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Nigeria: Massacre as US IRF Freedom Ambassador departs; hundreds feared dead

(Voice of the Persecuted) International human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe sent an urgent alert to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) addressing a 60 hour killing spree that began last weekend [where possibly] 200 Christians were slaughtered in Plateau State, even as the US Ambassador At Large for International Religious Freedom was departing Nigeria.
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Ambassador Brownback’s one week visit was pockmarked with 6 suicide bombings by Boko Haram in one day (the largest single day detonations), deadly Shiite clashes with the police, altercations between local Muslims and a community and continuing killings by Muslim Fulani Herdsmen.
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The grand finale of this perfect storm of violence was the triple digit massacre in Plateau State. See Viewpoint Nigeria’s report Despair as death toll of Barkin Ladi killings reaches 106– 31 corpses were recovered from Gindin Akwati (i.e, Ex-lands),
– 34 from Gana-Ropp,
– 8 from Shonong and the balance
– 33 from small villages (e..g, Razat, Ruku, Nghar, Tanabu, Tisan, Kakuruk etc) in the vicinity.
Vanguard News front page called it a bloodbath
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Overnight, I have been inundated with photos too gruesome to share here of horribly mutilated bodies of children brutally macheted to death and macheted still after death for maximal horror effect, charred corpses and bodies stacked in mass graves, Ogebe lamented.
Already the Fulani have justified this heinous crime against humanity The sad thing is this is not the first time nor the last. In 2012 when Fulanis massacred over 60 Christian villagers in Plateau State, an executive of the same cattle [rearing] group said the same thing. I wrote to the Attorney General and asked, “This man has admitted the crime. Why hasn’t he been picked up?” He is still free till today. After the New Year Massacre in Benue State, again they admitted it. No one has been arrested.
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Worse still, some of the communities attacked this weekend were attacked previously. In fact one of them was part of the notorious 2010 Dogo Na Hawa Massacre in which 500 Christians were killed. That massacre 8 years ago spurred me to launch the Justice For Jos project and that has evolved to covering Boko Haram atrocities. Ironically the Herdsmen atrocities have continued unabated while Boko Haram hogged the spotlight.
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Sadly all of this occurred while Nigeria’s President Buhari was busy holding a party convention in his bid for re-election. Early last week I got distress messages from of our local workers that he was trapped outside the orphanage because of an ongoing Herdsmen attack. However President Buhari deployed over 5000 policemen for his security at the party convention and the killings built up until the massacre despite the early warnings.
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We hear reports that mass burials are being ordered by the authorities to hide the true casualties.
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Victims of the latest killings.

At this point the Plateau massacre this weekend looks likely to be the third worst in the 8 years in which I have tracked Herdsmen attacks.

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1. Dogo Nahawa 500 killed March 2010 Plateau State
2. Agatu 300 killed
February 2016 Benue State
3. Barkin Ladi 200? Plateau State June 2018
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Mourners at a funeral were also killed, see report. Again not for the first time.
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It is disconcerting that a small Muslim minority can so terrorize Christian majorities in Benue and Plateau state because of their monopoly of violence. The great danger is if Christians choose not to take it anymore. Friends and family have been appealing for evacuation since last night as Muslims are amassing. However Plateau is where most Christians from the far north flee for safety so where does everyone one now go?
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One of my colleagues [informed] me that Rocket Propelled Grenades were used in these attacks. I am waiting on the evidence but if true, this is not the first time either.
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RUSSIA: Protestants targeted in Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

By Victoria Arnold, www.forum18.org – Two African students from a Nizhny Novgorod Pentecostal Church were fined and ordered deported for appearing in videos of worship services. The FSB initiated the cases. The Church has also been fined. “The charges of illegal missionary activity are completely unlawful,” Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin told Forum 18.

Law enforcement agencies are increasing pressure on Protestants in Nizhny Novgorod Region. They are using both the so-called “anti-missionary” amendment and immigration law to punish churches and their members for such activities as inviting students to parties and posting videos of worship on social media. Judges have fined and ordered the deportation from Russia of two African students at Nizhny Novgorod’s medical academy for appearing in or reposting videos on the VKontakte social network.

The two students’ Pentecostal church, Jesus Embassy, has received multiple fines under Administrative Code Article 5.26, Part 3 (“Implementation of activities by a religious organisation without indicating its official full name, including the issuing or distribution, within the framework of missionary activity, of literature and printed, audio, and video material without a label bearing this name, or with an incomplete or deliberately false label”) and Part 4 (“Russians conducting missionary activity”).

The FSB security service initiated the prosecutions of both Jesus Embassy Church members and the latest prosecution of the Church itself (see below).

The two deported students have been permitted to stay in the country to complete their final exams, but must leave by 30 June. “After spending 6 years in Russia, they would have become a connecting thread between our countries,” Pentecostal Bishop Konstantin Bendas, commented in “Novaya Gazeta” newspaper on 17 May. “Now this thread is broken.”

“The charges of illegal missionary activity are completely unlawful,” Pentecostal Union lawyer Vladimir Ozolin insisted to Forum 18. “I would like to hope that the cases were initiated by the stupidity of the siloviki, otherwise this greatly undermines the authority of Russia in the international arena.”

Many other Nizhny Novgorod prosecutions

Other Protestant churches in the Region have also faced prosecution many times since the adoption of the “anti-missionary” law in July 2016, court records show. Indeed, World Cup host city Nizhny Novgorod and its Region have one of the highest levels of prosecution under Administrative Code Article 5.26 (primarily under Part 3) in the whole of Russia, and several cases appear to rest on flimsy or fabricated evidence (see below).

Nizhny Novgorod is an “advanced region” for prosecutions under the “anti-missionary” amendment, Pentecostal Union lawyer Ozolin told Forum 18 from Moscow on 19 May. Seventh-day Adventist lawyer Vasily Nichik agreed, commenting to Forum 18 on 19 June that Nizhny Novgorod is “among the foremost in terms of persecution in the field of religious freedoms”. It is difficult to explain why, he added. “In these matters, very often everything depends on the personalities within the system”.

In the first year of the “anti-missionary” law (July 2016 to July 2017), cases under Administrative Code Article 5.26, Parts 3, 4, and 5 (“Foreigners conducting missionary activity”) reached court in 50 regions of the country. Nizhny Novgorod saw the highest number of separate investigations (eight) and the fourth highest number of individual prosecutions (eleven).

According to available court records, Nizhny Novgorod has experienced a particularly high level of prosecution under Article 5.26, Part 3, more than twice that of the next region.

Constitutional Court definition – any impact?

In general, the Religion Law’s vague definition of “missionary activity” (and lack of clarity over what constitutes “membership of” or “participation in” a religious association) has meant that law enforcement can understand virtually anything as “missionary activity”.

In March 2018, however, Russia’s Constitutional Court issued its own interpretation, which lawyers hoped would clarify the key concepts employed in cases under Article 5.26, Parts 4 and 5.

According to the Constitutional Court, “A defining feature [sistemoobrazuyushchy priznak] of missionary activity is the dissemination by citizens and their associations of information about a specific religious belief among persons who, not being its followers, are involved in their number, including as participants in specific religious associations”. Therefore, the distribution of information, for example, about services, ceremonies, or events “falls under the definition of missionary activity as such, only if it contains the said defining feature” (see F18News 16 May 2018 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2377).

Most of the “anti-missionary” prosecutions in the current law enforcement campaign in Nizhny Novgorod took place before the Constitutional Court issued its interpretation. Two, however, came to trial afterwards, but the Constitutional Court’s clarification of the legal norms appears to have had no effect on the outcome.

It should also be noted that the Constitutional Court’s definition of missionary activity has no bearing on prosecutions under Article 5.26, Part 3 (“Implementation of activities by a religious organisation without indicating its official full name, including the issuing or distribution, within the framework of missionary activity, of literature and printed, audio, and video material without a label bearing this name, or with an incomplete or deliberately false label”).

Who is being targeted and where is this coming from?

The Jesus Embassy Pentecostal Church, which has several communities in the Region, has borne the brunt of law enforcement attention, but other Protestant communities have also been affected. Jesus Embassy communities, which are led and primarily made up of Russians, are part of the Russian Pentecostal Union, which, according to Bishop Konstantin Bendas, has an agreement with several African embassies in Russia to work with students from their countries.

“The FSB is interested in Jesus Embassy itself and Protestants in general,” lawyer Aleksey Vetoshkin, who has been involved in several recent cases, told Forum 18 from Nizhny Novgorod on 17 May. “After this pressure, the number of African parishioners has fallen from 150 to 20”.

Nizhny Novgorod so far appears to be a particular hotspot for prosecutions related to “missionary activity”. While the focus on Protestant communities is not anomalous (they make up the clear majority of prosecutions across the country), the intensity of law enforcement activity in Nizhny Novgorod, particularly that aimed at foreign students, is unusual.

Foreigners elsewhere are sometimes fined or deported under immigration law for engaging in religious activity when this is not covered by their visas, but they are usually clergy or lay missionaries on brief visits to Russia. It is rare for students who have been at Russian universities for several years to be ordered to leave.

There does not appear to be a nationwide law enforcement campaign against African Protestants in Russia. Forum 18 is aware of only four other Africans who have been prosecuted under Administrative Code Article 5.26, Part 5 since July 2016 (three students, one pastor – all affiliated with various Protestant churches), in four different regions. Of these cases, one was returned to police for technical reasons and not resubmitted – the other three defendants were fined and one was ordered deported, but the deportation order was rescinded on appeal (see F18News 9 August 2017 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2306).

The law enforcement campaign in Nizhny Novgorod Region appears to be driven by the FSB security service. According to FSB documents seen by Forum 18 or cited in the Russian media, the FSB alerted the police immigration control department and local Justice Ministry branch to various alleged violations. Those agencies then initiated prosecutions. Court verdicts usually refer to (but do not quote) FSB information as evidence of a defendant’s guilt.

Forum 18 wrote to the Nizhny Novgorod FSB on 21 June, asking why it is targeting Protestants and in what way they can be considered a security risk, but had received no reply by the end of the working day on 25 June.

“I understand that behind the whole persecution of Protestants is someone from the leadership of law enforcement agencies. Who? It is difficult to answer this question unambiguously,” lawyer Vasily Nichik remarked to Forum 18 on 19 June. “If a highly intolerant person enters the power structure, then he sees enemies in everyone and begins to construct schemes to restrict freedoms and persecute [people] for dissent. Such a type has probably ended up in the leadership of law enforcement agencies in the Nizhny Novgorod Region.”

Kudzai Nyamarebvu prosecuted

Zimbabwean medical student Kudzai Nyamarebvu has faced prosecution three times in six months under both immigration and “anti-missionary” legislation for an increasingly bizarre series of alleged offences involving videos on social media. She has been ordered to leave Russia by 30 June. The church she attends in Nizhny Novgorod, “Jesus Embassy”, and the regional Pentecostal association to which it belongs, have also received fines.

– Prosecution No. 1 – Article 18.8, Part 2

Nizhny Novgorod’s Sormovo District Court found Nyamarebvu guilty on 25 January 2018 of an offence under Administrative Code Article 18.8, Part 2 (“Violation by a foreign citizen or stateless person of the rules of entry into the Russian Federation or the regime of residence in the Russian Federation, expressed in the inconsistency of the declared goal of entry with the activity or occupation actually carried out during his/her stay”). She had appeared in a video her Church had posted on its VKontakte page,

Judge Vasily Korytov fined Nyamarebvu 5,000 Roubles (five days’ average local wages) and ordered her to be deported (“monitored independent departure”, meaning that she would not be detained in the interim). At the time, she was half way through her sixth and final year at the Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy (since renamed Privolzhsky Medical Research University), and deportation would have meant that she would have been unable to sit her final exams and receive her degree.

Although the case against Nyamarebvu was lodged by the police immigration control department, it was based on information from the FSB, according to the court verdict seen by Forum 18.

The video which triggered the prosecution had been posted in November 2016, and showed Nyamarebvu inviting fellow African students to a “welcome party” at the church. The Nizhny Novgorod police immigration control department and Judge Korytov decided that this constituted “missionary activity” on behalf of Jesus Embassy, thus violating the terms of Nyamarebvu’s visa, which granted her entry to Russia for the purpose of education only.

As church lawyer Vladimir Malinin argued, the video had no religious content and the planned party was not a religious event. Bishop Bendas also points out in his 17 May article in “Novaya Gazeta” that most Africans who come to study in Russia are Protestants anyway. Nyamarebvu was also speaking English, Pentecostal Union lawyer Ozolin noted to Forum 18. It is therefore unclear how this could be deemed “missionary activity”.

Under the Russian Constitution and international law, foreign citizens also have equal rights with Russian citizens to freedom of religion and belief.

Nyamrebvu’s appeal on 7 February at Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court was unsuccessful, but Judge Vyacheslav Kudrya set her date of departure from Russia as 30 June 2018, to allow her to complete her medical studies.

– Prosecution No. 2 – Article 5.26, Part 5

Police later charged Nyamarebvu under Article 5.26, Part 5 (“Foreigners conducting missionary activity”) for reposting, on her own VKontakte page, a video which showed another African student talking about how she believed God had helped her recover from illness. Nyamarebvu had deleted this video in late January, but police nevertheless lodged a case against her in April at Nizhny Novgorod’s Prioksky District Court.

Judge Olga Vorotnikova sent the case back on 23 April because officers had not specified in their report the location of the alleged offence, according to the written verdict, seen by Forum 18. On 4 May, the police sent Nyamarebvu a letter telling her that the case had been dropped because the time limit for prosecution had passed.

– Prosecution No. 3 – Article 5.26, Part 5

On 8 June, the police summoned Nyamarebvu and informed her that she was being charged again under Article 5.26, Part 5 because of an interview she had given about her earlier prosecutions, which had been published on the Pentecostal Union’s website.

Officers interpreted this interview as “unlawful missionary activity”. Judge Mariya Astafyeva of Prioksky District Court fined Nyamarebvu 30,000 Roubles (one month’s average local wages) on 9 June. Nyamarebvu was due to sit her final exam the next day.

Jesus Embassy pastor Pavel Ryndich attended the court hearing. “The accusation disintegrated like a sandcastle under the simplest questioning,” he wrote on his Facebook page on 10 June.

Nevertheless, the judge decided that Nyamarebvu was guilty of “hidden missionary activity, not expressed in either words or gestures”.

Prosecutions of Jesus Embassy

– For party invitation

Before Nyamarebvu herself became subject to law enforcement attention, her church – Jesus Embassy – had already been fined three times for the single video in which she had appeared.

Both the local religious organisation – Jesus Embassy Bible Centre, Nizhny Novgorod – and the centralised religious organisation – Jesus Embassy Union of Evangelical Churches in Nizhny Novgorod – were prosecuted under Article 5.26, Part 3 (“Implementation of activities by a religious organisation without indicating its official full name, including the issuing or distribution, within the framework of missionary activity, of literature and printed, audio, and video material without a label bearing this name, or with an incomplete or deliberately false label”).

Judge Yelena Kutuzova of Moscow District Magistrate’s Court No. 6 found both guilty in separate hearings (on 8 June and 6 June 2017 respectively) and fined them 30,000 Roubles (one month’s average local wages) each for distributing video material on VKontake and YouTube which did not bear the organisations’ full official names.

The local church made an unsuccessful appeal on 11 July 2017 at Moscow District Court, and an unsuccessful supervisory appeal on 28 September 2017 at Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court. The centralised church also unsuccessfully challenged its conviction at Moscow District Court on 20 July 2017, but lodged no supervisory appeal.

The centralised Jesus Embassy organisation was also prosecuted under Article 5.26, Part 4 for the same video – for allowing Nyamarebvu to perform the alleged “missionary activity” without the necessary documentation authorising her to do so.

Judge Kutuzova fined the organisation 50,000 Roubles on 9 June 2017. Although the judge noted that the centralised organisation was the entity obliged to fulfil the requirements of the law and thus the one to bear responsibility for the alleged offence, this appears to have had no bearing on the prosecution of the local church.

The centralised organisation appealed unsuccessfully against its Part 4 conviction on 11 July 2017 at Moscow District Court. An unsuccessful supervisory appeal took place on 28 September 2017 at Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court.

– For video about “Encounter” event

Another video from 2016 served as grounds for prosecuting the centralised Jesus Embassy organisation again under both Article 5.26, Part 3 (“Implementation of activities by a religious organisation without indicating its official full name, including the issuing or distribution, within the framework of missionary activity, of literature and printed, audio, and video material without a label bearing this name, or with an incomplete or deliberately false label”) and Article 5.26, Part 4 (“Russians conducting missionary activity”).

This video, also posted on the church’s social media pages, showed four other students (from Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, and Côte d’Ivoire) talking (in English, French, and Portuguese) about their experiences at “encounter” events at the church – “This is a time when we discuss such topics as love, faith, and dreams, based on the Bible”, church press secretary Yuliya Yermoshina told Dozhd TV on 27 April.

On 28 April 2018, Judge Yelena Kutuzova of Nizhny Novgorod’s Moscow District Magistrate’s Court No. 6 again found Jesus Embassy guilty both of permitting the students to perform “missionary activity” without the necessary documentation (Part 4) and of failing to display its full official name in the video (Part 3). She issued fines of 30,000 Roubles (one month’s average local wages) under Part 3 and 100,000 Roubles under Part 4. Moscow District Court rejected both appeals on 8 June 2018.

One of the people in the video, medical student Chileshe Maurin, had already graduated and returned to Zambia in 2017, before the church was charged. The others – Debora Mangenge and Mzengereza Tingawena from the (then) Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy, and Kpata Evilafo Adel Olivia Romuald from Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University – do not appear to have been charged either under immigration law or the “anti-missionary” amendment.

Given the length of time which elapsed between the multiple prosecutions of Jesus Embassy for the “welcome party” video and the prosecution of Kudzai Nyamarebvu, however, the three remaining Africans might still face charges.

The Justice Ministry of Nizhny Novgorod Region lodged the case at the Magistrate’s Court, but on the basis of information from the FSB, which wrote to the Justice Ministry on 20 February 2018, alerting it to the video. The FSB document states that the four Africans had entered the country on student visas but had carried out “missionary activity on behalf of a religious organisation” without written authorisation, according to the Dozhd TV report of 27 April.

Nosise Vusiwe Shiba prosecuted

The FSB security service also initiated at least one prosecution of another member of Jesus Embassy, Nosise Vusiwe Shiba from Swaziland. She too has been ordered to leave Russia.

Shiba, also in her final year of medical school, first received a fine of 5,000 Roubles (five days’ average local wages) under Administrative Code Article 18.8, Part 2 on 28 February 2018 for participating in a “missionary conference” (“To the ends of the earth”) held by the Russian Pentecostal Union in Penza in May 2017. On 16 May 2018, she appeared in court for a second time, charged under Article 18.8, Part 4 (“An offence under Parts 1 or 2 repeated within one year”) with having sung at another “missionary conference” (“Save one more!”) in Nizhny Novgorod.

Judge Vasily Korytov of Nizhny Novgorod’s Sormovo District Court interpreted both acts as performing “missionary activity” while on an educational visa, as “by means of participating in a public event with the performance of religious songs, she disseminated information about her beliefs to an unlimited number of people”. For the second alleged offence, Shiba was fined 7,000 Roubles and ordered deported, but permitted to remain until 30 June to complete her degree.

The FSB security service noted in a letter to the police immigration control department on 18 April 2018 that Shiba appears singing in two videos which Jesus Embassy uploaded to YouTube in April and June 2017. The first video showed an Easter service; the second, the “Save one more!” conference. The FSB found the videos in October 2017.

According to the FSB letter, seen by Forum 18, these videos indicate that Shiba “participates in the activity of the so-called “worship group” [musicians] of [the centralised regional Jesus Embassy Church] and actively participates in preaching by P. Ryndich, pastor of this organisation”. Such “unlawful religious activity” constitutes “a violation .. of the rules of residence on the territory of the Russian Federation, in the form of non-conformity with the declared purpose of entry”.

“[Shiba] will finish her studies, a person’s life has not been broken”, her lawyer Aleksey Vetoshkin wrote on Facebook on 19 May. “However, the court has set a dangerous precedent – singing beautifully on the stage of a Protestant church is missionary activity. In my opinion, this is nonsense, but in the opinion of the court, this act creates public danger”.

Neither Shiba nor Jesus Embassy (local or centralised bodies) yet appears to have been charged under Administrative Code Article 5.26 in relation to these alleged offences.

Other Nizhny Novgorod churches targeted?

Law enforcement agencies in Nizhny Novgorod Region appear to be targeting Protestants using the “anti-missionary” amendment, rather than foreigners in particular. Foreign members of only the Jesus Embassy church appear to have been prosecuted so far, under either Administrative Code Article 5.26, Part 5 or immigration law.

Out of a total of eighteen prosecutions under Article 5.26, Part 3 in Nizhny Novgorod region (all dating from 2017 and 2018), sixteen were of Protestant communities – 6 Pentecostal, 5 Seventh-day Adventist, 3 independent Protestant, and 2 Baptist Union. There was also one case against a Hare Krishna community and one against Jehovah’s Witnesses (from before their nationwide ban).

Seventh-day Adventists in Nizhny Novgorod region have mainly been prosecuted under Article 5.26, Parts 3 and 4, lawyer Vasily Nichik told Forum 18 on 19 June. Their foreign members have kept a low profile and have experienced no problems. Adventist communities have, however, been subject to significant law enforcement attention, much of it, they claim, on spurious grounds.

Nichik described one “shameful case”, in which an unknown person removed a church sign showing the religious organisation’s full official name and replaced it with one bearing an incomplete name. This was not simple vandalism: “It’s very interesting that whoever did this knew the legal consequences of incorrect signage very well,” Nichik observed to Forum 18. “They didn’t just rip off the sign and throw it away, but made another and hung it in place of the first. Another interesting coincidence is that immediately after this, in the morning, a group of police officers arrived.”

Nichik added: “We can’t say who did this, but the available facts force one to draw conclusions about who is behind it. As a result, a small community of mostly pensioners was fined 30,000 Roubles [one month’s average local wages] under Article 5.26 Part 3.”

In his 17 May “Novaya Gazeta” article of, Pentecostal Bishop Bendas also notes the law enforcement focus on Seventh-day Adventists as well as his own church, outlining how police and FSB security service officers interrupted services in the towns of Shakhunya and Zavolzhye in Nizhny Novgorod Region.

“This means that [law enforcement officers] arrive during a service and begin interrogating parishioners and clergy, meaning that worship cannot proceed further,” lawyer Nichik explained to Forum 18 on 21 June. “Usually, they come with the service side-arms which they always carry, not with automatic weapons.”

In Shakhunya, the church was fined despite the fact that a sign with its full name was attached to the front door, which officers mysteriously “did not see at point blank range”. In Zavolzhye, the community was explicitly accused of not having a sign on its fence (for which there is no legal requirement). In this instance, the judge closed the case “in the absence of an administrative offence”. (END)

Egypt Tries to ‘Reconcile’ Coptic Churches to Non-Existence

By  — From attacks by Muslim mobs to closures by Muslim authorities, the lamentable plight of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt always follows a pattern, one that is unwaveringly only too typical.

Thus, last April 14, a Muslim mob—predictably riled by the previous day’s Friday mosque sermons—attacked the church of the Holy Virgin and Pope Kyrillos in Beni Meinin, Beni Suef.   According to Watani, as with 3,500 other Egyptian churches, after patently waiting for decades to receive a permit, the church “had been used for worship for some 10 years now…  [T]he building authority committee had recently [earlier that day] visited the church in preparation for legalising its status, and the attack was waged in retaliation.”

Local authorities’ response was even more typical: Twenty people were arrested after the attack—eleven Muslims (attackers) and nine Copts (defenders).  At least five of the arrested Christians, whose “crime” was to try to put out fires Muslims started, were illegally incarcerated for over a month.  One lost his job due to this prolonged absence (police refused to admit holding him to his employer).

Thereafter, on May 22, followed the usual “reconciliation” meeting between local Christian and Muslim elders, whereby victims forego their legal rights in an out of court settlement.  In order to release their innocents the Copts had to agree to close the church—no more mass, wedding or funeral services on grounds that it is a “security risk”—and agree that the eleven Muslims who led the violent attack also be acquitted.

Just four days after that, the whole process was repeated again: on May 26, another Muslim mob attacked a church in the village of al-Shuqaf in the province of Beheira.  “The mob,” notes the report, “also pelted the Coptic villagers’ houses with stones, damaged the priest’s car, and set on fire a motorbike that was parked in front of the church. Seven Copts suffered slight injuries. The police was called and caught 11 Muslims and nine Copts.”

As with the previous church incident, according to Watani, this church had also

been in use for worship for over three years now, and is known as the church of St Mark…  a few months ago, construction work started on building a mosque close to the church. On Saturday afternoon [May 26], the Muslim worshippers began shouting slogans against the church and the Copts, and used the mosque microphones to call upon the villagers to attack the church. Many villagers gathered and waged the attack.

The Coptic villagers claim that the nine Copts who were arrested had been caught randomly in what has now become common practice by the police in order to pressure the Copts into ‘[re]conciliation,’ so that no legal action would be taken against the Muslim culprits in exchange for setting free the Coptic detainees and ensuring a swift end to hostilities.

Such is the unvarying “boilerplate” plight of Egypt’s Christians and their churches. To become acquainted with the persecution of one Coptic church is to become acquainted with all.  For instance, nearly two years ago I offered the following detailed look at the “reconciliation” process—one that, as these two recent incidences show, remains perfectly applicable to and well entrenched in Egypt:

Christians trying to build a church … are typical violations that prompt large, armed Muslim mobs to attack all the Christians in that village (and their church if one exists) as a form of collective punishment, which is also Islamic….

After the uprising has fizzled out, authorities arrive.  Instead of looking for and arresting the culprits or mob ringleaders—or, as often is the case, the local imam who incites the Muslim mob against the “uppity infidels” who need to be reminded of “their place”—authorities gather the leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities together in what are termed “reconciliation meetings.”  During these meetings, Christians are asked to make further concessions to angry Muslims.

Authorities tell Christian leaders things like, “Yes, we understand the situation and your innocence, but the only way to create calm in the village is for X [the offending Christian and extended family, all of whom may have been beat] to leave the village—just for now, until things calm down.” Or, “Yes, we understand you need a church, but as you can see, the situation is volatile right now, so, for the time being, maybe you can walk to the church in the next town six miles away—you know, until things die down.”…

[Should Christians] rebuff the authorities’ offer and demand their rights as citizens against the culprits, the authorities smile and say “okay.”  Then they go through the village making arrests—except that most of those whom they arrest are Christian youths.  Then they tell the Christian leaders, “Well, we’ve made the arrests. But, just as you say so-and-so [Muslim] was involved, there are even more witnesses [Muslims] who insist your own [Christian] youths were the ones who began the violence.  So, we can either arrest and prosecute them, or you can rethink our offer about having a reconciliation meeting.”

Under the circumstances, dejected Christians generally agree to the further mockery.  What alternative do they have?  They know if they don’t their youth will certainly go to prison and be tortured.   In one recent incident, wounded Christians who dared fight against Muslim attackers were arrested and, despite serious injuries, held for seven hours and prevented from receiving medical attention….

[N]ot only are the victims denied any justice, but the aggressors are further emboldened to attack again.

Indeed, as seen by recent events—including one month where four churches were attacked and then closed—this modus operandi and culture of emboldened impunity is now more entrenched in Egypt than before.

Two Christians Ambushed, Killed in Central Nigeria

Peace Joseph, 6, slain in attack in Miango, Nigeria on March 8. (Morning Star News)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Sunday (June 10) killed two Christians and seriously wounded another in central Nigeria as they made their way home from a church service, local sources said.

Ibrahim Weyi, 45, and Larry More, 53, were said to be hacked to death when herdsmen ambushed them at 7:40 p.m. as the Christians were going home on a motorcycle from an evening worship service in Plateau state’s Kwall village, in the Bassa area, Patience Moses told Morning Star News.

A third Christian, 23-year-old Samuel Weyi, was wounded in the attack, the local resident said. All three belong to the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Kwall, another resident, Lawerence Zango, told Morning  Star News. Weyi is receiving treatment at an Intensive Care Unit of a hospital in Jos, he said.

“Fulani herdsmen have continued to kill innocent Christians in our villages, yet the Nigerian government has not taken proactive measures to end the onslaught,” Zango said.

A spokesman for the Plateau State Command, Mathias Tyopev, confirmed the attack and told Morning Star News that an investigation is underway.

Herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in the Bassa area intensified late last year and have continued in spite of the presence of military personnel, sources said. Since February, 11 Christians have lost their lives in the area at the hands of Muslim Fulani herdsmen, including the two killed on Sunday, said the Rev. Sunday Zibeh, pastor of the ECWA church in Nzharuvo, Miango.

“In these cases, the victims were either ambushed and killed by the herdsmen or attacked in their homes at night,” Pastor Zibeh told Morning Star News. “The sad reality is that the Nigerian government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, himself a Muslim and a Fulani man, has not acted in any way to end these attacks.”

He gave the names of those killed as Adam Sunday, 38; Jatau Akus, 39; Chohu Awarhai and Marcus Mali, 22, all of Jebbu-Miango village. They were ambushed and killed by the herdsmen on April 18.

“The four victims were construction workers working on site when they were attacked,” he said.

In March two other Christians, 17-year-old Lumumbah Chayi and Joseph Alli, 23, were killed in Jebbu-Miango and Rotsu villages, he said.

“Joseph was attacked and beheaded at about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15 in Rotsu village, while Chayi, a high school student, was murdered on Monday, March 12, at about 7 p.m. by the Fulani herdsmen in Kwall village,” he said.

In February three other Christians were killed and two injured in an ambush by herdsmen near Zanwra village, Pastor Zibeh said. John Esije was 32; Monday Nzwe was 38; and Saku Giyeri was 41. The wounded survivors are Sunday Bala, 33, and, Gudu Gara, 25, he said, adding that all the victims were members of ECWA church.

Zango, a church youth leader in Miango, which is part of the Bassa Local Government Area, told Morning Star News that since the beginning of 2017, 99 Christians in the Miango area have been killed in attacks on at least 26 villages, with another 44 Christians injured and 863 houses razed.

Among them were three children of an ECWA church member in Nzharuvo village, Miango. Joseph Gah Nze said Muslim Fulani herdsmen broke into his house on at 10 p.m. on March 8 and killed his three children – 12-year-old twins Christopher and Emmanuel, and 6-year Peace Joseph – and 18-year-old nephew Henry Audu.

In addition, Zango said more than 23,000 Christians have been displaced from their Miango area homes, thousands of dollars of farm produce have been destroyed and 15 motorbikes and a bus have been burned. At least 24 irrigation water pumps have been destroyed, he added.

The Irigwe Development Association, an umbrella community organization for Irigwe ethnic peoples, who are predominantly Christian, in April decried the incessant killings. Sunday Abdu, president of the association, said at a press conference in Jos on April 24 that between Jan. 25 and March 12, more than 70 Christians were killed by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen.

“The Irigwe nation feels compelled to once more raise the alarm over the continuous loss of lives from attacks on innocent villages,” Abdu said. “You are aware that we buried 25 people on the day we had set out to bury four out of the five that were killed on the night of the president’s visit to the state, this is in addition to the ones we have buried from series of attacks since January, not to mention the number of homes we have lost from such attacks and the destruction of farmlands which has ensured a looming hunger.”

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

 

 

Ramadan Prayer Challenge: Day 30 – Pakistan

Pray for Pakistan

(Voice of the Persecuted),Tonight, we will be joined by a persecuted Pakistani Christian who will lead us in prayer for Muslims and Christians living in Pakistan on the nightly prayer conference call during Ramadan.

Summary — Pakistan is a complex blend of old and new. Ancient Islamic influences predate the country itself. It is home to Taxila, one of the oldest universities in the world. Dozens of distinctive cultures are also scattered through the various tribes in the Karakoram mountain range. With a fusion of diverse customs, this nation finds unity through the predominantly shared Islamic faith on which it was founded.

After Pakistan’s formation in 1947, it went to war with India over the Kashmir land. Though this particular conflict only lasted from 1947 to 1948, the region remains contested to this day. Despite its rich culture, Pakistan is a poor nation with bleak economic outlooks. An estimated 35% of the people live in poverty, and children are often pulled out of school to help provide for their families. Substance abuse is rampant; this is the most heroin-addicted country in the world. Pakistan was also the seventh country to successfully develop and test nuclear weapons. In addition, terrorism has brought widespread devastation, killing thousands and hindering any economic development. From as early as 2005, Pakistani schools have been targeted by the Taliban, and hundreds of students have been killed. Fragile government control has allowed the Islamic State and many other Islamic terrorist groups to thrive. Tribal lands, which are largely outside the government’s control, have become safe havens for lawlessness and a regrouping point for the Taliban.

Over 95% Muslim, with a Sunni majority, Pakistan is the third largest Islamic nation – and the center of the unevangelized world. Despite constitutional guarantees of religious freedom, this is one of the world’s most persecuted nations. Though it is less than 2% of the population, Christianity is the second largest religious minority. Countless Christian villages dot the Punjab heartland, with a significant population in the southern city of Karachi. But Bible translation remains very difficult, and only a few of the seventy languages have a completed New Testament. With much of the country controlled by Islamic fanaticism, believers face extreme persecution and are often among the poorest. Yet, in the face of conflict and despair, prayer movements are rising up, and Muslims are increasingly coming to Christ.

Continent: Asia, Capital City: Islamabad, Government: Federal Republic

Population: 204,924,861, Religion: Muslim 96.4%, other 3.6%

UNREACHED: 98.1%

We invite you to come on tonight’s call to pray with our Pakistani brother that the church in Pakistan will grow. Let us pray that there will be those who will come under the shadow of Jesus, and for the Light of Christ to shine in that Nation. Conference prayer call details below.

PRAYER POINTS

• Pray for the strongholds of Islamist extremism and terrorism to be demolished and rendered powerless.

• Pray for the spiritually oppressed in remote areas to encounter the Gospel.

• Pray for the Church to multiply in the power of the Spirit as persecution intensifies.

Our prayers do have an impact on the things of eternity and the souls of men and women to find truth in him who is the Living Word. Please join us on the prayer conference call to lift prayers up together. As ever, I remain your brother and prayer partner in our Lord Jesus. Meet you on the call!

Blaine Scogin, Prayer Director of Persecution Watch and Voice of the Persecuted

VOP Note: If you are unable to participate on the call, or cannot join us on a particular evening, you can still use the prayer points and pray in your personal prayer closet. The only thing I would urge you is, please do it.  Whether you pray privately, in a group, or on our call, please pray for a great harvest of souls during this time of Ramadan.

Nightly Call scheduled through Ramadan 

Time:
9 p.m. Eastern time
8 p.m. Central time
7 p.m. Mountain time
6 p.m. Pacific time
Call Number:  
712-775-7035
Access Code:
281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

Available International IDOP Prayer Conference Call Numbers

(Note: If using one of the call numbers below, you may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Click on VoIP dialer, go to this number 712-775-7035 in the drop down menu—enter access code 281207 (do not add the # symbol)—enter your name and click on the ‘Place Call’ button.)

Australia                                              +61 (0) 3 8672 0185

Austria                                                  +43 (0) 732 2781155

Belgium                                                +32 (0) 9 324 29 17

Brazil                                                     +55 61 4040-4314

Bulgaria                                                +359 (0) 2 495 1527

Canada                                                 (712) 775-7060

Chile                                                      +56 (0) 44 890 9161

China                                                     +86 (0) 510 6801 0117

Costa Rica                                            +506 4000 3885

Croatia                                                  +385 (0) 1 8000 065

Cyprus                                                  +357 77 788854

Czech                                                    +420 225 852 060

Denmark                                               +45 78 77 36 35

Dominican Republic                             (829) 999-2585

Estonia                                                 +372 614 8061

Finland                                                 +358 (0) 9 74790032

France                                                  +33 (0) 1 80 14 00 56

GCC/Arabian Peninsula                       +973 1656 8325

Georgia                                                +995 (0) 706 777 110

Germany                                             +49 (0) 89 143772955

Guatemala                                          +502 2458 1416

Hungary                                               +36 1 987 6821

Iceland                                                 +354 539 0323

Indonesia                                            +62 (0) 21 51388813

Ireland                                                  +353 (0) 1 437 0318

Israel                                                     +972 (0) 76-599-0026

Italy                                                       +39 06 8997 2187

Japan                                                    +81 (0) 3-5050-5075

Kenya                                                   +254 (0) 20 5231033

Latvia                                                    +371 67 881 516

Lithuania                                              +370 (8) 37 248962

Luxembourg                                        +352 20 30 10 03

Malaysia                                              +60 (0) 11-1146 0070

Mexico                                                 +52 (01) 899 274 5015

Netherlands                                       +31 (0) 6 35205061

Nigeria                                                  +234 (0) 1 440 5221

Norway                                                +47 21 93 53 35

Pakistan                                               +92 (0) 21 37130640

Panama                                                +507 838-7821

Poland                                                  +48 32 739 96 40

Portugal                                               +351 21 114 3145

Romania                                              +40 (0) 31 780 7760

Slovakia                                                +421 2 333 255 32

Slovenia                                               +386 (0) 1 828 03 25

South Africa                                         +27 (0) 87 825 0107

South Korea                                       +82 (0) 70-7686-0015

Spain                                                     +34 931 98 23 70

Sri Lanka                                              +94 (0) 11 5 322961

Sweden                                               +46 (0) 31 781 06 26

Switzerland                                        +41 (0) 43 550 70 55

Taiwan                                                  +886 (0) 985 646 917

Turkey                                                  +90 (0) 212 988 1713

Ukraine                                                +380 (0) 89 323 9978

United Kingdom                                 +44 (0) 330 606 0527

United States                                                (712) 775-7035

Vietnam                                                 +84 (0) 4 7108 0080

Prayercast Ramadan Challenge: Day 29 – Christianity

Jesus loves Christians

The Almighty God of the universe came to earth in human form to pay the penalty for our sin. He has brought good news to the afflicted, healed the broken hearted, and set the captive free.

• Pray for love for God alone to consume His people.

• Pray for a wave of repentance to demolish strongholds, tear down idols, and revive His church.

• Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to flood the Church and fill His people once again.

• Pray for total surrender to the call to advance His kingdom around the world

Number of adherents: 2.1 billion

Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

Founder: Jesus Christ

Date Founded: 33 AD

Holy Book/Text: the Bible

Holy Sites: Jerusalem

Major Subgroups: Catholic 47%, Protestant 21%, Independent 11%, Orthodox 10%

Growth Rate: 1.4%

% of Growth, Conversion: 9.9%

% of Growth, Birth: 90.1%

Who They Worship: God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Place of Worship: church

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/E1lPHYlZCu8?rel=0

As we continue on the nightly prayer conference call during Ramadan, using the Prayercast Ramadan Challenge prayer points, let us unite in prayer that the church will grow where the enemy tries to destroy those who follow Christ. Let us pray for the church to come out of the darkness and the Light of Christ will shine.

Our prayers do have an impact on the things of eternity and the souls of men and women to find truth in him who is the Living Word. Please join us on the prayer conference call to lift prayers up together. As ever, I remain your brother and prayer partner in our Lord Jesus. Meet you on the call!

Blaine Scogin, Prayer Director of Persecution Watch and Voice of the Persecuted

VOP Note: If you are unable to participate on the call, or cannot join us on a particular evening, you can still use the prayer points and pray in your personal prayer closet. The only thing I would urge you is, please do it.  Whether you pray privately, in a group, or on our call, please pray for a great harvest of souls during this time of Ramadan.

Nightly Call scheduled through Ramadan 

Time:
9 p.m. Eastern time
8 p.m. Central time
7 p.m. Mountain time
6 p.m. Pacific time
Call Number:  
712-775-7035
Access Code:
281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

Available International IDOP Prayer Conference Call Numbers

(Note: If using one of the call numbers below, you may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Click on VoIP dialer, go to this number 712-775-7035 in the drop down menu—enter access code 281207 (do not add the # symbol)—enter your name and click on the ‘Place Call’ button.)

Australia                                              +61 (0) 3 8672 0185

Austria                                                  +43 (0) 732 2781155

Belgium                                                +32 (0) 9 324 29 17

Brazil                                                     +55 61 4040-4314

Bulgaria                                                +359 (0) 2 495 1527

Canada                                                 (712) 775-7060

Chile                                                      +56 (0) 44 890 9161

China                                                     +86 (0) 510 6801 0117

Costa Rica                                            +506 4000 3885

Croatia                                                  +385 (0) 1 8000 065

Cyprus                                                  +357 77 788854

Czech                                                    +420 225 852 060

Denmark                                               +45 78 77 36 35

Dominican Republic                             (829) 999-2585

Estonia                                                 +372 614 8061

Finland                                                 +358 (0) 9 74790032

France                                                  +33 (0) 1 80 14 00 56

GCC/Arabian Peninsula                       +973 1656 8325

Georgia                                                +995 (0) 706 777 110

Germany                                             +49 (0) 89 143772955

Guatemala                                          +502 2458 1416

Hungary                                               +36 1 987 6821

Iceland                                                 +354 539 0323

Indonesia                                            +62 (0) 21 51388813

Ireland                                                  +353 (0) 1 437 0318

Israel                                                     +972 (0) 76-599-0026

Italy                                                       +39 06 8997 2187

Japan                                                    +81 (0) 3-5050-5075

Kenya                                                   +254 (0) 20 5231033

Latvia                                                    +371 67 881 516

Lithuania                                              +370 (8) 37 248962

Luxembourg                                        +352 20 30 10 03

Malaysia                                              +60 (0) 11-1146 0070

Mexico                                                 +52 (01) 899 274 5015

Netherlands                                       +31 (0) 6 35205061

Nigeria                                                  +234 (0) 1 440 5221

Norway                                                +47 21 93 53 35

Pakistan                                               +92 (0) 21 37130640

Panama                                                +507 838-7821

Poland                                                  +48 32 739 96 40

Portugal                                               +351 21 114 3145

Romania                                              +40 (0) 31 780 7760

Slovakia                                                +421 2 333 255 32

Slovenia                                               +386 (0) 1 828 03 25

South Africa                                         +27 (0) 87 825 0107

South Korea                                       +82 (0) 70-7686-0015

Spain                                                     +34 931 98 23 70

Sri Lanka                                              +94 (0) 11 5 322961

Sweden                                               +46 (0) 31 781 06 26

Switzerland                                        +41 (0) 43 550 70 55

Taiwan                                                  +886 (0) 985 646 917

Turkey                                                  +90 (0) 212 988 1713

Ukraine                                                +380 (0) 89 323 9978

United Kingdom                                 +44 (0) 330 606 0527

United States                                                (712) 775-7035

Vietnam                                                 +84 (0) 4 7108 0080

North Koreans ‘betrayed’ by human rights omission in Trump-Kim agreement

(World Watch Monitor) North Koreans were “betrayed” by the failure of US President Donald Trump to include human rights provisions in his agreement with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, following their historic meeting in Singapore, according to Human Rights Watch’s Asia Director, Phil Robertson.

“The North Korean people have suffered for so long,” he told the BBC World Service, “and it looks like they’ll have to suffer for a little longer.”

But after the meeting Trump said the many North Koreans currently being held in forced-labour camps were “one of the great winners today”.

Responding to a question from ABC News’s Jon Karl about whether North Korea’s oppression of its people was worse than any other regime on earth, Trump said: “It’s a rough situation over there; there’s no question about it, and we did discuss it today pretty strongly.

“I mean, knowing what the main purpose of what we were doing is – de-nuking – but we did discuss it in pretty good length.

“We’ll be doing something on it. It’s rough; it’s rough in a lot of places, by the way, not just there, but it’s rough and we will continue that, and I think ultimately we will agree to something, but it was discussed at length. Outside of the nuclear situation, [it was] one of the primary topics.”

‘Very deep resentment’

John Choi*, a Christian human rights advocate who escaped from North Korea and now lives in the UK, was more optimistic.

“Hopefully denuclearisation will lead to more money available to feed the everyday citizens of North Korea and provide them with a better life. President Trump said that the human rights issues are a continuing process. I am glad it is now on the agenda. But Kim Jong-un has to be committed to it too. Kim Jong-un has not yet referred to the prison camps or religious freedom. This is an ongoing process and I will continue to advocate and pray for it,” he told the Christian religious freedom charity Open Doors International.

But Yong Sook, whose husband died in a North Korean prison and who now lives in South Korea, told Open Doors she watched the meeting between the US president and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “with very deep resentment”.

“How many innocent people have died because of the development of the nuclear weapons they are talking about now?” she said. “So far, none of the leaders of North Korea have really taken care of their people. They let them starve to death. Why? Because they don’t want to give up those nuclear weapons. They need them to survive and survival is Kim Jong-un’s desire. Now he wants to give up those weapons? Maybe, but again, he will only give them up if his survival is guaranteed.

“Kim Jong-un should confess what he and his regime have done. He should open the doors of the political camps and kneel down to apologise to those who have suffered due to its regime. The lives of North Korean citizens are just as important as Kim Jong-un’s life.”

Christian roots

Historically, North Korea has a rich Christian heritage, but after Japan’s formal rule from 1910-1945, followed by the Korean War (1950-53), any form of public Christian worship has been banned, and surviving Christians have had to take their beliefs “underground”.

Today North Korea is atheistic and totalitarian, and since 2002 it has been the most dangerous place to be a Christian, according to Open Doors.

If you “merged the Soviet Union under Stalin with an ancient Chinese Empire, mixed in The Truman Show and then made the whole thing Holocaust-esque, you have modern-day North Korea”, Tim Urban wrote in the Huffington Post after visiting the country in 2017.

“It’s a dictatorship of the most extreme kind, a cult of personality beyond anything Stalin or Mao could have imagined; a country as closed off to the world and as secretive as they come, keeping both the outside world and its own people completely in the dark about one another — a true hermit kingdom.”

‘70,000 Christians detained’

There are approximately 300,000 Christians in the country, with almost a quarter of them (70,000) being held in prisons and labour camps, where they face “unimaginable torture, inhumane and degrading treatment purely because of their faith”, according to Zoe Smith, Head of Advocacy at Open Doors UK & Ireland.

Leading up to the summit, North Korea released three American citizens who had been put in labour camps for “anti-state activities”. One of the detainees, Kim Hak Song, recently said his captors had told him he was imprisoned because of his “hostile act” of prayer.

“The systematic persecution of Christians is just one of many heinous human rights violations perpetrated by the North Korean regime,” Smith said. “If true change is to come to that country – and we hope it will – any further negotiations must confront the desperate human rights situation.”

Meanwhile North Korea appears to be upgrading its longstanding neighbourhood-watch system, or ‘inminban’, whereby every North Korean is called upon to report on any criminal activity or political disobedience that they see. According to the South Korea-based news service Daily NKinminban leaders now receive special rations in return, while in some places, like the capital Pyongyang, they have the authority to expel families who have engaged in illegal activities.

According to the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for 2017, there were more than 1,300 religious-freedom violations in North Korea last year, while it is estimated that its camps hold more than 120,000 political prisoners.

In December three jurists called on the International Criminal Court to establish a special tribunal to prosecute North Korea’s leader and his top officials for committing “crimes against humanity”.

(*) Name changed for security reasons

Prayercast Ramadan Challenge: Day 27 – Islamic State (IS)

“This war is from Satan against you, Lord. Against humanity, created in your image.”

SUMMARY—Up to 1.2 million people were displaced by the violence in Iraq in 2014 alone. Millions more live in fear. Massacres, beheadings, crucifixions, abductions, and sexual violence are rampant. Islamic State has attempted to eliminate entire Christian communities. As many as eight million people are believed to now live under the partial, or complete, control of IS.

This modern day nightmare has not only darkened the landscape of Iraq and Syria, but the whole world, with over 11,000 people from abroad joining the ranks of the 30-50,000 Islamic State militants. Teaching an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, they believe they are the only true believers and see the rest of the world as their enemy. Using violence to get what they want, their goal is the creation of an Islamic caliphate ruled by a single political and religious leader, ruling Muslim communities around the world.

Despite these gruesome realities, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but…against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12). This is a spiritual battle against our adversary, the devil, who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

We hate the darkness and underlying evil, and we grieve the resulting bloodshed and pain. Yet Jesus still says, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). God’s love reaches not only those suffering under this oppression, but it reaches even into the ranks of Islamic State. Just as God transformed Saul into Paul through an encounter with Jesus, so can He transform today’s persecutors into tomorrow’s evangelists. And He is doing just that.

As we continue on the nightly prayer conference call during Ramadan, using the Prayercast Ramadan Challenge prayer points, let us unite in prayer that the church will grow where the enemy tries to destroy those who follow Christ. Let us pray that they will come out of the darkness to follow Jesus. Pray the Light of Christ will shine in places where there is hatred from those who don’t know our Lord and Savior.

Pray for those who persecute you from Voice of the Persecuted on Vimeo.

Our prayers do have an impact on the things of eternity and the souls of men and women to find truth in him who is the Living Word. Please join us on the prayer conference call to lift prayers up together. As ever, I remain your brother and prayer partner in our Lord Jesus. Meet you on the call!

Blaine Scogin, Prayer Director of Persecution Watch and Voice of the Persecuted

VOP Note: If you are unable to participate on the call, or cannot join us on a particular evening, you can still use the prayer points and pray in your personal prayer closet. The only thing I would urge you is, please do it.  Whether you pray privately, in a group, or on our call, please pray for a great harvest of souls during this time of Ramadan.

Nightly Call scheduled through Ramadan 

Time:
9 p.m. Eastern time
8 p.m. Central time
7 p.m. Mountain time
6 p.m. Pacific time
Call Number:  
712-775-7035
Access Code:
281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

Available International IDOP Prayer Conference Call Numbers

(Note: If using one of the call numbers below, you may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Click on VoIP dialer, go to this number 712-775-7035 in the drop down menu—enter access code 281207 (do not add the # symbol)—enter your name and click on the ‘Place Call’ button.)

Australia                                              +61 (0) 3 8672 0185

Austria                                                  +43 (0) 732 2781155

Belgium                                                +32 (0) 9 324 29 17

Brazil                                                     +55 61 4040-4314

Bulgaria                                                +359 (0) 2 495 1527

Canada                                                 (712) 775-7060

Chile                                                      +56 (0) 44 890 9161

China                                                     +86 (0) 510 6801 0117

Costa Rica                                            +506 4000 3885

Croatia                                                  +385 (0) 1 8000 065

Cyprus                                                  +357 77 788854

Czech                                                    +420 225 852 060

Denmark                                               +45 78 77 36 35

Dominican Republic                             (829) 999-2585

Estonia                                                 +372 614 8061

Finland                                                 +358 (0) 9 74790032

France                                                  +33 (0) 1 80 14 00 56

GCC/Arabian Peninsula                       +973 1656 8325

Georgia                                                +995 (0) 706 777 110

Germany                                             +49 (0) 89 143772955

Guatemala                                          +502 2458 1416

Hungary                                               +36 1 987 6821

Iceland                                                 +354 539 0323

Indonesia                                            +62 (0) 21 51388813

Ireland                                                  +353 (0) 1 437 0318

Israel                                                     +972 (0) 76-599-0026

Italy                                                       +39 06 8997 2187

Japan                                                    +81 (0) 3-5050-5075

Kenya                                                   +254 (0) 20 5231033

Latvia                                                    +371 67 881 516

Lithuania                                              +370 (8) 37 248962

Luxembourg                                        +352 20 30 10 03

Malaysia                                              +60 (0) 11-1146 0070

Mexico                                                 +52 (01) 899 274 5015

Netherlands                                       +31 (0) 6 35205061

Nigeria                                                  +234 (0) 1 440 5221

Norway                                                +47 21 93 53 35

Pakistan                                               +92 (0) 21 37130640

Panama                                                +507 838-7821

Poland                                                  +48 32 739 96 40

Portugal                                               +351 21 114 3145

Romania                                              +40 (0) 31 780 7760

Slovakia                                                +421 2 333 255 32

Slovenia                                               +386 (0) 1 828 03 25

South Africa                                         +27 (0) 87 825 0107

South Korea                                       +82 (0) 70-7686-0015

Spain                                                     +34 931 98 23 70

Sri Lanka                                              +94 (0) 11 5 322961

Sweden                                               +46 (0) 31 781 06 26

Switzerland                                        +41 (0) 43 550 70 55

Taiwan                                                  +886 (0) 985 646 917

Turkey                                                  +90 (0) 212 988 1713

Ukraine                                                +380 (0) 89 323 9978

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