(Voice of the Persecuted) Blasphemy charges have been dropped against an eight-year-old Christian boy in Quetta, Pakistan. The youngster ‘m’ and his mother were both accused of burning pages of the Quran, the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told Voice of the Persecuted (VOP).
The incident is said to have taken place on October 20 and soon afterwards the police filed a report against them.
While the Christian boy and his mother remained behind bars, local Christian leader including JUIF’s (Jamait Ulema Islam F) Member of National Assembly Asiya Nasir in collaboration with the Christian MPs Member of Provincial Assembly Baluchistan William Barkat and Shahzad Kundan played a role in their release, CLAAS said.
The matter was resolved one day later when the JUI played a pivotal role in retrieving the Christian mother and son.
The blasphemy accusations were quashed while a FIR no. 167 was filed against unknown persons.
Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK told VOP this is not the first time that a minor has been charged with a blasphemy offence. He cited several examples like in 1993 when 12 yr. old Slamat Masih was charged under the blasphemy law for a crime he never committed. Also in 2011, a 13 yr. old Christian girl, F Bhatti was accused of blasphemy by her Muslim teacher for misspelling.
Rimsha Masih’s case is well-known and now an eight-year-old boy was charged with blasphemy.
He may have never have even heard the word of blasphemy. Unfortunately, this is the worst example of hatred and intolerance against Christians and treatment towards them in Pakistan, Mr Saeed said.
“The Government of Pakistan must look into such cases and take appropriate steps to bring necessary changes to stop the ongoing misuse of this law.
“The international community has continuously expressed its concern and called for amendments.”
Voice of the Persecuted received an update on American Christians, Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine’s situation as of late Friday, October 21. Turkish officials arrested and detained the couple on October 7 in the coastal city of Izmir on grounds of conducting activities constituted as “national security risks”.
Norine and Andrew have been living in Turkey for 23 years, running a church with the full knowledge of the local authorities. They were summoned to the police department on Friday, October 7, for what they assumed would be questions about their recent residency application. Upon their arrival they were presented with a letter from Ankara labeling them a threat to national security and ordering their deportation. They were immediately detained, their phones were confiscated, and they were completely isolated from the outside world.
The authorities denied repeated requests from their lawyers, the US State Department, and friends to see them or communicate with them in any way. They were explicitly forbidden from having a Bible, and were not allowed to receive books or any change of clothes. Andrew’s glasses and watch were taken away. They were told that their government had forgotten about them and that “hopefully” they would be deported, suggesting that they might simply disappear and never be heard from again.
Norine was released after 12 days (Oct. 19) and verbally told that all charges against her were dropped, but her lawyer has told her that is almost certainly not true given that nothing was put in writing. She was allowed to see Andrew for half an hour on October 20, but was denied any access on October 21. Apart from Norine, Andrew has had no contact with the outside world since October 7.
Norine and Andrew explicitly waived their right to protest the deportation, and yet there has been no deportation to date. The right to legal counsel is guaranteed under Turkish law, and the right of the US State Department to visit detained US citizens is guaranteed by 36(1)(c) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which Turkey has ratified. Both of these rights have clearly been violated.
At this point, the priority is to get Norine and Andrew safely out of Turkey, something entirely in keeping with the deportation order. Norine’s current visa expires on November 10, and though she might be forced to leave at any time, she really does not want to leave the country without Andrew. Norine is also concerned that her husband might be transferred from the current immigration center to a prison. Prison in that environment is entirely different from prison in the United States, and often includes people disappearing and without ever being heard from again.
There are far more serious charges supposedly brought against them, but none of it in writing, and none of it with any semblance of transparency or accountability. Those charges cannot be discussed openly, but Norine indicates that it’s difficult to overstate how dangerous the situation is.
The new objective is to see Norine and Andrew safely released from Turkey. They are willing and ready to comply with the deportation order, and yet the authorities continue to hold Andrew. Very little progress has been made through normal channels, so we will now start pressing the issue through Congress, through the media, and through the Turkish embassy.
It is time to press Turkey for Norine and Andrew’s rights to be restored. If the objective was to deport them, why detain them and deny them rights guaranteed under both Turkish and international law? Where are they being held and why have the charges not been stated in writing? Why hold them in isolation and confiscate things like Andrew’s glasses?
Anybody reading this is encouraged to help spread the word. If you have media contacts or know how to effectively disseminate this information, please say so. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, your continued prayers are much appreciated, and we know that God will cause good to come from this.
ACT NOW by
PRAYING and sharing this urgent prayer request:
- Pray that Andrew would be released from detention
- Pray that the authorities would not discriminate against Christians in Turkey;
- Pray for religious freedom in Turkey.
Contacting your elected officials:
- asking them to take immediate and serious action for the release of these two Americans, our brother and sister in Christ Jesus.
(Agenzia Fides) – “Ambulances and police continue to occupy the city. [More than] 60 people were killed and more than 200 wounded. They were all police officers and young people who were being trained in the military school [police academy]. We are shocked by another act of terrorism aimed at innocent people. The main target is the military”: is what is reported to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Renard Lawrence, missionary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Quetta, where in the early hours of this morning there was a major terrorist attack against the Balochistan Police College, located just outside the city. Three suicide bombers broke into the building during the night, two of them blew themselves up, killing students and young people, while the third was stopped.
The school had already been the object of attacks in the past. According to investigators, the terrorists were believed to be from the “Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group” which has bases in Afghanistan. In August 88 people were killed in two attacks in a hospital and in front of the court in Quetta.
Communication intercepts showed the attack was carried out by Al-Alimi faction of the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) militant group, IG Frontier Corps (FC) Major General Sher Afgan said.
Separately, the militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group’s Amaq news agency.
“These attacks are carried out in places where there is less defense and security so as to hit as many innocent victims. It is terrible”, says Fr. Renard. “We strongly condemn the attacks and terrorist violence. Many families suffer for this slaughter of innocents. We entrust them to the Lord, who can console them”, adds Fr. Inayat Gill, OMI, pro Vicar general of Quetta. “I cannot deny that there is a certain fear, but we have learned to live with it. With the grace of God, we are carrying out our mission quite peacefully in this area of the country. The Catholic community (about 35 thousand souls) have settled in the remote areas of this province, but we have easy access to these people and we accompany them in their spiritual and material needs without any obstacle”.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Quetta, in Baluchistan province, runs seven schools attended mostly by Muslims students and carries out social work through Caritas. “These works of the Church are very much appreciated by the population”, he concludes. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 25/10/2016)
Pray for peace in Pakistan. Pray for the families grieving their loved ones. Pray also for our Pakistani brothers and sisters, living under the constant threat of terrorism, to remain strong in faith and to shine the light and love of Jesus Christ.
Further updates reveal that Christian convert prisoner, Amin Afshar Naderi is still being held in Evin prison, despite earlier reports about his release.
Mohabat News – On October 19, 2016, a report came out of Iran that three of the five Christians arrested earlier in Firouz-kouh county, had been released. However, follow-up efforts have revealed that one of the three Christians previously thought to have been released, Amin Afshar Naderi, is still being held in prison.
Knowledgeable sources told Mohabat News that the other two Christians, Mohammad Dehnavi and Ramil Bet-Tamraz, son of Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz were in fact released on bail, while their fellow believer, Amin Afshar Naderi still remains in prison.
As previously reported, the two Christians who were in fact released, had to post very heavy bails. They will be released until the day of their trial. As of now, three of the five believers still in prison are Amin Afshar Naderi, Amir Saman Dashti and Hadi Asgari, none of whom are officially charged yet. There are no further updates on their case and how long they will be held in prison in uncertainty.
Keeping political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in prison without any official charge is a known tactic of the Iranian government in order to pressure such prisoners.
These five Christian prisoners had been arrested on August 26, 2016 in a raid on a family gathering in Firouz-kouh county.
Reports from that incident state the plain-clothed security authorities beat a number of those attending the family gathering and after arresting five of them, they left their families with no news on the whereabouts of their loved ones. Their families said they checked with many prisons across the country but they were told such names are not registered as official prisoners in their system.
As many Iranians have shown incredible interest in Christianity in recent years, the Iranian Islamic regime has ramped up its campaign to crack down on Iranian Christian converts and prevent the spread of house church gatherings. Iran falsely sees its citizens’ conversion to Christianity as a threat to its existence and national security.
The U.S. State Department’s 2016 report on International Religious Freedom lists Iran as a country where religious and ethnic persecution is on the rise. In a response to this report, the Iranian government called it unreal and non-constructive./ FARSI
Muslim Persecution of Christians: July, 2016
- The Obama administration has taken in 5,435 Muslim refugees, but only 28 Christians — even though Christians are approximately 10 percent of Syria’s population and are classified as experiencing a genocide there.
- The logic of the pope’s statement seems to be that violence done that contradicts the Judeo-Christian God’s commandments — such as the murder of wives and mothers-in-law — is identical to violence done in accord with Allah’s commandments to wage jihad on “infidels.”
- One million Christian children whose families have been displaced or affected by the violent activities of Boko Haram and Muslim Fulani herdsmen are starving. Boko Haram’s seven-year rebellion has left 20,000 people dead and more than two million displaced. — Nigeria.
- One social media posting by the Islamic State showed a picture of a young girl with the caption: “Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old… Her price has reached $12,500 and she will be sold soon.”
- Countless reports continued to appear indicating that non-Muslim students, most often Christians, are being forced to convert to Islam through the public school system. Teachers force them to recite the shahada — which when said before Muslim witnesses makes them a Muslim. — Pakistan.
- The government is trying to “cleanse” the nation of Christians and create a homogenous Muslim state. — Sudan.
As the Muslim persecution of Christians continues to reach critical proportions around the world (see report below), the average American shows much more concern than the current administration. Soon after it was revealed that the Obama administration has taken in 5,435 Muslim refugees, but only 28 Christians — even though Christians are approximately 10 percent of Syria’s population and are classified as experiencing a genocide there. A poll found that more than three-quarters of American respondents agreed with the statement: “It is important to me that the next US President be committed to addressing the persecution that some Christians face around the world (e.g.: imprisonment, beheadings, rape, loss of home and assets).”
The deliberate targeting and killing of Christians in Europe also reached unprecedented levels in modern times. Most notably, on the morning of July 26, shouting Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is the Greatest”] stormed a small church in France during morning mass. They forced 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel to his knees, slit his throat, and “critically injured” a nun, before being killed by police. (It was later revealed that police had known that church was being targeted and had even been monitoring one of the murderers for at least a year and a half.)
Later, when a journalist asked Pope Francis if Fr. Jacques was “killed in the name of Islam,” the pope disagreed. He argued that he hears of Christians committing violence every day in Italy: “this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law… and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.” The logic of the pope’s statement seems to be that violence done in direct contradiction of the Judeo-Christian God’s commandments — such as the murder of wives and mothers-in-law — is identical to violence done in accordance with Allah’s commandments to wage jihad on “infidels.”
In ISIS-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria, reports continued to emerge of Christians being tortured to convert, sold into sex slavery, maimed, crucified, burned alive or beheaded. In Iraq, a report says that:
“Christians and other minorities in Iraq are facing persecution at unprecedented levels and are at the verge of extinction …. The Christian population has dwindled from 1.4 million to 300,000 in the last decade, according to some estimates. However, Minority Rights Group put that the number at anywhere between 50,000 to 250,000.”
A former ISIS member exposed some of the atrocities the group commits in Syria. “They were extremely brutal, killing women and the elderly who did not obey them. They abused and mutilated their dead bodies. They cut up the corpses, tied them to the back of the cars and dragged them along. They would find them and publicly execute them. I witnessed many executions.”
The remainder of July’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians — most of which was not committed by ISIS — includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Two armed Muslim tribesmen murdered Rev. Joseph Kurah, an evangelical pastor, while he was working on his farm. They repeatedly hacked him to death with machetes. A local Muslim reportedly hired the assassins after he got into an argument with the Christian leader. Since 2001, Muslim Fulani have murdered thousands of Christians and destroyed hundreds of churches. According to a separate report, in just June and July, Muslim Fulani tribesmen targeted and invaded several Christian-majority villages. They killed 133 people, destroyed 76 churches, and countless Christian properties and farms.
Muslims hacked a female Christian preacher to death in the outskirts of Abuja. Eunice Elisha, a minister from the Redeemed Church of God, was found dead in a pool of her own blood after she went out to preach in the streets. A month earlier, on June 2, a Muslim mob beat Bridget Agbahime, the wife of a Christian pastor, to death with iron rods on the accusation that she had blasphemed against Muhammad.
About one million Christian children whose families have been displaced or affected by the violent activities of Boko Haram and Muslim Fulani herdsmen are starving. Churches, which are currently the primary supporters of these children, have gone beyond capacity and tens of thousands of children are expected to die of starvation and disease if they do not receive aid from elsewhere. According to the report, Boko Haram’s seven-year rebellion has left 20,000 people dead and more than two million displaced.
Philippines: Attacks and murders of Christians around Mindanao Island, which has a large Muslim population, are on the rise. Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, who has lived in the region for 40 years, is calling on authorities to “find proper solutions” to stop “the agony of the Christian community.” He said, “A Christian was killed in Jolo a few days ago. A reliable source told me that 20 Christians have been targeted to be killed or kidnapped soon…. the Christian community is suffering a form of persecution from those who are guided by bad elements who claim to do it in the name of Islam.”
Kenya: Muslim gunmen from Al Shabaab murdered Pastor John as he was returning home from facilitating a peacemaking training seminar. The jihadis ambushed the bus he was in, killing the pastor and six other people including children.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Suspected Muslim militants armed with guns and machetes slaughtered nine Christians in the North Kivu region. They also looted homes, seizing food and cattle as plunder. The area, which is 96% Christian, has seen more than 1,100 killed over the last year and a half.
Pakistan: The 2013 Muslim bombing of the All Saints Church in Peshawar, which killed more than 100 Christian worshippers, claimed its latest victim. After battling internal injuries, Cecilia, a 42-year-old Christian nurse, had received three years earlier from the attack, died from bomb fragments that had turned cancerous while embedded in her body. According to the report, “With tearstained eyes,” her husband noted that “We are still losing loved ones [after the attack].
Forced Conversion, Rape and Murder of Christians
Libya: A report documents the sufferings that Christians experience at the hands Muslim militants when they migrated through Libya in an effort to reach Europe. In one instance 11 women were abducted, kept as sex slaves underground and repeatedly raped by various jihadis for almost a year. One of the Christian women, Amal, 21, said: “They took [the Christians] to Tripoli and kept us underground – we didn’t see the sun for nine months…. Sometimes we didn’t eat for three days. Other times they would give us one meal a day, half a piece of bread.” The Christian woman described how they were pressured into converting to Islam under threat of death and beaten with hoses or sticks. “Sometimes they would frighten us with their guns, or threaten to slaughter us with their knives.”
Islamic State: ISIS has been making use of social media—including Facebook, and mobile applications, such as WhatsApp, and Telegram—to sell enslaved Christian and Yazidi girls to a wider network of sadists and pedophiles. One Telegram posting showed a picture of a young girl with the caption: “Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old,” the posting states. “Her price has reached $12,500 and she will be sold soon.”
Nigeria: Another report says that the Muslim terrorist group, Boko Haram, has murdered 466 people, almost all of whom were Christian, for refusing to convert to Islam; they also forced 218 women and young girls to “marry” their fighters.
Muslims kidnapped and forced a 14-year-old Christian girl to convert to Islam last May. Her father pled with them for weeks to release his daughter. They eventually pretended to relent, told him to meet them somewhere so they could return his daughter; once he arrived, shot him dead. The girl remains with the rapists, the slain father’s widow and three other daughters are hiding in their home in fear of further reprisals from the kidnappers. According to Najma Bibi, the girl’s mother: “several months after my daughter’s kidnapping, the police have not done anything because we have no money to defend our rights. We live in a hopeless situation, we need help. I pray that my daughter will continue to place hope and faith in Jesus Christ.”
Muhammad Iqrar, a Muslim man, assaulted and raped Sonia Nasar, a 16-year-old Christian girl. Although the rapist fled when her father rushed to the scene after hearing the cries of his daughter, Sonia, she was left in “critical condition.” He said that he expects no justice or follow up from local authorities, some of whom are associated with the rapist.
Sobia Nadeem, a Christian girl studying for a Master’s degree in physics, was abducted by a group of Muslims, forced to convert to Islam, and forced to marry—at gunpoint—a man named Mohammad Hamza in Lahore. Although the girl managed to escape back to her parents’ home, she was taken to court where her family had to prove that her conversion and marriage were performed under force.
Countless reports continued to appear indicating that non-Muslim students, most often Christians, are being forced to convert to Islam through the public school system. Teachers force them to recite the shahada—which when said before Muslim witnesses makes them a Muslim. Teachers also force them to study Muslim beliefs and practices. This often occurs in conjunction with denigration of the Christian faith. Due to ongoing Christian protests, the Punjab government said it would launch an inquiry.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches and Symbols
Turkey: During the July 15 failed coup attempt, at least two churches were attacked. “One of the attacks happened in Trabzon. A group of 10 people attacked Santa Maria Church with paving stones and hammers to smash the windows” said the report. One church leader in Istanbul said, “I’m not optimistic about the plight of Christians in Turkey. Bear in mind we’ve had a Roman Catholic Bishop murdered, we’ve had clergy threatened, we’ve had one priest murdered 10 years ago. Any Christian leader, if they’re being honest, would say that some of what’s going on is quite alarming.”
Nigeria: On Friday, July 15, Muslims attacked a Catholic church. They said they were angered that Christians were praying in the church on Friday, Islam’s “holy day,” when Muslims congregate and pray in mosques. According to a Christian church leader, “Sometime around 2pm, some Muslim youths in their [sic] hundreds left their mosque after their Friday Jumat prayer and rushed to the church premises, climbed the wall and destroyed everything in the church: the windows, the altar, musical instruments, the chapel. The security man in the church premises was beaten to a pulp. Some women holding a prayer meeting were chased away. The seminarian, who is resident in the premises, was also beaten up and chased away.”
Iraq: According to a new report, “All 45 churches and monasteries inside Mosul are reportedly now occupied by ISIS, who have looted, burned and destroyed property, in addition to removing the building’s crosses.” Christians unable to flee are forced to pay huge extortion money (jizya) or risk instant execution.
Sudan: A report notes that by continuously bombing Christian and non-Muslim indigenous regions near South Sudan, and targeting churches and pastors’ homes for destruction, the government is trying to “cleanse” the nation of Christians and create a homogenous Muslim state. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the violence, their homes, crops, churches, schools and hospitals destroyed.
Indonesia: Despite receiving all legal documents and permits, a Catholic family trying to construct a shrine to the Virgin Mary on their own land since 2009 continued to face growing threats from local Muslims. In 2012, a Muslim mob set fire to the shrine site and brought construction to a halt. Most recently in July, Muslims stormed the house of a Catholic leader and ordered him to stop the work, even though he has a building permit issued by the authorities.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Apostates, Blasphemers, and Preachers
Egypt: According to a report, “Just like the biblical character Daniel in the lions’ den, an Egyptian Muslim who converted to Christianity found himself at the mercy of ferocious attack dogs that were unleashed by his jailers to torture and possibly kill him. However, the law student, Majed El Shafie, must have had God on his side and, just as in the story of Daniel, the savage animals miraculously did not harm him—to the utter astonishment of his prison guards.” He was, however, tortured by the Muslim guards.
Uganda: Another Muslim convert to Christianity has lost his family, home, and business, and now lives in a tiny shanty. As a result of his apostasy, the extended family of the 53-year-old man, a former Muslim imam stormed into and eventually appropriated his ancestral home in after an attempt on his life. Of that night, he said: “I heard people talking outside my house around 8 p.m., saying that they wanted to take away my life and, ‘We cannot watch the whole family turning to Christianity.'” He complained to the local council after his relatives also destroyed his business, but their intervention had no effect. He now lives without any means to provide for himself.
Nadeem James, a 27-year-old Christian man and father of two, was arrested in Gujarat district after a Muslim angry with him accused him of texting a poem deemed “blasphemous” toward Muhammad. According to James’s brother: “We were not at home when the police raided our house to arrest Nadeem. However, when the cops couldn’t find any of us in the premises, they took away two women of the family – my wife and the wife of my elder brother, Faryad.” Around the same time, local mosques began calling on megaphones that if he did not surrender himself, Christian homes would burn. Nadeem surrendered himself and the women were released.
“The charge against my brother is completely baseless. Nadeem is uneducated and could not have possibly sent that text message. I’m certain that Yasir Bashir [Muslim accuser] downloaded the supposedly blasphemous text onto Nadeem’s phone and then forwarded it to his cell number to build a case against my brother.”
In Hyderabad, Yaqoob Masih, 56, a Christian sanitary worker, was accused of committing blasphemy against Islam. According to the report:
“Masih collected waste from the streets and dumped it at a specific [location], however Bakash [the Muslim accuser], without verifying what had happened, tortured Masih with a stick, accusing him [of] committing blasphemy by burning pages of a book which [reportedly] carried Islamic verses. Masih was packing the garbage and waste in a trunk when Bakash accused him [of] blasphemy.”
Masih had to be hospitalized.
A Muslim doctor who treated a dying Christian man with medicine donated through Islamic charity, zakat, received death threats. The Christian was on the verge of dying without treatment. In his defense, the Muslim doctor said he did not know the man was a Christian, or that it was against some interpretations of Islamic law to use Muslim charity money to help non-Muslims.
Iran: Three Azerbaijani pastors were arrested in Tehran during a visit. No reason was given to family and local legal experts. According to the report, “This is the latest in a succession of pastors who have been imprisoned by Iranian authorities over many years for accusations ranging from apostasy to evangelism.” And Ebrahim Firouzi, who has been under arrest since 2013 under vague charges “suffered physical abuse at the hands of prison guards when he was forced to attend an appeal hearing.”
Dhimmitude: The Condition Muslim Contempt and Hostility for Christians
Bangladesh: Christian and Hindu businesses received notices from a banned Islamic organization ordering them to uphold a number of Islamic customs or be killed. These include hanging banners with Allah’s name, keeping copies of the Koran, putting pictures of the Kaba in Mecca, removing pictures or statues of their own religions, creating a place for Muslims to pray, and banning music and female workers.
Pakistan: The government in the Raiwind district flooded a Christian graveyard with sewage water and desecrated all the graves. In response, protesting Christians complained that even in the grave they can receive no peace in Pakistan.
Sudan: Authorities insulted, forcefully arrested and jailed 14 Christians when they attempted to stop the authorities from seizing an evangelical school on church property, which the authorities apparently plan on giving to Muslim businesses. Later, the authorities returned to the same Christian school, gave letters of dismissal to the Christian headmistress, vandalized her office, and replaced her with a teacher of their own choosing.
Egypt: After a Christian man was stabbed to death and many Christian homes and a church burned by angry Muslims because of a rumor that a church was going to be built, Coptic Christian Bishop Makarious of al-Minya was interviewed on television. Church authorities in Egypt are regularly diplomatic and sensitive to what they say, but Makarious made many revealing comments. Although only Christians, no Muslims, were killed and hurt, he wondered why the government and media continue to describe these incidents as “clashes”—which suggests two quarrelling parties—when the reality is always that one side attacks the other:
“Within minutes [of the start of one of the attacks], 100 Muslims instantly appeared, fully armed, as if ready for war. … As long as the attackers are never punished, and the armed forces are portrayed as doing their duty, this will just encourage others to continue the attacks, as, even if they are arrested, they will quickly be released.”
When the host asked questions about who is released and why, suggesting that perhaps those released are in fact innocent of any wrongdoing against the Christians, the bishop replied:
“Well what do you think when the actual attackers themselves are arrested, with complete proofs and evidences against them, but then are still declared innocent and released?… this happens every single time.”
By Raymond Ibrahim (Gatestone Institute)
About this Series
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing.
The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place in all languages, ethnicities, and locations.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Middle East and Islam specialist and author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and
Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; a CBN News contributor; a Media Fellow, Hoover Institution (2013); and a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum . Ibrahim’s dual-background — born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East — has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.
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Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 40 Christians in an attack in this town in northern Nigeria on Saturday (Oct. 15) and left another eight dead in an assault three weeks earlier, area leaders said.
Besides the eight slain on Sept. 24-26 in Godogodo, a predominantly Christian community in Kaduna state, the Muslim Fulani herdsmen also wounded eight Christians by gunshot and machete cuts, the leaders said.
Godogodo residents said that the second massacre began at 5 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 15), barely two hours after Morning Star News left after investigating the September attack. The Rev. Thomas Akut of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Good News Church in Godogodo said the assailants burned houses and shot Christians dead in the attack over the weekend.
The 41-year-old Pastor Akut and his family escaped harm, sleeping on the ground outside town until Sunday morning (Oct. 16), when they made their way to Kafanchan, he told Morning Star News by phone.
“We fled into the bushes, and some of us escaped to safer areas,” he said. “The attackers were in the hundreds and were well armed. Some of them wore army uniforms, while others wore police uniforms. Some of them exchanged gunfire with the few soldiers stationed at the post office in the town, while others burned down houses of Christians.”
Initially he saw 22 Christians had been killed, he said.
“This casualty figure is only those I saw the following morning, but the number of deaths may be higher as many were killed in the bushes too,” Pastor Akut said.
Solomon Musa, an attorney and president of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), said at a press conference on Monday (Oct. 17) that local residents identified at least 40 people who had been killed.
“Godogodo communities once again came under very fierce, terrifying, brutal, savage and barbarous attack by Fulani herdsmen without provocation of any nature from Saturday 15th October, 2016, to Sunday afternoon,” he said. “So far, the locals have been able to identify not less than 40 corpses, aside from the several other corpses burnt beyond recognition.”
A Kaduna State Command spokesman reportedly said the official death toll remained at 20.
Nearly all houses in Godogodo have been burned, SOKAPU’s Musa said, and the Muslim Fulani herdsmen also destroyed property worth hundreds of millions of naira, besides grazing their cattle on farmers’ crops and destroying what remained.
“The savagery and barbarity of the attack is beyond belief,” Musa said. “Yet, governments at the federal and state levels appear quiet and noncommittal. We have been abandoned, deserted and neglected.”
Pastor Isaac Balason of Nasara Baptist Church, Godogodo, spoke to Morning Star News while the town was under attack.
“It is now 8:30 p.m., and the attack is ongoing,” he said by phone on Saturday night. “We’re not sure we’ll survive this time. Please be in prayers with us.”
The following morning, Pastor Balason told Morning Star News that herdsmen had burned down houses in Angwan Ninzo and Angwan Jaba, among other areas.
“Thank God we survived, but many others have lost their lives,” he said.
Wounded Son Loses Father
Christian leaders in Godogodo told Morning Star News that 16 church buildings and worship centers were affected in the two attacks on Godogodo.
The damaged buildings belonged to St. Francis Catholic Church, St. Simeon Anglican Church, Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Deeper Life Bible Church, Grace of God Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Assemblies of God Church, ECWA I & II, ECWA Good News, ECWA Kibam, Lord’s Chosen Church, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Nasara Baptist Church, Christ Apostolic Church, and Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Pastor Akut said the herdsmen have also been destroying Christians’ farms, a tactic he said is aimed at displacing Christians and starving survivors to death.
“Our farms have been destroyed,” Pastor Akut said. “Crops that are now ready for harvest have all been destroyed by the herdsmen. Members of our churches cannot even go to these farms, as anyone who attempts to do so is murdered by the herdsmen. Most of the villages around Godogodo have been destroyed and thousands of Christians displaced.”
Akut said the attack has displaced all 245 members of his church including himself. He said he saw the attacks as an Islamic war against Christians.
“This is a jihad,” he said. “It is an Islamic holy war against Christians in the southern part of Kaduna state.”
Pastor Balason, 34, said all 120 members of his of Nasara Baptist Church had been displaced.
“Three out my 120 members were killed during the first attack, and the rest, including myself, have been displaced,” he said. “I cannot say whether they all survived this latest attack, as it is difficult at this moment to know the situation they are in.”
Samuel Musa, a 60-year-old elder with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Godogodo, told Morning Star News shortly before the second attack that during Sabbath worship, the church usually had 50 members, but that the first attack on the town displaced all of them except him and three others.
“We have lost so much to the attacks by the herdsmen,” Musa said.
Ishaya Danladi Mallam, 46, an elder with the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC), told Morning Star News that the first attack displaced all but 24 of the church’s 220 members.
“We covet your prayers and those of other brethren,” he said. “We are facing very threatening, tough times.”
Those killed in the first attack were identified as: Ajiya Hamza, 20; Monday Hamza, 18; Musa Gwari, 45; Joseph Nok, 46; Luka Ali, 22; Ishaku Ali, 26; Ikechukwu James, 30; and Daniel Silas, 30.
Those wounded were Baba Joseph Nok, 20, whose father was killed in the attack; Menshack Waziri, 22; Gideon Peter, 29; Solomon John, 41. Others injured were Blessed Musa, 35; Inuwa Tanet, 32; Abba Samuel, 30; and, Uba Monday, 28. At this writing three of the injured were receiving treatment at Jos University Teaching Hospital, while five others were at the Throne-room Hospital, Kafanchan.
Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters experiencing brutal persecution.
We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!
We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.
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By Dani Miskell, Special to ASSIST News Service
IZMIR, TURKEY (ANS – October 19, 2016) — World Watch Monitor has reported of an arrest made on Friday October 7th of the American Christians, Andrew and Norine Brunson. The couple has been detained by Turkish officials in the coastal city of Izmir on grounds of conducting activities constituted as “national security risks.”
The Turkish Interior Ministry has both issued the arrest and subsequently ordered the Brunson’s to be deported within 15 days. They have declined to release any further details of the accusations they’re making on the Brunson’s. They’re declining to respond because official papers from Ankara, the Republic’s capital, hadn’t arrived yet.
The couple has been denied access to the U.S. consular officials and lawyers. Authorities at the Migration Administration Detention Facility sentenced them. This also is the location of where the Brunson’s are currently being held until their deportation.
According to Barbara G. Baker of WWM, the Brunson’s had been residents of Turkey for the last 20 years. They served as leaders of a small Protestant Church known as the Izmir Resurrection Church, in the Alsancak district. The couple had filed a routine application back in April to renew their residence visas. They never received a response until six months later, when they came home and found a written summons requesting them to report to a local police station, along with their passports. They did so on Friday October the 7th and were then immediately taken into custody.
In the last week, several attempts have been made on the Brunson’s behalf. One lawyer requested visitation but was denied access because he didn’t have legal authorization. He returned with an affidavit, but the officials claimed that the couple had already signed a statement declaring they didn’t want representation. They have yet to produce any written statements claiming this.
A second lawyer decided to act on the Brunson’s behalf and filed a petition to the Izmir governor, on Wednesday October 12th. It protested that the stipulations made against the American Christians were illegal under Turkish detention laws.
A member of the Turkish Parliament has also been reported to inquire about the handling of the couple’s detention.
Members of the Izmir Resurrection Church have attempted to send a change of clothes to the Brunson’s but were rebuffed by the detention center. The Brunson’s are reported be in the forties.
One of the church’s leaders reported that the U.S. Embassy in Ankara had confirmed of their involvement in “following the arrests,” but embassy officials are declining to comment at this time.
The Brunson’s current state is reportedly not the first of its kind. It’s a continuing pattern. There have been many cases similar to theirs over the past few years, where the Interior Ministry issued deportation orders against expatriate Christians living in Turkey. Others were more fortunate to have been permitted official access to their lawyers. There have been reports of those granted temporary stays of deportation along with a formal court appeal.
Another case similar to that of the Brunson’s is Canadian-American Christian, David Byle. Byle was taken into custody back in April. The Interior Ministry had also denied his application to renew his residence visa, and advised the immigration authorities to deport him on grounds of being a “danger to public order”. Byle has been helping educate the Turkish public about the Bible. He organizes legal street outreaches on behalf of a Bible Correspondence Course. His lawyers filed three cases against his arrest, deportation order, and re-entry ban. At this present time, they remain on hold due to the Turkish judicial anarchy in honor of supporting the Fetullah Gulen movement. Byle continues to live in Turkey during this interim.
First reports of the Interior Ministry’s harassment on American Christians date back to 2014. Patrick Jensen’s account occurred in September of 2014 while he was serving as an American Protestant Pastor in the Gaziantep City of southeast Turkey. He had been serving for nine years until the Interior Ministry blacklisted him two years ago and ordered for imminent deportation. It was overturned 2 months later by the Gaziantep Administrative Courts judicial decision.
The option of judicial review is being avoided in the case of the Brunsons’ deportation. They continue to be refused any legal rights in order to prevent their forced removal from Turkey. The recent failed military coup, on July 15th, has left Turkey in a “state of emergency.” Now the government in Ankara has had free rein to loosely implement policies and directives. Even if they have violated the principle rule of law, they are allowed free reign and their regulations aren’t expected to expire until mid-January 2017.
“They are never going to be happy with any foreigners doing Christian work in this country,” one Turkish church leader told Barbara G. Baker of World Watch Monitor. “So we have to take these government actions in proportion, realizing there are so many countries in this region where expatriate Christians can’t even go openly.”