Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’


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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NEWS ALERT: Religious Clashes Kill 11 In Nigeria; Thousands Displaced

“Sunday morning, [for instance] [sic], around 2 a.m. local time at least two churches were engulfed by flames,” View article…


Indian Missionaries Released on Bail

Eleven Gospel for Asia missionaries who were arrested February 17 after being beaten by anti-Christian radicals have been released on bail. The missionaries were arrested as they were wrapping up the second day of a three-day believers convention in the Korba district of Chhattisgarh, India. View article…

Crackdown on Christians in Myanmar

At least 100 churches have been recently order to cease holding services in Burma. At least 50 pastors have been forced to sign documents saying they would not hold services on threat of imprisonment. View article…

China Releases Four House Church Leaders

The four underground church leaders detained earlier this week along with over 60 others attending an evangelical seminar have been released. Though the others had been released earlier, China Aid attributes the release of these four to international media attention, worldwide prayer, and other international pressure. View article…

Iraq’s ‘Safe Haven’ a Refuge from Torture

“The guards were yelling and shouting, asking me to renounce my faith in Jesus Christ. I said no. They said I had committed a crime by leaving Islam. I told them I would not go back. They kept hitting me,” View article…

Pastor arrested in Madhya Pradesh

Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose, Founder of Pine Mount English Medium School organized a three days prayer meeting in the School Compound, Sanjay Nagar Colong, Anupur, Madhya Pradesh starting from 16th to 18th Jan 2009.

Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose is pastoring Pentecostal Church of God, invited few guest speakers for the prayer meeting. During the meeting without their knowledge two persons were selling books near the School compound. Some RSS/Bajrang Dal activists purchased few copies of a book from there and took it to Chachai Police Station and lodged a complaint against Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose. Immediately the policemen came to Rev. Venkata’s house and asked him to come to the police station for an enquiry.
The next day on 19th Monday morning Rev. Venkata Rao had gone to the police station and gave a statement of the incident.

After proper investigation, the police arrested the persons who were involved in the selling of books. One of them has been bailed and other did not get bail and was shifted to Shadol Court.

On 25th Feb 2009 around 8.30 am Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose was arrested and was taken to Chachai police station for the same case. He was arrested in spite of the persons who were arrested confessed for selling the books. Later Rev. Venkata Rao was taken to Anupur Court. The Court refused to give bail because other person who was accused was in Shadol and they directed him to Shadol court. At present Rev. Venkata Rao is in Chachai police station.

Rev. Venkata Rao Paulose is ministering to 150 members in Sanjay Nagar Colony from 1992.

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Iran persecutes religious minorities

Iran (MNN) ― Iran is fighting off accusations of persecuting the small sect of the Baha’i. The government arrested seven leaders of the Baha’i community nine months ago. 

The group went to prison, and access to legal counsel was denied. In a pattern true to form, the Iranian government has since charged them with espionage.

At the same time, according to Compass Direct, the case is still open against two converts from Islam: Jamal Galishorani and his wife, Nadereh Jamali.

Although they were arrested January 21, they have been released on bail, but there’s been no word on formal charges. 

That’s not necessarily a good thing. Iranian Christians and rights agencies have feared that they could be charged with “apostasy,” or leaving Islam — potentially punishable by execution in the Shia Islamic republic….

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Muslim youth vandalize Christian bookstore twice within five days

Turkey (MNN) ― Voice of the Martyrs Canada says that a Christian bookstore in Turkey was vandalized twice within recent weeks, according to a report from Compass Direct News.

On February 7, glass in the front door of the Soz Kitapevi bookshop was smashed and the security camera mangled. Damages were repaired, and security cameras captured two Muslim youth as they kicked and shattered glass in the storefront’s window and door five days later. The unidentified youths also damaged the door frame. Using the security footage, police are attempting to identify culprits.

Muslim neighbors are generally accepting of the bookstore, although employees have faced threats in the past. Last November, a man reportedly walked into the shop and began accusing the shop of working with the CIA to harm Muslims.

“You work with them, killing people in Muslim countries, harming Muslim countries,” said the man. Pray that attacks against the bookstore would stop.

Evangelism isn’t specifically forbidden in Turkey, but authorities view it with high suspicion. Police arrest those who evangelize with charges of disturbing the peace, “insulting Islam,” or conducting illegal educational courses. Worship services are only permitted in buildings “created for this purpose,” and building construction by minority religions has been resisted by officials. Those who are bold enough to declare their faith face harassment, threats, and imprisonment.

VOM Canada supports Turkish believers with encouraging radio broadcasts and provides assistance for Christian workers who share the Gospel with their neighbors.

Ask God to protect believers in Turkey. Pray, also, that these acts of vandalism will not develop into more serious attacks. To learn more about persecution in Turkey, visit VOM Canada’s Web site by clicking here

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The Persecution & Prayer Alert

1. House church leaders arrested in Henan province, China

At least 60 house church leaders, including two South Korean pastors, were arrested while attending a seminar in Wolong district, Henan province, on February 11, according to a February 16 report from ChinaAid. Approximately 30 police disrupted the meeting, arrested the Christians and confiscated phones, books and money. Authorities forced the believers to register and pay a fine. Some of the elderly believers were then released. Police from the home provinces of the church leaders were summoned to Henan to escort the Christians to local detention facilities. The South Korean pastors were expelled from China on February 14 for “engaging in illegal religious activities” and have been banned from entering the country for five years. On February 16, two more house church leaders were released after authorities received calls from foreign journalists. At the time of the report, four leaders remained in detention.

Pray for the release of those detained. Pray that Christians in China will continue to stand firm in their faith in the face of opposition (Acts 5:29).

To learn more about those suffering for Christ’s sake in China, go to www.persecution.net/china.htm.
2. Danish Christians deported from Belarus

Two Danish citizens, Erling Laursen and Rolf Bergen, have been ordered to leave Belarus on charges of expressing “ideas of a religious nature,” according to a February 11 report from Forum 18. On February 6, the men attended a prayer service at the Living Faith Church in the city of Gomel. During the service, when the congregation was praying, the pastor noticed a young man recording the event on his cellular phone. The next day, Laursen and Bergen were arrested by local officials while attending another service at the church. Police showed the men the video footage as evidence of their “illegal activity” and a deportation order was drawn up, barring the men from the country for one year. Bergen left Belarus on February 11 and, at last report, Laursen was scheduled to leave on February 19. The deportation brings to 31 the number of foreign citizens barred from Belarus in recent years for their religious activity.

Ask the Lord to embolden these believers as they face opposition for following Him. Pray that God will continue to raise faithful and committed Christians to build His church in Belarus (Matthew 9:36-38).

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Belarus, go to www.persecution.net/belarus.htm.

3. Christian bookshop vandalized in Turkey

A Christian bookshop in the southern city of Adana, Turkey was vandalized twice in recent weeks, according to a February 17 report from Compass Direct. On February 7, the front door of the Soz Kitapevi bookshop was smashed and the security camera destroyed. The damages were repaired, but the building was again attacked on February 12 by two unidentified youths who destroyed the glass door and windows and damaged the door frame. At last report, police were attempting to identify the culprits using the store’s security camera. Although the shop is generally accepted by its Muslim neighbours, the employees have faced some threats in the past. Last November, a man accused the shop of working with the CIA to harm Muslims.

Pray that the attacks on this bookshop will stop. Pray that the bookshop will continue to be a light for Muslims in this community.

To find out more about the plight of Turkish Christians, go to www.persecution.net/turkey.htm.

4. Update: Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council rejects draft religion law

On February 11, Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Council declared a recently proposed religion law (see www.persecution.net/kz-2009-01-14.htm) unconstitutional. The Council’s decision was based on the law’s violation of several constitutional articles, including Article 14.2 which states “no one shall be subject to any discrimination for reasons of origin, social, property status, occupation, sex, race, nationality, language, attitude towards religion, convictions, place of residence or any other circumstances.” President Nursultan Nazarbaev has one month to respond to the Council’s decision. Any changes he proposes to the law must be supported by a minimum of two-thirds of the Council to take effect.

5. Update: Azeri pastor convicted

Pastor Hamid Shabanov, who was arrested in late June for allegedly possessing an illegal weapon (see www.persecution.net/az-2008-11-12.htm for more details), has been convicted and sentenced to two years of corrective labour. According to a February 12 report from Forum 18, Shabanov and local Christians are determined to continue the fight to clear his name.

6. From Behind the Wire: VOMC Persecuted Church Prayer Conferences

Don’t miss VOMC’s upcoming Persecuted Church Prayer Conferences in Mississauga, Ontario on March 28 and Edmonton, Alberta on April 4. This year’s conferences will focus on our brothers and sisters in North Korea. 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. For more information, please phone our office at 1.888.298.6423 or check out our conference brochure at www.persecution.net/download/2009confbroch.pdf.

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kumal-nepalKumal of Nepal

People Name: Kumal
Country Name: Nepal
Population: 125,000
Primary Language: Nepali
Primary Religion: Hinduism
% Evangelical: 0.00
Status: Unreached

Herki Kurds of Turkey herki-kurds

The refugee family from Iran led their carpet-laden donkeys to the small town marketplace in Turkey. The carpets had distinct red and blue diamond patterns. The buyer smiled when the father spread out his wares for him to see. “You must be Herkis. Only Herkis weave rugs of this design.” The buyer pulled out his wallet and gave the father many large bills. The buyer knew he’d get a good price for these carpets in Istanbul where Herki carpets were in big demand.

The Herkis are a subgroup of the Kurdish people group cluster. Most of them live in eastern Turkey, but a few still live in Iran. During the 1980s many Herkis were pressured to leave by Iran’s Shi’ite Persian majority. After moving to Turkey, many Herki families sold the carpets they had woven to get the money needed to start new lives. Seeing what kind of prices the refugees were getting, Turkish Herkis also began weaving similar types of rugs. Most Herkis are Sunni Muslims and there have been few efforts to reach them for Christ.

Pray that the Herki Kurds will realize that Jesus Christ is the true source of salvation. Ask God to mobilize the right mission agency to reach out to this neglected people group. May the Herkis realize that their true home waits for them in heaven, and not in Iran or Turkey.-WK

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turkish-flag_svgAlevi Muslims in Turkey

Musicians sang praise songs with electric guitars at the Islamic gathering consisting of dozens of people in Turkey. They sang a type of music most Turkish Sunni Muslims considered scandalous because it sounded like Western-style rock and roll. But the worshippers weren’t Westerners, they were Turkish Alevi Muslims. The Alevis are a powerful minority in the central mountain provinces of Turkey and neighboring Syria.

Most Muslims consider the Alevi to be heretics. They don’t face toward Mecca when they pray, or fast during Ramadan or make pilgrimages to Mecca. Their concept of alms giving is also different. The Alevis are about as related to mainstream Islam as Mormons are related to Evangelical Christianity. But like mainstream Muslims, the Alevis consider Jesus Christ to be a prophet and not the Son of God who can save them.

Ask God to open the hearts of the Alevis to the message of salvation. Pray that God would raise up faithful workers to reach out to this Turkish religious minority. Pray that God would even use dreams and visions to show this people group that He is the only true path to salvation. May Alevis one day praise Jesus Christ as the One they trust and follow.-WK  (Global Prayer Digest)


Gypsy, Domari of Iran gypsy-domari

People Name: Gypsy, Domari
Country Name: Iran
Population: 1,456,000
Primary Language: Domari
Primary Religion: Islam
% Evangelical: 0.00
Status: Unreached

(Joshua Project)

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Restrictive religion law passes parliament in Kyrgyzstan

A restrictive religion law passed its final reading in Kyrgyzstan’s parliament on November 6, sparking concern among the Christian minority. The new law, if approved by President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, requires religious organizations to have a minimum of 200 members whose identities have been confirmed by local authorities, bans the distribution of religious literature in public places, and prohibits private religious schools.

Glenn Penner, VOMC’s CEO, states, “This law makes it impossible for smaller churches to function legally. Even larger congregations will have difficulty getting 200 members to sign the necessary documents. History shows that these believers have good reason to be nervous about registering their names with the government.”

Pray that this law will be rejected by the president. Ask God to give Christians in Kyrgyzstan strength and boldness (Acts 4:29-31).

Orissa Update

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Warning, Graphic Pictures

Christian doctor released in Pakistan

Dr. Robin Sardar (55), who was falsely accused of blasphemy by a local Muslim in the district of Hafizabad, Punjab in early May (see www.persecution.net/pk-2008-05-07.htm), was released from prison on November 4, according to All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. The court exonerated Sardar after the complainant stated that the blasphemy case was registered against him over a misunderstanding. He was reunited with his family but has gone into hiding in fear of retaliation from Muslim militants angered by his release.

Christians’ Trial for ‘Insulting Turkishness’ Stalls Again

Case against two converts drags on; media already passed sentenced on Christianity.

ISTANBUL, November 12 (Compass Direct News) – Two years into a trial for “insulting Turkishness” that has been light on evidence and heavy on mud-slinging at Turkey’s Protestant community, a court proceeding last week brought no progress.

Another witness for the prosecution failed to appear in the trial of Turkish Christians Turan Topal and Hakan Tastan, charged with “insulting Turkishness” and spreading Christianity through illegal methods. Moreover, a Justice Ministry answer to the court about the viability of charges under Turkey’s controversial Article 301 had yet to arrive at the court last week.

For more on the story View article…

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Emine lay in bed in her apartment, partially paralyzed after being beaten by her husband months ago. She waited for the arrival of trusted friends and family members to take care of her. All alone right now, in a small town in Central Turkey, Emine lived in fear. Her abusive husband had recently been released from prison. Being a Muslim she yearned to pray to Allah, but couldn’t get out of bed to face in the direction of Mecca.

Most Turks are moderate Sunni Muslims, wanting nothing to do with violent behavior or Muslim fanatics. But they follow closely the teachings of the Koran, which many Turks believe gives an inferior place to women. Domestic abuse is a growing problem in Turkey, and Islam has been powerless to stop this disturbing new trend. According to Operation World, Christians make up less than one percent of the Turkish population. Ironically, this is one of the key parts of the world where the Church once grew and sent out missionaries.

Pray that God would open the hearts of the Turkish people to salvation in Christ. May God use even dreams and visions to show the Turks the way to their Savior. Ask God to put an end to domestic abuse in Turkey. Pray that Turks will notice the church history around them and enter into God’s plan for the world.-WK




People Name: Tamang, Eastern
Country Name: Bhutan
Population: 3,000
Primary Language: Tamang, Eastern
Primary Religion: Buddhism
% Evangelical: 0.00
Status: Unreached

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