Tuesday, July 31, 2012

South Korean Christians Tortured by China for Helping North Koreans

07/30/2012 China (Chosun.com) - Several South Korean activists have been arrested and tortured by Chinese police, groups working to help North Korean defectors alleged Friday. One South Korean pastor who organized underground churches in North Korea allegedly suffered waterboarding and electrical torture when he was arrested in China in 1991, they said.

Yoo Sang-joon, a North Korean defector whose story formed the basis for the 2008 South Korean film "Crossing," was beaten by Chinese police for 24 hours while in Chinese custody in May last year. At the time, Chinese police warned him not to talk about the beating before they released him.
An activist helping North Koreans escape said, "To avoid diplomatic friction, Chinese police sometimes incite Chinese prison inmates to beat the South Korean activists."

But whenever South Korean victims lodge protests after their release, Chinese authorities deny the allegations. "South Korean activists helping North Koreans have been tortured by Chinese police for 20 years," said Do Hee-yoon of the Seoul-based Citizens' Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees(Source).

Monday, July 30, 2012

“Land grabbing” used to oppress Christians in Pakistan

7/25/2012 Pakistan (Pakistan Christian Post) – “The police pulled away our headscarves from heads and started hitting us with clubs and punches” these were statement of Christian women made before visiting team of LEAD, after news spread that police is harassing and torturing Christian women and men in Chack number 66, in sub district Pattoki of Kasur District in Punjab province of Pakistan to grab their agricultural land.

Ashiq Masih, Kushi Mashi and their family of 20 individuals inherited an agricultural land of 40 acres from their forfathers which values of to millions of rupees in Pakistan. The influential Muslim of the area planned to grab that agricultural land of Christian family for which he used tactics of lucrative price tag and harassment but Ashiq Masih and Kushi Masih denied dealing on their forefathers land.

According to LEAD “There is another subtle instrument of oppression against Christians in Pakistan, "land grabbing". It is based on rent, purchase or mortgage of large plots of land including agricultural plots of their forefathers, and in Pakistan this abuse is systematically used by a number of landowners and powerful businessmen(Source).”

Radicals Threaten to Rape Christian Women in Indian Village

 07/30/2012 India (CPUI)- Raipur20 Bajrang Dal activists roughed up pastor Kamalesh and fifty plus believers at a prayer meeting in a in Bakli Village near Rajim , 55 kilometers from Raipur Chattisgarh , some fifty men,women and children were attending the prayer meeting at a house in a slum cluster . During the prayer meeting, on 22nd July 20 armed men from Bajrang Dal openly identified themselves and threatened the pastor and believers.

They accused pastror Kamalesh of proselytization, desecrating idols and defaming and blaspheming their gods and goddesses…The radicals left the scene after tormenting the congregation for 45 minutes and before leaving threatened the women that they will not hesitate to violate them if they continue to follow Jesus Christ(Source).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Three Christians in India Arrested on Charges of “Religious Propaganda”

07/27/2012 India (AsiaNews)- On the hill town of Tirumala (Andhra Pradesh), it is legal "to violate one of the fundamental rights of the Indian constitution, namely religious freedom," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after  the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD),a trust that runs local Hindu temples, arrested three Christians on charges of religious propaganda. Under a ban issued in 2007, non-Hindus are not allowed to propagate their religion in Tirumala temple area.

The three men arrested are Eswaraiiah, Krishnamma and Yasodamma. They work for the TTD, but apparently no one knew that they were Christian. Last Monday, TTD agents searched their homes and found posters, religious literature and other Christian material.

The three were suspended from their job, arrested for involvement in missionary activities, and interrogated. Under the Worship or Prayer Prohibition Ordinance 2007, they could get up to three years in jail and a 5,000 rupee fine. For Christians, the ordinance is unconstitutional. Not only does it prohibit disseminating non-Hindu religious beliefs, but it also violates freedom of movement. The local government has not however heeded such arguments and repealed the ordinance.

Built on seven hills, the city of Tirumala is a major pilgrimage site. It is home to the famous Hindu temple of Venkateswara, the most visited place of its kind in the world with 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims a day.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is an independent trust set up in 1932 to administer all (economic or not) activities associated with the temple area(Source).

UK: Christian Groups Angry Over PM’S Gay Marraige Comments

07/28/2012 UK (Christian Today)-Christian groups have criticised Prime Minister David Cameron after he suggested the church was “locking out” people who are gay, bisexual or transgender. Rev Rod Thomas, the Chairman of Reform, a conservative evangelical network within the Church of England, said the Prime Minister’s comments were “regrettable”.

He said the suggestion that the church was ‘locking out’ a section in the community was a “misinterpretation” of the church’s position.

“As Christians we advocate and showpastoral care and love to all in the community, following Christ’s command to love our neighbour as ourselves,” said Mr Thomas.

“However the church’s mission is to bring God’s word to God’s world. God designed marriage to be the union of one man and one woman, reflecting the union of Christ as bridegroom and his church his bride. That purpose will never change.

“God is not a person with whom even UK prime ministers can negotiate a more congenial set of commands.
“We utterly deny that by supporting the biblical definition of marriage anyone is being ‘locked out’ from meeting God through Jesus Christ and experiencing his transforming love.”

Mr Cameron hosted a reception at Downing Street on Tuesdayfor the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He told guests that the Government would be legislatingfor gay marriage “in this Parliament” and the Coalition was “committed both to changing the law and also working to change the culture”.
Mr Cameron said: “I make that point not only as someone who believes in equality but as someone who believes passionately in marriage.

The Prime Minister’s vow of supportfor gay marriage comes in spite of strong opposition within his party.
Regarding the church, Mr Cameron said it was a “very complicated and difficult issue” but said he passionately believed “that all institutions need to wake up to the casefor equality, and the Church shouldn’t be locking out people who are gay, or bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views are also gay”.

“And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the churches can be in danger of doing the same thing,” he said. Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern said: “David Cameron’s comments are disingenuous.

“All people are loved by God and welcomed by Him but that does not mean that all behaviour is right or that we can pretend that marriage is something that it is not.

“This is not an issue of equality but of honesty. Commitment is an important aspect of marriage but that is not all there is to it(Source)."

Arizona Pastor Jailed for Bible Study Faces Persecution in Prison

07/24/2012 United States (Examiner.com) - Michael Salman, a pastor from Arizona who is jailed for home bible studies continues to face persecution in prison. Salman is currently serving a 60-day sentence with the potential to be longer depending on future proceedings in court. While in prison he continues to do that which put him there in the first place; holding bible studies.

Jail officials on one occasion last week dispersed a gathering of almost 20 inmates that Salman had together for a bible study. Officials threatened to put him “in the hole” if he didn’t cooperate. On another such occasion he was forced to work on Sunday instead of honoring the Sabbath.

Upon intervention from his attorneys who sent word to the Maricopa County Jail, Salman has been given new work duties that do not interfere with his religious beliefs. The Rutherford Institute has come out today with another such statement warning officials at the prison that by law they must allow Salman to practice his religion. His right to do so is under the United States Constitution, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act(Source).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Boko Haram Kills Six at Ramadan Start

7/23/2012 Nigeria (CharismaNews)- Six more people were killed late last week at the hands of Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram. Attacks on Christian churches by Boko Haram have been practically a weekly occurrence in Nigeria for the last couple of months. But this particular string of attacks was not directly against Christians. Instead, the attacks included a run-in with the military Joint Task Force (JTF).

Two people were killed in Maiduguri during a gunfight between the JTF and suspected Boko Haram members, according to Reuters. Gunmen later killed four people at a nearby market.
The attacks took place the day after Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan agreed to lift the state of emergency on several regions.
"It seems like they clearly are making a statement," says Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs. "But it also is the beginning of Ramadan, so it's interesting to think that may also play into this."
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, jihadists often have increased their attacks. Ramadan just began on Friday.
More Boko Haram attacks like this only increase the concerns of Christians, many of whom bring machetes with them to church to defend themselves from militants. But onlookers say the way these particular attacks were handled by the government is actually a good indicator.
"I think one of the positive things about this story is that the military was actually fighting back against Boko Haram," says Nettleton. "That has not always been the case in the attacks in Nigeria, so the fact that the military was involved--that they were trying to take an active role in stopping Boko Haram--is good news(Source)."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Church Destroyed While 500 Gather for Prayer Inside

07/23/2012 Nepal (AsiaNews)- The incident occurred on July 21. In the building there were about 500 people in prayer. Demolished only the outer walls, but there are also damages the inside of the building. To ease traffic congestion, Kathmandu authorities have demolished the exterior walls of the largest and oldest Protestant church in the capital, also damaging the interior. The destruction took place on July 21 at 5 am and continued until the beginning of Sunday service, ignoring the 500 people already gathered in prayer in the church. Several private buildings were also destroyed, despite the inhabitants' protests. To avoid clashes with residents, the city administration deployed hundreds of police in front of the church and the houses to be demolished.

Protestant Christian Rajan Rai, accuses the government of the city of considering places of worship equal to a normal building, regardless of their spiritual and historical significance. "The authorities have no respect for religious sensibilities - he stresses - and ignore the importance of faith for us."

The case has created tensions between the Kathmandu Metropolitan Development Authority (Kmda), in charge of the project, and the leaders of the local Protestant church, who to date have not made any comments, but according to local sources will denounce the abuse in court.

Keshav Sthapit, Kmda management, defends the actions of public administration: "We have done our job without bias. The expansion of the road system has affected many religious and public buildings. In recent months, were also destroyed Hindu temples, foreign diplomatic offices and many private homes. " The official said that authorities have opened an inquiry into the disputed building and in the event of irregularities in the operations will provide to pay damages(Source).

Indonesia: Christian Church Set on Fire as Forced Closures Continue

07/23/2012 Indonesia (Asia News) - Concern is growing among Christians in the province of Aceh, victims of a series of recent attacks by extremist groups or unknown assailants. The violence is worsened by the policy of local authorities, who instead of halting attacks, continues closing churches and prayer halls for the (alleged) lack of building permits, required for all construction in Indonesia (religious and non-religious). In the document published these days, the Christian Alliance of United North Sumatra denounces that since last May at least 20 house churches or prayer chapels have been closed down by Singkil regency officials. Among these, ten belonged to the Pakpak Dairi Christian Protestant Church (Gkppd) and four were Catholic.

In a statement released today, the leaders of the United Alliance of North Sumatra say that the attacks are of "growing concern", given that there is no "protection or recognition" for all religious groups, above all minorities. The situation in Singkil in particular is getting worse, with gross violations of religious freedom which is " recognized officially by our Constitution." Christian leaders also point the finger at the central government in Jakarta, which does not intervene in cases where individual local governments violate the rights and freedoms of citizens, particularly non-Muslims.

The statement also recalls the last episode of violence in Singkil regency on July 18. At dawn the Pakpak Dairi Christian Protestant Church (Gkppd) house of prayer was attacked and set on fire by a group of strangers. Pews and several musical instruments were destroyed, but the prompt intervention of the faithful prevented the complete destruction of the building. Inside the structure about 15 liters of petrol were found, so far investigators have not identified any culprit.

The province of Aceh, the westernmost of the archipelago of Indonesia, is also the only one which is subject to Sharia, compliance with which is ensured by the "moral police", a special force that punishes violations in dress and behavior. In the past, under the leadership of Governor Irwandy Yusuf - head of the guerrilla war - a relative calm and religious harmony between the Muslim majority and "foreigners" of various non-Islamic faiths prevailed. However, recently the situation has changed: attacks against religious minorities have started, the fundamentalist wing has gained more power and freedom of action(Source).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What is the Most Dangerous Country for Christians?

Nigeria is the most dangerous country to be a Christian? I would argued for places like Egypt, China or North Korea.

07/21/2012 Nigeria (Times Herald)-Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country with 170 million people.
It is the continent’s number one oil producer. Nigeria is also the most dangerous country for Christian persecution.
Last year over 765 churches were destroyed. Earlier this month, 50 Christians were burned alive at their pastor’s home. Christians in Jos, Nigeria learned over 100 suicide bombers had recently arrived in their city, targeting them.
Jerry Dykstra, of Open Doors USA, which is a Christian persecution watchgroup, stated, “Nigeria is truly becoming the new killing field for Christians. Hundreds of Christians have already been brutally murdered, including women and children by the Boko Haram. The Boko Haram earlier this week said that all Christians need to turn to Islam or ‘they would never know peace again.’ Their goal is to make Nigeria a country run and dominated by Shariah law.”
The Boko Haram is a violent, jihadist terrorist organization located in northeastern Nigeria. Their goals are to established Islamic law throughout Nigeria, remove Western influences and eliminate Christianity.
Why should believers in Newnan, Georgia care about our brothers and sisters in Nigeria? In Nigeria, 55 percent of the population is Christian and 50 percent of the nation is Muslim. There is aChristian majority in Southern Nigeria and a Muslim majority in Northern Nigeria.
These are the two largest religions in the world, and Nigeria is almost equally divided.
Both of these religions have separate and somewhat competing cultures. Trend watchers keep a close eye on Nigeria because it might offer a glimpse of the future church, levels of persecution and Christian-Muslim relationships.
Nigeria has been referred to as the capital of Africa, and the future of Christianity rests in Africa and East Asia. Yale University historian Lamin Sanneh stated, that “African Christianity was not just an exotic, curious phenomenon in an obscure part of the world, but that African Christianity might be the shape of things to come.”

Believers “over here” cannot ignore what God is doing “over there” in Nigeria and the persecution they endure. If Christianity means to you a service, a pastor, a song, a place for kids to play or watching Charles Stanley on TV – you’re missing the global mission of God – and the religious freedom many Christians lack. Last century more believers were murdered for their faith than any other century – 200 million(Keep on Reading).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Provincial Chinese AuthoritiesTarget House Church, Confiscate Bibles

07/20/2012 China (ChinaAid) - Local authorities in Shaanxi provincetargeting a house church in Baihe county have confiscated from the home of a woman believer government-published Bibles purchased from an official“Three Self” church.

The Chengguan house church has long been under government persecution, and it is currently facing a new round of suppression from the local police department, which has been threatening the church and telling church members not to invite any rights defense lawyers.

In the most recent incident, five county government officials barged into the home of Xia Changzhi on July 13 at about 10 a.m and forcibly removed five boxes of Bibles. Three of the officials were from the Baihe county Culture, Radio and Television Bureau, and the other two from the county Commerce and Industry Bureau. The names of two of the officials were Qin Rengui and Li Liang.

On July 16, Ms. Xia was summoned by police for questioning. She was questioned by Yan Longhe of the Domestic Security Protection Section, who accused the house church of engaging in piracy even though it had bought the Bibles from a government-approved Three-Self church. He said that Ms. Xia and the church were engaged in unlicensed book-buying. The Bibles were confiscated by the Culture, Radio and Television Bureau, who said that since this was an act of piracy, fines would be imposed and the church’s pastor, surnamed Liu, would also be investigated to find out who was the consigner of the goods(Source).

Attacks Increase as Hindus Target Christians in India

07/19/2012 India (AsiaNews)- Three new anti-Christian attacks in three different States testify to "the sad increase of religious intolerance" in India. This is the opinion of Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), given the episodes of violence committed by Hindu ultra-nationalists in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Haryana, which all occurred on July 15 last.

The most serious incident happened in the village of Sainagara (Karnataka). Rev. Nathaniel Shubas, pastor of Immanuel Pentecostal Prayer Hall, held a prayer service, attended by about twenty people. During the sermon, witnesses say they saw a man enter, record what the pastor was saying, and leave shortly after.

Within ten minutes, this person came back accompanied by more than 20 activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal, groups that constitute the "armed wing" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu ultra-nationalist party). These began to beat and insult Rev. Shubas, and then dragged him for over a kilometer to the Vidyanagara police station. They accused him of practicing forced conversions of Hindus to Christianity. The officers arrested the man on the basis of art. 295A ("Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs ").

The second episode of violence occurred in the tribal village of Thavalpada (Maharashtra). About ten Hindus attacked 50 Christians, who were singing devotional songs. The attackers were led by Eknath Jhugare, local BJP leader. Unlike Karnataka, this time the police arrested the attackers.
Also on July 15, in Dabar Patli village (Sirsa district, Haryana) Hindus demolished a Pentecostal Church under construction, the Messiah Samiti, arguing that most of the villagers were opposed to its construction(Source).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

150 Hindus Attack 15 Christians

07/18/2012 India (CDN)- Hindu extremists forced 15 Christians to participate in Hindu worship rituals, then beat them up and rousted them from their village, according to an evangelical organization in India.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India said that on June 19, 150 Hindus rounded up 12 Christians in Jawanga, a village in the tropical Dakshin Bastar district of Chhattisgarh state, in eastern India.

The Christians were taken to the Pendevi Temple, where they were forced to worship tribal and Hindu deities, and to participate in Hindu rituals, Akhilesh Edgar of the Evangelical Fellowship of India told Open Doors News. He said the abductors then assaulted the Christians, though Edgar did not provide detail about the extent of any injuries they may have suffered.

Rather than let the Christians return home, the Hindus chased them out of the village. The Christians sought the help of John Nag, a pastor in Geelam about 5 kilometers from Jawanga, and Sonsingh Jhali, known locally as an advocate for Christians.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India said Nag and Asaram Bech, in whose house the Jawanga Christians sometimes held prayer meetings, approached the elected head of the village, who refused to permit the Christians’ return. The uprooted Jawanga villagers are staying with other Christians in Geelam, the organization said. The evangelical group said the Christians did not file a complaint with the police, for fear of stirring religious tensions.

Chhattisgarh is one of five Indian states that has adopted a Freedom of Religion Act, which the commission says has had the opposite effect.

“While intended to reduce forced conversions and decrease communal violence, states with these laws have higher incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence against religious minorities, particularly Christians,” the commission concluded in its 2012 annual report(Source).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Women and Children Beaten in India: Police Do Nothing

07/17/2012 India (CPUI)-Br.Nitin Sardar, chairperson of Dinbandhu Trust, the Christian NGO that runs the school in Maharashtra state’s Yavatmal district, said a group of around 20 people entered the dormitory of Ankur English Medium School on June 16, injuring staff and scaring students into going home.
Police have not taken any action, Sardar said. The dormitory, which housed about 20 students, has been closed.

The majority of the 250 students at the school are from the Pardhi tribe, which was considered criminal under British rule and still faces discrimination.

Sardar alleged that a former member of parliament, Jambuwantrao Dhote, instigated the attackers by accusing the NGO of converting Pardhi children to Christianity.Prakash Phuleny, a Pardhi parent, said the incident has so frightened the students that they do not want to go back to the hostel. “The goons did not spare even our women, who were also beaten up,” he said(Source).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Youth in Mexico Robbed, Raped and Beaten at a Christian Camp

I'm apalled at what has happened to my sisters in Christ. They will be in my prayers.

07/15/2012 Mexico
(BosNewsLife)- Some 90 Christian youngsters were recovering Sunday, July 15, after a dozen armed men went on an hours-long rampage of beatings, robberies and rape, at a church youth camp on the outskirts of Mexico City, authorities said Sunday, July 15.

Seven girls were raped during the Friday, July 13, violence and several campers were beaten, said the state prosecutors office in the State of Mexico, which surrounds the Mexican capital. The armed group was also stealing phones and jewelry from the campers at the youth camp of the Chains of the Holy Trinity church group at an eco-park near Mexico City, a hilly area that is close to the lower flanks of the Popocatepetl Volcano,   according to investigators

Friday's attack against the young Christians, who gathered for Bible study and prayer, happened in an area that was supposed to be patrolled by local police, but reports said the violence began at night and it was unclear whether officers were on duty at the time.

Police only found out about the crimes when an adult organizer of the camp-out showed up at police offices to report the attack, news reports said. In a statement, the state government stressed however that it had "witness' descriptions of the attackers" and pledged "to catch and punish" those responsible. No arrests were reported Sunday, July 15, at a time of concerns over corruption within police and judicial systems.

Devoted Christians have often been singled out for attacks by violent groups in the country for a variety of reasons, according to church groups and Christian rights investigators(Source).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Police Raid House Church Sunday School in China, Round Up 70 Children

07/10/2012 China (ChinaAid) - Police in China’s far western region of Xinjiang raided a house church Sunday school, rounded up 70 children and their teachers for questioning, and locked up seven women teachers in a local detention center, ChinaAid has learned.

The children were attending special summer classes arranged by the house church in the regional capital city of Urumqi when the police action occurred on the morning of July 2. Police from the Qiangfanggou police station and agents from the Sha district Domestic Security Protection Department rounded up all the children and Sunday School teachers and took them to a school where they were questioned. Some of the children’s parents and school principals and teachers were also summoned and questioned.

Seven women Sunday School teachers, including Bao Ling, Wang Xingxing, Luo Qinqin, and Lu Xia, are still being held in the Xishan detention center.

"To prevent children from having access to religious education in the faith of their parents is a direct contravention of the U. N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (1981) and U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) which was adopted by China in 1992,” said ChinaAid’s founder and president, Dr. Bob Fu.

“Arbitrarily detaining peaceful Sunday school teachers is a violation of their citizens’ right to basic religious freedom,” he added. “We urge the Xinjiang authorities to immediately release them and to halt their continuously intensifying persecution of religious believers, including those the Uyghur minority group who peacefully engage in their religious practices(Source).”

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Senator Introduces Bill to Protect Indonesian Christians in U.S.

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!!!! I pray that this bill gets passed so that my Indonesian Brethren in Christ can have a safe haven from persecution in their native homeland.

06/27/2012 United States (VOA) - A U.S. senator has introduced legislation that would allow Indonesian Christians living in the United States to apply for asylum on the grounds of religious persecution in their homeland.

The bill from Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey aims to help the hundreds of Indonesian Christians who came to the U.S. on tourist visas, mostly between the years of 1996 and 2003. Religious persecution intensified during that period, with more than 1,000 churches being destroyed by anti-Christian extremists.
The immigrants, who mostly settled in northeast U.S. states such as New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire, now face deportation after deadlines passed for them to seek asylum.
Senator Lautenberg tells VOA that his measure is intended to halt the deportation process long enough for the individuals to apply for asylum and have their cases considered.
“They have a lot to contribute. They're energetic people – we've seen it. They're working, they're part of the community. But they also happened to miss a deadline. And, that kind of a mishap should not prevent good people from being here.”

Campaign of Religious Cleansing May be Underway in Vietnam

07/04/2012 Vietnam (Asia News) - The crackdown on the free profession of religion in Vietnam is becoming more pronounced. The last episode of violation of religious freedom in the communist country - also a right recognized by state law - took place on July 1 last in a Missionary Chapel in Con Cuong, a rural area of ​​the province of Nghe An, in the northern diocese of Vinh; in raids on local Catholics combat troops and "thugs" in the pay of the authorities to target minorities or repress dissent were also used in.

Local sources speak of a real campaign of "religious cleansing" aimed at "wiping out" any trace of faith and worship; in particular in the rural or remote areas of Vietnam, where there is a strong revival of religious sensibility and Christianity in particular, after decades of indoctrination and atheistic communism.

The Con Cuong district authorities are increasingly willing to punish the practice of worship and spiritual needs of the local population, after having several times - in the past - hired criminal gangs and thugs to threaten and terrorize the faithful gathered in the chapel to pray . On one occasion, they also tried to blow up the little place of prayer, but all attempts proved futile.

The last incident took place on Sunday, July 1. Witnesses told AsiaNews that dozens of thugs and plainclothes officers tried to prevent Fr. JB Nguyen Dinh Thuc from entering the chapel to celebrate mass. The priest opposed the fierce resistance, trying to break through the gang, in response, the officers beat him brutally punishing the faithful who came to his rescue. Among them is Mrs. Maria Thi Than Ngho whose skull was fractured in the struggle and remains hospitalized in conditions described as "critical" in Viet Duc hospital in Hanoi. Many others were arrested and locked up in jail(Source).

Pakistanis Kill Man Accused of Insulting Quran

07/04/2012 Pakistan (AP) — Thousands of people dragged a Pakistani man accused of desecrating Islam's holy book from a police stationin central Pakistan, beat himto death and then set his body on fire, a police official said Wednesday. The incident highlighted the highly charged nature of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, under which anyone found guilty ofinsulting Islam's Prophet or the Quran can be sentencedto death.

Sometimes, however, people take the matter into their own hands. A senior police officer, Mohammed Azhar Gujar, saidin theincident Tuesdayin Bahawalpur, a city in a deeply conservative part of central Pakistan, attackers stormed a police station where the man was beinginterrogated. Gujar said the victim seemed to be mentally unstable. He was arrested after residents said he threw pages of the Quraninto the street.

Within hours, thousands gathered outside and demanded the man be handed overto them. Gujar said police triedto protect him, but the mob turned violent.

It was unclear whether the man was Muslim, a member of Pakistan's Christian minority or belongedto another religion. His name was not released. Pakistani Christians live in fear of being arrested under the blasphemy laws, which critics say are often misused to settle personal scores or family feuds(Source).

Christians Continue to Worship in Indonesia Despite Orders to Close Churches

I thank our Lord and Savior for their bravery.
07/01/2012 Indonesia (BosNewsLife) - Christians in Indonesia's semi-autonomous province of Aceh faced a tense Sunday, July 1, after local authorities ordered the demolition of 20 churches.
Razali Abdul Rahman, the acting regent of Aceh Singkil Regency in Aceh, signed the letter already on April 30, but details recently emerged.

He ordered the closure of 17 Protestant churches, two Catholic churches and one place of worship belonging to followers of a local nondenominational faith, The Jakarta Post newspaper said. Rights activists said the announcement came after 16 smaller Christian places of worship were recently closed in the same district.

Rahman ordered members of the targeted congregations "to tear down" the churches themselves. Despite the threats, Christians in most of the 20 churches to be demolished were expected to gather again Sunday, July 1, inside their sealed off buildings.

Indonesia's Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi has reportedly said that he is not aware of the closure plans and would contact Razali to ask for clarification. He stressed that citizens "had a right to worship as long as they complied with regulation." Yet, Christians say local authorities backed by Islamic hardliners often interpret rules differently(Source).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nepal: Men Threatening to Murder and Kidnap Pastors Arrested

07/04/2012 Nepal (TheHimalayan)- Detectives have nabbed two members of an extortion racket that had stirred a wave of panic amongst Christians in the Valley. Police said Tamang and Pariyar had repeatedly threatened to blow up the church and finish off his family if Thapa did not pay the extortion amount of Rs 2 million.

The duo had also demanded extortion money from Devi Prasad Bhujel, pastor of Khumaltar Church and threatened him for refusing to meet their demand. They had threatened to detonate a bomb and kidnap many more pastors of Valley-based churches to serve their purpose.

“They had made the Christian community panic through bombing, kidnapping and death threats. However, timely response leading to their arrest has thwarted any untoward incident,” an investigator said. Harried by threats of ‘serious consequences’ in the event of failure to meet their demands, the victims had turned to police for their physical and institutional security(Source).

Christian Blogger in Egypt: Many Believers Committed To Staying on Frontlines, Showing Love of Jesus

07/05/2012 Egypt (The Christian Post) – The following blogs are from a co-worker in Egypt about the chaotic, changing situation in Egypt over the past few weeks: Since the young people of Egypt lit the fire of revolution on Jan. 25, 2011, Egypt has drastically changed in many ways no one could have imagined. Even though the church has been praying for so many years that the Lord would allow striking changes to stop the corruption, dictatorship and misuse of power, I have to admit as a Christian Egyptian that what has happened in Egypt over the last 17 months has exceeded all my expectations and even imagination.

A new page has been turned in the long history book of Egypt. The chapter of the last almost 60 years of Egypt being ruled by military-background presidents and regimes is finally over, and we just started a new one. Our new civilian president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, took his oath of office last Saturday. Looking back over the last 17 months, I recall so many thoughts and mixed feelings. So many days seemed much longer than just 24 hours, and many nights seemed like ages.

Living in Egypt these days is like riding a roller coaster. It takes you up gently and slowly in a nice, refreshing, relaxed short ride. That is when you start to feel that hope could still be possible for us to get from a certain man or a new system. Suddenly at a point you don’t expect, at the turn, it speeds up, taking you to the very bottom while some are laughing and many others are screaming loudly in panic.

For many people, such a ride is fun in the beginning, but suffering comes soon after. All day long we are stormed with news of developments, sudden changes, disappointments, rumors, incidents and news of attacks and clashes here or there that are happening around us every single day.

All our expectations and hopes for a new, open country where Christians may gain their long-lost rights are now a goal so far away to reach. The arising Islamic influence in Egypt has significantly increased with the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties jumping into power, leaving small space for civilian and liberal parties. Working hard, mostly underground for almost 80 years, the Muslim Brotherhood movement won the top post in the country in June.

Many people living in Egypt these days are feeling so hopeless, helpless and worried about the future. This includes millions of nominal Christians, and believe it or not, many Muslims as well, who wish to live under a civilian government, not a fundamentalist Islamic-ruled country.

As for me and my family, along with so many committed Christians in Egypt, we have a special joy and peace that only our Father can give. It’s the same joy and peace Daniel had in the lions’ den; that three young men had in the middle of the fiery furnace; and that the disciples had, seeing the shining face of Jesus approaching the boat in the middle of the dark night and the stormy waves.

The question we Christians of Egypt ask ourselves today is a simple one. Is it not better, safer and more comfortable, according to reason and legitimate life needs, to stay outside the lions’ den? Is it not cooler to stay outside the fiery furnace, rather than suffering the burning flames? And is it not more comfortable and assuring to stay dry by the side of the lake around the campfire, enjoying the evening breezes, rather than fighting high waves and struggling desperately to stay alive? Over the last few months, many Christians have already run away from the den, the furnace and jumped out of the boat.

This is of course heart-breaking news for us. Last month I waved good bye to my lifetime friend and ministry partner, who left to the United States together with his family. It’s really painful. However, to see the shining and comforting face of Jesus in the middle of trouble, hardship and instability is a unique blessing from above. To hold to the many promises in the Word of God and putting them to action is a heavenly assurance that no man, no system, no wealth and no power can give. Reading the wonderful words of Psalm 91, along with so many other promises, brings true joy and peace to our hearts, because we know that our Father is in control.

This is the reason why my family and I, along with many Christians scattered all over Egypt, in villages, towns and cities, are staying here on the front lines, committed to reflect the shining love of Jesus to our fellow Egyptians, no matter who they are(Keep on Reading).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Muslim Radicals Kill 17 Christians, Attack Two Churches in Kenyan

Washington, D.C. (July1, 2012) –International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that that suspected members of the Islamic radical group, Al-Shabaab, attacked two churches and killed 17 Christians in Garissa, Kenya today. The attacks took place during the Sunday morning worship services of the churches.
Many people were injured and rushed to Garissa Provincial hospital. More people might die as they undergo treatment,” said Pastor Ibrahim Magunyi of the East Africa Pentecostal Church who has confirmed the incident to ICC.

The Islamists killed two policemen guarding the African Inland Church before entering the church. Then they threw grenades at the Christian worshipers and shot at them, killing 15 members of the church. In an apparently coordinated attack, the Islamists also threw grenades at the town’s Roman Catholic Church.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, “We have written previously of Al-Shabaab's infiltration of Kenya and are extremely saddened by these killings of the Christian worshipers. The actions of the Islamists show their complete disregard for human life. We urge Kenyan authorities to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice. Kenyan authorities must understand that they are sitting on a powder keg (especially in Eastleigh and in towns near the border with Somalia) and go after Al-Shabaab or all their citizens, not just Christians will be subject to attacks.”

Please call Kenyan embassy in your country and ask the Kenyan officials to protect its citizens from further Islamic attacks and bring the perpetrators of the church attacks to justice(Source).