Friday, September 30, 2011

Killings In S. Kordofan Cast Shadow Over Christians In Sudan

The Quran commands Muslims to kill, persecute and oppress our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus:

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.

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.

Qur’an 47:35—Be not weary and fainthearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost.

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—It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Umar that 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.”

Therefore it shouldn't amaze us that Muslims are trying to cleanse northern Sudan of the presence of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

09/29/2011 Sudan (CDN)-Failure by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and allied Islamic militia to distinguish between combatants and civilians in territorial battles in South Kordofan state is due in part to a desire to rid the area of Christianity, local Christians say.

A Christian in the Leri East area of Kadugli who escaped SAF Intelligence agents 18 days after his June 20 arrest from his home said he saw six other Christian detainees taken away, one by one, to be executed over the course of two weeks.

“They were insulting us, saying that this land is an Islamic land and that we were not allowed to be in this land,” he told Compass. “I saw them take my fellow Christians brothers and shoot them in the forest near the place where we were detained.”

While the SAF and its paramilitary allies have targeted members and supporters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement forces, the Christian, who requested anonymity as he is still in hiding, said he was detained simply because he was a Christian. A convert from Islam 10 years ago, he said he was scheduled to be executed the day he escaped.

“I was already dead, so I did not fear being shot dead – I was not worried about my safety any more; after all, I was under their mercy as they thought, but God was in control,” he said.

A former aid worker with a Christian humanitarian agency, he said he was praying throughout the ordeal.
“I was praying despite the fact they were threatening me that I would face the same fate of the six brothers who were shot dead in the forest,” he said.

After the miracle of being able to escape during a lull in their vigil, God rescued him from other potential dangers in his trek to freedom, he said.
“I was interrogated three times at three different check-points, but God covered their eyes to keep them from discovering me,” he said. “I think God is teaching me that I still have a mission to accomplish; that was why he rescued me from the hand of Muslims.”

As do other Christians in the north since South Sudan split from Sudan on July 9, he believes the Islamic government is targeting Christians in an attempt to clear Christianity from South Kordofan – part of a strategy to turn the north into a purely Islamic state.

“This is clearly a planned persecution by the Islamic government,” he said. “My life is in great danger, as they are still looking for me. I may be arrested at any time and even killed.”
Other Christians who have fled the area say many Christians have been killed and church buildings burned by the SAF and Islamic militias.
Armed conflict in Kadugli broke out between southern and northern militaries on June 6 after northern forces seized Abyei in May.

Assurances Questioned

With reports of military forces targeting Christians and churches in South Kordofan, assurances by a Sudanese official this month that sharia (Islamic law) would protect Christians in the north were not warmly received. At a seminar organized by a U.S.-based Christian support group in Khartoum on Sept. 20, Azahry al-Tighani Awad el Sayeed, federal minister of Guidance and Religious Endowments, told church leaders that Islamic law would protect the rights of Christians in Sudan. The statement outraged Christians in Sudan, who voiced their concern that sharia – currently only “a source of legislation,” according to the Interim National Constitution – will become the law itself.

Sudan’s laws and policies already favor Islam, and sharia would make citizenship rights dependent on religion, relegating non-Muslims to second-class status with limited privileges and rights, the Christian leaders said.

“I am against the sharia as a Sudanese Christian because it undermines my basic right and it also does not allow us to co-exist,” said one Christian on condition of anonymity.

Church leaders also objected to hostile rhetoric against Christians by Islamic leaders and government officials, sources said. At some Friday mosque services, imams exhort their followers to decline to cooperate with Christians, and in some cases not even greet them because they are “infidels,” they said.
They also objected to government leaders labeling churches as foreign institutions with links to the West.

“Some people think that the church is a foreign institution existing to implement foreign agendas, but the fact is that is totally false and baseless,” said the unnamed Christian.

Bishop Ezekiel Kondo of Episcopal Church of Sudan said that Christians have long faced discrimination, and that the government still denies permits to acquire and build church buildings. He also criticized the ongoing Islamization of school curricula that omits the history of Christian kingdoms from textbooks(Source).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Iran: Pastor Nadarkhani refuses to recant during trial

9/26/2011 Iran (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) – Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has twice refused to recant his Christian faith during two court hearings held in Rasht, Gilan Province on 25 and 26 September. Sources close to CSW indicate that recanting will again be demanded at sessions scheduled for 27 and 28 September, and that if he continues to refuse, he will be executed thereafter.

Pastor Nadarkhani was tried and found guilty of apostasy (abandoning Islam) in September 2010 by the court of appeals in Rasht. The verdict was delivered verbally in court, while written confirmation of the death sentence was received nearly two months later. At the appeal in June 2011, the Supreme Court of Iran upheld Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s sentence, but asked the court in Rasht, which issued the initial sentence, to re-examine whether or not he had been a practicing Muslim adult prior to converting to Christianity.  The written verdict of the Supreme Court’s decision included provision for annulment of the death sentence if Pastor Nadarkhani recanted his faith.

Following investigation, the court in Rasht has ruled that Pastor Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim adult before becoming a Christian.  However, the court has decided that he remains guilty of apostasy because he has Muslim ancestry.  Pastor Nadarkhani’s lawyer, Mr Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, has made it clear to the court that the repeated demand for recanting is against both Iranian law and the constitution.  The court replied that the verdict of the Supreme Court must be applied, regardless of the illegality of the demand.

death sentence for apostasy is not codified in the Iranian Penal Code.  However, using a loophole in Iran’s constitution, the judges in Rasht based their original verdict on fatwas by Ayatollahs Khomeini, the “father” of Iran’s revolution in 1979, Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, and of Makarem Shirazi, currently the most influential religious leader in Iran.

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, of the Church of Iran denomination, was arrested in his home city of Rasht on 13 October 2009 while attempting to register his church. His arrest is believed to have been due to his questioning of the Muslim monopoly on the religious instruction of children in Iran. He was initially charged with protesting; however the charges against him were later changed to apostasy and evangelising Muslims. His lawyer, Mr Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, a prominent Iranian human rights defender, is also facing legal difficulties. On Sunday 3 July a court in Tehran sentenced Mr Dadkhah to nine years in jail and a 10-year ban on practicing law or teaching at university for "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime". He is currently appealing the sentence.

CSW’s Special Ambassador Stuart Windsor said, “CSW is calling on key members of the international community to urgently raise Pastor Nadarkhani’s case with the Iranian authorities. His life depends on it, and we have grave concerns regarding due process in this case, and also in that of his lawyer, Mr Dadkhah. The verdict handed down to Pastor Nadarkhani is in violation of the international covenants to which Iran is a signatory, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICPPR), which guarantees freedom of religion and freedom to change one’s religion. It also violates article 23 of the Iranian Constitution, which states that no-one should be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief(Source).”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Indonesian Christians Respond With Forgiveness After Church Bombing

9/27/11 Indonesia (MNN) ― A suicide bomber killed only himself in an attack on an Indonesian church on Sunday. There were at least 11 believers seriously injured. Nine remain in the hospital, two in critical condition due to lodged shrapnel in a girl's skull and her father's back. The state of the church building is still unknown.

Pastor Yonathan had been preaching about the martyrdom of Stephen when nails, nuts and bolts burst through the sanctuary in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, confirms Open Doors, USA. The 100 members of the church began to scream and run out of the building. The bomber apparently detonated the bomb directly outside the church's front door.

Paul Estabrooks with Open Doors says the reasons behind the attacks may be complicated, but essentially it's a matter of Muslim extremist agendas. "The strong Muslim community -- and especially the extremist group among them -- wants to establish Sharia law throughout the island," explains Estabrooks. "They see the church as the biggest stumbling block in the way of their plan."

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. A move for Islamic law is no surprise, and Estabrooks says believers even expect such attacks. As a result, Sunday's church bombing is unlikely to hinder Christian progress. "I think, in time, we will see some good come out of this in some way," says Estabrooks. "I think the believers realize that and are trusting God for that."

Believers are traumatized and in need of prayer for healing, but just two days later some are already responding with Christ's grace. One of the injured victims, Hari Daniel Restono, told Open Doors that he forgives the bomber.

"A young, 17-year-old injured victim of this terrible explosion says that he's already forgiven the bomber because he thought that what he was doing was the right way to practice his religion," says Estabrooks. This kind of forgiveness may open doors to share Christ's love and the message of salvation(Source).

Christian Marriage Counselor Appeals To European Court Of Human Rights After Facing Religious Discrimination

And there is yet again another example of persecution over here in the West. We Westerners aren't immune from persecution. The Western persecution mayhem continues.

09/26/2011 UK (Mail Online)-A marriage counsellor who was fired for refusing to give sex therapy to homosexual couples has taken a discrimination case to a European court. Gary McFarlane’s religious discrimination case has been backed by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.

Lobby group Christian Concern confirmed he was among tens of thousands of people writing to David Cameron, calling on him to support Mr McFarlane in his action at the European Court of Human Rights.
And he is one of four Christians taking legal action at a landmark hearing because they believe British laws have failed to protect their human rights to wear religious symbols or opt out of gay rights legislation.

Mr McFarlane, from Bristol, was sacked by marriage guidance service Relate in 2008 after he said he could not do anything to promote gay sex. The former church elder has again appealed on the grounds of religious discrimination that Relate had refused to accommodate his religious beliefs.

He lost his appeal for unfair dismissal at Bristol Crown Court in April 2010 and accused senior judges of being biased against Christianity. Mr. McFarlane started training with the service in May 2003 and said he enjoyed good relationships with clients and colleagues. He was suspended after meetings with his manager in October 2007 in which he claimed he was asked to state his views regarding same-sex couples.

Christian Concern is also backing three other cases including that of Christian nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was moved to a paperwork role after refusing to remove a necklace bearing a crucifix. Her case has been joined by registrar Lilian Ladele, who was disciplined after she refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies. British Airways worker Nadia Eweida is also being supported after she was sent home for refusing to move or hide a necklace with a cross.

But a gay and lesbian charity today condemned the news that Mr McFarlane was taking his case to a European Court. Campaign and lobby group Stonewall was "shocked and deeply disturbed" when the Equality and Human Rights Commission announced in July its intention to intervene in Gary McFarlane's case. A spokesman said: "Gary McFarlane, had explicitly declined to deliver publicly-funded services to gay people.

"We were disturbed by the Commission's lack of recognition that its involvement would confuse what is now a settled legal position(Read More).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Professor Says Vanderbilt Suppressing Christian Student Groups Amid Shutdown Threats

And by suppression of Religion in the article below, they are talking about suppression of Christianity. If this had been a Muslim complaining about this there would have been an uproar.

Is Vanderbilt University flirting with the suppression of religion? Yes, according to Carol Swain, a professor at Vanderbilt’s Law School.

Specifically, Swain is referring to four Christian student groups being placed on "provisional status" after a university review found them to be in non-compliance with the school’s nondiscrimination policy.
Vanderbilt says the student organizations cannot require that leaders share the group’s beliefs, goals and values. Carried to its full extent, it means an atheist could lead a Christian group, a man a woman’s group, a Jew a Muslim group or vice versa.

If they remain in non-compliance, the student organizations risk being shut down.
So what’s behind this? Flashback to last fall. An openly gay undergrad at Vanderbilt complained he was kicked out of a Christian fraternity. The university wouldn’t identify the fraternity, but campus newspaper the "Hustler" reported it was Beta Upsilon Chi. As a result, the school took a look at the constitutions of some 300 student groups and found about a dozen, including five religious groups to be in non-compliance with Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy. All were placed on provisional status.
Among the groups threatened with shut down is the Christian Legal Society. It ran afoul with this language from its constitution. “Each officer is expected to lead Bible studies, prayer and worship at chapter meetings.” CLS President Justin Gunter told me, “We come together to do things that Christians do together. Pray, and have Bible studies.”
To that, Rev. Gretchen Person – interim director of the Office of Religious Life at Vanderbilt – responded “Vanderbilt policies do not allow this expectation/qualification for officers.” Gunter has been negotiating with the university and has taken some language out of the CLS constitution - including the requirement that Student Coordinators “should strive to exemplify Christ-like qualities.” But he says he has to draw the line at the requirement regarding Bible studies, prayer and worship.
He told me, “At the point where they’re saying we can’t have Bible studies and prayer meetings as part of our constitution – if we go beyond that – we’re compromising the very identity of who we are as Christians and the very thing we believe as religious individuals.”
Vanderbilt officials refused to be interviewed, and instead released a statement saying in part "We are committed to making our campus a welcoming environment for all of our students." In regard to the offending student organizations, officials said they "continue to work with them to achieve compliance." 
CLS’s Gunter says his group’s membership is open to anyone, but leaders have a different requirement. “CLS is a Christian organization”, he told me. “That means to preserve our integrity, we need Christian leaders.”
Carol Swain is CLS’s faculty advisor. She insists the university has gone way beyond political correctness with its actions and demands. “It seems reasonable”, she told me, “to require that leaders share the beliefs of the organizations that they seek to lead.” She sees this as part of a larger problem at liberal-leaning universities across the nation. She says, “I see it as part of a larger attack on religious freedom that’s taking place across the country – particularly when it comes to conservative groups(Source).

UK Doctor Speaks Out After Accusations Of Misconduct For Sharing Faith

You remember that British doctor who got in trouble for sharing his Christian faith with his patient (you can see that article here)? He's now speaking and trying to clear his name as well.

09/22/2011 UK (Mail Online)-Christian GP Dr Richard Scott outside the General Medical Council (GMC) hearing in Manchester A doctor accused of ‘inappropriately’ discussing his devout Christian faith during a consultation with a patient yesterday launched a legal battle to avoid being sanctioned.

Dr Richard Scott, 51, appeared before a disciplinary hearing after allegedly talking to the patient about Jesus in a way the General Medical Council described as ‘insensitive, exploitative and inappropriate’.

The married GP is one of six Christian partners at a medical centre which states on its website that spiritual matters are likely to be discussed with patients during consultations. But yesterday Dr Scott, who was educated at Cambridge, began a fight to clear his name after the mother of one of his patients complained he had tried to foist his faith on her son.

Dr Scott, who used to be a medical missionary in Tanzania and India, says he gave the patient a full medical consultation, but felt he needed help to get out of a rut. So at the end of the appointment, he began talking about his own Christian belief, saying it could give him ‘comfort and strength’. But afterwards, the 24-year-old told his mother ‘he just said I need Jesus’, prompting her to file a complaint.

Paul Ozin, counsel for the GMC, said: ‘A line was crossed because Dr Scott expressed his personal religious belief to a person who he knew was a vulnerable patient in a way that was plainly liable to cause the patient distress.

‘He suggested Jesus or Christianity – his own religion – offered something exclusive and superior to that offered by the patient’s own religion.’ The professional body placed an official warning on Dr Scott’s file as a ‘compromise’. But the GP, a doctor for 28 years, is calling on the GMC to strike out the complaint because it was made by the patient’s mother.

Yesterday the hearing was told that the unnamed patient had been asked to attend the medical tribunal to testify against the GP, but he had not turned up because he was suffering from anxiety.

In an interview last May Dr Scott, a lay preacher, said: ‘I only discussed mutual faith after obtaining the patient’s permission.
‘In our conversation, I said that personally, I had found having faith in Jesus helped me and could help the patient. At no time did the patient indicate that they were offended, or that they wanted to stop the discussion. If that had been the case, I would have immediately ended the conversation.’

‘I wanted to give confidence and inspiration to other Christians who work in the medical profession(Source).’

Sunday, September 25, 2011

California Couple Will Face Further $500 Fines If They Continue To Hold Gatherings

And just when you think that American persecution of Christians couldn't get any worse, the governmnt will fine the couple if they continue to hold Bible studies at their house. I said before, and I'll say it again: This is only step one in Western persecution of Christians.

9/22/11 United States (Christian Post) - A Christian couple from Orange County, Calif., were fined earlier this month for holding Bible studies and for what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people” in their homes. They have now been told they face a $500 fine if they continue to hold their home Bible study gatherings.

According to reports, the local officials complained that Chuck and Stephanie Fromm were operating as a church in their home and fined them $300. The city said the couple violated a municipal code that prohibits "religious, fraternal or non-profit" organizations in residential neighborhoods without a conditional-use permit," the Capistrano Dispatch reported. They will face a further $500 fine if they continue to hold the gatherings at their home premises in the city of San Juan Capistrano.

The case has been highlighted by religious groups as a violation of religious freedom. Pacific Justice Institute, a religious legal non-profit group in Sacramento, has taken up the couple’s case. According to CBS Los Angeles, Stephanie Fromm said they will need to obtain a conditional use of permit in order to hold the gatherings in the city.

Brad Dacus, the attorney representing the couple, said the Fromm’s appeal had been rejected by city officials. The couple is ready to appeal the decision to the California Superior Court in Orange County and even take it to the Federal Courts if necessary.

"Imposing a heavy-handed permit requirement on a home Bible study is outrageous," said Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, in a statement.

“We’re just gathering and enjoying each other’s company and fellowship. And we enjoy studying God’s word,” Stephanie Fromm told CBS2. Over 20 Bible study groups meet in the city of San Juan Capistrano, according to Dacus. He added that the city “needed some kind of rational basis to justify their rigid intolerance towards this family for having a Bible study in their home.”

However, district attorney Omar Sandoval said, “The Fromm case further involves regular meetings on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons with up to 50 people, with impacts on the residential neighborhood on street access and parking.”

"How dare they tell us we can't have whatever we want in our home," Stephanie Fromm said. "We want to be able to use our home. We’ve paid a lot and invested a lot in our home and backyard … I should be able to be hospitable in my home(Source)."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

UK Christian Doctor Struggling To Clear His Name After Accused Of Misconduct For Discussing Faith

And the Western Persecution of my brethren continues. It's only a matter of time before we Christians over here in the West start facing the same persecution our brethren in China, Somalia and Pakistan are facing as seen in this article.

09/23/2011 UK (Christian Today)-A Christian doctor is still trying to clear his name after a complaint was made against him for speaking about his faith with a patient. Dr Richard Scott, 51, was in Manchester yesterday for a disciplinary hearing into comments he made to a patient during a one-to-one consultation at the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate, Kent, in August 2010.

The complaint was made by the mother of the 24-year-old patient after he told her that Dr Scott had suggested the Christian faith could help him. The General Medical Council (GMC) offered to resolve the issue by placing an official warning on Dr Scott’s file.

It went to a full hearing after Dr Scott challenged the GMC’s decision on the grounds that an official warning would be unacceptable for his reputation and on his official file. He continues to defend his conduct, saying that he only discussed faith with the patient after asking their permission and that he had acted professionally and within the guidelines. Dr Scott had expected to cross-examine the patient at yesterday’s hearing and challenge their claims, but was unable to do so after the patient failed to turn up.

According to advocacy group Christian Concern, the GMC has decided to pursue the case with or without the witness, prompting concerns for other doctors. It warns that without the possibility of cross-examining a complainant, doctors will be made “extremely vulnerable to allegations” as they typically see patients in private. Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern’s partner organisation, the Christian Legal Centre, said the GMC appeared “determined” to punish Dr Scott. She said: “An experienced GP has spent 48 hours in an aborted disciplinary hearing in Manchester when he could and should be helping his patients in Kent.

Dr Scott expressed his shock at the way in which his case had been handled by the GMC.

“I am astounded that the GMC are continuing to pursue this allegation on the basis of hear-say evidence from a witness that will not turn up. This case should have been struck-out, but the GMC appears to be determined to pursue this.”

“I cannot imagine that any court in the land would act like this, and so, on behalf of every GP I must insist that proper professional standards on cross examination be adopted in all disciplinary hearings(Source).

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Than 100 Christians Killed In Nigeria’s Plateau State

09/22/2011 Nigeria (CDN)-A rash of attacks by armed Muslim extremists on villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state in the past month have left more than 100 Christians dead, including the elimination of entire families, sources said. In a guerilla-type “hit and run” attack on the Christian community of Vwang Kogot, Muslim attackers at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 9 killed 14 Christians, including a pregnant woman. Survivors of the attack told Compass that the assailants raided the village with the aid of men in military uniforms of the Nigerian Army.

Many of the victims were members of a single family surnamed Danboyi.

“We heard gunshots in our village and realized that the sound was coming from a neighbor’s house, so we quickly ran to find out what was happening but saw a soldier at the entrance of the house with a gun ready to shoot at anybody who comes around, and at the same time preventing those inside from escaping,” village resident Markus Mamba told Compass. “We couldn’t get any closer because we were hearing gunshots at random, and we had no weapons with us to use to withstand the might of those soldiers, as there were quite a number of them around the house.”

Hiding, Mamba and others could only observe the killing, he said.

“After the soldiers and the Muslims left, we rushed into the place to see the destruction they did,” he said. “We discovered that 14 people were killed. Among them was a pregnant woman who died with a child in her womb – bringing the number of deaths to 15 persons. We also observed that the victims died from gun and machete wounds.”

Gyang Badung survived the attack, but his wife, four children, mother, grandmother and a nephew did not, he told Compass.

“I came home in the evening and had my meal, and right after I finished, I heard strange movement around our house and suddenly heard gunshots everywhere as my house was being attacked,” Badung said. He jumped through his bedroom window and ran to a farm behind his house, he said.

“I waited in the bush, helpless, not knowing what to do until they left,” he said. “I saw more than nine people who came to attack us leaving into the bush and going away from our village. When I returned home, I found out that my whole family had been killed except for two sons, who were injured but survived, and my father who also narrowly escaped and ran into the bush.”

The ages of the children he lost were 15, 9, 5, and 4. His two injured sons are receiving hospital treatment.
Vou Mallam, another survivor of the attack, was with her husband and children when the raiders broke into their house. She escaped death when she found a hiding place in one of the rooms. Her husband, only son and grandchildren were killed.

“After our evening meal, we prayed and asked the children to go to bed,” she told Compass. “Suddenly we heard gunshots in our house, so I quickly crawled into the children’s room and put off the lamp and crawled again to hide under the bed in another place. I saw a soldier with a gun coming into the room, but he did not see me, and I heard some of them saying by the window, ‘There is nobody here.’

“But it was like they heard a movement and immediately started shooting. That was how they killed my husband in the place he was hiding, and my only son and his children in the other room were all killed.”
She said she heard the assailants speaking the Fulani language.

Ethnic Fulani are primarily Muslim nomads in Nigeria whom militant Muslims appear to be enlisting to attack Christian communities due to the Fulanis’ expert understanding of the terrain of rural communities, area Christians said. Having lived their lives as nomads with their cattle, the Fulani have acquired the skills to surmount tough environmental challenges, area residents believe.

Dachung Dagai, pastor of a Church of Christ in Nigeria congregation in Vwang Kogot, told Compass that the village has been attacked three times since he arrived eight months ago.

“I was transferred here on Jan. 5,” he said. “The second day of my being in this place, the Muslim attackers attacked this village, and after two weeks they came again and attacked our village, killing two of our members.”

Dagi reported that assault and two subsequent attacks to security agencies, but no action has been taken, he said.

“No help or relief from the government has been received by our people,” Dagai said. “We’ve just been living with the horror of not knowing what will happen next.”

Dagai said their main concern is that Nigerian army soldiers have been involved in each attackRead more.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are Chinese Christians Threatened by Freedom?

9/21/11 China (WND) For decades Christianity in China has been officially and forcibly repressed: Believers have been arrested, house churches broken up and Bibles restricted. And the community of the faithful has grown by estimates as high as thousands per day.

Now, religious freedom is growing along with Westernization in the Middle Kingdom and the discovery that businesses that operate by Christian concepts often are the most successful.
Is that good for Christianity?

Maybe not completely, says one expert.

"One of the ironies is that the great teacher for the global church of how the church thrives not in prosperity but under persecution is the Chinese Christian movement from the time of the Cultural Revolution until the present," said Open Doors President Carl Moeller.

"Chinese Christians themselves are really the great teachers to the Western church in this area that they in fact know that the secret to a healthy, growing and powerful Christian movement is not a wealthy, prosperous, materially affluent church but a church that has learned to endure hardship because of the truth of their message," Moeller told WND.

"In that refining fire of persecution, it's come away with a more rigorous, tested faith. So, one sense or another, maybe the seeds of the future weakness of the Chinese church might be planted if they are now being more sympathetic to a prosperity theology," he said.

His concern is partly because of how Chinese society is impacting the growth of the Christian church in China. Recent reports from Christian human rights and missions groups say the Chinese church is experiencing explosive growth. Moeller notes that the church is growing quickly among young people, because they have discovered a powerful dynamic.

"The younger generation is, in fact, now seeing as an addition to the spiritual dynamic of Christian theology a very practical dynamic of Christianity being an advantage economically," Moeller said.

The estimates for the number of Christians in China range from between 60 million to 100 million, and International Christian Concern's China analyst Kris Elliott says the increase is the result of several social factors.

"From what I've seen until the recent months, Christianity was allowed to operate in China without much persecution. There had been substantial progress in getting Christians more freedom there," Elliott said.
"Even though we talk about the fact that there are illegal house churches there, the government pretty much knew in some places where those churches were and they were allowed to operate under the radar without much interference from the government," Elliott said.

But she said the advent of the so-called "Arab Spring" of revolutionary actions across the Middle East and in northern Africa prompted Chinese officials again to begin pulling the reins.

"With revolutions taking place in other places in the world such as Egypt and Syria, the government has been tightening up control on its people to try to ensure that a revolution couldn't take place," Elliott said.
She said that in itself may not necessary be bad for Christians.

"In that environment of persecution we know the church always grows very strongly. The Lord told us that would happen and that has happened for 2,000 years," Elliott said.

China's culture, economy and even government have been heavily influenced by capitalism in recent decades. And the result of that has been a greater return for the workers, business operators and others. It also has allowed Christianity a greater platform.

"Because the regime in China has opened the doors to capitalism over the past 20 years, that has opened up the nation to Western ideas and that goes together with the idea of Christianity," Elliott said. "Capitalism has been influenced very heavily by Christianity and Chinese have been learning more and more about Western religion." She said the fact that people see the answers as coming not from the government or communisms but from God is good(China).

A Christian mother of Five alleges rape

The Quran allows Muslims to rape their female captives:
Sura 4:24
 All married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.

Here would be the context for such a verse:
Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: (Sura 4:24) "And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess."
Sunan Abu-Dawud 2150

Therefore it should come as no surprise that Muslims would rape my sister-in-Christ:

09/21/2011 Pakistan (CDN) — A Christian mother of five was allegedly raped by two Muslim men last week, and area Islamists are threatening to harm her family if charges against the suspects are not dropped, the woman and her husband told Compass.

On Thursday (Sept. 15), the 32-year-old woman said, she was returning home to Mustafabad, in Punjab Province’s Kasur district, from a garment factory where she works. Two Muslims, identified only as 23-year-old Bhallu and 27-year-old Shera, along with an unidentified accomplice, allegedly abducted her at gunpoint, took her to an abandoned house in the area and raped her, she said.

Working late, she had reached the Mustafabad bus stop at 11:45 p.m. and had begun walking to her home five minutes away; the street was deserted, said the alleged victim, whose name is withheld.

“As soon as I entered our street, Bhallu appeared from the shadows and put his hand on my mouth,” she told Compass by phone. “A second person, who I later recognized as Bhallu’s friend Shera, came from behind and put a pistol on my temple. A third person also appeared on the scene, and together they first gagged me and then forcibly took me to an abandoned house. I tried my best to get free from their hold and save myself, but they were too powerful for me.”

Once inside, she said, they took off her gag, and she pleaded with them to leave her alone.
“I tried screaming, but they hit me,” she said, sobbing. “Not for a minute did they acknowledge that I was a mother to five children. Then they raped me, one after the other. Their third accomplice stood guard as they tore in on me like animals.”

She said that her tormentors let her go after more than an hour.
“They had torn my clothes, and I could barely step outside the house,” she said. “I don’t know how I managed to reach my home … Words fail me even now.”

Muslim criminals in Pakistan, where the population is more than 95 percent Muslim according to Operation World, tend to assume they will not be prosecuted if their victims are Christians. The accuser said Muslim men in the area have been harassing Christian women for some time.

“There are around 500 Christian houses in this area, which is predominantly inhabited by Muslims,” she said. “There have been several instances when they have publicly harassed us but have gotten away with it, because we keep silent to avoid a clash.”

A month ago, as she was returning home from work, she was near her house when she suddenly felt someone pulling her head scarf, she said. She turned and found one of Bhallu’s friends holding the head scarf.

“I started screaming, and my husband and a neighbor rushed out, but the boy walked away as if nothing had happened,” she said. “We did not say a word about this to anyone out of shame and fear of the Muslims.”
She said that after that incident, her husband, who works as a sweeper, began accompanying her to and from the bus stop.

“But there were days when he could not accompany me to the bus stop, and I used to walk alone,” she said.
Her husband, Mushtaq Masih, said that he was speechless after she told him about the ordeal.
“We have five children – three boys and two girls – with the oldest daughter studying in sixth grade – I cannot express the thoughts that filled my mind at that time,” Masih said. “The Muslims had ruined us completely, and I did not know what would happen to us if we reported the crime, but seeing my wife devastated, I decided to face the rapists.”

He called police, who visited the crime scene and took the woman to the hospital for a medical examination that proved she had been gang-raped, he said. Police filed a First Information Report (FIR No. 491/11) against Bhallu and his accomplices.

The woman said that she knew Bhallu only because he lived in her neighborhood, and that although she recognized Shera, she did not know his name until the FIR was filed. Masih said that Shera’s name came up during the initial police investigation, and he was in custody when the investigating officer asked Masih to bring his wife to the police station to identify the suspects. Bhallu had fled the area.

His wife said that as they reached the police station, Muslims warned the family against pointing out Shera.
“They told us that they will kill my children and husband if I identify Shera,” she said. “They said that we should not forget that we are chooras [sweepers, a derogatory word for Christians] and can bring no harm to them. They also warned that our daughters would face a similar fate if we did not listen to them.”
She refused to identify Shera and returned home, she said.

“What happened to me should not happen to any of them,” she said. “My children are my world, how could I put their lives in danger? … Please pray that no woman suffers what I have been through.”
Pressure to Drop Charges

Area Christians were shocked. The family continues to receive threats to withdraw the case against the primary suspect, Bhallu, who has been seen in the area several times though police have yet to arrest him, Masih said.

“Our Muslim neighbors are pressuring us to withdraw the case,” he said. “They want us to reach an agreement with Bhallu and his friends. They want us to ‘pardon’ the criminals who have dishonored us.”
Police are using delay tactics in the pursuit of Bhallu, Masih said.

“We told the Mustafabad police in-charge that the Muslims are forcing us to withdraw the case, but he is not bothered,” Masih said. He added that some policemen had also asked him to withdraw the case, saying there was little chance his wife would get justice(Read More).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Catholic Priest in War-Torn Sudanese State Repeatedly Detained

09/19/2011 (CDN)-A Roman Catholic priest of Kadugli parish in Sudan’s embattled South Kordofan is in hiding after being detained three times in the past three months.
Authorities tortured the Rev. Abraham Lual on two of those occasions with accusations that as a Christian he opposes northern forces’ military campaign in the disputed region, he told Compass by phone.
Detained at 10:20 a.m. on Sept. 6 and interrogated for five hours at the security unit’s head office in El-Obied, Lual told Compass that authorities are monitoring his movements and those of other church leaders on the assumption that they are supported by Western Christians opposed to Islam and the north’s military push for territory in South Kordofan.

He was also detained for two days in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, on Aug. 28, and the torture he suffered left him with injuries to his left leg, he said. Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) agents had also arrested him on June 8, accusing him of preaching that people should oppose the Islamic government, he said; authorities tortured him for two days at that time as well.
Lual’s church building had been gutted by fire in the fighting, and during the Aug.28 interrogation authorities threatened to kill him if he returned to visit the burned structure in the war-torn town, he said.
“You are preaching against Islamic government and opposing its teaching and rules,” they said as they beat him, he said.
Lual said it will take him a long time to recover from the trauma of the Aug. 28 mistreatment.
“I am totally traumatized as a result of what they did to me and members of my congregation,” he said. “They have badly mistreated me. I ask God to help me remain strong in faith as well as my displaced members and all Christian communities who are facing persecution.”
Armed conflict in Kadugli broke out between southern and northern militaries on June 6 after northern forces seized Abyei in May.
Christian sources said Sudanese authorities in the Muslim-majority north are targeting Christians in the battle for South Kordofan because officials seek to rid Sudan of Christianity, which they perceive as anti-Islam and pro-West, Christian sources said. Lual said he has become the target of security forces because he is a church leader.
“On my arrival there, they were already monitoring my movements without my knowledge,” he said. “They also asked about who the church is getting money from and who are supporting the missionary activities.”
Lual said he went to Kadugli to see the remnants of the church buildings that were destroyed three months ago, when forces loyal to the Sudan government and supported by Islamic militias “killed Christians and destroyed churches.”
“Most of the congregation members have been displaced, and some of them were even shot dead,” he told Compass by phone. “They are now like sheep without a shepherd.”
Christian sources in South Kordofan have confirmed that SAF and Islamic militias in Kadugli burned church schools and church buildings, he said.
“They burned the Catholic church and looted everything, as well as other churches in Kadugli such as the Sudanese Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Sudan Presbyterian Church of Sudan,” Lual said.

The military forces burned a Catholic guest house in Kadugli and the church’s Comboni School, he added.
“My main concern is my scattered congregation, most of whom have become displaced in their own home land,” he said, “and the Islamic government continues to refuse aid agencies seeking to provide assistance to the stricken displaced, saying that this will give room to Christian organizations to step in and Christianize the region.”

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir told media on Aug. 23 that the government did not want any relief assistance unless humanitarian organizations first handed it over to officials to distribute. Al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur, asserted last year that after the July 9 separation from South Sudan, (north) Sudan would be based on sharia (Islamic law) and Islamic culture, with Arabic as the official language(Source).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

California Couple Fined by City for Hosting Bible Study in Their Own Home

First, I should say that if we as Western Christians in general, and Americans Christians in specific are nursing the cozy illusion that we are immune from persecution, we should think again. Incidents like that seen in the article below could be setting the stage for violent persecution to come. We need to try to protect our freedoms as best we can. Second, the reason for my Californian Christian brethren being sued was ridiculous, absurd and rubbish. It just goes to show how willing some people want to go to persecute my brethren in Christ.

9/20/11 California (Christian Post) - Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, residents of San Juan Capistrano, home to the oldest church in California, were fined $300 for the religious activities, which the city said violated a municipal code that prohibits "religious, fraternal or non-profit" organizations in residential neighborhoods without a conditional-use permit," the Capistrano Dispatch reported.

Chuck Fromm is publisher of Worship Leader Magazine, a Christian music resource that combines biblical wisdom and best practices for worship, and provides added educational and congregational resources through its associated educational services, according to its website. However, the Fromms insist that their weekly meetings are not affiliated with a church, nor are they seeking to establish a church.

"How dare they tell us we can't have whatever we want in our home," Stephanie Fromm said. "We want to be able to use our home. We’ve paid a lot and invested a lot in our home and backyard … I should be able to be hospitable in my home."

The municipal code is "reactive," which means it is only enforced if someone complains. Fromm admitted that at least one person had voiced concern about the activities.

"Can you imagine anybody in any neighborhood, that one person can call and make it a living hell for someone else?" Mrs. Fromm said. "That’s wrong … and it's just sad."

According to the Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit legal group that is working on behalf of the Fromms, there was no noise beyond normal conversation and quiet music on the home stereo system. The group members met inside the family room and patio area of the 4,700-square-foot home.

"Imposing a heavy-handed permit requirement on a home Bible study is outrageous," said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, in a statement.

"In a city so rich with religious history and tradition, this is particularly egregious. An informal gathering in a home cannot be treated with suspicion by the government, or worse than any other gathering of friends, just because it is religious. We cannot allow this to happen in America, and we will fight as long and as hard as it takes to restore this group’s religious freedom(Source)."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mexico Evangelicals Leave Village Amid Crucifixion Threats

9/17/11 Mexico (BosNewsLife) - At least 70 evangelical Christians in Mexico's east-central region were homeless Saturday, September 17, after being expelled by local authorities from their village where traditional Catholics reportedly threatened to "crucify or lynch" them.

The government of Puebla state "bowed" to pressure from the traditional Catholics in San Rafael Tlanalapan village, some 96 kilometers (60 miles) from the capital Mexico City, reported Mexico's leading La Jornada de Oriente newspaper.

Initially about 50 Protestant families were ordered to leave the village by September 12, but some were allowed to stay under condition they would worship outside the area. Additionally they are not allowed to intervene with traditional Catholics, who practice a mix of indigenous and Catholic rituals.

"There is an agreement reached with the local authority that those evangelicals have to go who are not originating from the area as the state government can not guarantee their safety," La Jornada de Oriente quoted regional government official Roberto Solano Pineda as saying.

Witnesses earlier said they saw several evangelicals, including a pastor, arriving with suitcases to quickly pick up their belongings. Traditional Catholics told them  they would be "crucified or lynched" if they dared to stay after the September 12 ultimatum, locals and reporters said. The mayor did not stop the expulsions amid fears he could be expelled himself by Catholics, Mexican media reported.

Catholic Irma Diaz Perez told local television he was pleased as "They will never return, because we have drawn up a document wherein they have no permission to come back now or ever."

A few residents who agreed to discuss the issue with reporters said they regretted that authorities did not pressure local priest, identified as Benítez González, to halt the expulsions.

Tensions date back to 2006 when local Catholics reportedly refused to connect evangelical residents to a water network. Officials also reported attacks against evangelical families in previous years.

Evangelical Pastor Josué Jiménez Ovando said he had provided videos of the attacks to authorities, but the local Catholic church has denied wrongdoing.

There have been several attacks against evangelicals in Mexico, a heavily traditional Catholic nation, and some were held for crimes they did not commit(Source).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Persecution, Communism, and Capitalism: Fuel for Chinese Church Growth

Persecution has always played a roll in spread of Christianity, particularly in China. Now however, it seems like Capitalism is contributing to its growth as well.

9/13/11 China (Christian Post) - Once, immense repression caused the Chinese to convert in droves. Now the BBC speculates that an epidemic of capitalism within the country is turning its people towards God.
Many of China’s Christians are young people who are building their careers and are finding that the corporate world can be a cold and cruel place.

One young Chinese professional told the BBC that their church has been an alternative to the insincerity of corporate networking.

"We have 50 young professionals in this church. Everyone is so busy working, you don't have time for socializing, and even if you are socializing, you are putting on a fake face,” the person said.
"But in church people feel warm, they feel welcome… they feel people really love them so they really want to join the community, a lot of people come for this."

Government statistics say that there are approximately 25 million Christians in China, 18 million Protestants and six million Catholics. However, independent organizations indicate that the figure is much more, and closer to 60 million. Due to China’s vast population and huge scope, it is difficult to tell exactly how many Christians reside in the country; however, the BBC notes that there are more people in church in China on a Sunday than in the whole of Europe.

Due to the past Christianity has had within China, the government still attempts to heavily regulate worship within the country.

Government sanctioned churches only allow religious activity within the houses of worship, and churches must adhere to the slogan, “Love the country, love your religion.”

This however does not prevent Chinese Christians from expressing their faith.

Many note what is being called a “spiritual crisis,” as the cause of China’s continual conversion to Christianity. Many are now falling back to faith, as China has become one of the most aggressive capitalistic societies in the world.

"I think it is very natural that many other people will not be satisfied... will seek some meaning for their lives so that when Christianity falls into their lives, they will seize it very tightly," Professor He Guanghu of Renmin University told the BBC(Source).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Somali Islamists Hunt Down Christians

09/16/2011 Somalia (OneNewsNow)-Violent persecution against Christians continues in Somalia, and one Christian watchdog group thinks Islamic extremists are to blame. The latest incident took place in Hudur City, where Jonathan Racho of International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that "Islamic radicals kidnapped a Christian brother and then beheaded him. His decapitated body was discovered."

"Members of the Islamic radical group al-Shabaab have made their intentions very clear that they want to get rid of Christians in Somalia," Racho notes. Juma Nuradin Kamil is the latest martyr for Christ in the country over which al-Shabaab holds much control.

"They have been hunting down Christians in the country," the ICC spokesman laments. "And wherever they find Christians, they martyr them. So, it's very, very difficult for Christians to freely worship the Lord in Somalia."

Racho is calling for Christians throughout the world to pray that the Christians in Somalia will remain strong in their faith and emerge victoriously from this situation(Source).

And I will be praying. I will be praying that my Somali brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus make up the majority in Somalia someday.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Messianic Jews Singled Out in Israeli Town

9/15/2011 Israel (Compass Direct News) — Messianic Jews in a suburb west of Jerusalem continue to be harassed for following their faith, this time by someone anonymously placing flyers in public areas singling out members of Messianic congregations. The flyers began appearing two weeks ago in the town of Mevasseret Zion. Asher Intrater, leader of the Ahavat Yeshua Congregation, said he thinks the flyers are “an effort to drive us out of the neighborhood.”

The flyers posted the addresses and phone numbers of the Messianic Jews, and in some cases included their photographs. Intrater said he thinks the addresses were placed on the flyers to incite others to harass or harm the Messianic Jews.

“Why else would you put the addresses on the flyers?” he said.
This is the second time in three months that a group has singled out Messianic Jews in Mevasseret Zion for ridicule. On June 26, members of Yad L’Achim, an ultra-Orthodox, anti-Christian group, protested outside the home of Serge and Naama Kogen, a messianic couple.

Yad L’Achim claimed the couple had befriended and then manipulated a teenager into becoming a Christian. The Kogens denied the charge, as did the 16-year-old girl who was the alleged conversion target. The girl’s parents, with considerable help from Yad L’Achim, filed charges against the Kogens and Intrater. The judge found in favor of Intrater and the Kogens and dismissed all the charges.

It is unclear who actually posted the flyers, and Intrater declined to speculate. But the flyers match a well-established pattern in Israel. According to a classified communiqué issued by the U.S. State Department in May 2008 and leaked on Aug. 30 by Internet activist group Wikileaks, “‘Outing’ Messianic Jews and Evangelical Christians through the publication of names, photos and addresses alongside flyers with hysterical allegations about ‘soul stealing’ and ‘brainwashing’ is a favorite tactic of Yad L’Achim branches throughout the country.”

The State Department further noted links between Yad L’Achim and both national and local governments in Israel. “Yad L’Achim and other anti-missionary activists may also have allies, tacit or active, in the Interior Ministry and police departments, where clerks and police officers have wide discretion in deciding which national benefits a person is entitled to and which crimes are worth investigating, given limited resources,” the State Department communiqué said.

As an example of the links, the communiqué referred to comments made by Uzi Aharon, one-time deputy mayor of the Tel Aviv suburb of Or Yehuda. According to the State Department, Aharon told the Israeli daily Ma’ariv in 2008 that the Or Yehuda municipality “operated a team of activists, available 24-hours a day, devoted entirely to uprooting missionary activity, and that the burning [of Christian materials] was a fulfillment of the commandment to ‘burn the evil from your midst.’”

Aharon was a prime player in a May 15, 2008 incident in which, on his instruction, a group of students from a local ultra-Orthodox school collected hundreds of New Testaments from throughout the town. The Bibles were later burned in front of a synagogue.

Kogen said that the flyers in Mevasseret Zion stay up only a brief while before someone rips them down. Intrater added that the latest round of harassment has been viewed as such an invasion of privacy that it may have “backfired a little bit.”

“This is the first time we have seen a positive response from the local government, The Jerusalem Post and possibly the police,” Intrater said(Source).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Christianity in Rural China: Strong and Growing

9/14/11 China (Huffington Post) - "Every inch of soil beneath my feet was red, glittering under the frail winter sun, as if it had been soaked with blood." The place reminded me of an old Chinese saying, "Heaven is high above and the emperor is far away," which refers to regions that are so distant and isolated that they seem to fall beyond the reach of both divine and secular powers. I wondered how it was possible for Christianity, a foreign faith, to find its way and grow in such isolated locations, where the vast modernization that was sweeping other parts of China had not yet reached.

Peasants still eked out a meager living by plowing tiny plots of terraced land with hoes and shovels. Television was still a luxury, and many had never heard of refrigerators, not to mention computers or the internet. Medical care was almost non-existent -- for example, when one of the villagers fell sick, it took the villagers six hours to carry him to the nearest hospital. En route, on the bumpy road, he expired. The itinerary medical service of Dr. Sun was the only hope for the inhabitants of those remote villages.
As the interviews progressed, I found a pattern -- locals had inherited their Christian faith from their parents and grandparents who had benefited from the teachings of a certain foreign missionary. Was the missionary English, French, German, American, Australian or New Zealander? They didn't know. To them, it was not important. Through the efforts of that foreign missionary, who had found a fertile ground to plant the seeds of faith, Christianity had taken root earlier than it had in other parts of China. Three or four generations later, Christianity was part of the heritage of each individual family and an integral part of local history.

The path of Christianity was also filled with strife and blood.

"Sometimes, devils often follow the footsteps of God to undo his work," a local Christian whispered to me, referring to the period in the 1940s when the Communists forced their way in there, and Mao Zedong's atheist ideology clashed violently with the Christian faith. A preacher, Wang Zhiming, led the Christian movement in the ethnic Miao villages after the Western missionaries had retreated from China. During the Cultural Revolution, when the Party denied him the right to pray -- he acted in defiance. As expected, he was arrested while leading a prayer session inside a mountain cave, and was brutally executed following a public condemnation meeting. His tongue was cut out of his mouth and his body was blown into bits.

In the Mao era, local Christians were not allowed to pray and attend church, and were forced to accept the Communist ideology. They complied but only a few openly denounced their faith. Some brave Christians gathered secretly for services. As a result, Christianity survived, and a few years after Mao Zedong's death, it came back again with a vengeance. Village after village became Christian territory. While Christians in China's major cities are greatly divided over the government-sanctioned churches, but villagers here are not so political. They attend Sunday service at government-sponsored churches but also participate in services held by family pastors. It is not uncommon to see families display Chairman Mao's portrait side by side with that of Jesus on their living room walls.

I live in the cities, where Christianity has also flourished in the post-Mao era but with a distinctive foreign identity. Many new converts, who are educated and well-off professionals or retirees, have embraced Christianity the way they do Coke-Cola or a Volkswagen -- believing that a foreign faith, like foreign-made products, has better quality. Here in the Yi villages, Christianity is now as indigenous as qiaoba, a special Yi buckwheat cake.

In these remote corners, I have discovered a center point, where East met West, and although there has been a collision of cultures, there is now a new Christian identity that is distinctively Chinese.
The circuitous mountain path in Yunnan Province is red because over many years it has been soaked with blood(Source).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Muslim Extremists In Sudan Threaten To Target Christians

I think it's time we got on our knees and prayed that Christ would protect his followers in Northern Sudan since Muslims want the Christian presence to vanish. They've wanted it to vanish since they seceded from the Southern part of Sudan on July 9th. I'm really scared for them.

09/13/2011 Sudan (CDN)-Muslim extremists have sent text messages to at least 10 church leaders in Khartoum saying they are planning to target Christian leaders, buildings and institutions, Christian sources in Khartoum said.

“We want this country to be purely an Islamic state, so we must kill the infidels and destroy their churches all over Sudan,” said one text message circulating in Khartoum last month. The text messages were sent in July and August.

Church leaders here said they fear more persecution as they and their flocks become targets of local Islamists. In addition, Muslim extremists from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh arrive in Sudan every two weeks to undergo training in secret camps in Khartoum before they are sent to various parts of Sudan to preach Islam and demolish church buildings, according to a Christian source in Khartoum.

On July 18 a group of Muslim extremists attacked the home of Anglican Church of Sudan Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail in an attempt to kill him and two other pastors, Luka Bulus and Thomas Youhana, who all happened to be out of the house at the time, sources said. No one was hurt, but the assailants left a threatening letter warning them of similar attacks.

Bulus is a supporter of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, a southern Sudan militant group long locked in battle with northern government forces, further making him a target of Islamic extremists. Bishop Elnail, whose church building the Sudanese military burned in June in war-torn Kadugli of South Kordofan region, oversees Nuba Mountain Episcopal churches as head of the Kadugli Episcopal Diocese. Bulus confirmed the July 18 house attack, which took place in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, at around 7 p.m., by telephone from his hiding place. Muslim extremists are still searching for him, the sources said.

“We are aware of your anti-Islamic activities,” the letter left in Bishop Elnail’s home states. “We have been monitoring the evangelization that you carry out these days, and therefore we declare Jihad against you.”
The letter left on the gate of the bishop’s house asserts that Sudan is an Islamic land, and that the authors secretly plan to carry out a series of attacks to destroy church buildings across “Sudan,” which denotes the north following the secession of South Sudan on July 9.

“We declare Jihad against you in order to protect Muslims from your infidel influence, because you are the enemy of Islam,” it states. Christian sources in Khartoum said they take the threats seriously.

“These people are not joking – they can kill any Christian,” said a church leader who requested anonymity for security reasons.

Elnail of the Kadugli Episcopal Diocese told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Africa on Aug. 4 that he was not sure he would be alive if he had not been called to Washington, D.C. to testify.
“I am told that armed men went house to house, searching for me, calling my name,” Elnail reportedly told the congressional representatives.

In an incident on June 28, Muslim extremists burned down a church building belonging to the Lutheran Evangelical Church of the Sudan at 7:38 p.m. in Omdurman. Christian sources said two people were seen running out of the church building as it went up in flames.

“The Muslims are targeting our church in fear that many Muslims will leave Islam for Christianity,” says a Lutheran Evangelical Church of the Sudan letter, written in Arabic, that was circulated to churches in Khartoum. The destroyed Evangelical Lutheran Church building was opposite the Ansar Al Suna Mosque, where preachers publicly insult Christianity every Friday, a Christian source said.

Hostilities toward Christians by the Islamic government in Khartoum began to increase last year following a statement by President Omar al-Bashir, when he asserted that his second republic would be based on sharia (Islamic law) and Islamic culture, with Arabic as the official language. The Rev. Ramadan Chan Liol, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, told Ecumenical News International last month that threats have caused Christians to stay away from some church services, and some government leaders have ordered pastors to close down churches without proper documentation(Source).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chinese House Church Leaders Released from Grueling Labor Camps

9/12/11 China (MNN Online) - Since September 13, 2009, Fao Fuqin, Zhao Guoai, Yang Caizhen, Yang Hongzhen and Li Shuangpin have experienced physical and psychological torment in a Chinese labor camp. All five men are leaders in the 50,000 member Linfen church, a house church movement in China.

The men were arrested in the aftermath of an attack on Linfen, when over 400 local police, government officials, and hired men attacked one of the church branches. In the attack, they demolished a church building and clashed with several hundred members of the church, sending 30 to the hospital. Five church leaders were detained and sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years during a one-day show trial, and five were sentenced to two years of re-education through labor.

Police still occupy the site where the main Linfen church building stands. The church's members are scattered, but they continue to meet and worship in private homes. The five leaders who were recently released have suffered much but now feel strong. "We who have been released express our most sincere gratitude to the brothers and sisters around the world who have been concerned about us and who have helped us. May God remember your prayers and what you did. God is with us all," the five told ChinaAid.
Even though their own freedom is secure, they now plead with Christians around the world to intercede in prayer for the five other men who remain in prison.

"We sincerely urge all brothers and sisters around the world to pray for Linfen church... At the same time, we also ask brothers and sisters to remember in prayer the Linfen leaders who are still suffering in jail," the five told ChinaAid. "May the Lord move the police to release them early so that they can be reunited with their families(Source)."

Madhya Pradesh: Pentecostal Pastors And Eleven Hindus Who Wanted Baptism Arrested

09/13/2011 India (AsiaNews)-Insulted, beaten and charged with false accusations of forced conversions of five Hindu activists by the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). This is what happened yesterday in Madhya Pradesh to four Pentecostal pastors, and the wife of one of the11 faithful. After a night in jail, they were released on bail today. It is the latest episode of aggression by Hindu nationalists against Pentecostal pastors.

But Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) points out: "The situation is alarming for all Christians, Madhya Pradesh is a rogue state that does not guarantee any rights of the Constitution in this community."

Pastors Ramesh, Balu and Ashok were driving to a prayer meeting attended by 20 other people. Of these, 11 were to have received the baptism ritual according to Pentecostal ritual. Suddenly, the RSS activists armed with sticks broke into the house, along with three local police officers.

The pastors tried to explain what was happening, but the activists began to attack them accusing them of practicing forced conversions. After arresting the men and Sumantra, the wife of the rev. Ramesh, the police questioned the 11 baptized. Along with the Hindu group, the police tried to coerce the faithful to file false charges against Pastor Ramesh on charges of forced conversions. The group refused, saying they wanted to be baptized as believers in Christ.
In March, the government has attempted to carry out a survey on the Christian population in Madhya Pradesh: number of schools, churches and priests, financial situation, foreign income and any political patronage, details of Christians with a criminal record. Following protests, the survey was blocked(Source).