Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Attacks against Christians in Iraq ongoing

This is a nightmare to me.

4/24/2013 Iraq (Christian Today) – Islamist extremists want Iraq to be a "Muslim only" country. As a result, Christians in Iraq remain continuous targets of violent attacks. Each month Open Doors field workers receive sad phone calls and emails of Christian acquaintances who report attacks against the Christians near them. While most of them are part of the general violence, such as bomb attacks and mortar fire which intensified during provincial elections last Saturday, a part of the violence can be labelled as specifically targeted against Christians.

"If these attacks take place in a Christian neighbourhood or a Christian village, you can assume they are targeted, especially against the Christian population of the neighbourhoods and villages," said an Open Doors field worker.

"Since the fall of Saddam Hussein 10 years ago, an estimated 1,000 Christians have been killed, a relatively high number compared with percentages killed from other groups in Iraqi society."

A Christian in Mosul was the target of two attacks in one week last March. After the first bomb exploded in his house on a Wednesday, a second one was thrown over his fence on Sunday. The Christian saw two young men running away. The second bomb, wrapped in a black bag and a women's t-shirt, was deactivated by a military engineering team(Source).

American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran Thrown Into Solitary Confinement

This isn't good. This is not good at all.

4/29/2013 Iran (Fox News) – The American pastor jailed in Iran for his faith has been placed in solitary confinement and may now be suffering organ failure, according to family members in Iran who are increasingly alarmed at his deteriorating health.

Saeed Abedini, the 32-year-old Christian and American citizen who is serving an eight-year prison term in Iran, was put in solitary confinement following a “peaceful, silent protest” in an outside courtyard at Iran’s notoriously brutal Evin prison, according to family members. Conditions at the prison prompted Abedini and other prisoners to sign a petition decrying the lack of medical care and the threats and harsh treatment facing family members who come to visit. The protest angered prison officials who retaliated by placing Abedini and nine others in solitary confinement.

“Saeed had previously told his family that when he was in solitary confinement in the past, that was the hardest time in his life. That every hour was like one year and that he was losing his memory and his health was deteriorating quickly,” said his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who is at the family's home in Idaho with their two young children.

“We believe that he is being beaten in solitary confinement. We have no way of finding out about his health. There will be no more visitations allowed and we will have no way of knowing how Saeed is doing,” she said.

Abedini has been suffering for months from serious injuries that have not yet been treated, including severe internal bleeding from beatings at the prison, according to supporters. Now there's concern that his kidneys are no longer operating properly(Source).

Derek Minor fka Pro- Never Back Down

Another song related to persecution. It is amazing. Listen to it for yourself.

“Boston Like” Terrorist Attacks a Daily Experience for Christians in Nigeria

And for this reason they will constantly be in my prayers.

4/28/2013 Nigeria (Christian Post) - The Boston Marathon bombings last week shocked America and served as a reminder that the threat of terrorism in the western world is still alive. While offering condolences to the victims, one group is pointing out that Nigerian Christians face such horrors every week in the face of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

In an open letter to the American people this week, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) wrote, "The evil of terrorism in today's world are now well-known and so too must be the demand of vigilance in the overall protection of the common good."
Laolu Akande, executive director of CANAN, is urging Americans to help protect Christians who are regularly attacked in Nigeria.

"We want fellow Christians in America to rise up in the face of the innocent Nigerian Christians who are the main target of Boko Haram," he said.

"These people are doing whatever they like, they have gone out of control, they are threatening the very peace and security of Nigeria, and that of the region," he told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Thursday.

"They have turned Christians into a group of sitting ducks. This is why we want American Christians to rise up and support our association, because we have decided to be the voice of the voiceless. We want American Christians to help us carry our message to the U.S. Congress and get the government to do what is right, which is to designate Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization."

Boko Haram, the shadowy terrorist group in Nigeria, has killed close to 3,000 people in the last few years in the African country. The victims have been primarily Christians as the terrorist group seeks to drive them out of the country and declare Islamic control. It has bombed churches and government buildings, shot down congregations, killed pastors, and rejected a proposed amnesty agreement from the government to stop the attacks.

Despite all this, the U.S. government has failed to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group, even though it admits specific members of the organization are terrorists.

"How can you say that Osama bin Laden is a terrorist, but al-Qaida the organization is not?" Akande told CP. "The only reason why the State Department does not want to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization is for political reasons. It flies in the face of logic to say that three leaders in the group are terrorists but the group itself is not a terrorist organization(Keep Reading)."

Derek Minor fka Pro's song- Drink from His cup

This is a song which is related to the persecution of our brethren in Christ. It is really good. I hope you all enjoy it.

Christian Mother Separated From Children and Killed in Somalia

This can't be good at all.

4/29/2013 Somalia (BosNewsLife) - Christians in Somalia feared more violence Monday, April 29, after Islamic militants reportedly killed the widow of a Christian who was slain for his faith in December, leaving the couple’s five children orphaned.

Fighters of the Islamic al-Shabab group shot 42-year-old Fartun Omar to death on April 13 in Buulodbarde, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the central Somalian city of Beledweyne, local Radio Shebelle reported. The militants had been searching for her for several months, as they knew that she was a secret Christian, the network said.

Due to the threat of persecution, Omar on April 10 decided to leave Beledweyne by bus with another neighbor to seek refuge with relatives, Christian news agency Morning Star News reported.
On reaching Buulobarde, which is controlled by al-Shabab, militants at a roadblock allegedly ordered passengers to disembark and questioned them one by one, locals said.
"Unfortunately, she was not cleared by the al-Shabab,” explained a neighbor who accompanied her. “I only heard one of them saying, ‘This is the woman whose husband was killed last year. Do not let her in.’"

The other passengers were allowed to board again, and the bus left, with Omar’s neighbor suddenly responsible for caring for her children. The oldest is a 15-year-old girl.
“On April 13, I received news from Beledweyne that a woman in Buulobarde had been killed by the Al-Shabab,” the neighbor said. “Soon I found out that it was Fartun Omar.”

Locals said Omar was found dead on the outskirts of Buulobarde with bullet wounds to her right side. “The children are in safe hands, and I am trying to look for some of the relatives of Omar,” the neighbor was quoted as saying. “The only problem that I am experiencing at the moment is that the small children are crying for their mother.”

It comes amid concerns about the whereabouts of another Christian convert who was captured and reportedly tortured by Islamic militants in Somalia remained missing amid fears he may have died.
Four fighters of al-Shabab abducted Hassan Gulled, 25, on March 23, after monitoring him for several weeks, local Christians said. He was thought to be held at an al-Shabab base in Bulo Marer, Somalia(Source).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Churches Stand in Solidarity with Persecuted Christians

4/24/2013 China (ChristianToday)- Churches in the UK and Ireland will be holding services outdoor next month as a mark of solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world. The Great Outdoors Church Service is an initiative of Release International, which works with Christians suffering for their faith.

In some parts of the world, authorities have demolished churches or banned congregations from meeting in their own buildings. Worshippers at Shouwang Church in Beijing, China, are banned from entering their building and have been arrested as they meet outdoors. According to Release International, Shouwang Church has now held more than 100 services in the open air after being refused official recognition by the authorities.

In Nigeria, the destruction of churches by extremists has forced many Christians to hold their services in the open air. In Central Asia, Christians have resorted to meeting in the countryside to escape surveillance. Churches in the UK and Ireland will be holding their services outdoors on 19 and 26 May as an act of public witness.

"This is a great opportunity to stand with courageous Christians who remain true to their beliefs despite opposition," said Paul Robinson, Chief Executive of Release International(Source).

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pakistan Christian Family Hiding Amid Death Threats

I pray that this family will be bold for the Lord Jesus Christ.

By Xavier P. William
4/26/2013 Pakistan (BosNewsLife) – A Christian father said Friday, April 26, his family is hiding in the Pakistani city of Lahore after Islamic militants tried to abduct and kill one of his daughters because they refuse to convert to Islam.

Sadiq Masih Zafar told BosNewsLife that the threats come nearly a decade after his family was forced to flee the nearby city of Muridke, where another daughter was nearly strangled to death in 2004 because of their church work.

He said the problems began when the Lahore Church Council appointed him to supervise the construction of a local church building. "Religious extremists tried to pressurize and stop the construction and took over the church land," he recalled.

"They demolished the construction and brutally assaulted" him, family members and even workers, Zafar said. Soon after, "A mosque was constructed near the church land "and announcements were made that if the church is constructed, they would burn it," he added.
The "extremists", he claimed, also pressured him and his family to convert to Islam. He recalled that his daughter Sarwat Naheed was returning home in 2004 from the city of Faisalabad, when she was "abducted by masked men(Source)."

Extreme Violence Against Christians in Nigeria is Almost the Norm


4/26/2013 Nigeria (Canada Free Press) - Further incidences of targeted violence have taken place against Christians in the northern Nigerian state of Borno. On April 20th, gunmen pulled over a bus near Maiduguri, demanding the passengers aboard to declare their faith. The gunmen then proceeded to kill six people who had confessed they were Christians.

It was also reported that militants have recently embarked upon an “Islamization campaign” in Gwoza (also located in Borno state). In this situation, residents were threatened by gunmen who were going from door to door, demanding that the family members within each household profess allegiance to Islam at gunpoint.

On April 19th, just prior to these violent acts of persecution, intensive warfare was raging in the far north of Borno between the military and the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram. At least 185 people have died and up to 2,000 homes were destroyed due to this violent conflict which took place in the remote town of Baga (near the Chad border). The aim of Boko Haram is to create an Islamic state across northern Nigeria. For an overview of the country’s situation, previous prayer alerts, and on-location video clips, go to the Nigeria Country Report(Source).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nigeria: The Most Dangerous Place for Christians on Earth

I pray that the Lord will protect my Nigerian brethren in Christ in the midst of their danger.

4/18/2013 Nigeria (Morning Star News) - The publicly reported Christian casualties in Nigeria last year were greater than the Christian casualties of Pakistan, Syria, Kenya and Egypt combined. In fact, Nigeria alone accounted for almost 70 percent of Christians killed globally. This makes Nigeria the most lethal country for Christians by a huge margin. While media reports do not tell the whole story, and death tolls are not the only factor in persecution, such a great list of martyrs demands our attention. In 2012, over 900 Christians were killed in Nigeria in attacks that specifically targeted Christians for their faith. By the first quarter of this year, at least 128 people have been killed in northern Nigeria, mostly Christians.

Much of the violence in 2012 was attributed to the Jihadist terror group Boko Haram. With 3,000 casualties affecting citizens from a dozen countries in three years, Boko Haram has earned a dubious distinction as one of the top five lethal terrorist organizations in the world. In the last three years, however, the three most deadly incidents of anti-Christian persecution – with triple- digit casualties – in Nigeria were the March 7, 2010 massacre in Jos, Plateau state, the April 16, 2011 pogrom in the country’s sharia (Islamic law) states and the Jan. 20, 2012 onslaught in Kano. Two out of these three incidents were not the handiwork of terrorists but of average northern Nigerian Muslims.

While Boko Haram’s bloody terrorist tactics certainly merit serious concern, the focus on this group has overshadowed a pattern of systemic religious violence in Nigeria. It obfuscates the pervasive history of the killing of Christians by Muslims in northern Nigeria going back over a quarter century.
Transferred Aggression

In 1999, after a pro-democracy movement successfully ended military dictatorship and a Christian was elected president, 12 Muslim-controlled states in northern Nigeria reacted by imposing Islamic sharia law in open violation of Nigeria’s constitution. This resulted in horrific violence the following year that left thousands dead when Christians protested peacefully.

Such acts of violence continue to this day with virtual impunity. In November, for instance, the mispronunciation of a dress style by a non-Muslim tailor led to his death – along with several other Christians – and church burnings in spontaneous riots. This ultimately fatal fashion mistake was not the handiwork of terrorists but of average northern Nigerian Muslims.

Persecution in Nigeria is discernible in three widening concentric circles: sect, state and street levels. While much has been said regarding the smallest circle – sect-level actors such as Boko Haram – most analysts overlook the ongoing and serious persecution in the wider state and street circles, which provide an enabling environment for groups like Boko Haram.
Street-Level Aggression

Let us first consider the street level. The most serious attack on the Christian community in Nigeria’s recent history was not carried out by Boko Haram or any organized Islamic sect. Rather, it was an act of ordinary Muslims across most northern states. This Anti-Christian pogrom, referred to as the “post-election violence,” deserves examination as a bellwether of the real conditions in Nigeria’s tottering political union.

In April 2011, in what was dubbed one of the “freest and fairest” elections in Nigeria’s recent history, Goodluck Jonathan was elected president. Before his victory was announced, violence erupted in the 12 northern sharia states – again.

The final toll for the Christian community was staggering. In a 48-hour period, 764 church buildings were burned, 204 Christians were confirmed killed, more than 3,100 Christian-operated businesses, schools, and shops were burned, and over 3,400 Christian homes were destroyed. While there have been similar death tolls in certain incidents in terms of scope and coordinated scale of destruction, there has been no equivalent attack against the church in recent decades, with the possible exception of government-backed genocides in Sudan(Keep Reading).

Christian Convert Captured and Tortured in Somalia

I pray for my Somalian brother in Christ and I pray for his persecutors as well.               

4/17/2013 Somalia (Christian Today) - Muslim militants still controlling part of the Lower Shebelle Region of Somalia have jailed and tortured a Christian for converting from Islam, sources said.
According to a story by Morning Star News, Al Shabaab rebels seized Hassan Gulled, 25, on March 23 in Bulo Marer near Qoryoley District, they said. Gulled, who had fled to Kenya in 2007 in search of safety and a better life, had left Kenya on February 27 to visit family in Somalia, sources said.
Gulled is one of dozens of Somali refugees in Kenya facing dangers from Al Shabaab extremists as they return to Somalia following the establishment of a new government in Mogadishu and the weakening of Al Shabaab, which once held large portions of territory.

Morning Star News said as Gulled was only visiting family in Somalia, his wife remained in an undisclosed city in Kenya. Al Shabaab extremists in Kenya who knew of his Christian activities there apparently contacted members of the militant group in Somalia, who monitored his movement for three weeks before seizing him, sources said.

"Four masked, armed militia from Al Shabaab took Gulled into a Land Cruiser and then drove away as family watched him helplessly," Morning Star News reported one source said.
Another source said it was confirmed that Gulled has been jailed in Bulo Marer.

"The Al Shabaab have been torturing him to see whether he would deny his Christian faith," the source said. "Since last week, no information has surfaced concerning Gulled. There is a possibility that he could have been killed."

A militant Islamist group with ties to Al Qaeda, Morning Star News said Al Shabaab has a base in Bulo Marer, about 50 miles from Mogadishu.

Last week, however, Somali government troops backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces had reportedly taken control of nearby Qoryoley. Morning Star News said Al Shabaab has vowed to rid Somalia of Christians, who meet secretly due to persecution. Besides Al Shabaab, the government and many in Somali society also view leaving Islam as deserving of death.

Gulled became a Christian in Kenya in 2010. He married there in 2011 and has no children.
"Gulled's wife is very distressed and worried that she might not see her husband again," Morning Star News reported a source said. Many Somali members of Christian fellowships in Kenya have returned to Somalia after formation of a Somali government on August 20, 2012, which replaced the Transitional Federal Government, said the source, who requested anonymity.

"Several Christian agencies are helping them settle," Morning Star News reported he said. "But we are worried that some of our members are being monitored closely by Islamic extremists."

Al Shabaab has lost control of several areas of Somalia since Kenyan military forces helped to dislodge them in the past year, but they are suspected in the shooting death of a Christian pharmacist on the outskirts of Kismayo in February(Source).