VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Home » Anti-Christian

Category Archives: Anti-Christian

Categories

Archives

Persecution Watch: Nigerian Christians Under Intense Persecution

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, June 16, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Nigeria Population: 2.1 billion, Christians 98 million

At least 896 civilians have been killed in violent attacks in Nigeria during the first three months of 2022. This, according to Open Doors, includes hundreds of Christians who were murdered because of their faith. 

This June, on Pentecost, a deadly church attack with 50 Christians killed. In Late May, a church attack killed more than 30 Christians.

This means: Parents losing a child(s); Children losing father/mother. Husbands, wives losing their spouses. Grandparents being killed or losing loved ones, and so on, impacts so many more people.

  1. Christian persecution is concentrated in Nigeria’s northern and middle states.

In Nigeria’s northern states, Islam is the majority religion and many of the rules of Shari’ah law have been adopted by the local and state governments. Christians in the northern states must abide by these laws. The USCIRF’s 2021 Annual Report, states that “religious police, which are sometimes state funded, are also used to enforce Shari’ah, often focusing on family issues and ‘moral’ behavior.”

In Nigeria’s Middle Belt, conflicts have escalated between Christian farmers and the Fulani, nomadic Muslim herders, causing many Christian farmers to lose their land and their lives. The southern states being majority Christian

2. Jihadist groups, such as Boko Haram, Fulani militants, and ISWAP (Islamic State’s West African Province), are responsible for much of the Christian persecution.

Islamic extremists in Nigeria have been afflicting locals for years. According to the USCIRF’s report, “Since 2009, Boko Haram has inflicted mass terror on civilians, killing at least 37,000 Nigerians, kidnapping thousands, and displacing more than two million.”

These extremists are targeting Christian farmers and civilians, especially those who have converted to Christianity from Islam. Many Christians, who have been displaced by Islamic extremists, live in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP), which are run by the Nigerian military.

3. More Christians were killed between January 2021 and April 2021 than the total number of Christians killed in 2019

4. Over 2,200 Christians were abducted in the first four months of 2021.

In addition to the 1,470 Christians killed in Nigeria, at least 2,200 Christians were abducted by these same jihadist groups between January and April of 2021. Intersociety states that 220 of the Christians abducted are believed to have been killed.

5. Women and girls are often forced to marry Muslim men.

In Nigeria’s Muslim-controlled northern regions, Christian women and under-aged girls are often forced to convert from Christianity and marry Muslim men. These marriages are either forced by the local government, as detailed by Intersociety, or by Islamic extremist groups like Boko Haram. Specifically, according to a report from the U.S. State Department, “those women and girls [abducted by Boko Haram] were subjected to forced marriage and sexual abuse, including rape and sexual slavery.”

6. Christians in Nigeria are overlooked in the distribution of COVID-19 relief supplies.

An article from Open Doors USA describes, “Believers from towns in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna State, including Ungwan Boro, Sabon Tasha, Barnawa and Naraye, report they received six times smaller rations from the state than Muslim families.” Many displaced Christians live in overcrowded camps for internally displaced persons, making them vulnerable to both COVID and further attacks from Islamic extremist groups. According to the USCIRF’s report, these camps have “been accused of human rights violations against civilians.”

Prayer Points

  • Cry out to the Lord that He will convict President Buhari and His staff for ignoring the needs of their Christians citizens.
  • 2021 was dominated by reports of increased lawlessness. Please pray that President Buhari and state governors will diligently and transparently work to find lasting solutions to the deepening security crisis in northern Nigeria.
  • Pray for healing and hope as the level of trauma among Christians is reaching crisis levels, men are killed, and survivors are left in despondency over the future. Pray for healing and hope.
  • Pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen their faith and that Christians and remain joyful under suffering.
  •  Pray that the Lord that believer will continue to be able to provide a reason to anyone that asks for the hope that is in them.
  • Pray that NGOs working in the country will bear fruit. Pray for continued protection and wisdom for our partners who must travel and risk attack and/or abduction. Pray that their work will strengthen the church in Nigeria and restore hope.
  • Pray that the Lord will stretch out His hand of protection over girls and women to keep them safe from forced marriages, rape, abduction, and slavery.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will show ways for believers to find and support each other in their difficult walk of faith.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will blind, confuse, and distract the militant groups such as Boko Haram when they plan and go out to persecute Christians.
  • Pray for the Christians who are rebuilding after an attack, that God will encourage, protect and provide.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will touch the hearts of the militant groups who attack Christians, as only He can.
  • Pray for pastors and elders that the Lord will strengthen them, not become discouraged as they minister to the broken hearted.
  • Pray the Lord will thwart the efforts of the anti-Christian militants and government officials to destabilize His church. That the gates of hell will not prevail. That the Lord Jesus Christ will greatly grow His church.

Again, we want to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Father Kills Daughter on Day She Converts to Follow Christ

(Morning Star News) – A woman in central Uganda who accepted Christ at a church service on May 29 was killed later that day when her father stabbed her in the eyes for leaving Islam, sources said.

After having several dreams about Christ, 28-year-old Hawa Amoti of Nansana, Wakiso District visited a Christian neighbor early on the morning of May 29, said the neighbor, unidentified for security reasons.

“Amoti came to our home very early in the morning and needed to know more of Issa [Jesus], whom she had seen in a dream,” he said. “After explaining to her about eternal life and forgiveness of sin that comes from Jesus who came to take away the sins of the whole world, she willingly accepted Jesus for the salvation of her soul. I then prayed for her, and then together we went to church in Nansana.”

After the church service, Amoti joined the neighbor’s family for lunch at his home and stayed until about 5:45 p.m., when she left for her home, he said.

Her father, Haji Shariifu Agaba, and brothers had already learned that she had been seen worshipping Christ at church when she arrived outside their home, one of her siblings said. Agaba ordered his sons to seize and beat her, then took a sharp knife and pierced her eyes, said a brother of Amoti who tried to defend her.

“I want to remove these eyes so that you stop seeing churches forever – even if you die, we are not going to bury you,” Agaba told her, according to the brother, whose name is withheld for security reasons.

Amoti’s wailing and screaming drew neighbors who rushed over to rescue her, the Christian neighbor said. As more members of the community arrived, Agaba and his sons went inside their house.

Neighbors arranged for a vehicle to rush Amoti to a nearby hospital, where she succumbed to profuse bleeding from her eye injuries, sources said.

Community leaders in Nansana condemned the attack and vowed to arrest and charge Agaba, they said.

Church members buried Amoti’s body in Luwero District.

Muslim Extremist Sentenced

In Mukono District, also in central Uganda, a Mukono High Court judge on May 26 sentenced a Muslim extremist to life in prison for killing at least two Christians, sources said.

Justice Mutonyi Margaret handed the sentence to Alias Mohammed Wamala for killing two Christian converts from Islam, Zulaikha Mirembe and another identified only as Nansamba, in 2017. Several witnesses testified against Wamala, who confessed to killing Mirembe, Nansamba and others, area Christians said.

“In 2017 the accused confessed to having killed Zulaikha Mirembe and several other Christians to fulfill what was written in the Koran about supporting the cause of Allah by killing infidels,” an area pastor told Morning Star News.

Justice Margaret handed Wamala the maximum sentence for the killings.

“This will set an example for all those who might want to engage in such a criminal acts in the future,” he said.

During the trial, Wamala and other Muslims were accused of ritual killings as part of an occult practice that involved a shrine where the bodies were buried, area Christian said.

Police arrested Wamala and five other Muslims in 2017 after Nansamba’s body was found in Kisoga village, Kayunga District, along with the bodies of four others whose names were not disclosed. Three other suspects, Vincent Paul, Isa Walakira and Jamiru Kimbugwe, were still under investigation, sources said.

Wamala’s lawyer, Emmanuel Turyomwe, had asked for lenient sentences to run concurrently, saying his client was remorseful, but the judge agreed with the state’s request for life imprisonment.

The attacks in central Uganda were some of the many instances of persecution of Christians in the country that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

VOP Note: Please pray for Christian converts in Uganda.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in India

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, May 19, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

INDIA: Population: 1,3 billion Christians 68,8 million

India is home to nearly 1.3 billion people — 2.3% Christians, 14.2% Muslim and 80% Hindu. India’s religious minorities experience hostility from the government and Hindu extremists. 

India’s government is run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which backs Hindu extremists. Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, and the BJP have endorsed laws and policies that have enabled Hindu extremists to harass Christians and Muslims in the day-to-day. Hindu extremists want all Indians to be Hindu and believe that converting Christians and other religious minorities is simply returning them to their original faith.

“It is not conversion; it is reconversion,” stated Vyankatesh Abdeo, the national secretary of a Hindu organization, in an LA Times article. “A thousand years ago, all the Muslims and Christians in India were Hindu. They were converted by the sword. We are just bringing them back to their original faith.”    

 Indian government officials often spread disinformation and make inflammatory remarks about religious minorities. Before and during the pandemic, many BJP politicians, leaders, and members of Hindu extremist organizations made remarks or allegations in public and on social media about Christians and Muslims.

Several of India’s states enforce anti-conversion laws. According to USCIRF’s 2020 report, one-third of India’s 28 states have passed laws that “limit or prohibit religious conversion to protect the dominant religion from perceived threats from religious minorities.” One particular anti-conversion law in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh demands that those converting from one religion to another must notify authorities of the change within 60 days. Giving gifts, such as Bibles, or providing food at church events could be seen under the law as allurement or inducement to convert.

Wild claims have been leveled against Christians as a result of anti-conversion laws. In 2017, six Christians were arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap children and forcibly convert them. The Christian chaperons were taking the children, whose parents were also Christian, to a 4-day Bible camp. Violating anti-conversion laws is punishable with fines and up to 10 years in prison.

In the states where these anti-conversion laws have gone into effect, pastors and priests are most frequently accused and jailed for “coercing” or “bribing” Hindus to convert to Christianity. Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion law labels pastors and priests as “religion converters” and classifies discussing divine displeasure (i.e. talking about heaven or hell) as “forcing conversion.” In October, seven pastors were arrested during a prayer meeting in Uttar Pradesh for “forcing conversions” and “assembling illegally.”

Indian politicians and Hindu extremists have pushed for a nation-wide institution of these anti-conversion laws under the guise of “religious freedom.” This would increase the already widespread accusations and harassment of Christians for preaching the gospel. Hindu extremist mobs, motivated by false allegations, frequently burst into services, demand arrests, attack Christians, and destroy churches or other Christian establishments.

Alliance Defending Freedom described a typical attack: “A mob will arrive at a prayer meeting or Christian gathering, shout abuse and harassment, and beat up those in attendance, including women and children. Then, the pastors or priests are usually arrested by the police under false allegations of forced conversions.” Police rarely hold mob members accountable or investigate incidents of violence against Christians.

The Indian Parliament amended a law in September restricting and in some cases freezing the finances of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Amendment of the law was meant to cut down on the misuse of foreign funds, however these restrictions forced Christian, humanitarian and religious freedom advocacy NGOs to shut down. Many of these NGOs were distributing COVID relief.

Indians who convert from Hinduism to Christianity often face immense pressure to reconvert or are ostracized from their friends and families. By converting, these Christians risk losing their jobs and are boycotted by their community, dealing a significant blow to their income sources. Particularly during COVID-19, Christians were turned away from local and government aid centers and denied basic necessities, such as food, water or clothing. 

  • Pray that the Lord will touch President Prime Minister Modi through His Holy Spirit to open up to Christianity.
  • Pray that God will soften the hearts of Hindu extremists, that they will see Christians as valuable Indian brothers and sisters.
  • Pray for those in authority that they will commit to freedom for all people of faith.
  • Give thanks to God that many people are coming to know Jesus after being healed of sickness; pray that this will continue.
  • Pray for healing of the many victims of religious violence. Pray that the Lord will heal hearts and bodies.
  •  Pray for believers to connect with other believers. According to Open Doors USA, many believers “don’t know any other Christians.” as persecution is coming from all areas of life.  Social boycotts, covid lockdowns and pressure from Hindu extremists to “reconvert” breed isolation.
  • Pray for the protection of believers from hostile Hindus as they seek fellowship and worship.
  • Pray to the Lord for Hindus converting to Christianity that they stay strong in the face of persecution from neighbors and authorities.
  • Pray to the Lord to have His hand of protection on believers, who in this hostile environment, who bring the Gospel to the lost.
  • Pray to the Lord that they will continue to have unrestricted access to the internet. That the internet will have messages to encourage the saints and touch Hindus.
  • Ask God continued protection, strength, and encouragement for all NGOs as they covertly serve the church in India as the authorities.
  • Pray that the Lord will give His believers the ability to love their enemies and to forgive them.
  •  Pray to the Lord that the gates of Hell will not prevail and that the Lord Jesus Christ will continue to grow His Church. That the powers of darkness will be unable to stop spreading throughout INDIA.

Again, we want to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Rioters Attack Christian Sites over Arrests in Sokoto, Nigeria

College student Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu was stoned to death in Sokoto, Nigeria on May 12, 2022. (Facebook)

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Rioters upset over the arrest of two Muslims in connection with the killing of a Christian college student in Sokoto, Nigeria attacked three church buildings and looted and damaged Christian-owned shops on Saturday (May 14), sources said.

Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu, a 200-level student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, the capital of Sokoto state, was beaten, stoned to death and her body set on fire on Thursday (May 12) after she was falsely accused of blaspheming the prophet of Islam because she had refused to date a Muslim, sources said.

Following the arrest of two Muslim suspects, Muslim rioters started bonfires and damaged the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral, St. Kevin’s Catholic Church and an Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) building in Sokoto, area residents said. Yakubu was a member of the ECWA church in her native Tungan Magajiya town, Rijau County in Niger state.

Area Muslims demanding the release of the two suspects assembled in strategic areas of the city and then marched to the palace of the sultan of Sokoto, leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, demanding the release of the two Muslims suspected of being behind the killing of Yakubu, residents said.

“Hundreds of Muslims here in Sokoto this morning converged at various points in the city to protest the arrest of two Muslims who were involved in the killing of Deborah, the Christian student of Shehu Shagari College of Education,” area resident Angela Anthony said in a text message. “In spite of efforts by the police and other security agencies to prevent them from becoming violent in their protest, these Muslims still succeeded in attacking and destroying two churches, the Catholic Cathedral and the ECWA church in Sokoto.”

Sokoto resident Precious Arigu requested prayer.

“So far, two churches [were damaged] and dozens of shops belonging to Christians have been looted and then destroyed by these Muslims,” Arigu said. “Please be in prayers for those of us who are Christians living in Sokoto.”

The Rev. Christopher Omotosho, Sokoto Diocese spokesman, said the protestors also shattered the windows of the diocese’s Bishop Lawton Secretariat and vandalized a bus parked on the premises. They also attacked the diocese’s Bakhita Centre on Aliyu Jodi Road and set a bus there on fire, Omotosho said .

“St. Kevin’s Catholic Church, Gidan Dere, Eastern By-pass, was also attacked and partly burnt,” he said. “Windows of the new hospital complex under construction on the same premises were shattered.”

Police reportedly have begun searching for others who appeared in a video-recording of the murder that appeared on social media.

Some of the rioters upset with the sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, for condemning the killing surrounded his palace shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” an area resident told Agence France-Presse (AFP). When the rioters refused to leave, police and soldiers hurled teargas canisters and fired into the air to disperse them, AFP quoted the resident as saying.

The mob then tried to loot shops owned by Christians but were dispersed by security patrol teams, another resident told AFP.

Sokoto Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Saturday (May 14) declared a 24-hour curfew in the city. The Rev. Stephen Baba Panya, president of the ECWA, called on the governor to ensure justice.

“The brutal killing and burning of Deborah by some misguided Muslim students is nothing short of overt criminality which we at the ECWA roundly condemn,” Pastor Panya said. “We therefore call on the Sokoto state government under the leadership of His Excellency, Aminu Tambuwal, to be deliberate in ensuring that no step is left to ensure that justice is not only seen to be done, but that it is indeed done.”

He said the ECWA also called on President Mohammadu Buhari to ensure justice.

“Deborah may be just one young girl whose precious life and ambition has been cruelly cut short, but the entire world is watching, waiting and crying out for justice here on earth, otherwise, in heaven,” Pastor Panya said. “In this midnight hour of our nation, at this very trying and agonizing moment, our hearts go out to the parents, siblings and entire family of Miss Deborah and all that are grieving her death; we encourage you to take solace in the fact that no matter how it  may look, Deborah’s martyrdom shall never be in vain. Light will ever prevail over the forces of darkness.”

The Rev. Joseph Daramola, general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said in a statement that the inability of the Nigerian government to prosecute Muslims who have killed Christians over false claims of blasphemy have fueled such criminal acts.

“It is the failure of the security agencies and the government to rise up to such criminalities in the past that gave birth to terrorists and bandits,” Pastor Daramola said. “And as long as the state fails to bring these beasts and criminals amidst us to book, so also the society will continue to be their killing fields.”

Acknowledging that the sultan of Sokoto condemned the crime and called on security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice, Pastor Daramola called on all “teachers and preachers of religious intolerance, extremism and terrorism to repent before the wrath of God descends on them if the state fails to bring them to book.”

“Killing in the name of blasphemy is ungodly, satanic, foolish, reprehensible, and totally unacceptable,” he said. “This is not a Stone Age, and Nigeria is not a Banana republic. Nigeria remains a non-religious state where no religion is supreme to the other. We acknowledge and commend the restraint of the Christian students of the college who refused to embrace reprisal attacks on those who murdered their colleague. It is our prayer that those vampires in religious garments will not push the country to a religious war.”

Herdsmen Kill 36 Christians

In central Nigeria’s Benue state, Fulani herdsmen suspected of collaborating with Muslim extremist terrorists killed an estimated 36 Christians in multiple attacks last month, sources said.

In Tarka County, about 15 Christians were killed in an attack on Tiortyu village at 2 a.m. on April 12 that killed a grandfather and wounded his young granddaughter, the girl’s mother, Faith Iorshie, told Morning Star News by phone.

“About 15 Christians were killed when the Fulani terrorists attacked our village, Tiortyu,” Iorshie said. “I escaped the attack, but grandpa took my 2-year-old daughter and tried escaping with her and was shot and killed while my daughter was shot and wounded. We’re currently in a hospital where she’s being treated. Pray with us for God to save her life.”

Iorshie, 25, said she and her family are members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church (NKST in Nigeria) in her village.

The attacks in Logo, Kwande, Tarka and Guma counties added to the recent displacement of about 2 million people in Benue state and the bordering areas of Nasarawa and Taraba states. The displaced took refuge in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across Benue state, government officials said.

Two Christians were also killed in Logo County, 10 were killed in Kwande County and 9 in Guma County, sources said. In Logo, Muslim Fulani herdsmen on April 29 attacked Tse Tune, killing two Christians who were working on their farms, said Nathaniel Ikyur, spokesman for the Benue governor’s office.

“The two Christians killed by the bandits are Terkende Injarwua and Mfaiga Ukor,” Ikyur said in a statement. “Their corpses have been evacuated from their farms and buried.”

In Kwande County, herdsmen attacked Waya, Jato-Aka, and Turan the night of April 21, killing 10 Christians, residents said. Lawrence Akerigba identified some of those killed as Gbaeren Orsoo, Terdoo Tsega, Bemdoo Tsega, Abacha Tsega, Terkaa Tsega, Aôndoaseer Tyov, Iorhen Atim and Aôndowase Igba.

Tartor Chianson, a council official of the country, confirmed the attack.

“Ten Christians were killed during the attack on three communities in Kwande Local Government Area,” Chianson said. “The corpses of those killed have been recovered and taken to Jato Aka Hospital Mortuary.”

In Guma County, Fulani herdsmen the night of April 11 killed nine Christians, sources said.

Benue state Gov. Samuel Ortom said officials have called for help without any answer.

“It is becoming increasingly glaring every day that Christians are now endangered species in Nigeria,” he said in a statement. “We have cried for help against these Muslim invaders, but nothing is forthcoming. We are left alone, and it looks like it is a deliberate strategy to eliminate us because of our Christian faith.”

Nigeria led the world in Christians killed for their faith last year (Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021) at 4,650, up from 3,530 the previous year, according to Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List report. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year, according to the WWL report.

Nigeria trailed only China in the number of churches attacked, with 470 cases, according to the report.

In the 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria jumped to seventh place, its highest ranking ever, from No. 9 the previous year.

Praying for Sudan with Mariam Ibraheem

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Saturday, April 2, 2022 in a prayer conference call for Sudan and the Persecuted Church with Mariam [Meriam] Ibraheem hosted by Persecution Watch.

Mariam, a Sudanese Christian mother was arrested and charged with “apostasy” (leaving Islam) after she refused to recant her faith in Christ. She was also sentenced to receive 100 lashes for having intimate relations with her husband, considered illicit in Islam because he is a Christian. Mariam delivered her second child while shackled to a bed in her prison cell. Miraculously, Mariam was later released and is now living in the USA.

We will also continue to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Join us as we pray with our dear sister, Mariam, for Sudan and the persecuted church.

Prayer call leader, Nadia Dybvik and Prayer call moderator, Valerie Creekmore will lead the call tonight.

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

(Photo: Screen Grab via Fox News)

Praying for Believers in Libya and Ukraine

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday March 24, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the Persecuted Church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

Ukraine

  • Pray to the Lord that He will break the impasse as neither side can win. To give the Ukrainian president and negotiating team favor in working out a favorable settlement.
  • Please pray to the Father that He will protect President Zelensky and his cabinet from Russian military forces.
  • Pray to the Lord that Putin’s threats of nuclear military action are just posturing and that clearer heads will prevail
  • Pray for much needed supply of food and medication to reach their destinations.

Libya

Population: 6.7 million, Christian about 34,600

When a person in Libya leaves Islam to follow Christ, they face immense pressure from their families to renounce their faith. Their neighbors and the rest of the community ostracizes them, and they can be left homeless, jobless and alone. If a Libyan Christian shares his or her faith with someone else, they will likely be reported, arrested and perhaps face violent punishment. The country has no central government, so laws are not enforced uniformly, leaving Christians in danger of overt and public persecution. Targeted kidnappings and executions are always a possibility for believers. To be a safe Christian in Libya is to live a secret life of faith.

  • Pray for the believers who must keep their faith secret.
  • Pray for Libya’s government who is unstable, ruled by various power groups, to move to stability.
  • Pray to the Lord that His hand is on His believers and protection from kidnapping and executions.
  • Pray that the Lord will touch and turn the hearts of the militants.
  • Pray that believers may find other Christians for fellowship.
  • Pray that the Lord will reach many Muslims through dreams and visions.
  • Pray for the protection of Christian migrant workers.
  • Pray for Christian broadcasts to reach into Libya and for great internet coverage that will reach the lost and minister to believers.

Again, we want to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Pakistan: ‘Attack on pastors illustrative of increasing pressure’, say Christians

A Pakistani pastor was killed and another wounded Sunday in an attack outside their church in northwestern Peshawar.

The two pastors were leaving the Shaheedan-e- all Saints’ Church where they had led the Sunday morning service when two men on a motorbike drove up to their car. They shot Rev. William Siraj in the head, killing him on the spot. His colleague, Rev. Patrick Naeem, was injured and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack and a man-hunt for the two assassins is under way.

The attack took place outside a church that was established in memory of the twin suicide bombing of the All Saints’ Church in September 2013, in which 127 church members were killed and more than 250 injured. An offshoot of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, a Pakistani branch of the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Among those who died that day was the son-in-law of Rev. Siraj, who was killed yesterday. He had, since then, lived with and supported his widowed daughter. “He was a very humble and godly man, and we all respected and loved him. He loved us so much,” a visibly emotional church member told World Watch Monitor.

TV footage showed people carrying Siraj’s body from the car to a nearby house while chanting “Long live Jesus Christ”, according to Reuters.

‘Deliberate and planned’

The leader of the Church of Pakistan, a union of protestant churches in the country, Bishop Azad Marshall, condemned the killings in a tweet, calling for “justice and protection of Christians from the government of Pakistan”.

In a statement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s chairperson, Hina Jilani, also demanded more steps for the protection of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan “whose right to life and security of person remains under constant threat,” she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Although there had been no threats made to priests or the church in advance of Sunday’s attack, the way in which it was carried out “suggests a deliberate and planned attack; an act designed to intimidate, challenge and threaten those who offer rights, protection and freedoms to Christian minorities in Pakistan,” a local source, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, told WWM.

Attacks on Christian leaders, churches and individuals are nothing new in majority-Muslim Pakistan. The 2% minority faces religious freedom violations on several levels, from discrimination in education and the workplace to violent attacks.

The country’s blasphemy law is a tool that is regularly used, often to settle scores between individuals. The law is politically volatile as illustrated by threats and nationwide protests during the court case against Asia Bibi, the Catholic woman who was acquitted of blasphemy in 2019.

Increase in pressure after fall of Kabul

Peshawar is close to the border with Afghanistan, and since August the region has seen an uptick in attacks by the TTP, clearly emboldened by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, as reported by France24.

The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan also caused an exodus of refugees, hoping to find safety in neighbouring countries such as Pakistan. “We have seen thousands of refugees coming to major Pakistani cities such as Peshawar and Quetta,” said a local source, who also wished to remain anonymous for security reasons. “The cities are unable to cope with such an influx and people are facing not just inflation, but homelessness and starvation also. Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in assassination attempts, families in Christian neighbourhoods who are being shot at, forced conversions and bombings. Today [Sunday, Jan. 30] was yet another example of this brand of violence.”

Pakistan is 8th on the Open Doors World Watch List of 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian but as far as local Christians are concerned, it might as well be topping the list together owing to its proximity to Afghanistan, which is No. 1. This country rose to first place for the first time after having been in 2nd position after North Korea for many years.

“Pakistan’s religious landscape and the social degeneration that is taking place, cannot be isolated and distracted from that of Afghanistan,” the local source said. “Pakistan might show a moderate face; its heart is increasingly extremist and it wants to embrace a form of Islam where the Madrassa [Islamic school] is the way to get educated, with the Quran as the ultimate textbook.” In recent months the government has ordered public schools to implement religion-centred changes such as making afternoon prayers mandatory and reciting the Quran during morning assemblies.

Following the 2013 bombings, in June 2014, Pakistan’s supreme court issued a list of instructions for the government to protect the country’s minorities, including the development of “appropriate curricula for primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education that promote religious harmony and tolerance.” However, 2020 research by the Lahore-based Centre for Social Justice showed that religious minorities continued to be either invisible or vilified in Pakistan’s school textbooks.

“Where does this leave minority children?” the local source said.  “The simple answer is this: in a queue for a visa, waiting to leave Pakistan and find hope and a future in a foreign land.”

Pastor Tied to Post, Beaten in Delhi, India

(Morning Star News) – Hindu extremists in the National Capital Territory of Delhi last month tied a pastor to a post at a busy intersection and beat him before hundreds of people, but police have yet to make arrests, sources said.

Accusing Pastor Kelom Kalyan Tete of forcible conversion as they beat him, Hindu extremists on Feb. 25 then abducted the bleeding pastor, bound his hands and tied him to an iron rod that divides a road into two at Fatehpur Beri Chowk crossroad in South Delhi, Pastor Tete said.

Though the attack took place in daylight in view of hundreds of people in a busy market area, police have yet to make arrests. Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Harsha Vardhan said on March 4 that officers had questioned people and the investigation was ongoing.

In a video on social media, the bound Pastor Tete is seen sobbing as more than 150 people – including schoolchildren in uniform – surround him, taunt him and strike him.

Pastor Tete, 35, told Morning Star News that the assailants incited the schoolchildren and other passersby to shout, “Hail lord Ram” and to hit him for alleged conversion activities.

“A huge crowd of around 150-200 people surrounded me and assaulted me, including schoolchildren who kicked me with their legs,” said Pastor Tete, who was punched and kicked in the head, chest, stomach, back and repeatedly slapped in the face.

“They hit me on my head so many times that I began to bleed from my nose and mouth – I thought that my nose bone was broken,” he told Morning Star News. “They got water and splashed it on my face, wiped the blood that was oozing out with a handkerchief and started to hit me again.”

The Hindu extremists had seized his phone, bag, Bible, motorbike, helmet and vehicle documents. Initially he had been beaten about four miles away at the Bhati Mines area at about 10:15 a.m., from which he was abducted, bound and beaten until about noon, he said.

No passersby had the courage to question or report the brutality of the attackers, he said.

“I was silent like Jesus was on the cross,” Pastor Tete said. “All my strength was gone. My vision became blurred, and I was not able to hear properly because of being slapped hard on my face repeatedly. I lost my voice for some time and was not able to further shout for help.”

At one point he thought he would be killed, he said.

“Later they started to say, ‘Get a thick bludgeon, and let’s hit him,’” he said. “Now, if they would have hit me with a bludgeon, I would be dead.”

After abducting him, the Hindu extremists initially said they were taking him to the Maidan Garhi police station, but they changed their minds and turned back and began to threaten him, he said.

“They said, ‘We will break your legs, tie you to a tree,’” Pastor Tete told Morning Star News. “They were conspiring to kill me. I pleaded and said, ‘Brothers, do not do this. What wrong have I done, let’s talk this matter out. It is not good; you are troubling an innocent man.’”

A crowd of more than 30 people gathered, and the Hindu extremists instigated them to assault him, he said.

“They punched me, threw me down on the ground, kicked me, and stomped over me,” he said.

The assailants then brought him to the crossroad and tied him to the iron post with a rope.

“Even the spectators could have questioned the men beating me to not take the law into their hands, and that if they had some issues, they should call the police,” he said. “But it is so hurting that nobody stepped forward. Everybody mutely watched them treat me in such an inhuman way.”

Pastor Tete said he did not know how, at about noon, the ropes binding his hands came untied.

“Only the Lord saved me – I believe that the Lord opened my tied hands,” he said.

Pastor Tete then managed to escape and, hiding in lanes behind vehicles, reached home, he said. He found his vehicle keys in his pocket, and he later sent someone to retrieve his motorbike. The assailants had left his mobile phone, motorbike papers, helmet and other possessions at one of the area shops, and church members collected them for him the next day, he said.

Originally from Simdega District in Jharkhand state, Pastor Tete has been ministering in Delhi for the past 18 years and pastors a church whose name is undisclosed for security reasons.

Police Inaction

Pastor Tete said police initially declined to register a First Information Report (FIR), doing so only after online news outlet Scroll.in reported the attack.

Instead of collecting evidence from the CCTV footage of the assault at the intersection where he was tied up, police called Pastor Tete to the Bhati Mines area, gathered some women and asked them questions about his preaching, he said.

“Everything is captured on CCTV,” Pastor Tete said. “The police are not gathering the evidence from the footage but instead are trying to frame me. Everything will be clear after they get the evidence from the CCTV.”

Scroll.in reported that the FIR has been registered under Indian Penal Code sections for kidnapping or abduction with intent of wrongful condiment, voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint and “acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.”

Since submitting a written complaint to the Maidan Garhi police station on Feb. 27, Pastor Tete has received neither a copy of the FIR nor its number despite several requests, he said.

The Head Constable of the Maidan Garhi station, known only as Rajendra, refused to give the FIR number to Morning Star News, stating that matters pertaining to a church cannot be disclosed.

Additional DCP Vardhan confirmed that an FIR was registered and asked Morning Star News to call an hour later for the FIR number – at which time phone calls to him went unanswered.

Pastor Tete said police were twisting the case and downplaying it. Officers told him the FIR was ready on Thursday (March 3), but when he went to collect it, they refused to give it to him, he said. The pastor has been going to the police station almost every day to request a copy of the FIR, but officers refuse to give him a copy or give an update on the case, he said.

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 10th on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

%d bloggers like this: