Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Face of Persecution in Indonesia

Hmmm. Now where did these Indonesian Muslims get the idea that they should be persecuting my brothers and sisters in Christ? Oh here it goes:

Qur’an 9:29--- Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Qur’an 9:30--- And the Jews say: 'Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: Messiah is the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouths. They imitate the saying of the disbelievers of old. Allah's Curse be on them, how they are deluded away from the truth!

Qur’an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.

Qur’an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.

Qur’an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

Qur’an 47:35—Be not weary and fainthearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost: for Allah is with you, and will never put you in loss for your (good) deeds.

Qur’an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.

Sahih Muslim 33—The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah

Sahih al-Bukhari 2785—Narrated Abu Hurairah: A man came to Allah’s Messenger and said, “Guide me to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” He replied, “I do not find such a deed.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 2796—Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah’s cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 2810—Narrated Abu Musa: A man came to the Prophet and asked, “A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them is in Allah’s Cause?” The Prophet said, “He who fights that Allah’s Word (i.e., Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism) be superior, is in Allah’s Cause.”
This is the type of persecution our Indonesian brethren in Christ are facing. Pray for them!!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sudanese Military, Militias Kill Christians in South Kordofan

The Good News: All the persecution of my Southern Sudanese brethren in Christ will end on July 9th. The Bad News: The persecution of my Northern Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ will only increase on July 9th. They will be in my prayers.

 6/27/2011 SOUTH KORDAFAN, SUDAN (CNTN) is reporting that military intelligence agents killed one Christian, and Islamic militants sympathetic to the government slaughtered another last week after attacking churches in Sudan's embattled South Kordofan state.

Refugees waiting in a internally displaced persons camp after fleeing the fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state

CDN said that Christian sources have said that a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Intelligence unit detained Nimeri Philip Kalo, a student at St. Paul Major Seminary, on June 8 near the gate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in Kadugli's al Shaeer area and shot him in front of bystanders. Kalo and other Christians were fleeing the town after Muslim militias loyal to the SAF attacked and looted at least three church buildings in Kadugli, they said.
"Armed conflict in Kadugli broke out between southern and northern militaries on June 6 after northern forces seized Abyei last month," the CDN story continued. "On June 8, Islamic militants loyal to the SAF slaughtered a young Christian man by sword in Kadugli Market, the sources said.
"Adeeb Gismalla Aksam, 33, was a bus driver whose father is an elder with the Evangelical Church in Kadugli. The Islamic militias were heard shouting 'Allahu-akbar' (God is greater) as they began shooting at a Roman Catholic Church building the same day. No one was hit by the bullets shot at the building from the outside, but SAF agents arrested the Rev. Abraham James Lual in front of his congregation. Authorities took him to an unknown location and tortured him for two days, a priest said."

The story added that the SAF and Islamic militias on June 8 also set fire to buildings of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Sudanese Church of Christ in Kadugli, sources said.

"The churches and pastors were directly targeted," said the Rt. Rev. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail.
There are unconfirmed estimates of more than 53,000 people displaced due to the fighting in Southern Kordofan between the northern army known as the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) of Southern Sudan, according to the UN humanitarian wing.
Media reports say that fighting, including bombardments and artillery shelling, has been reported in 11 of 19 localities in Southern Kordofan state, and fighting has been reported in Unity state in Southern Sudan, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said.
Some of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN staff, have taken refuge outside the compound of the UN peacekeeping mission (UNMIS) on the outskirts of the Southern Kordofan capital of Kadugli. (Source)

Egyptian Court Dismisses Muslim Case Against Christian Woman

Wow, seems like there is some hope for my persecuted Egyptian brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

06/29/2011 Egypt (AINA) -The Egyptian administrative court of the State Council dismissed today the lawsuit filed by Muslim lawyers, demanding the disclosure of the whereabouts of Camilia Shehata, the wife of a Coptic priest, who was alleged to have converted to Islam and held against her will by the Coptic Church. In reaching its decision, the court said the Muslim lawyers failed to provide proof to support their claim of the detention of Camilia by the church.

Camilia's attorney, Dr. Naguib Gabriel, said "The only thing the Muslim lawyers delivered as proof for their claims were snippets of newspapers from the Internet."
The case lasted over four months, during which Dr. Gabriel submitted as proof unequivocal documents that Camilia was never detained by the church and she never converted to Islam as alleged. Among the documents was a power of attorney from Camilia for him to represent her at court.
"This was issued by the public notary, by a Muslim employee and in which she wrote "Christian" beside her religious affiliation, while she could have easily written Muslim instead." said Gabriel. "If she was really detained by the church, she could have asked for help from the employee when she went to the notary," he added. Also, a certificate from Al-Azhar stating that she never converted to Islam was presented as evidence.
The prosecution also heard the testimony of Bishop Armiya, secretary to Pope Shenouda III, who denied the church had detained her. It also took the testimony of Anba Agapios, Bishop of Deir Mawass, Minya Governorate, who also refuted the charge.
Previously, the court had responded to the Muslim lawyers' demands regarding Camilia's conversion to Islam, saying the issue was the beliefs of people, but whether there was a detainment or not.
. . .
"Today's court ruling closes the curtain on one of the most famous and difficult cases in Egypt." said attorney Dr. Gabriel.
. . .
The story of Camelia Shehata, which became a public issue for the last 11 months, started on July 19, 2010, when after a dispute with her husband, Father Tedaos Samaan, priest at St. Georges Church in Deir Mawas, she left home and went to Cairo to stay with relatives, without telling anyone of her whereabouts.
. . .
Her husband, believing she was abducted by Muslims, like many other cases, came with some 3000 Copts from his congregation to protest her disappearance at St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo (AINA 7-23-2010").
State Security found her a few days later and handed her over to her sister who lives in Cairo. She later reconciled with her husband and the family has lived in hiding ever since, as Muslim demonstrations started to take place, demanding the return of "their sister in Islam, Camelia."
Faked photos of Camilia in a Hijab appeared on the internet and over 20 demonstrations were staged by Muslims, accusing the church of abducting new converts (females) to Islam and holding them against their will in churches and monasteries, where they were tortured (AINA 9-18-2010).
Camilia appeared in a video clip from her hideout, taken under utmost security by the independent daily El-Youm7, in which she denied ever converting to Islam (video). The Muslims said it was not Camilia but was her double who appeared, and carried on with their demonstration, the last of which was on April 30, when they encircled the Coptic Cathedral and the Pope's residence vowing that "Camilia must return" (AINA 4-30-2011). (Source)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Egypt Christians and Muslims in Violent Clashes Over Church Construction

Of course, the Muslims don't want my Egyptian brethren to build or construct churches. It would be a breach in the Pact of Umar ( a pact designed by Umar ibn Al-Khattab) which was designed make sure my brethren "feel themselves subdued. (Sura 9:29)"

6/25/2011 Egypt (Christian Post) – Fighting has broken out Saturday between Christians and Muslims in Egypt following a dispute about the building of a new church. According to a local security official a group of Muslims from the Awlad Khalaf village gathered together at the site where the construction of a new church was taking place.

The Islamic mob demanded that the church be torn down as the construction was illegal. The group even brought in bulldozers to try and destroy what had been constructed so far. According to AP, fighting then broke out between the two groups and gunshots were fired. Initial reports indicate that three Muslims suffered gunshot wounds, and a Christian also sustained stab wounds. At least one of those injured was in a serious condition in hospital.

Until now, constructing new churches has been hindered by a complicated process which involves receiving permission directly from the president. Some Christians have waited years before receiving permission to build a new church.

Attacks against Christians and churches in Egypt have been a common occurrence over the past 12 months. (Source)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Egypt could lift burdens on building new churches

6/22/2011 Egypt (Catholic News Agency) – Egypt’s burdensome regulations on church-building could be removed under new government proposals which one local bishop says would mark a “major step forward for the citizenship of Christians” and a vindication of the public protests begun on January 25.

“What we are seeing here is one of the first fruits of the demonstrations back in January. When the Christians demonstrated, they asked for their rights and the first right they demanded was the construction of churches,” said Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos Kamal William Samaan of Assiut.

“Everybody knows that this has been a big problem for the Christians. Many moderate people have recognized it,” Bishop William told Aid to the Church in Need.

He said more than half of the problems Christians face will be resolved if they make progress on this issue.
“If these proposals come into law, it could mean that building churches will be almost on the same level as constructing mosques,” the bishop added.

Egypt’s 10 million Christians face strict church construction rules which are frequently cited as one of the most serious forms of anti-Christian oppression. The laws presently require presidential permission to build churches, an approval process which causes delays of years or even decades. If the proposed change takes place, the proposals would go before the regional governor for a decision within three months.

Permission for two churches in his diocese in Upper Egypt had come through before the January 25th revolution that drove President Hosni Mubarak from office. Applications for another three churches have been approved in the last few weeks. Only one application from the diocese is outstanding and a decision on that is expected soon.

However, the proposal to change the restrictions is controversial for some Muslim groups, including Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist political movement which was tightly controlled by President Mubarak’s government. (Source)

Shafia's Story: Persecution of our Pakistani brothers and sisters in Christ

We need to pray for our Pakistani brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray that the Lord Jesus will help them display a bold witness for their Savior over there.

Egypt: Christian Girls Kidnapped and ‘Sold’

6/23/2011 Egypt (FrontPageMag) – Two teenage Coptic girls, cousins, were recently kidnapped and then “sold” in Minya, Egypt—the same region where a Coptic church was recently attacked and desecrated.

I tried to find this story in English-language media and, as expected, found nothing, except for one report in Al-Masry Al-Youm titled “Clashes between police and Coptic protesters in Minya”—as if that’s the important story (as usual, the media prefers headlines portraying harried Christian minorities as equally culpable as their Muslim persecutors, thereby justifying use of the preferred phrase, “sectarian strife“).

At the end of the Al-Masry Al-Youm report, we get a trailing sentence alluding to “claims” that two Christian girls “were abducted by Muslims and forced to convert to Islam” as the reason why Copts were demonstrating and clashing with the police in the first place. One must again turn to Arabic sources for the telling details. I have put together the following narrative and quotes based on these two Arabic reports:

The two girls, Christine Azat (aged 16) and Nancy Magdi (aged 14) were on their way to church Sunday, June 12, when they were seized. Their abductors demanded $200,000 Egyptian pounds for their release. The people of the region quickly put their savings together and came up with the ransom money; but when they tried to give it to the kidnappers, they rejected it, saying they had already “sold” the girls off to another group which requires $12 million Egyptian pounds to return them. (Source)

China Detains House Church Members in Beijing

6/21/11 China (Worthy News) - Police detained 16 more members of Beijing's Shouwang House Church and placed others under house arrest: two were held in protective custody while the rest were sent to 10 different police stations; most were released by Sunday morning.

Members of the government-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement also visited these police stations to both "educate" and "admonish" the detained Shouwang congregants by urging them to join TSPM.

Following a series of evictions from rented facilities, Shouwang House Church decided to meet outdoors to protest against the government's restrictions to their right to worship; its first attempt at public protest in a Zhongguancun plaza was met by uniformed and plainclothes police who herded church members into waiting buses that took them to a nearby school for fingerprinting. Similar confrontations occurred every Sunday until all its key leaders, including four pastors and three elders, were put under house arrest.

The number of Shouwang church members attending the outdoor protest declined as they lost jobs, homes or both.

While some house churches disagreed with Shouwang's protests claiming confrontation with the government can only bring harm for house churches, others chose to stand in solidarity with it.

In May, 17 pastors from 20 house churches in several cities delivered a petition to the National Peoples' Congress, China's top legislature, asking for the keys to Shouwang's property and that the National Regulations on Religious Affairs be replaced with more favorable laws governing religious freedom.

In a recent program, Radio Free Asia interviewed several petitioners, including Wang Wenfeng of the Wenzhou China Theology Forum.

"I hope the government can see that the Shouwang incident is not an isolated case; rather, many churches in China want the same thing," said Wang. "The most basic request is, 'Let us meet in public, and let us register. We Christians have nothing to hide. At the same time, our faith itself requires us to be open with non-Christians, society and the state."

Founded in 1993 as a small Bible study in the home of Senior Pastor Jin, Shouwang House Church soon grew to 10 separate fellowships throughout Beijing. In 2005, after an application for registration was rejected by Chineese officials, Shouwang formed an integrated church with a vision to be like a "city on a hill" shining forth the light of the gospel.

Church evictions, however, don't only happen in Beijing; several large house churches, including the All-Nations Alliance Church in Shanghai and Liangren Church in Guangzhou, began outdoor worship protests after being removed from their rented facilities.

"The 'outdoor' in the outdoor worship is not a means to an end, but a stand," wrote Shouwang's Senior Pastor in a letter to church members in April. "It is a stand when we face our Lord of glory and the authorities ... in this period of time it is a worship that is more precious than any hymn or sermon." (Source)

Dearborn Police Bar Christian Group from Public Street Near Mosque

In the past two years my brother in Christ, David Wood and other people with him have been persecuted for their Christian faith in Dearborn at the Arab Festival as seen in these videos:

However, thanks to some lawsuits being filed and trials being held, our brothers and sisters in Christ were allowed to preach the Gospel at the Arab Festival. Unfortunately, something sinister was going on outside the festival:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brutal beheading

AFGHANISTAN | Afghan terror advances ahead of President Obama’s pullout plan | Mindy Belz
Screen capture from video
Afghans are warning of dire consequences for the country’s tiny Christian population should American forces leave Afghanistan, as President Barack Obama prepares to announce his plans for a troop drawdown in a televised address to the nation scheduled for Wednesday evening.
“If U.S. troops are not in Afghanistan the Taliban will come to power,” said Obaid S. Masih, an Afghan Christian exiled to India who spoke to me Tuesday. “We will have the same situation we had in the 1990s when the Russians left Afghanistan, when we had civil war and millions killed.”

The exile, who changed his name and fled Afghanistan in 2007 after an Islamic court issued an arrest warrant following his conversion to Christianity, acknowledged that the U.S.-backed government headed by President Hamid Karzai has been no friend to Christian converts either. Earlier this year two civilian courts sentenced to death jailed Afghan Christians for changing their religion. After international pressure, including personal visits to one jail by U.S. and European diplomats, the two were released and allowed to leave the country. Both now reside in Europe.

But a more recent, gruesome incident makes clear that the danger for anyone turning from Islam in Afghanistan is not over. A video released in recent weeks, and made available to WORLD this week by two separate Afghan sources, shows four Afghan militants beheading a man believed to be a Christian in Herat Province.  The militants, who claim to be Taliban, captured the victim, a man in his 40s named Abdul Latif (according to Obaid Masih, who provided translation of the video), earlier this year from his village outside Enjeel, a town south of Herat.

In the two-minute video, the men, wearing explosive belts (or suicide vests) and kaffiya head scarves to cover their faces, recite verses from the Quran while forcing Latif to the ground and pinning him with their feet. “You who are joined with pagans . . . your sentence [is] to be beheaded,” read one of the militants in Farsi from what looked like a paper decree. “Whoever changes his religion should be executed.” The passages refer to Sura 8:12 (“I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks . . .”) and the hadiths, or sayings of Mohammed.

As Latif fought his captors from the ground, one of the militants thrust a medium-sized blade into the side of his neck. With blood flowing onto the ground the militants shouted “Allahu Akhbar” or “God is great” over and over until Latif was fully beheaded and his head was placed on top of his chest.

The brutal killing followed a now-too-familiar pattern used in other beheadings captured on video, notably the killings of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002 and U.S. defense contractor Nick Berg in Iraq in 2004. It also likely coincided with a Taliban-incited mob attack on the UN compound in Mazar-e-Sharif in April that followed the March burning of Qurans in the United States by pastor Terry Jones’ church in Florida. After that incident an estimated 4,000 Afghans poured into the streets of Mazar and marched on the compound, killing 10 UN officials—and reportedly beheading two of them. That was followed by a May attack by the Taliban on the Provincial Reconstruction Team headquarters in Herat (at the time under Italian control), where they killed four and injured more than 38. Both cities until then were considered among Afghanistan’s safest, and slated to be the first areas turned over to all-Afghan control.

Despite the obvious uptick in violence in Afghanistan, President Obama is likely to tell the American people on Wednesday night that he will begin a drawdown of troops starting next month, with the final pullout possible next year or in 2013—earlier than a 2014 deadline agreement previously reached with Karzai.
Relations between the Obama team and the U.S.-backed Afghan government are plainly fraying in the lead-up to a drawdown. On Saturday Karzai made public that the United States had been negotiating with the Taliban. The next day, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates for the first time acknowledged “preliminary” U.S. talks with the militant movement that carried out a five-year reign of terror from 1996 until the U.S. invasion in October 2001.

Karzai also accused NATO forces of being in Afghanistan “for their own purposes, for their own goals, and they’re using our soil for that.” In an unusual retort, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry responded, “When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost—in terms of life and treasure—hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people . . . my people, in turn, are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here.”

Many Afghans, like Obaid Masih, criticize the Karzai regime, but more fear the return of Taliban influence and renewed fighting among tribal groups. “At least you cannot fight with each other now,” said Masih. “Now you have people from different tribes in the government, but we don’t know what will come after.” (Source)

For those who still are still unconvinced about the Death penalty for apotasy in Islam, watch this video by my brother in Christ, David Wood:

Bishop Fear Genocide in Sudan

06/22/2011 Sudan (Christian Today)-The Bishop of Kadugli is calling upon Christians worldwide to pray and fast ahead of South Sudan’s secession next month. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail has warned of a possible “genocide” in the Nuba Mountains region, where violence has broken out in recent weeks. The region, home to many Christians, will remain under the control of Khartoum and the Muslim North when South Sudan gains its independence on July 9.

“Once again we are facing the nightmare of genocide of our people in a final attempt to erase our culture and society from the face of the earth,” said Bishop Elnail.
“It is not a war between armies that is being fought in our land, but the utter destruction of our way of life and our history, as demonstrated by the genocide of our neighbours and relatives in Darfur.
“This is a war of domination and eradication, at its core it is a war of terror by the government of Sudan against their people.”

He expressed concern for the future of Christians in the North, which President Omar al-Bashir declared will be ruled by Sharia law after July 9. The bishop said that President al-Bashir’s refusal to recognise the legitimate presence of the Christian minority in the North was a “declaration of their determination to also end the remembrance of our Christian heritage that dates back two thousand years”. The bishop is asking that Christians in Sudan and around the world join in praying and fasting for the country on June 26.

“Please pray and fast with us as you are able for a solution to this crisis,” he said. (Source)

Egypt: What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

(Words in Italics mine)
6/21/2011 Egypt (CBN) – Ever since former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak fell earlier this year, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood gained a much higher profile within Egypt. During Egypt's revolution, they pretty much stayed out of the spotlight, but after Mubarak's fall, they've become more and more visible and very active politically. They stand poised to capture a significant portion of the seats in Egypt's parliament.

But who is this formerly outlawed group? What are their goals? What's their history?
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published an overview of this group that is playing a pivotal role in the new Egypt and the emerging Middle East.
Here's an excerpt from their overview:

"The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic mass movement whose worldview is based on the belief that 'Islam is the solution' and on the stated aim of establishing a world order based on Islamic religious law (a caliphate) on the ruins of Western liberalism. (Source)

The Muslim brotherhood is also the parent organization of groups like Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban. This group has also spawned Western Organizations like C.A.I.R. (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Muslim Student Association, ISNA (Islamic Society of North America). The goal of these Westernized Muslim organizations is to Islamize the West and America in particular from within. They do this without the use of guns or bombs.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Report: Christian Dies for Beliefs Every 5 Minutes

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been. Revelation 6:9-11

I can imagine that all of my brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Heaven right now are asking the Lord, "How long?" And so am I.

06/19/2011 (WND)-The number is shocking. Massimo Introvigne, a human rights representative for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has told an OSCE meeting in Bodollo, Hungary, that 105,000 people are killed every year because of their Christian faith. Introvigne recently declared to the crowd gathered in the Budapest suburb that the statistics mean that an average of one Christian is killed every five minutes.

Introvigne cited an article written by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity and published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. CSGC Researcher Bert Hickman says wars, purges and persecution support such a total. "Those figures are accurate that we published in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research. We report that … over the last 10 years, on average 100,000 Christians have been killed every year," Hickman explained.
"This doesn't count Christians who are killed incidentally because of other causes, so that does work out to be about one every five minutes," he said. International Christian Concern's Jonathan Racho says that because of recent upticks in anti-Christian violence, he's not surprised by the figures. Persecution of Christians has really increased over the past couple of years. The figure seems to be very high, but since we don't have exact number of people who have been killed, I can't confirm or deny it," Racho said.

"But the number is consistent with what we've been hearing from reports of violent persecution, massacres, and violence. It's not surprising for us because of the increase in number of persecutions," he said.

The Voice of the Martyrs website discusses martyrdom numbers published by the International Bulletin and researchers David Barrett and Todd Johnson. However, Voice of the Martyrs does not endorse them.
"Many, many persecution experts have concluded that they are untenable," the organization explains. VOM says that the researchers have stated that their figures are estimates.

That the numbers, whatever they are, are significant seems not to be a subject of disagreement. An organization called Defenders of the Catholic Faith says the situation is deteriorating: "More martyrs for Jesus Christ died in the 20th century than in all previous 19 centuries combined. This century will most likely prove to be more repressive and bloody. The world is more anti-Christian than ever since the first centuries in Rome."

Hickman explains that his data are based on several sources.
"It comes from some reports that organizations produce. It comes from some sources we have in different countries," Hickman said, adding that some of the casualty reports are the result of anti-Christian violence in Congo's civil war.
"Before that, you had people being killed for their faith in Sudan for a good period of years. Those are two of the largest causes," he said.
Hickman said his figures have credibility because the numbers come from people who are actually in the troubled territories. He said the sources are missionaries, human rights activists and aid workers.
"The numbers come from multiple sources," he observed. Racho says the heaviest persecution is from other religious groups. "So far, the main persecution of Christians is in Muslim countries. The primary number of Christians persecuted and killed are those living in Islamic countries," Racho said.

However, Racho added that even though figures indicate that most of the anti-Christian persecution comes from Muslim countries, Christian persecution is also the product of political ideologies. "There are also a significant number of persecuted Christians living in communist countries like China, North Korea, and Eritrea. In all of these countries persecution is widespread," Racho declared. "There are other countries like India, for instance, where persecution is rampant. This is because of Hindus who believe that India belongs to the Hindus," he said.

"So persecution is going on because of Islamic radical teachings and practices, because of communist ideologies and because of other radical ideologies like the Hindu radical ideas," Racho summarized.
Hickman added a surprising source for anti-Christian violence. "It's a cross section. Sometimes it's from other religions. Sometimes it's from adherents of different groups within Christianity. You can have things like Catholic on Protestant and Protestant on Catholic," Hickman explained.
Hickman added that the absence of persecution news in the media doesn't mean that anti-Christian violence isn't happening (Source)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Death and Destruction in Sudan

Sudan is the largest country in the continent of Africa, the second largest being Algeria. Muslims from the north have been enslaving our brothers and sisters in Christ who are located in the southern part of the country (I should also say that the Muslims are doing what the Quran tells them to do when they enslave our brethren). In January 2011, our Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ decided they wanted to secede from the Northern part of Sudan, their secession from the north will happen on July 9, 2011. However, their is plenty of time for Muslims to murder and enslave our brothers and sisters in Christ in the south. Unfortunately, that is what has been happening.

06/16/2011 Sudan (ANS)-In 2005, Sudan ended a decades-long civil war with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement by representatives of the primarily Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south. As a part of this agreement, early 2011 was designated as the date that the residents of southern Sudan would vote on remaining unified with the north or seceding and forming an independent nation.

In January, 2011 the citizens of southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly to secede from the northern Sudanese regime, and the result has been to plunge the country back into turmoil as the north and south struggle to maintain power over oil-rich and strategically important disputed borders. The Christians have been forced to bear the brunt of the violence. The state of South Kordofan is right on the disputed border, and the capital city of Kadugli has been razed.

A pastor in Kadugli provides the following narrative:
“I write to inform you, friends and partners, that a fight between SPLA and government Army has erupted since last Sunday, and as a result of air bombardment, shelling and looting the town now is in ruin. Civilians are evacuated to a place outside the town, but even there they are not safe and we are informed that some people were picked by armed people and killed. Most of the houses are demolished and looted and many civilian are killed. All churches are either burned or looted… The situation is escalating.

“The situation in Nuba Mountains is beyond imagination, almost all the buildings in the town were destroyed, and all the churches in the town in Kadugli are either burned or looted. My house was looted, and all my belonging were taken away… fortunately enough I was [not in town when the fighting started]. Continue to pray with us for the humanitarian needs of the civilians who are now in the open without basic human necessities.”

This situation could easily get far worse before it gets better, and these Christians need our prayers. (Source)

Persecution Helps Churches Grow

Christian Apologist, Tertullian said, "The blood of the matyrs is the seed of the gospel." These words seem to ring true in Somalia.

06/15/2011 Somalia (The Paris Post Intelligencer)-This is in response to the “Outside the Church Doors” commentary about Christian persecution that ran Monday. I am glad to see Mr. [Ernest] Williams bring to light what so many believers/followers in Jesus Christ are experiencing around the world. Thank you, sir.

The Lord has blessed me with being able to work with 115 different churches in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America and here in the States. Most of the churches overseas where we have been face enormous persecution each day — murder, torture, kidnapping, prison, etc. It is the life that they live.
What I have seen is that in areas where the church is suffering persecution, the good news of Christ is spreading like wildfire. In these areas, the church is flourishing, healthy and believers live out a poured-out existence in following the Son of God.

All that they are, and all that they have, is attributed to Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God moves in and around these people. They are truly filled with the Holy Spirit. I went to Somalia this past January with a fellow preacher to contact the underground church there. The first Christian that we came in contact with was highly offended when I asked her if she was in fact a “Christian.” She told us that in that part of the world, the term “Christian” is offensive. She went on to say, “There it identifies them with a person who only goes to church now and then and does not truly serve Christ … you know, like the Christians in America. We want to be called ‘believers’ because everything about our lives points to following Jesus Christ.” Wow!

They are nI must say that I was surprised, but it is something that I have seen and heard many times around the world. Every time I return home here to the States, I see so many churches — not all churches, but most — that are barely getting by, very weak in power and very unknowledgeable of the Word of God.

They are not reaching out to people in their community on a daily basis. The members say that they love God, but do not keep His commandments. The Bible says that people like this are liars, plain and simple. Many are only interested in feeling better about themselves and do not follow the God of the Bible.
The members say that they do follow God, but are not found studying God’s Word, living a sacrificial existence or fulfilling the Great Commission.

The Great Commission commands believers to go unto all of the world telling of the good news of Christ, teaching, baptizing and making disciples. Not until persecution reaches our shores, and not until America is broken of its comfort, will the church begin to truly flourish here. A missionary who I am good friends with in China said this to me recently; “All of the servants of God that I work with in China pray daily that America will be broken for God and that persecution will reach the American church.” (Source)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sudanese Military, Militias Kill Christians In South Kordofan

The Quran commands Muslims to fight against the non-Muslims:

Qur’an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Qur’an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.

Qur’an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain.

Qur’an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

Qur’an 47:35—Be not weary and fainthearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost: for Allah is with you, and will never put you in loss for your (good) deeds.

Qur’an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.

Sadly, many Muslims around the world accept these commands as the word of God (words in Italics are mine).

06/17/2011 Sudan (CDN)-Military intelligence agents killed one Christian, and Islamic militants sympathetic to the government slaughtered another last week after attacking churches in Sudan’s embattled South Kordofan state. Christian sources said a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Intelligence unit detained Nimeri Philip Kalo, a student at St. Paul Major Seminary, on June 8 near the gate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in Kadugli’s al Shaeer area and shot him in front of bystanders. Kalo and other Christians were fleeing the town after Muslim militias loyal to the SAF attacked and looted at least three church buildings in Kadugli, they said.

UNMIS’s mandate is to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the country’s Christian and animist south, scheduled to secede on July 9, by helping in the disarmament process, among other means. Armed conflict in Kadugli broke out between southern and northern militaries on June 6 after northern forces seized Abyei last month.

SAF military intelligence agents accused Kalo of being a Christian and suspected he was therefore opposed to the Islamic government, the sources said.
“They shot him in front of our eyes and forced us not to cry, or else we would face the same fate,” a Christian source told Compass on condition of anonymity. Likewise, another Christian survivor said while breaking into tears, “They killed him in front of my eyes.”

On the same day, Islamic militants loyal to the SAF slaughtered a young Christian man by sword in Kadugli Market, the sources said. Adeeb Gismalla Aksam, 33, a bus driver whose father is an elder with the Evangelical Church in Kadugli, was murdered by Muslim extremists shouting, “Allahu-akbar [God is greater]!”

The Islamic militias were heard shouting “Allahu-akbar!” as they began shooting at a Roman Catholic Church building at 3:30 p.m. on June 8, during a mass in which the congregants were asking God to protect them.
“As we were praying, they started to pour bullets at us to the point that we were terribly scared,” a Christian who escaped the attack told Compass.

No one was hit by the bullets shot at the building from the outside, but SAF agents on June 8 arrested the Rev. Abraham James Lual in front of his congregation, a priest of a Kadugli parish told Compass. Accusing Lual of preaching that people should oppose the Islamic government, authorities took him to an unknown location and tortured him two days, releasing him the following morning, the priest said.

The Rev. Paul Okeny, another Catholic priest, told Compass that Islamic militias loyal to the SAF looted other churches in Kadugli as well, besides attacking Lual’s church and depriving him of his belongings.
“Authorities confiscated all his belonging and denied him his cell phone,” Okeny told Compass.

Christians were in shock as they have become targets for Islamic militants working with the Government of Sudan, sources said. Another Christian who requested anonymity said he was arrested at gunpoint by SAF military Intelligence agents at 8:30 a.m. on June 8. Accusing him of being anti-Islam and therefore opposed to the Islamic government, the security officers took him to a military jail, where he was severely beaten and “kicked like a ball,” he said.

According to the Christian, one high-ranking official told another, “Why shouldn’t you shoot him in his house so that his body gets rotten in his own house?” After taking him to his house, they started to torture him with sticks, guns and knives, saying, “We will kill you,” he said.

“I was praying to God to be with me and forgive them,” he told Compass. “I thought that was my end, but thank God I was released, but warned to quit the town. As I was running they opened fire on me, but the motorbike was running very fast, so no bullet hit me.”
They called after him, “Make sure we will not see your face again,” he added.
The SAF and Islamic militias on June 8 also set fire to buildings of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Sudanese Church of Christ in Kadugli, sources said.
“I saw a building of the Episcopal Church of Sudan in flames,” said one eyewitness.

The Rt. Rev. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli confirmed the incident.
“The churches and pastors were directly targeted,” he said. “The guesthouse in Kadugli, where my staff lives, was looted. The militias and SAF broke into the church building, taking all property, including the sound system, projector, beds, chairs and two motorbikes, including one of the bishop’s.”
On Sunday (June 12), North Kordofan Gov. Mutasim Mirghani Zaki El-deen declared jihad (holy war) on the Nuba people, most of whom are Christians.

Christians in the area said they are still traumatized as result of the atrocities committed against them by Sudan security forces and militias loyal to the government military. Sources in Sudan said Christians are calling their brothers and sisters worldwide to pray for the crisis in South Kordofan.

“The situation is critical – we need other Christians to fast and pray for us,” said one source

Indeed my Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus are in my prayers. I pray that God will give comfort to the loved ones who someone and that my brethren there will not be afraid.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Letter Alleges Beating of Chinese Activist and Wife

I'm praying for my Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ

6/17/11 China (NewYorkTimes) — Details are emerging about the apparently brutal detention of one of China’s most important legal activists, the blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng. Mr. Chen was released from jail last year after serving a 51-month sentence for disturbing public order and destroying public property — charges linked to his uncovering of forced sterilizations and abortions in the eastern Chinese city of Linyi.

But since his release, he has been under “ruanjin,” or “soft detention,” a kind of house arrest increasingly being used by the authorities to silence people who have not violated the law. Authorities once celebrated the 39-year-old self-taught lawyer as a symbol of the country’s efforts to build a legal system, but turned against him when he used it to protest government abuse. Earlier this year, a video was smuggled out showing his detention. Reporters who tried to visit him were shooed off by undercover police officers who had encircled his home.

Now, ChinaAid, a human rights group based in the United States, says it has evidence of stepped-up harassment, including beatings and confiscation of personal property. The group, which previously released Mr. Chen’s video, says it has obtained a letter from Mr. Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, that details the couple’s most recent travails. Contents of the letter were confirmed by a friend of the family, He Peirong. Ms. He, who describes herself as a Nanjing-based Internet activist, said she visited Mr. Chen’s hometown in late May and spoke with people related to his family.

According to Ms. He’s account and the undated letter, Ms. Yuan said that in February and March of this year, Communist Party officials from Shuanghou, a suburb of Linyi, stormed the couple’s homes. Ms. Yuan said she was bundled into a blanket and repeatedly kicked so hard that she still cannot stand straight. She says she saw her husband being tortured by the men, who twisted his arms and neck until he passed out. The couple was denied medical aid, she said, except for one intravenous drip from a village doctor. They had to stay in bed because of their injuries, she said.

The men came back repeatedly, according to Ms. Yuan’s letter, and confiscated legal documents related to Mr. Chen’s case as well as a computer, video camera, audio recorder, flashlight and television antenna. Metal sheets were fixed over the windows and the power was cut off. Telephone lines had already been cut.
Still later, she said, men took away all their books, pictures of their daughter and calendars off the wall. The authorities installed video cameras to monitor the couple.

The house arrest extends to the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Ms. Yuan wrote, and Mr. Chen’s mother.
Local authorities did not answer phone calls seeking comment, but the use of house arrest appears to have increased in recent years as authorities attempt to silence critics. Several pastors of the Beijing-based Shouwang Church, for example, have been under house arrest for months since trying to lead outdoor services after their meeting place was closed. The church refuses to place itself under government control. (Source)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Persecution: How God uses it to help us grow

Persecution helps us in two ways. One way is that it shows us to whom our true allegiance belongs. If you are living in an area where you are allowed to worship the Lord Jesus Christ freely (The West), then one can not see whether or not you truly love Him. However, if someone puts a gun up to your head and says, "Convert to Islam or die!", then that will be a real test of whether or not you love Jesus Christ. God uses persecution and trials for the same reason he ask Abraham to go up to Mount Moriah and sacrifice Isaac. He does it to put a child through the fire so they can out as goal. God does to see if we "fear him" (Genesis 22:12). God also uses it to help us develop many numerous virtues. You can't have perseverance unless there are obstacles to overcome, you can't be a servant unless there is someone to serve. The old maxim, "No pain, No gain," applies here. Persecution, as painful and unpleasant as it is, can be a tool which the Lord Jesus can use to sharpen his saints.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

North Korea defectors take to the “Underground Railroad”

06/12/2011 North Korea (GlobalPost) — In the beginning, they arrived in ones and twos across the Mekong River. They were dirty, skeleton-thin and scared to death. Sugint Dechkul, a small-town lawyer in Thailand’s far-northern Chiang Rai province, had no idea what to make of them. They’d wander up the riverside country road near his home, sometimes begging for food or shelter in an alien tongue.
“We’d ask, ‘Where are you from?’ They couldn’t answer,” Sugint said.

Finally, through painstaking pantomime, one of the stragglers conveyed his origins. North Korea, nearly 3,000 miles away. That was nine years ago. Today, the so-called “underground railroad” traveled by North Korean defectors increasingly terminates in Thailand.

In recent years, North Korean defectors’ network has discovered Thailand is the gateway to their dreams: resettlement in Seoul, South Korean citizenship and thousands in cash to start life a new life. Though this tropical nation is distant from the often chilly Korean peninsula, it is the nearest reachable ally of South Korea, which maintains a policy of financially aiding and patriating its divided kin.

“The first ones looked like they hadn’t showered in a month,” Sugint said. “My children begged us, saying ‘Mommy, Daddy, you have to help them.’ Now they come in big groups with kids on their back. They know their way and they know what they’re doing.”

The journey to Thailand can take months and the path is lined with informants and extortionists. Capture in neighboring China means certain deportation and quite possibly execution. If not killed, those returned to North Korea can expect slave labor in a string of camps believed to hold 200,000 prisoners.
But for North Korean defectors such as Joseph, who grew up starving under Dictator Kim Jong Il’s regime, the alternative was slowly wasting away on a family farm.
“We were starving,” said Joseph, using his English-language pseudonym. “So many people back home had died.”

Fleeing famine, Many escapees flee when the Yalu River, dividing China and North Korea, freezes over in
winter. But Joseph’s family simply found a shallow bend to swim across. They hoped that border guards would not spot them and fire their Kalashnikov rifles. Against the odds, they linked up with an underground Christian network managed in part by former defectors. Joseph, then 13, was taken aback by his first spoonfuls of pork and chicken while he was hiding out at a Chinese safe house.

“I had never really heard of these animals,” he said. A Chinese couple who sheltered his family at the risk of long prison terms also offered him a slice of birthday cake. It was spongy, sweet and somewhat repellant. “I didn’t like it at all. I had only eaten rice and vegetables that my parents grew.” Along with cake, the family who housed them introduced Joseph and his family to another foreign concept: Jesus.

“No one in North Korea knows about Christianity,” he said. “But they told me about it and I was saved. I know now that God had helped us many times.” Christianity, practiced by roughly one-third of South Koreans, is the de facto faith of the so-called “underground railroad” network, said a long-time activist with more than a decade’s experience on the circuit. (Source)

Yemen prayer update on Christian foreigners abducted and killed

6/10/2011 Yemen (Middle East Concern) – Sunday 12th June 2011 marks the second anniversary of the kidnapping of nine foreigners in Saada, north-west Yemen, three of whom were murdered shortly afterwards. Recall that two were freed on 17th May 2010.

There continues to be no news of Johannes and Sabine (a German couple), Simon (their son, aged nearly 3) or of Tony (a British man). Lydia and Anna (6 and 5, daughters of Johannes and Sabine) who were freed in May 2010 are with relatives in Germany and are reported to be in good health and developing well.
German and British investigators are understood to have stopped their active search.

However, a few of those close to this situation remain hopeful before God that those still missing are alive and will be released one day. Some are hopeful that current events in Yemen, whilst disturbing in themselves, may lead to information about the missing four becoming available.Christians in Yemen and others close to this situation thank us for our prayers and request our continued intercession.

They ask us to pray that:
a. The missing four (assuming they are alive) will know the peace, presence and daily provision of Jesus and will be released unharmed shortly
b. Information about their whereabouts will be forthcoming
c. The families and colleagues of those missing and murdered will know the peace of Jesus amidst continuing speculation and uncertainty
d. All expatriate Christians working in Yemen will know the Lord's guiding and protecting
e. The perpetrators will be convicted by the Spirit and drawn to the forgiveness, love and true life offered by Jesus. (Source)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Persecution of Christians in America: A Commentary on how Muslims persecute Christians

In a previous post I showed a video of a Lebanese Brother in Christ facing persecution for his faith in Dearborn, Michigan, a city with the highest number of Muslims in America. Here it goes again, this time watch carefully for the kind of persecution he faced for his Savior:

Notice what he said in the video about the persecution he faced. Firstly, he said that when he tried to look for a job at a restaraunt runned by Muslims, they wouldn't hire him because of his religion. This is a typical way of how Muslims persecute the Christians in places like Egypt and Pakistan. They discriminate against our brothers and sisters in Christ at the workplace, by giving Muslims a job over the Christian. This is probably because they want our brothers and sisters in Christ to "feel themselves subdued" (Chapter nine of the Quran, verse 29). "They view Christians as they're slaves," he said.
              Secondly, he said that they couldn't ring the bells at his church on sundays. They were forbidden to do so while Muslims could pray out loud and have someone make a call to prayer. This is written into what is called the Pact of Umar, which Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the 2nd rightly guided Caliph (a Caliph is the ruler of the Islamic community much like the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church), and a friend of Muhammad, the founder of Islam made with Syrian Christians. Here what it states:
 Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, demanded his well-known conditions be met by the Christians, these conditions that ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace. The scholars of Hadith narrated from `Abdur-Rahman bin Ghanm Al-Ash`ari that he said, "I recorded for `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, the terms of the treaty of peace he conducted with the Christians of Ash-Sham: `In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is a document to the servant of Allah `Umar, the Leader of the faithful, from the Christians of such and such city. When you (Muslims) came to us we requested safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion. We made a condition on ourselves that we will neither erect in our areas a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk, nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration nor use any of them for the purpose of enmity against Muslims. We will not prevent any Muslim from resting in our churches whether they come by day or night, and we will open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby. Those Muslims who come as guests, will enjoy boarding and food for three days. We will not allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims. We will not teach our children the Qur'an, publicize practices of Shirk, invite anyone to Shirk or prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so. We will respect Muslims, move from the places we sit in if they choose to sit in them. We will not imitate their clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names, or ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons. We will not encrypt our stamps in Arabic, or sell liquor. We will have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist, refrain from erecting crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets. We will not sound the bells in our churches, except discretely, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets. We will not bury our dead next to Muslim dead, or buy servants who were captured by Muslims. We will be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.' When I gave this document to `Umar, he added to it, `We will not beat any Muslim. These are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion in return for safety and protection. If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.'''

Notice that in the Pact of Umar it said that the Christians were not allowed to sound the bells in their churches. And this brother in Christ is saying they weren't allowed to sound their bells. Part of the Pact of Umar is being enforced in Dearborn!!!!!

Thirdly, he said that in about five years when he believes the city will be all Muslim, he said all our brothers and sisters in Christ would have to move out of the city. It reminds of these last words of Muhammad:

It has been narrated by 'Umar b. al-Khattab that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims. Sahih Muslim, Vol. 3

Fourthly, he said that Muslims would use money to bribe our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus to convert to Islam. This goes back to Muhammad's time as well:
As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara' (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise. Sura 9:60 (A Sura is a chapter of the Quran)
 This is how Muslims are persecuting our brothers and sisters all around the world. We need to pray that they will be brave and bold for the Savior.

Call to Ban Bible Bothers Pakistan’s Christians

This should truly bother my Pakistani brothers and sisters in Christ. They are trying to ban the Inspired Word of God!! (words in Italics)

6/07/2011 Pakistan (Worthy News)-Pakistani Christians are troubled by a Bible ban from radical Muslim clerics whose own prophet had never outlawed it. Nevertheless, Muslim clerics recently asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan to rule that some scriptures have been added to the Bible and that they violate the Islamic nation's blasphemy laws by depicting biblical figures revered by Muslims as flawed; they allege that these additions were inserted to show the prophets guilty of "a variety of moral crimes, which undermine the sanctity of the holy figures."

The reason why Muslims are so offended at some of these biblical stories is due to their doctrine of all the prophets being sinless, which is an irony in and of itself (this will be covered in another post, if the Lord Jesus Christ allows me to do so). Another reason is for their twisted and perverted minds.

Although Muslims accept the Pentateuch, the Psalms and the Gospels, many believe the rest of the Bible is a "corruption" of the original texts. Naveed Walter, president of Human Rights Focus Pakistan, said Islamist clerics "usually attack individuals, groups, churches and communities of Christians, by falsely accusing them of blasphemy, but this time they are planning to ban even the Bible in Pakistan." (Source)

A final irony concerning all this is that the Muslim holy book, the Quran, commands Muslims to read the Bible!!  I feel a series of posts coming on.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Algerian Christians Gather for Worship despite Order to Close Church Doors

Washington, D.C. June 10 (ICC) – In late May, the president of the Protestant Church Association in Algeria (EPA) received the following notice: “I, Mr. Ben Amar Salma, the High Commissioner of the police in Béjaia, have informed Mr. Mustapha Krim, the President of the EPA… to close down all worship places; the places which are used now and the places which are under construction…  The authorities will make sure that the order will be obeyed, otherwise severe consequences and punishments will be applied.”

This notification demanded the permanent closure of the seven Protestant churches in the Béjaia province, located 200 kilometers east of the capital Algiers. The threat came as no surprise to the EPA. Since 2006, Protestants have lived at the mercy of a strict law known as Ordinance 06-03, which has prevented them from worshipping freely or legally.

The ordinance regulates the worship of non-Muslims by requiring churches to obtain government permission to hold services. Despite repeated efforts by the EPA to obtain this permission, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Religious Affairs have failed to create a clear procedure to register churches and it often takes years before a registration is approved.

We were told we are not in compliance with the 2006 decree, but we have tried to comply,” EPA President Mustapha Krim told the Algerian daily La Dépêche de Kabylie. “We have spoken with the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Interior Ministry. We have gone round-and-round with them for years, but nothing gets done.”

Similar notifications, like the one received in Béjaia, have been issued to EPA churches before. “The same thing occurred in Tizi Ouzou when several churches were ordered to close under threats that legal action would be taken against the leaders,” a Protestant church leader in Tizi Ouzou told ICC. “Our church also received this order in 2008, but because we resisted, the church continues to this day.”

In a more recent incident, a church in the village of Makouda, near Tizi Ouzou, was given 48 hours to shut its doors on April 23. The pastor presented documents to the local police department that proved his affiliation with the EPA, but the police commissioner said the documents were not sufficient proof to operate the church. Still, the church continues to meet each week.

While EPA churches continue to hold services despite being warned otherwise, they do not take the threat on the Béjaia churches lightly. “According to this decree, if one does not obey the instructions, the authorities are threatening to do the enforcement," said Krim. “Apparently they want us to disappear from the map.”

Nonetheless, when Sunday morning services rolled around on May 29, the notification was not enough to persuade churches in Béjaia to shut their doors. “Here we are Lord to praise Thy name!” sang a hundred worshippers before Pastor Nordin stepped to the pulpit to read Psalm 23, reminding the congregation of God’s faithfulness even in hardship. “We did not understand the decision of the [governor],” a church member told La Dépêche de Kabylie. “We worship out of conviction. We are not afraid, because we did nothing wrong. We were never forced to choose Jesus, but we did so voluntarily. Whatever the circumstances, we will continue to say: we are here to praise your name Lord.”

At the end of the day, authorities had not interfered and services proceeded as normal. Further indication that the situation was improving soon followed when Minister of Interior Dahou Ould Kablia stated at a June 2 press conference in Algiers that the Protestant Church of Béjaia will be “allowed to continue their activities until they receive the necessary authorization,” Algerian news agency Tout sur l'Algérie reported.

While Christians in Béjaia remain unsure about whether or not they will be allowed to freely worship in the future, one thing is certain – they will not close quietly. “Pastors and church officials… opted for resistance by continuing to worship instead of obeying the order to close their doors,” said a representative of the EPA who has been closely involved in the case.

They continued to meet and celebrate their religion despite the threats. If the authorities decide to close places of worship, Christians will gather in homes or cell group meeting in the open air, which is already being done in some communities. But, we believe the situation will improve.” (Source)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Asia Bibi In Good Health But Her Family Requires More Support

I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ keep my sister in Christ, Asia Bbi safe. I also pray that she keeps on displaying a bold witness for her Savior.

“Asia is in good health and she believes God will save her, but she has stated that she will have no remorse if her life is taken in God's name.”

06/04/2011 Pakistan (ANS) -- A British Christian Pakistani group has revealed that Asia Bibi, the 45-year-old Pakistani Christian mother who has been sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy under the country's controversial blasphemy laws, is in good health, but her family needs more support.

The British Pakistani Christian Association, headed by Wilson and Juliet Chowdhry ( says in a message to its supporters, “Many of our readers have requested an update on Asia Bibi, the brave woman of strong faith who has become an emblem for the freedom, equality and justice movement of Pakistan.

“Asia a mother of five children one is disabled who has been incarcerated for two years on concocted blasphemy charges. Asia has not seen her children during this time due to the potential threat to their safety.”
The message continued by saying that it is working with partners in Pakistan, in particular a group called “Minority Coverage Foundation” (MCF) in Lahore, and added, “We have been able to obtain as full a report as possible at this stage.” It said that MCF's President Emanuel Gulzar responded to a number of questions we put before him.

Gulzar began by saying, “Asia is in good health and she believes God will save her, but she has stated that she will have no remorse if her life is taken in God's name.” Mr. Gulzar confirmed that an appeal has been lodged on her behalf but he could not provide any details regarding any date for a hearing.
“The BPCA is aware that such appeals can be left pending for many years, due to a massive back log. We call on Christians across the globe to pray for expediency in the process of allocating a hearing date,” the message continued.

In a frank statement, Mr. Gulzar stated that in the early period many local people and organisations offered help and support to the family of Asia. He believes that the assistance has reduced significantly and has insinuated that “fear of reprisals has been the trigger.” Mr. Gulzar had kept the family in his own home for 10 days and is aware that they have been moving around from place to place for both security reasons, and due to a lack of a funded secure home.

“It would seem that there is a need for support for this family we are reopening our fund to help this family. We shall use MCF as a conduit for support for the family and would like to contribute towards the daily upkeep of the family,” said the story.

“MCF is a government registered (Pakistan) non-profit organisations and we will be seeking a clear audit trail for any funds provided to them. I will as a consequence of any funds obtained, be contacting the husband of Asia Bibi (Ashiq Masih) through MCF with intent to confirm that funds are being used appropriately and to keep up to date with the family's wellbeing. “We have spoken with the husband before and are in contact with a number of groups who can validate the authenticity of calls with Ashiq Masih.”
If you would like to contribute please use the details contained within their website appeals page: ( )

Note from Dan Wooding: Ms. Bibi is in the women’s wing of Sheikhupura Prison (near Lahore, Punjab) and is under constant threat from Muslim extremists. Still, her faith is strong and she has not lost hope of being freed soon. She is in fact praying and regularly fasting despite her weak physical and vulnerable condition (Source).

Saturday, June 4, 2011

China Detains House Church Alliance Official

06/03/2011 China (BosNewsLife) - Chinese authorities have detained a key official of  an influential umbrella group of house churches in China as part of a wider crackdown on unauthorized worship in the country, rights activists and Chinese Christians said Thursday, June 2.

Pastor Shi Enhao, the deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance (CHCA), has been "administratively detained" for 12-days at the Suqian city detention center in coastal Jiangsu province, said advocacy group China Aid Association (CAA).

Another CHCA Christian, identified as Chinese woman Chang Meiling, also received the 12-daysentence at the same facility, CAA added. "Administrative detention" is the arrest and detention of individuals by the state without trial, usually for what officials call "security reasons". The practice has been criticized by human rights groups. Others lay leaders who were also detained with Pastor Shi and Chang on May 31, were released after twenty-four hours, CAA said.

Additionally, a group of 10 people, apparently security forces, raided and searched Pastor Shi’s home on June 1, confiscating several books and other written materials, Chinese Christians said. The latest reported detentions came just days after CAA said two female house church ministers were taken into police custody in the far northwest region of Xinjiang were they were allegedly beaten.

CAA said the women, Li Tianping and Wang Ling, were detained by police in the city of Korlalate Saturday, May 28, and released early Sunday morning after hours of police mistreatment.  "Sources credited prayer for the speedy release," from the Sayibage police station, CAA said, citing local Chinese Christians.
The detentions reportedly occurred after police broke up an outdoor praise and worship service at a Korla square that was attended by some 100 house church Christians. (Source)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Iran’s Persecution of Christians Backfires

In the most recent days, Christianity has been booming in Iran. One of the main ways that has been booming is through house churches. House churches are the type of churches that existed in the book of Acts, when Christianity was starting to spread rapidly. I also thank my Savior, Jesus Christ, that the persecution is starting to backfire. I pray that my Iranian brothers and sisters in Christ will start to outnumber the Muslims so the persecution will end.

6/1/2011 Iran (Christianity Today) – A major spike in the harassment and arrest of Iranian Christians in recent months is revealing just how nervous the Islamic republic is about the prodigious success of house churches, say Iranian Christian leaders.

At least 202 Christians in 24 cities faced "arbitrary" arrest between June 2010 and January 2011, according to Elam Ministries. Elam, run by Iranian expatriates, counted 80 arrests over 2008 and 2009 combined.
"[Iran] has been substantially more public in its oppression of Christianity," said Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs. "Announcing it on the news, having the mullahs talk about it in their Friday sermons—it's just become a lot more out in the open."

"Persecution has escalated to an unprecedented level," said Abe Ghaffari, executive director of Iranian Christians International. While Iran's historic Armenian and Assyrian congregations usually enjoy freedom of worship, Farsi-speaking house churches hosting converts from Islam work under significant threat.

"In effect, recognition of Christians in the laws of Iran has now become basically recognition of an ethnicity rather than faith," said Hussein Jadidi, a human rights lawyer who recently fled Iran after he became a target in a Christmas sweep that caught 70 other Christians.

The government is concerned, observers say, because more and more Iranian Muslims are converting to Christianity. The house church movement is booming, with converts estimated in the hundreds of thousands. Evangelists are distributing large numbers of New Testaments, and satellite television continually beams Christian programs into the country. (Source)

The struggle of Christians in China

06/03/2011 China (NorthnumberlandToday) - Since China opened its doors to Western trade, her economic development exploded. China's people are enterprising, and only more so as communist officials gradually relaxed restrictions on private ownership.

Communist officials have also gradually relaxed restrictions against freedom of religion. Nevertheless, Chinese officials still exert tight control over churches through a Religious Affairs department that closely supervises churches. Many Chinese Christians, however, have refused government control and secretly organized house churches. While harassment of these churches has decreased, in some areas they are still persecuted.

Shouwang Church, in Beijing, is a house church of the "educated elite" that grew rapidly from an obscure Bible study group organized by pastor Jin Tianming. As more believers joined, 10 more house churches opened. They began renting office buildings to meet together as one body. However, on May 10, 2008 the armed forces disrupted one such service and ordered the church to stop worshipping. But since the Beijing Olympics were just around the corner, not much pressure was exerted.

After the Olympics, Shouwang Church grow and so decided to seek official recognition. However, registration was refused. In 2009 Shouwang purchased the second floor of the Dahong Science and Technology Tower in Beijing's Silicon Valley for US $4,000,000. When government pressure kept Shouwang Church from getting the key to the building, the church began to worship openly on the street. Members were arrested and some lost their jobs or apartments through government interference.
Shouwang Church's struggle reflects a deeper struggle over the legality of China's non-state- controlled churches.

Since 1978 greater economic freedom has focused people's attention more on personal benefit and less on political discontent. Although the government sees social benefit in churches, these churches are also regarded as a potential threat to the political monopoly position of communist leaders. As a result, they are wary of churches not directly under their control. Development of economic and religious freedom comes from a deep longing for freedom of thought and expression. (Source)