Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Study The Bible

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16
The Bible tells us the authors wrote as the Holy Spirit directed (2 Peter 1:20-21). People did not write their own ideas. They wrote messages they received from God through the Holy Spirit.
Accounts about the life of Jesus were written by those that had followed Him. Before Jesus returned to heaven, He promised the Holy Spirit would remind people of all that He had said, and teach them all things—the truth. (John 14:26} All the 66 different books of the Bible were collected and organized by believers into what we call the Bible.

We can know the Bible is from God, because:

  • It does not have mistakes or contradictions.
  • Written future events, (Prophecies) have always come true, even though some prophecies were written hundreds of years earlier. There are over 600 prophecies that have come true and no prophecies that have been proven false.
  • The truth it contains has changed countless lives of many people. Many times miraculously.
  • It does not contradict with history, archaeology or true science.
  • It has survived through thousands of years, even with great opposition.
No other religious book or any other book for that matter can claim all these things.

Why did God give us the Bible?

  • Because God loves us, and wants us to know that He loves us. The Bible is like a love letter to people from God.
  • So we can come to know God and have a personal relationship with Him.
  • We cannot love something we know nothing about. That is why God tells us about Himself in the Bible.
  • So we could know how to please God, and do what is right.
  • The Bible is like a map that helps us and guides us through life.
  • The Bible tells us the history and future of man. God wanted to tell us where we came from and to where we are going.
  • The Bible is like a sign pointing us in the right direction, towards Jesus. It tells us we are to turn from our wrong ways (sin) and follow Christ.
  • The Bible was given so we can learn about how and why He died for our sins on the cross. And we can have eternal life through Him.


Yes, the Bible is true! In fact the Bible calls itself the ”word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) The Bible is a book that expresses the thoughts of God, and since God can’t lie (Titus 1:2Hebrews 6:18), the Bible is true.

girl-reading-bibleReading the Bible

Learning the message God has for us begins with reading the Bible. A lot of people never get to that point. Many simply skim through the text. Others read books about the Bible or devotional material which are broadly based on it, but rarely read the Bible itself. Christian books and magazines added to your Bible reading are fine, but there is no substitute for reading the Scriptures. Some complain it’s hard to read and understand. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us read, absorb, comprehend, and live by the Bible. But first we must commit to it. Pray before you study the Bible. Pray while you are studying the Bible. Pray after you have studied the Bible.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
We have added a few links for those who are searching the for ‘Word of God’. And for those who would like to develop a deeper understanding of His word and what it means for their lives. Whether you're just getting started, or have been studying the Scriptures for many years, making it a part of your daily life will bless you greatly and help you grow in faith and understanding. So what are you waiting for? The Lord is waiting at the door!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

Download the Bible in your own language 

BibleGateway.com – 183 online Bibles in 73 languages 
Other great Bible study resources
bible hub - featuring topical, Greek and Hebrew study tools, plus concordances, commentaries, dictionaries, sermons and devotionals. 

BlueLetterBible- Bible study software with Greek and Hebrew word tools.

-   A fast and effective way to study the Bible. Sophisticated features that are simple to use. More capabilities than you would expect for free!
Ephesians 6:10-17

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 
Visit our Main Site at voiceofthepersecuted.org

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

VOP Is Interviewing Pastors For New Mission Project For The Persecuted Church

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED is expanding as a Mission Ministry for the persecuted and their forgotten families. We are designing a new mission project to bring awareness of one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet, Christian persecution.


We have found that 90% of all Christians we speak with know nothing of the staggering modern-day persecution happening throughout the world, today! Unfortunately, the western Main Stream Media rarely reports these stories, or barely covers it.


We are doing research for this mission and need pastors that we can interview to make the most of this project. This is an important process for our mission and your help is greatly needed. If you are a pastor that can spare a few minutes to answer our questions, please contact us at: voice4thepersecuted@gmail.com with Mission Project in the subject line.


You do not need to be a pastor to help! Print out this page, or email your pastor and ask them to take part in this much needed mission. Follow up and let them know how serious the plight of our persecuted brothers and sister are to you! Let us know if you are able to help. Reblog, and share with all your friends and family!  Thank you in advance and for being a VOICE! We CAN make a difference.


In Solidarity,

Lois Kanalos, Founder/Advocate



Follow VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED on Facebook and Twitter

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Persecution News Update March 7, 2013

PETITION | Calling for the Immediate Release of Alimujiang Yimiti(ICC)- Pastor Alim was arrested for leading a house church in China. Almost 18 years ago, a Chinese citizen living in the far northwest of the country decided to leave Islam and give his life to Christ. Alimujiang Yimiti, or Alim for short, quickly found himself in an unusual situation. As a Chinese citizen, he is allowed by law to attend only the official government sanctioned “Three-Self Church,” of which there is only one in his area. But Alim is also a member of an ethnic minority group called the Uyghurs (pronounced wee-gurs). The Uyghurs are almost completely Muslim, and converts to Christianity are not allowed to attend the government-sanctioned church. So Alim, like any other Uyghur convert to Christianity, found himself unable to attend church without breaking the law. READ MORE Please sign this petition requesting his release HERE.  

Christian women remember persecuted sisters- Christian women from across the UK staged a vigil in London at the weekend for their sisters around the world who are suffering for their faith. The focus of the vigil was a Nigerian Christian woman who "died of trauma" after being attacked for a second time by militants. Nvou Dauda was shot 20 times by Muslim extremists in 2002. The attack killed her unborn child and destroyed her home. She received support from Release International partners in Nigeria, who rebuilt her home, and Nvou was even able to forgive her neighbour who was among the attackers. However, in 2012 attackers struck again and her new home was destroyed. She was living in a refugee camp when Release partners say she "simply slumped and died of trauma". READ MORE
Pastor Saeed's Wife Naghmeh: Saeed's Nightmare

Estranged Christian Father Struggles in Harsher, Hard-liine Suda- Convert from Islam whose wife divorced him can now visit children – with caution. By Our East Africa Correspondent- KHARTOUM, Sudan, February 26 (Morning Star News) – Mohammed Khidir Khalil Hassan, a Sudanese convert from Islam, has to be careful what songs he sings to his sons. Nearly a year ago, after his wife left him and Christianity behind, a Sudanese court had ruled that as a convert from Islam he was forbidden to see his children, then ages 3 and 5. An appeals court overturned the ruling last October and allowed him visits, but he knows any pretext could be used to keep him from them. During one recent visit, one of the boys asked him to sing a Christian praise song entitled “Hosanna,” but he refrained – knowing his ex-wife and her Muslim family could use that as evidence that he was trying to convert the children to Christianity and automatically cancel his visitation rights. READ MORE  

Premier to send 10,000 Bibles to Egypt- Premier Christian Media has launched a fundraising appeal to send 10,000 Bibles to Egypt. The campaign is being run in partnership with its Charity of the Year, Open Doors. One Bible can cost a week's wages in Egypt, where Christians are facing discrimination and violence for their beliefs. The funds raised will go towards providing them with Bibles, as well as literacy programmes that will enable Christians to read the Bible for themselves. John Pantry, Inspirational Breakfast presenter, said: "Before I went to Egypt with Open Doors, I had no idea that there was such hunger for the Bible among Christians and Muslims. "Please give so Open Doors teams can teach people how to read, and give them a Bible." Premier is asking for just £5 to cover the cost of one Bible. SOURCE  

5543-iran_220w_tnIRAN | Pastor Irani Still in Need of Medical Assistance- Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has learned that Pastor Benham Irani, currently held in Ghezal Hesar prison in Iran, is now unable to walk and that medical assistance continues to be withheld despite his deteriorating health. Pastor Irani has been losing weight for several months and has been unable to walk for the last week due to acute back pain. The pastor has trouble with his vision and last year suffered severe bleeding due to stomach ulcers and complications with his colon, which caused him to lose consciousness at one point. He was given tablets to stop the bleeding but was denied further medical attention. There are concerns that given his critical condition, the pastor may die unless he receives appropriate medical treatment. READ MORE  

"Mr. Insecticide" from persecutor to Christ follower- "I was called Mr. Insecticide," he says. "I was the only one who could organize the killing of the insects, the killing of Christians. When you are looking for someone to get rid of insects you call me, then I arrange and plan an attack against Christians. This was my life." READ MORE  

Ethnic Families in Vietnam Ransacked, Beaten for Their New Faith DANANG, Vietnam (Morning Star News) – Newly converted Christians of the Sedang ethnic minority in Vietnam’s Central Highlands were terrorized last week – their homes and personal property badly damaged or destroyed in four consecutive night raids, and some of the faithful seriously injured from beatings in broad daylight, sources said. Since becoming Christians in the past year, five families in mountainous Kontum Province have reported constant harassment from villagers upset that they are no longer contributing to communal sacrifices and other practices because of their new faith. The attacks from Monday (Feb. 18) to Friday (Feb. 22) constituted a third wave of sustained violence since their conversion, leaving their property severely damaged and their lives threatened. Attacks on the new Christians – who belong to a Christian Mission Church (CMC) congregation in Ngoc La village, Mang Ri Commune, Tumorong District in northwestern Kontum Province – were primarily motivated by strong tensions within the ethnic group over the families leaving the “old ways.” Ideologically opposed to Christianity, local Communist officials freely permit and even encourage such conflicts, sources said. READ MORE  

Wife of Christian Condemned to Death for Blasphemy Believes the Family will be Reunited- While ICC met with congressional offices on Capitol Hill to advocate for the release of Christian prisoner, Younis Masih, Regional Manager Aidan Clay visited his family in their native country of Pakistan. There, Clay shared a meal with Younis’ family and saw firsthand the suffering of a wife and children left defenseless in the wake of wrongful imprisonment. As I approached the house, I noticed a girl crouching in the dirt mashing green vegetables in a heated clay pot. I entered the home and waited as my eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. The brick room had no windows or lights and perhaps should more adequately be described as a cow stable than a home. READ MORE  

yellow envelopeSave Saeed- Yellow Envelopes to Secretary of State John Kerry CAMPAIGN Begins! A supporter of Saeed, Lissa Bales came up with a great way to help this American pastor and keep pressure on our government to step up and act on his behalf! We will send yellow envelopes to John Kerry urging him to work and do what he can as a government official, to free Saeed. The goal is to send as many yellow envelopes on March 1st, and then on the 1st of every month after, until his release from Iran. Prayer is still the MOST important thing we can do, but we can pray to God and also request that OUR government do what they can. READ MORE  

Christian woman ‘falsely’ implicated in theft case, released on bail- (LEAD) PAKISTAN, Lahore- A 35 year old Christian woman, Arshad Bibi worked as a domestic servant in a rich Muslim family’s house for the last eight years in Muslim Town, Lahore for wages of just Rs.3000(US$30.50) per month. READ MORE  

NEWS ALERT: Iran Jails Two Christian Converts As Part Of Crackdown -TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)-- Two Christian converts are already over 50 days in Tehran's feared Evin prison as part of a crackdown on spreading Christianity in heavily Islamic Iran and it remains unclear when they will be released, BosNewsLife learned Monday, March 4. Shahrzad Y., a 25-year-old woman, and a man named as Sam S. 27, were both detained on January 9 after security forces raided their homes in western Tehran, Iranian Christians said. The two university students were reportedly charged with the "formation and promotion of house churches and holding gatherings intended for committing crimes." Iranian police also confiscated personal belongings including laptops, Christian books and notes, Christian song Compact Disks and cameras, reported Mohabat News, a news agency of Iranian Christians and activists. Their arrests came shortly after some 50 other Christians were reportedly detained on similar charges, though it remained unclear how many of them remained behind bars Monday, March 4th. READ MORE  

Iran’s Continuous Blatant Violation of Pastor Saeed’s Fundamental Human Rights(ACLJ) Iran has repeatedly and continually abused the most basic human rights of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen. For more than 160 days, Pastor Saeed has now been incarcerated in one of Iran’s most abusive and deadly prisons merely because of his religious beliefs – a blatant violation of numerous international treaties to which Iran has willingly bound itself and in violation of Iran’s own constitution. However, this is not the only violation of his human rights by any means. Iran’s deliberate and systematic violation of Saeed’s rights is almost unbelievable. No one should suffer this cruel fate for their religious beliefs. Among other human rights treaties, Iran has willingly signed to be bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. Iran is in willful and blatant violation of each of these treaties and even its own constitution. Here are just a few of the numerous ways that Iran is egregiously violating international law and its own constitution to torment this pastor. READ MORE  

Clandestine Christianity in Somalia When Abdullah turned 18, he was introduced to the Gospel and gave his life to the Lord. In any other environment, Abdullah’s conversion would be met with celebration and praise. But, as a former Muslim in Somalia, Abdullah all but placed a target on his own back, waiting for a bullet. Conversion to Christianity is forbidden in the small country of Somalia, and consequences are extreme. However, Abdullah was drawn to the message of love and forgiveness, and could not deny his heart’s desire. While this may seem a simple exchange, the cost was high. READ MORE  

Egyptian Christians allege torture at hands of Libyan Islamists The Christians, who are peddlers, were arrested by Islamist Salafists in Benghazi, who said they had Christian icons at their marketplace stalls, according to Mideast Christian News. The men were later reportedly freed and await deportation, but their family members back home told the Egyptian press they were abused while held, initially on charges of proselytizing. “When the residents of the village told me that he was imprisoned, I embraced his sons and told them they would not see their father again,” Fardoos Salib, the mother of Coptic farmer Atif Kamel, told Egyptian newspaper al-Watan. “I prayed in the church, until God responded and he was released, as God knows our conditions.” Activists in Libya last week posted photographs on Facebook showing the Egyptian Copts under detention. A video later seized by police showed the Egyptian Christians locked in a small room and guarded by bearded Salafists. Many appeared to be cut and bruised, and all had had their heads shaved. READ MORE

students Teaching Intelligent Design Goes on Trial in Ohio WNS) - The Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments in late February in the case of a science teacher fired for talking openly with students about his Christian faith and theories of intelligent design. John Freshwater taught at a middle school in Mount Vernon, Ohio, for 20 years before the school board accused him of teaching Christian beliefs in class during discussions of evolution and homosexuality. The board also accused him of insubordination because he refused to remove a Bible from his classroom. The school board fired Freshwater in 2009. Two lower courts have ruled in the school district’s favor. But Freshwater’s attorneys, supported by Charlottesville, Va., civil liberties group The Rutherford Institute, argue the school board violated the teacher’s constitutional rights. “Academic freedom was once the bedrock of American education,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “That is no longer the state of affairs, as this case makes clear. … By firing John Freshwater for challenging his students to think outside the box, school officials violated a core First Amendment freedom - the right to debate and express ideas contrary to established views.” READ MORE  

Christians Miraculously Survive Boko Haram Terror Attacks-
Laolu Akande, secretary general of the Christian Association of Nigeria and president of Nigerian Christians residing in the U.S., says Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan—pictured here at the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland—should become more proactive in the fight against Boko Haram and terrorism (World Economic Forum)
Some Christian survivors of attacks by members of the terrorist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, on Monday, Feb. 4, in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, recounted how 17 Christians were murdered in cold blood by Boko Haram Islamists and how they survived the attacks to tell the story. -- Serana Chinda, a pastor of the All Denomination Church (ADC), Hauran Wanki, Police Barracks in Kano, in northern Nigeria, said eight members of his local congregation were killed for refusing to recant their Christian faith in Jesus Christ. They were among 13 Christians who were killed in a factory. The ADC serves all Christian police officers and other ranks with their family members, alongside other non-police Christian communities in the area as a worship auditorium. -- READ MORE  

The Empire Strikes Back: China Assaults Home Churches- Crackdown surge only months after persecution in decline(VOL) - China’s crackdown against its thriving home-church movement is surging, only a few months after it was reported the communist nation’s attacks on Christians had subsided, according to a new report from the Chinese-focused human rights group China Aid. China Aid said its research shows a 42 percent increase in persecution over the past 12 months. China Aid founder Bob Fu, who says the Chinese government is wary of organized groups, confirmed, “Experts say the Communist Party in China has long felt threatened by any movement that galvanizes a large sector of the population, fearing it could wield political clout.” Now, he said, “The nation has become more systematically hostile to worshipers.” China Aid spokesman Mark Shan told WND the government appears to intend to do what is necessary. “There is a major effort now to wipe out the house churches by any means. The government will shut down the church,” Shan said. “Or, they will force the house church members to join an official church.” Those official groups, recognized and allowed by the government, also are influenced by the government, critics have explained. Shan says that the government’s approach to home churches varies based on the region, the size of the church, or the officials in charge. READ MORE

China is #37 on the World Watch List. Please pray with us. Pray for continued REVIVAL! 


Father, we ask that Your church would now be strengthened in China. As there has been spectacular growth over the past two decades, may there now be a strengthening and depth brought to your church. Amen!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Wife’s Perspective: Nightmare of a Husband and Father Imprisoned in Iran

by Naghmeh Abedini:

It has been 9 months since Saeed kissed the little foreheads of our children as he said his goodbyes early in the morning of June 22, 2012.  Nine months since Daddy sung to them and tucked them into bed, and 9 months since I embraced my husband as we said our goodbyes, thinking at the time we would be separated only a few weeks, as he returned to Iran to continue work on building an orphanage. Maybe if I knew what was to unfold, I would have held him a little longer, talked a little longer?

It has been 5 months, since the frantic phone call that woke me up in the middle of the night, telling me of the horrific way my husband was taken—5 revolutionary guards, raiding the house and taking him, not knowing where he was or what had happened to him—5 long months. Maybe, that is why still to this day, I suddenly wake up frantic in the middle of the night; I turnover only to find Saeed’s empty spot, only to find that the nightmare is not over yet, only to discover that this nightmare will not be over any time soon.

It has been 1 month, to the day, since Saeed was given his 8-year sentence because of his Christian faith. I know deep in my heart that unless we speak out and fight for him, Saeed might not survive the 8 years in that horrific prison, especially because he continues to face continued abuse and death threats.

This nightmare exists because Saeed refuses to deny Christ. He is standing up for what he believes.  Are we going to stand up with him? Are we going to be a voice for him when the Iranian government is doing all it can to silence him?

How many more nights am I to hold my weeping children as they ask me to tell them stories of how Daddy used to hold them when they were born; how he used to play with them, kiss them, and hold them each night before he tucked them into bed? How many more times must I hold back my tears as I sing the worship songs he used to sing to them, as they beg me to sing like Daddy did because they are trying desperately to hold on to the memories of their daddy.

Over the last month, I have pondered over and over how I will ever explain to my children that Daddy has been given 8 years in a horrific prison and we don’t even know if he will survive . . . one month; 31 days; 744 hours; 44,640 minutes; 2,678,400 seconds.

During this nightmare, I lean on the promise in Scripture that “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (II Corinthians 4:8-9 NKJV)

Ultimately, God is in control and He controls governments and situations for His Glory. There is nothing Saeed and I desire more than to die to ourselves and allow Christ to shine through to this dying world. That He would be glorified in all of this and many would come to know the saving Grace of Jesus. Our trust is in the Lord, and He is carrying us through this nightmare and drawing us closer to Him. But I also believe that the Lord is using our prayers, and the political, social media, and other efforts to bring us together as the Body of Christ. He promises to turn all this for His Glory. This nightmare and the plea for my husband’s life should cross religious and political barriers. It should grip all human beings at our heart’s core, motivating us to do what is right, to stand up for someone whose human rights are being violated. While Saeed doesn’t have a voice to sing to his children, we each have a voice for his freedom; we can make a difference

*Naghmeh Abedini is the wife of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen. She resides with their two young children in Idaho.  The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Naghmeh and the children, is at the forefront of a global effort to secure Pastor Saeed’s freedom. You can join hundreds of thousands of others in signing the petition to #SaveSaeed at SaveSaeed.org.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Persecution News Weekly Update February 13, 2013

Pastor Saeed’s Case Heads to the U.N. – #SaveSaeed


abediniACLJ‘s international campaign to free Pastor Saeed is reaching a critical stage. Yesterday our European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) – which is based in Strasbourg, France – filed a written statement on Saeed’s behalf before the United Nations Human Rights Council. The ECLJ has special consultative status as a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the U.N., which enables us to engage the U.N. and its member states in an official capacity. The Human Rights Council, which represents 47 member states, identifies its own mission as being “responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.” There is no better case for the HRC to engage than that of Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen – imprisoned in a nation that not only rejects religious freedom and human rights laws but also exhibits a hostile disdain for international laws that protect the most basic rights of people around the world. The ECLJ Statement clearly states Pastor Saeed’s plight: READ MORE
Here is the petition that needs 300,000 signatures by Feb. 20, 2013. There are approximately 100,000 more signatures needed. Any person from any nation can sign this! Please click here and add yours today!

Fear haunts Christians in post-Gathafi Libya

"Not a day goes by without tombs being vandalised," says Dalmasso Bruno, caretaker of the Italian cemetery in the Libyan capital where Christians fear rising Muslim extremism.
"Human bones have been taken out of their tomb and scattered across the cemetery" in central Tripoli, he said. "The Libyan authorities came and took pictures. They promised to take measures but nothing has been done."
Since the 2011 fall of Moamer Gathafi's regime, the small Christian community's fears for its safety have increased, especially after a church bombing in December killed two people in the Mediterranean town of Dafniya. But despite such fears, dozens of worshippers mostly from India, the Philippines and African nations attend mass each week at the Catholic church of Saint Francis near central Tripoli to pray for security to be restored in Libya. READ MORE

Saudi Arabia Arrests 53 Ethiopian Christians at Private Worship Service

Saudi authorities on Feb. 8 arrested 53 Ethiopian Christians, mostly women, who were attending a worship service in the private, rented home of an Ethiopian believer in Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, WEA-RLC has learnt from sources inside the Arab kingdom. The Christians - 46 women and six men including three church leaders - were arrested at about 10 a.m. last Friday, a close relative of one of those arrested told WEA-RLC. The three church leaders - two of them women - were produced in an Islamic court in Dammam the same day when authorities alleged they were converting Muslims to Christianity, the source added. Authorities are likely to release two of the Ethiopian Christians who have residential permits on Monday, and the others are expected to be deported. READ MORE

Pakistani Court To Decide The Fate Of Martha Bibi Accused Of Blasphemy After Giving Death Sentence To Asia Bibi

The Chief of LEAD Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill with Martha Bibi appeared in Court and she shared her agony and hardships which she and her family is enduring due to the allegation leveled against her. On January 22, 2007, a blasphemy case under section 295C PPC was registered at Police Station Changa Manga,FIR No.33/07 against her. The same day she was arrested and put behind the bars after being beaten and tortured by Muslims. On April 30, 2007, the bail petition was accepted by the Lahore High Court which was filed by Advocate High Courts, Mr.Sharafat Qasim Gill after submitting and furnishing Rs.100,000/ surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court. READ MORE


59-year-old Christian pastor Bernard Maukar was sent to prison on Jan. 31, 2013 after signing an affidavit that accused him of operating a church without official permit. He also has been receiving threats. Pray with us:
Dear Father God, we pray that You will strengthen pastor Bernard and his wife during this chall...enging time. May they take refuge under Your wings and may Your Holy Spirit be their comfort. We pray that even in the midst of this storm, they will be able to experience the fullness of Your joy in their hearts. Protect them and grant them Your divine wisdom and discernment. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy, granted bail and now facing trial at Lahore

Pakistan (LEAD) – On October 22, 2012 a judge of the High Court, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi granted Khuram Masiha bail of 100,000 rupees (US$ 1,000). Masiha is a Christian accused of blasphemy. On December 5, 2011, a blasphemy charge was registered (FIR NO 1211/11) at Police Station Shahdara Town, Lahore. The charge was against Mr. Khuram Shahzad a poor, young Christian man alleged of burning pages of Quran and was arrested that same day and put behind bars. He was physically beaten and tortured by police officials during custody. Due to the conditions of the jail and the food he was served, he became ill and had blood in his urine among other complications. READ MORE

South Sulawesi: Molotov cocktail attack on Protestant church, fear among Christians

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A group of unknown assailants attacked the Protestant Church Toraja Mamassa in Makassar, the capital of the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi with Molotov cocktails. The episode took place at 4 this morning and so far, nothing is known of the authors of the act and there are no official claims. In an attempt to set it on fire, the unknown assailants caused minor damage to the building. Investigators are focusing on Islamic extremist factions in the area, but there is no physical evidence so far. Local authorities have tightened controls and the level of security around the Christian place of worship and throughout the area. Local witnesses reported that, in the night, three unidentified people hurled Molotov cocktails at the building, then they hastily abandoned the scene of the crime. The act has caused minor damage to the walls of the structure. READ MORE

Attackers kill 3 North Korean physicians in Nigeria, official says

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) Three North Korean doctors serving at a hospital in Nigeria's northern Yobe state were killed early Sunday morning, police said. There were mixed reports initially on where the victims were from, but the police chief of Yobe told CNN they were North Korean physicians assisting at Potiskum General Hospital as part of a government agreement. The government in Pyongyang has not confirmed that the victims were North Korean nationals. Authorities say 10 suspects are under arrest. "At this point we cannot say if they are Boko Haram, hired killers or common criminals, but we have cordoned off the area and are in the process of interrogating them," Commissioner Sanusi Rufa'i said. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group that has carried out scores of attacks across the north over the years. READ MORE

Violence Against Christians Spreading in India

Maharashtra state increasingly vulnerable, rights leaders say. Hindu extremist attacks on Christians in Maharashtra state could expand even as violence elsewhere in India grows in areas where extremist groups had not been so active, Christian leaders said. Ram Puniyani of the All India Secular Forum said at press conference in Mumbai this month that Maharashtra is vulnerable to increased attacks on Christians after "a decade of heightened Hindutva [Hindu nationalism], especially targeting tribal and Adivasi [indigenous] communities, as they are easy targets, with little fear of retaliation." READ MORE

Nazareth Christians a dwindling minority

Israeli business newspaper Globes recently ran a feature story on the fast dwindling number of Christians living in Jesus' hometown of Nazareth in northern Israel. The article notes that while the city once had a strong Christian majority, today a mere one-third of residents are Christians. In reality, Nazareth today is a Muslim city, and local Christians are feeling the squeeze. Across the Middle East, Muslims view Christians with hostility. But the Muslims of Nazareth have even more reason to hate their Christian neighbors, many of whom are loyal to the State of Israel and even send their children to the Israeli army. READ MORE

LAOS: Police Arrest Three Pastors

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that three Christian pastors in Laos have been arrested and detained for “spreading the Christian religion” by reproducing a DVD of a Christian film. Pastor Bounma of Alowmai Village Church, Pastor Somkaew of Kengsainoi Village Church and Pastor Bounmee of Savet Village Church, were arrested on Feb. 5 by the Phin District police in Savannakhet province. READ MORE

From a believer in Pakistan:

"My son, Issac Samson, he is kidnapped since 29-02-2012 at 8:15am, He was working at GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL, Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan (South Korean-Run hospital). And yet there is no news about him. Please Pray for him!"

Christian Women Beaten by Police After Arrest of Rapist


Pattoki-LEADPAKISTAN-Pattoki: (LEAD) On January 25, 2013 a Christian minor girl, Fouzia Bibi, 15 from a small village of Roday, Dristrict Kasur, in Punjab Province became a victim of rape by local two influential Muslim men, Sher Muhammad (meaning Lion Of Muhammad) and shabbir Ali. LEAD intervened the case and registered FIR bearing No.22/13 at Police Station Serai Mughal by submitting a criminal report to DSP Pattoki. READ MORE

'Voice of the Copts' Requests Holy See Investigation

As an Italian citizen and a Catholic by marriage, I am writing to your Holiness on behalf of my human rights organization, Voice of the Copts. Our mission is to raise awareness in the West about the plight of the Egyptian Christians and their struggle against Islamic supremacy. Born into a Coptic family in Cairo, Arabic was my native language while growing up. Today I find these assets valuable in interpreting and explaining current events as they pertain to the hidden realities of Islam and its impact on the free world. READ MORE

19 Christian children rescued from a Trafficker intending to sell them to Radical Islamist Center

"International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that 19 children, who were to be sold to fundamentalist Islamic boarding schools (madrassas), have been rescued. Traffickers lied to the children’s parents, saying they would take the children to Christian boarding schools in Dhaka, when in fact, they were intending to sell the children to various madrassas. Students from Dhaka University discovered the children and rescued them. This is not the first instance of Christian children being trafficked to madrassas, as upwards of 150 children have been rescued from similar situations since July 2012." READ MORE

After fatwas, security upped for Egypt opposition

A cleric suggested that violent sexual assaults of women protesters in Tahrir Square the past week were justified, calling them "either Crusaders (Christians) ... or widows who have no one to rein them in." READ MORE

From a brother in Nigeria:

Pray for our fellow Eggon Christians in Nasarawa. Yesterday Fulani militants numbering about 3000 attacked Eggon Christians at Atmala, Burumburum, Bakin Kogi, Takpa and Akuya communities of Nasarawa Eggon LGA and B.D.A community in Lafia LGA.

Death Imminent for Protectors of Christian Blasphemy Girl

Basharat Khokhar hunched over the table as his eyes nervously scanned the restaurant where we had chosen to meet. When a bearded man sat down at a table nearby, Basharat had us move across the room. “My life is in danger,” Basharat explained. “Even my friends and colleagues will no longer be seen with me. ‘If you’re spotted, we’ll be killed with you,’ they tell me.” Basharat, a Christian police officer in Pakistan, risked his life to look after Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Christian girl who had been accused of burning pages of the Quran. The accusation led to her arrest in August, and after languishing for three weeks in a high security prison in Rawalpindi, Rimsha was released on bail and flown by helicopter to an undisclosed location. Two months later, Rimsha’s accuser was arrested for fabricating the issue and the case was dismissed. When Muslim mobs demanded Rimsha be burned to death and threatened her family, Basharat offered shelter to the girl’s parents in his own home. When Rimsha was weeping in prison, Basharat brought her food and tried to comfort her. When Rimsha was taken to court, Basharat reached out to hardline Islamist groups, like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, believing that if he could garner their support in denouncing Rimsha’s arrest, other extremist factions might follow suit and drop allegations made against her. READ MORE

Chinese preacher arrested for hymn session

Cao Nan, a 39-year-old charity worker from the southeastern city of Shenzhen, was detained on December 15 last year after meeting with other Christians in the city's Lizhi Park to sing hymns and preach. Mr Cao, who worships at an unofficial local 'house-church', said he had been accused of "falsely using the name of Christianity to harm social order" – charges he rejects."I am indeed a Christian," he told The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, a day after filing a lawsuit against police. "I did not pretend to be one or use the name of Christianity [falsely]. We were just singing the gospel and preaching Christian principles. I think they just found an excuse to detain people, to warn and to threaten." Mr Cao blamed much of the persecution he claimed to suffer on "national security" agents. READ MORE

University of Michigan allegedly ejects Christian group in the name of tolerance


uofmTolerance and diversity are all the rage on college campuses these days. And for the University of Michigan, a Christian group that requires its leaders to be Christians is allegedly beyond any standard of decency. The Asian chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of Michigan requires students in leadership positions to sign a statement of faith. Members of the group says school officials banned the group until it amends its constitution to conform to the prestigious school’s non-discrimination policy, reports Fox News. READ MORE RELATED: Christian Wolverines get special exception University of Michigan officials are rethinking their decision to kick a chapter of college ministry InterVarsity Christian Fellowship off campus. After telling the group’s leaders last week they would lose their status as an official student organization, administrators changed course on Monday and approved their application for recognition. READ MORE

Bishops expose ploy to convert under-aged students to Islam

The Catholic Church in Sabah has exposed a covert ploy to convert under-aged students to Islam in Labuan. In a strongly worded letter signed by the four Roman Catholic bishops of Sabah, they complained that non-Muslim students at the Labuan Matriculation College between 17 and 18 years old, "are constantly subjected to various forms of harassment, ridicule and pressure to change their religion." READ MORE

Egypt’s pope criticizes Islamists

AL-MUHARRAQ MONASTERY, Egypt — Egypt’s Coptic patriarch delivered a cautious but unusually sharp criticism of the nation’s Islamist leadership in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, dismissing the new constitution as discriminatory and rounds of national dialogues sponsored by the president as meaningless. Pope Tawadros II’s dive into politics came as he tried to energize the spiritual solidarity of a demoralized community with a visit to a historic monastery that no Coptic pontiff has been to in decades because of security tensions in southern Egypt. READ MORE

2 attacks prompt Christians to stop meeting at Indian church

New Delhi, January 31 (World Watch Monitor) — An uneasy calm prevails 20 miles east of India’s largest city, in a rural village where Hindus recently have twice attacked Christians, who in turn have agreed to stop holding meetings in a prayer hall. The first attack came Dec. 30, when Adivasi tribal Christians living in the village of Tamsai gathered for a worship service at the Yehovah Nisih Prayer Church. About 20 people burst in, said church member Bharat Patel. The intruders “shouted that there is no place for worship meeting in the village for Christians, and if we want to pray, we should all go to Mumbai. (They) tore bibles and broke musical instruments and stared to beat us up,” he said. READ MORE

Well-known house church minister in Shenzhen initiates administrative litigation against police

ChinaAid reports a well-known Chinese minister taken into police custody twice for evangelizing before Christmas in a public park and administratively detained for 13 days has initiated administrative litigation against the police, using the law to protect his legal and religious rights. Cao Nan was taken into police custody on Dec. 8 and 15 while he was evangelizing at the Lychee Park in Shenzhen. On the first occasion, seven other church lay leaders who were evangelizing with him were also detained, and everyone was released the next day. On Dec. 15, eight other church lay workers evangelizing with Cao were also detained. They were released the very late the same day, but Cao was transferred to the local detention center. The next day, he was administratively detained by the Futian Sub-Bureau of the Public Security Bureau for "masquerading under the name of Christianity to disturb social order multiple times at Lichi Park in Futian District." He was not released until Dec. 28. READ MORE

Two Children to be Tried for Insulting Islam in Egypt

Among files on arrested converts from Islam, kidnapped Christian girls and beaten monks piling up on the desk of a noted lawyer in Egypt, on top is the case of two boys about to be tried for allegedly showing contempt of Islam. Attorney Karam Gabriel said anti-Christian hostilities in the restive country are getting worse as the two boys are to be tried in a court in Beni Suef – the same city where a mother and her seven children were convicted last month for reconverting to Christianity – for showing "contempt to Islamic religion and insulting the Koran." READ MORE

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Persecution News Weekly Update February 6, 2013

Watch: American Pastor Saeed Imprisoned in Iran - why the petitions make a difference


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Kashmir-Mob tries to lynch 12 Christian Tourist

Srinagar (AsiaNews) - On the basis of false allegations of forced conversions, more and more Christians in Kashmir are victims of persecution. This according to Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after the attempted assault on a group of 12 foreign tourists, accused via Facebook of practicing forced conversions in Tangmarg area north of Jammu and Kashmir. The incident occurred late in the evening of 2 February. Around 10 pm a crowd of people gathered in front of a hotel in Srinagar, the capital, throwing stones against the walls and asking for the immediate trial of foreigners, eight Americans and four Koreans. Intervening on the spot, the police searched luggage and documents of the tourists. On finding nothing, the officers dispersed the protesters. When checking their passports, the police reported that the group has also visited other Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. The violent reaction was triggered by a photo published on the Facebook page Gulmarg News. The image shows three oriental girls, while the caption warns, "Caution Kashmir! Islam in Kashmir is under attack, Christians trying to convert Muslims," ​​recounting the testimony of a boy, who in exchange for chocolate would have been forced to recant Islam and convert to Christianity. READ MORE

Increasing Target Killing of Innocent Christians in Pakistan

Target-KillingRecently target killing has been growing increasingly in Karachi in which two guiltless Christians lost their lives, last month. They were crossing the road in the middle of a protest which was going on against the killing of one of their campaigners by an Islamic Fundamental Group. The campaigner of this political party became a victim of target killing along with his 3 security guards. Thus, we can say that even the political leaders are not safe in our City which been a threat for its citizens because of its current situations. Last year, more than 2000 people were killed in Karachi due to target killing. (Gill, 2013) SOURCE   Please Pray for Pakistan!

Christian Man Cries for Justice After Being Fired For His Faith In Christ!

On 4 February 2013, Mr.Riaz visited the Chief of LEAD and told of the mishap of being fired from his job on false allegations mentioned in the charge sheet against him. He gave all written evidences to the respective department regarding his innocence, but his appeal and legal right was not being considered and a decision and action was unjustly taken against him. He said that the alleged charge of misconduct was false and his dismissal was based on religious prejudice. READ MORE

Orissa: Hindu extremists have Christians arrested on false accusations of proselytism

by Nirmala Carvalho Since 18 January, two faithful are in prison, following a police raid on a private home. The raid resulted from trumped up charges of local fundamentalists. "Political" pressure preventing their release on bail. Christian activist: project for state "Hinduisation" underway. READ MORE

Christian man mortally wounded in Baluchistan for refusing to convert to Islam

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Younas Masih died this afternoon after he was shot five times last Thursday as he made his way home. An unknown gunman fired at the 55-year-old Christian man. From the beginning, his conditions appeared critical. It is believed he was attacked after he resisted pressures from co-workers to convert to Islam. Masih worked for a company in Chaman. His friends describe him as honest and reliable. Strong in his Christian faith, he was regularly involved in his local parish. Speaking anonymously, local sources told AsiaNews that Muslim co-workers had began pressuring him to convert, which he rejected, standing firm in his beliefs in Christ. Despite the fact that people were talking behind his back and had made repeated threats against him, he continued to work for the same company and stood firm against pressures and attempts at blackmail. Last Thursday, his co-workers tried again, asking him to convert. A heated discussion followed that included insults and threats. When he went home Masih was attacked by a gunman who fired five bullets into him. READ MORE

Young Christian girl raped by Muslim Landlord

Pakistan-The females members of minorities are routinely subjected to abduction, rape and forcible marriage by Muslim men while culprits remain scot-free. Legal Evangelical Association Development reports: A Christian minor girl, Fouzia bibi, 15 from a small village of Roday, Dristrict Kasur, in Punjab Province of Pakistan became victim of rape by local influential Muslim men. READ MORE

Ugandan Pastor Arrested, Chained to Tree by Police For Giving Away Gospel Film on Street

Uganda, Africa – A Ugandan pastor reports that he was arrested and chained to a tree last weekend for distributing a Gospel film outside one of the largest megachurches in the nation. Pastor Bill Issa of Reconcilation Outreach Ministries states that he and a team of five Christians set out last Saturday to distribute copies of the film The Biggest Question at Miracle Center Cathedral in Kampala when they were met with opposition from police. They had just finished up a distribution at St. Lawrence University where approximately 300 students received copies of the Gospel film, which features Kirk Cameron, Todd Friel and RW Glenn sharing about matters of life and eternity. Issa serves as the Ugandan team leader for the global The Biggest Question distribution effort, headed up by Friel’s Wretched outreach in Minnesota. READ MORE

Yemen’s Forgotten Christians

When one thinks of Yemen—the impoverished Arab country that begat Osama bin Laden and is cushioned between Saudi Arabia and Somalia, two of the absolute most radical Muslim nations—one seldom thinks of Christians, primarily because they are practically nonexistent in such an inhospitable environment. In fact, most tallies suggest that Yemen’s entire non-Muslim population is less than one percent. READ MORE

Cuba: Pastor Gude Perez and family arrive in the United States as refugees 01/02/2013

Pastor Omar Gude Perez, his wife Kenia Denis and their two children arrived in the United States as refugees yesterday. They were finally granted permission by Cuban emigration authorities to leave the island following an 18-month wait for the appropriate paperwork. Family blocked from leaving Cuba for 18 months Former prisoner of conscience Pastor Gude Perez and his family were granted asylum by the United States in July 2011 after he was barred from working as a pastor and following a campaign of official harassment lasting a number of years. Despite multiple verbal promises on the part of government officials, the family was blocked from leaving the country for 18 months. State security officials contacted Pastor Gude Perez on 14 November following his wife’s high profile visit to Washington DC, facilitated by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), during which she highlighted their case. He received a citation to present himself a police station the following day in Havana in order to sign a series of documents that they assured him would allow him to leave the country. There were no further developments until mid-January when state security officials contacted the family to inform them that an exit permit had been issued. READ MORE

Iraq, #4 on the World Watch List. Watch the video to learn more on how you can be praying for this country.

All eyes on Kenya as elections approach

Kenya (ODM/MNN) ― Kenya is at a crossroads. On March 4th, voters will decide the president, senators, county governors, members of Parliament, civic wards, and women county representatives. What makes this election unique, says the Open Doors coordinator for the region, is that "these are the first elections under the new constitution with its very many new structures." However, recent memories of 2007 and the deadly rioting cast a shadow of concern over the impending vote. The tensions are heightened especially after the setup of a tribunal was blocked by politicians in Kenya, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided to prosecute six politicians. Charges against two were dropped, while two of the remaining four are running in the elections: one for president and the other as his running mate. Some reports of violence have already surfaced. Al-Shabaab influences have been growing in the region, triggering political instability and fears that religious freedom hangs in the balance. Additionally, Open Doors reports that the pressure on the government allowing for greater official influence for Islam remains a high priority. READ MORE
  • Pray for safety for the Open Doors team working in tense areas.
  • Pray that the process will go forward peacefully.
  • Pray that God gives the new president wisdom.

Syria refugees surpass 700,000; deaths, 60,000

NASHVILLE (BP) -Refugees keep streaming from Syria as a cycle of violence and revenge threatens to destroy their homeland, and even the United Nations cannot keep up with the "unrelenting flow," a Southern Baptist humanitarian leader said. Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response, said the number of refugees has topped 700,000 and the death toll has surpassed 60,000 in the 22-month conflict. Families who thought they would be able to outlast the fighting are giving up and fleeing the country as reports of atrocities like the recent discovery of another mass grave in Aleppo continue to mount. The fragmentation of regime and opposition forces has thrown the entire situation into doubt, Palmer told Mission Network News, an evangelical news service based in Grand Rapids, Mich. "I wish I could point out who's the bad guy, who's the good guy, but that's the problem. That's why a lot of people are fleeing. Nobody knows who's who," Palmer said. "It's just literally chaos, fear for safety, fear for their children, fear for their families and future. "A lot of time it's women and children coming out and more and more, it's the men too because they've got to protect their families," Palmer said. READ MORE

Persecution in China climbs for 7th year

WASHINGTON (BP) - Government persecution of Christians in China increased in 2012 for the seventh consecutive year, ChinaAid reported Feb. 4, with the government especially moving to eradicate house churches. Data collected by ChinaAid in 2012 showed a 125 percent increase in sentencings and a 41.9 percent increase in incidences of persecution over 2011, according to the religious liberty group's 2012 annual report. Specifically, a total of 132 cases of persecution across China targeted 4,919 individuals, including 442 clergy; the detaining of 1,441, including 236 clergy; and the sentencing of nine people. In 2011, ChinaAid reported 93 cases of persecution, involving 4,322 individuals, 337 of them clergy; the detaining of 1,289 individuals, including 267 church leaders; and the sentencing of four individuals.
"Compared with the statistics in ChinaAid's past annual reports, this trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past seven years," the report said, "with an average increase of 24.5 percent in the total of all six categories of persecution statistics tracked by ChinaAid."
A secret Chinese government document issued in September 2011, which was released by ChinaAid, verified the focus on eradicating the house church, as did the number of incidences reported. READ MORE


Nigeria: Walking Corpses

NigeriaVOM workers say Christians in northern Nigeria are facing unprecedented trials and fierce persecution. It was therefore a special privilege for VOM workers to distribute the gift of 37 bicycles, 15 motorcycles and 50 megaphones to pastors and Christians workers in the north recently. These simple tools will help them evangelize and preach the gospel in northern Nigeria. At a distribution in Gombe state, one of the hardest hit areas in the north, at least 2,500 Christians gathered for a worship service. Widows, orphans, pastors and entire families from all over Gombe came together to hear a pastor preach about loving their neighbors. The pastor reminded worshipers that they must not hate their attackers and that martyrs like Stephen forgave his attackers.
“At this point, I began to realize the weight of love,” a VOM worker at the distribution said. “This made everyone focus on the Lord’s intent and design for us, which surpasses all understanding.”
Christians are targeted and “butchered like animals” nearly every day in northern Nigerian cities, with little alarm sounded by the international community, according to the VOM worker. Christians are targeted in their homes, at their businesses, on farms, while traveling on highways and even in their churches. READ MORE

Over 500 Christian girls kidnapped by Muslims in Egypt since revolution

Country/Region: Egypt, Middle East and North Africa
Over 500 Christian girls have been abducted in Egypt since the revolution of January 2011; they are taken by Salafists who forcibly convert them to Islam and marry them to Muslim men against their will. The number of cases has been documented by the non-governmental Christian organisation Association of Victims of Abduction and Enforced Disappearance (AVAED), which says that Salafist sheiks are behind nearly all of the abductions and the interior ministry colludes with them. Founder Ebram Louis said:
In every Egyptian province there is a Salafist association which handles the kidnapping of Christian girls. They have homes everywhere where they keep them. If we inform the police where the kidnapped girl is being kept, they inform the Salafists, who then move her away to another home and then we lose all trace of her.
AVAED lawyer Said Fayez said that the age of the abducted girls is becoming younger at typically 13-14 years old.One case involves 14-year-old Sarah Ishaq Abdelmalek from el-Dabaa. She disappeared on her way to school on 30 September 2012, having stopped at a bookshop; Sarah’s father subsequently accused the Salafist bookshop keeper of abducting his daughter and marrying her against her will.Mr Louis said that Sarah was smuggled across the border to Libya with the help of the interior ministry. READ MORE


Dagestan Martyrs for Christ - Dagestan is the most dangerous place in Russia- George Thomas reports


Deliberate attacks on churches by rebels in Syria condemned as war crimes

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Syria: Human Rights Watch has condemned opposition groups in Syria for “unjustified attacks against minority places of worship”, saying that these amount to war crimes. The leading human rights organisation released on 23 January the findings of investigations it carried out in Latakia and Idlib governorates in November and December 2012. It found evidence that opposition fighters had “deliberately destroyed religious sites” and that the attacks had been carried out after the areas had fallen to opposition control and government forces had left. Churches were raided by armed gunmen after they seized control of the Christian villages of Jdeideh and Ghasaniyeh in Latakia. They took control of the former on 11 December and, once the government troops had fled, broke into the village church; they stole items and fired numerous shots inside, causing structural damage. The rebels also used the minister’s quarters next to the church to fire at a neighboring village, where government troops were present. One resident told Human Rights Watch that opposition fighters stole medicine from a church-run clinic, looted homes and kidnapped civilians. READ MORE

Sudan cracks down on Christian activity with arrests and school closures

The Sudanese authorities are cracking down on Christian activity in the strongly Islamic country with an upsurge of arrests and closures of Christian-run schools. Three Christians of South Sudanese origin were ordered last week to leave the country within 24 hours, following their detention. Pastor Ismail Bashir had been arrested on 7 January for his involvement with a Christian radio station. Cecilia Jamu was detained under suspicion of aiding Sudanese churches; her husband Anthony was also subsequently jailed, leaving their children in the care of friends. The three had to leave the country on 30 January. On 19 December, four members of staff at a non-profit organization that produces Christian songs and films were arrested and interrogated. They were released the following day. Over the past two months, dozens of foreign Christians have been ordered out of Sudan, and the government is refusing to renew the visas of many others. A Christian source in Khartoum said that the “atmosphere in Sudan is alarming and frightening." READ MORE 


News in brief: (BarnabusAid)

Cross carved into dead body of murdered Armenian woman

Turkey: An elderly Armenian woman has been stabbed to death in her home in Istanbul; a cross had been carved onto her body. The murder of 85-year-old Marissa Kucuk on 28 December is just one of five attacks on elderly Armenian women in the Samatya neighbourhood over the last two months. Samatya is home to around 8,000 Armenians, who are predominantly Christian. Khatchig Mouradian, an Armenian activist and academic, said, “The attacks highlight the unbearable heaviness of being Armenian in Turkey.” More than 1.5m Armenian and Assyrian Christians were killed during the Armenian genocide of 1894 to 1923.

Christian appeals against jail term for allegedly trying to convert a Muslim

Algeria: A Christian man who was sentenced to a year in prison for allegedly pressuring a Muslim to leave Islam has appealed against the conviction. Mohamed Ibaouene (36), himself a convert from Islam, was unknowingly convicted of the offence in his absence on 4 July 2012; he did not find out until 11 December. Mohamed had been accused by a Muslim colleague; he said that it was actually the Muslim who tried to pressure him to return to Islam and that he made the accusation only after Mohamed refused to renounce Christ. He was sentenced to a year in prison and fined 50,000 dinars (US$635). An appeal against the ruling was heard on 23 January; the decision is expected this week.

Christian woman facing jail after police seize religious materials from her home

Uzbekistan: The home of a Christian woman in north-west Uzbekistan was raided by police twice last month; she now faces up to three years in prison for illegally storing religious literature. Officers confiscated three Christian books, two DVDs of a Christian film and a sermon, and a video called “Life in the Church” in the first raid on Sharofat Allamova’s home in Urgench on 4 January. A further raid took place twelve days later; no religious materials were found on this occasion. In 2007, Sharofat was given a six-month suspended jail term after Christian books and films were found in her bag on a bus. And she was fined ten times the minimum monthly wage in May 2012 for possessing religious literature. Because she has previous convictions, Sharofat could now face a fine of between 100 and 200 times the minimum monthly wage or up to three years behind bars, if found guilty again. What is Barnabas Aid? - Mission Statement The mission of the Barnabas Aid is to support Christians where they are in a minority and suffer discrimination, oppression and persecution as a consequence of their faith. Our goal is to strengthen Christian individuals, churches and their communities by providing material and spiritual support in response to needs identified by local Christian leaders. To learn more about the work BarnabasAid is doing click here