Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Police In Pakistan Beat Pregnant Christian, Husband For 3 Days

I'm always happy when I hear of the bravery and strong faith my persecuted brethren in Christ as seen in the article below. It encourages me and shows that maybe I could be just as bold as they are:

11/29/2011 Pakistan (Compass Direct) - A Christian couple is facing false charges of theft after police in Abbottabad severely beat the pregnant woman and her husband for three days when they refused to confess, they told Compass. Salma Emmanuel was taken to a hospital in critical condition on Nov. 7, the life of her unborn child also threatened, she said.

In Abbottabad, 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of Islamabad in the Hazara region of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, the 30-year-old Emmanuel and her husband, Emmanuel Rasheed, a 39-year-old TV repairman, said that they were inexplicably arrested after the Muslim woman who employed Emmanuel as a maid had allowed the Christian woman to temporarily store some of her jewelry at her employer’s house.

Emmanuel told Compass by phone that police arrested them on Nov. 5, keeping her at the Women’s Police Station for interrogation and her husband at the City Police Station – where they told Rasheed he would be released, he said, if he renounced Christ and became a Muslim.

Emmanuel said that upon reaching the police station, an inspector identified only as Nazia and two other policewomen started punching and kicking her and striking her with batons, demanding that she “confess her crime.”

“I begged them for mercy, pleading that I am five months pregnant, but they continued their merciless onslaught for over three hours,” she said. ‘They continued to try to force me to admit to the crime, even threatening that they would kill my baby, but I refused to confess a false allegation.”

She said that after three days, when she was “on the verge of dying,” police called her brother-in-law to the station and told him to take her to a hospital.

“I had complete faith in Jesus and trusted that He would rescue me and Emmanuel from this great problem,” she said. “It was our faith that kept us going …this was the first time either of us had ever encountered the police, let aside being charged in any case, so you can imagine what we underwent.”

Emmanuel was treated at Benazir Shaheed Hospital, where doctors began efforts to save her and the fetus.

 As Emmanuel was fighting for her life at the hospital, Rasheed was undergoing a similar treatment at the City Police Station.

“The police beat me up mercilessly,” he said. “They kept on asking me to confess to the burglary, but I did not submit to their pressure. It was Eid al-Adha [Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, a three-day public holiday in Pakistan] on Nov. 7, and their torture continued during those days.”
Rasheed said police tried to convert him to Islam while he was in custody.

“A policeman offered to remove the theft charges against me if I was willing to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam,” he said. “I told him that no matter what happens, I will not renounce my faith, nor would I confess the false charges made against us.”

The couple has three children – the oldest 12, the youngest 5 – so one of the parents stays home with them when the other goes to work, Rasheed said.

 “We may be poor, but our poverty has never shaken our faith in God,” Rasheed said. “He has always provided for our needs, and I knew He would release us from this misery because we are innocent.”
He happily told how police were unable to find any evidence against the couple, leading to his release from jail on bail on Nov. 17. His wife’s bail hearing has been set for Dec. 8(Source). 

Christian Worker Fired At Britain’s Heathrow Airport For “Insulting Muslims”

And the persecution of my British brethren in Christ continues. Only this time it seems to involves the special status that Islam demands. This angers me because if it was the other way around, if a Muslim was fired for insulting Christians there would be an uproar. The double standards never cease to infuriate me.

11/29/2011 United Kingdom (CIC) -  A Christian worker at London’s Heathrow Airport has been dismissed after claims she insulted Muslims, raising fears that "radical Islam" has now arrived "at the heart of the UK border," her defense team and supporters told BosNewsLife Tuesday, November 29.  Advocacy group Christian Concern (CC) said Nohad Halawi, who worked in the airport's duty-free section as a perfume saleswoman for 13 years, was "summarily fired" in July following "un-substantiated complaints by five Muslims about her conduct".

CC said the dismissal came although she has "many friends of different religions amongst the staff." It appears, the group explained, that Muslims "took offense at something Mrs. Halawi said after mishearing her. She had described a Muslim colleague as an allawhi - 'man of God' in Arabic, yet another worker who overheard her thought she said Alawi, which was his branch of Islam."

Halawi reportedly said she was told by those involved in the complaints to "go to Hell" for her religion and that Jews were responsible for the September 11 terror attacks against the United States. A friend, she added, was reduced to tears after being bullied for wearing a cross.

She has pledged to take the case to what is known as the Employment Tribunal, CC confirmed. "In her submission to the Tribunal, Mrs Halawi has wide support from other Heathrow staff, including other Muslims, as she tries to clear her name, regain her job and expose the identity of supporters of radical Islam at the heart of the UK border," the group said.

Autogrill Retail UK Limited, trading as World Duty Free, and Caroline South Associates, for whom she sold perfumes and other goods, reportedly said in a reaction that "as a part-time, commission-based worker in Duty Free," she has "no legal employment rights, either from the company, nor Caroline South Associates."

She has had her security pass removed by Heathrow Duty Free and was told she was no longer welcome to trade at Heathrow Airport, CC said. "She has been threatened with costs if she attempts to go to an Employment Tribunal, despite the fact that this forum is cost free," the group added.

There was no immediate response from officials about the alleged threat. Halawi, who came to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, is being helped in her case against the dismissal by lawyers of the Christian Legal Centre. They say Halawi's it raises important legal issues including whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.

“Nohad’s case is one of the most serious we have ever handled," said the Centre's Chief Executive Andrea Minichiello Williams. "Nohad represents tens of thousands of people across the UK who work, in all but name, as ‘employees’ for companies and yet have absolutely no employment rights(Source)." 

At Least 45 Christians Killed In Plateau State, Nigeria

The Quran and the Hadith command Muslims to kill, subjugate and persecute Christians:

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 (Muhammad SAW)! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them, their abode is Hell, - and worst indeed is that destination. Sura 9:73

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

 Muhammad (SAW) is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. Sura 48:29

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 Muslim 30- It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah

Hence it should be unsurprising when they do things as described in the article below:

11/28/2011 Nigeria (Compass Direct News) - Fulani Muslim herdsmen along with Muslim soldiers have killed at least 45 ethnic Berom Christians in Plateau state in the past week, Christians in this northern-central Nigerian town said.  Smaller attacks beginning on Nov. 20, reportedly over allegations by Fulani Muslims of cattle theft, preceded an attack on a Barkin Ladi church on Nov. 23 that killed four Christians, and an assault the next day left 35 Christians dead in Barkin Ladi and nearby Kwok village, according to area Christian leaders.

Church attendance was decimated yesterday as thousands of Christians have left the area.

“Christians are fleeing the town because we have no guns to fight back,” said one woman in a group of six Christians trying to leave Barkin Ladi. “Muslims have guns, and they have their soldiers fighting for them, so we have no choice but to leave town.”

Almost all churches in the town cancelled or held reduced worship services on the first Sunday (Nov. 27) after the crisis was contained, as nearly all area Christians have fled to Jos or have left Plateau state, long hit by ethnic property conflicts fueled by anti-Christian sentiment. In March 2010 ethnic Berom Christians, who live as farmers, suffered attacks from Fulani nomads who graze their cattle on the Beroms’ land, resulting in hundreds of deaths in three villages near Jos.

In the attack on Thursday (Nov. 24), the Fulani Muslims were shouting “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” said farmer Choji Pamjamo, 51.

“On Thursday at about 9 a.m., the Muslims’ call to prayer was made at the Izala [Islamic sect] mosque,” Pamjamo said. “And shortly after that, we saw hundreds of armed Muslims invading the town from all directions, attacking and killing Christians. They were shouting ‘Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,’ as they were burning properties belonging to Christians.”

Pamjamo confirmed Christian leaders’ account of an attack on a Church of Christ of Nigeria (COCIN)
congregation in the Sabon Layi (Rantya) area of Barkin Ladi the previous night (Nov. 23), saying that among the four Christians killed was Bible teacher Yakubu Pam.

Sources told Compass that along with the 26 Christians killed in Kwok village, nine others were killed in the attack on Barkin Ladi on Thursday (Nov. 24). Compass found that the area attacks on Christians began Nov. 20, the day of the alleged cattle theft, with the killing of three Christians outside Barkin Ladi, and then two Christians in the town were killed on Nov. 21.

The next day, a Christian was beheaded behind a popular hotel in Barkin Ladi known as the White House, sources said. The attack on the COCIN church ensued the following evening.

Several people fleeing the town as Compass arrived asked, “When will the killings of Christians in Nigeria stop(Source)?”

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christians Contemplate Their Future In Secular Europe

11/26/2011 EU (Christian Today)-Christians have been told they must find a framework for promoting their beliefs if they are to confront the challenge of aggressive secularisation and the erosion of Christian values across all spheres of life. Opening the Beyond Individualism conference on Friday, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said it was “amazing” that a Christian nurse in Britain today could be suspended for offering to pray for a patient, when it was Christians who had set in place many of the institutions and public services now taken for granted.

He warned that the Christian values inherent in Europe’s heritage have been eroded by a process of “aggressive secularisation” that Christians must understand if they are to challenge it. While politicians offer “thin” values like respect and tolerance, the bishop said such “political mantras” were “not enough for society to be cohesive”.

Instead, Christianity presents European nations with a means to move beyond the individualism they have come to be characterised by, he argued.

“To have individualism without any sense of mutuality is very damaging for society,” he said.
Bishop Nazir-Ali took issue with attempts to detach concepts like equality and diversity from their Christian roots, arguing that they could only be properly understood from the vantage point of Christianity, with its emphasis on the common origins of all human beings and their intrinsic value as God’s creation.

Diversity, he said, should be understood as “Christian hospitality”, rather than multi-culturalism, which has “led to the segregation and isolation of communities”, he maintained.
Reflecting concern over recent court cases involving Christians, he said it was “unacceptable” that the law had “ignored” the rights of Christians.
“We must respect the autonomy of public law but we also need to argue for law to respect conscience,” he told the conference.
Social critic and author Dr Os Guinness said that one of the greatest issues facing the whole world today was how to live with our differences.

He said the emergence of a global public square meant that Christians need to speak increasingly with one “constructive” voice.

Rather than contradict civil liberty, Dr Guinness said that strong religious convictions could complement it.
However, Christians must examine some of the “unwise” responses they have made in the past “to make sure we do better”.

“We must be seen to be fighting for the common good.”

He advocated a “civil” public square where the right for everyone to speak is tempered by a “responsibility” towards everyone else.
He warned, however, that Christians in Europe are currently too “ill-prepared” to engage and “persuade” effectively in public life.
“We need to educate a citizenry that loves Jesus but also understands the challenges of public life,” he said.
“We’re good at fighting evil but we’re not so good at thinking of constructive ways to address the challenges.”
He added: “There is an opportunity to make a breakthrough in thinking that could be a model for the entire world.”
Former Dutch defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop spoke of a prevailing “anti-Christian mood” in the European Union.

He said there was a need to “reorganise” society across Europe according to core Christian values.
“Our continent is still in need of the Gospel,” he said.

“But it is easy to criticise. Criticising is one thing but our responsibility is to use those [Christian] values to build a better Europe.”

Continuing on from this, Christian Concern’s Andrea Minichiello Williams said there was a need for Christians to work together on a framework to safeguard Christian values at the European level.

She warned that a “tyrannical absolutism” had come to characterise public life and that Christian views were struggling to be heard in public discourse. Mrs Williams said it was not enough for Christians to advocate values but that their Christian basis must be made clear.

“When you take Jesus out of the public discourse, nobody knows what the backdrop is,” she said.

Egyptian Christians ask for prayer over election concerns

11/27/2011 Egypt (Middle East Concern) – Egyptian Christians request our prayers as Egypt prepares to commence Parliamentary elections on 28th November (the elections are in stages and are scheduled to conclude on 10th March 2012). Within the current context of protest, violence and lack of security, Christians have several specific concerns.

First, Christians are concerned that the pattern of protest and violent response is nurturing an environment of indifference towards violence, including sectarian violence.

Second, Christians continue to be a vulnerable group, disproportionally affected by the lack of security in Egypt. They fear that the current climate of intimidation, violence and instability could lead to fewer Christians voting, which would impact their representation in Parliament.

Third, Christians are concerned that some parties, if they achieve power, intend to restrict freedoms, including freedom of expression and the religious freedom of religious minority communities. Although most parties have pledged to fight against sectarianism and discrimination, Christians fear that some parties, likely to have significant representation, would not honour such pledges.

Egyptian Christians request our prayers that:
•    The elections will be conducted in a peaceful environment and in a fair manner, and that all Egyptians, including Christians, will have confidence in the process
•    There will be an end to the violence, and that independent investigations will be initiated into the recent violence and that suffered by predominantly Christian protesters in October
•    That all political parties will respect and uphold Egypt's current human rights commitments, including the freedoms of belief and expression

I will be praying for my Egyptian brethren indeed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

AOG Church Singled Out in Iran for Evangelical Activity

I pray that my Iranian brethren in Christ Jesus continue to be bold for the risen Savior and they continue to attract youth by God's grace to the foot of the cross.

11/23/2011 Iran (Mohabat News) – The unsubstantiated report about evangelistic activities of the Assemblies of God church of Markaz in Tehran was obviously written by one of the hidden soldiers of the 12th Imam (Secret Security authorities) to motivate senior security authorities. It also appears that this shabby act was intended to spark anti-Christian feelings within Iran.

Exaggerating has become a habit of news providers for government supported and regime dependent media who introduce themselves as hidden soldiers. They have claimed that the "Markaz Church, an Assemblies of God church in Tehran, is extremely active in propagation and sending evangelical Christian groups throughout the country to attract Muslim youth to Christianity.

Their websites say "The congregation of the Church of Markaz are Christian extremists who use various ways to bring members to their church and to convert Iranian Muslim youth. They try to destroy the image of the sacred regime of Iran in the world. They deceive young people who are financially in need by promising to grant them refugee status in other countries." The websites also report that these evangelists with the support of American mass media want to show a negative image of the Islamic republic to the international community.

But making such repeated claims by the staff of government sponsored media is more like a report to the security authorities and organizations rather than a piece of news. Such action seems to have an unstated purpose behind it.

Presentations of this kind of biased news about Christianity and Iranian Christians has taken place at the same time as the Supreme Leader, scholars and Islamic clerics as well as senior authorities and staff of the Revolutionary Guards and other security and intelligence forces are making serious efforts to oppose Christianity in Iran.

-Result of establishment of government of Islam

These unsubstantiated and misleading claims about the activities of churches to attract Muslim youth to Christianity are being made at time when government, religious and security authorities have become particularly sensitive on such issues. The churches don't consider it necessary to take such actions to invite Muslim youth to Christianity!

Meanwhile, as a result of the increasing awareness of Iranian citizens following the establishment of the pure Islamic government and in spite of threats, torture, beatings, imprisonments and executions, Iranian youth are turning from Islam in large numbers and seeking to base their lives and religious beliefs on their own investigation.

- From closure of churches to shutting down of worship services of Farsi-speaking Christians
Despite all the pressures and threats by the regime, the movement to Christianity in Iran has grown to the extent that some (generally Farsi-speaking) churches in some cities were closed and locked by the security forces. In the other churches that were not closed, these forces prevented Farsi-speaking Christians (mainly Christian converts) from entering.

The Assyrian church of "Shahr-Ara" in Tehran is an example of this. Farsi-speaking Christians formed a large number of its congregation before security forces with the cooperation of the representative of the Assyrians in the Islamic parliament (Majles-e-shoraye-eslami), dismissed the pastor of the church and cancelled the Farsi worship services there. In another case and prior to this incident, there were routine Farsi church services being held in the AOG church of Markaz in Tehran, but on Friday, 30 October 2009 security authorities threatened the church leaders and cancelled the Friday evening services which were being held in two services because of the huge number of attendees.

However, these restrictions have made every believer's house into a church and have caused the regime to be afraid of the house church movement and active churches. The authorities also seem to be afraid of historical churches which have become historical monuments and belong to the history of the country. The destruction of the historical church in the city of Kerman didn't cause an outcry from any Iranian authorities, not even the voice of the spineless representatives for religious minorities in the Islamic parliament of Iran. These are all examples of the attitude of the regime towards Iranian Christians and their places of worship.

-Spying on the activities of the churches

The dear person who writes such reports about the activities of the AOG church of Tehran and raises such claims, knows very well that all church activities, programs and services in Iran and in this case the AOG church of Tehran are under careful observation by security and intelligence agents.

Though the writer of this article comes from the same church, it is well known that all the efforts and activities of the leadership of the AOG church of Tehran have always been according to the word of God which says: "13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right." (1 Peter 2:13-14).

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pastor’s Arrest Stirs Anti-Christian Sentiment In Kashmir, India

A Christian trys to convert people to his faith and what do you do when all else fails? Stir up hostility against the Christian faith.

11/23/2011 India (CDN)-Charges that a pastor in Jammu and Kashmir state “lured” Muslims to Christianity by offering money are false and have put the lives of the clergyman and other Christians in danger, according to Bishop Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy of the Church of North India denomination.

Following the arrest on Saturday (Nov. 17) of the Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Church in Srinagar, Bishop Samantaroy told Compass by phone that the time has come for the church to speak up against the “discriminatory action” by authorities in India’s Kashmir Valley.

The bishop of the Amritsar Diocese said the pastor told him his life was in danger, as the charges have angered area Muslims. The government must provide protection to the pastor, churches and Christian institutions “immediately,” he said.

The allegations of allurement appear to have turned Muslim clergy and separatist leaders against the Christians. Kashmir lies at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute between India, Pakistan and China, even as many Kashmiris call for separation from India. Two prominent leaders of the separatist movement, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have met religious leaders to prevent “conversions.”

A court in Srinagar on Sunday (Nov. 18) remanded Pastor Khanna to judicial custody for 15 days, a representative of the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s advocacy wing told Compass. Pastor Khanna was arrested for creating “enmity” between religious communities and hurting religious sentiments.
Bishop Samantaroy said the allegation made by Kashmir Grand Mufti Bashir-ud-din Ahmad, the state’s highest official of Islamic law, that Pastor Khanna had converted Muslims by offering money was “totally baseless and untrue.”

Ahmad has a video of Muslims being baptized in Pastor Khanna’s church, which he said was evidence on which to file a police complaint of fraudulent conversion, although the video only shows a baptism ceremony. The Constitution of India grants religious freedom to all, allowing them to propagate and change their religion or have no religion at all.

Superintendent of Police of East Srinagar Sheikh Zulfkar Azad, however, told Compass there was “certain evidence” of allurement by Pastor Khanna, though he did not specify it.
“I am in hospital for treatment, and that’s all I can say at the moment,” he said.

Seven youths who were baptized, as shown in the video, have denied to police that they were offered money to convert, a local Christian told Compass. But some local newspapers have quoted anonymous police sources as claiming the converts were given money.

A source who requested anonymity previously told Compass that police beat the converts from Islam when asking them if Christians had given them money for their conversion (see “Police Detain, Beat Converts from Islam in India,” Nov. 10).

Police arrested Pastor Khanna two days after the mufti held a hearing on conversions in the sharia (Islamic law) court he heads. Although sharia courts in India deal only in civil matters with community people’s cooperation and do not have any legal authority, the mufti had summoned the pastor to appear for the hearing. The pastor agreed in an effort to maintain peace(Source).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Muslims in Nigeria Kill Children of Christian Convert

I praise the Lord Jesus Christ that He led this man to Christ Jesus. He's like a modern day Apostle Paul, a person who killed people before turning to Jesus Christ. On another note, I saddened that his children got killed, he'll be in my prayers.

In the meantime, Parents everywhere, especially those in the west, ought to be thankful for their children.

ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)-- A militant group seeking to enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, throughout Nigeria, has shot and killed two children of an ex-terrorist and "murderer" because he converted to Christianity, well-informed missionaries told BosNewsLife Wednesday, November 23.

Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is a sin”, carried out the killings this month after discovering that a former fellow fighter refused to kill a Christian and instead accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, explained Rae Burnett, Africa Director of the U.S. based Christian Aid Mission (CAM) group.

Burnett told BosNewsLife that the father and Boko Haram militant "was poised to slit the throat of his Christian victim" during November attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least over 130 Christians, including missionaries, when "he was suddenly struck with the weight of the evil he was about to commit."

Dropping his machete, the man ran to the nearest church, asking a pastor for help, Burnett said.

The pastor referred him to a CAM-supported indigenous ministry, where "native missionaries are reaching remote villages with the message of Christ," she added.

"When the call came, the ministry leader was grieving the loss of several close missionary friends who were murdered in the Yobe State slaughter. He immediately met with the confessed killer and joyfully led him to Christ. He is discipling him in a secret location because of the extreme danger."

Burnett declined to identify the former Muslim militant and missionaries, citing security concerns.

"After meeting the Lord, the converted terrorist [and] murderer called his former colleagues to testify what had happened to him without disclosing where he was," she said.

However, "Upon discovering the man's conversion to Christianity, Boko Haram members invaded his home, kidnapped his two children and informed him that they were going to execute them in retribution for his disloyalty to Islam. Clutching his phone, the man heard the sound of the guns that murdered his children," the CAM official added(Keep Reading).

Chinese Underground Church In Beijing Continues To Meet Despite Arrests

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans whether you are my brother or sister in Christ or not!!!!!! Let's all be thankful that we live in a country where we get to worship Christ Jesus freely without fear of persecution, unlike our Chinese brethren as seen in this article and let's continue to pray for them.

11/22/2011 China (ChinaAid) - On Nov 20th, Shouwang had her thirty-third Sunday outdoor worship service. In the past week, many believers were detained at home since Saturday. On Friday night, police from Datun police station took a sister to a hotel for detention.

As far as we know, at least twenty-six believers were taken away on Sunday morning for going to the planned location to join the outdoor service, either at the spot or on their way there (including three sisters from Xinshu Church). And they were sent to ten local police stations of their respective area. Till midnight, only eleven believers were released home, and the other sixteen believers were still detained in four different police stations (mainly in three police stations in Haidian district).

The last five believers, who were detained at Zhongguancun Street police station and Zhongguancun police station, were not released until 10:00am on the 22nd, after forty-eight hours detention. It is winter now, and the weather in Beijing is getting colder; the temperature can drop to zero at night. But the cold weather is not able to prevent believers from going out to join the outdoor service; there are even more believers who never went before now joined the outdoor worship.

Knowing that they might face longer detention as each police station put more force into it last week, our brothers and sisters proceeded to the outdoor service with no hesitation, and faced policemen with peace. Those who waited outside police stations showed their deep love for other members in the body, which is a good witness for the Lord. At 11:00pm on Sunday night, outside Haidian police station alone, there were more than ten believers waiting with joy, which was a great comfort to believers who were detained inside(Source).

I am thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for the bravery of my Chinese brethren in Christ. They are meeting at Church even though they are risking persecution  and they are meeting even though it's extremely cold. I pray that Our Savior will give me and the rest of my Western brethren the same type of boldness and bravery.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

After Egypt’s Revolution, Christians Are Living in Fear

I pray that my Egyptian brethren will trust in God and the Lord Jesus Christ, even in the midst of their fear.

11/19/2011 Egypt (New York Times) – The images streaming from Cairo’s streets last month were not as horrifying as those of the capture and brutal death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, but they were savage all the same. They were a sobering reminder that popular movements in some parts of the world, however euphorically they begin, can take disquieting and ugly turns.

When liberal Muslims joined Coptic Christians as they marched through Cairo’s Maspero area on Oct. 9 to protest the burning of a Coptic church, bands of conservative Muslim hooligans wielding sticks and swords began attacking the protesters. Egyptian security forces who had apparently intervened to break up the violence deliberately rammed their armed vehicles into the Coptic crowd and fired live ammunition indiscriminately.

Egyptian military authorities soon shut down live news coverage of the event, and evidence of chaos was quickly cleared from the scene. But the massacre, in which at least 24 people were killed and more than 300 were wounded, was the worst instance of sectarian violence in Egypt in 60 years.

Confusion and conflicting narratives abound. Some claim to have overheard an announcer on television encourage “honorable Egyptians” to come to the rescue of soldiers under attack by a mob of Copts. Others heard a Muslim shouting that he had killed a Christian.
What is good about the episode in Maspero is that, in the exhilarating and unusual spirit of the events of last spring in Tahrir Square, Muslims joined the Coptic demonstrators who were eager to exercise the right to build churches — a right that has always been grudgingly granted to Egypt’s Copts.

What is terrible about the episode, however, is the inability of the government to take the blame for the slaughter of the Copts. Similarly, in September, it failed to intervene in good time when a large mob attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo, broke down its walls and nearly slaughtered those inside. The friendly army that Copts embraced during the Arab spring has turned its guns on those who embraced it. Your pal today, your killer tomorrow(Source).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sudan’s Recurring Nightmare

It seems like both Sudan and Southern Sudan have hard times ahead of them. My Sudanese brethren in Christ Jesus will be in my prayers.

11/17/2011 Sudan (FrontPageMag) – Sudan is a kind of diabolical Groundhog Day. In the film by that name, Phil Connors (Bill Murray) re-lives the same day over and over again until he learns the lessons needed to change his life and save the lives of others. In Sudan today, people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State are re-living the horrific nightmare from which they thought they had finally awakened after the signing of Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But in this case, it is the United States government that has failed to learn the lessons needed to change conditions and save the lives of others.
Along with the citizens of what is now the new nation of the Republic of South Sudan, the people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State were for decades mercilessly persecuted and slaughtered by their own government. Starvation and enslavement were used as weapons of war along with ground combat and aerial bombardment.

The hallmark of Khartoum’s multiple declarations of jihad against its own people is the deliberate targeting of civilians and particularly of Christians. In the case of Blue Nile State, one Sudanese military commander, Taib Musba, was responsible for the killing of 15,000 Uduk Christians in the mid 1980’s. Some he killed personally by driving three-inch-long nails into the tops of their heads. Others were crushed by a 50 ton Soviet-made tank.
Deliberate targeting of civilians is also the hallmark of Khartoum’s current offensive against the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State. Since June 5, 2011, the Islamist regime’s forces, aided by militias, have been conducting an ethnically-based extermination campaign in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan State while attempting to crush the resistance movement of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM/N). And in September they began attacking Blue Nile State, as well.

In June Islamist militias first conducted a door to door search looking for Nuba with orders from ICC-indicted war criminal President Omer al-Bashir to “sweep out the trash,” and whenever they find a Nuba to “clean it up.” The horrific “cleaning” has been verified by the Satellite Sentinel Project.

This invaluable effort, started by actor George Clooney, has provided evidence of mass graves believed to be of some 7000 people that were rounded up at the UN compound in the capital city of Kadugli by Sudanese government collaborators and massacred. Since June, regular aerial bombardment has killed many and sent hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in caves and beyond in South Sudan(Source).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Persecuted Christian? Don’t expect these pastors to speak up

Shame on these Pastors!!!!! The verse that comes to my mind is James 3:1 where James says, Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. I think God will judge these Church leaders for not mentioning the persecuted brethren in Christ to their congregations.

11/5/2011 United States (World Net Daily) – About half of all the pastors in America's churches today do not want to tell their congregations that there are forces in the world that persecute Christians for their beliefs, because it's a "downer," according to the results of a startling new poll.

The Barna Research Associates survey, commissioned by Open Doors USA, says a significant majority of American Christians, some three out of four, want to hear about the persecuted church. But the same study showed that 52 percent of America's pastors don't want to talk about persecution and have no plans to talk about it.

In the nationwide poll of more than 800 Christians, 74 percent of America's churchgoers want to hear about the persecuted church.

I'm part of that 74%. I want to know about my brethren. Or else I wouldn't be doing this blog.

But the same survey said only 48 percent of the pastors want to discuss the issue. Open Doors President Carl Moeller says the survey shows that American Christians are not isolationists.

"Much of what we've been hearing from people and in my experience of speaking with people all over the country would indicate that American Christians really want to know what's happening to their brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world, particularly those that are suffering for their faith in Christ," Moeller said.

Moeller said the story was different in part two of the study.

"Seventy-four percent of American Christians who go to church regularly said they would like to hear sermons from time-to-time on the suffering church or persecuted Christians," Moeller said.

"That was a huge gap, we thought. Almost half of the pastors in American were never planning on preaching on something but three-quarters, almost three-quarters of their congregations want to hear on it regularly," Moeller said.

"We thought that that was worthy of reporting back to the American press and to the American church, pastors in particular," he said.

"People are really hungry; they want to know, they want to pray. They want to do something, speak out, take action, on behalf of suffering Christians wherever they can," Moeller said. Christian human rights group International Christian Concern's Middle East Area Specialist Aidan Clay believes the problem comes from the pulpits.

"The persecuted church reminds us that the decision to follow Christ is all or nothing," Clay said. "It reminds us that Jesus promises persecution in the Scriptures and that the Christian life was not intended to be easy."
Clay said the reality about Christian persecution isn't popular.

"That's a difficult teaching to swallow in some American churches today that are centered on self-improvement and feel-good sermons. And, perhaps pastors fear that the topic of Christian persecution will drive complacent Christians or those who are unsure what they believe out of the church," Clay said.
Clay said he's pleasantly surprised that the message of persecution has a solid impact on American Christians.

"However, I’ve learned when speaking to Western Christians that the opposite is true. Upon hearing the stories of the persecuted, Western Christians are enlivened, driven to prayer, and begin seeking ways to assist and raise awareness," Clay said.

"Even complacent Christians often find greater purpose when awakened to the harsh realities Christians face in other parts of the world. We are strengthened and encouraged when hearing the stories of Christians who remain joyful and continue to trust God after being imprisoned or even tortured for following Jesus," Clay said.

Moeller agreed, saying that sometimes persecution stories bring out the best in American churches.
"Persecution teaches us what the global church, the suffering church, has learned that maybe we've forgotten. I think that maybe there's a disconnect in this way," Moeller said.

"When we speak about persecution, the initial perspective that Americans have is that it's a horrible message of suffering and destruction. The straight fact of the matter is that it's actually a story of inspirational courage and fortitude and faith," he said(Keep reading).

Conflict and death of bin Laden fuelling persecution in Pakistan

I always knew that the life of my Pakistani brethren in Christ would get worse ever since bin Laden's death back in May. I pray that Christ will give them the strength to persevere. I also thank the Lord Jesus Christ for continuing to bring Muslims to the foot of the Cross as this article shows:

11/17/2011 Pakistan (Christian Today) – The persecution of Christians in Pakistan has intensified as a result of the war in Afghanistan and the death of Osama bin Laden, Release International has warned.
The organisation, which supports the persecuted church worldwide, said Christians were being targeted because of the close association of Christianity and the West in the minds of many Pakistanis.
One partner of the charity, who cannot be named for his own protection, said: "Ten years ago there was some peace, but now it’s getting very tense. Day by day the situation is getting worse in Pakistan."

He said that those who embrace Christianity as their faith are liable to be killed or live a very difficult existence.

"They are isolated and live in secret and receive death threats from their relatives and friends,’ he said.
Several Christians who have been forced to live in hiding tell their stories in the latest edition of Release magazine.

A former Islamic cleric told Release he had to flee for his life after he had a vision of Christ in a dream. The convert, who cannot be named for security reasons, had taught in the mosque for 11 years when he said Christ appeared to him.

"Jesus Christ said to me that he had purchased me by giving his blood," he said. When word got out about his conversion, he had no choice but to flee from his home. He was cut off from his children when his wife took out a court order against him.

"It was the toughest time of my life because my colleagues were after me to kill me. They were very angry and wanted to take my life."

His wife later had a change of heart after saying God also appeared to her in a dream, but he remains in
hiding. In spite of the hardship, he has no regrets about his conversion.

"I am very happy being a Christian. Even in the suffering, the persecution, every problem, every difficulty makes me strong in the faith(Source)."

What my brother in Christ said reminds of James 1:2-3 where James says we should consider our trials pure joy because they help us grow. Let's all pray that the Lord Jesus gives us the strength to respond to trials the way he is.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dutch Christian Civil Servant Fired For Opposing Gay Marriage

The first time I'm hearing of persecution over in  the Netherlands and unsurprisingly concerns homosexuality:

11/18/2011 The Netherlands (CIC) - A Christian civil servant has been fired by the Dutch city of The Hague for refusing to oversee same-sex marriages on Biblical grounds. Wim Pijl, 67, said Tuesday, November 15, he would take legal action against the dismissal despite parliamentary support for gay weddings.

"For me this is a personal case," explained Pijl. He also told reporters that God opposes same-sex marriages. "As a Christian I learned from the Bible that there is only one marriage, between a man and a woman."

The Hague city government said through a spokesman that it had no other choice than to dismiss Pijl as he had "refused to take back his remarks." Additionally, Dutch parliament effectively sealed his dismissal Tuesday, November 15, with most legislators voting for a law proposal that would force officials overseeing marriages to officiate at gay weddings. The Netherlands has 104 civil servants refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, according to Dutch gay rights group COC.

 "I can not discriminate gay couples, but I am discriminated against because of my views. I will seriously look into possible legal action against the dismissal," said Pijl, who is also a former city councilor of a Christian faction.

Pijl is supported in his case by the RMU trade union which said it was "shocked" about the situation.
 The Netherlands became the world's first country to legalize gay marriage in 2001(Source).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

House Church Leaders Attacked Near Hanoi, Vietnam

11/16/2011 Vietnam (Compass Direct News) - A gang of men attacked leaders of a Baptist house church network near Hanoi on Sunday (Nov. 13), leaving one pastor unconscious and seriously injuring several others, including women and teenage children.

Leaders of the Agape Baptist Church were participating in a spiritual renewal meeting at the home of pastor Nguyen Danh Chau in Lai Tao village, Bot Xuyen commune, My Duc district, when the gang intruded at 9:30 a.m., sources said. Beating people and smashing property, the gang seriously injured more than a dozen participants and warned Nguyen Danh Chau that they would kill him if he continued gathering Christians, the sources in Vietnam said.

With the attack underway, the sources said, some gang members ran outside and announced to the neighborhood, “Oh heavens, the Christian pastors are savagely beating up people!” This attracted a large crowd, which the gang hoped would prevent any Christians from escaping.

The seriously injured Christians included five male pastors, four female pastors and other church leaders, and several of the leaders’ teenage children. The worst wounded, Nguyen Danh Chau, lay unconscious for many hours, and as of midnight Tuesday (Nov. 15), he was still suffering severe chest, stomach and head pain.

One pastor’s wife, Nguyen Thi Lan, was still unable to walk and function normally at press time after she was struck in the stomach and groin. Others remained weak from loss of blood. The Christians were punched in the mouth and face, the chest and the back. Some were savagely kicked as they lay on the floor.

The denomination’s top leader, Nguyen Cong Thanh, who rushed up from the south to visit the beleaguered leaders, reported that he planned to take the injured to a nearby hospital today; he feared, however, that he would encounter resistance. When doctors in Vietnam learn that religious motives play a role in violence, commonly they do not dare to treat or even examine the victims of persecution.

Attacking on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, observed worldwide by thousands of churches affiliated with the World Evangelical Alliance, the gang smashed a dozen plastic chairs, overturned a pulpit and tore a cross from the wall and threw it into a nearby pond, leaving no doubt as to their motivation.

They also stole valuable parts from four motorcycles belonging to the pastors before smashing the remainder of the vehicles. Valued at more than US$1,000 each, the motorbikes represent a huge loss for the church leaders. Before leaving, the gang stopped long enough to destroy the family’s kitchen garden and fruit trees, sources said(Source).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Somali Christian Women Pay High Price to Follow Christ

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ said that there would be lots of conflict when someone decided to swear their whole allegiance to Him:

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have cme to set a man against his father, an a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household.  Matt. 9:34-36

We see those words being fulfilled as seen in this article. By the way, I thank the Lord Jesus for the willingness of these women to cling to the faith:

11/11/2011 Somalia (National Review) – Last year, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an avowed atheist from Somalia, challenged Christians to redouble their efforts to evangelize Muslims. But for Somali women I recently met in Kenya, quietly clinging to their faith may be the only way they can respond to Ali’s challenge.

The women, who had fled to Nairobi from war in Somalia, are Christians who have paid the price for their faith not because they were bold in proclaiming it, but because they were unable to hide it. Before our translator showed up, I found myself waiting with some of them in silence, wondering if I should break the language/culture/gender barrier by showing them photos of my wife and baby.

I was glad I didn’t. There was Amina, a 28-year-old refugee from Mogadishu whose husband divorced her after kicking her and their four-year-old son out of the house when she converted to Christianity; he’s now threatening to take the boy away from her. There was Shukri, whose husband was killed by Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab rebels fighting the transitional government in Somalia; her late husband’s mother took her twin girls, born 2006, to keep them from being raised Christian.

There was Kamila, who lost her truck-driver husband to an accident and who still bears the knife scars on her mouth and chin from her fellow Somali women; the brother of her late husband had sent them to attack her as part of his attempt to snatch her then five-month-old baby from her. According to custom, the brother should attain all of her late husband’s property, including her son, in order to keep him from being raised a Christian. A court ruled that the baby should stay with Kamila until he is weaned, and she took that opportunity to escape with him to another area near Nairobi; he is now five.

There was Sahra, who wears a full-body burqa in her Somali neighborhood in Nairobi to keep from being recognized and abused. Her husband was killed in fighting in Mogadishu in 2006. Her relatives have cut her off because of her Christian faith, and she said she can feel the same shunning from her fellow expatriates. “When they see you are low-income and have left your religion, they see you as sick in the head,” said the mother of two young daughters who survives by working odd jobs(Source).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Support Mounting for Algerian Christian Sentenced to Five Year Prison Term

My prayer is that this guy will get released from prison. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for his boldness and I pray he's blessed for it.

Washington, D.C. (November 15, 2011) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the case of Siagh Krimo, an Algerian Christian who was arrested for proselytizing and is scheduled to stand trial on Thursday, is gaining significant recognition among Christians and human right activists in Algeria who are calling for his immediate acquittal.

Siagh Krimo, who is 29 years old and married with an infant daughter, was arrested on April 14 and held for three days in Oran for giving a neighbor a CD about Christianity. On May 4, Krimo was sentenced to five years in prison for blasphemy based on the neighbor’s accusation that he had insulted the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Krimo was sentenced according to Article 144 bis 2 of Algeria’s Penal Code, which criminalizes acts that “insult the prophet and any of the messengers of God, or denigrate the creed and precepts of Islam.”

In the argument which led to the conviction of my client, there is no evidence,” Krimo’s lawyer, Muhammad Ben Belkacem, told the Algerian daily Liberté. “Even the person who complained was never presented at the hearing… [All evidence], including DVDs seized at the home of Siagh Krimo, were never presented in court... As for insulting the Prophet, he (Krimo) totally denies it!

The Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA) is mobilizing a “massive presence” that will gather at the courthouse along with journalists and activists on November 17 for the scheduled reexamination of Krimo’s case, an EPA spokesman told ICC. Krimo’s trial is not only important to Christians in the country, but also to human right activists.

There is outrage surrounding his (Krimo’s) case,” Liberté reported according to an English translation. “In the judgment, the term ‘ridda’ was used, which means ‘apostasy.’ A teacher at the Faculty of Law and human rights activist accused the judge of acting ‘by ideology and not guardian of the law.’ And our partner in turn recalled that ‘Algeria's ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights means it must comply with Article 18 on freedom of conscience, religion and thought.’”

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Siagh Krimo’s trial follows a series of convictions in recent years targeting Algerian Christians for evangelism or for failure to publically observe the practices of Islam, like fasting during Ramadan. While Algeria professes to uphold religious freedom, it also embraces a blasphemy law that, by its very nature, can be used to prosecute anyone not adhering to the practices of Islam. ICC calls for the immediate acquittal of Mr. Krimo whose prison term may be enforced as early as Thursday(Source).”

South Sudan Attacks Could Signal War

And I thought that South Sudan was okay, given that now they had seperated from the North which was filled with all the Muslims who oppressed them in years past. Obviously I was wrong.
For those who don't know, Sudan was the largest country in Africa before it became two countries in July 9, 2011. The reason it split was because my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus as well the animists there were tired of being enslaved by the Arab muslims in the North. After the country split, I thought that all the problems of South Sudan would be over. It seems that I was wrong.

11/11/2011 South Sudan (World Magazine) – As UN workers prepared to unload a helicopter full of food for more than 20,000 refugees in a camp in South Sudan Thursday, a series of horrifying thuds erupted, as a large plane swooped overhead, dropping bombs.

Witnesses say the plane dropped at least four bombs, with one landing in the yard of a makeshift school for 300 children gathered for an afternoon class. Thankfully, the explosive didn’t detonate. But other bombs did explode, and a local official reported at least 12 deaths.

The Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse reported that its workers in the camp were safe after Thursday’s attack. The relief agency manages distribution of food and other supplies in the sprawling refugee camp. (The area is so remote and swampy, aid workers airdropped supplies to the refugees until Samaritan’s Purse cleared a landing strip.) While the bombs killed few people, many fear that Thursday’s attack could represent a prelude to something much worse: a wide-scale invasion of South Sudan and a return to civil war.

Authorities believe that military planes from Northern Sudan executed the bombardment on the Yida camp near the border with South Sudan. The two countries formally separated when South Sudan declared its independence on July 9. But conflicts over the disputed North-South border have left nearly 230,000 South Sudanese residents fleeing attacks from a Northern government determined to maintain control of the oil-rich borderlands.

Leonard Leo of the Washington, D.C.-based United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemned the recent attacks and called the bombings “clearly an outgrowth of Sudan’s hostility against religious freedom.” During 20 years of civil war that spanned 1983 to 2005, the Muslim-based government in the North tried to force the predominantly Christian South to submit to Islamic law(Source).

Monday, November 14, 2011

China: Century Old Church To Be Demolished; Congregation Protests

I pray that this church doesn't get demolished...........

11/14/2011 China (ChinaAid) - A 125-year-old church built by Anglican missionaries in coastal Shandong province is facing demolition despite being a government-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement church, and furious church members say they aren’t afraid to fight to the death to save their church, ChinaAid has learned.

Real estate developers have already won government approval for the demolition, despite the fact that the four buildings that remain in the church compound that was built in 1886 were designated in 1994 as protected national historical landmarks. At least one wall of the church compound has already been knocked down, and irate church members are seeking a temporary government order to stop the demolition and trying to draw greater attention to their plight.

A church member posted an online appeal on Nov. 8 that said: “We are now facing internal disputes and external attacks. Please pray for us, pray that our pastor will stand up and stand with us to do battle. The real estate developer and the government are looking for us everywhere.

Today, so-and-so’s cell phone and internet access were both cut off. We want to give everyone an accounting and distribute some materials. So-and-so snuck me out [of the church compound] and I’ve been hiding here, there and everywhere, getting the news out to everyone. We are not afraid to die, but we would not leave everyone without an answer. Pray for us!”

The Tai’an Church’s troubles are playing out even as a Chinese government exhibit of Chinese Bibles is on tour through the United States—a propaganda show to convince Americans that religious freedom exists in China and to divert attention from the ongoing government persecution of Christians.

The church is located on Lingzhi Street, in the Taishan District of the city of Tai’an. The church compound was originally 0.82 hectares or just over 2 acres when built in 1886 by two British missionaries. In the 1980s, some of the buildings were either destroyed or taken over for use by government offices. The four remaining buildings were designated historical sites in 1994 and are supposed to be under government protection.

A year ago, however, demolition crews started to move in on the church, and on Nov. 16, 2010, were stopped by 30 to 40 church members who occupied the site in a spontaneous protest. While some took turns protecting their church, others sought government help. On Nov. 20, when the developer again tried to start the demolition, several elderly Christians stood in their way, achieving a temporary suspension of the demolition.

Recently, the wall of the part of the church that had been the Christian high school set up by the Anglican Church was forcibly torn down. Elderly church members who tried to stop the destruction were beaten to the ground, which aroused the anger of both church members and society as a whole. The church on Nov. 9 lodged a formal appeal with the government, seeking lawful handling of church property, a stop to the demolition and return of occupied church property(Source).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

UK Christians Fell Marginalized According To A New Report

And the persecution of my British brethren continues........

11/10/2011 UK (Christian Today)-A new report out from Premier Christian Media warns of a “strong bias” against Christians in British public life. The media group’s report is based upon consecutive polls it has commissioned in recent years to gauge perceptions among Christians and non-Christians.

Feelings of marginalisation were found to be particularly strong amongst Christians. In a 2008 survey of 500 Christians, 73% said they felt Christians were being unfairly marginalised in British society. That was followed by a C-Panel poll the following year which found that 66% of Christians felt there was greater negative discrimination towards Christians than other faiths. Although non-Christians were far less likely to agree that Christians were being marginalised, poll results revealed a sympathetic general public.

In a May 2010 ComRes poll of Christians and non-Christians, 38% believed marginalisation of Christianity was increasing. In March this year, a similar ComRes poll found that 37% of the general public felt the Government favours other religions over Christianity. In the 2010 survey, 43% of the general public said they expected the marginalisation of Christians in society to increase in the next five years. Premier noted perceptions of “favouritism” towards Muslims in particular and a bias towards homosexual lobby groups.

It pointed to the recent statement by the Equality and Human Rights Commission acknowledging that Christians were being discriminated against more than other religious groups in the workplace and proposing the “reasonable accommodation” of beliefs. It retracted the statement a few weeks later following the intervention of Angela Mason, formerly of gay rights group Stonewall. Despite perceptions of marginalisation, Premier noted that in another poll, only 12% of Christians said they had experienced victimisation directly.

Premier said that the feelings of marginalisation could be attributed to the media or the rise of secularism.
The report stated: “There are several explanations for this general feeling of increased marginalisation. The first reason is the rise of secularism, evidenced through the virulent campaigning of such groups like the National Secular Society.

“Another contributory factor could be the negative role some parts of the media has played, not only in shaping public perception, but more specifically, creating a climate of anxiety and fear amongst Christians.”
Polls consistently revealed feelings of dissatisfaction with the way that issues of a Christian nature are portrayed by the media, with one respondent saying that Christians were often depicted as “complaining”, “bigoted” or “extreme”.

“Our evidence shows that not only is the misrepresentation of Christians and Christianity in the news affecting the general public’s perception, but it is also affecting the Christian community,” Premier said. Premier warned that the “sensational” way in which some legal cases involving Christians had been covered by the media had contributed “significantly to creating a climate of fear amongst Christians”.

The report went on to state that there was an “inconsistency” in the way that courts apply and interpret equality laws in relation to Christians.

“When it comes to competing rights between different groups, the rights of Christians seem to be ‘sacrificed on the altar of political correctness’,” the report stated.

In spite of the evidence for marginalisation, Premier stressed that there was a “distinct difference” between ‘marginalisation’ and ‘persecution’ and that the term ‘persecution’ could not be applied to the British experience.

“This is not persecution in the sense that Christians in North Korea and elsewhere experience it. It is just a clash of cultures and needs to be resolved as such.”

Polls indicate strong support for religious freedom in British society, with 87% of people agreeing that religious freedom is an important part of being British. The report concludes with a warning that religious freedoms are being eroded in the UK by “equality legislation and political correctness”.

“To some extent this is inevitable,” Premier states. “Post-modern culture rejects all meta-narratives, including the biblical worldview and its claim to uniqueness.

“Christians who take their faith seriously are at risk of being marginalised because we threaten the presuppositions of this culture.”

The report makes several recommendations, including an appeal to people of all faiths and none to tolerate the beliefs of others and the right to express deeply held convictions “in a civil manner”.

Courts should not show bias to other faiths or groups, the report says, and the media should represent Christianity in a more balanced way. Legislation also needs to be reviewed and revised to enable true freedom of thought, conscience and religion, while employers should ensure religious liberty in the workplace, Premier says.

“The suggestion that religion is a purely private matter is naïve and shows a total misunderstanding of the teaching of Jesus and the whole Bible."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

UK’s Christians Face Their “Biggest Challenge In The Last 400 Years”

And the Western/European persecution of Christians continues.......
11/11/2011 UK (Church Times)-THE Christian faith in the UK is facing its “biggest challenge in the last 400 years” as Christians experi­ence rising intolerance in society, the first sitting of a parliamentary in­quiry, Clearing the Ground, heard on Tuesday.

The Conservative MP Gary Streeter chaired the inquiry, which seeks to establish whether changes to the law and recent court decisions have affected Christian freedoms in the UK. Representatives of four Christian groups gave evidence: the Evangelical Alliance, Premier Chris­tian Radio, the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, and the Maranatha Community.

The leader of the Maranatha community, Denis Wrigley, told the inquiry that there was “a struggle taking place for the soul of the nation”, and Christians were losing the ability to speak freely and express their convictions.

The executive director of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship (LCF), Mark Barrell, told the inquiry: “Many Christians are apprehensive they’re not ‘as equal’ before the law”. Christians were taking their cases to court as a last resort, but these cases were just “the tip of the iceberg”.

Tom Cordrey, a barrister from the LCF who was also giving evidence, said that there needed to be more proportionality applied in court cases involving Christians. He quoted the case of Lilian Ladele, the registrar in Islington who asked to be excused from carrying out same-sex cere­monies. Mr Cordrey said that the judge should have taken into account that there were plenty of other regis­trars to carry out these ceremonies.

The chief executive of Premier Christian Radio, Peter Kerridge, said that Christians’ freedom of expres­sion was being limited by “other groups’ rights encroaching upon Christians expressing them­selves”. Opposition to Christians was exemplified by coverage on the BBC, he said, which was “signifi­cantly more warm and sympathetic and positive in its portrayal of the Mus­lim faith than the Christian faith” (Source).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Indian Politician Calls for Beheading of People Who Convert Hindus

11/11/2011 India (Christian Today)-Church groups have condemned the inflammatory speech of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Pravin Togadia who Monday goaded Hindus to "behead anyone" who converts people from the majority community. At the three day Akhil Bhartiya Dharmaprasar Karyakarta Sammelan-2011 event at Ahmedabad, the secretary general of the right-wing outfit, Togadia, called for a new Constitution that allows for “anyone who converts Hindus to be beheaded”.

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) condemned the "hate campaign" of Togadia and said the inciting speech was against the values preached by the Constitution of India, especially the Right to Freedom of Religion. Stating that the VHP leader's speech disturbed peace and harmony, NCCI demanded the government to take stern action and prevent such events in the future.

The All India Christian Council and the Global Council of Indian Christians as well condemned the Monday’s inflammatory statements made by Togadia.
"Will Togadia endorse the same beheading for conversion by Hindu new-age god-men and women, people from other faiths?" asked GCIC President Sajan George.

In his fiery speech, Togadia reportedly questioned the past of Muslims and Christians, and further gave a call to Hindus to capture the Islamic holy places in Arab and Vatican of Europe. Besides Muslims and Christians, Togadia also attacked the UPA Government saying it was targeting Hindus through its draft Bill of Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, 2011. Stating that the Centre had knelt down before Muslims and Christians, Togadia said it is time that Hindus will have to come on roads once again to demonstrate their strength.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based advocacy group, today expressed concern over Togadia's speech and said such statements previously led to worsening attitudes and increasing violence against religious minority communities.

“India’s pluralist pedigree is once again under concerted fire. Inflammatory remarks such as Togadia’s can be a spur for prejudice and violence against Muslims and Christians: for example, communal attacks against Christians in India are often linked to unsubstantiated accusations about conversions. Any activities which lead to religious conversions should of course be carried out with the utmost respect and sensitivity," said CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston.

"We encourage the Government of India to be vigilant against any rise in communal violence that may be ignited by these statements. We welcomed Home Minister P Chidambaram’s letter to chief ministers in October urging them to guard against communal violence, and we continue to applaud the Government’s ongoing commitment to pass an effective law to prevent, control and deal with the aftermath of communal violence," he added (Source).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christian Hotel Owners Appeal Against Ruling On Gay Couple Sharing A Room

11/08/2011 UK (The Guardian)-Devout Christian hotel owners who refused to allow a gay couple to share a double room have insisted at the appeal court that they should have been allowed to impose the ban.
Peter and Hazel Bull refused to allow Martyn Hall and his civil partner, Steven Preddy, to stay in a double room at their hotel in Marazion, Cornwall.

Earlier this year a judge at Bristol county court ruled the Bulls had acted unlawfully and ordered them to pay £3,600 compensation to the men.

James Dingemans QC, for the Bulls, told three appeal judges that Judge Andrew Rutherford at Bristol "erred in failing to balance the respective rights in this case".
He said the Bulls believed that "unmarried sexual behaviour was wrong" but were not prejudiced against gay people.

He said: "[The Bulls] have prevented hundreds of unmarried couples sharing double beds.
"[Their] beliefs may be considered outdated, uneconomic for those operating a private hotel, but, we respectfully submit, they are entitled to manifest those beliefs."

He said the Bulls had an "absolute right" to believe that "unmarried sexual behaviour is wrong" and a "qualified right" to "manifest that belief".

"If human rights is to have any value at all, it must be respecting of all rights," added Dingemans. "It should not be beyond the ability of the courts to accommodate both sides."

The website to the couple's hotel, Chymorvah, still features a note: "We have few rules, but please note that as Christians we have a deep regard for marriage (being the union of one man to one woman for life to the exclusion of all others). Therefore, although we extend to all a warm welcome to our home, our double-bedded accommodation is not available to unmarried couples. Thank you(Source)."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Attack On Church Compound In Kenya Kills Two, Wounds Three

11/07/2011 Kenya (CDN)-Suspected Islamic extremists with Somalia’s al Shabaab militia threw a grenade into the home of the church guard of an East Africa Pentecostal Church (EAPC) congregation outside Garissa, Kenya on Saturday night (Nov. 5), killing an 8-year-old girl and another member of the church, sources said. Three other people were seriously injured in the 8 p.m. grenade attack on the house, which is near the gate of the church compound.

Killed instantly were 8-year-old Winnie Mwenda Mutinda and 25-year-old church member John Kikavu. The child was the youngest daughter of church elder Patrick Mutinda, who also serves as the guard or watchman of the church building, sources said.

The other three people in the house at the time of the blast were seriously wounded. The watchman’s son, Samuel Mutinda, 12, suffered burns on his chest and leg, and his 10-year-old brother, Peter Mutinda, sustained burns on his hand and leg; the injuries of both boys required doctors to remove portions of skin. Burns on their grandmother, Rachael Kandu, also required the removal of skin from her leg, sources said.
The three wounded family members were first taken to the house of the church pastor within the compound before they were rushed to Garissa Provincial Hospital.

“The three injured Christians are in stable condition in the hospital undergoing treatment,” the pastor told Compass. “I hope they will be discharged soon.”

Al Shabaab activity near the Somali-Kenya border, including Garissa in northeast Kenya, has increased since Kenya began air strikes on al Shabaab-held territory in southern Somalia last month in retaliation for the rebel group’s kidnapping and murder of foreigners in Kenya. Even before Kenya’s military action, however, the Islamic extremist militia battling Somalia’s transitional government had threatened and attacked Christians in northeastern Kenya.

The church pastor, the Rev. Ibrahim Makunyi Kamwaro, told Compass he was witness to the explosion.
“I saw big blast coming out of the house, and immediately I rushed to the scene of the incident, and I heard the attackers saying, ‘You will have to stop taking of wine,’ as they fled away,” he said.

Islam forbids consumption of alcohol, but Makunyi Kamwaro said he was not sure what the comment meant.
“I think the church participation in the Holy Communion might have been taken to mean the church members taking wine,” he said. “This statement is quite unclear to me.”

Also on Saturday (Nov. 5), in the morning hours a bomb in Garissa near the Heller gas station and close to an electrical transformer was removed before it exploded. Police who received reports of white sparks at the site were able to remove and defuse the bomb. Pastor Makunyi Kamwaro told Compass that, in spite of the al Shabaab activity in the area, he was not sure who was responsible for the deadly blast.

“At the moment we cannot say exactly who the attackers are, but what we know is that they are the enemies of the church,” he said.

Another area pastor said a fellowship of church leaders met on Thursday (Nov. 3) and wrote a letter to authorities requesting police security for churches in Garissa, especially on Saturdays and Sundays.

The pastor said that he received a threatening message yesterday on his cell phone, reading, “Message from al Shabaab – You must migrate [from] Garissa town within 48 hours or you see bomb blast taking your life and we know your house, Christians will see war. Don’t take it so lightly. We are for your neck.”

In Garissa, police today also found three bombs before they could be detonated: one on a mini-bus, one near a gas station and one at a new house under construction.

In the attack on Saturday, in which one grenade missed its target before a second one hit, the parents of the children were not home; Patrick Mutinda was still in Garissa, about 1 kilometer from the EAPC building. His wife, known as “Mama Grace,” was helping the church pastor’s wife. EAPC Pastor Makunyi Kamwaro told Compass that the church’s worship service will continue as usual this Sunday.

“Many of the church members have been with us here in the church building since the incident took place 10 hours ago,” he said yesterday, before Compass arrived at the scene today. “As I talk to you now over the phone, there are many people around or within the church compound: the church members, the police and people from the press. Thank you for keeping in touch with us and comforting us at this trying moment.”

Garissa is the provincial headquarters of Kenya’s North Eastern Province, which is predominantly Muslim.
Muslims restrict churches in Garissa in various ways. Christians are not allowed conduct prayers, sing or use musical instruments in rented homes owned by Muslims. No teaching of Christian Religious Education in schools is allowed; only Islamic Religious Knowledge is taught(Source).

Cuba Denies Local Pastor And His Family Permission To Seek Asylum In US

It enrages me that Cuba's denying this man from seeking refuge here in the United States. I pray that the Lord protects him and keeps him in the persecution.

11/07/2011 Cuba (CSW) - A Cuban pastor and his family are issuing a public appeal to the government to allow them to leave Cuba. Pastor Omar Gude Perez, his wife and two children were granted asylum in the United States in July but have been refused permission to exit the island.

After receiving asylum in the US in July, the couple was informed by government official that they would not be issued exit visas, or “white cards”, as they are called in Cuba. Following negative press coverage, officials told the family they would in fact be allowed to leave, but three months on they say they have yet to see any indication that they will be permitted to go into exile. The family told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that they are concerned about the long delays and contradictory messages.

Pastor Gude, a national leader in a fast growing network of independent churches called the Apostolic Movement, served almost three years of a six and a half year prison sentence on trumped up charges. He was released on conditional liberty earlier this year but is prohibited from preaching or from travelling outside the city of Camaguey.

Pressure on other pastors in Cuba is also increasing. Another couple, both pastors from the same religious network in Camaguey as the Gude family, have been repeatedly cited by government officials and threatened with imprisonment and forcible closure of their church. On the most recent occasion, Benito Rodríguez and Bárbara Guzmán were ordered to appear at the local Ministry of Justice on 11 October and fined 200 Cuban pesos (approximately one month’s salary in Cuba).

Last month a Baptist pastor in the province of Santa Clara, Mario Felix Lleonart Barroso, was put under house arrest on multiple occasions. Officials warned the family that they could be a target of an “act of repudiation”, government orchestrated mobs often mobilised by officials to intimidate and attack human rights and democracy activists(Source).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Christian Town Clerks Bullied Over NY Gay Marriage Law

And the Western Persecution of my brothers and sisters in Christ continues to go on. I wonder how long it will be before it starts to get violent.
11/07/2011 United States (CBN)-Gay marriage has been legal in New York for a little more than four months but it has already led to a crisis of conscience for some public workers. Since gay marriage became official July 24, two town clerks have resigned because they refused to sign licenses for same-sex couples.
Another clerk has assigned the duty to a deputy. Now, some residents are looking to remove that clerk from office with a write-in campaign in the Nov. 8 election.
Enduring the Heat
Ledyard is a farming town in upstate New York, home to about 2,000 people. Some often leave during the winter to escape the severe cold. Rose Marie Belforti braves the cold as a dairy farmer. But as Ledyard's town clerk, she has been enduring the heat of criticism from gay rights groups.

The Christian wife and mother opposes gay marriage. So when leaders legalized gay marriage last summer, Belforti assigned all marriage licensing duties to a deputy in her office.

"Once in a while in your life you have to stand up for Christ and this is my turn," she said during a recent interview with CBN News.

"I have given over the whole duty of the marriage application process, including heterosexual marriages," Belforti explained. "So, I am not doing any of them because I really do want to be fair to everyone."
"So that way, nobody has to go to the back of the bus. So everybody is going to make an appointment and there will be a deputy to make sure they get what they need," she added.

The Ledyard Town Hall issues fewer than seven marriage licenses a year. Still, Belforti's move has angered some residents. Ledyard resident Ed Easter has launched a write-in campaign to remove her from the position she has held for 10 years. One lesbian couple has also threatened to file a lawsuit.

"I am not afraid," Belforti told CBN News. "I know that I am supported by the law. If they want to challenge that, they will have to sue me and bring it on."

Belforti asked the conservative legal group Alliance Defense Fund for their advice.
"We need to protect religious liberty and the right of conscience. And legalizing same-sex marriage creates these kinds of conflicts," ADF Attorney Jordan Lorence said.

"And it would be better and more in line with our American constitutional tradition, protecting religious liberty and right of conscience, to protect these town clerks," Lorence said.
 Clerks Resign
At least two New York town clerks have resigned from their positions because they refused to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples. One of them lives in Granby in Oswego County. The town is home to a little more than 6,000 people. After 13 years of service, Ruth Sheldon left her job at the Granby Town Hall, just one day before gay marriage became legal. Sheldon now spends her free time volunteering at her church and praying for Christian clerks who are still on the job.

"I'd like to see them protected," Sheldon said. "I think they should have a right to their religious beliefs, their biblical beliefs."
Laura Fotusky, former town clerk for Barker, was the second New York clerk to resign over the gay marriage law.
Christian Support
The town clerks are finding some support from Christian groups, like Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.

"There are more than 900 clerks in New York State. And a dozen of them have actually called us to say we have concerns about this issue," McGuire said.

"I think there are many more than that below the tip of the iceberg. But because of the bullying factor that is applied to these types of situations, they dare not come out," he explained(Source).