Three Christians suffered serious injuries when a mob of 25 extremists attacked a prayer meeting in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh on 7 February.
The mob broke into the pastor’s home in Chapar village, Sultanpur district, and began insulting worshippers before slapping them and hitting them with sticks. Bibles were also set on fire.
“They did not even spare women,” said Sajan K George, the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who spoke out condemning the violence. He added, “Intolerance towards Christians in Uttar Pradesh is spiralling upward and religious freedom is pulverised by fanatical elements.”
The Christian leader said, “[the attack] is a shame on secular India” and added that the police, “did not allow Christians to file a complaint against the attackers nor let the injured get medical certificates for their injuries”. Highlighting that the situation is likely to deteriorate in the run-up to the general elections expected in May he added, “Fanatics are whipping up hostility against Christians for political gain.”
Persecution of Christians and other minorities has been on the rise in India since Narendra Modi, whose home constituency is in Uttar Pradesh, became prime minister in 2014. There was a sharp escalation of persecution incidents against Christians in 2017, when around 736 were recorded by the Evangelical Fellowship of India (of which 351 were violent), compared to 348 persecution incidents recorded in 2016.
An Uzbek mother was killed by her husband on 9 February because she had recently become a Christian.
“Umida”, a Muslim-background Christian, was attempting to flee the country to seek refuge in Istanbul with Christian friends, when her husband confronted her at Tashkent Airport and slit her throat.
Previously, the man had locked Umida in their home to prevent her from going to church and banned her from seeing their two-year-old son after discovering she had asked a friend to get her an Uzbek Bible.
Umida’s parents had taken their daughter to live at their home and allowed her to go to church but she continued to receive threats from her husband.
Friends of Umida have asked for prayers for her parents and her son.
Uzbekistan, a former Soviet Union republic, is officially secular but more than 90% of the population is Muslim. Churches are required by law to register, but stringent requirements make it nearly impossible for most churches to do so. Uzbek Christians (who are converts from Islam and their children) face frequent persecution including violent raids on meetings and homes.
From Barnabas Fund contacts
A pastor was murdered and his family kidnapped after gunmen opened fire on their car on 7 February in Zamfara state, northern Nigeria.
Pastor Anthony Idris Jatau’s car skidded off the road in the attack, and he and his family were dragged out. The pastor’s body was found two days later, on 9 February, but the whereabouts of his wife, three children and two sisters-in-law are unknown at the time of writing.
According to a local source, the kidnappers are holding the children in separate locations and have demanded a ransom for the family’s release.
The source said, “Everybody is sad at the moment and afraid for the lives of his family members. Security agencies are aware of the case but there is nothing yet.”
Pastor Jatau, who survived an earlier kidnapping in September 2006, was travelling from his ministry in Sokoto to a new posting in Katsina, about 250 miles away, when the attack happened.
Zamfara is notorious for kidnappings and attacks by Fulani herdsmen militia groups, who have terrorised Christian farming communities. Barnabas Fund patron Baroness Cox, who raised the issue of Fulani attacks in the House of Lords on 17 July 2018, says the militants are now so well armed that some believe they may be fighting a proxy war for Boko Haram, the Islamist militia that wants to drive out Christians from northern Nigeria.
Crackdown on Iranian believers continues
Becoming a Christian in Iran is fraught with danger – as the recent arrest of many believers with a Muslim background makes clear.
Two more were detained in Shiraz and Esfahan in January. These are just the latest in a wave of arrests targeting the Christian community which began late last year. Most of those detained have a Muslim background.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters behind bars in Iran.
On January 25, 64-year-old Ismaeil Maghrebinejad was arrested in Shiraz and security agents confiscated his laptop, phone and Christian books. He was later released on bail.
Two days earlier Sina Moloudian, who is just 26, was detained in Esfahan at the family home. Intelligence agents broke down the door and arrested Sina in front of his parents. Eye witnesses reported seeing Sina with bruising on his face as he was dragged out of the house. He rang his parents later to say he was being held in Dastgerd prison.
- Pray that prisoners of faith in Iran will be released soon and restored to their families. Pray that God will sustain and strengthen them.
- Please pray that the wave of arrests will stop.
- Lift up in prayer the officials involved in arresting Christians: pray that they will be touched by the powerful witness of God’s people in Iran and by their overcoming faith.
The Iranian church will be like the Israelites in Egypt-the more they were oppressed-the more they multiplied and grew strong.
Thank God that Pakistani Christian Pervaiz Masih has been acquitted, more than three years after a business rival accused him of blasphemy. A lower-court judge ruled to acquit Pervaiz but made legal provision for the case to be reopened in the future. Pray that God will restore to Pervaiz and his family all that has been taken from them. Pervaiz’s wife, Zareena, was so badly beaten during a police interrogation that she was unable to walk; as a result she was not fully able to watch the couple’s three-year-old child who wandered away and was later found drowned. The exact cause of the tragic drowning remains a mystery. (Source: VOM Canada)
PAKISTAN:Prayers are needed for Sawan Masih who has been on death row for blasphemy since 2014.Masih was accused by his Muslim friend, Shahid Imran, of making derogatory remarks against the Prophet Muhammad in 2013. A case was registered against him under section 295-C of the Blasphemy Law which has a mandatory death penalty. Masih says the charge is false.
His case became internationally known when a large Muslim mob violently attacked Masih’s residential area, Joseph Colony, in Badami Bagh Lahore. The localmosque broadcasted the accusation via loudspeakers and a mob of more than 3,000 Muslims attacked Sawan’s home, looted and torched 180 Christian homes, 75 shops and at least two churches. Witnesses say the police stood and watched instead of stopping the attackers and protecting local Christians and their property.
Hundreds of families were displaced as the mob threatened to burn Christians…
View original post 361 more words