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When is it good to see red? Today, Wednesday, November 22

It is good to see red when the red is a sign of #RedWednesday. This is an effort taking place tomorrow, to call attention to those who are persecuted for their faith around the world, using red. Red is the color traditionally associated with Christian martyrs, but this effort is for all victims of persecution and of anti-Semitism globally.

Many thanks to the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative (21CWI) for introducing this campaign into the United States. #RedWednesday began in the United Kingdom, as a creation of Aid to the Church in Need(ACN-UK). ACN-UK envisioned a day on which the color red would be “floodlit on buildings, churches and other places of worship, social media and various other delivery paths to create awareness about the rising problem of persecution.” And they have been quite successful! The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and even the London Eye — the giant Ferris Wheel — show their solidarity with the persecuted, lighting up with a fiery red glow, on November 22, #RedWednesday.

21CWI envisions a similar response of compassion and solidarity in the United States. They have been encouraging those who want to show solidarity to wear red on November 22, post photos of themselves wearing red on social media (using, of course, the hashtag #RedWednesday), and to use red spotlights or floodlights for the day. 21CWI’s Director of Policy Relations has convictingly added, “The persecuted do not just need your compassion – they need your citizenship. They need you to get other citizens to stand for faith and freedom. #RedWednesday is the first step.”

There are many other suggestions for how to stand in solidarity with the persecuted on the 21CWI website, and in a special dropbox they have created for the occasion. But here is a sample of memes you can use on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to honor the persecuted on #RedWednesday, courtesy of 21CWI:

Today is #RedWednesday! “Wear red, light red” to stand for #ReligiousFreedom for all!

Everyone needs #ReligiousFreedom! #RedWednesday

Around the world 79% of people live in countries with high levels of persecution. #RedWednesday

No one should be denied basic needs because of what they believe! #RedWednesday

I stand with the #persecuted because everyone has a right to #ReligiousFreedom #RedWednesday

Persecution is: denial of services, tearing down houses of worship, mob violence. No more! #RedWednesday

I’m wearing Red to stand with #persecuted people everywhere. #ReligiousFreedom #RedWednesday

You are probably thinking, “this is awfully last minute, Faith, after all, tomorrow is Wednesday, November 22!”

And you’re right! Mea culpa. When you are the one person focusing on international Christian persecution, without an assistant, some things get pushed to the last minute. I know you are preoccupied with family and friends and food. . .but. . .you know the whole Matthew 25 deal. There’s Jesus checking out the sheep and the goats and telling you, His lamb: “I was being persecuted, and you took the time to wear red, share the message of the persecuted, and show Me that you care.”

So lay aside your scheduled sartorial splendor for the day before Thanksgiving and find red garments to wear. Take a photo, tweet a meme, post on Facebook, or do more of the actions suggested by the 21CWI. You will be standing in solidarity with the persecuted. And you will be encouraging them. We will find a way to share your photos with all of our contacts the countries where persecution is taking place so they can let your persecuted brothers and sisters know you not only “see red” because of the injustice, prejudice, cruelty, and pain with which they are afflicted by their persecutors, but that you wore red to show them that you stand with them.

By our friend, Faith McDonnell at IRD

Save the photo below and use it as your cover photo on social media.

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Pakistani Christian family arrested during publicized raid by the Thai Authorities

Thai immigration authorities bring along journalists during raid targeting refugees and asylum seekers.

(Voice of the Persecuted) November 21, 2017- This morning, VOP was notified that the Thai immigration police raided a condominium in Inthamara 44, Soi Pracha Suk, Din Daeng Distrcit in Bangkok and arrested a Pakistani Christian family.

Mr. Asif Ghouri, his wife along with their 3 grown children, son (Alisha Asif) and two daughters (Rebecca and Jasmine), were arrested during the raid around 3pm (local time).

Mr. Asif was surprised with a knock on the door and when they opened it, the officers were there along with journalists to record their arrest. The family was asked to show proof of identity, either passports or UNHCR cards. Their case had been dismissed by the UNHCR in the mid of 2017, hence their cards had been taken away. The UNHCR deemed they would be safe in Pakistan despite it being the 4th most dangerous country for Christians.

The police pressured them into showing proof of their identity. Mr. Asif had no choice but to give them their passports with no updated visas to stay in Thailand as they were living with UNHCR cards since 2014. Ultimately, the family was taken to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) where they will live in misery and despair, fed nothing but a soupy mixture of cucumber and boiled rice. Based on the UNHCR decision in their case, the family won’t have any chance of being resettled to another country as all UNHCR portals would be inaccessible. They have no other option than to wait while fighting the feelings of hopelessness in finding freedom soon.

The IDC already hosts about 150 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and refugees. Their arrest would make matters worse as they will have to struggle for space inside. Last month, about 35 refugees from Pakistan and Somalia were arrested from Bangkok including 12 children and 7 unaccompanied minors.

The Thai government claims it to be a crackdown on illegal people who are illegally employed. However, our correspondent in Thailand confirms that neither Mr. Asif nor the 35 arrested last month were working illegally in Thailand. This situation is truly alarming and the people need your prayers.

The actions by the Thai government should be condemned. The issue should be brought to the MPs to do more to bring the persecuted brothers and sisters to the United States and other countries. These countries should also step up to condemn this brutal act against our brothers and sisters in Christ.

VOP representative includes a message for our suffering brothers and sisters in the IDC

Please remember Pakistani Christian refugees seeking asylum in Thailand. Day by day, their situation grows more volatile with greater risks of

arrest.

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope. Please consider our mission, this Christmas, to help  care for a family and bring much needed supplies and nutrition to those suffering in the notorious IDC.

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HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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Detailed Report: Christians Targeted for Brutality by ISIS Militants in Philippines

Bombing of Marawi City-Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year, Amnesty International said in a report today.

The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property.

Philippine armed forces, meanwhile, detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into its compliance with international humanitarian law. 

“Marawi’s civilian population has suffered immensely amid one of the Philippine military’s most intensive operations in decades. Displaced en masse when the fighting began in May, thousands of people are now returning to a city that has been utterly destroyed in places, where civilians have been slaughtered by militants, and both sides have committed abuses,” said Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.

“The IS-linked militants’ bloody, months-long siege of Marawi took a heavy toll on civilians, with Christians in particular singled out for brutal attacks, including grisly extrajudicial killings.”

Civilians targeted in reign of terror…Read More

Five Christians Killed, Five Others Missing in Muslim Herdsmen Attacks in Nigeria

The Rev. Dacholom Datiri of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN). (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Five Christians were killed and five others are missing after attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s Plateau and Benue states in the past two weeks.

Two members of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) were killed on Sunday (Nov. 12) in Plateau state’s Wereng village, Riyom Local Government Area (LGA), as they were returning to their village at about 9:30 p.m., area resident Gyang Dahoro, a COCIN elder, told Morning Star News.

Christopher Musa Chong, 28, and Bulus Dantoro, 35, were ambushed and shot death, and their corpses cut with machetes, according to Dahoro.

“The two did not return to the village on Sunday evening,” Dahoro said. “A search was organized, and their corpses were found in bushes the following morning with bullet wounds and machete cuts.”

The Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the COCIN, said in a text message to Morning Star News that the church keeps losing its members as Muslim herdsmen have continued to ravage the countryside in a series of armed attacks.

“These armed Fulani herdsmen have continued with their attacks, and the church is at the receiving end,” Datiri said. “We have lost our members to these unprovoked attacks. We are on our knees praying for God’s mercy.”

Police in Plateau state reported recovering items belonging to the herdsmen at the scene of the attack. Plateau State Command spokesman Matthias Terna confirmed in a press statement the two Christians were ambushed and killed by the herdsmen.

“The dead bodies were recovered on the scene at about 8:15 in the morning by miners who were on their way to mining camp,” Terna said. “The police recovered two sticks belonging to the gunmen, and a motorcycle belonging to the deceased persons in the scene.”

Lamenting incessant killings of Christians in the state by the herdsmen using guerrilla tactics, a member of Nigeria’s parliament, the National Assembly, demanded the government declare the herdsmen as terrorists. Istifanus Gyang said in a press statement that the time has come for herdsmen to be classified as terrorists.

“The truth is that there is a quest by the herdsmen to forcefully acquire land and territory for occupation,” Gyang said. “Under this unfortunate development, the Nigerian state and government, which have the constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens from aggression, have left the victims at the mercy of the marauding herdsmen. These attacks have to be profiled and classified as acts of insurgency and treated with the same response as Boko Haram has been handled.”

Benue State Killings

In Benue state, three Christians were killed and five others abducted by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, sources said.

One of the Christians, Saater Kwaghdom, was killed in an attack in Gaambe-tiv village, Logo LGA, on Nov. 2 in which the herdsmen took away the five Christians, Joseph Anawa of Makurdi told Morning Star News.

Another Christian, Apesuu Uhula, was killed in Isho village, Guma LGA, on Tuesday (Nov. 13), and the same day herdsmen killed another Christian, Ortse Kwaghdoo, in Azdege village, Logo LGA, according to Anawa.

All three slain Christians were members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church, in Nigeria known as the NKST (Nongo U KristuU I Ser Sha Tar), he said.

Among those kidnapped, also NKST members, were Hingir Akaa Azemgbe, Doosul Nambo, and Ladi Mhbahme, he said.

Moses Yamu, spokesman for the Benue State Command, said in a press statement that some herdsmen who carried out the attacks have been arrested.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

Benue state is majority-Christian, and a report released this month describes attacks there as a “Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen invasion of Benue.”

“Nigeria: Benue State Under the Shadow of Herdsmen Terrorism,” commissioned by the World Watch Research unit of Open Doors International and Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says ethnic, socio-economic, environmental and political factors play some part in attacks, but that policy makers have diminished the underlying jihadist motives.

The ideology of the Hausa-Fulani Muslim invasion of Benue is based on the slogan, “Everything belongs to Allah. Every piece of land belongs to Allah and not you; it is not for you infidels but for Allah,” the report notes.

“Thus, with climate change, competition over limited resources and environmental threat to the ways of life of the herdsmen, the use of terror and its religious justification has been intensified, particularly in Benue,” the report states. “Herdsmen use terror tactics to conduct jihad, displacing local communities from their land to make room for their herds, to occupy those lands and to spread Islam.”

Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen are generally misperceived as people who are only in search of a better environment for caring for their sheep, the report states.

“They are mostly considered as people whose life, survival and tradition is embedded in the value attached to the herds, and the capacity they retain to protect their way of life,” it states. “Yet, historically, it is necessary to emphasize the fact that herdsmen in Africa have always played an important role in Islamic jihad. Their actions clearly demonstrate that their use of terror is premeditated; it is ideologically driven and sometimes politically motivated depending on the place, time and socio-political context.”

The report also asserts that the government is complicit in the violence by failing to stop attacks or prosecute assailants.

Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Lawyer expects Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case to be heard by year end

Aasia Bibi with her children before blasphemy charges

In October, it was reported that the Supreme Court was likely to hear Aasia [Asia] Bibi’s blasphemy case during the next couple of months.

Bibi’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, told The Express Tribune that the court’s additional registrar had conveyed to him that the case was likely to be fixed for hearing in November. However, if for some reason there was a delay, it would definitely be listed in December.

“I have been told that currently the Supreme Court’s special bench is hearing criminal appeals filed in 2015. The Aasia case was listed the same year. Therefore, it will be heard during the ongoing year,” said the lawyer.

Legal experts say it’s unclear if a bench led by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar will resume, or the special bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, will hear her case.

The 51-year-old Christian, has been on the death row since November 2010 after being convicted of controversial blasphemy charges during an argument with a Muslim woman. Aasia’s case gained prominence after then Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer pleaded for her retrial and was subsequently shot dead by his guard, Mumtaz Qadri, in January 2011.

In 2014, the Lahore High Court upheld Aasia’s death sentence, but the Supreme Court stayed her execution in July 2015.

The Tribune reported,

The last time her case was taken up was on October 13 last year by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Nisar and comprising Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman and Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik. The hearing was postponed when Justice Rehman recused himself as he was the CJ of the Islamabad High Court when it heard the Salmaan Taseer assassination case. The assassin had cited Taseer’s interest in the Aasia Bibi case as his motive.

Describing her case, Bibi said she was working in a field when she was asked to fetch water. Because she is a Christian, some of her Muslim co-workers objected, saying that she should not touch the water vessel as she would make it unclean. An argue began and harsh words were exchanged. Bibi claims the women later accused her of blasphemy in conspiracy with another Muslim woman. Bibi maintains her innocence.

Read full report

VOP Note: During our recent IDOP prayer conference calls, we prayed specifically for Aasia, including that her case be heard. In discussions on the possibility of her case being heard in December, some are reluctant, as Pakistan prepares for elections to take place. Some fear the case will once again be postponed until after the elections. They also fear if she is released riots would ensue.

Please continue lifting her up to the Lord. In the name of Jesus, let us pray for those proceeding over the case to have the courage to do what is right and release her. Pray for those who would intend to harm these officials, Aasia and her family, or organize mob violence when she is acquitted. Lord have mercy on our sister who longs to reunite with her family.

 

 

Underground Churches in China…A Rare Video Clip

Liberal Clergy “Bless” Texas Abortion Clinic, Declare Abortion a “God-Given Right”

A group of liberal clergy gathered at a Fort Worth, Texas abortion clinic to “bless” its staff and patients, sing “Hallelujah,” and support abortion as a woman’s “God-given right.”

The Texas Observer reported liberal clergy organized by the Religious Institute gathered last Thursday, November 9, to pray for God’s blessings over the abortion clinic and counter the narrative “Anti-abortion advocacy is often inextricably tied to religion.”

The pro-abortion prayer event was organized by Kentina Washington-Leapheart, a minister who earned her Master of Divinity degree from the United Methodist-affiliated Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and director of programs for reproductive justice and sexuality education at the Religious Institute. READ MORE

Voice of the Persecuted Note: Following the commands of a worldly culture, instead of the Word of God. I’m reminded of Matthew 13:24-30, the parable of the Wheat and Tares.
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Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. (Tares, a weed, or darnel which is referred to as “false wheat”. It bears a close resemblance to wheat until the ear appears.) But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. The farmhands came and said to the man, ‘Sir, didn’t sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ They asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them up?’ But he said, No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.
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Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.’ And ‘He who does not love Me does not keep My words,’ John 14:15-24
1 John 2:3-6 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
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Do they really believe a God-given right allows us to take the life of another?
You either believe in God’s word, or you don’t. You either follow Jesus, or you don’t. There is nowhere in-between and the choice is simple, the LORD or the world being led astray by the god of this age.  Let us not be deceived!

Germany charges Palestinian with murder of Christians over Temple Mount Tensions

The Jerusalem Post reports the prosecutor’s office said, according to the indictment, that a Palestinian man, Ahmad A., 26, wanted “to kill as many German nationals of the Christian faith as possible.” His reasoning behind the act was because of the “escalating conflict between Muslim believers and Israel security forces at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He wanted his actions “to be viewed in the context of an Islamic attack, and understood as a contribution to worldwide jihad.”

On July 28 at a supermarket in Hamburg, Ahmad allegedly murdered one man, aged 50, with a 20-cm. (approx. 8″) knife and wounded an additional six people. On Friday, Germany’s federal prosecution charged the Palestinian with murder and six counts of attempted murder.

Read the full report here

 

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