Pastor Saeed’s Case Heads to the U.N. – #SaveSaeed
ACLJ‘s international campaign to free Pastor Saeed is reaching a critical stage. Yesterday our European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) – which is based in Strasbourg, France – filed a written statement on Saeed’s behalf before the United Nations Human Rights Council. The ECLJ has special consultative status as a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the U.N., which enables us to engage the U.N. and its member states in an official capacity. The Human Rights Council, which represents 47 member states, identifies its own mission as being “responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.” There is no better case for the HRC to engage than that of Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen – imprisoned in a nation that not only rejects religious freedom and human rights laws but also exhibits a hostile disdain for international laws that protect the most basic rights of people around the world. The ECLJ Statement clearly states Pastor Saeed’s plight: READ MORE
Here is the petition that needs 300,000 signatures by Feb. 20, 2013. There are approximately 100,000 more signatures needed. Any person from any nation can sign this! Please click here and add yours today!
Fear haunts Christians in post-Gathafi Libya
“Not a day goes by without tombs being vandalised,” says Dalmasso Bruno, caretaker of the Italian cemetery in the Libyan capital where Christians fear rising Muslim extremism.
“Human bones have been taken out of their tomb and scattered across the cemetery” in central Tripoli, he said. “The Libyan authorities came and took pictures. They promised to take measures but nothing has been done.”
Since the 2011 fall of Moamer Gathafi’s regime, the small Christian community’s fears for its safety have increased, especially after a church bombing in December killed two people in the Mediterranean town of Dafniya. But despite such fears, dozens of worshippers mostly from India, the Philippines and African nations attend mass each week at the Catholic church of Saint Francis near central Tripoli to pray for security to be restored in Libya. READ MORE
Saudi Arabia Arrests 53 Ethiopian Christians at Private Worship Service
Saudi authorities on Feb. 8 arrested 53 Ethiopian Christians, mostly women, who were attending a worship service in the private, rented home of an Ethiopian believer in Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, WEA-RLC has learnt from sources inside the Arab kingdom. The Christians – 46 women and six men including three church leaders – were arrested at about 10 a.m. last Friday, a close relative of one of those arrested told WEA-RLC. The three church leaders – two of them women – were produced in an Islamic court in Dammam the same day when authorities alleged they were converting Muslims to Christianity, the source added. Authorities are likely to release two of the Ethiopian Christians who have residential permits on Monday, and the others are expected to be deported. READ MORE
Pakistani Court To Decide The Fate Of Martha Bibi Accused Of Blasphemy After Giving Death Sentence To Asia Bibi
The Chief of LEAD Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill with Martha Bibi appeared in Court and she shared her agony and hardships which she and her family is enduring due to the allegation leveled against her. On January 22, 2007, a blasphemy case under section 295C PPC was registered at Police Station Changa Manga,FIR No.33/07 against her. The same day she was arrested and put behind the bars after being beaten and tortured by Muslims. On April 30, 2007, the bail petition was accepted by the Lahore High Court which was filed by Advocate High Courts, Mr.Sharafat Qasim Gill after submitting and furnishing Rs.100,000/ surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court. READ MORE
PASTOR FROM INDONESIA IMPRISONED AFTER SIGNING AFFIDAVIT
59-year-old Christian pastor Bernard Maukar was sent to prison on Jan. 31, 2013 after signing an affidavit that accused him of operating a church without official permit. He also has been receiving threats. Pray with us:
Dear Father God, we pray that You will strengthen pastor Bernard and his wife during this chall…enging time. May they take refuge under Your wings and may Your Holy Spirit be their comfort. We pray that even in the midst of this storm, they will be able to experience the fullness of Your joy in their hearts. Protect them and grant them Your divine wisdom and discernment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy, granted bail and now facing trial at Lahore
Pakistan (LEAD) – On October 22, 2012 a judge of the High Court, Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi granted Khuram Masiha bail of 100,000 rupees (US$ 1,000). Masiha is a Christian accused of blasphemy.
On December 5, 2011, a blasphemy charge was registered (FIR NO 1211/11) at Police Station Shahdara Town, Lahore. The charge was against Mr. Khuram Shahzad a poor, young Christian man alleged of burning pages of Quran and was arrested that same day and put behind bars. He was physically beaten and tortured by police officials during custody. Due to the conditions of the jail and the food he was served, he became ill and had blood in his urine among other complications. READ MORE
South Sulawesi: Molotov cocktail attack on Protestant church, fear among Christians
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A group of unknown assailants attacked the Protestant Church Toraja Mamassa in Makassar, the capital of the Indonesian province of South Sulawesi with Molotov cocktails. The episode took place at 4 this morning and so far, nothing is known of the authors of the act and there are no official claims. In an attempt to set it on fire, the unknown assailants caused minor damage to the building. Investigators are focusing on Islamic extremist factions in the area, but there is no physical evidence so far. Local authorities have tightened controls and the level of security around the Christian place of worship and throughout the area. Local witnesses reported that, in the night, three unidentified people hurled Molotov cocktails at the building, then they hastily abandoned the scene of the crime. The act has caused minor damage to the walls of the structure. READ MORE
Attackers kill 3 North Korean physicians in Nigeria, official says
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) Three North Korean doctors serving at a hospital in Nigeria’s northern Yobe state were killed early Sunday morning, police said.
There were mixed reports initially on where the victims were from, but the police chief of Yobe told CNN they were North Korean physicians assisting at Potiskum General Hospital as part of a government agreement. The government in Pyongyang has not confirmed that the victims were North Korean nationals. Authorities say 10 suspects are under arrest. “At this point we cannot say if they are Boko Haram, hired killers or common criminals, but we have cordoned off the area and are in the process of interrogating them,” Commissioner Sanusi Rufa’i said. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group that has carried out scores of attacks across the north over the years. READ MORE
Violence Against Christians Spreading in India
Maharashtra state increasingly vulnerable, rights leaders say. Hindu extremist attacks on Christians in Maharashtra state could expand even as violence elsewhere in India grows in areas where extremist groups had not been so active, Christian leaders said. Ram Puniyani of the All India Secular Forum said at press conference in Mumbai this month that Maharashtra is vulnerable to increased attacks on Christians after “a decade of heightened Hindutva [Hindu nationalism], especially targeting tribal and Adivasi [indigenous] communities, as they are easy targets, with little fear of retaliation.” READ MORE
Nazareth Christians a dwindling minority
Israeli business newspaper Globes recently ran a feature story on the fast dwindling number of Christians living in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth in northern Israel. The article notes that while the city once had a strong Christian majority, today a mere one-third of residents are Christians. In reality, Nazareth today is a Muslim city, and local Christians are feeling the squeeze. Across the Middle East, Muslims view Christians with hostility. But the Muslims of Nazareth have even more reason to hate their Christian neighbors, many of whom are loyal to the State of Israel and even send their children to the Israeli army. READ MORE
LAOS: Police Arrest Three Pastors
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that three Christian pastors in Laos have been arrested and detained for “spreading the Christian religion” by reproducing a DVD of a Christian film. Pastor Bounma of Alowmai Village Church, Pastor Somkaew of Kengsainoi Village Church and Pastor Bounmee of Savet Village Church, were arrested on Feb. 5 by the Phin District police in Savannakhet province. READ MORE
From a believer in Pakistan:
“My son, Issac Samson, he is kidnapped since 29-02-2012 at 8:15am, He was working at GOOD SAMARITAN HOSPITAL, Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan (South Korean-Run hospital). And yet there is no news about him. Please Pray for him!”
Christian Women Beaten by Police After Arrest of Rapist
PAKISTAN-Pattoki: (LEAD) On January 25, 2013 a Christian minor girl, Fouzia Bibi, 15 from a small village of Roday, Dristrict Kasur, in Punjab Province became a victim of rape by local two influential Muslim men, Sher Muhammad (meaning Lion Of Muhammad) and shabbir Ali. LEAD intervened the case and registered FIR bearing No.22/13 at Police Station Serai Mughal by submitting a criminal report to DSP Pattoki. READ MORE
‘Voice of the Copts’ Requests Holy See Investigation
As an Italian citizen and a Catholic by marriage, I am writing to your Holiness on behalf of my human rights organization, Voice of the Copts. Our mission is to raise awareness in the West about the plight of the Egyptian Christians and their struggle against Islamic supremacy. Born into a Coptic family in Cairo, Arabic was my native language while growing up. Today I find these assets valuable in interpreting and explaining current events as they pertain to the hidden realities of Islam and its impact on the free world. READ MORE
19 Christian children rescued from a Trafficker intending to sell them to Radical Islamist Center
“International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that 19 children, who were to be sold to fundamentalist Islamic boarding schools (madrassas), have been rescued. Traffickers lied to the children’s parents, saying they would take the children to Christian boarding schools in Dhaka, when in fact, they were intending to sell the children to various madrassas. Students from Dhaka University discovered the children and rescued them. This is not the first instance of Christian children being trafficked to madrassas, as upwards of 150 children have been rescued from similar situations since July 2012.” READ MORE
After fatwas, security upped for Egypt opposition
A cleric suggested that violent sexual assaults of women protesters in Tahrir Square the past week were justified, calling them “either Crusaders (Christians) … or widows who have no one to rein them in.” READ MORE
From a brother in Nigeria:
Pray for our fellow Eggon Christians in Nasarawa. Yesterday Fulani militants numbering about 3000 attacked Eggon Christians at Atmala, Burumburum, Bakin Kogi, Takpa and Akuya communities of Nasarawa Eggon LGA and B.D.A community in Lafia LGA.
Death Imminent for Protectors of Christian Blasphemy Girl
Basharat Khokhar hunched over the table as his eyes nervously scanned the restaurant where we had chosen to meet. When a bearded man sat down at a table nearby, Basharat had us move across the room. “My life is in danger,” Basharat explained. “Even my friends and colleagues will no longer be seen with me. ‘If you’re spotted, we’ll be killed with you,’ they tell me.” Basharat, a Christian police officer in Pakistan, risked his life to look after Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old Christian girl who had been accused of burning pages of the Quran. The accusation led to her arrest in August, and after languishing for three weeks in a high security prison in Rawalpindi, Rimsha was released on bail and flown by helicopter to an undisclosed location. Two months later, Rimsha’s accuser was arrested for fabricating the issue and the case was dismissed. When Muslim mobs demanded Rimsha be burned to death and threatened her family, Basharat offered shelter to the girl’s parents in his own home. When Rimsha was weeping in prison, Basharat brought her food and tried to comfort her. When Rimsha was taken to court, Basharat reached out to hardline Islamist groups, like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, believing that if he could garner their support in denouncing Rimsha’s arrest, other extremist factions might follow suit and drop allegations made against her. READ MORE
Chinese preacher arrested for hymn session
Cao Nan, a 39-year-old charity worker from the southeastern city of Shenzhen, was detained on December 15 last year after meeting with other Christians in the city’s Lizhi Park to sing hymns and preach. Mr Cao, who worships at an unofficial local ‘house-church’, said he had been accused of “falsely using the name of Christianity to harm social order” – charges he rejects.”I am indeed a Christian,” he told The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, a day after filing a lawsuit against police. “I did not pretend to be one or use the name of Christianity [falsely]. We were just singing the gospel and preaching Christian principles. I think they just found an excuse to detain people, to warn and to threaten.” Mr Cao blamed much of the persecution he claimed to suffer on “national security” agents. READ MORE
University of Michigan allegedly ejects Christian group in the name of tolerance
Tolerance and diversity are all the rage on college campuses these days. And for the University of Michigan, a Christian group that requires its leaders to be Christians is allegedly beyond any standard of decency.
The Asian chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of Michigan requires students in leadership positions to sign a statement of faith. Members of the group says school officials banned the group until it amends its constitution to conform to the prestigious school’s non-discrimination policy, reports Fox News. READ MORE
RELATED: Christian Wolverines get special exception
University of Michigan officials are rethinking their decision to kick a chapter of college ministry InterVarsity Christian Fellowship off campus. After telling the group’s leaders last week they would lose their status as an official student organization, administrators changed course on Monday and approved their application for recognition. READ MORE
Bishops expose ploy to convert under-aged students to Islam
The Catholic Church in Sabah has exposed a covert ploy to convert under-aged students to Islam in Labuan. In a strongly worded letter signed by the four Roman Catholic bishops of Sabah, they complained that non-Muslim students at the Labuan Matriculation College between 17 and 18 years old, “are constantly subjected to various forms of harassment, ridicule and pressure to change their religion.” READ MORE
Egypt’s pope criticizes Islamists
AL-MUHARRAQ MONASTERY, Egypt — Egypt’s Coptic patriarch delivered a cautious but unusually sharp criticism of the nation’s Islamist leadership in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, dismissing the new constitution as discriminatory and rounds of national dialogues sponsored by the president as meaningless. Pope Tawadros II’s dive into politics came as he tried to energize the spiritual solidarity of a demoralized community with a visit to a historic monastery that no Coptic pontiff has been to in decades because of security tensions in southern Egypt. READ MORE
2 attacks prompt Christians to stop meeting at Indian church
New Delhi, January 31 (World Watch Monitor) — An uneasy calm prevails 20 miles east of India’s largest city, in a rural village where Hindus recently have twice attacked Christians, who in turn have agreed to stop holding meetings in a prayer hall. The first attack came Dec. 30, when Adivasi tribal Christians living in the village of Tamsai gathered for a worship service at the Yehovah Nisih Prayer Church. About 20 people burst in, said church member Bharat Patel.
The intruders “shouted that there is no place for worship meeting in the village for Christians, and if we want to pray, we should all go to Mumbai. (They) tore bibles and broke musical instruments and stared to beat us up,” he said. READ MORE
Well-known house church minister in Shenzhen initiates administrative litigation against police
ChinaAid reports a well-known Chinese minister taken into police custody twice for evangelizing before Christmas in a public park and administratively detained for 13 days has initiated administrative litigation against the police, using the law to protect his legal and religious rights. Cao Nan was taken into police custody on Dec. 8 and 15 while he was evangelizing at the Lychee Park in Shenzhen. On the first occasion, seven other church lay leaders who were evangelizing with him were also detained, and everyone was released the next day. On Dec. 15, eight other church lay workers evangelizing with Cao were also detained. They were released the very late the same day, but Cao was transferred to the local detention center. The next day, he was administratively detained by the Futian Sub-Bureau of the Public Security Bureau for “masquerading under the name of Christianity to disturb social order multiple times at Lichi Park in Futian District.” He was not released until Dec. 28. READ MORE
Two Children to be Tried for Insulting Islam in Egypt
Among files on arrested converts from Islam, kidnapped Christian girls and beaten monks piling up on the desk of a noted lawyer in Egypt, on top is the case of two boys about to be tried for allegedly showing contempt of Islam. Attorney Karam Gabriel said anti-Christian hostilities in the restive country are getting worse as the two boys are to be tried in a court in Beni Suef – the same city where a mother and her seven children were convicted last month for reconverting to Christianity – for showing “contempt to Islamic religion and insulting the Koran.” READ MORE