Update

More Headaches for Christians Around the World!

Violence_The spiral of hatred

Some Introductory Remarks

As usual, it comes as no surprise that the following articles have not, or will never be seen, aired or published within the mainstream Australian media. For all its talk and bluster about human rights, freedom and democracy, it is a grave omission by the Australian mass-media that we rarely see the reporting of the problems to which Christian communities endure daily in the face of great ordeals or persecution. It is though, quite revealing that within Australia and other Western countries, we do hear about the abuses and tribulations of other religious and ethnic groups throughout the world, but rarely do we hear about Christian sufferings.

Yet if anything, Christians, within the media outlets of Western countries, are the constant object of criticism and derision; despite the constant thankless effort to which Christian churches provide essential services and support in areas ranging from welfare, health to education within these same Western countries. And to which we might add, do so without expecting recompense, and to offer without discrimination for free or at a lower cost due to the self-sacrifice and volunteerism of dedicated faithful. In effect, the West has taken its Christian origins and the presence of Christians within their lands for granted, and do not appreciate the immense contribution that Christianity has bestowed upon their societies and economic development, both in the past and present. Even though Christians are an ever-decreasing minority within Western countries which have become ever more materialistic, atheistic and secularised, the pressures upon Christian churches to meet the needs that governments fail to provide the general populace with, or to absorb the negative impacts of irresponsible economic, social and immigration policies, has grown exponentially.

Object of Ridicule

This unfortunate state of affairs of course is not coincidental, but is merely paving the way for the same sort of abuses which are reported in the following articles to be replicated in Western countries against their local Christian communities. Peoples from the former Soviet bloc countries are able to relate what the fallout of removing Christianity completely from society and replacing it with atheistic ideologies will produce…. We already see the complete lack of humanity and bad behaviour displayed by peoples in developed Western and East Asian countries when compared to peoples within Third World countries who suffer poverty, wars and so forth.

It is quite damming that these peoples of the Third World who in their desperate struggle to survive, are still capable of showing far greater humanity, virtue and philanthropy than any person from a developed secularised, atheistic, Western or East Asian country. And to whom we should note, are far more receptive to the Christian Gospel, and to which they can relate and understand better than any Westerner or East Asian. Such circumstances I regret to say, show clearly the ethico-moral failing of the direction of Western and East Asian societies which are struggling to produce and cultivate sound citizens, but require policy-makers to pass an ever-increasing body of legislation that governs every aspect of our lives, thus providing the excuse as to why people need to be micro-chipped! Yet as history teaches us, such ethico-moral decay inevitably leads to socio-economic and political destruction,[1] as exemplified by the example of the former Soviet bloc. Yet religious extremism and intolerance gives birth to abuses and hypocrisy also, and leads us down the same path, as exemplified by the myriad of problems that afflict the Islamic world today, which is also experiencing its own self-destruction through “eternal jihad” against the “kuffar”, “apostates” and “heretics”.

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CHRISTIANS TOLD TO TAKE PART IN ANIMIST RITUALS OR FACE EVICTION

(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

Animist Rituals in South East Asia

LAOS – Christian families from three villages have been threatened with eviction if they do not take part in traditional animist rituals, in the latest incident in an ongoing campaign to force Christians in Savannakhet province to renounce their faith in Christ.

In early October 2012, 13 Christian families in Vongseekaew village were given an ultimatum by the authorities. If they did not participate in rituals involving oath-making and drinking “sacred water” over which a spirit medium had pronounced an incantation, they would lose their right to stay in the village. The rituals amount to a public statement of their return to the Lao traditional religion and renouncing of their Christian faith. When the Christians refused, they were told they would be evicted. The village elders have also threatened to seize and tear down their homes.

Although a district chief intervened in Vongseekaew to protect the villages’ right to religious freedom, similar threats have been made to Christian families in Allowmai and Kengsaiyai villages. In Allowmai, five Christian leaders were detained when the Christians refused to participate in the rituals. Three of them, Bournlert, Adang and Onkaew, are being kept in police custody despite the provincial authorities having ordered their release. The police have threatened to imprison them for two to three more years if Christians in Allowmai do not perform the rituals.

CHRISTIANS INCLUDING DISABLED WOMAN BEATEN IN POLICE RAIDS

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(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

CENTRAL ASIA – An elderly pastor and his family were physically assaulted and arrested during a police raid on a house-church service in Turkmenistan. Pastor Begdjan-aga who is 75, was pushed out of his house by police when they raided the gathering on 23 September 2012. His wife was physically assaulted, threatened and sworn at by a police officer, and his son was beaten when he asked police to produce their documents. The congregation, apart from the pastor’s wife was rounded up and arrested.

In another brutal incident, a disabled Christian woman and her mother were beaten when police raided their home in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 6 August. Six plain-clothes officers broke into the flat that Natalya Pleshakova (26) shares with her mother Valentina (53) with sticks and bats. Natalya, who walks with the aid of crutches, was dragged  into the kitchen and beaten, while blows were rained on Valentina. Their home was turned upside down, and Bibles and other Christian literature were seized, before they were arrested.

At the local police station, officers tried to pressure the women into accepting Islam. When they refused to comply, Natalya and Valentina were beaten and threatened. They were not released until the early hours of the following morning, after enduring ten hours of ill-treatment. Later that day a court convicted them of an offence relating to the illegal distribution of religious materials. The court ordered the destruction of the literature and fined the women heavily, although the fines were later cancelled.

NINE-YEAR OLD BOY KILLED IN TERRORIST ATTACK ON SUNDAY SCHOOL

(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

The brave cowards of al Shabaab

KENYA – A young boy, John Ian Maina, was killed and several other children injured in a grenade attack on a church in Nairobi on 30 September 2012. An improvised explosive was thrown at a classroom in St Polycarp Church, where the children were waiting for their Sunday school session to begin. Police suspect that sympathisers of the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab[2] were responsible.

On the previous day, police had warned that the group might carry out attacks such as this in retaliation for the Kenyan capture on 29 September 2012 of the Somali port of Kismayo, which is a strategic base. Kenya sent troops into southern Somalia, which is largely controlled by al-Shabaab, in October 2011. It accuses the group of being behind a series of kidnappings and cross-border attacks.

Al-Shabaab has been responsible for the numerous acts of anti-Christian violence carried out since this time. The attack on St Polycarp Church comes after five churches in Mombasa were attacked during rioting in late August.

BOKO HARAM MASSACRE FOLLOWS ELECTION OF CHRISTIAN IN STUDENT UNION POLL

(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

Boko-Haram-Violence

NIGERIA – Many Christians were among at least 46 university students killed in a massacre that followed the election of a Christian student in a students’ union poll. The attack, on 1 October 2012, targeted students at a college housing complex at Federal Polytechnic Mubi in Adamawa State, in the Middle Belt of Nigeria. The perpetrators went from door to door, calling out their victims by name before they shot them, stabbed them or slit their throat, shouting “Allahu akbar” (“Allah is great”).[3] The bodies of the slaughtered were lined up outside the student accommodation.

One eyewitness said, “The gunmen were asking students if they were Christians or Muslims, and then asked Christian victims to deny Christ. Christian students who refused to do so were killed instantly”.

The Christian student who was successful in the poll is thought to be among those killed. The attackers also set fire to a church in nearby Tudun Wada.

Thirty suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident, 16 of whom are members of Boko Haram. This attack is part of an ongoing campaign of violence against Christians and other targets by the militant group, who are seeking to eradicate Christians from the North and create an Islamist state.

TWO MEMBERS OF CHRISTIAN FAMILY SHOT DEAD

(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

Egypt_map

EGYPT – Two Christians were shot dead when notorious Muslim gang leader attempted to kidnap a female member of their family. Ephrem Marzouk (24) and his 61-year-old father Ibrahim were killed when Ali Hussein and members of his gang stormed their home in Deir Mawas on 14 October 2012.

Hussein had threatened to kidnap their relative, 25-year-old Hiyam Zaki Zaher, unless the family paid him 1,000,000 Egyptian pounds (100,000 GBP, $165,000 US, 125,000 Euro). The family managed to get Hiyam out of the village before the raid. In the onslaught, Hussein was also killed, and although it is not clear who was responsible, Christians have been blamed.

Hussein and his men have been terrorising Christians in the village since Januray 2011, seizing homes and property, extorting money, raping women and kidnapping children. The Christians’ plight looks set to intensify, as his 300-man gang plus other local Muslims have now threatened them with revenge for Hussein’s death.[4]

CHRISTIAN CHILDREN TAKEN AND FORCIBLY CONVERTED TO ISLAM

(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

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BANGLADESH – Christian children are being taken from their families under false pretences and sold to Islamic schools, where they face forced conversion and suffer physical abuse if they resist. Eleven children, ten boys and one girl, have escaped and revealed the conditions endured by children who are taken in this way.

Parents from poor tribal Christian families are targeted by intermediaries from the same tribe, who convince them that their children will be taken to “boarding schools” where they will be fed and educated for a fee of between 6,000 and 15,000 Bangladeshi taka (AU $80 – AU $180). In fact, the youngest are taken to other parts of the country and sold to Islamic schools.

At the schools, the children are forced to take part in a gruelling schedule of Arabic lessons, Quran readings and five-time-daily Islamic prayers. Children who refuse to take part may be subjected to physical violence. Although the exact number of children affected has not been confirmed, one source reports that almost 300 have been taken to these schools.

The girl, who had scars on her hands from being struck with a cane, was rescued by her family, while the boys managed to escape after being told they would be circumcised and that if they were ready to give their lives for Islam, they would be rewarded with a place in heaven.

CHURCHES ATTACKED AND TORCHED IN MUSLIM RIOTS

(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

Ruins left behind by UAMSHO cowards

TANZANIA – At least four churches were pulled down in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam during two nights of violence by Muslim rioters in the Mbagala area. The mob began rampaging on the night of 12 October 2012, when at least three churches were destroyed. The cars and other property of church members were damaged, and shop windows were smashed.

On the following night, when the Evangelical Assemblies of God-Tanzania Church was pulled down, the flag of the Islamic separatist group UAMSHO (Association for Islamic Mobilisation and Propagation) was raised at the scene.

Police have since arrested 122 members of the group. The destruction of the churches, as is often the case, is an example of an entire Christian community being disproportionately targeted as revenge for the actions of one of its members. In this instance, the anti-Christian violence was sparked by an incident on 12 October involving two boys, one Christian and one Muslim.

The 14-year-old Christian boy was drawn by his friend into committing an act considered by Muslims to be a desecration of the Quran. After the Muslim boy told his parents and they reported to the local mosque, an angry mob formed at the scene, threatening the Christian boy’s life.

The police took the boy into protective custody. The Council of Islamic Organisations has since blamed the subsequent violence on “police laxity”, claiming that they “failed to give the matter its due weight”.

Anti-Christian hostility is becoming increasingly common in Tanzania, especially in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, where radical Islam is spreading violence.

CHRISTIAN BOY TORTURED AND KILLED IN PAKISTAN

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Author: Dean Nelson, South Asia Editor

(Source: 23 August – The Telegraph, UK)

Detectives in Faisalabad, around 60 miles from Lahore, said they were investigating whether accusations of blasphemy had also been made against the boy.

Human rights campaigners condemned the killing of Samuel Yaqoob whose burned and tortured body body was discovered on Eid, the celebration which marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

His lips and nose had been sliced off, his stomach removed and there was evidence that his legs had been mutilated too.

The boy had been missing since Monday when he left his home in the town’s Christian Colony to visit a local market. His relatives identified his body from a distinctive mark on his forehead.

Yaquub was reported to be an orphan but in local newspaper reports his mother Asia Bibi was quoted denying he had been accused of blasphemy. “We neither received any phone call for ransom nor were we told that Samuel had committed blasphemy,” she said.

Police said they were investigating whether blasphemy had been behind the attack on Samuel. His death comes just days after the arrest of Rimsha Masih, an eleven year old girl with Down’s Syndrome, after Muslims in Islamabad accused her of burning pages from the Koran for cooking.

President Asif Zardari intervened in the case after dozens of Christians fled their homes fearing violence. He said the country’s controversial blasphemy laws, in which those guilty of insulting Islam face the death penalty, must not be misused to settle scores.

The country’s leading human rights campaigner Ansar Burney said he had “strongly condemned the brutal murder” of Samuel Yaqoob who had been killed “mercilessly”.

CHRISTIAN AREAS BOMBED AND INVADED AS SYRIA CONFLICT RAGES ON

(Source: Barnabas Aid – January-February 2013 Edition)

Aftermath of Jaramana Bombings

SYRIA – Christians continue to suffer in the violent conflict between government and opposition forces. Ten people were killed and 41 injured when Islamists carried out a car bomb attack in Jaramana, a predominately Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus. This attack , on 29 October 2012, occurred despite a cease-fire having been called; the truce agreed for a four-day holiday period was violated as soon in began. Our partner in Damascus said, “There is no police station or governmental building on the spot of the explosion. This is a purely residential area. The explosion was horrible and it terrified the innocent people”.

Churches continue to be targeted in Syria. A Presbyterian church in Aleppo was bombed in early November, and was so badly hit that half of the building collapsed. A church and attached Christian school in Dair-Al-Zor, which has been built up by the Christian community over a ten-year period, were destroyed by dynamite on 27 October.

These bombings came after residential quarters of Aleppo, which has become the key battleground city were invaded by opposition fighters on 25 October. Two major Christian areas, al-Syriaan al-Jaddie and al-Syriaan al-Qadime, fell to the opposition, and snipers were positioned on roofs in both places. In the former, the Free Syrian Army set up two checkpoints in front of a Baptist church building and took over a Christian school.

CHRISTIAN REFUGEES

As Syria is blighted by lawlessness and civil war, many of its endangered Christians are trying desperately to escape their stricken country. Hundreds of families have put themselves in the hands of human traffickers or endured treacherous journeys to reach Europe. Some have sold all their possessions to pay for their passage, or have almost died en route. Yet when they arrive, they may not be welcome or safe. This tragic and continuing story highlights the plight of so many Christians around the world who are forced by persecution to become refugees far from home.

Syrian refugees

The Sufferings of Refugees

Jesus Himself was a refugee. In the Gospel of Matthew we read that Joseph, May and Jesus had to flee their homeland soon after His birth and find refuge in another country in order to escape persecution.

Refugee status is also something that many Christians experience today. The challenges they face are immense. Many arrive in other countries with few or no possessions, lacking even basic legal papers such as a passport. Many are traumatised by what they have fled from. Some face immediate deportation, and others endure constant harassment at the hands of local police. “Home” for some becomes a refugee camp where everything is temporary, although on average it will be “home” for 17 years.

Vulnerable and Mistrusted

Those who have become refugees because they have converted to Christianity face additional grave difficulties. They often continue to be at risk of religious persecution in the countries to which they have fled. This can result from the dominant religious beliefs in the host country, and/or a lack of commitment by the authorities to protect individuals seeking refugee status, and/or state-sanctioned intolerance towards minority religious groups.

Christian converts also face a number of unique obstacles when they apply for refugee status, a point acknowledged recently by the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief in his interim report for 2012. These include suspicion on the part of those assessing the applications that their conversions are not authentic and just a means of securing asylum. Even well-meaning non-Christian officials may find such assessments difficult, and inappropriate questions (for example, about church history) have sometimes been asked in their attempts to get at the truth. Some officers and interpreters (especially those from the same country as applicants) may be hostile to the applicants’ decisions to convert to Christianity and therefore be biased against them. Many applicants are not given adequate opportunity to present their case.

Syrian refugee girl


[1] The movies of the past decades often reflect this sinister element existing within developed countries, which satirise or teach against the adherence to cultivating and maintaining one’s own virtues. They laud the characters who break with “conventions” who are inevitably “rewarded” with success in love or in work and so forth. Yet the films also display another undercurrent, often utilising the skewing of colour, lighting and images, accompanied by occultist and satanic ritualism or themes that bear “misanthropic” and “apocalyptic” overtones which relate matters of self-destruction or the “end of times”. Thus lulling audiences into a fantasy world whereby the line between reality and fantasy are blurred. Once again, another reason that policy makers will utilise for passing over-bearing legislation that encroaches upon peoples’ civil rights and give cause for the mass micro-chipping of populations. Of course the boorish behaviour of people within developed countries who misuse or irresponsibly demand their civil rights without consideration of the other will give cause for a new era of tyranny…. I say this not as opinion or as matter of whether one agrees or disagrees with the points raised, but as an observation to cause one to reflect and examine what is truly going on around us within the world today. Is the economic crisis for example, a planned and concerted effort by a small minority to gain money and power, is it merely a failing of American style globalism or the failing of public policies of every nation on this earth, or is it all these factors working together? Then we should consider that the teachings of the Gospel run counter and attack these present-day trends occurring within our world, thus is Christian persecution just the beginning of a wider attack on all cultures and religions which may run counter to these global developments?

[2] One cannot but help note the irony of the name of this group, which prides itself on being “valiant” and “courageous” “fighters” for “freedom”, “justice” and “righteousness”, as encrypted by the meaning of the word which literally translates as “the young men”, or the “youthful pride of a community”. Yet what is so valiant or courageous in attacking children who had nothing to do with the actions of a nation’s government, and it is a cowardly act for children can neither defend themselves nor fight back. If anything, if logic was to be applied in waging war in a struggle for justice, then it would only make sense that al-Shabaab should turn their attacks against the Kenyan government who perpetrated the acts to which al-Shabaab holds a gripe about and not innocent civilians! But al-Shabaab is typically characteristic of many of these Jihadist groups which wax lyrical about the injustices against the Islamic world, Islamic values and the need to fight to defend oneself; but are ultimately nothing more than a militarised political group hiding behind the Quran and preying upon the fears and concerns of Muslims, often dealing in drugs and weapons, and making no success in their “struggle”, because without an existing “crisis” it is hard to justify their existence. The Palestinian cause is a classic example, for if these Jihadist groups were so dedicated, they could have easily achieved their aims decades ago by attacking military, economic and political targets, not civilians! Out of some 1 billion Muslims from which they could recruit, they still have not succeeded in their fight, which in itself indicates that the matter is not about religion or the Palestinian cause, but about self-gain and self-interest. Yet one should ask what efforts are being made to settle and assist Palestinian refugees in other Muslim countries, or more to the point, what about the abuses against fellow Muslims in their own countries! So groups like al-Shabaab serve no real purpose except that of a leach upon the body of the Islamic world, but that of course is the result of the theology of “jihad” which is the unofficial sixth pillar of Islam…A matter which Muslims will need to discuss and review because they are the ones who ultimately suffer its legacy, and have been doing so for centuries, the wars of Mohammed’s Companions after his death are a case in example.

[3] There is no greater blasphemy against God than this sort of profanity whereby one group proclaims glory to God by killing others.

[4] Naturally it takes real men in large gangs to take on one family and harass and commit lawless acts against a small unarmed minority! May they take pride in their courage which of course they do for the service of God! Such are the works of blaspheming cowards like the accursed Ali Hussein who will burn for all eternity alongside satan and all his minions!

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