Islamic Extremists Kill at Least 71 Christians in Nigeria
JOS, Nigeria, November 26, 2013 (Morning Star News) – Suspected Muslim herdsmen slaughtered 37 Christians in coordinated attacks on four Plateau state villages early this morning after Boko Haram terrorists killed at least 34 Christians in Borno state earlier this month, sources said.
In attacks on the four predominantly Christian villages that started at 1 a.m. in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area in Plateau State in central Nigeria, ethnic Fulani herdsmen killed 37 people, injured many others and destroyed homes, the military’s Special Task Force spokesman, Salisu Mustapha, said in a press statement.
“The attackers killed 13 persons in Katu Kapang, eight in Daron, nine in Tul and seven others in Rawuru,” he said.
Mustapha told Morning Star News by phone that the heavily-armed assailants were believed to be Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Soldiers were still trying to repel the attackers as he spoke.
The Miyetti Allah cattle-rearing association reportedly denied that Fulani herdsmen were responsible for attacking the villages.
Most mainstream media mentioned vague accusations of cattle theft or unsupported statements of political and land disputes as possible motivations for the attacks, although in recent months Muslim Fulani herdsmen have increased the unprovoked slaughter of unarmed Christians in their homes that has taken place for several years in Plateau state.
Christian leaders otherwise at a loss to explain the increase in attacks believe Islamic extremist groups are inciting Fulani Muslims to attack them in Plateau state as well as in Kaduna, Bauchi, Nasarawa and Benue states. They fear that the herdsmen, with backing from Islamic extremist groups, want to take over the predominantly Christian areas in order to acquire land for grazing, stockpile arms and expand Islamic territory. Hit-and-run, guerrilla-style attacks on Christian villages in which children are shot to death as they sleep support their suspicion that the assaults are motivated by desire to eliminate Christianity.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent. Those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World, so the percentages of Christians and Muslims may be less.
The Rev. Pam Jang Pam of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in Plateau state’s Foron village told Morning Star News that he received phone calls from anguished members of his congregation.
“I received distress calls at about 1 a.m. from the members of our church in the villages of Rawuru, Tasu, Foron, and Gurabok informing me that they were being attacked and that they need help,” he said.
Felicia Anselem, spokesperson for the Plateau State Command of the Nigeria Police, confirmed that the attacks on the villages were coordinated strikes.
“The attacks were carried out at about 1 a.m. this morning in the villages of Rawuru, Tasu, Foron and Gurabok,” she said. “The attackers attacked the villages at the same time, having gone there in groups.”
The slaughters come after members of the Islamic extremist Boko Haram group in Borno state killed at least 26 Christians Nov. 11-13 and eight others on Nov. 3 in Nigeria’s northeast. Boko Haram, whose name is translated as “Western education is a sin,” has attacked religious, governmental and police centers in its campaign to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria.
The Rev. Titus Pona, chairman of the Borno chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), told Morning Star News that Boko Haram slaughtered the Christians and drove many others from their villages.
“For three days, between Monday, Nov. 11, and Wednesday, Nov. 13, they attacked the Christian villages,” he said. “They came in two Hilux vehicles, three buses and about 30 motorcycles armed with AK-47 rifles, going from house to house, killing, looting, and burning houses.”
Paul Gadzama, a director with Green Planet, a Non-Governmental Organization and a Christian from Askira Uba Local Government Area in Borno, said that more than 26 Christians had been killed and hundreds forced to flee. Gadzama said the Islamic extremists attacked the predominantly Christian villages of Bdagu, Izge, Hartsa and Yazza.
“They destroyed houses, killed Christians, and displaced hundreds of others,” he said. “They set fire to about 40 houses.”
Pona added that Boko Haram attackers also invaded Dille and Lassa villages, among others.
CAN President Ayo Oritsejafor and the Rev. Dr. Musa Asake, CAN secretary, said this month that Boko Haram members also attacked Ngoshe village in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State on Nov. 3, killing eight Christians. Several church buildings were razed. No arrests have been made, they said.
Among the dead were Baba Ayuba, Baba Bitrus and Baba Isa Biyabra, a security guard and four others they had yet to identify, they said in a statement.
“They burned 11 houses owned by the Christians and three churches, which were the EYN [Brethren] church, Deeper Life Bible church and the Redeemed Christian Church of God,” the statement read. “We were informed that when the Christian community sought to meet the state governor on this issue, he said he has no time to see them until February next year.”
The Rev. Dr. Soja Bewarang, president of COCIN, said in a Nov. 22 address to the 83rd General Church Council that innocent members of the church had been killed and their property destroyed by Boko Haram militants and Muslim Fulani herdsmen.
“In Borno, Yobe and Gwoza, our members are systematically identified and killed,” he said. “My heart beats for our staff and members in Borno. Retired Rev. Daniel Gula was almost killed by Boko Haram recently. He is presently in Jos recovering from injuries sustained in the cause of running for his dear life. His wife is in the UK for the obvious reason of possibility of kidnapping, being a white person.”
Bewarang said in spite of appeals to the Nigerian government to contain the dangers confronting the church, Christians are not unmindful that God has a final say on resolving the persecution the church is facing in Nigeria.
“Even as we are looking at these issues, we need not forget that God has the final say on man and his security concerns,” he said. “Therefore we must always surrender our security concerns to the Lord, because the Watchman watches in vain if the Lord does not watch alongside with him.”
Photo: The Rev. Ayo Oritsejafor, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria. (Morning Star News)
Please pray for Nigerian Christians
“Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:6) Lord, forgive me for how often I grasp this verse to myself and my own petty problems. Fill my heart with love for your suffering people, especially those under persecution. Let the joy of your dawning burn through their night of weeping. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“You are my hiding-place; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:8) Lord, be this for your persecuted people today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance.” (James 5:10) Lord, help us to hear and honor the witness of your persecuted church in all times and places. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’” (Mark 15:39) Jesus, let the sufferings of your persecuted church bring their persecutors to faith in you, for you are the way, the truth and the life. We pray in your name. Amen.
Obama Nat. Sec. Advisor Confirms US Ignored Pastor Saeed Abedini & Other Americans In Iran Deal
Saving Americans from illegal detentions in any nation should be top priority for our government. This was ‘the opportunity’ that America had to procure his freedom and make that happen. How easy it would have been for the U.S. to demand the release of three Americans, before moving forward with this agreement.
Instead, let us put our hope and trust in the One who is for us and able to perform miracles. Praise Him!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
The Coming Persecution of Christians
Sometime after Hurricane Sandy swept across the Jersey Shore, FEMA money swept into the state, helping to rebuild municipalities and morale. But one New Jersey town isn’t receiving Federal Emergency Management Agency funds despite having sustained millions in damage, losing half its boardwalk; its whole pier; entire buildings; and part of the roof of its Taj Mahal, an ornate, 6,250-seat auditorium built in 1894. But while it has this damage, it also has, from FEMA’s perspective, another problem.
The locale is Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and it’s actually a place where I’ve spent some time. But its plight is also a sign of the times — it’s one town that serves as a microcosm of one civilization’s transition from faith to indifference to anti-Christian animosity.
It wasn’t always like this. Founded by a group of pastors in 1869 and governed by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church (CMA), “OG,” as its fans might call it, was just following a long tradition of faith-based American communities. The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last does a good job recounting its history, writing:
In 1870 the New Jersey state legislature granted the Camp Meeting Association a charter, giving them the power to hold and maintain their property, establish infrastructure, and even create a police force — all in the name of setting their land aside for “the perpetual worship of Jesus Christ.”
In 1879, the state created a new township, called Neptune, and placed Ocean Grove within its boundaries. But while Ocean Grove paid some taxes to Neptune, they continued to provide their own city services and retained independent authority over local laws.
Not surprisingly, OG had different rules than did surrounding communities. Horses and, later on, cars, were banned from sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday; alcohol wasn’t sold; the town’s beach was closed on Sundays for most of its history; and the CMA owned all land within its boundaries. And, as Last put it, “The state tolerated these local laws because the town would not have existed without its religious foundation, which had, for generations, existed with the explicit approval of the government. It was, all in all, a happy state of affairs.”
The efforts to chip away at the town’s autonomy began early, but were initially beaten back. After the New Jersey state legislature incorporated OG in 1920, the state appeals court ruled the move an unconstitutional violation of the free exercise of religion, leaving the CMA in charge of government. Yet this changed in 1976 with OG’s arrest and conviction of a drunk driver named Louis Celmer, Jr. Celmer appealed the decision, claiming that the “very fact of Ocean Grove’s police … was an unconstitutional establishment of religion. He fought all the way to the state supreme court, which wrote a sweeping decision in his favor ordering Ocean Grove to turn over all municipal powers to Neptune,” writes Last.
And that was that. There was now a new normal: The CMA had been reduced to essentially a homeowner’s association, and its ordinances had become by-laws. Yet this satisfied the secular powers that be — for a time.
FEMA had provided OG with disaster relief in 1992 when a nor’easter destroyed its boardwalk, which OG had always made available for public use. And when the bureaucracy refused to provide aid for a small section of the boardwalk damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011, the CMA attributed the refusal to the fact that the section had been leased to a private fishing club.
It would learn differently in 2013. After Sandy struck, the CMA applied for disaster relief — and was denied the very same kind of aid it had received in 1992. What changed? FEMA explained that OG was a private, nonprofit organization. Yet it was no more private or nonprofit than in ‘92. The agency said the boardwalk was a “recreational facility.” But it was no more recreational than before. OG’s by-laws haven’t changed, and it’s arguably less religious than ever. One thing was different, however: It put itself on the federal thought police’s radar screen in 2007 by refusing to let a lesbian couple perform their civil-union ceremony on OG’s boardwalk pavilion.
That explains a bit, doesn’t it?
Now, after tangling with the government and ACLU, the CMA did comply with the “law” — by disallowing all marriage/commitment ceremonies at the pavilion. But this wasn’t enough for the feds. The CMA had served notice that their faith wasn’t just façade; they actually believed. And this sin would not be forgotten — or forgiven.
Of course, we’ll hear many perspectives. Some will point out that accepting government funds invites state puppeteering; others contend that religious entities shouldn’t receive such aid at all. And there’s hypocrisy: OG’s boardwalk was a “public accommodation” when the government wanted to impose secular “values,” but it suddenly becomes “private” when asking for government money. Yet none of this is the point here. This isn’t about storms, aid, boardwalks, and buildings. It isn’t even mainly about homosexuality, faux marriage or what the church/state relationship ideally should be. Rather, it’s about a systemic problem, a certain dark transition.
America once had state churches, and the Bible was once taught in schools. The United States was a thoroughly Christian nation, which is why the Ten Commandments are posted right above the Supreme Court’s bench; crosses and other religious symbols long dotted our public arena and cities have Christian names (e.g., San Francisco, Los Angeles); Congress opened with prayers; and French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, after touring the United States in 1831, remarked that he found her greatness in her churches. None of this was questioned. It was the default.
But this faith slowly eroded, and government policy changed commensurately. Whereas the Supreme Court stated in 1892 that our “laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind … and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian,” it gave us the “separation of church and state” ruling in 1947 and the decrees outlawing school prayer in 1962 and school-sponsored Bible reading in ‘63. Whereas teachers in the late 1800s were often expected to attend church, a century later they wouldn’t even be allowed to mention God in the classroom.
What changed? As with OG and its by-laws, the First Amendment of our supreme law of the land, the Constitution, certainly hasn’t. Society has.
As to this, most today don’t think teachers should be pressured to attend church or that we should have “emphatically Christian” institutions. But, again, what the ideal role of religion is in civilization isn’t the point. Cultural trajectory — and where it will take us — is. Whether it’s the microcosm of OG or the wider society, the pattern is identical: First overt and passionate religiosity is accepted and sometimes applauded. Then it is tolerated. Next only a lesser degree of visible faith passes muster. Then less, and less, and less, as tolerance gradually transitions into hostility and forces religion into the closet. This is when people start saying things such as “Faith should be a private matter.”
But will it end there? Do you really think this transition will suddenly halt? It’s as with the mathematical progressions in school: 2, 4, 6, 8… What comes next is plain.
And we already see it in Barack Obama’s attempt to enforce a contraception mandate on religious entities. It wasn’t enough that faith-oriented employers were stripped of the right to apply their own morals in their own businesses. It wasn’t enough that religious organizations couldn’t receive government funds available to secular counterparts. Now they’re expected to fund activities that violate their beliefs — in a move that’s a radical departure from our long-held understanding of church/state separation.
Why is this happening? Someone once said that stigmas are the corollaries of values; if something is to be valued, it follows that what is contrary to it will be devalued. As approval of homosexual behavior starts to be thought a moral imperative, for instance, it follows that anything that disapproves of it will start to be thought immoral. And history teaches that when something is considered immoral enough, legal prohibitions follow.
Yet, again, this goes beyond homosexuality. The real problem people have with Christianity is that it doesn’t allow for the relativism that not only justifies all sins, but, in fact, the idea that there is no sin. It erects an absolute standard of morality that non-negotiably judges our behavior, and people don’t like being told they’re wrong. For sin to become a “right,” Christianity will have to become a wrong, a civilizational conscience that, for people to proceed with minimal guilt, must be destroyed.
So where does this end? It doesn’t, really. The battle against evil won’t end till the end of time. And Christians have always been persecuted, starting with the Romans, exemplified by the martyrs, and continuing in the modern era with groups such as the Soviets, the Spanish Popular Front leftists, the Red Chinese, and today’s Muslim jihadists.
And with American secular jihadists intensifying their efforts, we’re in for a wild ride. Unless something disrupts our cultural trajectory, I wouldn’t be surprised to see leftists one day propose that having known Christians vote or receive Social Security violates the “separation of church and state” principle. Whatever the details, however, purging our foundational faith amounts to a destruction of Western civilization. And, contrary to what the song says, suicide — especially the cultural variety — is anything but painless.
Written by Selwyn Duke for The New American
An Appalling Betrayal of American Pastor Saeed Abedini
The ACLJ reports that on the night of November 23, 2013, the President of the United States left an American pastor, Saeed Abedini, behind.
The “deal” with Iran announced tonight by President Obama, which allegedly halts “part” of Iran’s nuclear program, allows Iran to enrich uranium and allows it to maintain a nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions and humanitarian relief.
It is outrageous that the Obama Administration commenced these negotiations and concluded them without the release of Pastor Saeed – a U.S. citizen. In fact, the Administration has just confirmed that he was not even part of the negotiations, stating that “The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”
The Obama Administration did not volunteer this information; it was revealed only after a specific inquiry from Fox News.
For more than a year, Pastor Saeed has undergone torture at the hands of his Iranian captors, most recently being transferred to one of the most deadly prisons in the world. Yet instead of demanding the release of this innocent U.S. citizen as a precondition to any negotiations with Iran, the Obama Administration is relaxing sanctions and providing humanitarian relief, while getting nothing but more meaningless promises in return.
Iran has been in a state of armed conflict against the U.S. since 1979. It has taken American hostages, killed Americans directly through terror attacks, and has been a principal supplier of arms to our jihadist enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In other words, Iran has American blood on its hands.
Iran has been our enemy since the jihadist takeover in 1979, and it remains our enemy. It holds an American pastor — torturing him in horrific prison conditions — merely because it hates his Christian faith.
Pastor Saeed entered Iran with the permission of the Iranian government to help construct an orphanage, a mission to help the most vulnerable in Iranian society. Once there, he was arrested, tried without even being allowed to be present for his entire trial, convicted of nothing more than his Christian faith, and held in appalling conditions.
And we’re giving Iran humanitarian relief?
It is difficult to comprehend the level of betrayal. We have made “deals” with tyrants before. One of former President Bill Clinton’s gifts to the world was the 1994 “agreed framework” that provided U.S. aid in exchange for an alleged halt in North Korea’s nuclear program. The result? North Korea is now not only a nuclear power but also a nuclear proliferator that has worked with Iran.
We have left Pastor Saeed behind in the vain hope that we can trust Iran.
It is a dark, cold night in America.
Convert from Islam Flees Iranian Authorities’ Torture, Threats
ISTANBUL (Morning Star News) – The young woman in Tehran, Iran who introduced her boyfriend to Jesus hasn’t seen him since he fled the city, but his dreams give her hope that he is well.
The Iranian woman has heard that since Armin Davoodi fled authorities who threatened him with death for proclaiming Christ earlier this year, he has been having the same recurring dream he had before he put his faith in Christ and stopped his drug addiction and suicide attempts. She was the one who, two years ago, first explained to him that the shepherd in his dream pointing toward the light was Christ.
Like Davoodi, the young woman (name withheld for security reasons) is also an ex-drug addict and convert from Islam. She met Davoodi in a Tehran rehabilitation center where she worked as a volunteer who taught painting therapy.
“They fell in love, and she told him about her conversion and her belief and the wonders of Lord Jesus,” said a friend. “He told her about the dream, and she knew immediately the meaning of this holy dream and told him to be patient because ‘someone is watching over you and loves you.’”
Davoodi eventually accompanied her to an underground church.
“After five months he converted too, and he never used any drugs again,” the friend said. “Also, he never smoked anything again. He became a true believer and devoted his life to the Lord Jesus and chose to evangelize. He wanted to save lives and souls.”
In Iran, which is nearly 99 percent Muslim according to Operation World, courts can impose the death sentence on Muslim men who leave Islam and life imprisonment on women apostates. The young man who once wondered about the mysterious forces that seemed to save him from two suicide attempts now lives in hiding, but he tells Christians he is not afraid of the death that authorities said awaits him if he continues to tell Muslims about Christ.
After Iran’s secret service learned he was evangelizing in the Christian rehabilitation center, Davoodi was falsely convicted of selling drugs in the facility and was sentenced to prison. His probation officer also told him he would face death if he failed to show up for his weekly meeting with him.
“Unfortunately, the secret police got a tip from someone inside the rehab center about his evangelism activities and arrested Armin,” the friend said. “He was beaten and tortured very badly. Since then he has very bad headaches that keep him from functioning for a couple of hours.”
Police also went to his home and temporarily arrested Davoodi’s parents, besides confiscating his personal computer and books, including Bibles he used to take to the rehabilitation center.
“Armin gave police wrong church address information, and that’s why they beat him badly, but they could not break him, because he knew that he has a Protector, and it really helped him to survive in jail,” the friend said. “‘So Jesus saved me again,’ he told everybody when he got released after a while.”
Without evidence for a conviction with a longer sentence, a judge delivered a five-month prison term to Davoodi on charges not only of drug-dealing but activities against religion and being a danger to the government and Islam.
Relatives with strong mosque and secret police connections were able to get him released sooner under numerous conditions, including a requirement that he state in writing that Christians had misled him into the faith and an admission that he sold large amounts of drugs in the rehab center. His parents paid “a lot of money” for his release, the friend added.
“He promised and wrote down also that he was never going to church and never talking with other Muslims about the Gospel, and that if he did, he will get his real punishment, execution, so he had no other choice but to go with their proposal to get released,” he said. “He had to see his probation officer at the secret police office once a week, and if he didn’t appear, then he was considered outlawed and had to fear for his life.”
Davoodi’s brother-in-law told him that if he detected any Christian activities, he would call his probation officer. Davoodi’s parents received phone calls from people calling them anti-Islamic and drug barons. Muslims who heard that he had returned to drugs, and that he was working as a convert from Islam paid by the church, beat him in front of his home. Neighbors did nothing to help him.
He was unable to reclaim his previous job at a rehab center where he had successfully led many people out of drug addiction, and the night school where he had been studying social work sent him a letter saying he was no longer qualified to attend.
“He was monitored and shadowed at home by his brother-in-law, in his neighborhood area by almost everybody and sometimes by secret police and militia,” the friend said.
Davoodi eventually found another job in a private rehabilitation center outside Tehran.
“He did everything very secretly, because he was aware of the consequences if they catch him again, but he had already chosen his way of life and did not fear anything, even death,” the friend said. “Everything went okay, and he was able to help a couple of addicted people by giving them the Holy Bible, taking some of them to one of the secret addresses for Bible studies and helping them to convert. He did it very carefully.”
Family members of one of the addicts who had received a Bible from Davoodi, however, visited their relative at the center and asked him how he obtained it. When they got no answer, they called a security officer at the center. Secret police forced the addict to tell them about Davoodi’s activities and the underground church.
A Christian co-worker at the center took notice and sent a text message to Davoodi telling him not to come to work and to try to leave the city. Davoodi has been in hiding since then.
“Nobody knew where he was hidden, that’s why we were worried and knew that he was in danger,” the friend said. “Everybody thought that he was arrested and was in jail.
Secret police visited his parents, searched the house without a warrant, and took personal property again – computer, books and DVD recorder – and beat his father because of his objections. They found Bibles in the basement and took them as evidence.
The probation officer goes daily to Davoodi’s family-run bakery and threatens to close it as punishment for failing to persuade the fugitive to turn himself in, the friend said.
“But Armin’s dad knows that his son will never do this, because this time the police will never let him go,” he said. “In Iran, these cases are very usual, and we see them on TV and the news.”
Every week, vandals break the windows of Davoodi’s family home; they hope to leave the area and move into an apartment.
“The world should know about the situation of converted Iranians,” the friend said. “We cannot understand why they are afraid of giving freedom of religion to us.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that Iran be designated as a Country of Particular Concern for its “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused.”
Noting that many parents of imprisoned children in Iran inquire daily about their whereabouts and welfare and never receive an answer, the friend was thankful that Davoodi is not incarcerated but said he needs prayers for power to survive.
“He called one of his friends and said not to worry,” he said, “because he sees every night the old shepherd dream again.”
Pakistan: Christians in Rimsha’s village still homeless and fearful
Release partners say that Christians forced to flee from their homes during the Rimsha Masih (also known as Rimsha Misrik) blasphemy row are still homeless – and increasingly desperate.
Between 800 and 1,000 families from Mehrabad are still living in tents or makeshift shelters in a forest area near Islamabad, more than a year after fleeing their homes. They lack even basic services such as water and fear officials may soon move them on.
Release sources say the Christians still fear retaliatory attacks from Islamist extremists enraged by the blasphemy accusations made against Rimsha, a teenager with learning difficulties, in August 2012.
Rimsha was acquitted of blasphemy in November 2012 and was later granted asylum, with her family, in Canada. At the time, Christians in her neighborhood were attacked and forced to flee amid death threats. Some tried to return but were ostracized and not allowed to buy food. They’re now seeking government support to find permanent homes.
– Please pray for a safe and permanent home for the many Christians from Mehrabad who are still living in fear. Pray that officials will act quickly now to ensure their safety and well-being.
– Continue to pray for God’s protection and favor over Rimsha and her family.
‘Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria’ Ignored
Nov. 21, 2013 – One of the worst Christian massacres—complete with mass graves, tortured-to-death women and children, and destroyed churches—recently took place in Syria, at the hands of the U.S.-supported jihadi “rebels”; and the U.S. government and its “mainstream media” mouthpiece are, as usual, silent (that is, when not actively trying to minimize matters).
The massacre took place in Sadad, an ancient Syriac Orthodox Christian habitation, so old as to be mentioned in the Old Testament. Most of the region’s inhabitants are poor, as Sadad is situated in the remote desert between Homs and Damascus (desert regions, till now, apparently the only places Syria’s Christians could feel secure; 600 Christian families had earlier fled there for sanctuary from the jihad, only to be followed by it).
In late October, the U.S-supported “opposition” invaded and occupied Sadad for over a week, till ousted by the nation’s military. Among other atrocities, 45 Christians—including women and children—were killed, several tortured to death; Sadat’s 14 churches, some ancient, were ransacked and destroyed; the bodies of six people from one family, ranging from ages 16 to 90, were found at the bottom of a well (an increasingly common fate for “subhuman” Christians).
The jihadis even made a graphic video (with English subtitles) of those whom they massacred, while shouting Islam’s victory-cry, “Allahu Akbar” (which John McCain equates to a Christian saying “thank God”). Another video, made after Sadad was liberated shows more graphic atrocities.
Here are the words of Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama (another detailed account, with pictures, appears here):
What happened in Sadad is the most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two years and a half… 45 innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves. Other civilians were threatened and terrorized. 30 were wounded and 10 are still missing. For one week, 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields. Among them children, the elderly, the young, men and women…. All the houses of Sadad were robbed and property looted. The churches are damaged and desecrated, deprived of old books and precious furniture… What happened in Sadad is the largest massacre of Christians in Syria and the second in the Middle East, after the one in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq, in 2010.
In the Iraqi attack of 2010, al-Qaeda linked jihadis stormed the church during service killing some 60 Christian worshippers (see here for graphic images of the aftermath).
While the archbishop is correct that this is the “largest massacre of Christians in Syria,” it is but the tip of the iceberg of the persecution the nation’s Christian minority has suffered—including beheadings, church bombings, kidnappings, rapes, and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of Christians—since the war broke out (see Syria entries in monthly persecution series).
A month before Sadad, another ancient Christian region, Ma’loula, one of the world’s very few regions that still spoke Aramaic, the language of Jesus, was besieged by the jihadis, its churches bombarded and plundered, its inhabitants forced to convert to Islam or die. The last words of one man who refused were: “I am a Christian, and if you want to kill me for this, I do not object to it.”
The archbishop concluded his statement concerning Sadad by asking: “We have shouted aid to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? I think of all those who are suffering today in mourning and discomfort: We ask everyone to pray for us.”
Serge Trifkovic—who hails from a European region especially acquainted with Islamic jihad—responds to the archbishop as follows:
That no “human consciousness” is to be found in the White House, or in the editorial offices of the leading Western media, is now a matter of well-established record. Just try searching for “Sadad” (or alternatively “Saddad”) on the websites of the Department of State or The New York Times. Ditto the leading European dailies, the CNN/BBC/RTF, the human-rights defending “NGOs” et al.
The problem, of which Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh appears unaware, is no longer in the Western elite’s mere indifference to the impending demise of Christianity in the lands of its birth, but in its active, ongoing, and open contribution to that demise. Cyprus (1974) and the Balkans (1991-9) provided the test, Iraq (2003-today) the conclusive proof. In Syria the Obama administration remains committed to supporting the rebels—ah, yes, only the “moderate” ones, like the Christian-murdering “Free Syrian Army” (discretion advised again), not “even though” the result will be the same, but precisely because it will be.
In one of the Arabic videos documenting the aftermath of the Sadad massacre, as the mutilated bodies of one family are drawn from a well (around :30 second mark), a middle-aged male relative, in tears, says:
The most precious in the whole universe [his family], are now gone, leaving me alone, but thank God I am still surrounded by these loving people who remain. I want to say, let people [the jihadis] return to their minds. The problems of the world can only be solved by knowledge and brains. Enough insanity, the nerves of the people are shredded. Enough, enough—return to your minds; you people, you humans—return to your humanity, enough crimes.
As a sign of the times, here is a Syrian, an “easterner,” evoking rationalism and humanity, products of the Christian West, at a time when the post-Christian West is governed by anything and everything—propaganda, emotionalism, mindless indoctrination—but the twain.
by Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (Regnery, April, 2013) is a Middle East and Islam specialist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
11/21/2013 Middle East Forum