Living daily at risk of unspeakable torture, becoming enslaved, or killed at the hands of brutality.
(VOP) Imagine, for a minute that you live in a land where slavery is rampant. Imagine for a minute that a walk in the park, or simply going to the store could find you in the hands of barbarous rebels who wanted nothing more than to rape, torture or kill you. Imagine for a minute while riding a bus to visit family, to get to work or go home at the end of the day suddenly overtaken by evil men demanding that you recite a prayer to their deity which is foreign to you. Imagine how you would feel knowing you couldn’t and the result would most likely end in your death.
This is reality for many in Africa from Somalia to Nigeria, even as far north as Libya. A recent slaughter took place in Kenya as a band of Muslim rebels attacked a bus load of people, and when the men couldn’t recite the Muslim ‘shahada’ they forced them to lay on the ground and shot them. One man who survived said they must have thought that another already shot him. He laid very still until they left.
There are reports that 33,000 Nigerians are still in the caves and starving. They were forced to flee the Boko Haram to escape death. The same report says that Boko Haram has stolen tear gas canisters that they are now throwing into the caves. (More) Why is this barely reported by the West? Why is it not repeatedly denounced by the UN? Nigeria has been embroiled in a political struggle amid reports of human rights abuses by the military, which prominent leaders deny. Yet, no one is helping the many in the most dire situations, nor interested in the truth.
FACT: The people are suffering, many to the extreme. Based on the magnitude of need, they have received little aid relief, safety, nor much sympathy. It appears Western leaders along with the UN are not interested in the ethnic cleansing and what is called by some, a genocide taking place. History repeating itself?
One of our Nigerian contacts witnesses these horrific scenes and great suffering on a daily basis. He described to us a recent trip to deliver relief. While traveling, he felt the sudden urge to leave the car, he said God was guiding him to get out the car and run into the bush. He demanded the driver to stop the car and urged him to leave too, but the driver refused and continued down the road. He didn’t get very far. The car was attacked, robbed and the driver beheaded. These are occurrences faced by those brave enough to offer love, sympathy and aid to those suffering immensely.
It has become common place for people of Western nations to accept the fact that their governments are supplying aid to rebel groups in Syria and other places, including weapons. It has been presented to them as necessary to help rebel groups who are fighting evil, so it’s honorable to arm them. But what is the truth?
It’s reported these weapons are being shared and trafficked in a ways unimaginable to most. Many in these groups, no matter what they portray to the West, are uniting with one another for one goal, to set up one government, one law, (Sharia) that will as they believe, rule the world. Rebels trained to kill as many ‘non-believers’ as possible. To rape women, force conversion, marriage, and torture those they kidnap.
In another recent attack at least 40 were killed by two female suicide bombers in Maiduguri. One entered a roadside trading area and detonated herself. While people were trying to get to the wounded, the second woman blew herself up causing more damage and death, preventing help from getting to the victims. (More) A calling card of Boko Haram. Again it begs the question, could these females be captives that were kidnapped?
Cameroon, that borders Nigeria is closing 130 of it’s secondary schools as they have become targets of Boko Haram (Western education is sinful). It is understandable why they would want to do this for the protection of children. However, many feel this will only embolden the terror group as, ‘mission accomplished’. Again, why does the West remain silent? These terror groups have catapulted the Middle East, Africa and Asia from a modern-day world that has prided itself on movements toward equivalence and peace, into the dark ages wiping out thousands of years of history, all vestiges of civility and growth toward peace and equality for all.
World leaders have instituted failed foreign policies that have set 1/4 of the world on fire, with cataclysmic results. They have fueled and aided a war of attrition.
“Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and material. The war will usually be won by the side with greater such resources. The word attrition comes from the Latin root atterere to rub against, similar to the “grinding down” of the opponent’s forces in attrition warfare.”
Is the West ‘complicit’ in these killings, tortures and genocide of minorities? While this snake continues to grow governments continue to slice up the spoils. And the people, innocent victims are starving, or suffering immense & indescribable torture. Do they view them as simple casualties of war? While thousands are forced to flee from this evil, fear and hatred grows in strength.
Amid the cries from the West to stop all travel to Africa due to Ebola, many now question if they should mission to this Continent. Who is going to help these people? Who will provide comfort, food, clothing, spiritual support and encouragement for these children and their families? Many are hiding and unable to even find a crumb of food or water. While African leaders have met with the West, no sustainable solutions are forthcoming. No condemnation, only defensive statements when challenged such as, “We have given military support.”
You can be their voice, you can be their spiritual family. Your prayers and voices do matter. Over and over we hear the same thing, “no one cares.” No one is helping, are we forgotten? Sadly, for most of the world this is true. Too few care, “Africa’s always in crisis, what’s new?”
These are our brethren! Innocent people who are being ripped apart by this erosion of civilization in modern times. Spreading an evil ideology that’s beginning to make the dark ages look pale in comparison. Today, atrocities are being carried out with blindness in part for a civilized world. Why not start, or help to start a conversation in your church, your parish, your neighborhood and help with a mission there. Ask your community leaders, your Representatives, your Senators for their help. You would be surprised at the lack of interest for missions boards in this region. Didn’t Christ tell us not to fear? So why are not more of these agencies helping. We have heard that they do not wish to plan their activities in these areas facing untold evil. Why not ask your pastor about your mission board and how they can do more? Watch, a minister who is speaking out and aiding.
Again, send your prayers to the throne of God, but start a conversation this Thanksgiving. Lets start a revival with the Holy Spirit guiding us with Spiritual fire instead of manmade flames.
We, at VOP have answered God’s call “Whom shall we send.” Won’t you help? Help us to go, or bring a voice from the front lines to tell us first hand, their heart wrenching testimony? Won’t you wrap your arms around our family who needs us so desparately? Will you answer God’s call, can you hear His voice? We can’t do it without you.
As we are thanking God for our blessings this season, let’s remember and act for those less fortunate and suffering. Let’s do as Jesus said: “Truly I tell you what you did for the least of these, you did for me.”
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support.
VOP Advocate Team
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
Church on the Hill and The Christian Defense Coalition are once again asking us to remember that while we celebrate the blessings of God and family this Thanksgiving, millions of our brothers and sisters around the world are being persecuted, brutalized and separated from their families because of their Christian faith.
Pastor Saeed will be spending Thanksgiving in a brutal and violent prison cell apart from his precious wife and two beautiful children! His crime? His love of Jesus and trying to build orphanages in his native country of Iran.
It is critical that we remember the persecuted church and stand in solidarity with them. Therefore, will you “Leave a Thanksgiving Place Setting for Pastor Saeed.”
The empty place setting at your Thanksgiving dinner will serve as a “prophetic” reminder to pray for Saeed all those being persecuted for their faith around the world.
A place setting for Pastor Saeed will be set up in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thanksgiving morning.
They’re also asking if you could share a picture of the place setting at your Thanksgiving dinner table on this Facebook page, so we could created an album and give it Pastor Saeed when he is released.
As we sit down to dinner let us remember to include our persecuted Church family in our prayers. And let us give thanks that we live in a nation with protected religious freedom.
Happy Thanksgiving! God bless you.
(Voice of the Persecuted) A mother of five, Asia Bibi has spent the last four years in prison in Pakistan for daring to drink water from a Muslim well. She is a Christian who has been tortured and persecuted for her faith in Christ. While working in a field along side other women, she became thirsty and went to the well to get a drink, her Muslim co-workers complained as a Christian, she had defiled the well. An argument ensued and Asia defended her faith to the Muslim co-workers who then tried to force her convert to Islam. She was arrested, tortured and later convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.
Since her incarceration, Asia has faced extreme pressure to convert to Islam. At one point her family states that during interrogations she asked for a drink and they gave her urine. Though there has been a global outcry in support of Bibi, world leaders still haven’t championed for release her. In fact they have said very little about her death sentence. Meanwhile, Pakistan is one of the West’s biggest beneficiary of monetary aid—in the billions. They continue to overlook and allow abuses such as this to continue as radicalism grows. Silence is consent.
The world watched stunned, appalled and shocked as a Muslim mob tortured and burned a Christian couple in a brick kiln oven for what is now proven to be a false charge of burning Koranic verses. A couple who did not worship as they did. The lynch mob became judge, jury and executioner. Another man recently died in police custody enduring torture. Human rights abuses are rampant in this country as they follow a barbaric law that may lead to a death sentence simply for faith outside of the majority.
‘You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me,’ she said. ‘I did not commit blasphemy.’
Watch the story of Asia Bibi and then call or write your Senators and Representatives and tell them you expect them to call an emergency meeting and demand accountability from the Pakistan government. Tell them you expect them to initiate safeguards to prevent Pakistan’s government from going against their Constitution. Click here for a copy of a letter you can send. And please remember Asia, Keep her in daily in your prayers.
Below is a preview of an upcoming documentary of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case and the danger to minorities in Pakistan.
(Morning Star News) – Two pastors in northwestern Bangladesh could face two years in prison if convicted for “hurting religious sentiments.”
Police on Nov. 9 arrested the pastors and 41 people, including Muslims, who were listening to proclamation of Christ at a rented house in Nabinagar village in Lalmonirhat District, 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Dhaka, after at least 100 Islamists disrupted the meeting and began “jabbing” at the church leaders’ faces, sources said.
The 41 people who were detained along with their children were released that night; the pastors of Faith Bible Church of God were not released on bail until Nov. 17, charged with “hurting religious sentiments” and luring Muslims to convert by offering money. The church leaders deny both charges.
“We did not tell anything to anyone that might hurt religious sensibility,” one of the released pastors, Arif Mondol, told Morning Star News. “We did not offer any money to anyone to be converted to Christianity.”
An area source told Morning Star News on condition of anonymity that the incident caused a sweeping furor among local Muslims.
“More than 100 Muslims headed by local Jamaat-e-Islami party members and Muslim clerics gathered at the house and started barking questions at the pastors – why did they propagate Christianity in the locality and convert some of them,” the source said.
The Islamist leaders asked the pastors who had given them permission to spread Christianity in the area.
“The pastors replied that it did not take any permission from any authority to propagate any religion and convert people to any religion,” the source said. “Suddenly the Muslims became apoplectic with rage, tried to pick a fight and started jabbing the pastors’ faces.”
Police arrived and detained all 41 people, along with their children, and the two pastors, and took them to the Lalmonirhat police station at noon.
Local imams filed a case against the pastors the following day. Police told Morning Star News they were investigating.
Nazrul Islam Mukul, an attorney who helped the two church leaders to obtain bail, told Morning Star News that the pastors told those in attendance that Jesus Christ was alive and would return, and that as the living one everyone should come to Him for salvation.
“If the allegations of the case are proved and if they are found guilty, they will be put in jail for maximum of two years according to Article 295/A,” Mukul said. “People of the locality were very angry with the pastors. If police had not come timely, they would have faced severe consequences.”
A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 21.
Nirmol Rozario, secretary general of Bangladesh Christian Association, told Morning Star News that the charges went against the spirit of the country’s constitution.
“I demand that the case against the pastors should be dismissed, since the grounds of the case are contradictory to our constitution,” Rozario said. “This is the act of the communal and religious fanatics.”
Sunni Muslims constitute 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, according to the 2011 census, with Hindu making up 9.5 percent of the total population, which the U.S. government estimates at 163.7 million people . The remainder of the population is Christian (mostly Roman Catholic) and Theravada-Hinayana Buddhist. There are also small numbers of Shia Muslims, Bahais, animists, and Ahmadiyya Muslims.
Sudan (Morning Star News) – As churchwomen wailed and young men shouted that they were prepared to die to prevent further demolition, hundreds of Christians in North Khartoum blocked authorities’ attempts to destroy buildings on their compound this week.
After a bulldozer accompanied by security personnel and police knocked down a wall of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church’s (SPEC) Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church and some houses on Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 17-18), the Christians formed a human barrier to face down further demolition attempts on Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 19-20), sources said.
One of the homes destroyed in the compound belonged to Nile Theological College; a Christian doctor had rented it, and he lost all his belongings, sources said.
The bulldozer, accompanied by National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) personnel and police, carried out the demolitions based on a court order demanding that church leaders surrender the premises to Muslim businessman Khalid Mustafa. A church committee of members that the Sudanese government interposed made a secret agreement with Mustafa to sell him church property as part of Sudan’s campaign to do away with Christianity in the country, church leaders said.
“The government recently installed some committee to the running of the church, and these are the same people who want to sell the church for business purposes,” pastor Daud Fadul told Morning Star News.
Church members strongly condemned the “government puppet committee” supporting the government agenda to do away with Christianity.
“This is a case of serious persecution of the church in Sudan,” elder Daud Bashir Gadalah told Morning Star News. “We appeal to the international community of the Christian body to stand with us and to advocate for our case. The forces of evil cannot prevail against the church of Christ.”
After Monday’s demolitions, church leaders on Tuesday (Nov. 18) filed a court complaint. They were told they would have to wait until Dec. 4 to have their grievances heard.
The next day authorities destroyed the home of pastor Hafiz Fasaha at the SPEC church compound after ordering personnel inside to leave the premises, church leaders said. Authorities told the Christians a Muslim businessman owned the land and that they had a court order calling for the use of force to take over the property.
The Christians stood helpless as they watched the building destroyed before their eyes.
“We are surprised that our government is determined to take all lands that belong to the church,” said a church member who requested anonymity.
Two other structures housing church youth were destroyed while the young people and the pastor were away, sources said. Pastor Fasaha has not been seen since the demolition, they said.
Church leaders were upset over thousands of dollars in damages to window panes, steel doors, refrigerators, students’ certificates, books, mobiles phones, wardrobes and other valuables.
On Wednesday (Nov. 19) at 2 p.m., police arrived at the church compound with another court order from Judge Mohammed Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed, this one requiring the removal of all property inside the main pastor’s house and the removal of all padlocks to allow the businessman to install his own padlock. After a lengthy discussion between police and church leaders, boisterous young men from the church arrived ready to defend the building.
“We are ready to die for the cause of Christ – the church is a place for worship, not for business,” the rowdy men chanted to police, echoing a message on banners placed throughout the compound.
In addition, church women were wailing and screaming, and police decided to leave, saying they would return later. Church leaders called on members to remain vigilant, and when authorities returned with a bulldozer at 2 a.m. on Thursday (Nov. 20), they encountered hundreds of church members.
“Kill us before destroying our church property,” the Christians told police, according to church leaders. “We are ready to die or to be arrested.”
They made a human shield that prevented the demolition, they said.
Throughout the day, members gathered along with members of other denominations for prayer and fasting.
“We cannot allow our church building to be taken by force,” another church leader told Morning Star News.
While the church blames the government for the court order that it surrender the property, a representative of the Muslim businessman laying claim to it has said a contract was signed about four years ago giving him the right to invest in the land for a period of up to 20 years. The representative asserts that because of church opposition he had to go to the government to take the land by force.
Church leaders hold ownership papers to the property and believe any contract surrendering it comes from a government ruse. On Oct. 5, 2013, Sudan’s police and security forces broke throughthe church fence, beat and arrested Christians in the compound and asserted parts of the property belonged to a Muslim investor accompanying them.
As Muslims nearby shouted, “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” plainclothes police and personnel from NISS broke onto the property aboard a truck and two Land Cruisers. After beating several Christians who were in the compound, they arrested some of them, including Pastor Fadul; they were all released later that day.
Authorities asserted that another Muslim businessman, Hisham Hamada El-Neel, had signed a contract giving him a right to invest in land. Church members were not told who gave him the contract, and they suspected the government was behind the move.
This week the church has declared a time of prayer and fasting for the property, and tensions were high as members remained on the compound to protect against further demolition.
“The demolition will make the church have no place to worship,” said another church leader.
At press time a heavy police contingent surrounded the church building. There was a possibility of the business interests using authorities to storm the compound at any time, a church leader said.
Harassment, arrests and persecution of Christians have intensified since the secession of South Sudan, when President Omar al-Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language.
On June 30 authorities in North Khartoum demolished another church building, just a day after giving verbal notice during the congregation’s worship service, sources said. Bulldozers demolished the Sudanese Church of Christ in the Thiba Al Hamyida area of the city as church members watched, with security personnel threatening to arrest them if they tried to block their efforts, church members said.
On Aug. 24 another Christian property, the Khartoum Christian Center housing the Sudan Pentecostal Church, was closed down. Church leadership said an Islamic Facebook page indicated the church should be closed because it was winning many Muslims to Christ.
On Feb. 17, bulldozers accompanied by local police and personnel from the NISS destroyed the Sudanese Church of Christ building in the Ombada area of Omdurman, across the River Nile from Khartoum, without any advance notice.
Officials gave no reason for the demolition except that, as it was located in a “Muslim area,” the 300-member church was not wanted there, a church member said. Another source, a church leader, confirmed to Morning Star News that authorities destroyed the building and confiscated the land without warning. The orders came from the Ombada locality, or city council, sources said.
Following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese. Besides raiding Christian bookstores and arresting Christians, authorities threatened to kill South Sudanese Christians who do not leave or cooperate with them in their effort to find other Christians (see Morning Star News).
Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and in April 2013, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended the country remain on the list.
Many foreign Christians have been expelled from the country, and others have fled.
LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – Police in Pakistan say a Christian couple tortured and slain this month over accusations that the wife desecrated the Koran were innocent, while relatives said politicians are trying to shield the killers from justice.
Urged to act from mosque loudspeakers, a frenzied mob on Nov. 4 tore the clothes off Shama and Shahzad Masih, struck them, broke their legs, dragged them behind a tractor and threw them into the burning furnace of a brick kiln – even though Shama was illiterate and could not have known even if koranic verses were among debris that she had burned.
Kasur District Police Capt. Jawad Qamar told Morning Star News that police had confirmed that Shama Masih was illiterate and had no idea of the contents of pages that she had burned.
“She was not guilty of blasphemy,” he said.
On Nov. 2 Shama Masih was cleaning her quarters in Chak 59 village near Kot Radha Kishan, Karur District, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of Lahore, when she found amulets of her late father-in-law, who had used them in the practice of black magic. The amulets may have contained koranic verses, and a Muslim co-worker, Muhammad Irfan, noticed the half-burnt papers andaccused the family of desecrating the Koran, relatives said.
Under Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy statutes, intent must be shown for a conviction of desecrating the Koran.
At a press conference in Islamabad on Monday (Nov. 16), family members said Islamists have offered them land and money as compensation for the murders in an attempt to stop them from prosecuting.
While police have reportedly arrested at least 50 of those named in a First Information Report (FIR), relatives of the couple said that influential Muslims of the area, including a Punjab Province lawmaker, were issuing threats in an attempt to force them to reach an agreement with the killers. Shahzad Masih’s brother, Shahbaz Masih, and his wife Parveen Masih demanded that the government provide them with protection, saying they had already informed the Kasur District police officer of the threats.
They also demanded the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the mob violence, adding that non-Muslim representatives should be included in the team.
“All we want is a fair investigation of the case,” said Shahbaz Masih, demanding that Justice Waheed Siddiqui, a retired Federal Shariat Court judge, be included in the judicial commission.
Among other demands, the deceased man’s family called for the commission and a Joint Investigation Team to make their reports publicly available immediately after completion. Masih also urged the Supreme Court to take suo moto notice and order an independent inquiry into the attack.
Lawmaker ‘Influencing Case’
The family’s concerns come amid reports that the provincial lawmaker of the area, Muhammad Anees Qureshi, was present at the crime scene when the throng of hundreds tortured and killed Shama Masih, 28 years old and five months pregnant, and 32-year-old Shahzad Masih. They are survived by four children, the oldest 7 years old.
Family sources said that Qureshi, a member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, was also making efforts to shield the primary suspect, Riaz Kamboh, from justice. Kamboh, a former municipal councillor, is also affiliated with the PML-N and holds considerable influence in the villages surrounding Chak 59 village. He is accused of throwing the couple into the furnace after pouring tractor diesel on their bodies.
“Qureshi arrived on the spot just when the lynchers had tortured the couple unconscious,” said a relative who asked to remain unnamed for security reasons. “They were not hurled into the furnace till then.”
The relative said Qureshi, a member of the Punjab Parliamentary Assembly, was trying to force the impoverished Christians into reaching an agreement in return for a large amount of money. Shahzad Masih was a bonded laborer who was working to repay a sum of money he had received, one of the reasons sources have said his employer locked him in an office at the kiln after a mob formed.
“Hordes and hordes of Muslims loaded on tractor trolleys arrived on the scene during his [Qureshi’s] presence, yet the lawmaker made no effort to rescue them,” the relative said.
Qureshi has requested the family not register a separate case against Kamboh, brick kiln owner Yousaf Gujjar and Imam Ghulam Hussain, among others, he said, adding that the demands were made through local administration and land revenue officials.
Qureshi denied that the couple was thrown into the furnace in his presence.
“Shama and Shahzad were already dead when I reached the spot,” the member of the Parliamentary Assembly said in his statement to police. “That’s why I couldn’t do anything for them.”
Morning Star News made repeated efforts to get Qureshi’s comment on accusations that he was influencing the relatives of Shahzad and Shama to reach an agreement with any of the murder suspects, but the lawmaker declined.
Punjab spokesman Zaeem Qadri told Morning Star News that the suspects would not be able to escape prosecution, because the state was the complainant in the case.
“This is why the government decided to become the complainant in this case, so that the accused are not able to coerce the poor families into reaching a compromise,” he said. “Pardoning the accused is not in the families’ hands now.”
Asked about the chances of convictions in the atrocity, especially when there is a precedent of all suspects in the Joseph Colony arson case last year walking free even when the state was the complainant in the case, the Punjab spokesman cut short the conversation, saying only, “This time it will be different.”
Qamar told Morning Star News that the area’s local police in-charge had sent a team to the site when he was informed of tensions, but that mobs were too large to be contained by just five men.
“It was Ashura [a Shia Muslim commemoration] day, and all district police was deployed on Shia procession routes and Shia places of worship for security, which is why it took time to gather a bigger contingent,” he said, adding that police were now trying their best to arrest all the remaining accused in the case.
Contrary to published reports, Qamar said police have arrested 43 of some 60 named suspects, of whom 39 were in jail, while four were to be produced in an anti-terrorism court today on completion of their police remand.
Tahir Ashrafi, a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Pakistan’s top religious body, held police responsible for failing to act to protect the couple before the mob violence occurred.
“All culprits must be arrested and punished, including the cleric [who made the blasphemy accusation in a mosque] if he’s involved,” he said.
Rufus Solomon, a Christian politician from the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said that it was a test case for the PML-N government, which has termed the allegation of blasphemy against Shama “false and baseless.”
“If the perpetrators of Gojra, Joseph Colony and the Rimsha Masih case had been punished, no one would have dared to mete out such barbarity on the poor Christian couple,” Solomon said.
Only Days Remain to November 24 Deadline for World Powers and Iran to Reach Final Nuke Deal. Can You #Pray2Minutes?
Please join us in prayer
Originally posted on IRAN: Free All Three Americans!:
Wendy Sherman was America’s lead negotiator at Iran nuclear talks in the 1990’s during the Clinton Administration. She holds that post now at the P5+1 talks with Iran. In the middle of her recent speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington think tank, Ms. Sherman indicated other ‘sideline’ issues on the margins could be decided too, including the fate of four Americans detained in Iran.
This makes me want to pray … how about you?
Ms. Wendy Sherman, U.S. Dept. of State, addressing the Iran nuclear talks at a Symposium in Washington DC on October 23, 2014:
“In separate and dedicated meetings on the margins of each of our talks, I and members of my team raise our concerns regarding the status of U.S. citizens missing or detained in Iran. Nothing matters more to me as Under Secretary of State than ensuring the fair treatment of American citizens. Amir Hekmati…
View original 1,285 more words
(Morning Star News) – Four Christians in Maharashtra state, one 70 years old, were released on bail today after more than two weeks in jail, accused of “rioting” when Hindu extremists beat them and damaged two of their homes.
The incident in Kamseth village, Nasik District in western India began on Oct. 28 when the Hindu extremists told Christians to remit 300 rupees (US$5) for the celebration of the Hindu festival of lights, orDiwali. The Christians submitted half the amount, which the Hindus later angrily returned to them, area church leader Prem Barnabas told Morning Star News.
The Hindus summoned four Christians from two families – 70-year-old Govind Janu Galat, Gulab Govind Galat, Dilip Laxu Galat and Sakaram Govind Galat – to the village’s Hindu temple and told them to return the rest of the money so that they could use it to buy alcohol, reported the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).
The Christians readily gave the money back to them, but the extremists began pushing, beating and kicking them as they insulted their Christian faith, according to EFI.
“Somehow three Christians managed to run away after a while, but the one who remained, Dilip Laxu Galat, was severely beaten up,” Barnabas said.
The assailants then hurled stones at the house of Govind Janu Galat and stole items and 10,000 rupees ($US163) from his home. The long-time Christian says he came to Christ 30 years ago after visiting a church service in which his sight was restored after a pastor prayed for him.
They also stoned another house of one of the Christians, breaking wall tiles and half of the roof, and damaged the small shop of another.
Fearing for their lives, the four Christians fled, hid in mountainous terrain, and called the police. Officers reached the site later that evening. Under cover of darkness, the Hindu mob pelted police with stones, breaking their vehicle windows, and roughed them up.
The Christians had come out of their hiding place when the police arrived, and the Hindu extremists resumed their attack on them, a Harsul police official identified only as Kirtekar told Morning Star News.
“The mob wanted to continue beating the Christians, and as a safety measure we took them inside our vehicle, which further agitated the attackers, and they started to stone our vehicles,” he said.
On the basis of the complaint filed by the attackers, however, police arrested the four Christians under accusations of “rioting,” though the police official said they were arrested in order to “protect” them. Police also filed a First Information Report against the 14 assailants.
“We managed to nab eight of them, and we also hope to arrest the others who have absconded,” he said.
On Nov. 1 the Hindu extremists again stoned the houses of the two Christians, and several Christians, including women and children, fled into the mountains in fear. They have since returned to their homes.
“All our people are poor, and we wanted to have a compromise with the villagers,” Barnabas said. “We have talked to the village head, and he is ready to help us in securing a compromise.”
Tension remains, however, and an agreement that would bring peace remained elusive.
The seed of conflict and hatred in Kamseth village appears to have been planted by the area leader of the Hindu extremist World Hindu Council (VHP), Promod Kurkani, according to the church leaders. He was once banned from a neighboring village, Ether, for spreading hateful propaganda against Christians, they said.
“Ether village is a strong Christian community,” Barnabas said. “After the village leaders realized that he had been trying to fill the minds of the simple villagers with his hate agendas, they banned him from staying there one year ago.”
Relatives had fasted prayed for the four Christians while they were jailed.
“Their faith in the Lord is exemplary and very touching,” Barnabas said.
Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed to visit DETROIT AREA: Religious Freedom Rally Saturday, Nov. 15
Come and hear Naghmeh Abedini, Pastor Saeed’s wife, as she shares the latest updates regarding her husband, who is currently serving an 8-year prison sentence in Iran for sharing his Christian faith.
Hear how this has strengthened her faith in God. Join us as we petition the international community to demand release of this innocent man, followed by a time of prayer for the persecuted church.
FRIDAY NIGHT Nov.14, 2014 at 8pm-11pm
Naghmeh will also be at the Dearborn Justice House of Prayer
Springwells Church -14900 Michigan Ave., Dearborn, MI. 48126
SATURDAY NIGHT Nov.15, 2014 at 5pm
Religious Freedom Rally at
Dearborn Heights First Assembly of God
5650 Telegraph Rd., Dearborn Heights, MI. 48125