ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) — China, the world’s largest producer of textiles and manufactured goods, is now the largest producer of Bibles. In 2012, the country’s sole Bible printer, Amity Printing, produced 12 million Bibles and New Testaments.
Although the increased availability of Bibles is a step forward from China’s strictly communist days, a closer inspection reveals the country continues to control how many Bibles are printed and who can get them, according to a WORLD News Service analysis.
Amity Printing started in 1988 as a joint effort of the British United Bible Societies (UBS) and Amity Foundation, the charity arm of the Three Self Church. Bible production increased from 500,000 the first year to 12 million last year. But many of the Bibles quit going to Chinese Christians after Amity Printing found it could turn a profit by exporting its goods. Bibles are printed in more than 90 different languages, and of the 88.9 million Bibles printed between 1988 and late 2011, 33.2 million were exported.
And the number of exported Bibles is increasing. In 2011, about two-thirds of the Bibles printed went out of the country, with only about 4 million copies remaining in China’s borders, WNS reported in April.
Not only is the number of Bibles printed by Amity not keeping pace with the growth of Christianity in China, the estimated 50 million believers in unregistered house churches do not have direct access to them, said Paul Hattaway of Asia Harvest, a North Carolina-based interdenominational ministry focusing on China and other Asian nations.
Amity’s Bibles are distributed to China’s 55,000 registered churches, and anyone can purchase them there for an affordable 9.50 Yuan ($1.50). Christians who are found in possession of an Amity-printed Bible do not face punishment. But Christians in rural house churches far from registered congregations have a difficult time getting Bibles, and Christians who ask for more than a few Bibles at a time raise suspicion.
“There is a growing emergency in China because of the lack of God’s Word among the rural house churches,” Hattaway said in an Asia Harvest newsletter. “If this need is not rebalanced soon, I fear it will have dire consequences for the revival that has been burning so brightly in China for the last 30 years.”
Hattaway said the government’s claims that Bibles no longer are needed in China is propaganda, and through speaking with the leaders of house church networks, he found they still need some 35 million Bibles to give one to all their members. Asian Harvest, for its part, has printed and distributed more than 6 million Bibles to house churches.
“More than 60 years of atheistic communist teaching in China has resulted in a large spiritual void in the lives of a billion people, which creates a hunger for truth,” Hattaway said. “When many people hear truth, they are eager to embrace and wholeheartedly live for God.”
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A pastor of the Central Assemblies of God (AoG) Church in Tehran was detained Tuesday, May 21, as part of Iran’s wider crackdown on evangelical believers, Christian rights activists confirmed. The arrest of Reverend Robert Asserian came as his church prepared for possible closure by the end of June due to pressure from the feared Iranian Intelligence Ministry, said advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
Security forces reportedly raided Asserian’s house and confiscated some of his belongings, including computer and books. “They then proceeded to the church where he was leading a prayer meeting. He was arrested and taken to an unknown location,” CSW told BosNewsLife in a statement.
Earlier this month another AoG pastor, his wife and two church workers were returned to jail after their one year sentences for converting to Christianity and “propagation against the Islamic regime through evangelism” were upheld by a High Court on May 1, BosNewsLife learned Tuesday, May 21.
Pastor Farhad Sabokrooh, his wife Shahnaz Jayzan and church workers Naser Zaman-Dezfuli and Davoud Alijani were initially detained in December 2011 when authorities in the southern town of Ahwaz raided their church’s Christmas celebrations, arresting everyone in the building, including children attending Sunday School, Christians said.
They were temporarily released, but summoned to court on May 1, and re-arrested, trial observers explained. Alijani was reportedly transferred to Ahwaz’s Karoon Prison to complete his sentence while Pastor Sabokrooh, Shahnaz Jayzan and Zaman-Dezfuli were taken to Sepidar Prison.
The detentions come as another setback for the embattled AoG Church in Tehran, the capital, as it was one of few churches that offered services in the Farsi language. In 2009, they were already ordered to end Farsi services on Friday, a day off for Iranians, and were only permitted to hold services in Farsi on Sundays, Christians said.
Iranian authorities reportedly ordered the ending of Farsi services on Sunday, giving church leaders the option of conducting Sunday services in Armenian or facing closure.
Article 18, an Iranian human rights group, said church leaders have informed the congregation that they would make an important decision about the future of the church, later this week. A local Christian was quoted as saying:
“The pressure has become unbearable, they [the authorities] constantly threaten the church leaders and their families with imprisonment, unexplained accidents, kidnapping and even with execution. We cannot go on like this.”
Additionally Mostafa Bordbar, a Christian arrested in Tehran in December 2012 and whose case details remained unclear, was confirmed to be detained in Ward 350 of Tehran’s norotious Evin Prison, along with evangelical Church of Iran member Alireza Seyyedian and AoG Pastors Farshid Fathi and Saeed Abedini, CSW said.
Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who Christians said had been placed in solitary confinement for supporting a peaceful protest against prison conditions, was returned to Ward 350 after being taken to hospital following “a further deterioration in his health,” according to Christians familiar with the case.
Another Christian prisoner, in Adel-Abad Prison in Shiraz city, is also in urgent need of medical attention, Iranian Christians said. Vahid Hakkani, who was detained in February 2012 with eight others during a raid on a prayer meeting, is reported to be suffering from internal bleeding and has been informed by prison doctors that he needs surgery urgently.
CSW said it also learned that Iran temporarily released Ebrahim Firoozi, who was detained for a second time in March this year for “launching and administering a Christian missionary website, distributing Bibles, cooperating with student activists and involvement in actions against national security”. He was reportedly freed on bail of some $20,000 after spending 53 days in Evin Prison.
“The continued and sustained pressure by the Iranian regime on churches in Tehran has boxed them into a corner to such an extent that they can no longer function,” noted CSW Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston in a statement to BosNewsLife.
He said CSW had urged Iran’s government to respect international treaties it signed including Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees “freedom of religion or belief, and the right, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Iran’s government has denied wrongdoing saying it protects Islamic values and the laws of the land. Despite the reported pressure there are at least 100,000 evangelical believers in Iran, including many former Muslims, missionaries say, though some church groups claim the real figure may be several times higher.
LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A Muslim political candidate suspected of murdering a Christian has instigated calls from mosque loudspeakers for attacks on Christians, whom he blames for his May 11 election loss.
Tensions were high in Punjab Province’s Okara district after provincial assembly seat candidate Mehr Abdul Sattar, sought by police in connection with a 2008 murder, on May 13 arranged for mosque calls for violence against Christian villages.
“Burn their homes to the ground … Punish them such that they forget Gojra and Joseph Colony,” blared village mosques in the district, according to Younas Iqbal, chairman of the Anjuman-e-Mazareen Punjab, a peasant movement fighting for land rights.
Iqbal told Morning Star News by phone that that when unofficial election results were announced on May 12, Sattar’s supporters ambushed a convoy of about 100 Christians on their way to congratulate his opponent on his victory.
“They destroyed two motorcycles and threw them in the canal, besides damaging a tractor,” Iqbal said. “We went to the Okara Saddar Police Station to register a case, but the police officials refused to move against Mehr.”
Recent religious furor has been easily stoked in Pakistan. In Lahore on March 9, about 3,000 Muslims attacked Christians in Joseph Colony, destroying 175 homes, after rumors spread of an alleged remark against Islam by a Christian (see Morning Star News, March 11). In Gojra in 2009, eight Christians were burned alive, 100 houses looted and 50 homes set ablaze after a blasphemy accusation.
Sattar has targeted Christians in several villages, designated by number-letter combinations from British colonial times, particularly village 8/4-L, for voting against him, Iqbal said. Christians largely voted for Mian Yawar Zaman, also a Muslim, for a provincial assembly seat in the general election on May 11.
Iqbal said that early on May 13, Sattar’s men prevented the Christian principal of the Government Primary School, Shamoun Masih, men from entering the institution.
“They told Shamoun that since the Christians had voted against Mehr, he wouldn’t be allowed inside,” he said. “They also roughed him up, but there were no serious injuries. In 3/4-L village, Amjad Masih was harassed.”
Iqbal added that Sattar’s supporters had also forcibly occupied land of some Christians.
“The threat of violence in 8/4-L is most serious because of the tiny Christian population there,” Iqbal said of the village of roughly 600 Christians. “Sensing the gravity of the situation, we immediately informed Zaman, the legislator-elect, who pressed the police to deploy personnel in the village.”
Okara Police Chief Rao Jabbar told Morning Star News that officers would take all necessary measures to protect the Christian peasants.
“We have taken notice of the inciting speeches made by Mehr Abdul Sattar, and I have assured the Christians that we will initiate legal action against him,” Jabbar said. “Meantime, I’ve directed all police officers concerned to remain vigilant and ensure that there is no damage to life and property of the Christians.”
Police have been helpless in the face of Sattar, though, Iqbal said.
“Even though the district police chief has promised to protect the area’s Christians, the danger will always remain there,” he said.
“Several cases have been registered against Mehr, but no action has been taken against him. In January this year, the police tried to arrest Mehr and his men in a murder case, but his supporters blocked three main highways for several hours, forcing the police to abandon action against him.”
Police sought Sattar in connection with the murder of Javed Masih, a Christian who had opposed Sattar in a 2008 election.
“The late Javed Masih used to tell the peasants to vote according to their conscience and not get intimidated by gangsters like Mehr,” Iqbal said. “His efforts bore fruit, and Mehr lost the general election in 2008. Unfortunately, Masih had to sacrifice his life for the cause, while several others were injured in an armed attack by Mehr’s men.”
In this month’s election, Iqbal likewise told Christians to vote for the person they thought best. Zaman belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which has emerged as the single largest party in national and Punjab assemblies.
“The humiliating defeat further stoked anger in Mehr, and he’s now bent upon punishing us,” he said, adding that Sattar has targeted no Muslims for opposing him.
“Our application against Mehr Abdul Sattar is still pending with the police, but it seems more Christian blood will be shed before he is brought to justice,” Iqbal said. “But this will not deter us from using our right to vote. We refuse to give in to the tyranny of criminals like Mehr.”
Besides village 8/4-L, the threatened Christian areas in provincial constituency PP-191 are village 10/4-L, with an estimated Christian population of 3,000; 11/4-L, where 2,000 Christians live; and 26/4-L, in which around 1,000 Christians are settled.
The peasant land movement that became the issue of contention for Sattar, arose more than 10 years ago in response to what Iqbal calls the Pakistan Army’s illegal occupation of 64,000 acres in some 10 districts of Punjab. Catholic Capuchins had relocated Christians to the area of central Punjab Province to provide dairy products to the British Army during World War II, and the British turned the land over to the Pakistan Army when the sub-continent was partitioned, Iqbal said.
“At the time of partition of the sub-continent, the Christians were not given the land rights which were promised to them by the Capuchin fathers,” he said. “Because of this, Christians are at the forefront of the peasants’ movement, which is facing the powerful Pakistan Army for their due right, as the Britons had handed over the lands to the Army after the partition.”
Sattar had initially worked with the peasant cause, he said.
“But then he began creating fissures in the movement, coaxing the Muslim members not to take directions from the Christian leadership,” Iqbal said. “He then left the movement and got involved in criminal activities, subsequently landing in politics. However, Mehr’s political career failed to take off because thousands of Christians of the area don’t vote for him.”
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, they are continually under persecution…they need our prayers!
(CP) reports Christians around the globe gathered on Pentecost Sunday in stadiums, auditoriums, churches, homes, and some in secret places, to pray for the healing and blessing of their nations and the world.
From the United States to India to Singapore to South Africa, Christians from various denominations met in their churches or held dedicated gatherings to pray together on the Global Day of Prayer, which coincided this year with the day of Pentecost on May 19.
Brookside Free Methodist Church in Redlands, Calif., had prepared prayer cards, each featuring a different country for all participants, focusing on countries where Christians are persecuted, according to the church’s website. They also prayerfully considered increasing the church’s involvement in missions.
In Columbia, S.C., at least seven churches hosted the GDOP.
In India, thousands of Christians gathered at the Thyagraj Stadium in New Delhi “to seek the face of the Lord unitedly.”
In Singapore, Methodist, Baptist and evangelical churches held GDOP events in at least seven languages, including Filipino, Mandarin, Korean and Thai.
“As at the first Pentecost, we’ll worship God openly in Christ’s name and pray for the healing and blessing of the nations. As much as possible, we are seeking to gather in places beyond the walls of our church buildings,” said the GDOP’s global website.
The purpose of the GDOP is to ask the Lord “to forgive our sins, for the restoration of the Church, and for the healing of the nations.”
Many churches started on May 9, praying night and day throughout the 10 days leading to the Global Day of Prayer. Many formed prayer chains to build bonfires of 24-hours-a-day prayer. Others met for an hour or two of focused prayer. Some fasted.
From May 20 to Aug. 17, a “90 Days of Blessing” will follow the GDOP as an opportunity “to challenge the youth and children to go to the neglected places to pray and serve.”
GDOP provided prayer guides in different languages.
A prayer for the Pentecost Sunday read, “Transform Your Church into the image of Jesus Christ. Release Your power to bring healing to the sick, freedom to the oppressed and comfort to those who mourn. Fill us with compassion for the homeless and the hungry for orphans, widows and the elderly. Give us wisdom and insight for our world’s problems to use the resources of the earth for the well-being of all.”
“…Remove the veil of darkness that covers the peoples. Restrain the evil that promotes violence and death. Deliver us from demonic oppression. Break the hold of slavery, tyranny and disease. Help us to tear down strongholds and ideologies that resist the knowledge of God.”
The GDOP also helps raise awareness about Christian persecution around the world. Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom and a Hudson Institute Fellow in the United States, said Saturday that “religious persecution is the gravest human rights crisis of our day.”
“Christians are as a group the most persecuted, out of sheer numbers, across the world. This means they are being killed, tortured, imprisoned and eradicated …sent into exile for their beliefs,” breitbart.com quoted her as saying.
“This is happening in three types of countries,” she said. “Those with a remnant Communist country, like North Korea and China, some nationalist countries like Burma and Eritrea, and then in the Muslim world …where Islamism is on the rise.”
The GDOP began in South Africa with a Day of Repentance and Prayer in July 2000 when God captured the heart of a South African Christian businessman, Graham Power, with a vision based on 2 Chronicles 7: 14: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
On Pentecost Sunday on May 15, 2005, Christians from 156 nations united across denominational and cultural borders for the first Global Day of Prayer.
The Ninety Days of Blessing
As in the first Pentecost, transformed Christians transformed their communities, offering themselves to God as the instrument through which their prayers are answered. Like the first Pentecost, our goal is to fill the streets with “awe and wonder.” The Global Day of
Prayer encourages the forming or furthering of local alliances among pastors, congregations, mission agencies and business leaders bring practical, transformational blessing to their communities. Check out the video titled “Introduction to Servant
Evangelism.” This 4-minute video gives you a quick understanding of servant evangelism. Find it at http://www.gdopusa.com/video.
Servant evangelism projects are designed to “show God’s love in practical ways with no strings attached.” Servant evangelism softens the hearts of persons who are not yet Christians—people who often think the church exists only for itself or that it only wants people’s time and money. By doing a “low-risk” activity that shows “high grace,” those resistant to the faith may (now or in the future) become more open to the saving message of Jesus Christ.
Essentially, servant evangelism is accomplished by any activity. All of it done under the umbrella of on-going prayer, in the name of Jesus, providing a beneficial service to people (cleaning neighborhoods, painting houses, outreach block parties, house-to-house prayer, Bible distribution, back-to-school fairs, car washes, etc.) for which no financial consideration is expected or accepted (not even donations). These are activities in which almost anyone can participate regardless of age (children and youth love to participate) or spiritual maturity. They may be done individually, in small groups or even large groups. Go out and have some fun blessing your community. To
learn more about Servant evangelism, visit http://www.servantevangelism.com/about-servantevangelism/#.USaPgK79XfU
The following are just a few of the many website that offer outreach ideas:
In Steve Sjogren’s words, “Small things done with great love will change the world.”Check out his website, Servant Evangelism, at
http://www.servantevangelism.com/ideas/#.USZpk679XfU where you can find ideas to get you started blessing your community.
Why not hold Sidewalk Sunday School? This isn’t just for Sundays. Using a concept that goes back to the middle ages, but refined on the streets of-high-density urban areas and ghettos around the world, this program works in all settings and cultures. While primarily an outdoors program, it is easily adaptable to an indoor setting http://www.metroworldchild.org/our-work
Here are a few other suggestions about how churches can come together to bless their local schools: Moms in Prayer—organize prayer for a public school http://www.momsintouch.org/about-us/purpose
See You at the Pole—help organize on-site prayer at local schools http://www.syatp.com
(ACLJ)American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s family in Terhan was able to visit him again earlier this week.
Pastor Saeed was able to get a new letter out this week to his wife Naghmeh. He sent her this letter to be shared with supporters who gathered recently, on the Christian day of Pentecost, to pray for him.
He shared that despite what he has to endure on a daily basis – the beatings and internal bleeding – he has hope. The 33-year-old U.S. citizen wrote, “I will also be freed from my chains though prayer and strength of the Grace of God.”
His full letter to supporters is below.
Spending Pentecost in Prison and in Chains
When the Day of the Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:1-2)
One special day, one heart, one place — All of these come together, to emphasize one thing, the importance of unity.
I heard that the persecution, my arrest and imprisonment has united churches from different denominations, from different cities and countries, that would never come together because of their differences. That the churches have united together in prayer to put one request (my freedom) on one day (Pentecost) before God.
You don’t know how happy I was in the Lord and rejoiced knowing that in my chains the body of Christ has chained together and is brought to action and prayer.
When someone’s life like mine is in danger, we realize how different we are in our opinions (although some of those differences might be correct), but that we are still united in one goal of praying for my freedom.
I am thankful for that. It is though your prayers and the Grace of God that the Lord is using me here in my chains. Many have been freed from the chains of Satan here and have been saved and added to the Church.
Now, how beautiful it will be if the Church would be united and fight for the salvation of the world whose life is in danger and who are bound in chains of Satan and to fight for the salvation of the world, a world that is heading to the way of destruction. With the same passion and the same way that you are praying and fighting for my freedom, we need to be praying and fighting for the salvation of the world.
When the Church is united (with one heart, in one place, on one day) that is when the joy and strength of God (Holy Spirit) wants to come in that unity and pour out and the Lord be exalted. Although this unity is the result of direct involvement of the Holy Spirit that is able to bring many different characteristics to make one.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me (Acts 1:8).
And only when the Holy Spirit comes can you get strength. Without the strength of God it is impossible to do the will of God. And when we receive strength, then we can be transformed. And when we receive strength, then we can be transformed. And when we are transformed, that is when the Church is transformed as well. And when the Church is transformed, then the world will be freed from the chains of sin and will be saved and transformed. When we are all united and chained together, united in our hearts, in one place in one day, and we pray, then we will receive the power from on High and will receive strength and the world will be changed and will be freed from the chains of bondage and will be saved. The same way that I will also be freed from my chains though prayer and strength of the Grace of God.
So dear sisters and brothers let us be united in prayer for freedom and salvation of the world. Let us be united so that the Holy Spirit might fall on us and the Glory of God would be revealed through us and through the church.
Welcome to the chains that have bound me and have bound us together. Happy Pentecost.
God Said and it was. Chains were broken. Our sins were forgiven I am free You are free We all have freedom
With many thanks for your continued and faithful prayers.
Servant of our Lord in chains for Jesus Christ, Saeed
Please continue to pray and share Pastor Saeed’s latest letter. Please also continue to sign and share the petition to #SaveSaeed at SaveSaeed.org.
On May 30th, the ACLJ will once again be presenting Pastor Saeed’s case to the UN. Help us take 600,000 voices to the UN. Show the world that you stand for religious freedom.
Please continue to pray and share Pastor Saeed’s latest letter. Please also continue to sign and share the petition to #SaveSaeed at SaveSaeed.org. And help us Save Saeed.
Faisalabad: May 20, 2013. (PCP) A Christian village named Khushpur in sub-district Samundari of Faisalabad district came under attack of Muslims on May 19, 2013, killing one Christian student of 10th Grade and injuring many Christians.
Father Felix, a European missionary who established a number of villages like Mariamabad in Shekhupura district, Francisabad in Shorkot, Jhang district in Pakistan. “Felix” is the Latin word for “happy”. The village was thus given the name of “Khushpur” in Urdu, the “land of Fr Felix” or “land of Happiness”.
Many important Catholic public figures come from the village in government records shown as Chak Number 451/GB; people like Bishop John Joseph, Bishop Rufin Anthony, Ilama Paul Ernest, and Shahbaz Bhatti were born and raised in this remote village.
After reports of the Muslim attack, contingents of police reached the village and prevented further killing by Muslims. Faisal Patras, a Christian student in the 10th grade was killed by the Muslims while Danish Masih who is brother of the victim and their father were seriously injured with bullet wounds when trying to safe Faisal Patras.
After the agricultural revolution in Pakistan, many Christians peasants of these Christian villages in Punjab, Pakistan, which were distributed without any cost by Catholic and other missionaries moved to cities and sold this gifted land to Muslims.
The Muslim attack ensued after a petty dispute of a piece of land which a Christian of Khushpur sold to Muslims.
According to Samundari Social Media Network, there was another Christian killed in the Christian village Chack Number 468/GB district a month ago. They too were shot and killed by Muslims. The killers are still at large.
Mr. Khalid Gill, Chief Orgnizer of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance APMA have stronly condemned the attack on the village of Khushpur and the killing of the Christian student.
Mr. Gill has demanded immediate arrest of killers and security of the Christians which are under constant attack of Muslims in Punjab province of Pakistan.
Church seeks compensation for victims of Boko Haram
The church commended the implementation of emergency rule in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
The Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN, has advocated for compensation to victims of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The church also pledged its total support for the steps taken by the federal government in restoring peace at the northeastern part of the country through emergency rule.
It stated its position in a communique made available to journalists on Saturday after COCIN’s 82nd annual general council meeting which held at its headquarters in Jos on Friday evening.
“COCIN applauds the bold step taken by the Federal Government in declaring a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe States and prays that it will bring lasting peace. The general church council calls on the federal and various state governments to take proactive and definite measures to curb insecurity and the growing menace of the Boko Haram Islamic sect terrorist group.
“We reiterate our position against the proposed amnesty to Boko Haram as it will only mean rewarding and glorifying crime,” the church stressed.
The three page communique also frowned at the brutal killing of innocent people across the country by the Boko Haram.
“COCIN condemns in strong terms the brutal killings at Baga and Bama both in Borno State, Wukari in Taraba State, Alakyo, in Nasarawa State, Agatu in Benue State and that of Gombe and Kano States and of recent Katsina State. We condole the family and Christians in Borno State over the killing of the State CAN Secretary, Rev. Faye Pama, by the Boko Haram second,” it stated.
At the opening of the three day general council meeting on Wednesday, president of COCIN, Soja Bewarang, disclosed that insecurity in the northeastern states had forced the church to relocate some of its workers for their safety.
The church also called on the Federal Government to consider compensation for all victims of Boko Haram. Also, at the end of the meeting, the general church council approved creation of 17 new regional church councils and one provincial church council. Source
Nigeria: Militants Turning Country into Christian Killing Field
Atheist Condemns Christian Troops
WASHINGTON, USA (BosNewsLife)– While the Obama administration carefully avoids any religious connection between Islamic jihad and the Boston bombings, the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation bluntly told Pentagon officials that Christian troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished.
“Someone needs to be punished for this,” said Mikey Weinstein. “Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior.”
Weinstein also said his Foundation has thousands of Protestant members who are only opposed to Christian fundamentalists. “As soon as we find a fundamentalist Muslim, atheist, Jewish person or anybody else, we will be happy to fight them, but so far they have been few and far between,” he said.
Surprisingly, Weinstein seems unaware that there are many fundamentalist Muslims who are willing to fight us all the way to the Finish Line of the Boston Marathon. After Weinstein went to the Pentagon to discuss the state of religion in the military, Tony Perkins, president of the Washington-based Family Research Council, wondered why U.S. officers were taking advice about religious freedom from one of the most rabid atheists in America. “That’s like consulting with China on how to improve human rights,” he said.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, an FRC executive VP, told Fox News that he sees a pattern of attacks on Christianity within the military. “Mickey Weinstein has a very visceral hated of Christianity and those who are Christians,” he said. “He’d like to see it eliminated from the military entirely.” However, that seems unlikely since military chaplains are an exception to the so called separation of church and state found in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment; the Department of Defense must support the free exercise of religion by its service personnel and DoD employees because the Constitution proscribes Congress from enacting any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, according to The American Center for Law and Justice. This is especially true when U.S. service personnel must deploy to parts of the world where the facilities to practice their respective faiths are not only unavailable, but non-existent, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which prohibits all public worship save Islam.
Iranian Christians face ‘systematic persecution and prosecution’
Iran’s treatment of its Christian minority has come under fresh scrutiny in recent months with some damning verdicts on the country’s human rights record.
Reports from the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and New York-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) cite evidence of “systematic persecution and prosecution” of Protestants and Christian converts, as part of a widespread violation of international laws.
As national elections draw near (voters go to the polls on June 14), Iran is under increasing international pressure to improve its human rights record or face continued sanctions – sanctions ICHRI says are impacting the welfare of the Iranian people.
In its April report, A Growing Crisis: The Impact of Sanctions and Regime Policies on Iranians’ Economic and Social Rights, ICHRI says that, rather than damaging the Iranian regime, sanctions resulting from Iran’s nuclear program have “brought about a severe deterioration in the ability of the Iranian people to pursue their economic and social rights”.
‘Systematic persecution’ The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, noted in September 2012 that more than 300 Christians have been arrested and detained since 2010, while at least 41 were detained for periods ranging from one month to over a year, sometimes without official charges.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in February that Iran “refuted” the UN’s claim of an increase in discrimination towards religious minorities, claiming “all people of Iran regardless of their religion or ethnicity enjoy equal citizenship rights”. READ MORE
Sudanese center says incidents of apostasy, atheism increasing in country
KHARTOUM (Sudan Tribune) – The chairman of the Islamic Center for Preaching and Comparative Studies, Ammar Saleh, said that cases of apostasy and atheism are on the rise in the country and accused authorities of negligence in addressing this issue.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Saleh claimed that the number of converts from Islam in Khartoum has reached 109 apostates, stressing that these figures are growing in a “continuous” and “scary” fashion, especially with the presence of atheists and homosexuals.
The Islamic figure slammed the government for not taking decisive action against missionaries operating “boldly” in the country. He said that anyone who denies the existence of proselytising or the increase in people converting to the Shiite faith are either “living on Mars” or are in denial.
Saleh appealed to the official bodies and the community to take a stand against Christianisation and find a long-term solution to the problem, arguing that government’s efforts in this regard are timid compared to missionaries’ efforts. He also accused the Orthodox Church of building a church in Ombadda without a permit in a “de facto” manner.
The former head of Ombadda People’s Committee, who is also a member of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Adam Mudawi, claimed that they have information indicating that there is an underground storage facility in the three-story church that contains a large cache of weapons. Mudawi also said there is a satellite dish inside the church and its function remains unexplained. He accused the church of exploiting poor citizens by providing financial support and assistance to aid its proselytising activities.
Millions Of Christians Victim In Islamic World
Video reports of Persecution
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife)– Minority Christians were among those suffering Sunday, May 19, after at least 140 people died during four consecutive days of violence in Iraq, raising fears that sectarian conflicts could lead the troubled Middle East nation into civil war.
“It is difficult to tell of the intensity of violence here over the past week,” said Canon Andrew White, who leads the St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, the capital. “The slaughters and massacres have intensified so much that the sound of explosions has almost become the norm,” he added in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife.
“At first the attacks were all against the Shia by the Sunni [Muslims], but on Friday we saw a major Shia response against the Sunni with over one hundred Sunnis being killed as they left their mosques.”
More than 70 people were reportedly killed in bombings on Friday, May 17, in majority Sunni districts in Baghdad and surrounding areas, in what media called “the deadliest day in Iraq” in more than eight months.
White, who negotiated with different factions in the past, said 80 percent of the initial violence was linked to “Sunni terrorists” with most having links to the ‘al-Qaida in Iraq’ terror group.
“The sad fact is that there are now many Sunni clerics shouting from TV that the Shia should be killed before the Jews and the Christians,” he added.
Among several other deadly attacks was violence Saturday, May 18, that killed at least 16 people, including a police officer, his wife and two children, while armed men abducted 10 policemen, officials said.
In Anbar province, four state-backed so-called Sahwa (Awakening) fighters, and allies of the US military, were killed in an attack on their headquarters, reported Al Jazeera television. Armed men reportedly also ambushed and abducted 10 Sunni policemen near Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, a Sunni heartland bordering Syria.
Amid the chaos, White said he visited some of the 550 local Iraqi Christian families belonging to his church amid concerns about injuries. “There are people injured but not killed as far as I know.” Yet,
“The more terror and destruction that our people experience the more they are certain that when they have lost everything Jesus is all they have left,” he noted.
That became clear last week when Jews and Christians celebrated the Jewish feast of Shavuot, held 50 days after Passover to celebrate that God gave the Torah, the Jewish Bible, and “the Holy Spirit came” in his power, he said. “The celebration was very small and secret. We dined in the church as Jews and Christians in a nation where there are only six Jews left.”
The celebration came amid concerns that part of the violence is specifically targeted against Christians.
Since the fall of leader Saddam Hussein a decade ago, about 1,000 Christians are known to have been killed, a relatively high number compared with percentages killed from other groups in Iraqi society, according to Open Doors, a Christian aid and advocacy group.
“If these attacks take place in a Christian neighborhood or a Christian village, you can assume they are targeted, especially against the Christian population of the neighborhoods and villages,” added an Open Doors field worker, who was not identified amid security concerns.
Among those killed last month was Adbuljabar Khidher Toza, a devoted Christian from Mosul, Open Doors said. Armed men apparently shot him to death in front of his house. All these targeted attacks are part of a wider attempt to remove Christians from Iraq, the field worker said.
“We received documents and threats stating that the aim of the Islamist Insurgents is to make Iraq a ‘Muslim only’ country; they want the Christians out.”
Louis Raphael Sako, the recently elected Chaldean Catholic patriarch of Iraq and Syria, says he is afraid of what Islamist rule would mean for Christians.
“People are afraid of a kind of Islamic state as it was in the seventh century where Christians would be considered second-class citizens,” he added in published remarks.
Ongoing violence prompted hundreds of thousands of believers to flee the region to nearby countries Jordan and Lebanon as well as Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. Of the roughly 1.2 million Christians in the early 1990s, some 350,000 have remained in the conflict-torn country, according to Open Doors estimates.