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Posts Tagged ‘Persecuted Church’

 

Persecuted Church1. Violence against Christians in Sri Lanka

On March 25, a pastor and church worker were attacked by a man armed with a machete, according to a March 27 report from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka. The armed man barged into the Vineyard Community Church in the city of Pannala, North Western Province and slashed the men. Both believers sustained serious injuries. Local church members suspect the assailant previously burned the church’s electricity meter and attacked the caretaker. At last report, no arrest had been made.

During the past three months, members of the Assembly of God church in the town of Bulathkohupitiya, Sabaragamuwa Province have faced threats and intimidation from local villagers and Buddhist monks. The congregation is also being monitored. A petition for the church’s closure has reportedly been sent to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. As a result of the tension, many church members have been unable to meet together for worship.

Ask God to strengthen and heal those injured. Pray that suffering Christians in Sri Lanka will stand strong in faith and not give in to fear. Pray that their faithfulness will be a light that draws others to Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16).

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka, go to www.persecution.net/srilanka.htm.
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2. Orphanage burned, believers attacked in India

An orphanage in Bargarh district, Orissa, India that was torched by Hindu militants last August (see www.persecution.net/in-2008-08-27.htm) was burned to the ground a second time on March 20, according to a March 27 report from AsiaNews. The orphanage was placed under police surveillance following the August attack, during which a young teacher was thrown into the building and burned alive. However, police were not on site on the night the orphanage was set ablaze.

In the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, a group of believers was attacked on March 27, according to All India Christian Council. Pastor Pramodam Joshua, his wife, his son and seven other church members were gathered in a believers’ home when three youths approached the owner of the building and threatened him for allowing the prayer service. Two youths confronted the Christians while they were traveling home and demanded to know why they were converting Hindus. Pastor Joshua and at least two other believers were beaten and injured.

Pray for lasting peace and stability in India. Ask God to heal the injured believers. Pray that God will embolden Indian Christians to be Christ-like examples to their persecutors.

To learn more about India’s suffering Christians, go to www.persecution.net/india.htm.
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3. Five Christians expelled from Morocco

Five female Christians, four Spanish and one German, were recently expelled from Morocco on accusations of “proselytizing” Muslims. According to a March 31 report from Compass Direct, the women were among a group of tourists who were arrested by police while gathered for Bible study in the city of Casablanca on March 28. Officials seized Christian material, including Arabic books and videos. The believers were questioned by police and detained until the early hours of the next day. The women, who were deemed missionaries by the government, were deported to Spain.

Pray for true religious freedom in Morocco. Ask God to give wisdom to these believers as to how to continue serving Him. Pray for the church as it continues to establish itself within Moroccan society (1 Timothy 3:15).

Find out more about the persecution Christians face in Morocco at www.persecution.net/morocco.htm.
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4. Update: Three Iranian converts sentenced

On March 10, a court in the Iranian city of Shiraz handed three converts to Christianity from Islam eight-month suspended prison sentences with five years probation, according to a March 31 report from Compass Direct. As part of the sentence, Seyed Allaedin Hussein, Homayoon Shokouhi and Seyed Amir Hussein Bob-Annari were ordered to discontinue their Christian activities. The judge warned the men, who were first arrested in May 2008 (see www.persecution.net/ir-2008-05-28.htm), that he will enforce their prison sentences and try them as “apostates” if they violate terms of their probation, which include a ban on contacting one another.
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5. Update: President signs restrictive religion law in Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s President, Emomali Rahmon, has signed a repressive new religion law that was first sent to parliament for approval in mid-November (see www.persecution.net/tj-2009-03-18.htm). The legislation, which violates the country’s constitution and international human rights obligations, has been harshly criticized by many human rights groups, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
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6. VOMC Persecuted Church Prayer Conference this weekend!

Don’t miss VOMC’s upcoming Persecuted Church Prayer Conference in Edmonton, Alberta this Saturday, April 4. Hear the testimony of guest speaker Mr. Kim, a man who served in the North Korean military until he came to know Christ and escaped to China. Learn more about the work of The Voice of the Martyrs in Korea from VOMC co-workers, Eric Foley and Ahn Hyun Sook. Be blessed through the music and worship led by violinist Trevor Dick. VOMC CEO, Glenn Penner, and Greg Musselman will also report on how the mission is serving the Persecuted Church worldwide. Find out more by phoning our office at 1.888.298.6423 or by checking out our conference brochure at www.persecution.net/download/2009confbroch.pdf.

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Persecuted ChurchPakistan: Christians Brace for Sharia in Swat Valley

 

ISTANBUL, March 27 (Compass Direct News) – Just over a month since Pakistan’s Swat Valley turned into a Taliban stronghold where sharia (Islamic law) rules, the fate of the remaining Christians in the area is uncertain. In an effort to end a bloody two-year battle, the Islamabad administration struck a deal with Taliban forces surrendering all governance of Swat Valley in the North West Frontier Province. Sources told Compass that in the violence that has killed and displaced hundreds, an estimated 500 Christians remain in the region. In the past year, more than 200 girls schools in Swat were reported to have been burned down or bombed by Islamic extremists. Remaining girls schools were closed down in January but have been re-opened since the peace agreement in mid-February. An associate pastor of the sole Church of Pakistan congregation in Swat told Yousaf Benjamin of the National Commission for Justice and Peace that with the bombing of girls schools at the end of last year, all Christian families migrated to nearby districts. After the peace deal and with guarded hope for normalcy and continued education for their children, most Christian families have returned but are reluctant to attend church. The associate pastor, who requested anonymity, said that “people don’t come to the church as they used to come before.” He said that Christians have yet to believe the Taliban will keep promises of peace. View article…

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Persecuted ChurchTurkey: ‘Insulting Turkishness’ Case Proceeds Under Revised Law

 

ISTANBUL, March 20 (Compass Direct News) – Turkey’s decision last month to try two Christians under a revised version of a controversial law for “insulting Turkishness” because they spoke about their faith came as a blow to the country’s record of freedom of speech and religion. A Silivri court on Feb. 24 received the go-ahead from the Ministry of Justice to try Christians Turan Topal and Hakan Tastan under the revised Article 301 – a law that has sparked outrage among proponents of free speech as journalists, writers, activists and lawyers have been tried under it. The court had sent the case to the Ministry of Justice after the government on May 8, 2008 put into effect a series of changes – which critics have called “cosmetic” – to the law. The justice ministry decision came as a surprise to Topal and Tastan and their lawyer, as missionary activities are not illegal in Turkey. Defense lawyer Haydar Polat said no concrete evidence of insulting Turkey or Islam has emerged since the case first opened two years ago. “The trial will continue from where it left off – to be honest, we thought they wouldn’t give permission [for the case to continue],” said Polat, “because there was no persuasive evidence of ‘degrading Turkishness and Islam’ in the case file.”

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THIS IS NOT CHILD FRIENDLY

 

A British imam was raping his daughter for ten years, and when she fled her family to avoid being sent to Pakistan for a forced marriage and became a Christian, he led a gang through the streets trying to kill her:

 

We are all too familiar with the persecution of Christians in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Yet sitting in front of me is a British woman whose life has been threatened in this country solely because she is a Christian. Indeed, so real is the threat that the book she has written about her experiences has had to appear under an assumed name.

 

The book is called The Imam’s Daughter because “Hannah Shah” is just that: the daughter of an imam in one of the tight-knit Deobandi Muslim Pakistani communities in the north of England. Her father emigrated to this country from rural Pakistan some time in the 1960s and is, apparently, a highly respected local figure.

 

He is also an incestuous child abuser, repeatedly raping his daughter from the age of five until she was 15, ostensibly as part of her punishment for being

“disobedient”. At the age of 16 she fled her family to avoid the forced marriage they had planned for her in Pakistan. A much, much greater affront to “honour” in her family’s eyes, however, was the fact that she then became a Christian – an apostate. The Koran is explicit that apostasy is punishable by death; thus it was that her father the imam led a 40-strong gang – in the middle of a British city – to find and kill her.

 

Hannah Shah says her story is not unique – that there are many other girls in British Muslim families who are oppressed and married off against their will, or who have secretly become Christians but are too afraid to speak out. She wants their voices to be heard and for Britain, the land of her birth, to realise the hidden misery of these women.

 

Hannahs description in the book of the moment when her “community” discovered the “safe” home where she had fled after becoming an apostate is terrifying. A mob with her father at its head pounded and hammered at the door as she cowered upstairs hoping she could not be seen or heard. She heard her father shout through the letter box: “Filthy traitor! Betrayer of your faith! Cursed traitor! We’re going to rip your throat out! We’ll burn you alive!”

 

(Via Betsy’s Page.)

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Persecuted ChurchPastor Shot in Bomb Attack On Church in India

Compass Direct is reporting this news today. Attacker said he aimed to stop Christian conversions; Hindu extremist connection suspected.

NEW DELHI, March 10 (Compass Direct News) – In an effort to stop conversions to Christianity in the eastern state of Bihar, a 25-year-old ailing man on Sunday (March 8) exploded a crude bomb in a church and shot the pastor. Police Inspector Hari Krishna Mandal told Compass that the attacker, Rajesh Singh, had come fully prepared to kill the pastor, Vinod Kumar, in Baraw village in the Nasriganj area of Rohtas district, and then take his own life. Church members caught Singh before he could kill himself or others. At press time the 35-year-old pastor was out of danger of losing his life, according to a leader of Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS) who requested anonymity. The church, Prarthana Bhawan (House of Prayer), belongs to GEMS. “In his statement, Singh said he was personally against Christian conversions and wanted to kill the pastor to stop conversions,” Mandal said. Asked if Singh had any links with extremist Hindu nationalist groups, the inspector said no such organization was active in the area, though local Christians say Hindu extremist presence in the area has increased recently. The GEMS source said the incident could have been fallout from conversions in nearby Mithnipur village, where a Hindu family had received Christ after being healed from a mental illness around six months ago. Singh also lives in Mithnipur. Additionally, the source said, people allegedly linked with a Hindu nationalist group had sent a threatening letter to the pastor, asking him to stop preaching in the area.

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Persecuted ChurchMuslim-background Christians tortured in Libya

Libya (MNN) ― International Christian Concern (ICC), a Christian human rights group, says it has learned that Libyan intelligence officials have detained and tortured four Christians for converting from Islam, adding that the Christians have been imprisoned for the past seven weeks in Tripoli, Libya’s capital.

A spokesperson for ICC told ANS, “Libya’s External Security Organization is believed to be behind the detention and torture of the Christians, according to our sources. The security agents have barred the families from visiting the detained converts and are putting severe physical and psychological pressure on the Christians in order to force them to reveal the names of other converts. Fearing for their lives, other converts from Islam are on the run.

“The detention and the torture of the Christian converts come at a critical time in Libya’s relations with the international community. The country has been improving its relations with the international community following the lifting of sanctions imposed on it due to its involvement in the bombing of an American airliner in which 270 people were killed.

“By torturing the four Christian converts and stifling religious freedom, Libya is once again violating basic principles of the international human rights law.”

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, “We call upon Libyan officials to stop torturing the four Christians and release them from detention. Libya must respect the rights of its citizens to worship freely and not to be tortured. We particularly ask the Libyan leader and the current head of the African Union, Mr. Muammar Gaddafi, to set the prisoners free and demonstrate his country’s commitment to respect human rights.”

The ICC spokesperson added, “Please pray for the safe release of the detained believers. Also pray for comfort and strength for their families.”

You can help secure their release by contacting the Libyan embassy.

  • USA – (202) 944-9601 email: libya@libyanbureau-dc.org
  • UK – 44 (0)20 7589 6120
  • Germany – 49 30 200 5960 email: Libysch.Arab.Volksbuero@t-online.de
  • Australia – 61 2 6290 7900
  • Canada – 1 613 230 0919

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Persecuted ChurchAzerbaijan to further restrict religious freedom

Russian Ministries hopes to launch a Schools Without Walls ministry in Azerbaijan despite the persecution.

Azerbaijan (MNN) ― Azerbaijan’s wide-ranging religious literature censorship system has started to affect evangelical leaders in the country.

Vice President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba was just in the country and says, “Two Baptist pastors were traveling between neighboring Georgia and Azerbaijan — authorities confiscated Azerbaijani Bibles.”

According to Forum 18 News, an official of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations said, “Our society doesn’t need books that don’t suit our laws and our beliefs.” He claimed that unspecified religious literature could cause unspecified “social harm and possibly inter-religious and inter-ethnic violence.”

Rakhuba says an amendment allowing strict censorship will be heading for a referendum this month. He says believers may face raids reminiscent of the Cold War if the censorship issue continues. “Local police will be searching homes of evangelical leaders, and they will take all their Christian literature away from them.”

This will mean little, says Rakhuba. “Basically there is a dictatorship in Azerbaijan,” he says.

Russian Ministries works to empower the national evangelical church. They intend to do that despite the persecution. “We’re very much considering and praying and evaluating our resources to see how we can start our School Without Walls program for the next academic year in the fall.”

School without Walls is a program that helps train next generation church leaders, and Rakhuba says their work must continue. “The church is not scared. The church is growing. The church needs a lot more support to continue their ministry in the circumstances like that.”

Support comes in the form of prayer and dollars. Rakhuba says financial support is wide ranging. “The church needs support for training resources, to have more Bibles, to have more Christian literature. All of this is not allowed there, but they know how to smuggle it to Azerbaijan and make it available.”

Pray that God will stop the literature censorship. If that isn’t stopped, pray that God would allow the training to continue and the literature to get into the hands of Christians who need it View article…

Anti-conversion bill coming to India’s Karnataka? View article…

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