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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Hindu Extremists Accused of Killing Pastor in Andhra Pradesh, India

India-pastor-Sanjeevi

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – The gang that knocked on the door of a pastor’s home in Andhra Pradesh state and stabbed him to death earlier this month consisted of Hindu extremists, authorities said.

State police have arrested seven of the eight members of the Hindu Vahini group accused of attacking pastor Orucanti Sanjeevi on Jan. 10 at his home in Vikarabad, 64 kilometers (39 miles) from the state capital of Hyderabad, Area Deputy Superintendent of Police J. Ram Mohan Roa told Morning Star News. The other suspect is absconding, he said.

Pastor Sanjeevi, 48, succumbed to his injuries on Jan. 13.

“The key member of this module is Gandikota Srinu, alias RK, a full-time member of the Hindu Vahini, and these same people attempted to kill another pastor in Narketpally,” Roa said.

The Rev. Madhusudan Das of the Evangelical Fellowship of India said the Hindu extremists were upset about Christian growth in the area.

“The area where the pastor was killed was a strongly Hindu-dominated area,” Das said. “However, the church has seen growth as many people decided to follow Christ. The extremists harbored strong resentment against the pastor for the same reason.”

A large throng of Christians had besieged the state chief minister’s office on Jan. 14, protesting the killing and demanding justice, with police detaining some of the protestors.

At about 8:30 p.m. on the night of the attack, the Hindu extremists knocked on the door of the pastor’s house, claiming they wanted to pray with him, sources said. When his wife, Pramila, opened the door, they hit her with an iron rod, they said.

The Hindu extremists then stormed into the house, stabbed the pastor, beat him with clubs and hit him on the head with an iron rod. His wife managed to run out and call for help.

“The pastor was lying in a pool of blood when some people came to help him,” area Christian leader Franklin Sudharkar told Morning Star News. “The attack lasted only about 10 minutes, but the pastor sustained severe injuries as he was stabbed in the liver, intestines and spleen.”

He was rushed to a hospital and put on ventilator, but he succumbed to his injuries at about 3 p.m. on Jan. 13.

Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Churches, told Asia News that members of a Hindu extremist group had engaged the pastor in a heated discussion about three months ago and threatened him.

Pastor Sanjeevi had overseen the 250-member Hebron Church in Vakirabad.

The attack appeared to be well-planned, and police believe the extremists have made a hit list of targets, Roa said.

On Dec. 29, he said, the same Hindu extremists knocked on the door of the house of Baptist pastor Nama Moses in Narketpally, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) from Vakirabad, and attacked him in a similar way. The pastor opened the door thinking the person knocking was seeking shelter, said Moses Vatipalli of the All India Christian Council (AICC).

“One extremist with a knife barged into the house and started stabbing the pastor and the wife while two were standing outside,” Vatipalli told Morning Star News. “The pastor received nine stab wounds, and his wife sustained seven stitches on her head where the extremist hit her with an iron rod.”

The couple received hospital treatment for 15 days, and the pastor was still on bed-rest at press time.

Roa added that the assailants “held grudges against the Christian couple, as his grandparents started attending Christian meetings regularly.”

In the same area on Aug. 9, 2011, masked Hindu extremists attacked pastor Jaya Raj and an unidentified church member at midnight at the pastor’s home. The assailants broke Raj’s left hand and broke his nose, and the other Christian sustained severe injuries to his head, reported the AICC. Both of them received hospital treatment.

Morning Star News

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Chaos In The Central African Republic, Making Sense & Asking Questions

Captureantibalaka

Violence is erupting yet again in the Central African Replubic (CAR). Voice of America is quoting Amnesty International as stating that so called Christian Militia named ‘Anti Balaka’ are wreaking havoc. For many of us, it raises some questions. There are claims these so called Christian militia carry the blood of their enemy around their necks to give them strength, among other charms and potions for luck. This is not the actions of a Christian. It is not Christian doctrine or belief, just the opposite. However, it sounds a lot like the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army.’

womenRead Amnesty International’s Report here. Let’s pose some questions to try to get some answers. Reuters is reporting that the US government is threatening sanctions of the Religious groups involved in the violence. Really? Sanctions?

Kerry said: “Preventing the violence from gaining further momentum and costing more lives will require all of CAR’s leaders, past and present, to be clear in condemning it.” CAR is an oil rich nation, but the money is not with the populace. In fact, many are exceedingly poor. So where is the money? And why are the tribes causing war’s to gain control of it? These are questions that need answering.

Another question: Who is running the military in CAR? The Military, called ‘FACA’, has a very troubled past at best. They have a rich history of mutiny, and France intervening to gain control.

“The Military of the Central African Republic cannot–even with the support of France and the Multinational Force of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (FOMUC)–exert control over its own borders. Hence, armed groups are regularly entering the country from Chad and Sudan. The President said in an interview that he has a good relation with neighbors and fellow CEMAC countries, “put aside the incident with Sudan when the border had to be closed since militia entered C.A.R. territory”

France, accompanied by the Multinational Force In the Central African Republic (FOMUC) are attempting to reform the Army and to make it more ethnically diverse. They are very divided by tribes and tribal peoples. Each tribe loyal to the leader of their own choice.

The next question is why the media isn’t reporting on the Lord’s Resistance Army? They are in CAR, with the Independent reporting on this today. They say that Kony and the LRA’s ouster from Uganda, have been wreaking havoc in the CAR. In November, the now ousted President Djotodia claimed to be in negotiations with Kony for his surrender. This is not your typical ‘Holy War’ as some are trying to portray. There has been a slaughter here done to Christians and Muslims alike.

The Seleka have been compared to the ‘Janjaweed’ a ruthless, souless group of rebel murderers. And the Lord’s Resistance Army who also claims Christian roots, and is hunted internationally for horrendous crimes rivaling none. Rape, murder, you name it, they are guilty of it. They even kidnap and force children to participate in their wars. So why isn’t the media reporting on this? Why are they not telling us that this evil is residing in the CAR?

Lots of unanswered questions, no one seems to be asking. Mainly, they are only reporting on the violence between Christians and Muslims. Those headlines seem to draw more readers. In the meantime, innocent people are being tortured, burned, raped, hacked to death, and beheaded. The world has no solutions, only sanctions.

Authorities examine good luck charms used by Anti-Balaka fighter

Authorities examine good luck charms used by Anti-Balaka fighter

I don’t have an answer to what the solution would be, but I do know that reporting on the root cause and forcing dark rulers to come into the light is a start. The subject of ethnic cleansing is never easy, but that is what’s taking place in this country. The tribes are fighting over the rights to minerals and oil rich lands. And the world watches and waits, because they will pick up what’s left over. Not a pretty picture, when you start to peel back the layers. Pray for the people of CAR.

Here is a report from the Pulitzer Center on the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army in CAR. It does shed some light. Titled ‘Lord’s Resistance Army in Obo, CAR’ It was done in Late 2010

In answering questions it’s important to go back a little in time. This next video done by the Pulitzer Center titled “”Peace” in Central African Republic: Locals Assess UN Peace building Endeavor” show’s some of the politics involved, and history needed to understand it today.

Here is a video of prayer for Central African Republic— Pray with them.(Prayercast | Central African Republic)

 

Nigeria: Battered By Islamic Terror Group – Kill 52, Set 300 Houses Ablaze

Boko-Haram

Maiduguri, Nigeria—The upsurge of deadly attacks by Islamists continues in Nigeria. Latest reports reveal over the past couple of weeks, Boko Haram has stepped up it’s terror operations. Two weeks ago President GoodLuck Jonathon replaced the entire head of his military, without much surfacing as an explanation other than he was stepping up efforts against the Islamic Insurgency. Nigeria is equally divided among Muslims and Christians. The Boko Haram is attempting a take over to establish a fully Sharia (Islamic Law) governed State.

In separate attacks, suspected Islamic militants used explosives and gunfire to attack a market and Christian village during a church service in Nigeria’s northeast, killing and injuring people, demolished shops and hundreds of homes.

One report claims the attacks in Borno and Adamawa states resulted in one of the highest death tolls in recent attacks by militants defying an 8-month old military state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria, designed to end the Islamic uprising there.

On Sunday as gunmen numbering over 50 invaded Kawuri District of Konduga Local Government Area of the state set ablaze over 300 houses and shops after killing 52 people including a soldier, and wounding several others including policemen and civilians, reports Vanguard a Nigerian news outlet.

The Boston Herald reported that attackers set off several explosions in Kawuri village in Borno state after launching their assault near the weekly market as vendors were packing up on Sunday night, the security official said.

He said 52 people died and the entire village was burned down, including 300 homes.  He also said two improvised explosive devices that were left behind went off Monday morning, narrowly missing security personnel who were collecting bodies in Kawuri. The official blamed suspected Boko Haram militants for the attack.

A police official who evacuated wounded victims confirmed at least 52 people were killed and 16 wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to speak to reporters.

Ari Kolomi, who fled from his village, which is 70 kilometers (45 miles) outside Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, said, “No house was left standing” by the more than 50 extremists who attacked, armed with explosives and guns. Kolomi was searching for relatives in the village to make sure they had survived the attack.

State Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko confirmed the attack but said he was awaiting details on the casualties.

Local Chairman Maina Ularamu said officials recovered 45 bodies including those of two police officers.  He urged calm, saying: “I believe security operatives are on top of the situation.”

Also on Sunday, suspected militants in Adamawa state, south of Borno, stormed a Roman Catholic church during a Sunday morning service in Wada Chakawa village. They fired guns into the church, set off explosives and took people hostage during a five-hour siege, residents said. The Rev. Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, said dozens of people were killed.

Villager Moses Apogu said, “They used explosives during the attack on worshippers, and many people lost their lives.” Another resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said some of the people taken away were later killed.

In the adjacent Adamawa State, several people, including two policemen were also feared dead as gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked the church in Chakawa village of Madagali Local Government Area.

The attack in Borno carried out at about 5pm on a market, which many traders and residents sustaining injuries. Some of the injured are being treatment at Konduga General Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

Kawuri District is one of the towns in Konduga, about 60 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

This is the second attack on the town in the last few months. In October some Boko Haram suspects clashed with vigilante youths popularly known as civilian JTF, which led to the killing of 10 people including three youths, while 18 were injured and over 48 shops and many houses burnt in the attack.

The Governor, Kashim Shettima was due to visit the town yesterday morning suspended his trip following intelligence reports that the place was not safe. The terrorists who attacked the town had planted explosive devices, targeting rescue workers and security operatives deployed to maintain law and order.

nigeria-bomb attack

Vanguard gathered that the latest attack on Kawuri town took place on Sunday were gunmen suspected to be terrorists armed with AK47 rifles, IEDs and petrol bombs. They entered the community and wreaked havoc before fleeing into the Sambisa forest.

A survivor, Mallam Mustapha Modu said he counted about 47 dead while several others sustained gunshots and various burns.

In the last week, 37 communities of Kwaljiri, Kaya, Ngawo Fate, Limanti, Njaba, Yahuri, Mude, Wala and Alau among others in Damboa, Konduga and Gwoza council areas have been sacked by terrorists. The displaced residents have taken refuge in neighboring villages of Cameroon Republic and other towns including Maiduguri metropolis.

The Police Commissioner of Borno State, told Vanguard,

“I received an intelligence information that Kawuri town was attacked by Boko Haram sect members suspected to be on revenge mission on market day (Sunday), where many civilians were killed while several others were left with serious burn wounds before they set the whole place on fire. We have deployed our men to the area and very soon I will give you with details.”

Tanko said, some of his men were wounded in the attack but he did not lose any of them.

“The gunmen arrived the town using Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs, and pretended to be villagers coming to the market. “Unknown to the people the gunmen had planted IEDs at strategic areas in the town before carrying out attacks on residents,” said survivor, Malam Isa Ibrahim. He also said gunmen set several houses and shops ablaze before fleeing. Another survivor said, “We counted about 15 bodies of victims at the end of the attack. ‘and also assisted about 20 injured persons to the hospital.”

In Adamawa State, where Christians were attacked on Sunday, some of the worshippers who escaped said, “They used explosives during the attack on worshippers and many people lost their lives”. One worshipper said, “I cannot actually say how many people were killed but about 16 people were evacuated from the church.” Another resident claimed that some houses were also attacked by the gunmen who took some men hostage, while two policemen- an inspector and a sergeant who were on guard in the church were killed. “I saw some people crying, saying that their relatives had been taken away as hostages by the gunmen”.  [other reports claim the hostages were later killed]

Attempts to get military and police authorities in the area to comment on the incident were unsuccessful. A soldier in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity told Vanguard that nine people lost their lives during the attack. He said the Army had sealed up the area and were hunting for the fleeing attackers. Military authorities in Adamawa State have promised to speak on the issue later.

With determination to end the violence perpetrated by terrorists in the region, particularly in Bama, Gwoza, Damboa council areas where over 30 communities were sacked and displaced in the last one week, the state command under the recommendation of the Police Service Commission, has promoted the Area Commander of Bama, Mr. David Dangiwa from the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police. And Officer in-Charge of Operations, Mr. Aminu Koji was promoted from Assistant Commissioner to Deputy Commissioner of Police with immediate effect.

Disturbed by the tragedy, Alhaji Bukar Aji, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), said the fight against terrorism and crimes was a collective responsibility that should not be left for the Presidency alone.

Nigeria-Borno-Adamawa

Maiduguri, is considered the epicenter of the Boko Haram murderous attacks. Nearly 200 people have been killed this month in attacks by suspected members of the Boko Haram terrorist network in the area around Maiduguri. The city is the birthplace of the group, whose name in the local Hausa language means “Western education is forbidden.”

A Jan. 14 car bomb exploded in Maiduguri, killing about 70 people. Officials blamed Boko Haram, though the state governor suggested it was the work of political opponents.

Other attacks have forced the flight of hundreds of villagers in about 30 farming communities around Maiduguri. Some of the displaced are camping on the outskirts of the state capital. More than 5,000 refugees from the violence have fled to Cameroon and Niger this month, the U.N. said last week.

In the wake of the weekend attacks, many Nigerian citizens fed up with the violence, are calling for Nigeria to be divided.  But many Christians in the North would prefer to stay in their generational homeland and live in peace. They’re protection should be top priority and not allowed to be forced out unwillingly by greed, bigotry and radical extremists. PRAY and be their VOICE!

let-s-pray-nigeria

Forgive or Forget: Survivors of genocide in the Holocaust, Rwanda & Cambodia

Forgive or Forget
By C. Refsland/VOP Advocate: Today is Holocaust remembrance day, and as I was preparing a post to remind us not to forget the horrors, I ran across this video. As tears came to my eyes, I realized I had to share this.

The public must become aware of genocide in the past, and present.  We are commanded to forgive, we are commanded to be a ‘Light Unto the World.’  As we remember the past and see it repeating itself today, let us band together in prayer, prayer for the innocents, prayer for those carrying out these atrocities to turn from wickedness into the arms of a forgiving God.

We are commanded to remember those suffering and in bondage as if we were with them.  For we are one body!  One Body in Christ.  My prayer for all the victims, is to find peace and comfort in the arms of our loving Savior.

Watch the harrowing testimonies of Freddie Knoller, Sophie Masereka and Sokphal Din, who lived through mass killings during the second world war, the Rwandan genocide and the Cambodian Killing Fields. The three work closely with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust charity to raise awareness of genocide in the hope that others will be spared similar horrors.

*Warning* Graphic Content

Michigan Mom says School Told Son Not to Bring Bible to School

Jason Cross, 8, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was told not to bring his Bible to Highview Elementary School, according to his mother, who says teachers at the same school distributed worksheets referencing alcohol.

A Detroit-area woman is accusing her children’s school of hypocrisy after her son was told not to bring his Bible to class and her daughter’s teacher distributed worksheets referencing alcohol.

Jessica Cross, of Dearborn Heights, her 8-year-old son, Jason, would take his Bible to school to read during a free period. He was eventually told that book is “only for church, not school,” MyFoxDetroit.com reported.

Cross said her son, who is autistic, has been treated poorly by school staff and subjected to unnecessary punishments.

“Putting my son in time outs for 13 hours a week and refusing him lunch, and just absurd things and just, if I did something like that I’d lose my kids,” Cross said, adding that she has kept classroom logs and has been unable to resolve the issue with school officials since October.

Cross said that after her son was told not to bring his Bible to school, her 6-year-old daughter was sent home with a worksheet that read, “My dad drinks wine. He puts a lime in his wine. It makes my mom smile,” the station reported.

As she was making dinner Wednesday, Cross said her daughter asked her, “‘Mommy, why would a daddy drinking wine make a mommy happy?’ And I dropped my spoon, I was like, ‘What?’”

In an interview with MyFoxDetroit.com, Superintendent Laurine VanValkenburg apologized about the worksheet and said that students are allowed to bring their Bibles to read at school.

“If a child wants to bring a bible to school, they may,” she said, adding that she has been out of town and plans to look into both incidents when she returns.


Read more at MyFOXDetroit

Syria: Christian Stabbed with Crucifix, Decapitated

cross-persecution

According to an Arabic report published today on Aleteia.org, back on January 8, 2014, yet another Christian man was beheaded and his body stabbed with a crucifix, by U.S.-sponsored “freedom-fighters.”

Two young Christian men, Fadi and Firas, were traveling by car, from Homs to the Christian village of Marmarita, when they were stopped and assaulted by five armed jihadis, who opened fire on the car.

According to the report, “And when the mujahidin [jihadis] approached the car, they noticed that Fadi was wearing a cross around his neck, so they decided to decapitate him and plant the cross in his chest.”

They also beat his companion, Firas, leaving him for dead on the ground, and proceeded to plunder their car, stealing money and documents.

However, he recovered — waking only to see his friend’s decapitated and stabbed body — and, wounded and on foot, reached the village of al-Mushtaya, where he was transferred to a hospital.

Update: Agenzia Fides confirms this report: “Islamist groups have killed and beheaded a young Christian man, seriously wounding another…  A group of five armed jihadists intercepted the vehicle and opened fire on the car. Upon reaching the car, militiamen, noting that Fadi was wearing a cross around his neck, beheaded him.”

Fides, however, does not mention the cross stabbing recorded in the Arabic report.  Did Fides deem it too graphic, inciting, hate-promoting, or whatever, opting to omit?   At any rate, both English and Arabic language reports make clear that it was the sight of the crucifix that prompted the jihadis to murder Fadi.  That alone is indicative of extreme vehemence for the Christian cross and those who wear it.

By Raymond Ibrahim

Please keep our Syrian brothers and sisters in your prayers.

Muslim Extremists Attack Visiting Preacher on Tanzania’s Zanzibar Island

Islamic extremists pulled down a Church of God building in Kianga, Zanzibar in April 2012. (Morning Star News)

Islamic extremists pulled down a Church of God building in Kianga, Zanzibar in April 2012. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – More than 100 Muslim extremists on Tanzania’s semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar stormed a church following an evening worship service on Jan. 11 and beat a visiting preacher, sources said.

The mob, including suspected members of Islamic extremist groups, meant to attack the Pentecostal Evangelism Fellowship of Africa (PEFA) congregation’s senior pastor, Bishop Daniel Kwilemba, who was not present at the church site in Kisauni village, outside Zanzibar City. Instead, they found a preacher visiting from the Tanzania mainland – William Saidi of the Free Pentecostal Church in Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, church leaders said.

“These rowdy Muslims were shouting and yelling, saying, ‘We are looking for the bishop of the church to slaughter him – we are tired of the existence of this church near our mosque and the noise they are making,’” said a church elder.

The mob fled when police arrived and rescued the pastor after he had suffered multiple contusions for which he is still taking medication, sources said. The assailants tore his shirt and suit coat.

Since the attack, the Muslim extremists have been issuing threats that the church should leave the area near Zanzibar City, capital of the semi-autonomous island in the Indian Ocean about 25 kilometers (16 miles) off the coast of Tanzania, sources said. A church member added that the congregation has been living in fear for their lives.

“At the moment we cannot worship freely because we are being threatened,” the church member said. “The Muslims are accusing us of making a lot of noise while they themselves make a lot of noise.”

Police arrested some suspects and took them to Kisauni police station, but they were later released, sources said.

During the past Christmas season the Muslim extremists threatened to burn down the building of the PEFA church, which began three years ago.

On Sept. 13, 2013, on the outskirts of Zanzibar City, suspected Muslim extremists threw acid on the Rev. Joseph Anselmo Mwangamba, a 60-year-old Catholic priest, outside an Internet café.

On Feb. 17, 2013, suspected Islamic extremists on shot and killed the Rev. Evaristus Mushi, a 56-year-old Roman Catholic priest, in the Mtoni area outside Zanzibar City (see Morning Star News, Feb. 20). The murder came nearly two months after the Christmas Day 2012 shooting of another Catholic priest, the Rev. Ambrose Mkenda, that seriously injured him.

At midnight on April 20, 2013, Islamic extremists in Kianga, 16 kilometers (11 miles) from Zanzibar City, demolished most of the Church of God’s Pool of Siloam church building, a church leader said. Three suspects were arrested, only to be released after three days.

Muslim extremists had attacked the church building before, setting part of it on fire on Feb. 19, 2013 and battering it with sledge hammers in November 2011.

While Tanzania’s population is 34.2 percent Muslim and 54 percent Christian, according to Operation World, the Zanzibar archipelago is more than 97 percent Muslim.

Convert In Algeria Risks Losing Wife, Daughter

Tizi Ouzou, in northern Algeria. (Wikipedia)

Tizi Ouzou, in northern Algeria. (Wikipedia)

TIZI OUZOU, Algeria (Morning Star News) – A Muslim woman in this northern Algerian city seeks to divorce a convert from Islam because of his new faith, while her brother and lawyer suggest he should be killed for apostasy.

At a session for the purpose of reconciling the couple yesterday, the judge suggested the first option would be for Ali Touahir to recant his new faith, Touahir told Morning Star News, pointing out that the judge’s hijab, or face covering, indicated she was a devout Muslim.

“The first question the judge asked was, ‘Now then, Mr. Touahir, what have you decided?’” the 52-year-old Touahir said. “And I answered, “Madame, what do you want me to tell you? There is nothing that has changed…”

His wife, Makhtour Wahiba, then interrupted him, saying he was stubborn, he did not want to change and he wished to remain a Christian, he said.

“I then took the floor to ask my wife not to cut me off, but to let me speak,” Touahir told Morning Star News. “So I added, ‘If there is a change, it would be in my heart, which neither you nor my wife can see or understand. My faith in God is personal; this is a matter between me and God alone. ”

Glaring at him, he said, the judge raised her voice in replying, “Mr. Touahir, that is precisely why your wife cannot continue to live with you under the same roof.”

Wahiba (or Ouahiba) left him in June 2013, six months after he was baptized, by having him take her and their 7-year-old daughter to her mother’s home and then refusing to leave it; their daughter, Imane, remained with her, and Wahiba has forbidden him from seeing her.

“I felt I was betrayed not only by my wife, but also by her brothers in this,” Touahir said.

He later later met with one of Wahiba’s brothers, who openly threatened to kill him for converting, he said.

Touahir has been married to Wahiba since 1997. His wife seeks thousands of dollars in support, and at the hearing yesterday (Jan. 22) she reiterated her demand that Touahir be prohibited from seeing Imane. The judge, however, disagreed.

“I told the judge that my wife has forbidden me from seeing my daughter,” Touahir said, his eyes red with grief. “I told her, ‘I have not seen my daughter for over a month; it’s just that she dared to change my daughter’s school without even informing me. What right has she to do this?’”

The judge then informed Wahiba that she had no right act in this manner, but when she requested that Wahiba allow Touahir to visit the girl, Wahiba refused.

“She exclaimed in response to the judge, ‘No, I will never let him take her or see her – my daughter is Muslim, and I do not want him to poison her with his Christian ideas,’” Touahir said. “Fortunately, the judge did not let her, replying, ‘No, madame, the law authorizes him to see his daughter, and you are obliged to obey or we will be forced to use the law.’”

After getting Wahiba to agree to let Touahir see Imane on Friday (Jan. 24), the judge adjourned the session and said the case would be resumed next week.

Touahir was baptized on Dec. 29, 2012, months after a friend provided him the message of salvation by faith in Christ, and his friend’s personal conduct impressed him, he said. He attended a church worship service and received a copy of the New Testament, and after reading it decided to give his life to Christ, he said. He continues to worship at the same church, undisclosed for security reasons.

Touahir’s own conduct changed after converting, he said, as he remained gentle, patient and kind through Christ in the face of his wife’s strident and frequent objections to his faith. Before she left him, every day Washiba threatened him and told him to abandon his faith, he said.

“‘You brought sin into the house,’ was her incessant language,’” he said. “‘You have denied the faith of our ancestors, you are deceived, return to reason.’”

Her Islamist brothers persuaded her to seek a divorce through the courts, he said. In court documents, her attorney states that Touahir was born a Muslim from a Muslim father and grandfather.

“But now he is going the wrong way by converting to Christian faith and has started going to church, which is against sharia [Islamic law],”  attorney Djouder Mahd wrote. “It is not possible that my client still remain under the same roof with a man who has renounced his religion, as he became apostate; and we are not ignorant of the punishment that is due an apostate under sharia [death].”

Algeria does not operate under sharia, and apostasy and conversion are not illegal, but the constitution declares Islam the state religion and prohibits institutions from engaging in behavior incompatible with Islamic morality, according to the U.S. State Department. Proselytizing by non-Muslims is a criminal offense, carrying a maximum punishment of 1 million dinars (US$12,845) and five years in jail.

The constitution provides for religious freedom, but other laws, policies, and practices sometimes restrict religious freedom, according to the State Department’s 2012 Report on International Religious Freedom.

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