Pakistani Christian student brutally attacked by classmates.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christian Student in Pakistan Nearly Killed in Stabbing by Muslim Classmates

Activist Claims Incident Was Fueled by Unchecked Religious Intolerance

02/21/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Christian student from Karachi, Pakistan was nearly killed after being stabbed in an attack by Muslim classmates. As is common with attacks by Muslims on Christians, the student’s parents were pressured by the police to not press charges. Yet, the family has declared that they want justice. According to a local human rights defender, this violent incident resulted from unchecked religious intolerance in Pakistan’s educational system.

The incident began on Friday, February 15, when Haroon Irfan, a Christian student at Government Mohammadi School in Karachi, reported that his Muslim classmate, Muhammad Majid, stole and damaged his school notebook. According to the school’s headmaster, Muhammad Aftab, Haroon is known by the nickname “small Einstein” because of his intelligence.

“Haroon made a complaint to the teacher and, when the notebook was recovered from Majid’s backpack, he got angry and felt insulted,” Irfan Masih, Haroon’s father, told ICC.

Two days later, on Sunday, February 17, Haroon was attacked by Majid and several other Muslim boys as he was on his way to buy food from a local hotel. “When Haroon was alone on the road, Majid and five others beat Haroon for alleging [Majid] of stealing his notebook and complaining to the teacher,” Irfan explained.

In the course of the attack, the assailants stabbed Haroon in the stomach, damaging his kidney. “The attack was so terrible that Haroon’s kidney was cut into two pieces,” a local Christian activist told ICC.

The assailants fled the scene, leaving Haroon wounded on the ground. When Haroon was discovered, he was rushed to Jinnah Hospital in Karachi where doctors were forced to remove his kidney.

Haroon’s father reported that local police were initially unwilling to register a First Information Report (FIR) regarding the attack on Haroon. According to Irfan, the police pressured him to settle the matter outside of Pakistan’s judicial system.

“We are not going into any process of negotiations or forgiveness,” Khursheed Bibi, Haroon’s grandmother, told ICC. “We want justice.”

“This incident is a continuation of previous incidents of intolerance which we have experienced in schools and colleges,” Ghazala Shafeeq, a local human rights defender, stated on social media. “Christians feel insecure, therefore authorities must come up with practical steps to ensure their safety and security.”

“The authorities must also introduce amendments to the educational system to promote religious tolerance,” Shafeeq continued. “If we don’t purify educational institutions and delete the hate material from the textbooks, we are going to damage the next generation.”

ICC’s Regional Manager, William Stark, said, “We here at ICC are deeply distressed by the violent attack on Haroon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. Religious intolerance and discrimination based on religious identity are widespread in Pakistan. Unfortunately, this is not only present in Pakistan’s educational institutions, it is widely modeled by many teachers and taught by school curriculums. We hope that this attack will lead to justice for Haroon as well as real change to Pakistan’s educational institutions. These institutions should be safe places where students are allowed to receive a proper education regardless of their religious identity.” 

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

Pastor in Myanmar Abducted by Arakan Army

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Christians in Rakhine State Face Increasing Danger

02/20/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on February 13, Pastor U Thar Tun was taken from his home in Buthidaung township, Rakhine State, by members of the Arakan Army (AA), a Buddhist rebel group. According to his wife, Daw Hla Sein, the insurgent group initially demanded that they leave their home to talk, so the family complied with the orders. However, the insurgents then tied up the pastor and dragged him away. She soon informed the local authorities and the police are now investigating the abduction.

U Thar Tun, the 50-year-old pastor of Mara Evangelical Church, is from the Myo ethnic group, one of the most common minority groups from Rakhine State, Myanmar. The father of five received his theological education from Mizoram State in India.  He has been serving as a pastor in his church for many years and, although his church could not financially support him, he still takes a leadership role in church activities. He is also involved in local community development.

A colleague from the area told ICC, “He is innocent and actively involved in social and ethnic Myo people activities. He acts with truth and love for the oppressed people and he also protects them. Even though there is only [a] slim chance, I would like to request his immediate release from the people who had taken him. He is a valued member of our community.”

His congregation and fellow Myo people are very concerned about his disappearance. Some locals believe that he will not be coming back.

The fighting between the Burmese Army and the AA resumed last December. AA is a Buddhist rebel group known for its intolerance of other religious groups, particularly Muslims and Christians. A month ago, Pastor Tun Nu from Rakhine State’s Sittwe District was also abducted by the AA and his death was confirmed earlier this month.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “While a lot of attention has been paid to the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State, it is alarming to see Christian persecution on the rise in the area. We urge the Burmese government to negotiate the release of Pastor U Thar Tun, given that his life is at risk in the hands of the Arakan Army. This evil act cannot be tolerated or ignored.”

Christians injured when prayer meeting attacked.


14 February 2019

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.”

An Indian Christian praying in a wrecked church building. Densely populated India is home to around 64 million Christians

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.

Uzbek mother killed by husband.


19 February 2019

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.

Caption

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

Nigerian pastor killed and family kidnapped


18 February 2019

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.

Caption
Pastor Jatau, his wife and family were travelling to take up a new ministry when they were attacked

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.

Pray for the Fulani

More news from Iran

 

News

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.

Blasphemy: Christian death sentence appeal successful.

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)

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Sawan Masih sentenced to death for blasphemy

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…

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