Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ramadan 2011

Tomorrow begins the Ramadan for our Muslim friends all over the world.

For those who don't know, Ramadan is the month of the year which Muslims fast from sun-up till sun-down. They do not let any food or drink enter into their lips during that time. In the evening, the fast is broken by an Iftaar dinner at the end of each day. Ramadan is so important that even people who are considered nominal Muslims are devout in fasting during this month. At the end of the month, there is Eid ul-Fitr, which celebrates the month of Ramadan. The fasting during Ramadan is so essetial to the Muslim faith that it is part of what is called the Five Pillars of Islam. It makes up the core of the practices of the religion.

Now, why do I mention mention Ramadan on a blog concerning the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ? I mention it because, as many of you have probably noticed, the majority of the persecution against Christians takes place in Muslim lands. When Ramadan comes around, our brothers and sisters in Christ and all other non-Muslims are forbidden from eating or drinking in public, in case they "offend" the Muslim who are fasting. On a much more dangerous note, violence against our brothers and sisters in Christ seems to increase during this month of Fasting. I ask of my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for our brethren in Christ Islamic lands. Pray that:
- There's an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Muslims all over the world, but especially in countries where they make up the majority, during this month.
-Jesus Christ will keep his followers living in majority Muslim countries from extreme persecution and if he doesn't, that he keeps them through the persecution they may go through.

If you want to learn more about the Five pillars, look at this video from a brother in Christ known as Nabeel Qureshi:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Christians Under Fire in Laos

I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ, will give my brethren in Laos the strength to disobey the government in obeying Him. I also pray that they will be given oppurtunities to witness to other people as well.
7/28/11 Laos (The Diplomat) - Every religion seems bound for a hard time from quarters known and out of left field at some point, and it’s no different in Laos. Authorities in the country’s north have ordered Christians to stop meeting in private, in their own homes, where they practice their beliefs. The edict followed the arrest of a pastor and several parishioners, and is being monitored by the US-based Human Rights Watch for Laos Religious Freedom (HRWLFR).

Pastor Seng Aroun of the Kon church in Luang Namtha, and three other Christians from the Sounya village church, had met at the house of a man identified as Kofa for Sunday mass. Provincial authorities arrested four and detained them in a local prison. All but Pastor Aroun were released three days later.

Christianity is a minority religion in Laos, numbering about 150,000 people who are mainly Protestant and Catholics. There’s also the Lao Evangelical Church, Seventh-Day Adventist, Methodists, Church of Christ, Assemblies of God, Lutherans and Baptists.

In Sounya, Christians have faced increasing opposition from the authorities since the conversion of about 400 people in 2002. Since then, police have conducted a series of arrests of church leaders.
HRWLRF are also focusing on Udomsai Province, where 58-year-old Bounchan Kanthavong of Vanghai is nearing the end of a 12-year prison sentence handed down in 1999, following his conversion to Christianity and his unabashed preaching of the faith.

Apparently Kanthavong told his wife, Sengkham, during a prison visit that officials said they were prepared to release him if he renounced the Christian faith and separated from her. Sengkham has emerged as a leading local figure in the Protestant church. Kanthavong also warned Sengkham prior to his arrest that officials were likely to seize him because of his Christian activities. He was then arrested and charged with treason and sedition.

HRWLRF says it is urging the Lao government to reconsider Kanthavong’s conviction and release him immediately on grounds that religious freedom was guaranteed by the Lao Constitution and shouldn’t have been deemed an act of treason or sedition.

A report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom found that Protestants in the urban area of Laos had reported an increased ability to practice their faith with less restriction. However, provincial authorities had continued to violate freedom of belief and religion among ethnic minorities. Laos also maintains its spot on the commission’s watch List for 2011 due to detentions, surveillance, harassment, property confiscation, forced relocations and forced renunciation of faith among Christians. (Source)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Somalia: Christians Living in Fear as Country’s Crises Deepens

07/24/2011 Somalia (All Voices)-It has been widely reported in the media that as a result of the famine in East Africa, Somalia is facing 'not only a humanitarian crises' but also ‘a human rights crises and a children's crises.

This indication is contained in a report by the Prayer Communication team of Open Doors UK a United Kingdom based Christian humanitarian organization ( adding that Islamist insurgent, Al-Shabaab, the main armed group opposed to the government in Somalia, is reported to be systematically recruiting children under 15 as child soldiers.

It noted that the group is denying the children access to education, and carrying out indiscriminate attacks in densely populated areas, resulting in the deaths of civilian adults and children.


According to it, Al-Shabaab currently controls the majority of southern Somalia and targets Christians, who are then routinely killed. Kidnapping and killings of NGO workers have also been reported.

“Open Doors raises awareness and prayer support for the handful of Christians in Somalia. We recently received testimonies from several secret believers in the country,” it stated.

In his testimony on Nishan, 27 who comes from a Muslim background and first heard the gospel in 1999 stated that when he told his family he had become a follower of Jesus, they kept him in a dark room for thirteen days without food.
He noted that it was only after his mother pleaded with his father was he released. He now goes to the mosque but prays to Jesus, one of sixteen secret believers who meet there.

Another underground believer, Ahmed, said: "We know that anyone who is suspected of being a Christian will be tortured or even killed, so we pray secretly. We have prayed in Muslim prayer rooms - sometimes at night and sometimes during the day. But despite our precautions many of our friends have been killed. We now live in fear." (Source)

I pray that my Somali brothers and sisters in Christ will be kept through this tough time and that the many crises going in Somalia will be put to an end.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Pastors Arrested, Christians Forced to Cease Meeting in Laos

7/26/11 Laos (CDN) — Authorities in a village in northern Laos have ordered all Christian residents to cease meeting for worship in private homes following the arrest of four Christians on July 10, rights advocates said.

Also on July 10, police arrested a Christian in Luang Prabang Province, ordering him to abandon his faith or face imprisonment, according to a statement from the advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

In Luang Namtha Province, Pastor Seng Aroun of Kon church in Namtha district, and three other Christians from Sounya village church identified only as Souchiad, Naikwang and Kofa had met at Kofa’s house for Sunday worship on July 10, HRWLRF reported. Kofa had also asked them for advice regarding a vehicle accident in May in which he had unwittingly caused the death of another person.

After the service, provincial authorities arrested all four men and detained them at Luang Namtha’s provincial prison. On July 13 they released all but Pastor Aroun, who remained in detention at press time, and ordered all Christians in Sounya village to cease meeting in private homes for worship, according to HRWLRF.

Christians in Sounya village have faced opposition from authorities since the initial conversion of some 400 residents in 2002. Since then police have conducted three waves of arrests of core church leaders. In 2009, two truckloads of police and military personnel tore down the Sounya church building, and authorities banned Christians from gathering for worship.

In 2010, the Christians began meeting occasionally in small groups. By January they were once again able to meet in private homes for Sunday worship, HRWLRF reported, but that limited freedom has now been removed(Source).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Indonesian Church Continues to Face Persecution, Denied Rights

 7/23/11 Indonesia (Fides Service) - "The Indonesian Christian Church" (Gereja Kristen Indonesia, GKI) - denomination of the Protestant Church with a strong community presence on the island of Java - continues its fight for law and justice, against the harassment of civil authorities in Bogor. The town is located in the "Jakarta megalopolis", where there are tensions between the Islamic extremist groups of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Christian communities.

The GKI has long received regulatory approval to build a church in Bogor. But the realization of the work is hindered by the Islamic militants as well as the unfavorable position of the mayor of Bogor, Diani Budiarto, who issued a revocation of the permit. The mayor, observe the faithful, "refuses to execute an order of the Supreme Court and to restore legality in Bogor".

The GKI, given the hostility and abuse of power by the civil authorities, has issued an appeal, sent to Fides, which launches an "SOS" and states that, given the increasing tension, "the Christian faithful are at risk of mass persecution ". The appeal criticizes the attitude of "intolerance and tyranny on behalf of the representatives of the government" who hide behind the protests of the local population, and do not respect the law, and therefore commit authentic injustice.

The lack of intervention of the authorities, warns the GKI, "can lead to violence, as Islamic militants seek to prevent Church assemblies ". The faithful of the GKI, in fact, although the law is on their side, for over two years, not having a church, are forced to gather and celebrate the rites in the street, with all its relative problems, limitations, vulnerabilities, risks for safety.

That of Mayor Budiarto – the GKI says - is a real "challenge to the law", which prevents arbitrarily freedom of worship. In the last City Council meeting in Bogor, held on July 15, some representatives spoke and launched "intimidations and threats of mass mobilization" against the Christians of the GKI, inviting them to put an end to the assemblies in the street. No-one, however, denounces the GKI, " wanted to hear the explanations of the Christians, raised the voice to protect legitimate rights, or recalled the verdict of the Supreme Court". (Source)

Vietnamese Priest Arrested for Work Against Communist Regime, Despite Serious Health Threats

So by Thomas Jefferson's criterion this pastor is doing what God says when he rebels against the totalitarian Communist regime. May God bless Him for his bravery and inspire us to such bravery as well.

7/26/11 Vietnam (AsiaNews) - Father Nguyen Van Ly, the priest among the founding members of "Bloc 8406", a movement that demands the end of the single party in Vietnam has been arrested again. Imprisoned in 2007 with a sentence of eight years, he was released in March last year because of his serious health condition.

Yesterday, at 14 (local time), as reported by Father Phan Van Loi, the police went to Nha Chung, the office of Bishop of Hue, where the priest had to live, and arrested him. The police agents had brought an ambulance, as Father Van Ly had suffered several strokes in recent years that left him partially paralyzed.

His precarious health, along with criticism of Hanoi by human rights groups, the U.S. governments and the European Union, had prompted authorities to suspend the prison term for a year, forcing him under house arrest at the bishop’s residence. Since his house arrest, Father Ly had begun to send written denouncements of serious human rights violations of the Communist Party and the Vietnamese government.

Father Phan Van Loi says that "before the police arrested Father Vn Ly they asked Father Vien Le Quang, head of the bishop’s office, to sign a statement. The priest wrote that 'Father Van Ly is still sick. He has not recovered from his illness'. The police at first objected, but eventually accepted the document written by Father Le Quang Vien. Within minutes they arrested Father Ly ".

In March, the police had met with Father Ly to ask him to write an application to request not to have to go back to prison, but the request was decisively rejected. It is known that Father Ly was again taken to the prison in Ha Nam, Kim Bang district, Ha Nam province(Source).

Top House Church Leader Sentenced to Labor Camp

And the persecution mayhem continues.

7/25/11 China (China Aid) - In a further sign of the intensifying crackdown on China’s unregistered house churches, the deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance has been given a two-year labor camp sentence, ChinaAid has learned.

Pastor Shi Enhao has been sentenced to two years of “re-education through labor,” an extra-judicial punishment that is handed out by police and requires no trial or conviction of a crime. It is often used for those who have committed minor criminal offenses or for dissidents and adherents of religious groups, such as house church Christians and Falun Gong practitioners.

The charge on the sentencing papers is “illegal meetings and illegal organizing of venues for religious meetings.” This charge stems from the fact that Pastor Shi’s large house church of several thousand members meets in various different sites around the city.

The greater significance of Shi’s sentencing on this charge has to do with the events surrounding the Shouwang Church in Beijing and its controversial decision in April to meet outdoors after being evicted once again from its leased meeting site. Critics of Shouwang’s decision pointed out that when other house churches have grown too large to meet in one place without making local officials nervous, most have avoided clashes with the authorities by breaking into smaller groups meeting in different locations. Pastor Shi’s charge and sentence demonstrate that this strategy does not guarantee that the authorities will be appeased.


Pastor Shi was detained on May 31 by police in Suqian city, coastal Jiangsu province, and held for 12 days. On June 21, he was criminally detained by the Suqian Public Security Bureau. Criminal detention is the first step in a legal process that almost inevitably leads to a prison sentence.

Pastor Shi and his wife, Zhu Guangyun, are both 55 years old. His 86-year-old mother, Liu Guanglan, requires round-the-clock care, which Pastor Shi’s wife provides. Pastor Shi’s son, Shi Yongyang, and his wife are both in full-time ministry. Four generations of Shi’s family have been serving the church(Source).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

U.S. Congressional Hearing on the Persecution of Copts in Egypt

I pray that this hearing will cause the U.S. to start putting an end to the persecution of my Egyptian brothers and sisters in Christ:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chinese Professors Appeals for the Religious Rights of Shouwang Church

7/16/11 China (ChinaAid) - Another Appeal to Chairman Hu, Chairman Wu, Premier Wen and the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee About the Beijing Shouwang Church Case

Dear Chairman Hu [Jintao], Chairman Wu [Bangguo], Prime Minister Wen [Jiabao] and the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee,

On April 9, 2011, I sent you an appeal in my capacity as a scholar of religious affairs and as an ordinary citizen because on the following day Beijing Shouwang Church, which had been under persecution, was planning to hold an outdoor worship service. The personal rights and property rights of the members of this church had also been violated, and I expressed the hope that you would stop the persecution, reduce the clashes (and I also made two suggestions with regard to thoroughly resolving the current problems with Protestantism and Catholicism).


All of this has been due to the simple fact that this church insists on holding on to its religious beliefs and wants to worship out in the open. And the reason for worshiping outdoors is due to the simple fact that the landlords of the places it rented came under pressure and broke the lease, forcing them to move out. With no way to rent a place, the church purchased property, but the seller also came under pressure and broke the contract. A year-and-a-half after being paid, he still hasn’t turned over ownership of the property. Which is to say, buying property was not an option either! As anyone can see, their move to outdoor worship was entirely due to persecution and because they had no other choice! In November 2009, when they worshiped outdoors in the midst of a great snowstorm, it was because of the same situation. Actually, in all of this, the property rights of the other parties were also violated.

In light of the fact that this case involves many incidences of violations of personal rights, property rights, housing rights and religious rights, and since there appears to be not even a glimmer of hope that these will cease, I, as an ordinary citizen with no other channels to go through, make another appeal to you, as the leaders who hold the greatest powers, to order an end to this deprivation of people’s freedom and to protect human rights, to order that this lawful transaction be completed and to protect property rights.

The significance of this [Shouwang] case goes far beyond just one church; it involves the entire enterprise of China’s progress in protecting human rights and property rights. Only by establishing institutions and procedures that citizens can use effectively – institutions and procedures that will investigate the illegal acts of governments at various levels – can the abuse of governmental power (and not just personal corruption), which is disastrous for the country and calamitous for the people, be successfully stopped (Source).

Pakistani Muslims Convicted for Beating Christian to Death

1. I'm glad that my brother in Christ was brave in refusing to deny Christ.

2. I'm saddened that he's dead.

3. I'm very encouraged to know that justice is being done to those who killed him.

07/23/2011 Pakistan (CDN)-Three Muslims convicted of killing a Christian in Pakistan’s Punjab Province for refusing to convert to Islam last year have been given life sentences, according to attorneys for the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in Pakistan.

The Sessions Court in Mian Channu on July 7 convicted Ghulam Rasool, Amjad Iqbal and Kashir Saleem of torturing and killing Rasheed Masih on March 9, 2010, and sentenced them to life in prison, which in Pakistan is 25 years. The court also ordered each convict to pay 100,000 rupees (US$1,153) to Masih’s family. A fourth suspect, Muhammad Asif, was acquitted.

“The ECLJ also plans to file an appeal in the Lahore High Court concerning the acquittal of the fourth defendant,” said Asif Aqeel, director of the Lahore-based, ECLJ-supported Community Development Initiative. “The callous treatment by the police presented lots of challenges in proving that Masih was killed by the defendants. However, extensive work by our legal team in Pakistan and in the United States resulted in a conviction for the three defendants in this case.”

Masih’s family said they were grateful to ECLJ attorneys for assisting the court in making its judgments.

Aqeel said Masih’s brother, Asi, said that Muslim businessmen were jealous of Rasheed Masih’s success as a potato merchant in Mian Channu, Khanewal district because he was a Christian. When the 36-year-old victim met with the defendants at their farmhouse to discuss business on March 9, 2010, they asked him to convert to Islam. When he refused, the four Muslims beat him to death with iron rods, Aqeel said.

A bystander informed Asi Masih, who said he then called police.
Police officers along with the victim’s brother found Masih smeared with blood. They rushed him to a hospital, but he died on the way after stating to police that he was tortured by Rasool and his accomplices, Aqeel said.

Police, however, denied that Masih ever gave such a statement and refused to charge or arrest the defendants, Aqeel said. A large number of Christians blocked an intercity highway and demanded that the killers be arrested. Police conceded after the Christian community’s five-hour protest.

The Rev. Iqbal Masih of the Mian Channu Parish of the Church of Pakistan told Compass last year that Rasheed Masih was a devoted Christian, and that both he and his brother Asi had refused the Muslims’ pressure to convert to Islam. The Muslims had been threatening both brothers for six months before the murder, according to Asi Masih.

An autopsy by Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Mian Channu revealed 24 wounds on the body of Masih, according to a copy of the report obtained by Compass.

The European Centre for Law and Justice, headquartered in Strasbourg, France, is an international Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in Europe and worldwide

Friday, July 22, 2011

Shouwang Showdown, 15 Weeks In

And the persecution against our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ continues. I pray that they will continue to be bold for the King of Kings and that they will endure the persecution for Christ.
 7/20/11 China (Christianity Today) - More than 14 weeks after Shouwang Church in Beijing moved its worship services outdoors in April after being evicted by its landlord due to government pressure, worshipers continue to gather on Sundays in the Zhongguancun district of Beijing even as local authorities make more arrests.  Promise Hsu reports that while most arrests have resulted in jail stints no longer than 48 hours, two churchgoers have been forcibly sent back to their hometowns by Beijing officials.

Hsu writes: "On June 27, Wang Chuanliang, a Shouwang member, was sent back to his hometown in the eastern province of Shandong by Haidian's Dongsheng Police Station and the Shandong provincial office in Beijing. It was the second repatriation since Shouwang began the outdoor worship on April 10th. It was the same Dongsheng Police Station that sent back Hu Jian, another Shouwang parishioner, to his hometown in the central Hubei Province in May. Hu Jian returned to Beijing almost a month later and continued to attend outdoor worship and thus was detained every Sunday since then."

In addition to arrests and repatriation by local authorities, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, China's state-sanctioned Protestant denomination, has increased efforts to admonish and convert Shouwang detainees.
Hsu writes that in early June, "Some Three-Self Church people were sent to police stations asking the detained parishioners to leave Shouwang Church and join them or put an end to the outdoor worship."

He adds that Shouwang officials responded to these coercive measures with a quote from Romans 14 in the church's weekly bulletin: "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."

Resilience has not come without division, however. Toward the end of May, Shouwang pastor Song Jun, minister Jian Lijin, and deacons Ji Cheng and Yuan Yansong left the church amid disagreements over the continued outdoor worship protests, according to Compass Direct News.

Despite internal conflicts, Shouwang has found support from nearly 20 other Chinese house churches who signed a bold petition to the National People's Congress on May 11 requesting an amendment to China's religious freedom law as well as an end to the renting ban placed on Shouwang.

But on June 21, police confirmed that pastor Shi Enhao, deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, who filed the petition, had been criminally detained on suspicion of "using superstition to undermine national law enforcement" and would be held for 12 days. He has since been released, but remains under government supervision.

Hsu says that worshipers will continue gathering on Sundays until Christmas 2011, when they will reassess the situation if permanent space has not yet been allocated to the church.

Crime Wave Targets Christian Communities in Mexico

Wow, this is the first time, I have seen persecution take place here in Mexico. I pray that the crime wave against my Mexican brethren will end soon.

7/18/11 Mexico (ChristianPost) - Shocking crime and violence directed against the Christian community in Mexico has seen at least 100 pastors kidnapped during President Felipe Calderon’s current term in office, the National Fraternity of Evangelical Churches (Confraternice) has said according to Mexican publication Excelsior.

The Confraternice President, Pastor Arturo Farela, has reported that crime is prevalent in the country, and that especially Christians and young people being treated at Christian Rehabilitation Centers are being targeted.

One of the most shocking crimes to come out of Mexico was the kidnapping of renowned evangelical pastor Josue Santiago Ramirez, who was kidnapped on April 10, in Lazaro Cárdenas, Michoacán.
Ramirez was kidnapped while holding Sunday service in the El Shaddai Evangelical Church. The kidnappers then demanded a ransom of 20 million pesos (approximately $1.7 million USD), and even then would not guarantee to return him alive.

Another remarkable case was the murder of New Life Church pastor Eduardo García's son, Abraham García, in Juarez city, in 2010. Yet another crime in Juarez city saw six people from a Rehabilitation Christian Center, Alcanze Victoria brutally attacked. The assault left four of them dead and two injured in 2010, according to the municipal police.

Christian leaders in the country have said that a core reason for the crimes is that attackers see it as means of generating money. The leaders have explained that in the last three years they have had to pay so-called “security” for their churches so they would not be attacked. Payments have varied in value from between 10,000 and 30,000 pesos (around $800 and $2,500 USD) in at least 11 states of the country.

Catholic clergy are not exempt from violence. According to “Fides of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples”, 14 Catholic priests, including two seminarians, were violently killed over the past six years.
"It is alarming the number of priests that were murdered, but we can not blame the regime for the murders because the causes vary," said Hugo Valdemaro, Archdiocesan Director of Social Communication. Evangelical congregations are calling on members of organized crime in the country to repent and return to a righteous path.

However, there is hope; they highlight that there are now 151 former-murderers and kidnappers who have turned to Christ and are taking the Word of God to prisons in Juarez.

Wow, this is a sign that the Lord Jesus can change a mass murderer and make him into a mighty servant, like He did with the apostle Paul.

Evangelical churches in the country are creating an agenda to support national unity against the crime wave, and are hoping that together, a long-term solution to the problem can be found.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Communist-Sanctioned Church in Vietnam is Celebrated – Yet Brutal Persecution of Christians Continues

Vietnam is a country in Asia that has been barely touched by the Gospel. Only 1.2 million out of 40 million  people have been reached by and received the gospel. Pray that our Vietnamese brothers and sisters in Christ witness to the lost over there and display a bold testimony when faced with persecution.

7/20/11 Vietnam (Charisma) - The Evangelical Church of Vietnam (also known as Tin Lanh) just finished celebrating 100 years of ministry in the Communist country. Its first celebration of the achievement was held from June 14 through June 16 in Da Nang's large indoor stadium and drew a crowd of about 15,000 people with an overflow of 1,000—its largest-ever gathering.

The event was the first of four celebrations to mark 100 years since the Christian and Missionary Alliance began its outreach to Vietnam. The second celebration was held in Hanoi on June 20 with about 4,000 in attendance, the third was in Ho Chi Minh City on June 23 and 24, and the final celebration was held on July 2 at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.
The Da Nang celebration featured a parade of hundreds from 20 tribal groups, all with membership in the ECVN, along with a 480-member tribal choir that sang “The Halleluiah Chorus.” Thousands of believers raised their hands, responding positively to a call for total commitment to Christ, regardless of how difficult. Delegates were challenged to reach Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Europe or anywhere there are lost people.
Retired international worker Tom Stebbins preached an evangelistic message in Vietnamese on the prodigal son to a packed house. Nearly 1,000 responded to become followers of Jesus Christ.
“[The Vietnam believers] want to be a force for Jesus and the Kingdom advance to other nations. They are a sleeping giant in the cause of missions,” U.S. Christian and Missionary Alliance President Gary Benedict said, who attended the celebration.
The Christian and Missionary Alliance is a worldwide family of Christians mobilized to fulfill the Great Commission by living out the fullness of Jesus Christ in personal experience and building His Church worldwide.
Today there are 1.2 million believers in Vietnam, most of them part of the Alliance. However, of the 71 people groups in Vietnam, 52 still have less than 2 percent who follow Jesus. About 40 million people in North Vietnam do not know Christ (Source).

Bangalore: Christians Threatened for Opposing Hindu Sacred Texts in Public Schools

7/21/2011 India (AsiaNews)-Karnataka: A senior local Hindu nationalist party leader says Christians and Muslims are foreign to India. The archbishop of Bangalore warns the state is sliding towards extremism. The compulsory teaching of the Hindu sacred text Bhagvad Gita is an attack against India’s secular values.

Bangalore -The debate over a proposal to teach the Bhagvad Gita, Hindu sacred text, in Karnataka public schools, is heating up. The state government, which is run by the Hindu nationalist Bharathya Janatha Party (BJP), wants to add it to the curriculum despite opposition by local Christian and Muslims. 

Dhananjay Kumar, a senior local BJP leader, recent said on TV that all religions born outside of India are Western and their followers cannot impose their will on public institutions. He also defended state Education Minister Vishveshwar Kaggeri who said that those who do not respect the Bhagvad Gita should leave the country.

The statement upset opposition parties and religious leaders who expressed concern about the state’s extremist policies.
All Catholics respect the Hindu religion and traditions, but the public school system should not be used to spread a sectarian religious message in violation of the constitution.

“Why only the Bhagvad Gita should be taught in schools and not the Bible and the Qur‘an?” the prelate asked.

The archbishop said that he has already contacted Karnataka’s chief minister as well as the Indian prime minister. The state’s Bishops Commission has already petitioned the High Court.
In Karnataka, 83 per cent of the population is Hindu. Muslims represent 11 per cent and Christians, another 4 per cent.

Minorities have often been the victims of violence by radical Hindus who accuse Christians and Muslims of forced conversions. On 6 July, 20 Hindu extremists attacked a Protestant clergyman accusing him of proselytizing (Source).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Malaysia Sets Up Vatican Ties in Gesture to Christian Minority

 7/18/11 Malaysia (Reuters) - Malaysia and the Vatican agreed on Monday to establish diplomatic ties, a move seen by analysts as a bid by the Malaysian government to appease minority Christians in the mainly Muslim Southeast Asian country. Prime Minister Najib Razak is trying to mend the government’s relations with Christians who make up about 9 percent of the country’s 28 million after a rise in religious tensions ahead of general elections widely expected next year.

Religious tensions have risen in Malaysia following general elections in 2008 when the government recorded its worst performance after mainly Chinese and Indian non-Muslim minorities abandoned Najib’s ruling coalition, complaining of marginalization.

Unhappiness among the Christian minority has since been deepened by an ongoing row over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians to describe God, which led to attacks on houses of worship including several churches last year. “This will be seen as an effort towards reconciliation with Malaysia’s Christian community but will only work to ease the unhappiness of some… because some of the issues have yet to be resolved,” said James Chin, political analyst at Monash University campus in Kuala Lumpur.

Najib has tried to ease the anger by reaching out to Christian groups by providing assurances on their right to practice their religion. But some in his United Malay National Organization or UMNO, the linchpin of the ruling coalition, have cast this approach aside in a bid to woo Malay Muslims, a key vote bank who make up 55 percent of the country’s population. Malaysia’s general election is not due until mid-2013 but many expect Najib to call one as early as next year to profit from continued economic growth in the country.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finding Christ in Saudi Arabia

Every day, Muslims listeners of Christian satellite television broadcasts who are curious about Christianity call in to ICC sponsored representatives to talk about Jesus. Here is the story of how Ahmad found Jesus:
Ahmad, who is 26 years old from Saudi Arabia, tried hard his whole life to please Allah. He eventually saved enough money to perform the Hajj (Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca), but still could not find the answers to his many questions that he had been searching for. Ahmad’s heart was not at peace as he longed for a personal a relationship with his creator. Rather than a loving God who offers forgiveness, Ahmad felt only judgment and wrath for every act of disobedience he committed against Allah.

One day, as Ahmad was flipping through television channels, he found an ICC partnered program on the Hajj. Having just performed the Hajj himself, Ahmad was very interested in what the program had to say. To Ahmad’s surprise, the program was challenging the Islamic religion by exposing its inaccuracies. Ahmad began doing his own research by reading and watching more programs online. “I did the maximum I can do to reach Allah but could not find him till I saw your shows,” he said on the phone to a counselor.

One of the counselors started to talk to Ahmad about Christ and His plan of salvation. Ahmad prayed that very day and committed his life to Christ. Please pray for Ahmad’s safety, as it is very dangerous to convert to Christianity in Saudi Arabia. Please also pray that Ahmad will continue to grow in his faith by seeking the Lord, reading his Bibles, and finding an underground fellowship that will allow him the opportunity to worship with other believers (Source).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 14: Illegal Church Gathers More Supporters, Arrests Continu

I would like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ, that my brothers and sisters in Christ are being bold for their God and Savior.

7/15/11 China (BP) - After a week of harsh restrictions by Chinese authorities, Shouwang Church saw a rise in people who were able to participate in its outdoor meeting July 10, which led to the arrest of at least 26 Chinese Christians.

Of those arrested at the 14th consecutive outdoor meeting were two women who are members of Xinshu Church and had joined the service, which must be held outdoors because Shouwang -- an illegal church -- was evicted from its leased meeting space by the government in April. The church members meet in an open-air plaza in northwest Beijing each Sunday.
All of those arrested were released by 2 a.m. the next day. According to a translated statement from Shouwang on, the open arms of fellow Christians met them as they were released from at least 14 police stations.
"We are very thankful that in front of each police station in which believers were detained, there were several believers praying and waiting for them, which greatly comforted believers detained inside," Shouwang said in its statement. "Through this, many believers deeply felt that we are not alone, we are not experiencing this as isolated individuals. We are experiencing this together during this particular period as a church."
The rise in attendance came after more-severe-than-usual restrictions the previous week due to the Chinese Communist Party's 90th anniversary. The July 20 service also included many who were worshiping there for the first time, said a statement from ChinaAid, a group that monitors religious freedom in China.
Shouwang, which is one of the largest house churches in Beijing with nearly 1,000 members, is not a legal church. Only churches that are registered with the government and are members of the Three-Self Patriotic Church are considered legal. However, with registration come regulations that forbid evangelism, Sunday School, and baptizing minors, said Bob Fu, president and founder of ChinaAid.
Although Shouwang members have lost jobs, faced jail time and been verbally abused for expressing their beliefs they continue to make a stand each week for Christ.
"We are thankful that so many believers, with faith, are willing to face possible challenges boldly every week," the church said. "They are willing to stand together with Shouwang Church at any price."
That price, however, could affect other illegal churches, such as Zion Church also in Beijing, reports CNN.
"Shouwang's case could deteriorate into a massive crackdown," Ezra Jin, pastor of Zion Church, said in a translated interview. "We are at a critical moment, and we are ready to pay the price."
Shouwang members do not know how long they will be forced to meet outdoors and face persecution, but they say they will not back down from worshiping God.

That's should be the spirit of a true man or woman of God. They should keep on worshipping God regardless of persecution.
"We do not know how many more Sundays like this we have to face, but we trust that since it is God who began this good work, He will bring it to completion according to His will," Shouwang said. "May God grant us this victorious faith, so that we may wait for Him till the day when His purpose is accomplished(Source)."

Memorial Service for Three Nigerian Christians Slain by Islamists

07/18/2011 Nigeria (Vanguard)-Security was massive and tight, yesterday, in Suleja as the All Christians Fellowship Mission held a memorial service for its three members who died in a bomb explosion.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the Divisional Police Officer in-charge of ‘A’ Division, Suleja, Mr Bassey Effiong, led the officers who formed part of the security group.
In a sermon, Rev. William Okoye, the church’s General Overseer, urged the worshippers to remain grateful to God.
“You should give thanks to God in all things, notwithstanding what might have happened to them. All things work together for good to those who love God.
“If we serve Him, no matter what happens, God will turn it around to serve a purpose.There is nothing that happens that is hidden from God, for He knows what happened to this church last Sunday from the foundation of the world.”

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My thoughts on today's Sermon

So I just got home from church and doing a lot of errands and I just wanted to do a post on something the Pastor was saying to us in church. He was talking about planting a seed and reaping the results. During the sermon he mentioned Mark 10:29-30 where My Savior says:
        “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

I think of many people- namely Muslims- who have been disowned by their families, for deciding to turn from Islam to the Lord Jesus Christ (in actuality, the cost for leaving Islam is suppose to be death, but if the Muslim family is not faithful to the teachings of Muhammad he or she will be disowned from the family). People like Malak Sabri Alkanani and Negeen Mayel, have turned from Muhammad to the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result they have received much more in this present age, one of those things being a much HUGER family than the one they were apart of (that family, of course, is the family of God which extends to every continent and consists of millions, if not billions of adherents).

I think the reason our Savior promises such a reward for leaving your family to follow Him is because it shows that you love him more than anything else on this earth. Jesus is suppose to have preeminence above everything on this earth, since He's the reason we exist.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Asia Bibi’s Case Still On Hold, But Family Remains Hopeful

The woman’s lawyer has filed a new appeal against her death sentence. After visiting her in jail, husband and daughters say, “She is frail and can barely speak, but she has faith in God and has not lost hope.” For a legal expert, “fundamentalist pressures are too strong. Only a miracle can save her.” (Words in bold are mine)

07/08/2011 Pakistan (AsiaNews)-Asia Bibi is still under the threat of the death penalty. She has waited for months for an appeal trial but Pakistani judges do not appear in a hurry to add her case to their agenda. The Christian woman’s attorney, S.K. Chaudhy, filed again for an appeal after four judges were suddenly replaced on Tuesday. “Our hope is for the High Court to appoint a judge”, the lawyer said, who had filed an appeal in January against her death sentence for blasphemy, alleging that the original evidence presented in court was false. Meanwhile, Bibi’s health is deteriorating after five months in isolation in Sheikhpura prison. Security around her has been beefed up after a Christian man, Qamar David, was poisoned to death in Karachi Ventral Prison.

My prayer is that they give my sister in Christ is provided with some food. The lack of food seems to be making her more frail. It seems to be doing more than just that, however.

Ashiq Masih, Asia Bibi’s husband, visits her every week with their two daughters. He is desperate. “Bibi is frail and can barely speaks,” he said. “She asks me about the High Court hearing every time, and every time in disappointment I tell her that we are waiting the court to take up the case. She has not lost hope and she has the faith that God will take her out of the jail,” he explained.

The lack of food is keeping her from talking? Wow, not eating food must have had a huge toll on her.

"My Mother is innocent. She is weak and can barely speak. I can’t control my tears when I see her,” the youngest daughter said. “We have been forced to face hardships because my mother stood firm for her faith. We are praying for her, we are hopeful that someday she will be with us and we will once again live a normal life”.

Bibi’s eldest daughter is also in tears. “Every time I hear news about persecution or blasphemy, I get scared that, God forbid, something will happen to my mother. We spend every single day in fear. Although the delay is making me lose hope, I pray every time and feel that God will bring her back one day. The moment she comes, we will forget all the hardships we have faced (Source)." 

I pray that Asia Bibi is released from jail and if she isn't released from jail, that at least she gets some food to eat.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Iranian Pastor Sentenced to Death Could Be Executed if He Doesn’t Recant, Says Verdict


I pray that my Iranian brother in Christ heeds the words of his Savior:
     But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
     Matthew 10:33
7/13/2011 Iran (Fox News) – Iran's Supreme Court says an evangelical pastor charged with apostasy can be executed if he does not recant his faith, according to a copy of the verdict obtained by a religious rights activist group.

Christian Solidarity World says Iranian-born Yousef Nadarkhani, who was arrested in 2009 and given the death sentence late last year, could have his sentence suspended on the grounds that he renounce his faith.
Those who know him say he is not likely to do that, for if he were disposed to giving it up, he would have done it long ago. If Nadarkhani does not recant, his fate is unclear. It’s believed his case would then be remanded to lower courts in Iran.

Nadarkhani, from Rasht, on the Caspian Sea, converted to Christianity as a teenager. He is reportedly an effective pastor, who has converted an unknown number of people from Islam to Christianity. Some believe he has about 400 people in his church.

Iran has ancient Armenian and Assyrian churches. The Evangelical Church of Iran is relatively new, church officials tell Fox News, a product of the legacy of Anglican missionaries who were in Iran in the last two centuries. Even after the Islamic Revolution, Iran been fairly tolerant of the older Armenian and Assyrian orders, which date back to the early days of Christianity, but has been less accepting of Evangelical conversions.

Ghaemi says, “Most churches in Iran operate with some degree of secrecy. They operate in homes. People take their batteries out of their cellphones and leave them at the door. They show up at random times so as to avoid the appearance of a crowd filing in. The current government sees them as a threat.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New South Could Have Consequences For Christians In North Sudan

On July 9, 2011 (a day before my 20th Birthday!!!!!!), Sudan split into two countries, Northern Sudan and Southern Sudan.  For those who don't know, the reason for this split is because the people in Southern Sudan (made up of mostly animists and my brethren in Christ Jesus) were tired of being enslaved by the Arab Muslims in the North. So they voted to split from the Northern part of Sudan in January. They have finally split and now all is well for northern and southern Sudan, isn't it? (Besides the date, the words in bold are mine.)

07/14/2011 Sudan (Worthy News)– Amid all the news over the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, Carl Moeller of Open Doors fears something was overlooked.

“We are rejoicing that there are increased freedoms in the South,” said Moeller, “but we have to ask the question: What about the Christians in the North?”

“The biggest challenge that they’re facing right now is a decree from President Bashir that he is going to strengthen shar’ia law after the secession is finalized,” said Moeller.
 Uh-oh, that can't be a good thing. Strengthened Sharia Law can only mean more persecution for our Northern Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ. I don't think our Southern Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ had this in mind when they voted for a split back in January.

“This is not a historical, or political analysis, but we know the end of the story,” he said. “As believers, we know that Jesus has said He will build His church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it … Those Christians are bracing for an onslaught of new repression, but pray that they would be able to stand strong and continue to provide the light of Jesus Christ into their communities.”
Our Northern Sudanese brothers and sisters in Christ have lots of persecution and trials coming their way. I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will keep them through the suffering.

Even though the country has split, I will still refer to Northern Sudan and Southern Sudan as Sudan in my labels.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

UK: At Last, Equality Police Decide Christians Do Have Right To Follow Belief

Praise God!!!!! I hope and pray that this is the beginning of the end of double standards here in the United Kingdom. I wish we could bring some of the good news here in the U.K. over to Canada. Seems like there is some hope in the world.

07/12/2011 UK (Mail Online)-Christians who disagree with gay equality rules should have the freedom to follow their conscience, a watchdog ruled yesterday. In a major U-turn, the Equality and Human Rights Commission declared that judges should not have backed employers who pursued Christians for wearing crosses or for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples.

‘The way existing human rights and equality law has been interpreted by judges is insufficient to protect freedom of religion or belief,’ the commission said.

Just seven months ago it had championed the cause of civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy in their successful bid to sue Christian hoteliers who had refused them a double room.
But yesterday the commission, which is led by former Labour politician Trevor Phillips, said the law was confusing.

The intervention by the equality quango follows protests at the weekend from Church of England leaders, who said judges had encouraged a legal ‘chill factor’ against Christianity. It also comes at a time when the EHRC is facing action from Home Secretary Theresa May to curb its £60million a year spending. Mrs May has accused it of wasting money and failing to do its job.
Yesterday the commission said judges had interpreted equality laws too narrowly.

Its lawyers have intervened to call for more leeway for Christians to express their beliefs and live by their consciences in four human rights test cases shortly to come before the judges of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The cases are those of Nadia Eweida, the BA check-in clerk who was told she could not wear a cross with her airline uniform, and of Shirley Chaplin, a nurse removed from the wards of her Exeter hospital because she refused to stop wearing her crucifix.

The commission also wants to raise the case of Lilian Ladele, a registrar removed from her job after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies, and Gary McFarlane, a Relate counsellor who declined to give sex therapy to gay couples.
Miss Ladele was refused permission to take her case to the Supreme Court because judges said no important legal principles were at stake.
The commission said it wanted to see a new legal principle of ‘reasonable accommodations’ to allow a religious believer and their employer to reach a compromise. It said that under this principle, a Jew who did not wish to work on Saturdays could be given his or her wish simply by a change to work rotas.

Commission legal director John Wadham said: ‘Our intervention in these cases would encourage judges to interpret the law more broadly and more clearly to the benefit of people who are religious and those who are not.

‘The idea of making reasonable adjustments to accommodate a person’s needs has served disability discrimination law well for decades.

‘It seems reasonable that a similar concept could be adopted to allow someone to manifest their religious beliefs.’

The commission said there should be an end to legal confusion which has stopped some people from wearing crosses while others are allowed to do so, and which has led some employers into ‘unnecessarily restricting people’s rights’.

It added that because of the confusion in the law, ‘it is difficult for employers or service providers to know what they should be doing to protect people from religion or belief-based discrimination’.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Canadian school bars Christian prayers, but permit Muslim prayertime in the Cafeteria

The double standards here disgust me greatly. If the Muslims were forbidden from praying, there would be a huge uproar.

TORONTO – A majority-Muslim public school in Toronto is defending its policy of allowing an imam to lead Friday prayers in the cafeteria, saying students who leave school for prayers at a mosque typically don’t return to school.

The school prohibits any Christian prayers.

For the past three years, some 300 Muslim students at Valley Park Middle School have been allowed to use the school cafeteria for their Friday prayers. Before the policy change, school officials say students would leave classes early and not return.

“I think it’s important to note the prayer isn’t conducted under the auspices of the board,” Jim Spyropoulos, a superintendent for inclusive schools with the Toronto District School Board, told the Globe and Mail newspaper. “This was the best solution that avoided compromising instructional time.”

The issue is “about religious accommodation,” Shari Schwartz-Maltz, a school district spokeswoman, told The Canadian Press.

Those explanations have not placated angry parents, who are lighting up radio call-in shows and blogging furiously — particularly since Christian and other prayers are disallowed in the public school system. (Source)

Iraq’s first new church since 2003 US invasion opens

I pray that the Lord Jesus will keep this new church from Muslim attacks.

7/10/2011 Iraq (AFP) – Iraq’s first new church since the 2003 US-led invasion opened in a poor Christian neighborhood of the northern city of Kirkuk, the region’s Chaldean archbishop told AFP. The inauguration of Mar Bulos (Saint Paul’s) church in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious city comes despite the sharp fall in the number of Christians in Iraq because of attacks and threats by Al Qaeda.

In an opening ceremony last Thursday, Louis Sako, the Chaldean Archbishop of the northern province of Sulaimaniyah and Kirkuk (also the name of the provincial capital) said that Christians and Muslims “need each other.”

“We need each other, we cannot isolate ourselves and live alone,” he told a congregation of about 300.
“Isolation is a slow death, so we have hope for a joint life as Christians and Muslims, to have a righteous country, and a city full of security, stability and dignity.” “This is considered as the first new church in Iraq since 2003,” Archbishop Sako said.

The number of Iraqi Christians has dwindled to about 400,000 from an estimated figure of between 800,000 and 1.2 million before the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. Most of them live in Baghdad, Kirkuk, the area surrounding the northern city of Mosul and parts of the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north of Iraq.

On October 31, a group of Al Qaeda commandos stormed a Syriac Catholic church in Baghdad, with the ensuing siege killing 44 worshippers, two priests and seven Iraqi security force officers. It was the worst attack against Iraq’s Christian community since 2003, and countless members of the minority have since fled the country. The new Kirkuk church serves a housing community of about 200 Christian families who fled to Kirkuk and nearby regions from other parts of the country, Archbishop Sako said. (Source)

Somali Trio Charged by US in Yacht Murder of Christian Missionaries

The Quran commands Muslims to kill subjugate all other non-Muslims:
Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. Sura 9:29

O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey's end. Sura 9:73

Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Sura 48:29

Unfortunately many Muslims around the world take these commands very, very seriously:
07/09/2011 Somalia (Herland Sun)-Three Somali men have been charged with kidnapping, hostage-taking and murder in the deaths of four US citizens during the hijacking of a yacht off the coast of Oman. The Justice Department said a superceding indictment adds to the charges already filed of piracy against a group of Somalis and one Yemeni in the February 22 attack on the S/V Quest.

The owners of the yacht, Jean and Scott Adam, were Christian missionaries based in California who were sailing around the world at the time of the hijacking. They were shot to death, along with their companions Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay from Seattle, Washington, several days after being taken hostage and as negotiations were taking place with US Navy officials.

Named in the indictment were Ahmed Muse Salad, 25, Abukar Osman Beyle, 20, and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, 29. The indictment contends that they were part of a group armed with firearms and a rocket-propelled grenade which boarded the Quest on February 18 and took the four American citizens as hostages before killing them.

"Today's superceding indictment charges three men from Somalia with brutally murdering four American citizens held hostage for ransom," said US Attorney Neil MacBride.
With the additional charges, the defendants now potentially face a death sentence if convicted. (Source)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blast Near Nigerian Church Kills Three

My Nigerian brethren in Christ are in my prayers.
07/10/2011 Nigeria (AFP)-An explosion near a church outside the Nigerian capital on Sunday killed at least three people, officials said, the latest of a spate of deadly blasts to hit Africa's most populous nation.
The military meanwhile said it had killed 11 alleged members of an Islamist sect blamed for a series of attacks in a shootout in the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Saturday night, but residents alleged soldiers shot civilians.

Sunday's explosion outside the All Christian Fellowship Mission was in the town of Suleija, which was also the target of a deadly bomb attack at an electoral office on the eve of April's parliamentary elections. Police initially reported two people dead, but a Red Cross official later put the death toll at three, with seven critically wounded.

Church pastor Joseph Olowosagba said services had ended, but some members were still inside when the explosion went off outside of a window.

"We just ended service in the church and we were having a meeting," he said at the scene.
"Then we heard the explosion and some of our people were affected. As of now, two of them are dead and one is still alive, but seriously injured."
Windows on one side of the church were blown out, while a neighbouring house was also damaged.

"The explosion smashed my windows and scattered my room," said Sani Joseph, who lives next to the church. "I saw two bodies -- both of them women. The other man was seriously injured."
One man said he, his wife and child fled from the church after the blast.

"After the church service, we were making preparation for another meeting when the blast went off," Blessing Uwagbuwa said from his bed at a Suleija hospital, where he was being treated for hearing problems.

"I couldn't hear anything again and I was just seeing red. I had to run out with my wife and my child was crying."
A series of bomb blasts and other attacks occurred in the run-up to Nigeria's parliamentary, presidential and state elections in April, and have continued afterward, intensifying in recent weeks.

Much of the violence has been claimed by an Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which has mainly operated in the northeastern region of the country and has previously targeted churches in a nation roughly divided in half between Christians and Muslims. But the motive of certain attacks has been unclear, and other parts of the country, Africa's largest oil producer, have also been targeted.

Boko Haram -- "Western education is sin" in the local Hausa language -- staged an uprising in 2009 put down by a brutal military assault which destroyed its mosque and headquarters in Maiduguri. The assault left hundreds dead.
Over the past year, the group has been blamed for a series of hit-and-run attacks, as well as bomb blasts and bank robberies. The attacks have targeted politicians, police and soldiers, along with community and religious leaders. The group's membership and source of financing remain murky. (Source)
Words in bold and italics are mine.

Iran: Family members of Islamic Leaders are attracted to Christianity

The Religion of the Lord Jesus Christ has spreading rapidly in the Middle East, particularly in the country of Iran. One of the reasons Christianity is spreading so quickly there is because of Ayatollah Khomeini, a charismatic Shi'ite Muslim leader who started the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He showed everyone in Iran the true spirit of Islam and they didn't like it. Many people have been turning to the Living Savior, Jesus Christ, ever since then. And now it's getting to the point that even relatives of Islamic leaders are making Christ Jesus their Lord and King as this report is showing:

7/9/2011 Iran (Mohabat News) – One of the greatest concerns of the Islamic Republic leaders is the ever-increasing interest of the Iranian population, inside and outside of Iran, to Christianity and this interest has reached the family members of these leaders.

"Mohammad Noorizad" is a film director, movie script-writer, and newspaper personality, who prior to the most recent presidential elections of 2009 was one of the great supporters of the Islamic Republic of Iran's supreme leader "Ayatollah Khamenei", but became a harsh critic of the government after the election and because of his open letters to Ali Khamenei, was arrested and tortured. In his latest website he has begun a new way of exposing the leaders of Iran. In a short essay surrounding his blunt and unprecedented visit with

"Seyed Hassan Khomeini", the grandson of "Ayatollah Khomeini" - the founder of the Islamic republic of Iran,- he, in a somewhat resigning tone, quotes Mr. "Seyed Hassan Khomeini" that "one of the sons of the aides to "Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi" has become a Christian".

In mentioning this news, he continues by quoting "Seyed Hassan Khomeini" that the person who has become a Christian was most likely a political activist in the so called "The Green Movement". He tried to rationalize this by saying, "probably, father and son they argued and fought over something and the father become desperate and unable to answer the criticisms of his son and ends up harshly rebuking his son. So, the son in retaliation claims that he has become and a Christian." At the end of his article, Noorizad expresses the worries of "Seyed Ali Khamenei", as demonstrated in his frequent travels to the city of Qum.

Even though no names were mentioned in this article, one thing is clear that the claim that all this was because of a disagreement between a father and son does not make any sense. It is more likely that the son of the aide to "Ayatollah Mesbah- Yazdi " was arguing with his father over matter related his faith in Christ and for some convenient reason the matter was politicized by connecting it to the Green Movement.
Mesbah-Yazdi's warnings have come back to haunt him

These surprising comments from Noorizad come at a time when on June 1, 2011, Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who is well known for his aggressive, fundamentalist, and often extremist Islamic and Shiite theological views and many have labeled him as the brain power and the theoretician of the Islamic Republic of Iran, had given a very strong and urgent warning regarding the rapid growth of Christianity in Iran. He commented that all the budgetary and other resource allocations designed to eradicate Christianity from Iran had failed. Ironically Christianity had penetrated in the circle of his most trusted confidants.

Nevertheless, the ongoing opposition and anti-Christian campaigns do not end here. Prior to this, "Vahid Khorasani", one of the top elite clerics of the Islamic Republic had warned of the ever-increasing of the Christian converts among the young Iranians. These comments resulted in a wave of oppressive measure that resulted in the arrests of many new Christian believers by the secret police of the intelligence and judicial authorities. He had warned on many occasions that somehow the opportunities available to Christianity in Iran must be curtailed and completely destroyed. (Source)
(Words in Italics are mine)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Muslim Man to His Christian Wife: Convert to Islam or Face Death

 07/07/2011 Pakistan (PCP)-A Christian husband who converted to Islam to marry another woman is attacking and harassing his Christian wife along with his Muslim friends and pressing her to convert to Islam or get ready to die.
In Islam, a non-Muslim man is forbidden from marrying a Muslim woman. If a non-Muslim man wants to marry a Muslim woman, he must convert to Islam.

It is common practice among Christian men who want to marry a second woman, convert to Islam to avoid charges of Islamic adultery laws as Islam preaches and allows polygamy.

Parvez Masih son of Siraj Masih, resident of Latifabad, Hyderabad, Sindh province of Pakistan, establish relationship with another woman and to marry her accepted religion Islam. Pervaz Masih became Mohammad Parvez and then he wanted to bring his first wife in his new home with his son.

Mohammad Parvez had only one option to put pressure on his first wife Surriya Bibi to convert to Islam with her son to stay as his second wife. In Pakistan, Christian marriage cannot be declared null and void in any court of law without concrete evidence of adultery in any marriage partner.

After conversion to Islam, Mohammad Parvez became very powerful and intended to bring her first Christian wife as second wife. The Muslim friends of Mohammad Parvez started harassing Surriya Bibi and forcibly attempted to kidnap her son.(Source)

I pray that my Pakistani sister in Christ, Surriya Bibi, will stay faithful to her Savior, "even unto death. (Revelation 2:10)"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christianity: China’s best bet?

For many, many years, Christianity has dominated what has called "the West." However, the tides have changed in the recent years. Although there are still some very devout Christians living in the west, Christianity has left the West has now been replaced with Secularism and Postmodernism. The majority of the Christians in the world don't live in Western countries like the United States or France. They live in countries like China, where they are persecuted horribly. And it's getting to the point that China may hold the largest number of Christians in the world.

07/05/2011 China (Aljazeera) - Every night, when Yang prays with her seven-year-old daughter, she knows that she is doing something illegal. Like millions of other Chinese Christians, Yang refuses to be a member of one of the official state-sanctioned churches. Instead, she gathers twice a week with two dozen other Protestants in a private living room to pray and sing - far away from the gaze of the Communist Party.

She says she is not opposed to the Chinese government at all, but just wants the freedom of religion that is guaranteed in the Chinese constitution. And she wants her daughter to grow up as a Christian. In China's state-sanctioned churches it is prohibited to share faith with anyone younger than 18.

"Our life has become so hectic, there is so much pressure. When my husband left me, I was devastated. But one of my friends took me to one of their gatherings and I realized that someone loves me. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that there is more in life than just money. I want her to care more about other people," Yang says.

Officially atheist, Communist China is witnessing a massive rise in religiosity. Recent surveys have found that one in every three Chinese consider themselves to be religious. "All Chinese religions have been growing, especially popular or 'folk religion'," explains Daniel Bays, a professor of history and the director of the Asian Studies program at Calvin College in Michigan.

"Protestant Christianity seems to be growing fastest, because it is congregational, providing a social-belonging aspect, leaders can be self-proclaimed, not needing formal credentials."

Historically, China's policies on religion have veered between approval, bloody repression and grudging tolerance. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the new regime was largely tolerant of religion, believing it to be a backward vestige of the country's imperial past and thus doomed to extinction. But, like other religions, Christianity suffered during the mass nationalism and atheism of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). Under the leadership of Mao Zedong, it was viewed as a foreign doctrine that served the interests of capitalist imperialism - an ideology that led to decades of bloody persecution.

A 'thirst for spirituality'
But economic reforms, changing attitudes towards Communism and the liberalization of religious policies during the 1980s have led to a dramatic growth in Christianity. According to China Aid, a US-based human rights group, the number of Christians in China has increased 100-fold since the PRC was founded. Current estimates range from 80 million to 130 million active Christians, including members of so-called house churches.

 In a country of 1.3 billion that figure may not seem too high, but its significance becomes more apparent when compared to the 78 million Chinese that China Daily reports were members of the Communist Party as of June 2010.

"The Cultural Revolution disillusioned Chinese people and the brainwashing atheist education made people thirsty [for] spirituality," says Mark Shan, the spokesperson for China Aid.

Over the past 30 years, Christianity has gradually adapted to local realities and is no longer seen as a faith imported from the West. And while in the West, Christianity may be widely associated with tradition, in China it is increasingly identified with modernity, business and science.

"We should view Christianity as a Chinese religion, not a Western one any longer," says Bays. "There is very little left of viewing Christianity as the religion of the West as it was in the 1950s."

Some experts believe that China could soon be home to the largest Christian population in the world. And the Chinese government has been surprisingly open towards Protestantism - funding the construction of churches and providing seminaries for the training of new church leaders - at least until recently. (Source)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Many Iranian muslims turning to Christ as their Savior

In spite of all the persecution going on in Iran these days, there is some good: many Iranian muslims are turning to Christ Jesus as their Lord and King. This video shows exactly that:

The Persecution of our Iranian brothers and sisters in Christ

This following video shows the type of persecution our brothers and sister in Christ are facing in Iran. Pray that the Lord Jesus will give them the strength to endure.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Martyrdom in Christianity and Martyrdom in Islam

We know of course that there are many martyrs for the Lord Jesus Christ and there have been many within the past centuries. However, the concept of martyrdom exist in Islam as well. One may wonder: what are the difference between Martyrdom in Christianity and Islam? There are numerous differences.  For starters, the Quran commands Muslims to fight 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

Therefore idea of Islamic martyrdom is found in this verse:
               Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. Sura 9:111

In essence, martyrdom in Islam is when someone is killed in the process of killing others. He is doing it so he can have a place in Heaven as these hadiths clearly state:

Sahih al-Bukhari 2787—Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Case into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.”
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.”
Muslims have no assurance of Salvation. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that 19 Muslims decided to fly planes in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.

Martyrdom in Christianity is different. In Christianity, you don't kill so you can get into heaven and don't kill non-Christians. In Christianity, Christian martyrs join Jesus in dying to save, not dying to kill. In their own sufferings, they extend Christ’s sufferings to those for whom he died (Colossians 1:24). The other difference is that they call death gain not because of the secondary benefits of paradise, but because “to depart and be with Christ . . . is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

In Christianity, you are martyred because you love Jesus Christ more than your life, family, or possesions. Hopefully I and everyone of my brothers and sisters in Christ will be willing to die for him because He is worthy that we should do so.

Christian Preacher Harassed and Bullied at Dearborn Arab Festival 2011

While nothing extremely bad happened at this year's Arab Festival. We do see hostility to the gospel (and our brother in Christ) exemplified by Muslims here at this year's Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan (the city with the largest number of Muslims in the U.S.A.):

Pay attention to the statement made by the Mayor of Dearborn, John O'Reilly and see if it's supported by anything our brother in Christ, the preacher faced from these Muslims here at the Arab Festival in Dearborn Michigan.

If you want to see more videos of our brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted in this city, see these videos: