letter and contact address given on this webpage. Find out more about our ministry to Prisoners of faith here.   (Sources: The Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey, Middle East Concern)

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Facing a Task Unfinished

The purpose of this article is twofold; first to encourage knowledge of the diversity of peoples inhabiting the earth, the size of any church among them, and the need to pray for and support church planting among the least reached. Second to postulate that the great commission of Christ to witness to all peoples and disciple them has some way to go to be fulfilled.

Who are the throng around the throne in Revelation 7:9?

“After these things I saw and behold a great crowd which no one was able to number out of every NATION, even TRIBES and PEOPLES and TONGUES standing in front of the throne.” Revelation 7:9 also 5:9 and 14:6.

Perhaps THE key sign our Lord Jesus Christ gave to his church that the end of the world was near was that recorded in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” This sign taken alongside his clear command to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18) and the fulfilment (Revelation 7:9) show that every people group MUST have a group of disciples before the judgment day. “ After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and  kindreds,  and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; “The fact that kindreds are mentioned suggests an even smaller group than that of a ”nation” which is a people group (TA ETHNE) NOT a political country.

Nation (Gr. ETHNOS) means a race or tribe, a body of people living according to one custom and rule (from ETHOS custom) especially Jews (Luke 7:5, Acts 10:22) also foreign nations (Matt.4:15, Mark 7:26 ‘the Syrophenician’, Rom.3:29) even Gentile Christians (Rom.11:13, 16:4, Acts 15:17, 10:28, 23:6, Luke 12:30, 23:2, I Peter 2:9, Matt.21:43, Acts 10:35.) Vine defines the word as a multitude of people of the same nature. The most illuminating verses on the precise meaning of nations in the Old Testament are Genesis 10 especially vv. 5, 31-32 where a list of peoples descended from Noah’s three sons is recorded. They consisted of families with their own language living in a particular area of the world (“countries” v20) often called after their forefather. This list is repeated in I Chron.1:32. These nations are of the same race or physical type, language (as part of culture) and geographical area. Included among them are Medes, Ionians, Scythians, Cushites, Philistines, Cretans, Zidonians, Elamites, Assyrians, and people from Sheba. Note that many of these were mentioned again in the list of the peoples who heard the wonderful works of God, in their own languages at Pentecost. Similarly in Acts 13:19 where Paul explains that in conquering the promised land of Canaan seven nations were destroyed, we know these were the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Canaanites, and Hivites (Deut.7:1). None of these are geopolitical nations as we have them today (e.g. those comprising the United Nations) with their national boundaries although some groupings did form into such e.g. the Medes and Persians became modern Iran but conversely a large nearby people the Kurds have no national homeland of their own and are part of several political nations. Romans 4:17 is also helpful if we remember that Abraham was the father of all the Arab nations descended from Ishmael, of all the Jewish tribes from Isaac and Jacob, the Edomites through Esau, and the tribes from the sons of Keturah.  The Old Testament Hebrew word for nation is GOY, usually meaning Gentile heathen nation, although also used of Jews (Mal.3:9). Here is the Joshua Project definition,

What is a people group?

“For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance” (Source: 1982 Lausanne Committee Chicago meeting.)

Thus the key point here is that “nations” in Scripture is not the same meaning as nation states today.

PEOPLE (Heb.AM 5971) is the most frequently used O.T. word for a grouping of humans but it can mean all the people of the world (Gen. 11:6), most frequently by far (x1600) it refers to the Jews (Gen.17:14), but also God’s elect (Ps.29:11, Hos.2:23), the reprobate (Zech.14:12, the nations (Gen.25:23), language groups (Est.3:12), an extended family (Gen.32:7), or just a group in a city (I Kings 21:9), thus any size of group basically! PEOPLE (Gr. LAOS) are of the same stock and language, almost always used of the elect people of Israel (Matt.13:15) but also Philistines, Egyptians etc. (Rev.5:9, 10:11, 17:15, Rom.11:1, Heb.11:25, Acts 15:14), the elect (Acts 18:10, I Peter 2:10). Almost identical to nation but also used interchangeably in the New Testament with OCHLOS which is the word more often used for a gathered public throng. Thus in both testaments this word is quite ambiguous.

KINDREDS, TRIBES (Heb. MATTAH (‘branch’ 4294 or SHEBET branch/clan. Jon.1:8), clans (Gr. PHULE) can mean race, clan, kindred or tribe (Rev.7:5-7,9, Heb.7:13, Acts 13:21, Matt.24:30). From the tribes of Israel we can gather that this grouping were all descended from one of the sons of Jacob, spoke the same language and at the time of Moses numbered anything from twenty to a hundred thousand. Thus a tribe or kindred, is a smaller unit than a nation (Ps.22:27), which would comprise all the Israelites.

CLAN would be even smaller and families even smaller again. FAMILY (Heb. MISHPACHAH 4940) is of interest as another collective noun used in the Old Testament particularly in the covenant promise to Abraham, reiterated to Jacob that through them all the families of the earth would be blessed (Gen.12:3, 28:14). It appears that families can mean anything from the nuclear family group of a couple (and their children if they have any), to a larger group that made up a tribe (Ex.6:14-19, Numbers 1, Joshua 18-19) and in Amos 3:2 it means all the Jews. When Achan was singled out (Joshua 7:16-18) he was from the tribe of Judah, of the family or clan of Zarhites, and of the household of Zabdi. The word family is used of each of these groupings. So this particular noun does not help us to distinguish group size but it usually denotes a grouping smaller than a nation or tribe.

It seems to me the use of these three terms (NATION, TRIBE and PEOPLE) are almost interchangeable, with considerable overlap, except that tribe describes a smaller group than nation or people and family a smaller group again but the writers of Scripture use them so as to cover every possible grouping of men who share common ethnic characteristics normally ancestry, language and custom, down even to the size of clans or extended families. They may NOT necessarily share the same location because so many are dispersed. The usage seems akin to, ”Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs” in the epistles which we believe comprehensively covers all the 150 Psalms. To include all peoples on the earth these slightly different terms are used together. The point I want to emphasise is that each of these ethnolinguistic groups must be represented as part of the bride of Christ on the last day, and ONLY THUS the great commission of discipling the nations will have been accomplished.

Tongues is clearly different languages (GLOSSAE) and these have been well documented (Wycliffe Bible Translators)*

slide1

Click on pic to enlarge.

How are we to know where the church stands in this great commission? There appears to be a general misconception among many Reformed people that the job is nearly, if not, done! Here is a recent quote from a Reformed pastor, “But, at the same time, most of humanity has heard the gospel. Only about four percent of the world’s population do not have the gospel or any Scriptures in their language today. But Wycliffe Translators give a different statistic that 1.5 billion people don’t have the full Bible in their heart language.

Jesus has this in mind when He speaks of the gospel going to the ends of the earth—that after His departure and before His return the gospel would go to all nations.”

Just because 96% of the world’s people have written Scriptures surely does NOT mean the gospel has gone to the ends of the earth. What if a large percentage of these folk cannot read and there are no true churches in their vicinity as is the case in many of the unreached peoples e.g. in India? The resource is not being accessed! Hence they are not reached!

Now the vexed question is, have not some of these tribes become extinct before they were ever exposed to the gospel? A point difficult to prove but Acts 14:16 suggests that was the case. Have not some of these tribes been reached in the past and then died out? Possible but unlikely. If a people group has not been reached in 2016 it is highly unlikely, considering all the modern methods of dissemination e.g. personal witness, modern travel methods, preaching, printed page, radio/TV, internet and mobile phone, that they were reached before. The only clues would be found in a detailed history of mission in a particular country or getting info from a targetting mission organisation. But these parachurch mission agencies which support churches who do the sending,  form the basic source of information for the Joshua Project which is the website I am advocating we ought to support, at least in prayer. Thus there is no harm, indeed it seems safest to me, that those groups known to be totally unreached today (no known believers), are targeted for prayer and the sending of labourers as soon as practically possible. I do not expect any single denomination to be able to achieve what is a massive operation that only God with his resources can accomplish.

According to the best sources, Joshua Project website and the book Operation World there are 9813 distinct people groups who are socially cohesive, of the same race, language and culture, but who may reside in adjoining political countries. Out of a total world population of 7.3 billion, 4051 of these groups, numbering 3 billion and comprising 42% of the total, are ‘unreached’. They may have written scriptures but many cannot read them and because their total Christian (evangelical) population is less than 2% (which could be construed as reached!) the church is incapable of reaching all their people who historically have never been exposed to the gospel. Most unreached peoples today were NEVER reached in the past either but getting evidence to prove or disprove this is difficult. Fact is, some peoples have no known believers, today and never have! I guarantee that even a brief look at the Joshua Project website will enlighten you!

The Joshua Project are also aware that many formerly reached peoples are now nominal e.g. many in the West and many who were reached by false Christianity where syncretism reigns e.g. Mexico and Central America; these would also count as unreached. The vast majority (65%) of the Unreached Peoples live in the 10/40 window which is the rectangle on the globe between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator and east of the Greenwich Meridian. This is more or less the Muslim World and the Subcontinent of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The largest of these peoples include the Shaikh of Bangladesh (136 million), the Shaikh of India (83m), the Yadav of India (60m) and the Brahmin of India (60m). India has the most unreached peoples of any country.

Our aim as part of a Reformed denomination should be to continue pressing on in places with obvious open doors and receptivity e.g. the Philippines but also be like Paul in Romans 15:20-21 who desired to reach the unreached, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.”  To achieve this latter task takes a lot more preparation, training and providential logistics! We can rest assured Christ the head of his church will gather every  last one of his elect! But we must do all in our power to pray, send missionaries and support those who will go.

Dr Julian Kennedy

Uganda-Pray for Isaac, Whose Shop Was Destroyed by Muslims

Oct. 05, 2017 | Uganda

China-Pray for Families Affected by the Closing of a Christian School

Oct. 05, 2017 | China

Be encouraged God is working even in the Islamic war zones.

Sep. 28, 2017 | Iraq
Pray for “Mustafa,” Who Found Christ While Fighting ISIS

Pray for Imran Ghafur, Who Remains in Prison in Pakistan

Sep. 28, 2017 | Pakistan

Sudan injustice

Continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Sudan, amid a recent upsurge in persecution. Last Friday, Mahjoub Abotrin, an elder of the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) in Omdurman, was taken in for questioning. In August, seven church leaders were interrogated then released on bail, including Pastor Kowa Shamaal who was detained during the investigation into Czech aid worker Petr Jašek. The arrests are reportedly linked to the SCOC’s refusal to hand over its leadership to a government-appointed committee.(Source: Morning Star News)

China fines

Su (L) and Yang.

Pray for Chinese pastors Su Tianfu and Yang Hua who have just been refused a hearing to contest a stiff fine against their church, in breach of normal legal protocol. Huoshi Church in Guizhou province was fined 7 million yuan (about £800,000) for receiving the same amount in ‘illegal income’ through members’ giving. Yang is currently serving a two-and-a-half year sentence for ‘divulging state secrets’ and the same charge has now been made against Su. (Source: China Aid)

Vile assault in Pakistan.

Young Christian in Pakistan suffers brutal attack – then ‘police cover-up’

Eighteen-year-old ‘Alian’* suffered a brutal sexual assault – but local police in Pakistan seem reluctant to investigate. The Christian teenager was beaten, stripped, gang-raped and forcibly converted to Islam – and left unconscious.

Please ask God to comfort and heal our young brother in Attock district in Punjab.

Release contacts who are supporting Alian and his family say it was a Muslim friend of Alian who lured him to an isolated place on false pretences.

When Alian was found after the attack, he was taken to hospital, where he was threatened and told to remain silent, according to his family. Police initially dismissed his rape allegations. Police have since arrested several suspects but appear to be pressuring the family to drop the case.

*Name has been changed

  • Please pray that God will heal and restore Alian and deliver justice for him. Pray that Alian will know that the God of unfailing love cares deeply for him and sees his distress (Psalm 33:18).
  • Pray for a sharp change of heart in the local police dealing with Alian’s case. Ask God to give them the courage to bring his attackers to justice.
  • Ask God to sustain and strengthen His people in Pakistan, amid severe persecution and relentless discrimination.

(Source: Release contacts)

Bakhrom in Tajikistan

Three-year sentence confirmed for Pastor Bakhrom Kholatov

Pastor Bakhrom, pictured with his wife Gulnora, two sons, Firdavs (now 21) and Firus (now 19), and  daughter, Gulnoza (now 14).
Bakhrom Kholmatov, pastor of the Good News of Grace Protestant Church in Khujand, northwest Tajikistan was arrested and imprisoned in April 2017 after secret police officers raided his church. They harassed and beat church members. Officials claimed that Christian songs found on his computer and the book More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell are “extremist materials”.

In July he was sentenced to three years in prison for “singing extremist songs in church and so inciting religious hatred”, and on 18 August his appeal was rejected.

 

 

 

Four Nepali Christians released after nine months wrongful imprisonment.

UPDATE Sept 2017

Four Nepali Christians Released After Nine Months of Wrongful Imprisonment
Nepali Christians Wrongfully Imprisoned for Praying for Mentally Ill Woman Finally Released

09/27/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) is elated to report that four Nepali Christians, Lali Pun, Bimkali Budha, Ruplal Pariyar and his wife Ganga, were finally released from prison when their sentences for “violence and witchcraft” after praying for a mentally ill woman were reversed.  This news comes after ICC’s advocacy team led a petition to the Nepali government demanding their release earlier this year.

These Christians were originally convicted in December of last year in the District Court in Salyan after the father-in-law of a mentally ill woman accused them of abuse and witchcraft against her.  The father-in-law had brought the woman to a local church for prayer in the hopes that their efforts might heal her.  The mentally ill woman, Seti Pariyar, left the prayer service and was later found in a forest harming herself and yelling before being taken home.
After reading a media report of the incident, a complaint was made by Bhisma Pariyar. This led to the hearing and following conviction in District Court, despite the mentally ill woman and her husband testifying that the four did not act in a forceful or abusive manner. The woman also testified that she was healed because of their prayers.
This wrongful imprisonment was further indication of Nepal’s continued backslide on issues of religious freedom.  Earlier this year, the Nepali parliament passed a new law criminalizing conversions to non-Hindu religions. The parliament passed the law despite Article 26 (3) of Nepal’s 2015 constitution already restricting religious conversion and expression.

Nate Lance, ICC’s Advocacy Manager, said of these Christians’ release, “International Christian Concern is so pleased that this situation has reached its rightful resolution.  However, the imprisonment of these Christians should have never taken place as the facts of their innocence were clear. This is a step in the right direction for religious freedom in Nepal, but there is still much work to be done.  No one should fear imprisonment for the free expression and practice of their religion.”

 

Jan. 20, 2017 | Nepal

Muslim Mentality!

Another sad story from Egypt!

Mob Violence Terrorizes Small Christian Village in Egypt
Facebook Post Published and Deleted Four Months Ago Sparks Violence Against Christians
09/25/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on September 14, a Muslim mob in the village of Tawa in Minya attacked the local Coptic Christian community. Homes, businesses, and cars were destroyed and three Copts suffered minor injuries. These attacks were in retaliation against a Facebook post which was widely shared among Christians. The author, a 22-year-old Christian resident of Tawa named Bassem, had written the post in May following the deadly attack by Islamic extremists against a caravan of Coptic Christians traveling to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor.

Bassem wrote on May 27: “Are we (Copts) Egyptians not from Egypt? No matter that you try to hurt us, one day all your ways will fail. Do you think that I cry? Never! I don’t cry because I trust in Jesus very much, I prostrate to him and he loves me. He never leaves me one day. When you demolish the homes of his children, you attack himself. I ask Jesus to touch your heart and change you. Our Lord knows and see what is happening to us. Continue and increase your terrorism, but I’m not afraid because it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God.”
At the end of the post, Bassem shared photos of Salafi Sheikhs whom he believed bore responsibility for inciting extremist violence against Christians. Bassem deleted the post the next day, on May 28, but not before it had spread across social media. It wasn’t until four months later that a Muslim villager in Tawa saw the post on the Facebook page of Bassem’s friend, Mena. The post then spread among some of the Muslim villagers, who considered the post an insult to Islam.
Essam, a Christian resident in Tawa and an eyewitness to the mob’s violence, told ICC, “Many Muslims gathered and the mob began to attack Christian homes and shops. They were pelting stones at the homes while shouting, ‘Allah Akbar.’ They hurled bricks and stones at Mar Girgis (St. George) Coptic Orthodox Church despite the presence of some security guards who had been assigned to guard the church, but the guards couldn’t confront the huge number of the mob. The police then arrived in the village, controlled the situation, and arrested Muslim villagers. The security forces have now deployed across the streets of the village.”  
On September 15, the governor of Mina and the security director toured the village while accompanied by a number of parliamentarians as well as Islamic and Christian clerics. The same day, the prosecution detained 19 Muslims pending an investigation into the violence. The prosecution also ordered the arrest of Bassem and Mena, charging them with insulting Islamic figures and inciting sectarian strife. Both Christian men have fled the village.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Egypt’s Coptic Christian community has greatly suffered at the hands of Islamic extremists. In Tawa, Christian men, women, and children were once again terrorized by those who have no desire for peace. This violence is unacceptable. We are relieved to learn that Bassem and Mena were not injured by the mob, but alarmed about the prosecution’s decision to charge them although they were clearly targets of the mob’s violence. We pray for their safety and that of their fellow villagers. The authorities need to be more intentional in protecting the lives and property of Egypt’s Christians.” 

Another Pakistani teenager in blasphemy row

Turf war thrusts Pakistani teenager into blasphemy row

Simon* is a very poor Christian who scrapes together a living by collecting items for recycling and who now finds himself caught up in a blasphemy row – and he’s only 16.

The teenager from Punjab, Pakistan, has been attacked, tortured and arrested in a row that has sparked uproar in his village in Gujranwala district.

Please ask God to keep Simon and his family safe.

Release contacts in Pakistan say the row followed a dispute with another recycler who was not happy that Simon was gathering paper and bottles near the same religious monument as him. When burnt scraps of a Koran were allegedly found at the site last month, Simon got the blame.

Soon after Simon was arrested, a large mob broke into the police station and abducted him. They threatened to kill him and tortured him until local police called for back-up to bring the situation under control. Due to local unrest, Simon was twice transferred to other police stations. He is now being held in jail.

*We’ve changed Simon’s name for security reasons.

  • Please pray for justice for Simon and his family: like many of Pakistan’s Christians, they are very poor and Simon’s father labours for Muslim landowners. Pray Simon will be released soon.
  • Ask God to fill Simon with His peace and teach him how to trust his almighty Father through this ordeal.
  • Pray that Pakistan’s authorities will do more to prevent abuse of the country’s widely misused blasphemy laws. Pray too that they will yield to international demands for legal reform.

At last many Chibok girls reunited with families.

NIGERIA – Released Chibok girls finally reunited with families, but 113 still held by Boko Haram

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Nigerian authorities have finally allowed more than 100 “Chibok girls” kidnapped and subsequently released by Boko Haram to be reunited with their families. Boko Haram released 82 girls, 75 of whom are Christians, in exchange for captured Boko Haram terrorists in May. However, the girls were kept in Abuja to undergo psychological therapy, along with 21 others who were released in 2016. According to a government spokesperson, they are now “fully rehabilitated” after their years of captivity (during which many of the girls were forced to convert to Islam and marry Islamist militants) and have been given scholarships so they can go back to school. The girls were among 276 kidnapped in 2014 from a school in Chibok where they were sitting their end of year exams – around 113 girls are still being held by Boko Haram.

From BBC here

Pray for Musa, a New Christian in Hiding from His Family

Sep. 21, 2017 | Gaza Strip
Pray for Musa, a New Christian in Hiding from His Family

Jharkhand’s State Governor in India Approves “Anti-Forced Conversion Law”

International Christian Concern
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Media Contact:
Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator
(301)-859-3842
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jharkhand’s State Governor in India Approves “Anti-Forced Conversion Law” Despite Opposition
Jharkhand’s Christians Fear Increased Division and Persecution Under New Law
09/20/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill 2017 was given approval by the governor of India’s Jharkhand State on September 5, 2017. This approval came amidst strong resistance and protests by Christian groups, minorities, and other members of civil society in Jharkhand. To date, protest rallies across Jharkhand continue to draw large numbers as the effects of the bill have already been felt. According to local church leaders, several Christians were accused and sent to jail despite the fact that the bill has yet to become law.

Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill 2017, also known as the “Jharkhand Dharma Swatantra Adhiniyam,” was introduced and passed by the state legislative assembly on August 11, 2017. Section 3 of the bill states, “No person shall attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religion / religious faith to another by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means, nor shall any person abet any such conversion.” Violation of Section 3 would lead to imprisonment of up to three years, a 50,000 INR fine (approximately $778.00 USD), or both. In cases where the violation involves a minor, a woman, or a person from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe communities, the prison term would be raised to four years and the fine would be raised to 100,000 INR (approximately $1,556.00 USD).
Similar laws, popularly known as “anti-forced conversion laws,” already exist in six other states in India, including Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. In these states, Hindu radical groups abuse the vague terms of these laws to falsely accuse Christian leaders of forceful conversions.
There is a danger to the social harmony in the state of Jharkhand,” Rev. Dr. Manmassih Ekka, a Christian leader from Jharkhand’s capital of Ranchi, told ICC. “The passage of the bill is clearly an attempt to polarize [the] tribal community by the ruling BJP.
We have already seen the aggression of the Hindu fundamentalists misusing the bill as four Christians were falsely charged under forcible conversions and were sent to jail in [the] Simdega district of Jharkhand,” Rev. Manmassih reported.
We are asking the government to take back their decision in the interest of people of Jharkhand,” Rev. Manmassih continued. “On behalf of the All Church Committee of Ranchi, we are organizing a public meeting in Ranchi along with [other] progressive groups, including the Hindu community.
Dr. John Dayal, a member of the National Integration Council for the Government of India, said, “The [bill] comes with the backdrop of a well-orchestrated demand, in fact a promise, by the ruling BJP [government], for similar national legislation. Such a promise was made by the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, when he was a Union Minister.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “To see another state in India pass and approve a Freedom of Religion bill is deeply disappointing. These laws are widely abused by Hindu radicals, both in states where they are officially law and even in states where they are not. Due to the legal ambiguity within the laws themselves, these laws provide an easy excuse for radicals to attack Christian leaders with impunity. One simply needs to claim that a pastor was forcefully converting an individual following an assault. As a result, instead of the pastor’s assailants being arrested, it’s the assailed pastor who is arrested by police following an attack. With attacks on Christians skyrocketing, the adoption of this law will only incite more violence and seems to be another step away from India enforcing religious freedom for all.

Christians in Myanmar are also persecuted

Analysis: Christians in Myanmar are also persecuted – and now face jihadi threat as well: Barnabas Fund issues warning – humanitarian catastrophe a real possibility

BURMA (MYANMAR)

As world news focuses on the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, several people have asked us whether Christians are also persecuted in Myanmar. The answer is yes – they suffering appalling persecution and violence at the hands of the military, but unlike the Rohingya they are largely ignored by the world’s press. However, a new threat is now emerging as jihadists head to the region to “support” Rohingya Muslims.

Several months ago, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians in Myanmar. Entitled Hidden Plight: Christian Minorities in Burma, It makes shocking reading. There is large-scale violence and intimidation of Christians by the army. To quote just one short section of that report:

“The military routinely occupies churches and summons entire congregations for interrogation. Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) troops have desecrated, damaged, and destroyed churches. The military continues to perpetrate grave human rights violations with near-total impunity, including sexual violence in church compounds and the torture of pastors, church workers, and ordinary civilians. To date, approximately 120,000 people have been forced to flee.”

The military use Buddhism as a means of legitimising their oppressive rule, claiming to be defending Buddhism and the Barmar (Burmese) majority against Muslims and Christians, who are predominantly from ethnic minority groups. As well as direct attacks by the Burmese military, they have empowered a group called The Committee for the Protection of Race and Religion  (better known as Ma Ba Tha), and other ultra-nationalistic monks, to incite violence and attacks on Christian pastors.

The predominantly Christian people-groups are the Karen people who mainly live in the east near the border with Thailand, the Kachin and Naga who mainly live in the north, and the Chin, who mainly live in the south-west, particularly Chin State.

However, now a new threat to Christians is emerging as a direct result of the Rohingya crisis. Last October, Islamic militants from a newly formed insurgency group called Harakah al Yaqin launched a series of attacks on police posts in Rakhine state. Harakah al Yaqin was created by a group of Rohingya emigres based in Saudi Arabia and therefore represents a dangerous new development. The army responded in its characteristic heavy-handed fashion causing tens of thousands of Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. Then on 25 August, Harakah al Yaqin coordinated attacks on an army base and 30 police posts in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state. In response the Myanmar army launched what they termed “clearance operations” against Rohingya, a euphemism for the terrible atrocities now being perpetrated against Rohingya civilians.

Now Al Qaeda is urging jihadists to flock to the region to fight for the Rohingya Muslims. This is not an idle suggestion. It is, in fact, almost exactly what happened a few months ago in the southern Philippines when Islamic State (IS)-linked jihadists from across South-East Asia quietly infiltrated Marawi city and then seized control of it, killing a number of Christians; despite an ongoing battle with the Philippines military, the jihadists remain in control of Marawi.  In January, Malaysian authorities claimed to have arrested an IS-linked jihadist heading for Myanmar to fight in the Rohingya area. As IS loses military control in Syria and Iraq, Al Qaeda sees itself as having an opportunity to regain its claim to lead the global jihadi movement. That is why a few days ago Al Qaeda issued a statement telling jihadists in neighbouring Bangladesh and India, as well as Pakistan and the Philippines, that they have a “sharia obligation” to go to Myanmar and fight for the Rohingya.

How does this affect Christians in Myanmar, who are already suffering appalling persecution and violence from the state? The attacks which the Islamic militants from Harakah al Yaqin carried out three weeks ago were in the North of Rakine state. This is right next to Chin state, which is the only state in Myanmar that is majority Christian. In fact, one of those attacks, at the town of Maungdaw, was only about 30 miles away. If, as now seems likely, foreign jihadists arrive and turn a local Muslim insurgency into an Al Qaeda-linked jihadi struggle, as IS have just done in the Philippines, there is a very real danger that jihadists will attack Chin state.

If they do, that will put the Christians there in an impossible situation, suffering terrible violence at the hands of the Myanmar army AND being attacked by jihadists. In other words, there is the very real prospect of Christians in this part of Myanmar facing a humanitarian catastrophe that is even worse than the horrific levels of violence currently being suffered by Rohingya Muslims.

Pray for Vu, Rejected by Her Family

Sep. 14, 2017 | Laos
Pray for Vu, Rejected by Her Family

Pakistan Pray for Esmail, Unemployed After an Attack by Colleagues

Sep. 14, 2017 | Pakistan
Pray for Esmail, Unemployed After an Attack by Colleagues

 

Esmail and his wife.

Pray for Jailed VBS Chaperones

Sep. 14, 2017 | India

Nigerian government ‘complicit’ in ‘stealth jihad’, warn Christian leaders

 This was suspected!

(World Watch Monitor) A group representing senior Christians in Nigeria has accused the government of trying to Islamise the country.

In a statement on 6 September, ‘Jihad in Nigeria: burying the head in sand’, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) said jihad threatened the unity of the country.

NCEF is composed of a number of retired, high-ranking leaders from civil and military occupations, including former Defence Minister Theophilus Danjuma.

The group said its warning about the threat of jihad, in a previous release in July, had been ignored, and that Nigeria is moving “dangerously close to a national ‘red line’, where Truth is criminalised as ‘hate speech’”

“Under the present administration, every key and sensitive position in National Security is held by Muslims from the north, in outright violation of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution,” it said.

“There is a deliberate attempt to emasculate Christians, southerners and other non-Muslim population[s] of Nigeria verifiably by intimidation and force,” it added, calling it a “stealth jihad”.

The group also denounced the government’s failure to curb the violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

“Fulani herdsmen operate with impunity in mostly Christian areas, killing, maiming, raping, and destroying without any arrest, without any prosecution,” NCEF said.

“If this is not complicity of the Muslim-dominated security services, are we then to conclude that the Nigerian security units are so incompetent that they cannot successfully engage insurgents after the Nigerian Army successfully prosecuted a Civil War?”

Many experts on Nigeria now believe that violence across the Middle Belt, which World Watch Monitor has reported on at length, has been responsible for more deaths than Boko Haram.

According to Professor Yusufu Turaki, Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion, Church and Society at Jos ECWA Theological Seminary, there is a “vibrant and active revivalist Islamism” in northern Nigeria, which he blamed for the radicalisation of Boko Haram members and many Fulani herdsmen.


Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our persecuted Christians including those who’ve fled government camps to escape the ongoing threats and pressure to convert. If you would like to show your love and support for those who’ve faced unimaginable persecution please support our Nigerian relief mission, today.We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

In great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thankful for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support. Your gifts have brought so many smiles. THANK YOU!

Lucifer series

 

  Apart from the fact this protest is from presumed Roman Catholics we have to agree with its sentiments!

Fox TV Series Plants A Seed For Lucifer
As A Charming Friend Of Mankind
And Victim Of A Tyrant God

Tell Fox: Be Gone LUCIFER!

 

Dear Life Site News Reader,

The malice of Lucifer is such that he has always wanted to be not only known, but worshipped as God is worshipped, by angels and men. He even tempted Our Lord to worship him!

Our words and efforts should echo the response of Christ Himself: “Be gone, Satan: the Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him alone shalt thou serve!” (Matt. 4:10)

Now, see how Fox TV seems to plan to help Lucifer appeal to weak modern humanity in their “Lucifer” TV series.

  • Fox’s online “About The Show” presents the devil as “charming, charismatic and devilishly handsome.”
  • In the show – Lucifer refers to God like this: “Hey, he’s my father, not yours. I can say whatever I want about the guy. I quit Hell because I was sick and tired of playing a part in Dad’s plan. I believe in free will, not the tyranny of all his predestination hoo-ha.”
  • Lucifer continues: “Thank you! But I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking. Do you think I’m the devil because I’m inherently evil or simply because dear ol’ Dad decided I was? Is this a classic case of labeling? What do you think?”
  • The film is quite demonic in its subtlety. In a nightclub, clips show plenty of gyrating, scantily clad dancers, sexual innuendos, glorify a party lifestyle, and portray Lucifer as a fun loving young man while God and his angel Amenadiel are no fun at all and don’t relate to modern man.

Like St. Michael, make no compromises with evil. PROTEST To FOX NOW

We must not allow Fox TV or anyone to get our children used to Lucifer.

 

PROTEST LUCIFER TV NOW

Our Divine Redeemer Himself spoke of the devil like this: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8, 44).

The devil is a murderer and the father of lies, the liar par excellence, who hates truth, because truth leads to God.

Do NOT Let Fox TV Bring Lucifer To America

PROTEST LUCIFER TV NOW

I asked one of my associates here at America Needs Fatima to investigate this diabolical maneuver to make Lucifer seem harmless.

Here’s what he found how Fox’s “Lucifer” series portrays Satan:

  • Lucifer gets bored running Hell and comes to the City of Angels in human form.
  • Lucifer is a successful, handsome, dashing, witty, likeable, and intelligent young man innocently “indulging in a few of his favorite things – wine, women and songs.”
  • Lucifer’s “conscience” is increasingly touched by a successful, beautiful, serious, likeable, and intelligent young woman detective.
  • Lucifer starts helping this woman to solve crimes by bringing out the innermost thoughts and desires of suspects.
  • Lucifer, enjoying himself and carefree, is pestered to return to Hell by an angel from heaven dressed all in black and with black wings.

Do NOT Let Fox TV Try To Make Lucifer Charming & Harmless

PROTEST LUCIFER TV NOW

 

HERE’s More TRUTH About The Fallen Angel Lucifer
“Satan is distinguished by his guile,” writes Monsignor Cristiani. “Guile is a deceitful scheme. The being that acts with guile has bad intentions. If he speaks, it is not to say the truth, but to deceive, to lead to falsehood. Satan is treacherous, false. One cannot trust him. He lacks equity, loyalty, frankness. He is erroneous, voluntarily obscure and dissimulative.”

A Perverted Will
In his book Angels and Demons, author Luis Solimeo states:

  • The devils are pure spirits, since they are Angels. They do not have the weaknesses of men. From this, we understand why their revolt against God is permanent, immutable, and eternal.
  • Their will became perverted and fixed in evil after they abandoned the Highest Good as their objective.
  • As a consequence, the devils do not wish anything but evil in all their voluntary acts and, even when they appear to do good (as, for example, when they restore someone’s health, give riches, or teach something), it is only as a means to cause more evil, leading the person to final perdition, which is their ultimate wish for all men.

PROTEST LUCIFER TV NOW

Thank you,
Robert E. Ritchie
Robert E. Ritchie
America Needs Fatima

IRAN – Maryam released

 LATEST UPDATE

Please continue to pray for our Iranian sister Maryam Naghash Zargaran. Despite herrelease from prison on August 1, she continues to face harassment: she has reportedly been banned from leaving Iran for six months. She has also raised concerns about inmates of Evin prison such as her being given anti-psychotic drugs without cause. Pray that God will heal and restore Maryam after her ordeal, and help her find true freedom in Him, regardless of the restrictions officials subject her to. (Source: Center for Human Rights in Iran)

Maryam released from prison!

Thank you for your prayers for Maryam Naghash Zargaran, an Iranian convert to Christianity, who, we are delighted to report, was released from prison yesterday (pictured).

Maryam has served a four-year sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison in Tehran. She was imprisoned in July 2013 after being found guilty of ‘propagating against the Islamic regime, and colluding to undermine national security’.

Maryam suffers from heart disease, for which she requires regular medical attention. Harsh prison conditions have also resulted in her suffering from depression.

Please join Iranian Christians in thanking God for her release and continue to pray for her health and wellbeing: that the Lord will strengthen Maryam mentally and physically, that she will receive the medical attention she needs and that she will adjust well to ordinary life after her long prison sentence.
(Source: Middle East Concern)

UPDATE
Praise God that our Iranian brother Amin Nader Afshar was released on bail last week. Amin was recently sentenced to 15 years in jail: his co-accused, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz and Hadi Asgari, were both given ten-year sentences. Amin went on hunger strike for 21 days after his sentencing, demanding his release on bail pending his appeal. Hadi remains in jail: pray that he too will be released on bail. Pray also that the three men’s appeals will all be successful. (Source: Middle East Concern)


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MARYAM ZARGARAN’s CONDITION WORSENS AGAIN

Reports from Evin prison in Tehran indicate that Maryam is again in need of urgent medical care. She has suffered severe weight loss and the stressful conditions in prison have exacerbated her congenital heart condition.

 

>>>BACK IN PRISON>>>

 

 

On September 17, 2016  Iranian Christian convert, Maryam Naghash Zargaran (Nasim) was sent back to Evin prison when the extension of her medical furlough was rejected, reports Voice of Iranian Christians (Vocir). Maryam (Nasim) will finish out her four year sentence regardless of her serious and deteriorating health condition. Please pray for healing and endurance and keep her family in your prayers. Share her story and encourage others to pray for her well-being and permanent release. Raise your voices for Iranians imprisoned for their Christian faith.  Speak out of the serious human rights abuses Christians are facing in Iran. 

Write To Encourage Maryam Naghash Zargaran (Nasim)

Update: Maryam has been allowed temporary leave from Evin Prison to get medical aid. Prison authorities allowed Maryam to go home on Sunday 28th August. Her family hope that on this occasion the medical leave will be long enough for Maryam to receive adequate care.

 

 

Maryam Naghash Zargaran-Nasim

(Voice of the Persecuted) Iranian Christian prisoner, Maryam Naghash Zargaran (Nasim) suffers serious physical difficulties had been granted temporary medical leave. We’ve been informed she has been told to report back to the prison. When Iran grants medical leave to prisoners, you can be assured they’re gravely ill. Please pray for this Christian sister. Pray that they will at least allow her enough time to receive the full medical treatment she needs. Pray they will take her health condition seriously and give her the ongoing treatment she needs. Pray for her family who is heartbroken with worry she will not survive her prison term. Please lift her up to our Lord asking for permanent release from prison with expectancy for God to set her free.

Pray for all Christian prisoners in Iran and for the Holy Spirit to guide our brothers and sisters worshiping underground. Pray for the faith and rights of those converting from the Islamic faith. Iran is only second to China in the amount of those coming to Christ. Pray they will be bold and courageous sharing the Gospel and the love of Jesus with the lost.

 

 

IRAN – Christian prisoner ‘close to coma’   Your prayers are desperately needed for an Iranian Christian woman who is serving a four-year sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison.

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Jailed Iranian Christian seriously ill – but still officials refuse to set her free.
Our Iranian sister Maryam has gone on hunger strike again but security officials are still refusing to release her so she can receive proper treatment.
Please pray for Maryam Naghash Zargaran whose health has deteriorated sharply in the three weeks since she’s been on hunger strike. Her blood pressure is now very low and she has symptoms of possible early multiple sclerosis.
She is demanding her immediate release and protesting at the inadequate treatment she’s received for serious health issues while she’s been in Tehran’s Evin Prison. A judge refused her request – under pressure from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.
Maryam has been on hunger strike before, prior to being allowed out of her cell for three weeks last month to receive hospital treatment. But she was back behind bars on June 27, before her treatment was complete.
She’s serving a four-year sentence for ‘acting against national security’ – apparently because of her work on an orphanage with former prisoner of faith, Pastor Saeed Abedini.
Prison officials who gave Maryam a medical examination last week confirmed her condition is serious.

  • Ask God to comfort, sustain and heal Maryam: pray that she will know He is her shepherd and protector.
  • Pray that the officials who are barring Maryam’s release will be moved with compassion and allow her out in order to receive proper care.
  • Pray that all our brothers and sisters behind bars for their faith in Iran will know God’s peace and presence today. Pray that their witness will impact guards and inmates alike.

 

Family and friends of Maryam (Nasim) Naghash-Zargaran, a believer from a Muslim background, are greatly concerned about her health and request prayer for her treatment and release from prison.   On July 5th Maryam went on hunger strike as a protest against the lack of adequate medical treatment for long-standing health problems. She has refused solids and liquids and has not allowed prison medical staff to give her serum. Sources close to the family say that her condition is serious and that Maryam is close to becoming comatose.   Maryam has a history of heart problems. In addition, she has recently been suffering from pain in her ears and severe headaches. She has lost a lot of weight and continues to suffer from depression. Although the medical authorities in the prison recognise the severity of her condition and the need for treatment, the prosecutor’s office has refused to allow Maryam to leave prison to receive adequate care. The only recent concession was in October 2015, when she was allowed to go to a hospital for a few days, but forced to return to prison without receiving full treatment.   It has been reported that fellow prisoners in the prison ward showed their support for Maryam by forgoing family visits on Sunday as a form of protest.   Maryam was arrested in January 2013 in connection with her work on an orphanage with former Christian prisoner Saeed Abedini. She was charged with ‘acting against national security’ and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, which she started serving in July 2013 in the women’s ward at Evin. A request for a retrial was refused.   View her prisoner profile here.   (Source: Middle East Concern)

  • Pray Maryam would be allowed to receive proper treatment in hospital.
  • Pray that God would sustain Maryam and her family and friends during this critical time and that she would be released from prison, healed and restored.

LATEST>>>

Voice of the Persecuted Note:  On May 29th, Maryam’s blood pressure suddenly dropped and she fell unconscious. She was then transferred from prison to the hospital. Sources claim it took a few minutes before she was able recognized her relatives who came to see her in the hospital. Though she desperately needed to stay in the hospital, she was taken back to the prison without proper treatment. This sister needs our help.

As with other cases that have drawn international attention and outcry, we have seen prisoners receive better treatment and even released by the Iranian regime. Let us not be idle and act quickly. Please PRAY and SPEAK OUT for our sister suffering in Iran.  SIGN THE PETITION for the Immediate & Unconditional Release of the Imprisoned Christian Convert Maryam Naghash Zargaran. Share this story and encourage many to sign the petition.  Be her VOICE!

 

LATEST…Your sister Maryam is back in prison – but still sick
Maryam Naghash-Zargaran has been returned to her prison cell from hospital – before medics were able to treat her properly for serious health problems.
Please pray that God will heal and comfort our Iranian sister who’s now back behind bars in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
Maryam had been on hunger strike in protest at the lack of proper medical care she’s had in jail. She was ‘almost comotose’ by the time she was finally allowed out of prison for treatment on June 6, having deposited a bond of £74,000.
When a court ordered her return to jail last week, her family applied to have her medical leave extended. The prosecutor’s office refused – and threatened to confiscate her bond money. She was returned to jail on Monday.
Maryam, who has a Muslim background, has been in jail since 2013 because of her work on an orphanage with Pastor Saeed Abedini. She’s serving a four-year sentence.

  • Please pray that God will heal and strengthen Maryam in a way that human doctors cannot. Pray for her swift release.
  • Thank God that Maryam’s fellow prisoners have been supporting her and backing her bid for medical treatment.
  • Pray that every Christian behind bars in Iran today will know God’s peace and presence.

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Kenyan authorities doing their job!

KENYA – Police killed protecting church from attack by gunmen

Two policemen were killed on Sunday 3 September, when four gunmen attacked St Paul’s Anglican Church in Ukunda, south-east Kenya, while a service was taking place. Just as the pastor was about to begin his sermon, gunshots were heard outside. The attackers escaped on motorbikes, leaving both policemen fatally wounded. Police are still investigating, but it has been suggested that militants from the Somali-based terror group Al Shabaab were behind the attack. Nine Christians were murdered in an attack by Al Shabaab in south-east Kenya in July – gunmen went from house to house, singling out Christians for execution.

Al Shabaab has claimed attacks in Kenya are a response to the presence of Kenyan soldiers taking part of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Kenyan soliders are taking part in the African Union Mission in Somalia against Al Shabaarb, which has openly stated its aim of establishing an Islamic state in the region

From Global Christian News here

Yet another Pakistani blasphemy frame up!

PAKISTAN – Pakistan Christian boy accused of desecrating Quran by rival garbage collector

A 16-year-old Christian rubbish collector has been accused of burning the Quran and beaten up by a mob in Gujranwala.  The boy ‘A.S.’ has now been charged under section 295-B of Pakistan’s Penal Code and, if convicted, will face life imprisonment. However, the boy’s father has suggested his son has been framed by a Muslim rival rubbish collector who wanted to stop him collecting papers outside an Islamic shrine. Last month (August) this Muslim boy alleged that “someone” had burnt a copy of the Quran at the shrine. Then on Sunday 20 August, he found A.S. in the bazaar, began beating him up and then accused him burning the Quran which resulted in a mob joinng in the attack on A.S.

Many Christians in Pakistan earn their living as sweepers or by collecting paper and rubbish on the streets which they then sell for recycling. Because most of them are illiterate they would not necessarily recognise that a piece of paper was from the Quran and so it would be particularly difficult for such individuals to defend themselves against an accusation of this nature which they are  alleged to have done several weeks earlier.

From Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper here

Pray for Pastor Perry and His Church, Attacked by Hindu Extremists

Sep. 07, 2017 | India

Perry and family

Pray for Christians Whose Possessions Were Taken

Sep. 07, 2017 | Tanzania

Chinese Dissident Gao Zhisheng probably detained again

Latest:

China Continues to Hold and Presumably Torture Nobel Nominee Gao Zhisheng
09/06/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Nearly a month has passed since Chinese Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was presumably taken by state security from his home near Shaanxi’s Yulin city on the morning of August 13, where he was under house arrest. The whereabouts of Gao, reputed as the “Conscience of China,” are still unknown. As is typical in these cases, he could face torture in a black jail hidden away in rural province.
Gao became the target of Chinese authorities for defending the most vulnerable in China, including Christians, coal miners, and Falun Gong practitioners. He has been kidnapped numerous times, repeatedly endured torture, including beatings, sleep deprivation, and electric shock, and spent many years in jail and solitary confinement. The Chinese government released him in 2014, but placed him under house arrest.
The causes for his disappearance could be many, including President Xi Jinping’s retaliation for Gao’s recently published memoir, in which he heavily criticized the Communist Party and predicted a 2017 collapse of the regime; the upcoming 19th Party Congress, a major power show where Beijing wants no accidents and demands silence from dissidents; or interviews he recently gave to the media in Hong Kong and the US, detailing torture and inhumane treatment.
His older brother, Gao Zhiyi, was brought in by police on August 26 and briefly detained before being released. Zhisheng’s supporters believe that the detention prevented his brother from being inquired as to Zhisheng’s whereabouts. In addition, aTwitter account organized by his supporters called “Gao Zhisheng Caring Group” also recently posted, “So far the family and friends of Gao in China, two have been warned, and seven were summoned (among them two have disappeared) by the authoritiesThese nine cases are the known ones.
His disappearance is concerning when details of past torture and abductions, recorded in his books, are taken into account. Years in captivity have decayed his health as he suffers tooth loss and other health problems.
 
“Now that I know he has disappeared, I am in a state of emotional collapse,”  Zhisheng’s wife, Geng He, who currently resides in the US with their children, told Radio Free Asia.
Former Virginia congressman, Frank Wolf, when asked to comment on Mr. Gao’s disappearance, stated, “Mr. Gao was my adoptee for the Defending Freedoms Project five years ago, where I highlighted his case and pushed for his release. It’s truly unfortunate that after years he still doesn’t get to taste freedom. The sudden disappearance of Mr. Gao last month is worrisome in light of Liu Xiaobo’s death and knowing the secret arrests and horrendous torture Chinese government has put dissidents through. I urge the Chinese government to immediately release and sustain freedom of Gao Zhisheng.”

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

 

 

A Chinese Activist: Out of Prison But Not Free

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

 

 

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

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

LATEST..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Morning Star News

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

10441137_10152821827472454_4488266589776323193_n

 

ICC Note:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gao Zhisheng timeline

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

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

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

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

•             Mar 2010: Reappeared for a month before disappearing again

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

•             Jan 2012: Gao revealed to be in Xinjiang prison

•             August 2014: Gao freed from jail

 

‘Loose teeth’

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

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

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

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

Luoluopo, Southern in China

 Do the words in red bold give you a heartfelt concern? They should!
Luoluopo, Southern in China

Luoluopo is the name of the three groups that stem from the Yi linguistic group. These three Luoluopo groups have distinctly different languages. Polytheistic animism is the main religion of the Western Luoluopo. Ancestor worship is also prevalent. Two or three ancestral rites are performed every year in honor of the Luoluopo forefathers. Most Western Luoluopo have never heard of Christ.

Ministry Obstacles
There are few if any resources available in the language of the Western Luoluopo, resources such as Scripture and recordings. Pray for resources to be created and distributed.

Outreach Ideas
Perhaps Chinese believers will be led to take the Gospel of Christ to the Western Luoluopo. Pray that any ethnic barriers will be overcome.

Pray for the followers of Christ
There are a few reported followers of Christ among the Western Luoluopo. Pray for them. Pray they will have good teachers and pastors sent to help them mature. Pray they will present a consistently faithful witness for Christ to their own people.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray the Western Luoluopo community will hunger to find a Savior for their sin. Pray they will be proactive in searching for Christ, and for this search to yield fruit. Pray for workers to take the good news to them.

Scripture Focus
“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; and let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.'” 1 Chronicles 16:31

Sargara people, India

 

Sargara in India

The Sargara are a landless community. Their traditional and present-day occupation is splitting and selling wood. Those who breach community norms are fined and ostracized. They profess Hinduism, and Chammunda and Ambajee are their family deities. Their regional deities are Hanumanjee, Shankar, Mahakali and Ramdevjee. The Sargara traditionally do not take food and water from the lower scheduled castes, and food and water from the Sargara are not accepted by the upper castes.

Ministry Obstacles
To follow Jesus is to breach community norms, bringing significant ostracism.

Outreach Ideas
Christians need to help the Sargara people with physical and material needs, as well as telling them of Jesus.

Pray for the followers of Christ
There likely isn’t a single follower of Jesus among the Sargara community today, but pray for those the Lord will soon lead to himself. Pray they will fully grasp the significance of Jesus’ sacrificial death, and will trust him fully for both forgiveness of sin and power to live life. Pray they will have power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray the Sargara community will not find satisfaction in the worship of created things, but will be given a hunger to worship the Creator.

Scripture Focus
“The time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory.” Isaiah 66:18

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Laowu in China-unreached.

Laowu in China

The Laowu believe a complex hierarchy of spirits guide and control their lives. They also consider it important to worship their ancestors. Laowu marriages are traditionally arranged through a matchmaker. A shaman is consulted. If the horoscopes of both parties are agreeable and if the parents on both sides give their consent, the two may become engaged.

Ministry Obstacles
The Laowu devotion to shamans and spirits will not be easy to overcome.

Outreach Ideas
Stories from Scripture, following a chronological approach, can provide a foundation for understanding the good news of Christ.

Pray for the followers of Christ
There is no Christian presence among the Laowu people in China. However, please pray for the followers of Christ that will soon emerge from this people group. Pray the Lord will prepare excellent pastors and teachers for them. May God give a burden to Chinese believers for them.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray the Laowu will be released from devotion to demons and come to know and worship the creator God.

Scripture Focus
“How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:14-15

MYANMAR (BURMA) – CHRISTIANS INJURED AND THEIR PROPERTIES DESTROYED IN BUDDHIST MOB ATTACK

Burmese believers.

Four Christians were injured – two so badly they required hospital treatment – when a local Buddhist mob attacked and destroyed their homes in the Sanaing region on 7 July. The day before, the four believers, all new converts, had been summoned to the Teetaw village monastery by the abbot, where they were given the option of returning to Buddhism or being banished from the village. All four refused to deny Christ. Earlier in July, the house of a church pastor from a different region was destroyed by a Buddhist mob, leaving him and his family living on the roadside.

Myanmar is 87% Buddhist and as a result of a law introduced in 2015, anyone wishing to change religion is required to obtain official approval. Conversion to Buddhism is actively promoted, particularly among children, who are offered free food and education at Na Ta La Buddhist schools. Christian literature is strictly controlled, meaning many believers do not have access to a Bible. Although Christians have secured political positions in Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, ethnic minorities, still face repression, particularly from the military, which retains considerable autonomy. Most of Myanmar’s Christians come from ethnic minorities.

What is happening to the Rohingya muslims in Rakhine state is an example of the military being out of control and guilty of genocide.

Pray for the four new believers whose homes have been torched and who have been beaten. Give thanks for their courage and pray that they will be encouraged by Hebrews 10 – that they have better and lasting possessions and a rich reward for not forsaking His Name. Pray that Christians in Aung San Suu Kyi’s government will, like the prophet Daniel, have the wisdom to know when to stand up for their fellow believers and that the oppression of Christians will be reduced in Myanmar.

Nepali imminent anti-conversion laws.

 

NEPAL – Parliament passes new anti-conversion bill and potential “blasphemy” law

Earlier this month (8 August), Nepal’s parliament passed a bill restricting religious conversion and criminalising “hurting religious sentiment.” The new legislation, which the country’s president is expected to sign into law imminently, will mean anyone convicted of encouraging someone to convert could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment.

Under a clause introduced into Nepal’s constitution in 2015, actions to “convert another person from one religion to another” are already illegal and have resulted in Christians facing prosecution. However, the new laws could in effect be used to make all evangelism illegal.

The second part of the legislation, which criminalises “hurting religious sentiment,” has been likened to “blasphemy” laws in Pakistan. The vaguely-worded clause states “Nobody should hurt the religious sentiment of any caste, ethnic community or class by writing, through voice/talk or by a shape or symbol or in any other such manner.” Those found guilty will face a fine and two years in prison.

Nepal is officially a secular republic, but was until 2008 a Hindu kingdom, and extremist groups are campaigning for the country to become a Hindu nation again. The population of Nepal is around 80% Hindu, with a tiny Christian minority.

From ADF International here

Nigeria: father and son killed, three women and a baby kidnapped

Nigerian authorities complicit in more outrages.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

At least nine Christians were killed and a number of churches and properties burnt down in 2007, in Tudun Wada. (WWM.)

(World Watch Monitor) A father and son were killed, and three women and a baby abducted, in an attack in Nigeria’s northern state of Kano, in the largely Muslim area of Tudun Wada.

At around 8pm on 15 August, armed men, believed to be local Muslims, attacked the house of Baba Kale Dankali (62), a local Christian, and killed him.
His son, Micah Kale (20) heard the gunshot, went out to see what had happened and found his father dead. At his agonised cries, the attackers returned and shot him dead too.

Both victims’ widows fled with their children.

The armed men also targeted other Christian families, kidnapping three women and a baby.

Fear caused many Christians to flee; it brought back memories of previous attacks, including 

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The Sabra Jews

Jew, Israeli Sabra in Israel

Sabra Jews are those born in the land of Israel. The word is derived from the Hebrew word tzabar, the name of the “prickly pear” cactus. The allusion is to a tenacious, thorny desert plant with a thick hide that conceals a sweet, softer interior. It is a very special name full of meaning to Israelis.

Ministry Obstacles
Jewish identity is threatened when a Jew acknowledges Jesus as personal Messiah. Pray that Jews will see their identity enhanced when they follow Jesus, not diminished.

Outreach Ideas
The Gospel is available if the hearts of Israeli Jews are prepared to hear and receive. Pray for prepared hearts.

Pray for the followers of Christ
The Lord is increasingly calling these people, the Jews, to Himself. Pray for his followers among these Israeli Jews, that they will be faithful witnesses to their family and friends. Pray they will live lives that fully honor Jesus.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray for the Jews, that the veil over their eyes will increasingly be lifted, allowing them to truly see Jesus.

Scripture Focus
“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 72:18-19

Jitendra, India

Jitendra and father

Jitendra Sal converted from Hinduism,was beaten and forced face down into a refuse dump. His parents were also attacked. Their home was used as a sewer. They have since relocated and been provided with a cart and means to do a fast food business and are doing well spiritually.

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

LATEST:

Pastor Victor Bet Tamarz (10 year sentence), Amin (15 years), Hadi (10 years) bail £46,000 each. Lawyer will appeal.

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

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

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

From Mohabat news here

afshar_hadi

Imprisoned Christians end hunger strike in Iran

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

Prisoners of Faith Alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ameen Masih (45) murdered.

 

This Christian father of three (14, 12 and 9) and husband to Rakhil, could not keep up payments for some electric goods so some thugs from the shop in Sialkot came and beat him badly, later returning to lock him in a room to which they set fire killing him while his family looked on. This happened in April this year. The children were badly traumatised. Pray for the family and that Romans 8:29 will be found true for them.

Ashfaq Masih, Pakistan

 

Yet ANOTHER wicked blasphemy charge when a Muslim  Sadhu refused to pay for a repair to his bike and an argument ensued. Ashfaq, who lives in Green town, Lahore was arrested and  will have to stand trial.

Pray he will be totally exonerated and the government will take steps to outlaw this evil practice.

Convictions of Malatya Murderers but still no justice.

 Pray these murderers will not escape justice!

Five Turks finally convicted of “Malatya massacre”

 

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LATEST:

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

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

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

Read the full story

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

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

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

May the Christians in Malatya continue faithful.

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

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

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The victims

 

The accused


FOUR MALATYA MURDER SUSPECTS BLAME FIFTH

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

The accused

  

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

  

The three martyrs-Necati, Ugur and Tilman.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Church leaders cannot train in Turkey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    When will justice be done?

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

     

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

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

Jakarta governor Ahok sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pray for justice for Algerian Christian!

Pray for justice for Algerian Christian!

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

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

Read his Prisoner Profile

 

 

 

Latest: Algerian Christian’s sentence reduced to three years

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

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

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