Two more Christians killed in Plateau state.
Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A pastor stabbed in April by rampaging young Muslims in Kaduna state has suffered a relapse after an initial recovery, while hundreds of Christians from Plateau state this week traveled to the federal capital to protest ongoing violence in their state.
The Christians charged into the streets of Abuja two days after two more Christians were found killed by suspected Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Plateau state. The bullet-ridden bodies of Ibrahim Nyam and Jimmy Pam were discovered on Sunday morning (Aug. 23) in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. Muslim Fulani herdsmen active in the area were suspected of killing the two members of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) the previous evening as they traveled together by car, said two sources, one a COCIN member.
Christian groups from Plateau state on Tuesday (Aug. 25) went to Abuja to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and present him with a petition outlining attacks on Christian communities by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Ban was in Nigeria to meet Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kate Pam, leader of a Christian group petitioning the U.N. secretary-general, told Morning Star News that the killing of Christians in Plateau has become a recurring problem that the Nigerian government has deliberately shied away from tackling.
“How many more do we have to bury?” Pam asked as she led protestors with banners bearing photographs of victims of the killings.
The petition to Ban begins, “We bring you greetings from the traumatized men, women and children of Plateau state. Permit me, sir, to give a summary of the nightmare that our lives have become in the past decade.”
Noting that the predominantly Christian Berom farmers historically gave their land as pasture to the Fulani livestock (the farmers used the manure to fertilize their crops), the petition states that tensions reached a climax on March 10, 2010, in the Dogo Nahawa massacre in which more than 500 men, women and children were slaughtered in a “cowardly dawn attack.”
“From then on, we have not known peace. Our tormentors have moved from village to village, killing, maiming, looting, shooting, burning,” the petition states. “From May this year, the attacks on our villages have increased in frequency and intensity. The people of Riyom and Barkin Ladi are worst hit. An average of 10 people are killed every week. On the 2nd of May, 27 people were massacred in a COCIN church in Foron. Among the dead were the pastor of the church, Rev. Luka Gwom, and a young woman who only just got married two weeks earlier. Two days later, 30 people were killed in Zakupang in Barkin Ladi LGA.”
Another attack on Kakpwis village left two men dead, and villages in Barkin Ladi have continued to suffer attacks at least twice week, according to the petition.
“On the 29th of May, over 500 gunmen invaded Shonong village, leaving a trail of corpses, ashes and smoke,” it reads. “That attack left over a thousand people displaced with about 300 houses razed to rubble. The month of June has also been a nightmare for the people of Barkin Ladi and Riyom. Over 20 villages have been attacked in well-coordinated attacks. In the first 10 days of July, we have witnessed quite a number of attacks already.”
The Rev. Dr. Dachalom Datiri, COCIN president, said the anti-Christian violence has been constant.
“These attacks are lamentable as our church members have continued to be killed, others displaced, and church buildings and houses destroyed,” he said.
Christian communities in Riyom and Barkin Ladi in May informed police through a letter that armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen had established a camp in the area and were planning to carry out more attacks on their communities, a source said. In the letter, the Christians pleaded with police and other security agencies to protect them. The camp, the Christian villagers reported, was located in the hills of Riyom, near Jos.
“We discovered the camp of the Fulanis, and we have informed the police command about it, yet nothing has been done to stop the killing of our people,” a Christian resident of the area told Morning Star News.
Stabbed Pastor’s Condition Worsens
In Nigeria’s troubled middle belt, attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen with sophisticated weapons against largely unarmed Christian farmers have been likened in jihadist ideology to attacks by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
Like the Fulani, the Hausa people of northern Nigeria are predominantly Muslim and have become increasingly antagonistic toward many Christians along tribal, economic and political as well as religious lines; at the same time, observers note, for Muslims politics is of a piece with religion. A Borno state-born pastor working in the northeast state of Yobe was attacked while visiting Kaduna state on April 13 by Muslim youths apparently upset by elections at that time, and they made their anti-Christian sentiments known.
“They called me an infidel and attacked me,” Pastor Emmanuel Danjuma of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Yobe State, told Morning Star News from his hospital bed, still writhing in pain four months after the attack.
Pastor Danjuma said the local Hausa Muslims clubbed and stabbed him several times in Saminaka, Kaduna state, as they rampaged through the town attacking non-Hausas presumed to have voted against their wishes. Before he lost consciousness, he said, he saw a Hausa man dressed in white rush up.
“The man shouted at them and ordered them to stop attacking me,” he said. “I don’t know what happened then, as next I only found myself in a hospital in Saminaka town. After a few days my situation deteriorated and I was transferred to this Christian hospital.”
With an ongoing national medical strike since May paralyzing public hospitals, Pastor Danjuma has remained at Seventh-day Adventist Hospital in Jengre, near Jos, Plateau State, struggling to survive after coming out of coma.
A Roman Catholic priest in the area said at least five Christians were killed in the town on the day of the attack. He gave their names as Habila Daniel, Danlami Gaba, Michael Timothy, Stephen Galadima, and Joshua Akpama.
Lahore (Agenzia Fides) The Supreme Court of Pakistan criticized the inaction of the police in front of the lynching of the Christian couple Shahzad and Shama Masih, accused of blasphemy and killed in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, on 4 November 2014. On 24 August, the Court, in a case involving two accused of the lynching, strongly criticized the police for not having intervened to prevent violence and did nothing to protect the two Christian citizens. Five police officers were present at the scene of the crime, while the crowd of extremists who carried out the lynching was made up of about 500 fanatics. The officers are accused of negligence, while the prosecutor argued that the police tried to stop the angry crowd, but failed. An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has charged with murder 106 people deemed responsible for the lynching of the Christian couple, but justice, say Christian lawyers, moves at a slow pace.
By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The killing of Christians by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s middle belt has become part of a jihadist movement to both steal the region’s natural resources and displace its Christian population.
According to Morning Star News, Muslim herdsmen working with jihadists groups have attacked and killed more than 1,500 Christians last year in the middle belt states of Kaduna, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa. These attacks were not only in pursuit of resources, but were inspired by Islamist ideology, i.e., Fulani Muslims are using the conflict to kill Christians and intimidate any survivors into recanting Christianity in favor of Islam.
The overwhelming number of victims in land and other disputes between Christians and Muslims have always been Christians. In Taraba state, 70 percent of the victims of non-Boko Haram violence were Christians and seven percent Muslims; in Benue state, 88 percent of the victims were Christians and two percent Muslims and in Nasarawa state, 75 percent were Christians and 15 percent Muslims, according to a report subtitled “Non-Boko Haram violence against Christians in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria” .
John Danfulani, a Christian leader from southern Kaduna state, said that since 2011 Muslim Fulani attacks had killed 614 Christians, wounded about 1,200 others and destroyed 1,000 Christian-owned homes.
Danfulani said Christians in southern Kaduna were being killed by Muslims with impunity and that Christian casualties increased with each new Muslim attack.
“Everything points to the fact that our people are being used as sacrificial lambs.”
LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – Islamist groups are threatening the family and attorney of a young Christian man shot dead by Muslim in-laws who also wounded his wife over her decision to marry him and leave Islam, the attorney said.
Aleem Masih, 28, married Nadia, 23, last year after she put her faith in Christ.
“The couple fled to Narang Mandi, some 60 kilometers [37 miles] away from Lahore, as Nadia’s Muslim family launched a manhunt for them to avenge the shame their daughter had brought upon them by recanting Islam and marrying a Christian,” attorney Aneeqa Maria of The Voice Society told Morning Star News.
Maria said that the Christian couple had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking police protection due to threats against them by Nadia’s family, who were also threatening Masih’s relatives.
On July 30, Nadia’s family received a tip that the couple would visit a doctor in Khaliqnagar, in the Youhanabad area, that evening, Maria said. Eyewitnesses said Nadia’s father, Muhammad Din Meo, along with her brothers, seized the driver of a three-wheeled rickshaw in which the couple were riding and abducted the couple, the attorney said. They took the couple to a nearby farm.
“The Muslim men first brutally tortured the couple with fists and kicks and then thrice shot Aleem Masih – one bullet hit him in his ankle, the second in the ribs while the third targeted his face,” the attorney said. “Nadia was shot in the abdomen.”
Maria said that the Muslim relatives left believing they had killed the couple.
“The attackers returned to their village and publicly proclaimed that they had avenged their humiliation and restored the pride of the Muslims by killing the couple in cold blood,” she said. “Nadia’s brother, Azhar, then presented himself before the police and confessed to having killed his sister and her Christian husband.”
Police, however, found Nadia still breathing when they arrived at the farm.
“She was shifted to the General Hospital in Lahore, where she is fighting for her life after a major operation in which two bullets were removed from her abdomen,” said the lawyer.
Maria said that when she and her team visited the hospital, a large number of Muslims were gathered there.
“The mob, some of them armed with weapons, was shouting furious anti-Christian slogans,” she said. “They were also praising Azhar for restoring the pride of the Muslim Ummah [community] and saying that he had earned his place in paradise for killing an ‘infidel.’”
She found a similar display at the local police station, where a large number of Muslims had gathered to pressure police.
The next day officers registered a case against Azhar and others, including Nadia’s father, but police have not taken them into custody as they have been granted pre-arrest bail, she said.
Maria said the Muslim family and Islamist groups were now threatening her, demanding that she and the slain Christian’s family drop the case.
“We are pursuing the case nonetheless,” she said. “Murder in the name of religion and honor must not be allowed, and the perpetrators should be held accountable for this brutal act.”
The investigating officer in the case could not be reached for comment.
In Gujrat District of Punjab Province, three Christians including a pastor have been charged with blasphemy and terrorism for using the word “Rasool” (apostle) on posters referring to the pastor’s deceased father.
Pastor Aftab Gill and two other Christians were taken into custody in Nai Abadi, Gujrat, after police spotted posters that referred to clergyman Fazal Masih as Rasool in marking the 20th anniversary of his death.
Rasool in Pakistan is commonly used to refer to Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The word is also used several times in the Urdu Bible as a translation of “apostle” and “disciple,” and it is used frequently in church sermons and in Christian writings.
“We have arrested three men, including the son of the priest, because they used the word Rasoolfor the late Fazal Masih,” said area police official Shahid Tanveer.
He said that officers had summoned local Muslim clerics and elders of the Christian community to the police station to consult them on the matter.
“The Christians organizing the event apologized and asked forgiveness, saying they had used the word to celebrate Masih’s services to Christianity, but the Muslim clerics refused to accept the apology,” Tanveer said. “A case under anti-terrorism law and blasphemy has been registered against the organizers, and three men have been arrested, while 11 others are at large.”
He did not explain why police filed terrorism charges, though the charge is often used in sensitive and high profile cases as it gives access to a fast-track trial.
The pastor’s brother, Unitan Gill, said that their father had established the local Biblical Church of God in Nai Abadi several years ago. His brother, Pastor Gill, runs a grocery shop in the area besides operating a small English teaching institute.
“My brother’s business was flourishing, and this caused anguish in the local Muslim community,” he said, asserting that area Muslims Rukhsar Butt, Umer Butt, Iftikhar Butt, Faisal Munir and others had instigated police to arrest the Christians “even though the matter did not warrant such harsh action.”
“The mala fide against us is evident, because a local policeman named Mukhtar Ahmed has been made complainant in the case,” Unitan Gill said.
Area residents said police prevented massive destruction by Muslims by arresting the Christians, as Muslims wanted to burn the Christians alive and set their houses and the Biblical Church of God building on fire over blasphemy accusations. There are about 100-120 Christian families in the neighborhood.
Christians, who make up around 2 percent of Pakistan’s population, have been increasingly targeted in recent years, often over allegations of blasphemy. The Supreme Court agreed last month to hear an appeal by a Christian mother against her death sentence in a blasphemy case that has drawn criticism from rights campaigners.
Aasiya Noreen, commonly known as Asia Bibi, is a mother of five who has been on death row since 2010 after she was accused of insulting Muhammad during a quarrel with Muslim women.
We have received many requests, please pray for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan.
Requesting prayers for her children, below you will find a heartbreaking update that Naghmeh Abedini recently shared. Being without their father for so long, has been very hard on the children—an emotional roller coaster for the whole family. Please press in and lift these little one up to the Lord.
I would appreciate your prayers for the kids. Specially for Rebekka. Her birthday is coming up in September and I have noticed over the last few weeks that it has become too painful for her to hope that Saeed might be out for her birthday, she has just decided to cope with it by accepting that our family is just me and them. I looked at drawings she used to do a few years ago when Saeed was first arrested and they were filled with hope and faith. I noticed over the last few weeks that her pictures of our family include just me and them.
Recently Jacob heard me making travel plans to New York and he begged me to come (his dream is to go to the sewers of New York where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live!). I told him that this was for efforts for daddy and I would be so busy it would not be fun for him. I told him that we will go for vacation to New York when daddy gets out of prison. He cried and marched off as he said that “daddy is never coming home!”
I tell them to hope and pray and trust Jesus. It is so hard for them to pray for so long and not see the results. Please pray that God would give me the wisdom to guide them in their walk with Christ.
Naghmeh Abedini and her children suffer greatly in persecution as her husband serves an 8 year prison sentence in Iran for his faith in Jesus Christ. Nobody enjoys suffering, but Naghmeh says suffering has brought her closer to Jesus.
“Any bad news or any suffering, or anything that seems to be negative, actually I’ve found it as a way for God to redirect my heart back to Him.”
Today, Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Revive Our Hearts interviewed Naghmeh as she tells her amazing story of coming to faith in Jesus in a Muslim household. The interview also includes a sound bite, recorded a few years ago, from Pastor Saeed giving his own testimony of coming out of radical Islam to the feet of Christ.
I have personally heard Naghmeh share her incredible testimony. I highly recommend this interview—be encouraged!
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UK: Manchester Councillor Pat Karney in the U.K. is seeking to crack down on street preachers, buskers and those who engage in commerce in the public streets says that preachers are wrong to talk about morality in the open air and to make their hearers feel “insecure” with their preaching.
When asked him to clarify whether the city council plans to place restrictions on street preachers as part of his goal to reduce public “nuisances.”
The Christian Institute sent a warning to the council and plan to support the street preachers’ right to address people in public spaces.
The letter says: “The Christian Institute has long supported the rights of street preachers and has funded several legal cases where local authorities or police have unlawfully interfered with those rights.”
Karney intends to silence ‘noisy’ street preachers or those who may provoke members of the public.
And said they would target street preachers who authorities feel project their voice too much or discuss issues that some members of the public may find offensive.
“Preachers do have a right to be out on the streets, but I do not think it right if they are talking about morality,” he stated. “Some talk about race or sexual orientation and that is not proper at all.”
“They’re perfectly entitled to talk about Jesus and the word of God, but not to make anyone feel insecure or threatened,” Karney stated.
While the Christian Institute has not received a written response to its correspondence, and concerned by Karney’s press statement.
“We are still no clearer about whether restrictions will be applied to street preachers in Manchester and remain concerned about potential police action,” it said in a statement. “Councillor Karney has not provided any legal grounds for this crackdown, and runs the risk of legal action being taken if the free speech rights of street preachers are interfered with.”
The article reports several street preachers have been arrested in the UK in recent years over the content of their speech. Read full report