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Yearly Archives: 2014
(Voice of the Persecuted) Our contacts on the ground tell us that the recent attack with mass kidnappings is indeed true, but the numbers are not final. And “It is definitely a case of persecution.” We have also learned this was a mostly Muslim village and they were attacked for their resistance to Boko Haram. Boko Haram unrest: Nigerian militants ‘kidnap 200 villagers’.
In the past we have reported that Boko Haram, Al-Queda, ISIS and Al-Shabob are connected in their quest to form a super highway of ‘Terror’ from Syria to the coast of Africa. Their goal is to install a caliphate with a brand of ‘sharia’ law that is demonic and dishonorable. One they plan will control the world. Their acts of violence unite them under one banner, extending their chaos to encompass the entire region.
Victims who survive these attacks are sold into slavery or are forced to fight in their maniacal battles. While France is attempting to rally the African Union states to combat this evil, Nigeria is embroiled in a political fight for new leadership. (more)
Today we received confirmation of yet another horrendous and inhumane attack on the elderly too weak to flee Gwoza. Extremists in Nigeria lining up elderly and shooting them (AP via Yahoo News)
The Boko Haram released a video to journalists late Saturday, two days after fleeing villagers reported the extremists are rounding up elderly people and killing them in two schools in Gwoza, in northeast Nigeria.
In the video, one member is saying they are being killed because they are ‘infidels’ or non-believers.
‘We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels,’ the group leader says in a message.
‘From now, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombing will be our religious duty anywhere we invade.’
There are so many corpses the gunmen have difficulty stepping to reach bodies still twitching with life. Most appear to be adult men.
We will update you on the facts as new reports come in.
The numbers vary of those killed in the last 5 years. The MSM has begun saying in the thousands, while others say at least 2,000, with one report saying that 1.6 million people have been displaced. However, the Nigerian media is reporting that, the five-year uprising by the extremists has killed more than 13,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million others from their homes.
The army has virtually been ineffective in controlling or combating the radical Islamic group. In some instances, striking fear where they should be providing comfort.
Guinea’s president warned Sunday that Nigeria’s brand of Islamic extremism risked spreading throughout west Africa and called on countries in the region to do more to help Nigeria in its struggle against Boko Haram. The Islamic group has extended their activities to neighboring countries and in particular, Cameroon. Many of Nigeria’s displaced have fled to Cameroon. They are staying in horrific conditions at refugee camps beyond the brink of capacity.
Boko Haram, ISIS and the rest are some of the wealthiest group of bandits the world has ever seen. In some cases as with ISIS, they are making millions of dollars a day with seized oil assets.
Meanwhile the trail of tears and suffering they leave is unimaginable to the West. We have learned of the dark side of these events with children in the thousands who have lost parents and are now left to die in the elements. The staggering number of widows & orphans flock to churches in the thousands, placing burdens that can not be measured. The work of organizations and missions for aid is not enough when so many gather for what little food is handed out. We hear about the starvation and those subject to illness, due to lack of proper food, and medicine. Orphans who can barely care for themselves, taking on the care of orphaned babies while they are practically babes themselves.
It’s hard for us to share the many photos we receive, worried they may again become targets of the militant terror group. Men who have allowed evil to enter their hearts, carrying out acts as if possessed by demons. Their lives and protection of the persecuted are of the utmost importance to us. But it’s truly heartbreaking.
- Pray for the leadership of Nigeria and courage and strength
- Pray for the leadership of Nigeria for strength & courage, knowledge and wisdom while combating the militants.
- Pray for comfort, strength, courage and protection of those suffering.
- Pray for the steadfastness they need to endure suffering without giving up hope.
- Pray that God’s peace will guard their hearts and minds.
- Pray for God’s mercy over Nigeria.
- Pray for caring hands, to provide comfort to the orphaned, widows, and the many fleeing.
- Pray that those who are called to be the hands and feet of Christ for these people will answer this call.
- Pray for the militants to miraculously have a change of heart and come to our Lord and Savior.
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate their suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support.
(Agenzia Fides) – “In view of Christmas we have a heavy heart because of the violence against our Churches in various parts of the country, especially in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and now in the territory of the capital city Delhi. The demolition of San Sebastiano church in Delhi, as well as other incidents of targeted violence, show contempt not only towards the religious feelings of our community, but also for the protection guaranteed in the Constitution of India”. This is what Bishops and Christian leaders of all denominations said in a statement issued in Delhi and sent to Agenzia Fides. The statement was signed, among others, by His Exc. Mgr. Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, by other Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant Bishops, and civil society leaders.
“These acts of violence – they explain – are not isolated incidents. They are part of a series of interconnected actions by various non-state actors. Many politicians have called for national laws against conversion, measures that affect the Christian and Muslim communities, although not mentioned”.
In addition, the text continues, “the well organized campaign, also by senior members of Parliament belonging to the ruling party, is a threat to peace and national harmony and calls into question the identity and patriotism of different religious minorities in India”, discrediting and exposing them to further violence.
The statement explains: “While the government won the election by presenting a platform of ‘development and good governance’, radical groups see their program of hatred and religious nationalism approved. It is a blatant attempt to sabotage the Indian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of every Indian citizen to profess, practice and propagate their religion”.
The leaders note that the measures, paradoxically called “Laws for religious freedom”, in force in several Indian states, have been in fact limited and “have been used against minorities, giving police the power to disrupt, arrest and punish priests, religious and church operators”.
The Bishops have sent a memorandum to the government that lists various “representative episodes of hostility and discrimination suffered by Christians throughout India”. They report cases of “social boycott” (some Christian missionaries are denied entry in over 50 villages in the region of Bastar in Chhattisgarh, and some Christian families in Orissa are not allowed to use the public well in the village); physical aggression (in many states); desecration of religious buildings.
The text sent to Fides concludes: “India is a land where different religious faiths have always lived together. The founders are committed to ensure that the rights of all are protected regardless of religion, gender or caste. We hope and pray that this discrimination and targeted violence are stopped thanks to a strong political will of civil and political institutions”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/12/2014)
MAKURDI, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen from Nasarawa state and Islamist mercenaries from outside Nigeria attacked villages in neighboring Benue state on Sunday (Dec. 14), killing five Christians, sources said.
Inhabited almost entirely by ethnic Idoma farmers, the Fulani herdsmen from Nasarawa state, with mercenaries from Chad and Niger, razed several villages, destroying homes and church buildings in the predominantly Roman Catholic Agatu Local Government Area and forcing hundreds of Christians to flee.
Area resident Sule Audu told Morning Star News in Makurdi, the capital of Benue state, that the attacks took place while Christians were in worship services.
“Several houses in communities like Adeka and Olegadeje villages were destroyed,” he said. “In addition, farmlands and properties were also destroyed in the renewed attacks.”
Since the beginning of the year, Christian communities in Agatu have been under attack from bands of armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Sunday Oyigadu, a Christian leader in the area, told Morning Star News that in the first six months of this year Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked 61 Christian communities.
“It is sad that we spent a whole year running helter-skelter from Fulani herdsmen,” Oyigadu said, adding that Christians have been killed or displaced in Ichogoluwu, Oshigbudu, Ogwule, Ocholonga, Adagbo, Okokolo, Adana, Okpancheyi, Egba and Ekwo.
Usually invading from Loko, a predominantly Muslim border town in Nasarawa state, the herdsmen and mercenaries have killed and maimed Christian villagers and destroyed their homes and farms for months, he said.
“The crisis has forced us into seeing the bitter side of life – we no longer have beds to sleep on,” Oyigadu said. “Some of us manage with the mats donated to us by some Christian brethren, and others whose houses were also burned down are still squatting with their relatives in Otukpo town or cities outside Benue state.”
Peter Elaigwu, a Christian resident of the area whose house was destroyed, told Morning Star News that incessant attacks have devastated residents and displaced thousands. Two Christian widows, Ema Okpanachi and Abiye Edo, said their husbands were killed in attacks by the herdsmen, and that after this week’s assault they no longer have homes. They lamented that they have become refugees in their own land.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Apochi, Roman Catholic bishop of Otukpo, told Morning Star News by phone that attacks by Muslim Fulani gunmen have adversely affected churches and Christian ministries.
“Life has become unbearable for Christians, as thousands of our members have been displaced in the past one year of intense attacks by Fulani gunmen and Muslim Islamists,” he said.
On Jan. 19, Fulani herdsmen raided two villages in Benue that left seven Christians dead; a Fulani spokesman said the assailants must have come from elsewhere as there are no Fulani herdsmen known in the area. On January 21, Fulani herdsmen reportedly killed 20 civilians and five soldiers in Benue.
While Muslim Fulani have historically had property disputes with Christian farmers, Christian leaders say attacks on Christian communities in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Kaduna states by Fulani herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria.
Fulani herdsmen have long attacked settled Christian farmers in Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Taraba and Adamawa states, but in the past year analysts have begun to see some ties between the assailants and Islamic extremist groups keen to exploit longstanding ethnic, property and religious conflicts.
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.
(Voice of the Persecuted)Deeply saddened, we are still learning the magnitude of the slaughter of innocents in Pakistan, yesterday. A Taliban revenge attack for a military offensive against their safe havens. Reports claim that 148 have been killed and over 130 were children. And many were wounded. Since early yesterday morning, we have sat crying and praying for the survivors and victims of the Peshawar Army school attack. This is also the same city where a Taliban suicide bombing killed nearly 100 people after a church service at the All Saints Church in September 2013.
In agreement with this statement by Franklin Graham. “What kind of evil perpetrates this kind of crime?”
He also said,
“We pray that God will comfort the families and that they would know the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ. We long for the second coming of the Lord Jesus, when he will gather those who follow Him. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NKJV)“
We have spoken with our contacts in Pakistan and one Christian forced to flee the nation due to extreme persecution. They describe an emotional roller coaster upon hearing the news. Grief, anger, revenge, shock and disbelief felt all at once. They are asking the same question over and over, “Why?”
The attack has brought international outcry from France, Britain, and the US.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Sharif visited Peshawar and said,
“My children have been targeted in the tragedy. He said the loss of innocent children is the loss of the nation.”
He also directed his Ministers to coordinate rescue operations and instructed them to secure the safety of the children at all costs.
Muhammad Sarwar Governor of Punjab said,
“I strongly condemn the attack on school children in Peshawar and offer my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. It is heart-rendering to see innocent lives being so brutally targeted. The barbarians will surely be brought to justice for such a callous act. This remorseful incident is a national tragedy and those who concocted this heinous plan are the murderers of humanity.”
And Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa told reporters, “This is not a human act.” “This is a national tragedy.”
We asked for a translation of a video where children were interviewed after the attack. They told us a boy was saying, “First they came inside, they went up to the roof of the school and started firing over there.” They explained this was for show that they (the militants) had conquered the place, in a gesture to say ‘this is now ours’.
One child recalled, “Then the teacher said to lay down on the floor and lock the doors.” They broke in while an army nurse or doctor was training for first aid class, they broke the doors then starting firing on all the children, killing them.” While he was giving statements, he was visibly confused, scared and still living the trauma.
Another gave a testimony while hiding under a desk that all he saw were “big black boots bringing death”.
130+ mothers will not be able to sleep for many nights. It’s hard to imagine their suffering, such a senseless tragedy. An American Pakistani said, “My mother started crying when she heard the news.” Regardless of religion, many mothers in Pakistan and around the globe are crying with those who are grieving today.
A Christian from Pakistan shared the following poem with us. It was written by another Pakistani after the attack. The word for ‘Mother’ in this poem is ‘Ammi’.
What was my fault?
I never hurt you, Never teased you
I dont even know who are you..
I knew villians are there,
But Ammi said they are never real
If they are, then where is the superman?
I also had a big gun
but that was plastic one…
I left it with my teddy,
Over the pillow of my Daddy
My teddy would miss me every night
And so will my batman and spiderman fight
Now, Please tell my Ammi to visit my permanent bed
Tell Ammi to sing me lullaby as she said
I had heard Teachers are never wrong or deceit
She told animal walks on Four but I saw animals walking on
By Ashish Chauhan
Voice of the Persecuted strong condemns this violent attack. We stand with the victims and pray for their wounds physically and mentally. We pray not only for Pakistani Christians, but all people of Pakistan. Praying for peace and equality for all. God bless you, Pakistan.
Pray with us for Pakistan:
Father we ask for your comfort, your light, & your peace. Peace that passes all understanding. We lean on you in this time of darkness. Father we know these precious soul’s are in your arms. We ask that you bring comfort and peace to the parents and the families. We ask for strength and courage. Grant your mercy, Father. Show Your love and light to the people of Pakistan. Hold this nation in your loving arms as they grieve for their children. Father, this touches us all, our hearts are heavy, we can’t understand the suffering of such innocence. But we will put our faith and our trust in you. Hold them, Father and grant healing. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Pastors Behnam Irani, Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani attended a second court session today as part of their appeal against six-year sentences on trumped-up political charges, which had been handed down in October.
The three men were represented by their lawyer Moshkani Farahani, who had previously argued against the charges faced by each of his clients at the last court session of this trial on 24 November.
During the previous session, Mr Farahani argued that it was inconceivable that Behnam Irani could have been guilty of the political crimes given that he was already imprisoned. He went on to state that Matthias Haghnejad should be released on the basis that he had previously been acquitted of charges by a tribunal in Bandar-Anzali.
Mr Farahani also contended that people cannot be sentenced on political charges for simply belonging to a religious fellowship; in this case, a Christian community: “It is normal for members of minorities to be in touch with each other; Jews are in touch which others, Zoroastrians are in touch with each other, it is the same for Assyrians, Orthodoxes and Evangelicals. Such connections cannot be perceived as a penal crime…”
In other news, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) have been informed that another Christian, Ebrahim Hosseinzadeh, was arrested by agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security last month during a raid on his apartment, during which Christian books and his laptop were confiscated.
Although the exact date of Ebrahim Hosseinzadeh’s arrest is unclear, reports received by CSW indicate that it was between 18-20 November. Mr Hosseinzadeh, who is 32 years old, converted to Christianity in 2009 and is a church house leader in Shiraz.
After he was taken into custody, Mr Hosseinzadeh was transferred to ‘Pelak 100’, a detention centre in Shiraz under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence. Sources close to CSW believe he is still detained.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “The charges faced by Pastors Behnam Irani, Matthias Haghnejad and Deacon Silas Rabbani are clearly unjust, as Mr Farahani has argued in court. We continue to call on the authorities to release these clergymen along with Ebrahim Hosseinzadeh, unconditionally and without delay. Their only ‘crime’ is to exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief, as guaranteed in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is signatory. We urge the Iranian government to uphold this right for religious minorities in Iran, in line with its obligations under international law and the provisions upholding the rights of religious minorities in its own constitution.”
ISLAMABAD: Lal Masjid’s clerics took the Islamabad administration to court for detaining their spokesperson in connection with declaration of support by the students of the seminary for the Islamic State (IS) led by Abu Bakar al Baghdadi.
Ihtesham Ahmad, trustee and spokesman of seminary’s Shohada Foundation, filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against his detention by the capital police, requesting the court to restrain the police from harassing him and other members of the foundation.
A video in Arabic was released on November 26 by the Jamia Hafsa students declaring their support for the Islamic State and Baghdadi besides asking the Pakistani militants to join hands with IS fighters. READ MORE
For Jummai Sunday, 63, Thursday (Dec. 11) began like that of any other for the Christian widow. After a morning devotional, she visited sick or bereaved families, and then returned home to gather items for sale at her market spot near the bus terminal area in Jos, Nigeria.
She survived the twin bomb blasts that the Boko Haram jihadist group is suspected of detonating that evening, but gunmen who swooped in on survivors killed her with shots to her head, leg and hand, relatives said. At least 31 other people in the predominantly Christian quarter were killed by the Islamic extremist group that has created violent chaos for five years in its bid to turn Nigeria into a sharia (Islamic law) state.
Her body was taken to a hospital in Yan Shanu, a Muslim quarter of the city where her son went to retrieve her corpse – taking with him a small contingent of police and soldiers, as he had learned that Muslims were shooting Christians in the area.
Another Christian woman selling her wares beside Sunday was shot but survived to tell relatives how the widow died.
“Her son and sister died during the attack, but she survived as she escaped while the shooting was going on,” Sunday’s 35-year-old daughter told Morning Star News. “What we found out was that soon after bombs exploded, the gunmen who planted the bombs began shooting at survivors.”
Muslims were likely among those killed or wounded in the bombing, but Boko Haram has frequently targeted Christians and Christian institutions along with government and security agency sites in its terrorist campaign; its attacks on moderate Muslims are usually aimed at particular individuals.
Boko Haram militants are suspected in bomb blasts that killed 118 people in the same area of Jos on May 20. With elections scheduled for February, Boko Haram’s efforts to destabilize the government of President Goodluck Jonathan are expected to increase. Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.
Sunday’s daughter, whose name is withheld for security reasons, said she had spoken by phone with her mother that afternoon; the conversation was cut short when her mother’s phone battery apparently lost power.
“Soon after my brother had left with others to visit hospitals in the city, I received a phone call from an unknown Muslim caller,” she said. “He told me that my mom was in a hospital near their house at Yan Shanu, a Muslim quarter. I asked to know how she got there, and the man said my mom was evacuated at the scene of the bomb blast and was taken to the hospital.”
He had found her number in her mother’s cell phone call log. The caller told her to come as soon as she could. It was close to midnight.
“I asked the caller to give the phone to my mom so that I can talk to her, but he declined and said my mother’s case is critical so she would not be able to talk to me,” she said. “However, after a while this Muslim called back to tell me that I should not go the hospital as Muslims in the area are attacking Christians and killing them.”
She phoned her brother. He called soldiers and policemen who accompanied him and others to Plateau Hospital in the Yan Shanu area of Jos.
“When they got home, they told us that mom was shot by gunmen who after the bombs exploded went around shooting survivors at the scene of the explosions,” Sunday’s daughter said. “She survived the explosion but was shot dead by the gunmen.”
She described her mother as someone loved and served others, sharing the household food even when there was little of it.
“Even when things were tough for us, my mom would take foodstuffs we have in the house and share this with other families who do not have anything to eat,” she said. “A visitor to our home will always have something to eat first before Mom would talk to such a person.”
She also visited others in their homes – praying for the sick, consoling those that mourned, and sharing Scripture with those she felt needed it, her daughter said.
“Sometimes she would abandon her wares in the market and go out to share the Word of God with others before returning to the market,” she said. “There were times I had to talk to her to minimize her zeal for outreach to others, but she would caution me and say she is into the business of winning souls for God and not looking for money.”
The Rev. Musa Ishe, pastor at an Evangelical Church Winning All in Jos, said Sunday was a committed member of his church, active in the women’s fellowship group.
“We are saddened that she has been killed and in such a brutal way,” he told Morning Star News. “God has called her to be with Him at this time, and we cannot therefore question God on this. It is our prayer that God, who is an all-powerful God, will bring an end to these endless killings of Christians in this country.”
Ishe said Christians in Jos have long lived alongside Muslims without having problems.
“So we are baffled that Islam has now become a religion whose proponents derive pleasure in killing Christians without provocation,” he said. “We therefore plead with the Nigerian government to step up on the fight against terrorism so that we can have some respite from the bloodshed. We will continue to pray that these Islamists will come to know Jesus Christ and become transformed persons that God has created them to be.”
Sunday’s daughter said her mother often told them that material possessions can never bring satisfaction, and that their desire should be to do things pleasing to God.
“Whenever she advised us not to do certain things and we disobeyed her, we ended up running into difficulties; in the end, we always ran back to her asking for forgiveness for disobeying her,” she said. “With her death, it has dawned on me that my mom has left a very big task for me. I pray that I am able to have the grace to take after her. I have no choice than to follow her exemplary lifestyle of being a disciple of Jesus. I have lost a dear friend and a mother.”
Naeem Shakir, human-rights lawyer who is Asia Bibi’s defence counsel has strongly denounced the blasphemy law under which Asia has been sentenced to death. According to him the law is being used as the “tool of oppression.” Naeem Shakir, urged the international community to pressurize the Pakistani authorities to reform the law. “Sharing your concern from wherever you are is important,” he said, because “no change is forthcoming, due to the unavailability of any kind of dialogue. . . We do not find anywhere to seriously deliberate these issues.”
He went on to say, “Political actors are not concerned . . . to deliver justice. . . . They do not want to distress their constituencies by disturbing the religious extremists. There was now,” he said, “a wrong public impression, created by vested interests, that this law is . . . divinely mandated”, whereas it had been “framed by earthly men” and did a disservice to Islam, undermining the “basic principles of Islamic jurisprudence”. As a man-made law, it was “not static”, and could be reformed. “This law is flawed. This law is against the Qur’an and a tool of oppression.” The death penalty for blasphemy was recommended in Pakistani law in 1986. He went on to argue that as for those who present argument that, without the blasphemy law, people would take justice into their own hands, he said: “People are already doing that.” He pointed to the case of a Christian couple beaten and burned alive in a brick kiln in November after they were accused of blasphemy.
He pointed out the “contradictions” in the witnesses’ testimonies and a six-day delay in bringing the accusation against Asia Bibi. He further criticized that the atmosphere in courts also prevented the administration of justice, owing to the intimidating presence of “religious extremists”.
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Pray for the nation of Pakistan as they are facing growing radicalism, human rights abuses, discrimination and violence against religious minorities and women.