(Voice of the Persecuted) The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/Daesh) has released a shocking new video titled ‘Until It Came To Them – Clear Evidence’. The unverified video highlights the slaughter of at least 30 Ethiopian Christians (migrant workers) in Libya.
A masked militant pledged to kill Christians if they do not convert to Islam, ‘Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap. To the nation of the cross we are now back again.’ The footage also includes how Syrian Christians have been given the choice to convert to Islam or pay a ‘special tax’.
The Ethiopian Christians are divided into two groups and identified by the Islamic State militants as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church. Approximately 12 men were beheaded on a beach, the remaining shot dead in the desert.
An Ethiopian official, denounced the killings saying, “We strongly condemn such atrocities, whether they are Ethiopians are not.”
In February, IS released the video of them beheading 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. IS is using video media for their propaganda campaign to instill fear in the hearts of men to control and recruit them.
Chaos and unrest has wracked Libya since the U.S. led attack in 2011 that toppled Kadhafi. IS has taken advantage of it’s destabilization expanding it’s presence in the country.
In 2011 when Obama addressed Americans and the world to justifying NATO involvement in Libya, we heard the following:
- “This is a New generation refusing to be denied their rights any longer”
- “Change will make the world more complicated for a time.”
- “Justice & Human Dignity will be upheld by all.”
- “We will stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles as us.”
- “History is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa and the youth are leading the way.”
- “Our own future is safer if all mankind uphold these values.”
In the mission to uproot leaders deemed murderous and tyrannical, the west has aided to put something far worse in it’s place. Now multiple Libyan jihadist groups and those in other nations have pledged allegiance to IS.
IS marches forward with their tremendous funds, it’s own news agency, even issuing drivers licence and ID cards in the quest to redraw the map and create a caliphate—a new world governed by strict Sharia Law.
The’Christian Winter’ continues and intensifies.
- Pray for the families of these precious soul’s.
- Pray for God’s mercy and protection for his children.
- Pray for endurance.
We are reminded of a young Christian girl in Thailand who had fled persecution in Pakistan. She said there is no need for her to curse anyone who blaspheme’s Christ or our God. She said our God is big enough to defend Himself. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. We can find comfort in this tribulation as the Faith of these Christians in these lands are growing stronger, even in persecution.
Revelation 6:9-11 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
Following the mysterious death of Nauman — a 14-year-old Christian boy attacked and burned by Muslims for his faith — some in the Pakistani media have changed the narrative, suggesting he was attacked over a family feud, not religion.
However, Christian lawyer Aneeqa Maria Anthony, coordinator of the NGO “The Voice Society,” says these are all lies: “Nauman gave his explanation of the fact [before he died]. His was attacked by two strangers when he said he was a Christian. The rest are rumors and false leads,” said the lawyer.
Nauman’s uncle, Nadeem Masih, filed report (FIR no. 308/15) at Gulshan-e-Ravi Police Station, in the presence of police, family members and political and religious leaders, when his nephew was still in hospital. He wrote:
As stated by my nephew, today [Friday 10 April], when he was returning to the shop [where he worked] at about 12.30pm, two unidentified men on a motorbike came. They stopped my nephew and inquired about his faith, at which he told them that he was Christian. Then the two men doused him with petrol and set him on fire.
Moreover, the boy’s death is controversial: ”We are shocked,” said Anthony. ”The death of Nauman Masih, the 14-year-old Christian burnt alive by a group of Muslims, is surprising. Two days ago the doctors said that despite the severe burns, the boy would survive, because no internal organs were damaged…. We are waiting for the coroner’s report and the autopsy. His sudden death is not convincing. A thorough investigation is needed. Nauman said he was able to recognize his attackers, who now go unpunished.”
(World Watch Monitor) A 14-year-old Christian boy, who was first reported to have been doused with petrol and set on fire because of his faith, died on Tuesday (14 April) in Lahore, Pakistan. Despite a special medical team formed to oversee his treatment and skin graft surgery a day before his death, and the fact that he was at one stage well enough to talk to visitors, Nauman Masih died of his injuries.
Masih had burns to 55 per cent of his body when he was taken to Mayo Hospital, the city’s largest teaching hospital, on the afternoon of Friday 10 April.
For the usually poor Christian minority, it can be notoriously difficult to register a crime with the police, but in this case the Masih family’s cause was aided when the Chief Minister of the Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, ordered the police to make the case a priority.
“The chief minister took notice of the incident in the evening and ordered the police to proceed on merit, after which they recorded Nauman’s statement and registered the first information report [FIR] accordingly,” Christian parliamentarian Shahzad Munchi told World Watch Monitor.
Masih’s uncle, Nadeem Masih, filed the report (FIR no. 308/15) at Gulshan-e-Ravi Police Station, in the presence of police, family members and political and religious leaders, with his nephew in hospital.
He wrote: “As stated by my nephew, today [Friday 10 April], when he was returning to the shop [where he worked] at about 12.30pm, two unidentified men on a motorbike came. They stopped my nephew and inquired about his faith, at which he told them that he was Christian. Then the two men doused him with petrol and set him on fire.”
However, confusing conflicting reports then emerged. A prominent English-language newspaper, the Express Tribune, reported instead that the investigating officer said that the FIR was filed by Masih’s paternal grandfather, Heera Masih, who accused the uncle, Nadeem, and his wife of “ordering the attack”.
“The couple wants to kill Nauman to get his house,” the officer is reported to have said.
A similar interpretation of events was recorded by Dunya News. However, no local media reported what Nauman himself had been able to witness to police.
World Watch Monitor understands Nauman’s parents separated and divorced, and his mother remarried. Her new husband did not want Nauman and his sister to live with them, so they went to live with their father’s brother and his wife. Later, his father died: reports say he left his house to his son, Nauman.
Senior police have rejected all media reports that the boy was set alight by two Muslims for his faith (though Nauman himself is reported to have told police this happened); they say the realmotive behind the incident is not yet clear.
Police also denied recording the boy’s ‘dying declaration’ at the hospital, saying the contradictory statements of three people – Nauman’s maternal uncle Nadeem, his tailor Muneer (for whom Nauman worked) and maternal grandfather Heera Masih – had made the investigation complicated.
“No dying declaration/statement was recorded by police due to the life-threatening condition of the boy,” Acting Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Rana Ayaz Saleem, head of the investigations wing, told respected newspaper, Dawn. Dawn also reported that the grandfather has been pressured by family to withdraw his FIR.
It remains unclear at publication whether the allegation against the uncle and aunt has any truth, but it has started to appear that the current climate of fear and inter-faith tension may have provided a ‘cover reason’ for a family property dispute crime.
That the Pakistan Christian community fear there may be a media conspiracy to suppress the ‘killed for his faith’ motive is indicative of its nerve-stretched state, full of anxiety and tension, after recent events.
Discrimination against Christians?
Pakistani Christians often complain that they are discriminated against, on social and mainstream media.
One recent example of this was the reporting that followed the church bombings of 15 March, when at least four terrorists, two of them wearing suicide jackets, attacked two churches in Youhanabad, the main Christian district of Lahore.
The bombings were timed to cause maximum damage: more than 2,000 worshippers were in the two churches for Sunday services. But prompt action by church volunteer ‘guards’ prevented the attackers from entering the buildings. Still, the incidents left 20 people dead and another 80 injured.
Angry protestors against the government’s perceived insufficient security measures took to the streets and snatched two suspects from a police van, beat them, killed them and then set their bodies on fire.
Police had detained the two as suspected bomb attackers, but the reaction of the mob turned the focus away from the bombings and back onto the Christian community. Soon, across social and mainstream media, the two suspects were declared “innocent Muslims”, killed only “because they had beards”.
Dr. Shahid Masood Khan, a surgeon and talk-show host of ‘Live with Dr. Shahid Masood’ on the News One TV Channel, was one prominent figure to quickly declare the two men “totally innocent”.
“If the matter had stopped [with the bombings], then it would have been a gold mine for a few people,” he said on 17 March. “There are many ‘aunties’ who wander around and [talk about] NGOs, dollars, [the] Christian community … You know dollars are sent when such things happen. These ‘aunties’ come out clamouring that injustice has taken place for religious minorities … They start sighing with pain … But their enthusiasm was dampened because they [the mob] – the Christians or God knows who they were – killed two innocents; they were totally innocent.”
“International Media never heard that Pakistani Christians burn Muslims alive? … I did an internet search this morning using different constructions of the sentence (Christians, burn Muslims, Pakistan) but no stories turn up that have a head line or key words that match … Christians in Lahore lynched Muslim men because they had beards.”
Meanwhile a picture circulated on social media, appearing to show Pakistani Christians burning the Pakistani flag. (The picture actually showed an earlier protest by Christians burning an effigy while holding the country’s flag in the background.)
On the Qutab Online talk show (on Samaa TV), aired directly from Youhanabad on 18 March, its host, Syed Bilal Qutab, stressed that no one would tolerate burning of the national flag.
In Pakistan, the lynching of the two men overshadowed the deaths of the Christians and the plight of those suffering mental and physical trauma after the bombings.
Christians also felt that the mainstream media failed to present a balanced view of events.
Talking to World Watch Monitor, Irfan Jamil, Bishop of Lahore, said that the Christian community categorically condemned the lynching of the two men, no matter who the two suspects were, “because violence has nothing to do with Christian teachings”.
“The media should have played a balanced role and should have given equal coverage to the Christian community to explain how they saw the lynching and burning of the men, but the media drove a wedge between the Muslim majority and Christian minority,” he said.
Christians are also disappointed at the way in which they feel the actions of terrorists are often disassociated from Pakistanis.
After the Youhanabad attacks, Punjab Chief Minister Sharif was reported to have said that “terrorists have no religion”. (In Pakistan media, it’s usually implied that terrorists are foreign agents from countries such as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.)
The media and the state did little to expose those behind the church bomb attacks in Yahounabad. Conservative newspaper Nawa-e-Waqat ran a story about the arrest of Ghulam Hussain, the alleged mastermind. But this report had already been discredited by the Dawn newspaper, as “absolutely a (sic) false information”.
On the evening of the second day after the attack on the churches, Muslims from the surrounding area started to pour into the ‘Christian enclave’ of Yahounabad, having seen televised images of Christians blocking a road, attacking a bus terminal, and attacking passers-by as well.
Residents report that the police avoided attendance that evening; the situation also deteriorated in adjacent areas and Christians were afraid, after hearing unfounded rumours of possible attacks.
By the Friday after the Sunday bombs, a text message circulated that Bahar Colony, another nearby Christian slum, would be attacked after Muslims’ Friday prayers. Christians started to flee.
Also, since most Christians are dependent on the majority for their subsistence, negative media coverage about the minority had a significant impact.
On 17 March, for instance, a young Christian seminarian posted on Facebook:
Two days after the two men were killed, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Khan told the National Assembly that their deaths at the hands of a crowd of young Christian men was “the worst form of terrorism”.
“The Christians of Punjab have finally stood up and the rest of us are afraid,” said one journalist, Hashim bin Rashid in The News International.
The government’s reaction against the alleged perpetrators of the ‘mob justice’ was strong.
Thousands of Christians fled Youhanabad to avoid arrest or rumoured attacks from extremists.
Still, there were reports that the police rounded up about 200 suspects after the lynchings.
Asad Jamal, a Lahore-based lawyer who has written on legal issues in Pakistan’s English-language media, told World Watch Monitor, “Having met with those picked up by the police and other law enforcement agencies, I can confidently say that the police have used illegal detentions and torture both as a means to extract information and confessions, and to instil a feeling that they are ‘inferior’ in terms of caste, class and political status.
“These illegal detentions and torture of the Punjab police followed the Federal Interior Minister’s statement in the Parliament, which was later echoed in the statement of the Punjab chief minister.”
Several similar instances of mob violence have taken place in Pakistan in recent years, but the government’s response has rarely been so impassioned.
The most recent example was the lynching of a Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishan, south of Lahore, in November last year.
In July 2012, a reportedly “deranged” man, whose identity and religion were never disclosed, was accused of throwing pages of the Qur’an onto the street in Bahawalpur, further south. He was locked up in prison, but a frenzied mob broke in and dragged him onto the street, “doused him in petrol and set him on fire”, The Express Tribune reported.
A much earlier example was recorded by Amnesty International in April 1994:
“Dr Hafiz Farooq Sajjad was stoned to death in Gujranwala after the loudspeaker of the mosque (wrongly) announced that a Christian had burned a copy of the Holy Qur’an. He was dragged from the police station while officers stood by and his body was set on fire while he was probably still alive, tied to a motorbike and dragged through the streets. He was believed to have been a devout Muslim but mistaken for a Christian.”
The 2011 Pew Research Centre report, Rising Restrictions on Religion, characterises Pakistan as the third least tolerant country to religious diversity, while another of its reports, Muslim-Western Tensions Persist: Common Concerns About Islamic Extremism, says that only 16 per cent of Pakistanis hold a positive opinion of Christians.
“The Lord is training us; He’s building us. There cannot be increase without hardships. If you want to go to the next level you have to go through hardship.”
Threats continue as Christians in Niger pray for revival and the rebuilding of destroyed churches.
Niger: It took only a few hours, but it was enough time for hundreds of radical Muslims in Niger, West Africa, to destroy dozens of churches and several Christian homes. Ten people lost their lives and hundreds were injured when Muslim mobs went on the deadly rampage in early January.
Now, three months later, Christians living there are moving forward, determined to still preach the Gospel despite the dangers.
CBN News has obtained exclusive, never-seen-before video of dozens of these angry Muslims attacking, then burning Pastor Musa Issa’s church.
“They took pews, Bibles, chairs and sound equipment then set them on fire,” Issa, pastor of Bethel Horizon Church in Niamey the capital city, said. “They did this while chanting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ I felt so sad. I started to cry.”
Wrestling Against Principalities
The cell phone video also shows the crowd beating a member of Issa’s church. READ MORE
“This episode shows the hatred that circulates in society. We need to work more on dialogue and harmony among believers of different religions,” notes Fr. Channan. Shahbaz Sharif.
The Prime Minister of Punjab, called for those responsible to be arrested. The Director of “Peace Center” concludes: “I would say that today we are in the worst period in history for the life of Christians in Pakistan. Discrimination, suffering, oppression often become real persecution. Today we ask the government: where is justice? Where are the perpetrators of many incidents of gratuitous violence committed against Christians?”.
- Pray for the family of this precious child. His suffering is over, but theirs is just beginning.
- Pray for the Christians in Pakistan.
- Pray for the leaders to use sound judgement,
- Pray for them to uphold the Constitution of Pakistan.
- Pray for strength, courage, and endurance for the innocent and the Christian population.
- Pray for more to care
Remembering The Chibok Schoolgirls Abducted by Boko Haram One Year Ago, Today—Why Have They Not Been Found?
(Voice of the Persecuted) Nigerians according to reports are marking the one year anniversary of the abduction of 200 schoolgirls (most of them Christians) from the town of Chibok by Boko Haram.
All political parties have promised their return, including the newly elected President Buhari. The girls became political tools in Nigeria’s tightest presidential election in Nigeria’s history. In a ‘covenant he made to Nigerians and promised to bring back their girls, see below.
3. Insurgency and Insecurity
I have had the opportunity to serve my country in the military up to the highest level, as a Major General and as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In the course of my service, I had defended the territorial integrity of Nigeria. And if called upon to do so again, I shall rise to the occasion. As a father, I feel the pain of the victims of insurgency, kidnapping and violence whether they are the widows and orphans of military, paramilitary or civilians.
I pledge to:
- Ensure that under my watch, no force, external or internal, will occupy even an inch of Nigerian soil. I will give all it takes to ensure that our girls kidnapped from Chibok are rescued and reunited with their families.
The covenant in it’s entirety can be viewed here
Now Buhari say’s he cannot promise that they will be found. The world rallied at the beginning, but sadly demands for their release fell silent on the world scene.
Amid rumors of sightings, and known whereabouts, there are also rumors that they have been forced into marriages with Boko Haram members. The latter has feared to hold more merit. Unfortunately recently Boko Haram slaughtered many of their wives while government forces began to take back the towns claimed by Boko Haram. They did this to prevent them from marrying anyone else. The forced marriages and lives of servitude to Boko Haram are all too common. Horror scenes are described by those who have escaped. Many wishing for death and even attempting or succeeding in suicides rather than endure the torture at the hands of evil men.
The world is only beginning to awaken to the magnitude of devastation, torture and ruin that this group has brought to Nigeria. Christians have been the main target. Although those who refuse to believe or follow strict ‘Sharia’ law are also targeted.
- The UN reports that 80,000 children have been displaced
- Amnesty International say’s that over 2,000 women have been taken by Boko Haram
- 1.5 Million people have been displaced
- Boko Haram killed more than 5,000 civilians between July 2009 and June 2014, including at least 2,000 in the first half of 2014, in attacks occurring mainly in north-east, north-central and central Nigeria.
Numbers and stats are hard to come by from Nigeria. Based on our sources on the ground, the numbers are under-reported.
The world may never know the carnage that has been wrought in the country. Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-shabob, and Al-Queda have joined forces and have been thus far allowed to run rampant. They are spreading hate, and a rule of barbaric law that modern society can not begin to grasp. In fact countries in the Middle East and Africa are still under some form of this ancient barbarity.
According to a report in Yahoo News by the AFP, Chibok elder Enoch Mark, whose daughter and niece are among the captives, said the town was still in “perpetual fear” of Boko Haram, despite the presence of troops. “The last one year has been a period of sadness, emotional torment and hardship. It has been one year of mourning. We are a bereaved community that has lost 219 daughters,” (More)
I can’t even imagine the fear, the sadness, and hopelessness that these families feel. The stark truth of reality is these girls will most likely never be found. As with the highway of terror from Iran to Africa, these groups have kidnapped boys and girls by the thousands from their homes, & from the refugee camps right under the noses of the governments. The hell that these precious children have had to endure is mammoth. Children looking into the face of evil, the face of hell.
(Amnesty International You Tube channel) At least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since the start of 2014 and many have been forced into sexual slavery and trained to fight, said Amnesty International on the first anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok school girls.
Based on nearly 200 witness accounts, including 28 with abducted women and girls who escaped captivity, a new 90-page report, ‘Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill’: Boko Haram’s reign of terror, documents multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Boko Haram, including the killing of at least 5,500 civilians, as it rampaged across north-east Nigeria during 2014 and early 2015.
The Amnesty International report sheds new light on the brutal methods used by the armed group in north-east Nigeria where men and boys are regularly conscripted or systematically executed and young women and girls are abducted, imprisoned and in some cases raped, forcibly married and made to participate in armed attacks, sometimes on their own towns and villages.
Please continue to remember and pray daily for these dear girls.
- Pray they can endure until they can return to their families. May God clear a path and make a way for them.
- Pray they will hold n to their Christian faith, even silently in the presence of a militant husband.
- Pray that they will feel the presence of the Lord with them and know they are not forsaken.
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific 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. We couldn’t do it without you!
(Voice of the Persecuted) “Christians in Pakistan live under constant fear for their lives.” We have been watching the story of the torturous burning of a Christian child. It has been widely reported on social media sites, but not by the MSM. We have verified the incident through our network in Pakistan and sadly the reports are true. After being asked if he was a Christian, a gang of Muslims beat the 14 year old boy; then set him on fire. A mere child brutally tortured, simply for being a believer in Christ. There is absolutely no justification for such attacks, and unfathomable for us in the West.
Incidents such as this are all too frequent in Pakistan. The disdain of Christians grow as hostility against them has increased. For this reason, many Christians are fleeing Pakistan. Threats and Fatwa’s have been issued against many normally to silence, keep them from sharing the Gospel, as an attempt to forcibly convert them to Islam, or simply based on hatred towards them. This is why those who flee can never go back to the homeland they love. This is why they can’t function without watching over their shoulder each time they go out in public. A cause for world leaders to condemn and insist that Pakistan follow it’s own constitution.
The Constitution of Pakistan calls for Religious tolerance and freedom, yet the violence is permitted and hardly ever condemned by authorities and the police. Many times those hired to protect all Pakistani citizens do not cooperate, even refusing to file Christian complaints against the perpetrators. Through silence, it is condoned. What a travesty of justice.
According to the Fides Agency, “the incident took place on Friday, April 10, when young Muslims who were going to the mosque met Nauman along the way. They stopped him because he is a Christian, beat him, threw petrol over him and before fleeing they set him on fire.
The police was alerted and registered a complaint against unknown persons. Nauman told the superintendent of the police: “The young people who attacked me were complete strangers. They started to beat me after I told them I was a Christian. I tried to escape but they chased me and poured petrol over my body”. Nauman threw himself on a pile of sand, while some passersby helped him to put out the fire and called an ambulance.”
This precious boy is still in the hospital, in critical condition with severe burns over all of his body. How unconscionable is this and why is it not a priority for every news agency around the globe? Why doesn’t the UN Security Council meet and demand that Pakistan be held accountable for acts such as these? After the recent bombing of churches in Lahore, the violence that ensued after, seems to be all the media is concerned about. The arrests of Christians in the community has been brutal. Police come in the middle of the night, and take citizens to jail without due process.
Pakistan jails have a history of torture and abuse by the very people hired to uphold justice. Some, even the innocent do not make it out alive. And nothing more about justice for the bombings of the church. Nothing solid about how to prevent it, or bring those responsible to justice. Is it any wonder that the Christian community is frustrated, fearful, and angry? Where is the international outcry.
Religious leaders have called for calm and forgiveness. And as Christians, that is what we do. We follow our Savior’s example of forgiveness he set forth—forgiveness for all. But we do have to ask why world leaders can’t put in place a plan to ensure that genocidal/homicidal acts will not be carried out against the defenseless, those who worship Christ, minorities, the innocent and the weak? And to the Western churches/Church Body, why are you still mostly silent about what is happening not only in Pakistan, but the entire Middle East, Asia and Africa? Are they not our brothers and sisters? Are we not one in the Body of Christ?
Christians have become targets. They have suffered at the hands of an evil ideology. It’s spreading like the plague and projected to get worse. The time to speak out is NOW. Ask your representatives why President Obama has not appointed a special envoy and a committee to investigate the genocide happening globally against Christians.
Show your support—Be a VOICE!
Contact Federal Elected Officials
- President Barack Obama and the White House
Contact the White House.
- U.S. Senators
Contact your state’s senators in the U.S. Senate.
- U.S. Representatives
Contact your representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Contact State Elected Officials
Please be a VOICE—they need us! And please remember our suffering brethren in your prayers. They our God’s Divine Intervention!
(Morning Star News) – Under pressure from Hindu extremists, local officials kept a church from meeting on Good Friday (April 3) in India’s Uttar Pradesh state and ordered the pastor to vacate the property, the church leader said.
Pastor Daniel Singh of Salvation for Asia Church in Swar, near Rampur, told Morning Star News his two-year lease of the land allowed him to build a worship site, but Hindu extremists in the northern state have been threatening to burn his church building if he does not leave the property.
“The extremists summoned me one night to one of their meetings, and they threatened to burn up the church if we do not empty the land,” Pastor Singh said. “The BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] district president also threatened to terminate the job of one church member if he continues to come to our worship meetings.”
Local officials kept the church from its Good Friday services after the Hindu extremists submitted a complaint against the pastor of “forceful conversion” to police and warned him to vacate the property.
On Wednesday (April 8), the Rampur District magistrate ordered the pastor to immediately vacate the land, where about 1,000 people regularly worship.
“We have rented land to build a structure for conducting worship meetings, and we have two more years to conduct worship services according to the lease deed we made with the landlord,” Pastor Singh said. “However, pressured by the Hindu extremists, the government official along with the landlord are telling us to vacate the land as soon as possible.”
Hindu extremists first objected to worship services on March 28, when they accused the pastor and other church members of forceful conversion. Uttar Pradesh does not have an “anti-conversion” law, routinely used by Hindu extremists in more than five other states to harass Christians with false charges of forcible or fraudulently conversion.
While not governed by the Hindu nationalist BJP, Uttar Pradesh has seen a high number of anti-Christian incidents since the federal election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose governing alliance is headed by the BJP. In the first 10 months since Modi took power in May 2014, there were 22 cases of violence against Christians in the state, compared with three such incidents in the prior 10 months, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).
Also in Uttar Pradesh, about 30 Hindu extremists in Maharajganj, Rae Bareilly, on March 25 stormed a prayer meeting at the home of the Rev. Manoj Samuel and pushed, kicked, punched and strangled participants while cursing at them and accusing them of forcible conversion, he said.
“They broke the wall of the hut and stormed in, accused me of giving money to people to make them follow Jesus and mercilessly attacked us,” Pastor Samuel told Morning Star News. “Four Christians, including three women, were rushed to the hospital for treatment. They sustained injuries on their heads, backs and legs, and they complained of internal pain as well.”
Church leaders maintained that there was no instance of forceful or fraudulent conversion.
Also on March 25 in Agra, about 20 Hindu extremists barged into a Lent prayer meeting at the Light Worship Centre, verbally abused the Christians and beat them, according to the EFI. As the mob grew more furious, police took 10 people to the police station, including three women and a girl, as a preventative measure.
The Rev. Dr. Raju Thomas, general secretary of the National Christian Federation, told Morning Star News that the group had filed a police complaint and submitted a memorandum to the chief minister, but that no action has been taken.
Yusuf Dass, a prominent church leader in the state, said recent Hindu extremist “homecoming” or “reconversion” events have created an anti-Christian atmosphere.
“There is a feeling of insecurity among the Christian community with the frequent occurrence of physical attacks against the churches and the Christians, the ‘homecoming’ programs and the hate speech and campaigns by the top leaders of the Sangh Parivar and ministers of the BJP almost on a daily basis,” Dass told Morning Star News. “We have submitted a letter to the state minority commission addressing these issues.”
Last year there was only one incident in Uttar Pradesh until May. After the BJP-led alliance obtained central government power on May 26, the state witnessed 18 incidents against Christians, according to the EFI.
The jump in cases of violence against the Christians, and the Ghar Vapsi (“homecoming”) programs by Hindu nationalist groups, are a clear indication of attempts to polarize voters along communal lines ahead of state elections in 2017, human rights leader Dr. John Dayal told Morning Star News.
“Uttar Pradesh has been a particular focus of the BJP and its strong arms, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, World Hindu Council and the Bajrang Dal, and the BJP is working aggressively towards winning the 2017 state legislative assembly poll,” Dayal said. “Electoral victory will result in having a majority in the upper house of Parliament in New Delhi, and this will enable them to make any constitutional changes they like, such as a national law against conversion or against beef.”
As the most populated state in the country with more than 166 million people, Uttar Pradesh has the most seats, 80, in the lower house of Parliament. Election outcomes in the state thus have a significant influence on the formation of a central government.
The Uttar Pradesh Minority Commission earlier this year held “conspiracy of the BJP” as one of causes of “reconversion” programs in the state, under which Christians and Muslims were “encouraged,” with various threats and monetary incentives, to “return” to Hinduism, though most were never Hindus in the first place.
Commission Chairman Shakil Ahmad said at a press conference that local intelligence had failed to gather timely information about the “reconversion” events.
“The team, during its probe, found conspiracy of the BJP and failure of intelligence responsible for the conversion row,” reported Daily News and Analysis newspaper.
The state’s ruling Samajwadi Party leaders said the BJP wanted to stir communal tensions to gain political mileage. In a scathing attack on the BJP, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav yesterday (April 9) was reported to have accused it of misleading people and fanning sectarian conflict.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of India has sought Prime Minister Modi’s urgent intervention to end the “anxieties of the Christian community” over “reconversion” attempts and the “saffronization of education,” an attempt to overhaul school curriculum according to Hindu nationalist sentiments that threaten the secular basis of the country.