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The Muslim War Against Christians

egypt_copts_bloody_AFP

Muslim anti-Christian violence has reached genocidal proportions. The ‘moderate’ Muslim state is a myth.

As Egypt’s Islamists blame Christians for the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, anti-Christian violence has reached epidemic levels.

On August 17th, one Egyptian human rights leader said that there had been an estimated 82 churches across Egypt attacked and heavily damaged by Morsi supporters in a mere 48 hours. One week later, the number of major anti-Christian attacks had risen to 90. Just last week, two Coptic government employees were shot dead for refusing to pay Jizya (the Muslim poll tax on Christians).

Unfortunately, the persecution of Christians is nothing new in Egypt or other Muslim-majority countries. But thanks to the mainstream media, few Westerners understand the true scale or nature of the horrors involved.
As you read this, Christians around the world are being murdered, raped, plundered, abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, or otherwise oppressed by Muslims. Christians in Muslim-majority areas are some of the most vulnerable and horribly oppressed people on Earth; they live at the mercy of the mob and receive little or no protection from the police or other government institutions.
The reach of this silent tragedy is sweeping – a global religious genocide on “slow burn” with occasional conflagrations that make it into the mainstream media. There are an estimated 100 million persecuted Christians.

This massive crime is documented in shocking and painstaking detail in Raymond Ibrahim’s new book “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians“. The book is required reading for anyone who cares about religious freedom, human rights, and/or the survival of Christians in their ancestral lands.

In “Crucified Again”, Ibrahim methodically presents overwhelming evidence of Muslim persecution of Christians (documented with about 700 footnotes). His exhaustive, scholarly, and compelling study uses many news and historical sources, and statements by contemporary Muslim clerics. The evidentiary details are far too numerous to summarize here, but a few examples stand out.

Ibrahim explains the theological basis for Muslim persecution of Christians. He notes the Islamic belief that Koranic verses from later in Muhammad’s career abrogate contradictory verses from earlier. The hostile verses naming Christians “infidels” occur towards the end of his career, so they override any tolerance for Christians in earlier verses. Ibrahim writes: “The Koran’s final word on the fate of Christians and Jews is found in Koran 9:29 [where] Allah commands believers, [to fight them]…’until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.’”

Ibrahim cites the writing of renowned Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun [1332-1406]:

[Jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force … The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them…But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.

Ibrahim explains: “The Conditions of Omar…[details] exactly how [Christians and Jews] are to feel themselves subdued.” The laws applicable to “dhimmis” (non-Muslims treated as second-class citizens under Islamic hegemony) made life so miserable for Christians over the millennia that these rules gradually transformed thousands of miles of formerly Christian territory into what is today the “Arab world.”

Ibrahim also highlights a tragic historical absurdity: many of the Muslims persecuting Christians today are themselves descendants of Christians who converted because of persecution.

Having established the theological basis for Muslim oppression of Christians, Ibrahim reviews the endless historical examples of these crimes. He cites one medieval Muslim historian reporting that “30,000 churches were burned or pillaged in Egypt and Syria alone” in just two years.

During the Abbasid rule (in 936), “the Muslims in Jerusalem…burnt down the Church of the Resurrection [believed to be built atop the tomb of Christ].” Ibrahim notes the “1453 conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans and the subsequent attack on…the Hagia Sophia and its transformation into a mosque.”

After reviewing the more notable examples from history, Ibrahim catalogs the extent to which such Muslim persecution of Christians continues today across the entire Muslim world, “from Afghanistan to Zanzibar” – regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, or language. “Crucified Again” details how these anti-Christian crimes are often incited by governments and/or religious leaders of Muslim countries.

Ibrahim “broke news” in 2012 merely by translating into English that Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority declared it “necessary to destroy all the churches” in the Arabian Peninsula. The shocking statement by Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, was widely reported by Arabic-language media, but the Western mainstream media avoided coverage of the outrage. As Ibrahim argues, the media willfully ignore such news because it contradicts their narrative that all Muslim violence is motivated by some socio-economic or political grievance.

But the West risks its own demise by ignoring four truths:

1) a hateful, absolutist ideology drives Islamist violence against non-Muslims,

2) Sharia’s draconian penalties for apostasy and blasphemy maximize Muslim demographic growth because nobody can safely criticize or leave Islam (including those converted to Islam under duress),

3) Sharia destroys the rights and freedoms cherished by the West,

4) Sharia creates a Muslim monopoly on the marketplace of ideas – something antithetical to any free society.

To survive, the West cannot let sharia laws take root in Muslim-majority communities of Europe and North America.

With documented examples, Crucified Again also debunks the myth of the “moderate” Muslim state. So-called “moderate” states like Turkey or the Maldives may not be as atrociously violent towards their Christian minorities as countries like Pakistan, Iraq, and Egypt, but they follow the same patterns of anti-Christian persecution and are far from Western standards when it comes to treating their non-Muslim minorities with equal rights, justice, and dignity.

Ibrahim has argued elsewhere that the Koran’s violent verses, unlike “their Old Testament counterparts…[use] language that transcends time and space, inciting believers to…slay nonbelievers today no less than yesterday.”

According to Ibrahim, Old Testament violent verses are fundamentally different because they are merely a descriptive account of historical incidents – not a prescriptive exhortation to attack non-believers in the future.

Ibrahim shows how the Western media, academia, and the Obama administration have all whitewashed Muslim oppression of Christians and/or supported Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood to the point of enabling anti-Christian persecution and obscuring it from the public. Indeed, of Ibrahim’s 680+ cited news sources reporting on Muslim abuse of Christians, only about 6% were from the mainstream media.

Biased media coverage of the Middle East deserves a book of its own, but to cite one powerful example (not mentioned in Crucified Again), consider how CBS‘s “news” program, Sixty Minutes, defamed the only Mideast country where Christians are actually safe (Israel) while missing the real story of Mideast Christian persecution so thoroughly documented in Crucified Again“.

Western passivity over the maltreatment of minority Christians has only encouraged Islamists to attack them for any perceived wrong by the West – whether it’s offensive cartoons, movies, or any other grievance. Worse, the apathetic West has forgotten that the Islamic prohibitions (against apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism) used to justify Muslim oppression of Christians completely negate Western values like freedom of speech and religion.

Ibrahim elsewhere makes an excellent point about Muslim animus towards Israel: “if grievances…were really about justice and displaced Palestinians, Muslims – and their Western appeasers – would be aggrieved by the fact that millions of Christians are currently being displaced by Muslim invaders.” Indeed, the truer explanation for Muslim hostility towards Israel is that it’s the only non-Muslim state in the entire Middle East and North Africa.

As long as Israel thrives as a strong, non-Muslim state, the Islamist mission of global jihad has failed in that region where Muslims are strongest. But if Israel were ever to fall, one can only imagine the genocide that would descend upon Israeli Jews – and the Israeli religious minorities sheltered in Israel (Christians, Bahá’ís, etc.).

Despite the grim signs for the West, it’s worth noting that there is a tiny but brave reform movement within Islam that should be robustly supported. Courageous humanists like Irshad Manji, who questions received doctrines with critical-thinking and a preference for tolerance over conquest, are the best hope for a reformed Islam that builds on its virtues, fixes its problems, and is at peace with itself (regarding the Sunni-Shia divide) and the non-Muslim world.

Of course, anyone who reads “Crucified Again” will be unsurprised that Irshad Manji lives in the West.

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes and an Israeli submarine with a diverse crew, including a Christian Israeli.

Arutz Sheva

Free Saeed: A Wife’s Plea to Iran’s President

iran-churchby     Nahgmeh Abedini   |     September 24, 2013

Thursday marks one year since Iran imprisoned my husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, for his Christian faith. When the Iranian Revolutionary Guard arrested Saeed without warning and took him to the notorious Evin Prison, I could not have imagined the journey God had planned for us — a journey still without a finish line in sight.

The Empty Seat in Our Home

All I can remember about those first days are tear-soaked eyes and indescribable anxiety and grief. Evenings consisted of me holding my seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son as they cried themselves to sleep asking for their daddy. Saeed’s seat in our family was painfully empty at Christmas, Easter, our wedding anniversary, and each of the birthdays.

Saeed spent his own birthday in solitary confinement, bleeding and in agony due to beatings he had endured when prison guards tried to force him to deny his faith and return to Islam.

A Good, Unwanted Trial

I had fallen into deep despair, fearing the unknown. No friend, parent, or doctor could help me. In desperation, I questioned Jesus and plead that he take this trial from me. He gently whispered, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He promised to use this journey for his glory if I would trust him.

So little by little, I opened my hands and let go of all of my expectations and submitted my future to God. As I lay broken before his feet, letting go of all control, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding filled my heart and mind through Christ Jesus, just has he had promised (Philippians 4:7).

Gladness in Weakness

I did not know then, nor do I know now, where God would lead us in all of this. But one thing has become clear: no matter how difficult the journey, no matter what news comes, even in the face of eight years of beating and torture, we are called by God to embrace suffering gladly.

This suffering reveals my weakest parts. But in my weakness, he is strong. I am refreshed by living water when I run into Jesus’s embrace. It is in walking with Jesus through the darkness that I taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

Rejoicing in Suffering

Over the last year, I have learned that there is meaning in Paul’s instruction to take pleasure in God, even and especially in suffering. Rejoicing in suffering creates in me a deeper hunger for God, a hunger that draws me closer to him.

I understand now how Paul could say, “Most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. . . . I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

The Desire of Our Hearts

In Jesus, I had clarity to see that God was using my present suffering for the spread of the gospel. I have seen the Lord use Saeed’s imprisonment to give Saeed and myself the true desire of our hearts, which is to see Jesus preached to the entire world, especially to Muslims, a people Saeed and I love so very much.

Our suffering has provided a platform to share about Christ all over the world, even through secular media broadcasted to millions in Iran. At the United Nations Human Rights Council, appealing for Saeed’s release, I shared the gospel with representatives from over 100 countries.

A Minister for the Prisoners

This journey has also allowed Saeed to spread the gospel inside the prison. Members of the Iranian Diaspora have told me how they have heard from former Evin prisoners that Saeed had been showing the love of Christ to his fellow prisoners.

Now I can say with confidence that “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Saeed and I always asked God for opportunities to share the gospel with the nations. We never anticipated it would be this way, but God has graciously heard and answered our prayers.

What Can You Do for Saeed?

Though I do not yet see a finish line to our journey, I will continue to rejoice in the Lord as he uses our suffering for good. I will continue to pray for Saeed’s release and the freedom of all Christians being persecuted and imprisoned for their faith.

  1. Gather with hundreds of Christians around the world to pray for Saeed on Thursday, September 26th. Find a prayer vigil near you.
  2. Join me and thousands of others in writing the president of Iran to encourage him to release my husband. Learn how to add your voice and help us be heard at beheardproject.com.

Naghmeh Saeed AbediniNahgmeh is the wife of Saeed Abedini, a pastor sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison because of his Christian faith. They have been married since 2002, have two young children, and have been separated by persecution since September, 2012. You can learn more about their story and add your voice to the cause at http://beheardproject.com/saeed.

desiringGod Ministries

Christians fear more persecution following church attack

stopviolence* As government eyes talks with Taliban, critics say PM’s peace initiative ‘doomed to fail’

* Militants give a clear message that they want to continue the fight

LAHORE: Symbols of Christianity are scattered around Lahore, a legacy of British missionary zeal in Pakistan’s second-biggest city. But this coda to colonial times was jerked into a more violent present at the weekend, with the murder of at least 85 churchgoers in a Taliban suicide attack in the northern city of Peshawar, Financial Times reported.

For Pakistan’s tiny Christian minority, which represents about 2 per cent of the predominantly Muslim population of 190 million, its religion means access to schools such as St Anthony’s, which provide a stepping stone to top universities in the UK and US for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

But the community, like other legacy groups sprinkled across the world, feels its days are numbered. Sajan Masih – whose name means follower of the Messiah, or Christian – is among those who laments “the dying future for Christians in Pakistan”.

Sitting cross-legged on a pavement across the road from the “Zamzama” or Kim’s Gun in central Lahore, Masih points out the Christian schools and churches, as well as the cannon that features in Rudyard Kipling’s writings on life in colonial India.

For the municipal caretaker and father of seven, Sunday’s Taliban suicide attack, which, in addition to the deaths, injured more than 100 shortly after the main weekly mass, marks a continuation of persecution and a tale that will soon be forgotten. “No one cares about Christians in Pakistan,” he shrugs.

Yet the latest violence has shocked many Pakistanis who remember life before the upsurge in militancy.

Sunday’s attack came just two weeks after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over a gathering of leaders of the country’s main political parties in the presence of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the army chief, to discuss his government’s policies on countering the militants.

The event ended with a controversial announcement giving a green light for Sharif’s regime to open fresh peace talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the main umbrella organisation representing the Taliban.

Since that announcement, the killing of Major General Sanaullah Niazi, a senior army commander, in a Taliban bomb, and Sunday’s attack in Peshawar, have delivered a clear message from the Taliban – that they want to continue the fight.

The situation has revived bitter memories of previous bloody attacks by the Taliban and aligned groups on members of the Shia Muslim community, Pakistan’s second-largest grouping after the majority Sunni Muslims.

Western diplomats say part of the Taliban’s determination to intensify the fight is driven by a growing confidence ahead of the planned withdrawal of US-led western troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year.

“In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taliban believe, they are increasingly set to win the fight. Why should they stop [the fight] now,” said one western diplomat in Islamabad. “These people [Taliban] are now increasingly looking at victory.”

Some critics say that Nawaz Sharif’s peace initiative is doomed to fail, while others warn he risks a dangerous resurgence in militancy if he closes the door on negotiations.

“You can’t close any one option. In this kind of conflict involving a guerrilla type of warfare, winning the battle is not easy,” says Masood Sharif Khattak, former head of Pakistan’s intelligence bureau, the main civilian counter intelligence agency.

Yet drawing a line under the conflict is about more than a peace settlement with the Taliban, analysts say. There are also controversial laws such as prosecutions for blasphemy against Islam, which in August 2012 resulted in the arrest of a Christian teenage girl.

She was later released after the judge found that the evidence against her had been fabricated. But her family subsequently sought asylum in Canada, fearing that they would be attacked in Pakistan.

In March this year, hundreds of Christian residents fled their homes in one of the poorer districts of Lahore following a mass attack by Muslim zealots seeking revenge over another blasphemy case.

“The law of blasphemy has often been used in Pakistan to target Christians,” said Samuel Masih, a Christian priest in Lahore. “Irrespective of where the Taliban negotiations will go, the question for me is simply, who will end the persecution of Christians in Pakistan? The blasphemy law is something that is an example of where changes must be made.”

For Mr Masih, the caretaker, Sunday’s attack in Peshawar has once again revived a tragic trend surrounding his community. “Our religion is under attack in a country where Christian missionaries once worked freely. Going to church was safe,” he says. “Now, life has become just too dangerous.”

Daily Times Monitor

Georgetown University Scholar Will Lecture about Many American Christians’ Indifference to Persecution of Christians in Other Parts of the World

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WACO, Texas (Sept. 23, 2013) — Many American Christians are heedless or unconcerned about other Christians in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere who are facing growing violent persecution, says Georgetown University scholar Thomas F. Farr, Ph.D.

Farr will lecture at Kayser Auditorium in the Hankamer School of Business at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, on “A Charge to Keep: Christian Responsibility Amid a Global Crisis in Religious Freedom.”

While Christians no longer attack other Christians as they did in the Middle Ages, Western governments, including that of the United States, are doing little or nothing to stop the emerging crisis.

Farr will contest the view of the great theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, who in 1952 expressed confidence that Christian indifference to the suffering of fellow believers was a thing of the distant past:

“What a Christian of [the Middle Ages] could justify cannot be accepted today; otherwise, he would reveal himself to be an utter un-Christian. For in the meantime something new has been displayed among us. The medieval castle where people danced . . . above the . . . torture chambers has collapsed and will not be reconstructed . . . [N]o Christian today will be able to dance any longer, while one of his brothers suffers torture.”

In his address to the Baylor community, Farr will take on the underlying causes of US foreign policy failures, including the decline of America’s “first freedom.” He will discuss Christian responsibility in an age of growing hostility toward religion in general and Christianity in particular, arguing that what Christians do, and what they fail to do, at this moment in history will have enormous consequences for America’s domestic well-being, its national security and international peace.

Thomas F. Farr is Visiting Associate Professor of Religion and International Affairs at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He directs the Religious Freedom Project and the Program on Religion and US Foreign Policy at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, where he is a senior fellow. He is also a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.

A graduate of Mercer University, with a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Farr has served in the U.S. Army and the American Foreign Service. As an Army officer he taught history at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and served as Adjutant General of the Army’s Transportation Command in Europe.

Early in his Foreign Service career, Farr specialized in strategic military policy and political affairs. During the Cold War, he helped develop U.S. strategic nuclear policy and was part of the U.S. negotiating team in the U.S.-Soviet arms control talks in Geneva. He also taught international relations at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Farr is a contributing editor for the Review of Faith and International Affairs and has published widely on religious freedom and its implications.

Kayser Auditorium is in the Cashion Building of the Hankamer School of Business, 1400 S. Fourth St.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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American Pastor Saeed Writes His Daughter a Letter for her Second Birthday without Him

Saeed-Naghmeh-Rebekka

Lost in the tragedy of Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wrongful imprisonment for his faith are his two young children – two precious little ones who miss their father.

Saeed-daughterRecently, September 12th, was his daughter Rebekka’s seventh birthday. It was the second birthday she has endured without her father.

For this special but painfully lonely day, he was able to send his daughter a letter from his prison cell, expressing his undying love for his children and how difficult it has been to be apart from them.

Below is the complete text of the letter of hope Pastor Saeed wrote his daughter for her birthday.

September 12, 2013
Hello to my beautiful flower Rebekka Grace,
Although this is the second year that I am absent from your birthday, I want you to know that I am with you with all of my heart, mind and soul. I cannot come to you in flesh, but my spirit is there with you on your special day.
My Beautiful Rebekka, you don’t realize how much I rejoice and weep when I see your pictures behind the glass window when my parents visit me every week in prison. I cannot believe how much you have grown and turned into a beautiful and attractive young lady in just a year.
Your hair has grown so long and is such a beautiful black color. I recently saw the picture with you holding a guitar. It is so hard and so heart breaking for me to see these pictures and to know that I am not there beside you as you grow.
I want you to know how painful it is for me that there are great forces that are preventing me, your father, to be near you and Jacob, my beautiful and fragile flowers.
Although the wounds that they inflict on me are so painful, but I can still say that I continue to bless them and ask for forgiveness for them. I would also like to know that you are doing this as well and that you are not allowing anything but Jesus and His love to consume your little hearts.
Rebekka, do you remember that every time that I would leave America and go to the Iran I would tell you that I wanted to help the little kids that did not have a mommy and daddy, or food or shelter and you would give me your old toys and clothes that you no longer wanted? Do you remember that mommy and I would tell you that God wants you to give Him your best and that you should give the toys and clothes that you loved so much? I still remember you running and grabbing your new toys and clothes that you loved so much and would give them to me to take.
Well, I want to tell you that you two are my little heroes. You have grown so much in giving that now you have given up the one person that you love and need so much in your little lives to the little kids that do not have mommies or daddies. You have given them me. And not only one or two days, but hundred and hundreds of days. You don’t even get to see a picture of me or even see me for a few short minutes. I kiss your small and delicate hands for the sacrifice you are giving.
Good job to my little heros! I came here to help the kids that did not have mommies and daddies, but my own kids lost their daddy. This breaks my heart so much. I want you to know that I did not want to put so much pressure on your little shoulders, my precious children. I was trying so hard to protect myself for you little ones. But the Iranian police lied to me that they would not arrest me.  Please don’t let your little shoulders bear so much burden.
Although governments fail, I know that Jesus sees the price we are paying for Him and He will gather us together as family one day that I may see you grow up tall to be like your beautiful mommy.
I know that you are also facing hardships and persecution for Jesus in such young and tender age. That your daddy is not next to you. You like to feel his warmth embrace and see his immense love for you in his eyes.  The Word of God says that persecution bring three results: 1- because of persecution and chains, there is great opportunity for the Word of God to be preached to the world. 2- Jesus says that because of persecution, we will receive the crown of Glory and it will be recorded for us in heaven. 3- Persecution helps us to grow in our character.
In order to endure these hardships and persecutions, we need to learn to be patient and to stand up for our faith and for what we believe. The Word of God says that patience makes us complete.
In this new year of your life I want you to stand strong as you have stood the previous year and be patient and endure.
With much love to my true little hero…
With kisses and wide expecting eyes…
I am proud of your little, but strong shoulders!
Love you, Daddy

Saeed-bday2010

Above are some family pictures taken at the last birthdays Pastor Saeed was able to spend with his daughter.

ACLJ

At least 56 Christians dead in Pakistan church suicide bombing -Warning: Graphic Images

Pakistan-bomb1

AT least 56 people have been killed and wounded 120 as suicide bombers targeted a Christian church in Pakistan this morning. The attack occurred as worshipers left the All Saints Church in the old quarter of the regional capital, Peshawar, following a service on Sunday morning. Up to 600 worshipers had attended the service and were leaving for a distribution of free food on the lawn outside, when two explosions ripped through the crowd.

Eyewitness Nazir John said: “There were blasts and there was hell for all of us.

peshawar-church-pardaphash

“When I got my senses back, I found nothing but smoke, dust, blood and screaming people. I saw severed body parts and blood all around.”

Survivors from the attack, which took place while hundreds were inside the church, wailed in despair and hugged each other outside the church.

Former information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the number of casualties from the blast was so high the hospital were running out of beds for the wounded.

John Tariq, who was wounded in the attack, lost his father in the terrorist attack this morning.

He said:  “What have we done wrong to these people? Why are we being killed?”

Pakistan-bomb3

The dead included women, children and two Muslim police officers who had been posted outside the church. Witness reported scenes of mayhem as rescue workers ferried victims from the church, which witnesses said was scattered with body parts, shrapnel and bloodied clothing.

Enraged Christians reacted emotionally as police and rescue workers reached the scene, forcing some to leave.

“As soon as the service finished and the food was being distributed, all of a sudden we heard one explosion, followed by another,” said Azim Ghori, a witness.

Pakistan-bomb2

No one has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack but suspicions will fall of the country’s many Islamic militant groups.

The church is located in a densely populated city, while Christians make up four per cent of Pakistan’s 180 million strong population.

The attack is the worst sectarian attack since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sworn in in June.

In its immediate aftermath a number of residents took to the streets to protest against the violent attack by burning tyres.

Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for minorities and Christians tend to keep a low profile in the area.

Islamist militants frequently bomb targets they see as heretical which includes Christians and Shi’ites.

In March, a Muslim mob swarmed through a Christian neighborhood in the eastern city of Lahore, torching two churches and more than 100 houses. Christians also frequently find themselves accused of blasphemy under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws.

The attacks are mostly orchestrated by Sunni extremist militant groups, although some have also been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.

The All Saints Church is one of the oldest in Peshawar and was built during the British colonial era.

Sources

Scottish Express

New York Times

Tortured And Jailed Christian Girl On Fabricated Charges Gets Bail

Pak-girl-attackedToba Tek, Pakistan: September 18, 2013. (PCP) Iqra Saddique, a young girl from a village Siowaal, Toba Tek Singh was illegally detained by four policemen and a private citizen, Arif Gujjar, on July 28,2013 after she denied to their demand of fornication with them. One of the policemen is identified by name as, Javed. The policemen and the private citizen after being denied by the young girl. They broke open the door and entered her house brutally torturing her with extreme cruelty. All the accused policemen and the private person dragged her out of her house and they threw her the yard kicking, slapping and punching the young girl. The policeman, Javed and Arif Gujar tore her clothes (shirt and trousers) that she became completely naked in front of a large crowd.

After the brutal torture and inhuman violence on the young lady, the policemen tried to forced her to sit on motorcycle in the middle of two male policemen. When she refused it resulted in more torture. The policemen took the young lady to the police station where she remained in illegal custody with no documented arrest. After five days, Aug 5, 2013, Sadaf Saddique (Attorney at law), along with others from Pakistan Christian Congress, media, NGOs and others went to the police station to ask about the young lady. The police first denied,  but then affirmed the custody of the young lady to avoid pressure of the NGOs and others present. The police falsely accused the young lady in a robbery case.

Mr. Sadaf Saddique (Attorney at Law), Mr. Akram Waqar Gill CEO Pakistan Christian Congress, Mr. Shahzad Fate president Pakistan Christian Congress Toba Tek Singh, Rashid Jalal and Ayub Anjum rights activists, struggled together for justice for the young girl. After a long battle and procrastinated litigation, we were able to prove that the young girl was falsely accused by policemen to cover their brutal and inhuman violence. During the process to free the young girl, the police tried to frame the young lady as a convict. The police also conspired together to stop a medical exam, so that their torture of the young lady could not be confirmed.

After being released on bail, Iqra Saddique with the help of Mr. Sadaf Saddique (Attorney at Law) has, today on 18-09-2013, submitted her application to the District Police Officer. Iqra brought charges against the policemen who tore her clothes exposing her in public, tortured and kidnapped her and then sexually tormented her in illegal police custody.

The Pakistan Christian Congress and society will not let this severe and harsh persecution to go in vain. If the caretakers of the society will infringe upon the rights of the people, then who else can the public trust? That is the question every reasonable person must ask!

Please pray that God may allow us to stand firm against all kinds of persecutions and that we continue to be the watchmen of the rights and lives of the oppressed, the poor and the needy ones!

It is also noteworthy to mention the crime of the policemen falls within the ambit of Section 354 A Pakistan Penal Code and is punishable by death sentence. If a woman is exposed naked to public view and seen by people on the street, the crimes falls under section 345A PPC.

Sudanese Woman Faces Ordeal as Convert from Islam

sudanese-woman
Long before current crackdown in Sudan, society punished ‘apostates.’

JUBA, South Sudan, September 20, 2013 (Morning Star News) – After her family in Khartoum, Sudan nearly buried her alive for leaving Islam and authorities imprisoned her for six months, a Sudanese Christian thought she might find refuge in Ethiopia.

She had fled to Ethiopia in 2010, five years after putting her faith in Christ. By the following year, she found herself face-to-face with hostile Sudanese officials.

“Some security personnel from the Sudan Embassy in Addis Ababa informed me that I must leave Ethiopia because I was an infidel,” the 35-year-old woman, whose name is withheld for security reasons, told Morning Star News.

Now in South Sudan, which split from Sudan on July 9, 2011, she still lives in hiding. Sudanese Muslims in South Sudan, she says, are monitoring her movements.

She had come to faith when a Christian woman told her about the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, and soon she began attending church. When her family learned of her conversion, she said, they locked her in a dark room for six months and arranged visits from an Islamic sheikh who struck her 10 times each day.

“After six months, I was released and was very frustrated and went into hiding, but my family discovered where I was hiding in Khartoum and reported to the police that I had left Islam,” she said.

Her family learned of her hiding place, found and beat her, and threw her from a second floor landing.

“I was bleeding and my ribs were broken,” she said, tears streaming from her eyes.

Family members threatened to charge her with apostasy unless she repented and returned to Islam, telling her, “You are an infidel, you are no longer a good Muslim,” she said. Apostasy is punishable by death in Sudan, which upholds sharia (Islamic law) as a source of legislation, according to the U.S. Department of State.

“They called a Muslim sheikh to force me to repent and come back to Islam, but I refused the attempt,” she said, adding that the sheikh would later accuse her of “being possessed by an evil spirit, which he said was a Christian evil spirit.”

Family members hid her in the trunk of their car and took her home with the intent of burying her alive, she said. She felt close to death and by keeping her hidden the family hoped Muslim neighbors would accept that her absence meant she had met her expected end as an apostate. The neighbors however, called police.

“They dug the grave, and as they were putting me into the grave, the police entered the house. I believe it was the Lord Jesus who made the police arrive on time and saved me from that inevitable death,” she said.

Officers arrested family members for attempted murder, but they were later released.

After a few days of recovery, she managed to escape again; this time, security officials endeavored to track her down.

“Security started to search for me everywhere, accusing me of leaving Islam,” she said. When National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) officials caught up with her four years later. In early 2009, they incarcerated her for one month, she said.

After her release, in March 2009 she tried to flee the country by air. Authorities were notified, removed her from an airliner about to take off from Khartoum International Airport and confiscated her passport.

During interrogation, NISS personnel tortured her as punishment for leaving Islam and trying to flee the country. She was imprisoned for another six months at Omdurman Prison for Women.

“The security officials took my documents, and after serving six months of imprisonment, I decided to go into hiding and sought refuge in the house of some Christians in Khartoum who gave me food and shelter and took care for me,” she said.

These ordeals took place before the 2011 secession that opened the way for harsher treatment of Christians in Sudan, as President Omar al Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language. The estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Christians in Sudan have suffered increased arrests and deportations and destruction of church buildings and affiliated centers, and foreign Christians have been driven out, church leaders say. In a report issued in April, Christian Solidarity Worldwide noted an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians since December 2012.

Freedom of religion is a key provision of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a signatory. Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and in April the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list this year.

After her six months in prison, eventually the convert from Islam managed to cross into neighboring Ethiopia by land in 2010, only to encounter more threatening Sudanese officials. Even now in predominantly Christian and animist South Sudan, she describes her life as “fear and agony,” as there seems to be nowhere to hide from hostile Islamists.

Father, so few are standing in the gap for your people who are going through abuses many could never image. We pray that the volume of our prayers are turned up. That our persecuted brothers and sisters can feel our love for them, as we call out the name of our Lord to intercede. Open the eyes and ears of those who are asleep, so that we can unite together and bless them as you have blessed us. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.
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