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Nigeria: Christian Village Attacked By Insurgents & Abandoned By Nigerian Security Forces

A Christian home that was destroyed

A Christian home that was destroyed

Investigative Report: By VOP Foreign Correspondent, Nigeria.
An overview of the village

Ngoshe Samma is located in the hills and mountainous region of the Mandara Mountains in Gwoza local government area of Borno State, Nigeria. The people living in this area were the first reached by missionaries with a vision for church planting. The outreach was very successful and many traditional herbalists, native authorities and the people practicing paganism were converted. Churches were quickly built and the work of the missionaries expanded. Multitudes found their way to the new churches and accepted Christ as their personal savior. Close to 90% of the indigenous people converted to Christianity.

Ngoshe Samma is sometimes mistaken for Ngoshe Glavda village. The two villages were originally called Ngoshe, but later separated with Ngoshe Samma located at the top of the mountains and Ngoshe Glavda located on surface land. Fifty percent of the Ngoshe Glavda population was Christian.

The Christian communities continued to grow and expand. They built sturdy houses, sent their children to school and specialized in large scale farming and other various businesses. Ngoshe Samma had over 400 Christian families, the majority attended the Church of Christ (COCIN) and the Church of Brethren, (EYN).

But the Muslims in the area grew intolerant of them and their Christian faith.

MAJOR ATTACK ON THE NGOSHE SAMMA VILLAGE: (FIRST DAY)

Sharing his experience with our correspondent, Mr. Irmiya Dangawa (52 yrs) lamented on the situation as not only persecution, but rated the destruction as a deliberate agenda by the Muslim community to force out Christianity from the entire Gwoza local government. Other eye witnesses of the three day terror operation spoke on the same issues. They said on the first day of attacks, about 34 insurgents came around 6:45pm with heavy weapons such as AK-47’s and explosives. They stormed into the town and started shooting into the air chanting, “Allahu Akbar” meaning Allah is great. They separated to different areas of the villages, killing, looting anything of value, destroying and burning houses and the churches. Their operations were well staged and organized, as they carried out their attacks systematically, one after another.

Stage One (November/17/2013)

The first stage of the operation started from Angwan Lawan, which was also called (Ngalamaham) ward. They set explosive devices and bombed the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), they killed two Christians and broke into houses looting any valuable property inside. Afterwards, they set the houses ablaze. They proceeded to Kololo ward, ransacked all the houses, removed everything and set the houses on fire. Eluding the terrorists was extremely difficult for the villagers. Most had to crawl face down on their stomachs to escape.

The rebels invaded Ngulok ward and captured two young men, slaughtered them and threw their remains into a cave. They searched all the houses and removed all their contents. They ransacked Christian shops and took any money that was found. This concluded their first phase of the attacks and the Christians were left in pools of blood and serious agony.

Stage Two (November/17/2013)

After the insurgents had rested, they stockpiled the looted items and headed to Zerande Village. They stormed into the ward, burnt houses and shot at anyone who came out, including animals. They separated into two groups; the first group went to COCIN church, the other went to the  Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN). While chanting, “Allahu Akbar” they threw bombs into the churches. The explosions brought down the church buildings, which collapsed and destroyed the many food items and documents stored inside.

They then went to the Christian Dispensary which had been established for many years. They removed medical equipment, pharmaceutical drugs and apparatus, planted two bombs and the building came down in a pile of ashes. Not far away, a clinic quarters that was built for the hospital workers, was also destroyed by multiple bomb blasts.

Stage Three (November 17, 2013)

After securing all the looted items, they proceeded to Ngarale ward. They first packed up all the Christians belongings, then set their homes on fire. From there, they went to Angwon Dangwawuhw, but most of the Christians had already fled. The insurgents shot the animals, burnt the houses and dragged away goods.

A resident wishing to remain anonymous, was hiding and watching the event take place. He told our correspondent, the insurgents could not carry away all the items and wanted to enslave some of the Christians to carry the heavy load. They started running after the villagers, but were unsuccessful to capture anyone. Out of their frustration and anger, they slaughtered 22 goats. He added, “It was only God that kept me hidden from the insurgents, or else they could have set fire to my location and killed me.”

He grieved, “I saw them with my own eyes. The animals and livestock were shot and killed, because they could not find any of us to carry their loads.” The rebels ransacked homes and confiscated 13 motorcycles. Everything was either taken or destroyed. As night fell, they sent some of their members to take the looted goods to their camps in the hills. Others stayed behind and slept in the village waiting for daybreak. In the morning, they gathered more livestock and sent them to their camps.

CHRISTIANS NEGLECTED AFTER  REPORTING ATTACKS TO AUTHORITIES

While the attacks, looting and killings continued; some of the Christians ran to the District head of Gwoza (Alh. Ibrahim Abbas ) pleading for help. They begged for security men to be deployed to the area. They were given lame excuses that the Military and Police were not in joint operation. He said even if they were informed, they would never go to end the violent attacks. Desparate,  the villagers reported the matter to the Emir of Gwoza ( Alhaji Shehu Idrisa Timta) who sympathized with them and said to seek protection from the Cameroon government. He remarked that the Nigerian security would only delay and not come to their immediate aid. Even so, he advised them to report to the military checkpoint with their request for help. The military men said security forces could not be deployed, because Ngoshe Samma was not part of their jurisdiction. Crushed, they left disillusioned and abandoned by those they had thought were there to protect them.

With no where else to turn, they mounted up the courage to travel through an area where insurgents had waited to ambush them. One insurgent on guard and tired, was unexpectedly caught by the returning villagers and they severely beat him. They tied him up and took him to the Army men, who executed him when bullets were found in his pocket. Elsewhere, the insurgents were busy planning their second attack for the following morning.

MAJOR ATTACK – DAY 2 (November/18/2013)

Before the rebels restarted their attacks, they designated an area of the village as an emergency Mosque to pray and thank Allah for giving them success over the Christians. The villagers hiding nearby, said the rebels vowed to carry out a three day operation. They claimed with confidence that no security forces or their weapons could stop them, because Allah was leading their mission. They even invited the security forces to come and attack them. Emboldened, they set out to begin their planned attacks to be carried out phase by phase on the Christian communities.

Phase One (November/18/2013 )

The rebels started with a house of HAMSA, packed up all the property and set it ablaze. They advanced to the house of a wealthy, prominent christian who spoke for Believers in the community. They took some of his belonging and burnt the rest. They chanted, “Allahu Akbar” in the centre of the village, while roaming about with the Christian’s property. When they discovered most of the Christians had evacuated, they set over 100 houses ablaze hoping to flush out those in hiding and shoot them.

Phase Two (November/18/2013)

They detonated explosives in strategic locations and set up an ambush for security men, expecting to engage them in battle. They waited for the forces to show up, but they never arrived. They took livestock, food items and anything of value, then sent them to their camps. Before leaving they set off bombs which burnt 6 churches, killed 4 people and set fire to the entire village where 400 families had resided.

Displaced Christians over the hills looking for where to sleep

Displaced Christians in the hills looking for a place to sleep

THE  SITUATION FOR CHRISTIANS AFTER THE ATTACK

It was heart wrenching when our correspondent interacted with some of the women and children, now homeless and displaced in the open cold weather. The majority had nothing to eat and many were sick with no medical attention, because everything had been destroyed.

Our reporter’s investigation revealed that all in the Christian community had been scattered. Some fled to the Cameroon refugee camps, others stayed in the Nigerian camps.  Most who spoke to our reporter believed that God Almighty had helped them to forgive their enemy. With all the persecution they had endured, the Christians were not holding it against the attackers.

Their village head equally displaced, visited all the camps on 11/19/2013. Accompanied by a Christian brother called Irmiya, they went together to sympathize with the refugees, as they considered it all as a test of faith. They also thanked the Cameroon authority for keeping the refugees in a safe area.

CAMEROON INTENTIONS FOR THE CHRISTIAN REFUGEES  

Due to the terrible attacks on the villages and perpetual hunger that bewildered the people, they were taken to refugee camps in Cameroon. They were taking care of the woman and children and assured their safety. They fed them daily and provided drugs for the sick.

A prominent leader of the village told the VOP correspondent, that some of the refugees were taken from the nearest camp on the Cameroon border to almost 120 km towards Mokolo Town in Cameroon. Their explanation for doing this action was that they were free to change their citizenship, if they were willing. When the leader of the displaced villagers heard the news, he warned that the Christians wanted to one day return home. The refugees have refused the proposal to become Cameroon citizens.

GOVERNMENT’S NEGLECT OF THE REFUGEES IN GWOZA

GCCAWhen the devastating attacks became overwhelming, the Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA) petitioned the Governor in an open letter about plight of over 14,000 displaced Christians. Instead of the governor looking into the matter for a proper assessment, he neglected the association and inaugurated a committee of twenty Muslims, including two Christians. The committee was under a state legislator who was known as a fanatic who supported the rebel insurgency. Another prominent committee member was the Commissioner of Commerce in Borno state, who had converted to Islam. Though her father is a Christian, she was cited to be bias in dealing with the Christian community.

Part of the responsibility of the committee was to look into plight of the Christians and disburse ₦100,000,000 ($626,364.83) to the affected Christians. Concerned, the Christians questioned how Muslims can effectively chair a committee that affects a Christian community. Not a single Pastor or church leader was among them. To pacify the people for Christian representation, the two Christian political figures were added to the committee. Some members of the community told our correspondent that the two Christians were not known for strong faith, and were being used to achieve a malicious agenda.

AGENDA OF THE COMMITTEE

While the committee was compiling the list of villages affected, they deliberately omitted the name of Ngoshe-Samma and other badly affected Christian villages. They were recommending only Muslim areas who had been looting the Christian properties, while they had been displaced.

This action provoked the Christians of Ngoshe Samma to call a meeting. Irmiya Dangwa blasted the committee with insults, accusing them of self centeredness with a motive to push the Christians out of the area. In his speech, he assured them that nobody abuses Christians without being accountable to God, including the committee members. He as well lambasted the so-called Christians that joined the committee, telling them to their faces that God would also judge them. Afterwards, they asked him to give them some time to reconsider the options.

Later, they apologized to him and promised they would review the plan. They also contributed ₦100,000 ($626.00) out of their own pockets and bought 20 bags of maize for him to take back to his people, before the final decision was made. It was later noted that the State Governor dissolved the committee for a reason unknown to the populace. As of this date, nothing has been given to Christian communities.

Displaced Refugees Children Eating Rice on Christmas Day- DEC. 25,2013

Displaced Refugees Children Eating Rice on Christmas Day

PRESENT SITUATION OF THE CHRISTIANS

Our correspondent who visited the five refugee camps, was able to gather that the Christians were seriously suffering and receiving no type of help. They are appealing to international organizations to come to their aid, to give the displaced Christians a little comfort and means for survival.

Article/photos may be reprinted with link to original work and credit to VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Update On Oregon Bakery Persecuted For Christian Values & Beliefs

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Evidently the Oregon Bureau of Labor And Industries have ruled that an Oregon Bakery owned by a couple who refused to do a cake for a homosexual wedding has made their ruling.  They have ruled that ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa’  has discriminated against a homosexual couple and violated their civil rights. Oregon say’s that it’s discrimination based on sexual orientation.  They give a pass to religious organizations but not businesses.  What’s ironic is this same law they are touting also say’s no discrimination based on religious beliefs.  Hello!

They posted on facebook that they were just awaiting news on the fine.  They also thanked everyone for their support, & said this:

I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands.” 

It’s not a matter of discrimination, it’s a matter of destroying Christian Businesses.  How fast do you think a lawsuit would have been thrown out if this couple were Muslim?  It would never had made it past the prosecutor.  God does have this, He will prevail.

Isaiah 45:2  I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

They have come under scrutiny from many, and they have held their ground.  They have stood up for God’s laws and words, and have been persecuted.  What happened to a business has the right to refuse service to anyone?  What happened to the religious  freedom rights?  They are doing the same things to Christians as they say are being done to them.  Forcing their beliefs on others.  They are bullying, tormenting, & intimidating in order to get what they want.  Regardless of what anyone else wants or believes.  I saw this on their facebook page and had to share it, it is so true.

By C. Refsland

 

 

Confirmed: U.S. Chief Facilitator of Christian Persecution

unclesam-rebel

Prominent indicators confirm that the U.S. is the chief facilitator of the persecution of Christians around the world today.

According to the recently released 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Afghanistan fifth, and Libya 13th. All four countries receive the strongest designation, “extreme persecution” (other designations are “severe,” “moderate,” and “sparse” persecution).

Aside from being so closely and harshly ranked, these four nations have something else in common: heavy U.S. involvement. Three—Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—were “liberated” thanks to U.S. forces, while in the fourth, Syria, the U.S. is actively sponsoring “freedom fighters” against the regime, many of whom would be better labeled “terrorists.”

The Syrian situation alone indicts U.S. foreign policy. According to Reuters:

Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 “martyr” killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said. “This is a very minimal count based on what has been reported in the media and we can confirm,” said Frans Veerman, head of research for Open Doors. Estimates by other Christian groups put the annual figure as high as 8,000.

While most Americans are shielded from the true nature of the war by the U.S. media’s reluctance to report on it, Arabic media, websites, and activists daily report and document atrocity after atrocity—beheadings and bombed churches, Christians slaughtered for refusing to convert to Islam, and countless abducted for ransom or rape—at the hands of those whom the U.S. supports.

It’s enough to point out that “the largest massacre of Christians in Syria,” to quote a top religious leader, was left wholly unreported by any major U.S. news network.

At any rate, the statistics speak for themselves: Syria, which used to be religiously tolerant, is now, in the context of the United States’ trying to bring “democracy” to it, the third worst country in the world in terms of “extreme persecution” of Christians.

The Blaze reports that Dr. David Curry, president of Open Doors,

charged that the Obama administration has essentially declined to make the protection of religious minorities a priority . . . “There are many instances where the vacuum of leadership and spokesmanship has created a real problem,” said the human rights leader. “I would say that every significant data point on this year’s ‘2014 Watch List’ is worse—and I think a factor in it is a lack of leadership from Western governments including . . . the U.S. in terms of religious freedom.”

But it’s worse than that. Far from taking any action or providing leadership—or simply ceasing to support the terrorists responsible—the Obama administration recently tried to go to war with Syria on behalf of the “freedom fighters,” amazingly, in the name of “human rights” (Apparently the unsubstantiated rumor that Assad massacred people is enough for the U.S. to go to war, but the ongoing and well-documented massacres of Christians and other civilians at the hands of the opposition is not enough for the U.S. to stop supporting them.)

What’s worse, even the most misinformed mainstream-media-watching American today knows that the so-called “Arab Spring,” which was hailed to justify U.S. support for “rebels” of all stripes—in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood (which months ago destroyed some 80 churches); in Libya, al-Qaeda, which has turned Benghazi into a terror zone; and now the “freedom fighters” in Syria—is not what it was touted to be.

In other words, at this point, whenever the U.S. intervenes in an Islamic nation, Islamists come to power. This is well demonstrated by the other three nations to which the U.S. brought “democracy” and where Christian minorities suffer “extreme persecution”:

Surely a common theme emerges here: Where the U.S. works to oust secular autocrats, the quality of life for Christians and other minorities takes a major nosedive. Under Saddam, Qaddafi, and Assad, Christians and their churches were largely protected.

Moreover, while George W. Bush was responsible for Afghanistan and Iraq, the argument can be made that, back then (2001 and 2003), this pattern of Islamic radicalization that erupts once autocrats are gone was less well known than it is today. There weren’t many precedents.

Conversely, the Obama administration has had both Afghanistan and Iraq to learn from—and yet still it supports Islamists and jihadis. But by now, what happens once they assume power—religious persecution, terror, oppression—is no longer a secret.

Incidentally, those who care little for the fate of Christians or other minorities in the Islamic world would do well to remember a simple truism: Wherever anti-Christian elements come to power, anti-American forces come to power. The two are synonymous.

Put differently, Muslim persecution of Christians is the litmus test of how radical an Islamic society has become. In all those Muslim nations that the U.S. has interfered in—Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt (till the Egyptians revolted, to the chastisement of the U.S.), and now Syria—the increase of religious intolerance is a reflection of the empowerment of forces hostile to Western civilization.

I am often asked, “How can we help persecuted Christians?” At this point, one must respond: “How about starting with getting the U.S. government to stop being the chief facilitator of Christian persecution?” Altruism aside, it would be in the interests of all who value freedom, religious or otherwise—and especially their descendants.

Ray Ibrahim also at National Review Online

 

INDIA: Pastor illegaly held in jail for past 25 days

India map

INDIA: Pastor Lalit Kumar Khugur (35yr) working with CGM Ministries in Jashpur, Chattisgarh State. Jashpur is around 100 kilometers from Raipur City the Capital of Chattisgarh.

When Pastor Lalit was holding his usual church service in his home on Sunday, 12/29/2013, 24  people barged into his house [4 Policemen and 20 neighbors] and started shouting to come out and stop the service.

Pastor Lalit’s wife, Meena  asked why they should stop the Church service and informed them that  they will go out later. When Pastor Lalit came out,  they took hold of him and started dragging him. Frightened, Meena followed them and told them to stop the illegal act of forcefully taking her husband in such a way. They told her to meet them at the police station, as they continued to drag him away.  No further details are given in the report.

Meena went with another believer to the police station where  Lalit had been locked up.
The couple have  3 children  8yr-4yr-3yr and Meena delivered her 4th baby while her Pastor Lalit in the Jail, now over 25 days. Please lift this dear brother up  in your prayers.

Source

Texas judge orders home schooled children removed from Christian parents’ home

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas home school families need to take note of this case. While the parents won, and should never have had their children taken, it is still a lesson in how the attitudes and beliefs of social workers can override the law.

It seems to me that these judges and case workers need some kind of in-service training on home school laws. Mr. and Mrs. Tutt are a Christian family who has their own children and foster children.

They home school. Unlike most couples, they are equipped to handle special needs children who are particularly difficult to place. They recently had a temporary placement, a small child with autism, who wondered off. While he was found a short way from the home (the father was looking for him) by a police officer, Child Protective Services (CPS) followed up the investigation with a home visit.

“According to a recent article from the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), a CPS caseworker investigated the Tutt family’s home and concluded by saying, “There is no problem here.” However, the caseworker also remarked, “Nobody in their right mind would want to stay home all day with so many children!” and ordered Mrs. Tutt to enroll in parenting classes and take a psychological examination.

Despite the fact that Mrs. Tutt showed CPS workers numerous parenting class certificates and paperwork certifying her mental health, a local judge ordered the Tutts’ seven children to be removed from the home. In November, armed constables seized the children and kept them under government custody for nearly two months.”

The removal of the children was clearly illegal. Texas law precludes taking the children unless a clear  threat to the children. Furthermore, Texas law gives parents the right to home school. At the first hearing, the judge upheld CPS’s decision. The hearing lasted 8 hours and Mrs. Tutt’s faith and home school liberties were attacked.

“The hearing quickly devolved into a relentless attack on this family’s religious beliefs, community service, and right to home school their children—with no legal basis at all,” Lambert reports. “CPS attorneys berated Mrs. Tutt for not using a ‘state-certified home school curriculum,’ in spite of the fact that there is no such thing in Texas. The guardian ad litem denigrated her for not submitting documentation of her home schooling to the state on a regular basis, including state-mandated tests. This, of course, is not only not required, but there is no way for someone to do so in Texas.”

Even though no evidence of parental abuse or neglect was ever mentioned in the hearing or the original removal affidavit filed with the judge,  Judge Graciela Olvera ruled that the Tutts’ children should be kept under government foster care and not returned to their parents, based on CPS arguments about the children being home schooled. The parents were further ordered to take parenting classes, submit to psychological evaluations, drug and alcohol testing, and psychiatric tests.

The couple appealed the decision. The judge ruled that the state return the children. Based on the facts of the case, she determined that the children were removed due to homeschooling, not abuse or neglect. She overturned Olvera’s ruling, which was not based on abuse findings, but rather complaints about homeschooling.

The reversal is good news, but the warning here is clear. There is a generation of bureaucrats who [simply] don’t accept homeschooling. Christians need to be diligent and steadfast in upholding their rights.

via There is a generation of bureaucrats who simple don’t accept homeschooling. Christians need to be diligent and steadfast in upholding their rights.

Read Full Article at joeforamerica.com

(PER COPYRIGHT LAWS: SHARED AS WRITTEN FROM THE ABOVE SITE)

UPDATE from original author, Allison Martinez – Free Patriot

*UPDATE 1-22-14 *– It has been brought to the  attention of Joe for America that the Tutts’ victory is not as  straightforward as the above article had previously claimed.  Only 4 of the  Tutts’ 7 foster children were returned to their care.  One remains with his  father, another is remaining in state care pending adoption, and the status of  the third child remains unknown.  The 4 returned children have been  instructed to return to public school while the Tutts undero redundant and  unnecessary mental health and drug abuse screenings.

When the state rolls into your life, there is very rarely a happy endings.   This story underscores the need for home school parents to be prepared for  every challenge.  We at JFA recommend checking out the Home School Legal Defense Association.  This  organization is prepared to protect your home school children at the instant the  case worker shows up at the door. Resources such as these should be on every  parent’s speed dial!

 

Forgotten Crises: Central African Republic & The Sudan

In previous reports, we looked at the refugee camps in Syria. But the refugee camps in Africa are just as wretchedly miserable. The recent CAR conflict has left thousands displaced. The exact numbers are cloudy, but are starting to surface. The entire region in Southern and Central Africa are in crises and the fighting continues. Other news agencies are reporting that the weapons movement to this region has a fairly easy road from Libya and other countries. Christian Persecution is at an all time high. Wanting nothing but peace and normalcy, innocent children are the ones who suffer the most, as they tell us in this touching video below.

News agencies and Christian organizations report that the refugees are living in deplorable conditions “like animals.”

They claim that pastors are in dire need, attempting to worship amidst the difficulties. Through it all, they continue to demonstrate great faith and strength.

Sky News is reporting on the horrific conditions for those caught in the CAR conflict. They witnessed a teenage girl go into labor.  She had been raped by the Seleka, and gave birth in squalid conditions, while mid wives tried to help her by forcing the baby. (From Sky News Click to watch video, *Graphic*) 

France 24 reported in October of last year that those fleeing the Seleka were flooding a Catholic Mission in Bossangoa, mostly women and children. The men were afraid to leave the mission for fear of being picked up by the Seleka and accused of being part of a militant group. The women were left to scrounge for food, and still had to pay bribes and face rape and torture.

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Interim President Djotodia has been removed from office and it is said the Seleka are being disbanded. But these people have lost their homes, their families and everything they had. Most of the children have lost their security. There have been reports that the Seleka will still retaliate if they don’t agree with the new government. An apparent vicious circle. Today, Yahoo news is reporting that fresh acts of violence has broken out.  They say there is violence everywhere and it will get worse as the deadline to the election closes in. It’s far from over for these beleagured, war weary people. How much more can they endure? (More)

Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are facing similar trials. There are thousands fleeing from Sudan into UN humanitarian camps. It has been reported that human trafficking has become the new black market and is prospering. Those fortunate enough to scrape money together and are strong enough to flee, are met on the roads by bandits and human traffickers. From this map you can see how easy it is for them to traffic arms and people.

File:Central African Republic Map.jpg

According to Caritas the number fleeing Sudan has grown by leaps and bounds:

graph

We can see this war in Sudan is no different than the conflict happening in CAR. Warring tribal leaders and government’s driven by greed over control of mineral and oil rich lands, force innocent people into extreme suffering.

Two weeks ago, Sudan was reported as the youngest South African country. Today it is possibly the next Rwanda. Again we see an oil rich country that has it’s government fighting for control with the rebels, while the citizens are caught in the middle.  Some say ‘It’s a resource wealth coveted by global powers.’  So again, at the expense of people wanting nothing more than to rebuild their shattered lives in peace. (More)

Here too, we see the world turns a blind eye, and as in the past–world leaders turn their heads. What is the answer? Start with awareness. Help us to raise awareness of this and other humanitarian crises. Share these reports, talk about them, write to your representatives.  Talk to your Pastor’s and church leaders, your prayer groups.  Keep praying for those persecuted and those caught in this ethnic and sectarian violence.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.  (Hebrews 13:3)

Report by: VOP Advocates, C.Refsland / L.Kanalos

Article may be reprinted with link to original report and credit to VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED.

Related:

Africa: A Sinister Plot Behind The Massacre In CAR (Voice Of The Persecuted)

WARNING: Brink of Catastrophe – Central African Republic (Voice Of The Persecuted)

Bishop: Sudan’s Christians Are ‘On the Cross’ Daily (Voice Of The Persecuted)

Fortress Europe: Syrian Refugees Facing One Of Histories Worst Humanitarian Crises

When searching the internet or listening to the media, you may learn of the many countries and individuals that have pledged funds to aid the Syrian Refugees and the innocent. In truth, this is not the case–we find the aid reaching these true victims of war is sparse.

How can the world stand by while people are forced to live in the most deplorable conditions, as these people, including children starve to death? In the West, if animals are found  treated in these same conditions, there would be arrests and charges of inhumane and cruel treatment. Yet civilization, including many churches, are silent. War crimes are being committed and those fortunate enough to escape, are placed in refugee camps that are gruesome and harrowing at best.

Since the war in Syria began, thousands of refugees in search of safety have made the precarious journey through Turkey into Europe. We follow the lives of two refugee families as they encounter people smugglers, border guards and shocking conditions along the way. They find themselves torn apart not by the war back home, but by a new enemy: ‘Fortress Europe’

According to Amnesty International,

“The Continuing violence in Syria has sparked one of the biggest humanitarian crises in recent history.”

They report that out of the countries able to provide aid, little is forthcoming. The United Arab Emirates, one of the wealthiest countries in the Gulf has failed to give, while Russia has given only minimal contributions. There are sobering reports coming out of Syria of blockades of food by government and rebel forces, as pictures of starving children and people multiply. Crimes of war are never easy to view, or envision. But in a world of instant technology, people are placed in the most extreme conditions and left virtually invisible to the rest of humanity. This is unacceptable!

A Syrian refugee boy stands in a pool of mud outside his tent the makeshift refugee camp of Terbol near the Bekaa Valley town of Zahleh

An excerpt from Amnesty International:

“Both the Syrian government and armed opposition groups must allow humanitarian organizations and agencies unfettered access to assist the civilian population.

Amnesty International is calling on states to make a concerted effort to resettle some of the most vulnerable refugees.”

To date, the international efforts to resettle refugees have been pitiful. European Union member states have pledged to resettle just 0.5 per cent of the 2.3 million people who have fled the country.

This is only one case, the numbers are staggering. According to this next video shared earlier this week, the International Red Cross is at one camp and planning a fundraising campaign. Ongoing for a year, this crisis is now beginning to reach critical levels. Conditions in Syrian refugee camps hit rock bottom as children go one week without food and water.

Heartbreaking…

Aid is further hampered by the fighting and constant threat that aid organizations like Doctors without Borders face. This was shared last week by the Epoch Times titled: “Syria Fighters Seize 5 Doctors Without Borders Staff”,

BEIRUT—Five staffers of the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders have been taken in for questioning in northern Syria, the group said Friday. The five staffers were taken “allegedly for questioning” from a Doctors Without Borders house in northern Syria and have been out of contact since Thursday evening, said Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for the aid group. He did not say whether the missing staffers had been taken by government forces or rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad. He refused to give further details out of concern for the missing workers safety.

A general view shows tents of Syrian refugees at al-Shouhada camp at the Lebanese border town of Arsal, in the eastern Bekaa Valley - (Reuters)

A general view shows tents of Syrian refugees at al-Shouhada camp at the Lebanese border town of Arsal, in the eastern Bekaa Valley – (Reuters)

Last year the United States accepted only 31 Syrian refugees. The United States typically accepts about half of resettled refugees. The U.S. State Department has told the UNHCR that the United States is ready to accept referrals, but has made no commitments.

At a Senate hearing last week, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. said,

“Overly broad immigration bars” in the United States are preventing legitimate Syrian refugees from reaching the United States, but President Obama has the power to do something about it.”

“The ongoing civil war in Syria has created the world’s worst humanitarian and refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide and perhaps since World War II,” Durbin, the Senate majority whip and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human rights, said in a statement. “Of the nearly 2.3 million Syrian refugees that have fled the bloody civil war, nearly half are children.

“While the United States has led the world in resettling and providing humanitarian assistance to refugees from conflicts around the globe, we’ve not done enough to address the current Syrian crisis. In particular, the Obama administration should use the authority Congress gave it to exempt deserving Syrians from the overly broad immigration bars that prevent legitimate refugees from finding safe haven in the United States.”

“there should be no disagreement that it is a moral and national security imperative to do all we can to help alleviate the suffering of innocent Syrian refugees.”

Contact your elected officials and express your concern. Ask what they’re doing to help alleviate this problem.

To put the devasatation into perspective look at this map from Open Doors:

OpenDoors-Syria-Crisis

In an email update from Open Doors:

The UN estimates that nearly 1 out of 3 Syrians have been displaced both inside and outside of the country since the beginning of the civil war. That would be like EVERY single person in ALL of the highlighted states above being displaced.

Extremists have been specifically targeting Christian dominated areas, killing as many as 45 Christians in a single attack. That would be like the states in the “Bible Belt”, being specifically targeted by extremists.

As a result of the violence, 25% of Christians have had to flee the country, in the last year alone. That would be like 37 million American Christians being forced to flee the U.S.

It’s amazing to think about what it would be like if all of this were happening in the USA. Yet, this is the reality our Syrian brothers and sisters have been facing for the past few years.

Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Open Doors is helping displaced Christians in places like Syria, Iraq and The Central African Republic, through Christian community restoration projects like housing, food and even rebuilding churches that have been attacked.

*Information gathered from the US Census Bureau and The United Nation.

Other organizations like Doctors without Borders and Samaritans Purse are truly attempting to help, even though their lives are at risk.

If you would like to donate, we are searching for organizations that are using the majority of funds to go directly for the relief of the desperate needs of those suffering.

We have been in contact with Samaritans Purse and they assured us that they are on the ground in this area.

To help support their efforts, visit Samaritan’s Purse at their website here, or you can mail in your donation to the following address.

Samaritan’s Purse
P.O. Box 3000
Boone, N.C.  28607
   Samaritan’s Purse asks that if you want your donation to go to Syria–be sure to write in the memo line of your check, or attach a brief note stating that your gift is to support Middle East Relief.

We are still reaching out to other organizations and smaller missions on the ground, who sometimes are found to be doing the most work. As we are informed, we’ll keep you updated so you can support their mission.

Intercessory prayers at this time are so important. In a world filled with unending chaos, sometimes we wonder if our prayers are being heard. The Apostles taught of the need for support and prayer for those suffering in the Body. The prayers of the Saints are also mentioned in Revelation as going before the Throne.  Try to place yourself in their shoes and never give up praying for them.

Help us to raise awareness of this severe humanitarian crisis. Share this information with everyone you know. Take it to your church leaders and ask them to lead in intercessory prayer for the innocents and our brother’s and sisters suffering for Christ.  We are ONE!
“Continue to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8

Report Contributors: VOP Advocates, C.Refsland / L.Kanalos

American First Graders Bullied By Teachers For Faith In Christ

faith in school

A “show-and-tell” assignment about Christmas stirs up controversy in Temecula when a student claims her teacher did not allow her to finish her presentation because of its Biblical references.

This past December at Helen Hunt Jackson Elementary School, first grader Brynn Williams’ presentation of her family’s Star of Bethlehem was shut down because she’s “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school.”

On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, Brynn Williams brought home a “share” bag as part of a school assignment.  Brynn’s teacher had given every child in her class a canvas bag with verbal instructions to find something at home that represents a family Christmas tradition, put it in the bag, bring it to school, and be prepared to share the family tradition.

Brynn Williams

1st grader, Brynn Williams

Brynn took the Star of Bethlehem from the top of the family Christmas tree to represent her family’s tradition of remembering why Christmas is celebrated.  Brynn worked diligently on a one minute presentation in order to explain to the class that her family’s tradition is to remember the birth of Jesus at Christmas time.

On the day of presentations, Brynn began: “Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree.  The star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The 3 kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world. John…”

At that moment, Brynn’s teacher interrupted her and said, “Stop right there! Go take your seat!” Brynn was not allowed to finish her presentation by reciting the Bible verse, John 3:16.  In fact, Brynn was the only student not allowed to finish her one-minute presentation. After Brynn took her seat, the teacher explained to Brynn in front of all the other students that she was not allowed to talk about the Bible or share its verses.

Watch the NBC News video.

Advocates For Faith & Freedom sent a demand letter to the Temecula Valley Unified School District demanding that a new policy be adopted to prohibit school officials from expressing disapproval or hostility toward religion or toward religious viewpoints expressed by students. The letter also demands that TVUSD provide a written apology and allow Brynn the opportunity to complete her speech during class.

Attorney Nic Cocis serves as co-counsel in this case. Mr. Cocis experienced religious persecution as an elementary school student in communist Romania before his family immigrated to the United States.

“The censorship of Christianity was something I came to expect in Romanian schools, not here in the United States,” said Mr. Cocis. “I don’t want my kids to experience what I experienced as a Christian in Romania.”

They’ve already received news coverage for this case, and here are a few of the links:

Advocates for Faith & Freedom ask for prayer.

“Please pray with us as we interact with TVUSD on Brynn’s behalf.  We don’t want any other children to experience the hostility that Brynn has faced in school because of their faith!”

Below is another report of a first grader rejected for faith in Christ.

Teacher to First Grader: “Jesus is not allowed in school”

Brynn’s incident at Temecula Valley Unified School District comes on the heels of a candy cane case involving West Covina Unified School District first grader Isaiah Martinez who was told, “Jesus is not allowed in school.”

Isaiah Martinez

1st grader, Isaiah Martinez

On December 13, 2013, first grader Isaiah Martinez took Christmas gifts intended for his teacher and classmates at Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District. Each gift consisted of a traditional candy cane with a message attached that recited the legend of the candy cane. The legend references a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. Isaiah’s older sister told him about the legend of the candy cane and Isaiah asked if he could share it with his teacher and his classmates.

Isaiah and his sister purchased candy canes, printed the candy cane message and tied a copy to each of the canes. When Isaiah brought his Christmas gift to school, his teacher took possession of the candy canes. After conferring with the school principal, the teacher told Isaiah that “Jesus is not allowed in school” and, at the apparent direction of her principal, ripped the candy cane message from each candy cane, threw the messages in the trash, and handed the candy canes back to Isaiah for delivery to his classmates. Isaiah then nervously handed the candy canes to his classmates in fear that he was in trouble for trying to bring a little Christmas cheer and “good tidings” to class.

Watch the CBS News Video

Advocates for Faith & Freedom sent a demand letter to the West Covina Unified School District demanding a written apology and has demanded that a new policy be adopted to prohibit school officials from bullying and intimidating Christian students and religiously affiliated students.

A copy of the demand letter can be found here, which provides more depth to the facts as asserted by the Martinez family along with relevant legal arguments.

Robert Tyler, Advocates’ General Counsel, said,

“Advocates for Faith & Freedom has experienced a surge in phone calls from students and their parents across the country who are victims of religiously motivated bullying; not bullying by other students, but bullying by teachers and school officials.” He continued, “The pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction that public schools are becoming a place of hostility toward Christian and other religiously-based worldviews.  It’s time to push the pendulum back in the right direction where kids can experience true tolerance without religiously motivated hostility from their teachers and school officials.”

You can follow Advocates For Faith & Freedom on  Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on their progress in this case and others.

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