SYRIA: A car bomb detonated outside of the Virgin Mary Syriac Orthodox Church near the northeast border with Turkey in Qamishli. Up to 12 were wounded with at least 3 are in serious condition. According to preliminary reports, the jihadists group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
The city of Qamishli, is currently controlled by Kurdish militias, has been the scene in recent years of various terrorist acts aimed at affecting Christian communities, reports Agenzia Fides. On June 19, 2016, Mar Ignatios Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrian-Orthodox survived a deadly attack in Qamishli. On that occasion a suicide terrorist had infiltrated a celebration organized to commemorate the “Assyrian genocide” of 1915 (Sayfo), perpetrated by the Ottoman army against Christian sire and Assyrian communities. The bomber had been blocked at the entrance of the place where the celebration was presided by the Patriarch, and it is there that he blew himself up, causing the death of three people.
Sharing of Thursday’s church attack, a Syrian Othrodox Christian posted on Twitter
(Voice of the Persected) Our dear brother in Christ, who has suffered much on the ‘front lines’, is asking for prayer for his 19-month old daughter, Ruth. The little girl was still sleeping when his wife, preparing to bathe the children, brought a bowl of boiling water to cool down in the bathing room. The mother was tending to the needs of her son when Ruth woke up. She wandered into the bathing room and tried to bathe herself not realizing the water was still extremely hot. Sadly, she was badly scalded. see photos below
The toddler was taken to the Hospital, admitted and now in the 9th day of treatment. We are heartbroken for this dear family. Her father told Voice of the Persecuted she is inconsolable and cries continually and helplessly. “I truly feel her pain”, he lamented.
Please lift this child and her family in yours prayers. Father God, we humbly come to intercede for Your baby daughter, Ruth, who is immensely suffering. We ask for your grace and mercy, comfort and relief from the pain. Oh God, wipe away her tears and give her rest. We ask for those treating her to be led by You. We pray for her recovery and complete healing of her wounds. Father, we lift up her parents who are consumed with grief in their little one’s suffering. We pray that you remove any feelings of guilt her mother may be feeling. For you know she is a good mother, devoted to You, training and bringing up her children in Your ways. Lord, we also pray for their needs and the financial burden this brings on the family. All this we pray in the precious name of Jesus. May Your will be done and Your glory be found even in this trial.
If you would like to contribute to Ruth’s medical expenses, you can do so HERE. You may also share your prayers with this family. Please use the form below. Our team will be sure the family receives your heartfelt love and concern. Thank you in advance and may the Lord richly bless you.
PRAYERS FOR RUTH
(Morning Star News) – Asuman Kaire is missing his last year in high school in eastern Uganda for having become a Christian two years ago.
Homeless and without money to pay school fees since his Muslim stepfather disowned him earlier this year in Lelya-A village, Kabweri County in Kibuku District, the 20-year-old Kaire said he wouldn’t be able to finish high school even if he had the money.
“I fear my classmates who are Muslims, as they might plan something bad for my life,” Kaire told Morning Star News.
He spoke from experience. Having been informed that Kaire was living at a village church building, local Muslims with sticks and Somali swords on June 15 attacked, demanding his death as they tried to enter the church compound shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allah Akbar [God is greater],” sources said.
Christians and Muslim neighbors in the predominantly Muslim area with the help of a local official managed to repel the assailants, sources said. Kaire sought shelter at the home of a Christian at an undisclosed location.
After putting his faith in Christ in 2017 and secretly meeting with an undisclosed church, Kaire’s life began to crumble this year when Muslim relatives began monitoring his movements after his mosque attendance dropped. In March a Muslim classmate told his stepfather he attended a church, sources said.
On April 7, his stepfather, Abdu Talisuna, waited for him along with seven other radical area Muslims on a roadside as Kaire made his way home from a church service. Talisuna alone beat him with a blunt object, leaving him unconscious, his clothes bloodied, his left leg broken and his right hand injured, sources said.
“The Muslim stepfather caught hold of him close to the church and started beating him at around 7 p.m.,” a church elder told Morning Star News. “He cried for help. Several members of the church were still around who rushed to the scene. When the Muslims saw the big number from the church, they ran away, leaving the young man unconscious.”
Kaire was rushed to a Kibuku hospital and discharged after a week, the church leader said.
He has not been able to go home since then.
“My stepfather beat me saying I am a disgrace to the family,” Kaire told Morning Star News by phone. “After recovering, I feared going back home because I knew they were going to kill me.”
Kaire needs a long-term place to stay and an opportunity to attend school elsewhere, area Christians said.
The attack is the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in eastern Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.
Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.
Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.
After four years, a Christian student won his appeal in a UK appeals court after he was expelled from college for expressing his faith on sexual ethics in a debate on social media, according to CBN News.
Felix Ngole was dismissed from the University of Sheffield in 2016 where he was studying to become a social worker.
He was expelled for his participation in a 2015 Facebook discussion opposing same-sex-marriage. Being a devout Christian, he quoted biblical verses confirming the traditional Christian views on marriage.
A complaint was filed against Ngole by an anonymous source several months after the Facebook discussion. He was told by the university that he “lacked insight’ into the effect of his Facebook posts. The expression of his Christian views was found to be unacceptable by the university, and he was required to stay silent on the subject while attending the school.
Ngole was also told not to express his Christian views in public, including a church. He could never express his viewpoint in a work situation even if directly asked.
In their decision, the Court of Appeals rebuked the university saying that people should not live in fear when expressing their views. The court said, “The mere expression of religious views about sin does not necessarily connote discrimination.”
Ngole was represented by religious rights attorney, Paul Diamond, who objected to the university’s disciplinary process of silencing speech.
The student took to Facebook and expressed gratitude for his victory, writing:
“You say something that your employer doesn’t like and they expel you. And we know that type of thing that you would say that would lead to that. Most of it is just expressing your faith which as a Christian country we should be able to do that.” Read More
Nigeria (Morning Star News) – As a Baptist church member tried to fight off an armed Muslim Fulani herdsman in a village in north-central Nigeria, he told his 7-year-old nephew and other relatives to run.
The boy remained, crying and calling for help.
Jerome, whose real name is withheld for security reasons, recalled how gunshots woke him and his family around midnight on May 3 in Gwanje village, 18 kilometers (11 miles) from Akwanga in Nasarawa state. His account of a relatively limited attack gives a glimpse of how hundreds of Christian families have been terrorized by herdsmen.
A neighbor rushed over to tell Jerome’s father that he had received a call that the herdsmen were attacking from the south and coming toward their home north of the village.
Jerome’s father, 39, told his younger brother, 21-year-old Istifanus Arewa, to take the family into hiding in a forest 200 meters away. As Jerome fled with his uncle, mother and grandmother, the herdsmen began to shoot at them, the boy said.
“My uncle pulled me down and asked my mother and grandmother to also lie down on the ground in order to avoid the bullets that were being shot at us,” Jerome told Morning Star News. “As we lay there on the ground, one of the herdsmen came to where we were and pointed his gun at my uncle. When the Fulani man was about to shoot my uncle, my uncle jumped up and grabbed him, and they began to wrestle each other.”
Arewa shouted for them to run, the boy said.
“My mother and grandmother ran away while I stood there crying and calling for help,” Jerome said. “But as this was going on, another Fulani man shot me, and the bullet hit me on the upper side of my right shoulder. I fell down and crawled under a thick shrub.”
He watched as his uncle and the other Fulani wrestled. The herdsmen who shot Jerome then turned and shot at his uncle, who was holding tightly to the other Fulani.
“The shooting brought the two of them down, and after sensing that he killed both my uncle and the other Fulani, the Fulani man left,” Jerome said. “I ran back to the village and saw an open door to a room in another house, were I entered and hid. I was in there until my parents and other people found me in that room the following morning.”
Arewa died trying to save his relatives, said Jerome’s father, whose identity is withheld for security reasons.
“My younger brother, in order to protect the little boy, my wife and mother, braved it to wrestle with the armed Fulani man,” he said.
He confirmed that the shot that killed his brother instantly also killed the other Fulani.
“This singular act by my brother, who fought with his bare hands against the Fulani man, forced the herdsmen to retreat,” he said. “If this bravery and heroic act by my younger brother had not happened, the herdsmen would no doubt have killed us all and burned down our homes.”
Arewa was a member of the Men’s Missionary Union of the Bishara Baptist Church in Gwanje, he said.
At about 5 a.m. the next day (May 4), family members returned to the village from the forest and found the corpses of Arewa and the Fulani, said Jerome’s father, a lay leader in the Baptist church.
“My little son, who throughout the night of the attack was missing, was found by us in a room where he ran into and hid himself,” he said. “He took us to the spot they were shot at, and we found the corpses.”
Also wounded that night was Moses Ayuba, a 29-year-old member of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Gwanje. He received treatment for serious injuries at the Federal Medical Center, Keffi, in Nasarawa, relatives said.
In the southern end of Gwanje village, Ayuba was shot in his hand and waist, his father, Ayuba Para, 65, told Morning Star News.
Para said that his son went out after hearing the sound of gunshots, thinking they came from police who usually patrol the area.
“Unfortunately, on this night, the policemen were not around, and so my son ran into the herdsmen who were invading the village, and they shot him,” Para told Morning Star News. “And when I heard him crying, I ran out to the spot only for the herdsmen to shoot at me. I narrowly escaped being killed as I ran into the bush behind my house.”
After shooting Ayuba, the herdsmen left, he said.
The herdsmen attack on Gwanje village was the second in two weeks on Christian communities in Akwanga County.
For his part, Jerome’s father said he was saddened that the Nigerian government has taken no serious measures to end such attacks.
“I’m not happy about these unnecessary attacks on innocent Christians in Nigeria,” he said. “There’s the need for the government to act to end these killings. I plead also, that other fellow Christians pray for an end to these killings. We are in need of God’s peace in our country.”
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.
Voice of the Persecuted Note: Despite government reports, the article below confirms multiple communications sent to VOP from our sources that the Boko Haram still controls a very large area in North Nigeria’s Gwoza Local Government area. Unable to return home, many Christians have been trying to survive in IDP camps for years.
A Chibok Parent, John Bassa, has stated that at least 49 towns in the north east, are still being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.
He said this on Tuesday during a town hall organized by Channels to assess the performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the last four years.
Bassa who stated that 44 of his relations who were Boko Haram commanders had been killed, and at least 50, were still “active and high-ranking officers of Boko Haram” controlling some territories, maintained that many towns are currently empty as a result of the insurgence.
When asked: “Are you saying that Boko Haram is still in control of some territories in the northeast, from where they plan and execute these attacks – he responded by saying “of course”.
He went further to explain that “out of 52 towns in Gwoza, its only three right now that you can freely live within. (that is, Limankara, Gwoza town and Pulka).
“Gwoza town was liberated by our former President Goodluck, one week before election then in 2015 and the new administration liberated Limankara and Pulka so, 49 towns are still empty with nobody apart from the Boko Haram. READ MORE