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“They Asked Him to Deny Christ” Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2019

St. Theodoros Trion in Turkey, vandalized with genocidal slogans against Christians.

(Raymond Ibrahim) Hate for and Violence against Christians 

Cameroon: Militant Muslims reportedly connected with the Nigerian based Islamic terror group, Boko Haram, “reached new heights” of depravity, according to a report: after devastating the Christian village of Kalagari in a raid, they kidnapped and fled with eight women.  Some of the women were later released—but only after having their ears cut off (image here).  The report adds that  Boko Haram “has terrorised Christian communities in Nigeria for the last decade and has now splintered and spread its violent ideology into Cameroon, Niger and Chad.”

Nigeria: On August 29, Chuck Holton, a CBN News reporter, aired a segment on his visit with Christian refugees who had fled Boko Haram’s incursions into their villages.  Among the stories of death and devastation, the following, spoken by a young man, stood out: “On 29 September 2014 was the day that they attacked my village. Around ten I had a call that they have killed my dad. They asked him to deny Christ and when he refused they cut off his right hand. Then he refused [again], they cut to the elbow. In which he refused, before they shot him in the forehead, the neck, and chest.” “Many of the 1,500 Christians living in this camp have similar stories,” adds Holton.

Indonesia: A Muslim preacher in a Christian majority region referred to the Christian cross as “an element of the devil,” prompting outrage among Christians and some moderates.   Sheikh Abdul Somad made the comment during a videotaped sermon when he was asked why Muslims “felt a chill whenever they saw a crucifix.”   “Because of Satan! Was his response: “There’s an evil jinn in every crucifix that wants to convert people into Christianity.”  Christians and moderates condemned his words.  Even so, “I can’t imagine the reaction if it had been another preacher of a different religion insulting an Islamic symbol,” observed one moderate. “There would have been a tsunami of protests, with the perpetrator severely punished.”  Sheikh Somad responded by releasing another video; his excuse was that he was unaware that non-Muslims might hear his words: “The Quran reciting session was held in a closed mosque, not at a stadium, a football field, nor aired on television,” he explained. “It was for Muslims internally. I was answering a question about statues and the position of the Prophet Isa (Jesus) relative to Muslims.”

Burkina Faso: Although most mainstream media downplay the religious element in Muslim on Christian violence in Africa, attacks on the Christians of Burkina Faso have become so flagrantly based on religion that the Washington Post published a report on August 21 titled,  “Islamist militants are targeting Christians in Burkina Faso.”  Its author, Danielle Paquette, explained that “A spreading Islamist insurgency has transformed Burkina Faso from a peaceful country known for farming, a celebrated film festival and religious tolerance into a hotbed of extremism.”  She noted that the jihadis have been checking people’s necks for Christian symbols, killing anyone wearing a crucifix or carrying any other Christian image.   In a separate report discussing several deadly attacks on Christians and their churches, Bishop Dabiré said, “If this continues without anyone intervening, the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence in this area and — perhaps in the future —in the entire country.

Egypt: Authorities reinstated Sheikh Yasser Burhami, a notoriously “radical” cleric and hate preacher, to the pulpit (minbar) despite strong opposition.  Burhami had previously issued numerous fatwas—edicts based on Islamic scriptures—that demand hate and hostility for non-Muslims, most specifically the nation’s largest and most visible minority, the Christian Copts, whom Burhami has referred to as “a criminal and infidel minority,” and has invoked “Allah’s curse” on them.  He once went so far as to say that, although a Muslim man is permitted to marry Christian or Jewish women (ahl al-kitab), he must make sure he still hates them in his heart—and show them this hate—because they are infidels; otherwise he risks compromising his Islam.  Burhami has also stated that churches—which he refers to as “places of polytheism (shirk) and houses of infidelity (kufr)”—must never be built in Egypt.  He issued a separate fatwa forbidding Muslim taxi and bus drivers from transporting Christian clergymen to their churches, an act he depicted as being “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar.”  Burhami’s fatwas also include calling for the persecution of apostates, permitting Muslim husbands to abandon their wives to rape, permitting “marriage” to 12-year-old girls,  and banning Mother’s Day.  In a video, Dr. Naguib Ghobrial, a Coptic activist, politician, and head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization—which over the years has lodged 22 separate complaints against Burhami—repeatedly questioned Egypt’s leading religious authorities’ decision to reinstate the hate preaching sheikh:

Is what Burhami teaches truly what Islam teaches—is that why no one has done anything to him [in regards to the 22 complaints lodged against him]?  Truly I’m shocked!  Please answer Sheikh of Al Azhar; please answer Grand Mufti: are the things Burhami teaches what Islam teaches?  Is this why none of you oppose him or joined us when we lodged complaints against him?… Why are you so silent? Amazing!

The Slaughter of Christians

Pakistan: “A ten year old Christian child who chose to work in a dangerous scrap factory so he could support his mother who had to fend for a family of two boys and a drug-addict husband, was raped and tortured before being killed by his Muslim employers,” according to a report (with photos).  Badil, 10, worked at the men’s factory in order to support his impoverished mother, Sharifa Bibi:

I worked hard for many hours just for the sake of my two sons so that they would not have to suffer as I have suffered without education.  My son Badil couldn’t bear to see the struggle of his mother and insisted on working to help the family—despite my insistence that he avoid work till he was older.  Badil was such a responsible son.  Daily before leaving for work he asked me what should bring in the evening from his wages.  I insisted that he kept his money for himself, but he brought groceries like sugar, rice, flour, ghee daily.

Badil had to walk long distances and work for many hours a day to earn the equivalent of one dollar a day.  Soon his employer began to cheat him on his wages.  His mother insisted that he quit, but the boy persevered; at one point he took his younger brother, 9, with him to help.  When the employers refused to pay his brother anything for his contribution, Badil finally decided to quit—which angered his Muslim employer.  His younger brother recalls:

As Mr Akram heard this he ran to hit Badil but Badil ran from the shop and Akram gave chase.  However, A friend of Akram was standing nearby on his motorcycle and told Akram to sit behind him, then both men chased Badil till they caught up with him. Akram then got off the motorcycle and dragged Badil back to the store.  They took Badil inside the store which is full of scrap.  For half an hour I was completely unaware of what was happening with Badil inside.  Eventually both men came outside and pretended as if nothing had happened inside.  I thought my brother had also left the store from another exit so I went to look for him.  I searched vigorously for 15 minutes and then saw my mother [approaching to walk the boys home], so I rushed to her to tell her what had happened.

Sharifa and her younger son searched frantically for Badil and finally found him collapsed on the ground near their home.  They rushed to him, thinking he was exhausted from the day’s work and subsequent thrashing, but quickly realized that he was barely breathing: “At this point the whole situation was too much to bear for Sharifa who began to scream and wail hysterically,” the report notes.  Badil was taken to a hospital where, seven hours later, the boy was pronounced dead. His brother “has been traumatised following his brother’s death and hasn’t left his house since and often screams in terror thinking the men responsible will take him too.”

Cameroon: A Bible translator “was butchered to death on Sunday morning [August 25] during an overnight attack while his wife’s arm was cut off,” according to a report:  “Bible translator Angus Abraham Fung was among seven people said to have been killed during an attack carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen sometime during the early hours of Sunday morning in the town of Wum, according to Efi Tembon, who leads a ministry called Oasis Network for Community Transformation.”  Fulani herdsmen are Muslim and the chief persecutors of Christian farmers in Nigeria.  “They went into houses and pulled out the people,” Tembon explained: “They attacked in the night and nobody was expecting. They just went into the home, pulled them out and slaughtered them.”  Fung’s wife, Eveline Fung, who had her arm hacked off was last reported as receiving a blood transfusion at a local hospital.

Attacks against Apostates and Evangelists

Iran: Authorities sentenced a 65-year-old woman, a Muslim convert to Christianity, to one year in prison, on the charge that she was “acting against national security” and engaging in “propaganda against the system.”  According to the report, “The hearing was owing to her arrest shortly before Christmas when three agents from Iranian intelligence raided her home and took Mahrokh to intelligence offices where she endured ten days of intensive interrogation before she was released after submitting bail of 30 million Toman (US$2,500).”  Friends of the woman said that “the judge was very rude and tried to humiliate Mahrokh after she disagreed with him.”

Separately, a Kurdish bookseller in Bokan, Western Azarbaijan province, was arrested for selling Bibles.  According to the August 27 report, “Mostafa Rahimi was arrested on 11 June on charge of selling bible[s] in his bookstore, and he was released later on bail until the court issued his sentence. Hengaw Organization for Human Rights has learned that Rahimi is sentenced to 3 months and 1 day imprisonment.  Later in mid-August he was arrested again, and he is currently at the central prison of Bokan.”  Another report elaborates: “Iran’s government is officially Islamic, and authorities actively restrict access to Bibles and other Christian literature. Sharing one’s faith is categorized as a criminal offense, usually of the national security nature. The authorities often pressure Christians so extensively, routinely violating their human rights, that they are given no choice but to escape their country.”

Somaliland: An August 16 report shares the experiences a married Muslim woman, 32, underwent after her husband discovered a Bible in her possession.

“I told my husband that I found the Bible in Nairobi and wanted to read it,” the woman responded. “He just pronounced the word talaq [Arabic for divorce] to me. I knew that our marriage had just been rendered null and void because I joined Christianity, so without wasting time I left the homestead….  There and then he took our two daughters [ages 4 and 7] away from me and divorced me.  He gave me a stern warning that I should not come close to the children, and that if I do, he will take the Bible to the Islamic court and I will be killed by stoning for becoming an apostate.”

Her former husband proceeded to expose the clandestine Christian to her Muslim family. “My brothers beat me mercilessly with sticks as well as denying me food,” she said. “I feared to report the case to the police or the local administration, because they will charge me with a criminal offense of apostasy in accordance with the sharia.”  She has since relocated to an undisclosed location: “God has spared my life, and my fellow underground Christians in other regions of Somalia have received me and shared the little they have, but I am very traumatized.”  According to the report,

Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims.  Somalia is ranked 3rd on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Pakistan: After opening a summer education program for the youth, a Christian family was “terrorized” and forced to shut down on the accusation that they were clandestinely trying to convert Muslim children to Christianity.  According to a family member: “We started a project for interfaith harmony and education teaching marginalized children from different faiths about a year ago. In June, we started a summer camp that provided a free program for children that have dropped out of school. The design of this program was to provide guidance for these children to become civilized and tolerant.”  Two weeks into the summer program, a group of men, two of whom were armed, stormed into the academy, did violence to the property and harassed the children, and beat one of the instructors: “They threatened us with consequences if the academy was not shut down.  They alleged that we were promoting Christianity and were doing Christian evangelism.  For safety and security, we had no other choice but to obey the extremists and shutdown the academy….  I don’t want to lose my son or any family member. This terrorizing incident has already put us into trauma.”

In a separate incident in Pakistan, around 4 a.m. of August 2, seven Muslim men stormed into a parish house, where they tied up and savagely beat two young priests, Fr. Anthony Abraz and Fr. Shahid Boota, all while they “humiliated and abused them for preaching the Gospel in a Muslim-majority neighborhood.”  The invaders also vandalized the building—including by breaking windows, bookshelves, and cupboards—and desecrated Christian objects, including Bibles, Christian literature, and icons. Afterwards, “We were told we will have to face consequences if this house is not vacated,” Fr. Abraz reported. “They said, ‘We don’t want a Christian center near the mosque.’”

Finally, increasing numbers of Christian girls continue to be targeted for kidnapping, rape, and/or forced conversion in Pakistan.  According to one report,

In August, Yasmeen Ashraf, age 15, and Muqadas Tufail, age 14, were kidnapped and raped by three men in Kasur. The pair of Christian girls were taken when they were on their way to work as domestic workers.  Also in August, another young Christian girl, named Kanwal, was kidnapped, raped, and forcefully converted to Islam by a group of Muslim men and a cleric in Lala Musa, located in the Gujart District. After reuniting her family, Kanwal shared that she had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and threatened with the deaths of her brothers if she refused to convert to Islam.

In the previous month of July, at least three similar cases occurred.  “Oppression exists in different layers for Christian girls in Pakistan. They are suffering on the bases of gender, religion, and class. It has been documented that young Christian girls face higher levels of sexual harassment and are persecuted for their Christian faith,” Nabila Feroz Bhatti, a human rights defender in Lahore, said in response to the aforementioned incidents.  Similarly, the Pontifical charity, Aid to the Church in Need, announced in August that it “is sounding the alarm on the plight of young Christian women, and even teenagers, in Pakistan who are forced to convert to Islam.”  “Every year at least a thousand girls are kidnapped, raped, and forced to convert to Islam, even forced to marry their tormentors,” elaborated Tabassum Yousaf, a local Catholic lawyer.

Meanwhile, those who try to protect Christian girls are punished.  On August 16, Maskeen Khan and two other Muslim men attacked the home of Bahadur Masih, a Christian.  While holding a knife, Khan and his partners tried to rape Masih’s daughter, Rachel, but were prevented by the rudely awoken family that immediately and desperately responded.  “Since the Christian family was defending themselves, Khan also got some injuries,” Ahsan Masih Sindhu, a local Christian political leader, reported. “The family handed Khan over to police and he got medical treatment. However, he later died in police custody.”  Police arrested and charged four members of the family with murder, even though they were in their own home protecting their daughter from violent intruders.  Other members of the family have gone into hiding due to threats from the dead would-be rapist’s relatives.  “We are sad about the death of Khan, however, the Christian family did have the right to defend,” Sindhu explained. “The police must conduct a fair investigation into this incident.”  Instead, police are denying the family the “right to defend” itself.

Attacks on Churches

Algeria: On August 6, police barged into a church during worship service, evacuated reluctant worshippers, and sealed the church building off.  “I am deeply saddened by so much injustice – it breaks my heart,” Messaoud Takilt, the pastor said.  “This is not surprising since other Christian places of worship have been closed and sealed as was the case today. But anyway, we will continue to celebrate our services outside while the Lord gives us grace for a final solution.”  When police denied, with a veiled threat, his request to at least let the worship service conclude,  “The assembly finally yielded and agreed to leave the premises, but with much pain.  Some went out with eyes full of tears. ”  Police proceeded to empty the premises of all furniture and sealed off every door before the distressed pastor (picture here).  Responding to this latest church closure the World Evangelical Alliance issued a statement on August 12 calling on Algeria to cease closing and instead reopen churches. A portion follows:

We deeply regret that two additional churches were forcibly closed by administrative decisions, in May and in August 2019 in the city of Boudjima, northeast of Tizi-Ouzou in Kabylie Region.  This brings the number of forcibly closed churches to 6, including one house church…. Many more churches are threatened with closure, amid denial of formal registration and recognition by authorities.

Indonesia: Muslim protestors compelled local authorities to revoke a permit for and cease construction of a Baptist church in Central Java.  On August 1, residents went to the partially constructed church and padlocked its fence.  A meeting was later held between the church, local residents, authorities, and others.  Although the pastor displayed the governmentally issued permit to build a church, Muslim residents insisted that it was wrongly given, leading to a standstill in negotiations.  In the previous month, July, two other churches were shut down in Indonesia following local protests.

Turkey: St. Theodoros Trion, an abandoned, historic church—the original Greek congregation of which was purged by the Ottoman Empire—was vandalized, including with genocidal slogans.  According to the report,

The vandals sprayed hate speech across the church’s walls. The vandalism was largely a reference to the secularism that Ataturk, modern Turkey’s founder, had forced into the governmental structure….  Just a few years ago, the same church was targeted by Islamist vandals who wrote slogans such as “the priest is gone, he went to the mosque” — a reference to the country’s genocide and the forced conversions which occurred during this time. There are no Christians attending this church. All of the congregants were victims of the genocide. They faced death, deportation, and forced conversions. Those few who survived have since fled the country. The church currently stands as a historic monument to the Christianity that once was commonplace in the region.

Egypt: A Christian toddler was the latest, if inadvertent, victim of Egypt’s draconian restrictions on churches.    According to an August 21 report, Youssed Ebid, a 4-year-old Christian boy (photo), was struck by a tractor while waiting outdoors for a bus to take him to church in another village.  His own village is currently denied one, forcing its Christian residents to travel long distances to attend church.  Many Christians in Egypt are in the same situation, and accidents during their long treks are not uncommon.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in 2011 to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that occur or are reported each month. It serves two purposes:

1)  To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2)  To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Posted on Gatestone Institute

Death and destruction as Boko Haram launches fresh attacks in Cameroon

A Christian family in northern Cameroon look through what is left of their home after it was burned down on 23 February by Boko Haram militants (World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch Monitor) Boko Haram insurgents continue to carry out attacks outside the borders of Nigeria, where the group began.

The Islamists recently attacked two villages in northern Cameroon, close to the north-eastern border with Nigeria, leaving one person dead and many homes destroyed by fire.

The 23 February attack on Virkaza and nearby Tchebechebe was the fourth time Boko Haram has raided villages in Cameroon this year.

During the latest attack, militias set fire to more than 100 huts, a Catholic church and school. The fires claimed the life of one person, who has not yet been named.

A survivor of the attack told World Watch Monitor what happened.

“They attacked Virkaza and Tchebechebe at about 8pm. We started hearing gunshots way before, but it seems that is when they started their attack. We saw the flames at about 8.30pm,” said the survivor, who did not want to be named.

A church leader in Tourou said he could see the fire 25km away.

According to the survivor, Boko Haram militants arrived in the villages “and simply did as they pleased. The army fired shots from afar and the attackers stopped their carnage for a while, but, when they couldn’t hear shots anymore, the attackers simply started burning again, attacking the two villages at the same time”.

There was no resistance from security forces because the area is “very difficult to access”, they said, and the insurgents left the area at around 2am “when they disappeared back across the Nigerian border”.

This latest attack is not the first time that Boko Haram has ventured beyond its borders.

In 2017 there were 32 attacks in Cameroon, two in Chad, and seven in Niger, according to the BBC. There were fewer cross-border attacks last year (41) than in 2016 (47), but the incursions were into the same three countries, all of which border north-eastern Nigeria – the group’s stronghold. There were 80 Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria in 2016, and 109 in 2017. Figures show a growing emphasis on the use of suicide attacks in both Nigeria and Cameroon.

Other attacks in northern Cameroon
Earlier in February, a Boko Haram attack in Gitawa left six dead, including a pregnant woman. Five of the victims were Christian.

The group claimed responsibility for the 15 January attack on Roum, which left four dead after the militants stormed the village and set fire to homes and two churches. On 17 January Boko Haram militants set fire to four houses in Dafidalo.

A church leader in the region told World Watch Monitor the attackers’ aim is to “push us out to occupy these zones”, and that they are seeking revenge for counter-attacks by government forces.

Another church leader, from Mozogo, said: “It is very difficult for the people here. They don’t have anything left for themselves. [Boko Haram] leave no house standing… They took away the money of the church, which was kept in safes… In the night, we just call on God to help us to see the day.”

Before this year’s cross-border attacks on Cameroon, the region had enjoyed a period of relative calm. The last attack was in August 2017 when Boko Haram kidnapped six siblings from Moskota, after killing their father. All the children, aged between three and 15, later managed to escape when their guard fell asleep. They were found by vigilantes and handed over to the Cameroon military.

Police reported that at least 13 people had been killed in clashes that broke out on Monday (26 February) between Christian and Muslim youths in Kaduna state. Police commissioner Austin Iwar said: “We don’t want to jump to conclusions as to what led to the mayhem. The speculation was that some Christian boys were not happy that their girls are befriending Muslim boys.”

Parts of Kaduna state lies in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, where thousands of Christians have lost their lives in recent years in non-Boko Haram related violence. This has been marked by a growing number of attacks on Christian farmers by mainly Muslim Hausa-Fulani herdsmen. Last year researchers said that in 2016 violence in the Middle Belt had accounted for more deaths than those caused by Boko Haram.

110 schoolgirls still missing
Meanwhile, an attack on The Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapche, part of northern Nigeria’s Borno state, has led to fears of “another Chibok”.

Most of the 926 students escaped, were rescued or later returned to the school, but an estimated 110 girls are unaccounted for. According to Reuters, two girls were killed.

It took the Nigerian government a week to confirm that 110 girls had been kidnapped, reported AP, and only on Tuesday (27 February) were their names released.

Leah Sherubu is the only Christian student among the list of missing girls, in what is a Muslim-dominated area.

President Muhammadu Buhari said the kidnapping was a “national disaster” and apologised to the girls’ families.

The military said it withdrew from Dapchi weeks before the attack because the town was “relatively calm” and its troops were needed elsewhere.

Africa: Expanding Attacks Boko Haram Terrorizes the Region

nigeria-terror

(Voice of the Persecuted) On Monday(July 27) the Boko Haram stormed into the Christian villages of Dille and Mwuthamam

More than 130 people were killed by female suicide bombers across Nigeria and Cameroon. It is believed that Islamic militants, Boko Haram carried out the attacks. The group has used women and young girls as suicide bombers in their latest series of attacks that have rocked the region. Many fear these females may have been those abducted by the militants and forced to strap on bombs in the militant group’s murderous onslaught.

On Sunday(July 26), a female suicide bomber detonated herself at the entrance of a market in Damaturu, Nigeria, killing 15 people and injuring 47, many in critical condition.  Witnesses say the 40 year old woman was well known and that she was mentally unstable.

In the fifth suicide attack to blast Cameroon in two weeks, a child bomber blew herself up on Saturday night(July 25) in a bar located in the town of Maroua, killing 20 and injuring at least 79. Only a week ago, Maroua had suffered an attack when two girls blew themselves up at a busy market—13 people were killed and at least 30 injured. The Cameroon army is part of the coalition battling the ravenous group. The town is the army’s headquarters for operations against the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. Cameroon has taken extensive security measures by banning motorbikes after dark and prohibited the full Islamic veil in Maroua.

During its six-year insurrection, Boko Haram has frequently used women and young girls as suicide bombers. Often the explosives are concealed under traditional religious garments.

On Friday (July 24) the group targeted Maikadiri village. Witnesses said at least 14 people died and 500 cows were slaughtered.

On Monday (July 27) Boko Haram militants choosing not to attract the attention of soldiers with gunfire, slit the throats of sixteen Christian fishermen on the shores of Lake Chad in the Nigerian state of Borno. This form of execution has been common in their 6 year terror campaign to install strict Islamic law in the region, particularly, Nigeria. All of the victims in this incident were Chadian citizens.

Bishop Rosario Pio Ramolo, of the Diocese of Goré, said, “Attacks have multiplied in Chad, causing the more than seventy deaths and two hundred wounded.” “The Chadian President Idriss Deby has declared open war against the Islamists and these acts represent an attempt at revenge. Before now the extremists had not acted in Chad, despite being on the border with Nigeria.”

Authorities also fear that Islamists have infiltrated among Central African refugees or among Chadians repatriated from the Central African Republic. Clothing covering all or part of the face, such as the burqa or hijab, the Islamic veil, has been prohibited.

The mayor of N’Djamena also illegallized begging for security reasons. (source)

On Wednesday (July 29)  Authorities in the border region of Diffa, in southeast Niger, banned the full Islamic veil Wednesday, following attacks in the province. They have also imposed a night-time curfew and extended a February ban on motorcycles, which are often used in raids by Boko Haram militants.

On Sunday (Aug. 2) Boko Haram fighters killed 13 people, injured 27 and set homes ablaze in an attack on Malari village in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state. Witnesses claim the militants accused them of conspiring with the military and notifying them of their camp locations. In a air/ground offense, the Nigerian military reported killing “a large number” of militants in repelling an attack on Bitta village near the Sambisa forest reserve.

During the raids, Nigeria’s military says it had rescued 178 people held by the Boko Haram in Borno state. In a statement on Sunday by Army spokesman Colonel Tukur Gusau, “101 of the those freed were children, 67 were women and 10 were men.” Last week, over 70 Boko Haram captives had also been rescued by the military.

Please remember to pray daily for those facing this horrific evil. May God fill them with supernatural peace and endurance as they press into Jesus, our eternal Savior.

Project 13:3 Nigeria, Voice of the Persecuted’s aid relief mission is working in one of the hardest hit areas in Nigeria. We’re covering Christians who have suffered great loss and incredible heartbreak. In a primitive refugee camp for the internally displaced, we help to supply the needs of over a hundred people, including widows and orphans. Help us to show the love of Christ for these suffering brethren—their emotional, physical and spiritual needs are so great.

If you would like to send an encouraging letter, please do so in the notes portion when donating. It truly uplifts them to hear from their family in Christ and know you are praying for them!

Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

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Boko Haram intensifies terror attacks

Boko-Haram

Nigeria: On July 10, a Boko Haram militant dressed as a woman was apprehended. He later confessed to being a member of the Islamist terrorist group. And told authorities that he intended to meet 29 other members who were present in Yola.

Monday, the Borno state police commissioner confirmed attacks by Boko Haram near Monguno.

“Boko Haram terrorists had on Friday night attacked Misala and Kalwa, which are two neighboring villages. The two villages are located not more than 17km from Monguno town on the way to Marte.

Through the night, they set houses ablaze. And later 43 persons were found dead either killed by gunshots or slaughtered like animals. They continued their attacks on other villages around the area, and set the homes ablaze. These villages had already been  abandoned, so there were no fatalities. A security member said many villages in the Monguno local government areas are being attacked almost  daily.

Chad: On July 11, a suicide bomber dressed as a woman (in a full-face veil) attacked a busy market in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad killing 15 people and injuring nearly 100. Military police tried to stop him, but was heard saying, “Allahu Akbar,” God is great in Arabic, before detonating himself.

A month ago, N’Djamena was the scene of a deadly attack that killed nearly 40 people. After that attack, Chad put a ban on women wearing the burqa attempting to prevent suicide attacks. In June, 2 more suicide bombings in N’Djamena killed 11 people.

The Chadian authorities have now stepped up their security measures and warned anyone found wearing the Muslim full-face veil would be arrested. With the latest attack, Chad plans to strictly enforce the ban. Paul Manga, national police spokesman was quoted as saying, “It now must be respected more than ever by the entire population.” And “Anyone who does not obey the law will be automatically arrested and brought to justice.”

Chad has been a major participant in the 4 nation coalition offensive (including Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon) to fight against Boko Haram. The Islamic terror group has publicly threatened the Chadian President with retaliation.

A deadly attack was thwarted when explosives were found at the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in the city of Jos on Sunday, July 12. Sources say the bombs were later defused by the Explosives Ordinance Division of the Nigerian Police Force. Jos is an area which has suffered at hands the militants during it’s 6 year long brutal campaign. 

A spokesman for the state police in Plateau said, “It was averted because the bomb was detected by the church’s security personnel. There were no casualties.” 

Cameroon: The Cameroonian military reported that at least 12 civilians and a Chadian soldier were killed in two suicide attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants in the town of Fotokol of northern Cameroon, in the evening on Sunday, July 12. An officer said the attacks were targeting a special forces camp located in the town.

Niger: The militants who intended free its members from the prison in the town of Diffa, were repelled according to the country’s military. Three Boko Haram members were killed, along with one soldier in the gun battle. The prison had been attack early this year in February by the Islamic militants.

Trying to instill fear, Boko Haram recently released a video showing gruesome execution similar to the ones seen in the ISIS videos.

On Monday, Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari fired the security chiefs of the army, navy and air force  as the country endures the worst period of violence by Islamist insurgents since he came to power six weeks ago.Replacements have been chosen but have not been announced.

View the Fox News interview with Former Ambassador John Campbell and Emmanuel Ogebe, a international human rights lawyer debate the extremist group’s capabilities. 

Voice of the Persecuted

Serving those most affected by the crisis, we ask for your help. Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
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Violence Escalating In Diffa Niger, Maiduguri, And More Threats From Boko Haram

"Diffa 1" by Mab.black - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Diffa 1” by Mab.black – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Diffa is a city and Urban Commune in the extreme southeast of Niger, near that country’s border with Nigeria. It is the administrative seat of both Diffa Region, and the smaller Diffa Department.  Diffa marks the eastern end of the paved section of Route Nationale 1, the main east west highway across Niger, although the section between Zinder and Diffa is only partially paved in places. 

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — The Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram escalated its attacks in neighboring countries Monday, as a car bomb exploded in one Niger town repeatedly targeted by the militants and residents said other fighters in Cameroon had abducted 20 people aboard a public bus.

Neighboring countries like Chad and Cameroon have joined together and sent forces to battle Boko Haram.  Boko Haram recently released a video declaring that they could not be stopped specifically targeting Niger, Chad and Cameroon.    The video asked for Muslims to denounce democracy and come to Sharia.  There was a protest over the weekend in Cameroon by the people denouncing Boko Haram and supporting their troops to fight them.  The governments have said that Boko Haram will be gone in 6 weeks.  “They won’t be there. They will be dismantled,” Referencing the postponement of the elections until March.   (More)

Those fleeing Boko Haram are desperate and overwhelmed.

There also has been fierce fighting in Maiduguri.  According to NBC news in a recent report, 4 of the 5 roads leading into the city have been blocked by Boko Haram.  Maiduguri has a population of about 2 million and is known for it’s trade.  People are attempting to flee, but many can’t for the lack of money.

Deadly attacks by the militant group Boko Haram have put a stranglehold on one of Nigeria’s key cities, limiting supplies and sending prices skyrocketing amid mounting fears of a massacre.  Four of the five roads out of Maiduguri have been blocked off by Boko Haram, which has mounted two large-scale assaults in the past 10 days on the city. The city is the birthplace of the insurgency and a potential jewel in the crown of the militants’ caliphate. (More)

 

Many residents fear it is only a matter of time before the city is overrun.

Screenshot Maiduguri aftermath (Feb. 2015)

Screenshot Maiduguri aftermath (Feb. 2015)

It’s very dangerous and difficult to verify reports with those on the ground.  Some Facts about Maiduguri:

  • Its residents are mostly Muslim including Kanuri,Hausa, Shuwa, Bura, Marghi, and Fulani ethnic groups. There is also a considerable Christian population.
  • Muslim supremacists in the region have been mass murdering non-Muslims since the 60’s and 70’s, while members of religious sects led intercomunal violence in 1982 and 2001.  But never on this scale and magnitude we are seeing now.
  • On 18 February 2006, riots related to the Prophet Muhammad cartoons published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten left at least 15 people dead, and resulted in the destruction of approximately 12 churches.
  • Maiduguri was also the scene of major religious violence throughout Northeast Nigeria committed by an Islamist group, Boko Haram, in July 2009, leaving over 700 people dead.
  •  Since 2009  the numbers have drastically increased.  Those killed numbering in the tens of thousands and those displaced by them are over 1 million.  The amount of territory they have ravaged and control has recently been described as the size of Belgium.

It’s impossible to know the suffering these people feel as they watch their lives, their homes, their towns overrun by evil approaching in the cover of darkness slaughtering, kidnapping and rape.  One refugee camp has been evicted as they will need this camp for security forces coming in to monitor the elections.  It has been said that the government gave them 60,000 N ($300.00)  to go into town and rent a house.  These people have not had adequate food for at least a month and now they are faced with eviction from a safe haven.

Prayer Points:

  1. Pray for God’s intervention.
  2. Pray for strength and courage for God’s people.
  3. Pray for Christ’s light to be shown to the attackers and for God to change their hearts of hate into hearts filled with love.
  4. Pray for God to show these precious soul’s fleeing that He is with them, and will guide them to peace.

C. Refsland/VOP Advocate/News Analyst

What Lies Ahead For Nigerian Christians And The Innocent Of Nigeria? Darkness Or Light?

Africa in crises

Like a cancer spreading over North Africa, conflicts with Boko Haram and ISIS in Nigeria, Niger, and Libya have reached a new level.  Neighboring countries, Chad and Cameroon have entered into the battle against Boko Haram with fierce fighting taking place in Niger.  They have attacked yet again and reports say that 109 Boko Haram have been killed, along with a Chadian soldier and a civilian.  Along the border of Nigeria, Diffa and Bosso, urban communes in the extreme southeast of Niger have seen the latest clashes. Both have an influx of refugees from Nigerian’s fleeing the Boko Haram.  Niger made headlines with the recent attacks on Christians killing at least 40, burning multiple churches and Bibles after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Taking out their aggression on the Christian population for an athiestic, secular newspaper running a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammed.  It was reported that Boko Haram had instigated those attacks and they promptly released a video threatening Nigeria and Niger, now they are attacking.

 Niamey (AFP) – Boko Haram launched its first major attack in Niger on Friday, triggering a forceful response from regional troops who claimed to have killed more than a hundred of the Islamists. (Read More)

Recently Chad has sent troops to Nigeria, others are following suit.

Recent reports that the Nigerian army are either corrupt, incapable, or unwilling of stopping Boko Haram,  have rocked the world.  Even suggesting that both Goodluck Jonathon and Buhari have ties and are pulling the strings of Boko Haram. The implications are staggering considering that Boko Haram is entrenched with other Islamic militant groups like ISIS, Al-queda, Al-shabob, and others.  It has been said of the ongoing fighting in Maiduguri that if Boko Haram takes over completely Nigeria will fall to Boko Haram and Sharia law.  This is their goal.  Others claim Buhari has this same goal.  Quoting reports from Vangaurd and All Africa in December, Buhari was throwing his full fledged support into Sharia law for all of Nigeria:

“What remains for Moslems in Nigeria is for them to redouble the necessary education,” stressing that they should educate Moslems on the need to promote the full implementation of Sharia in the country.  There is nothing to be afraid of.  It is a legal responsibility God has given us within the context of one Nigeria to continue to uphold the practice of Sharia wholeheartedly… and to educate non-Moslems that they have nothing to fear…”

According to Yahoo news and Reuters, Buhari recently said:  “It is a “disgrace” for Nigeria that its neighbors have been more successful in battle against its Boko Haram insurgency than its own army.”

What is a disgrace is that the world let this go on as long as it has.  The slaughter and ethnic cleansing of Christians rivals the Darfur genocide.  Thousands of Christians have been killed and over 1 million have been displaced.

This morning it was reported that Nigeria will postpone it’s elections for 6 weeks (March 28)  to allow the new forces from neighboring countries to quell the violence and restore calm. (More)  This has been fought vehemently by Buhari.  AP is reporting:  “Millions could be disenfranchised if the voting went ahead while the Islamic extremists hold a large swath of the northeast and commit mayhem that has driven 1.5 million people from their homes.”  (Read More)  And at the same time, a report that the US is urging elections to go ahead as scheduled. Reports also claim Buhari is expecting a landslide victory.    When asked if Buhari would call for calm if he lost he said, “I’m not going to lose, so I won’t answer that question.” Can you see the chaos and confusion that surrounds Nigeria?  With the West also in the mix, it’s very dire for Nigeria.

In the meantime, ISIS is advancing into Libya so fast that Counter terrorism experts say, “They pretty much own Libya…”  So you begin to put together a clear picture of what and who is behind the darkness spreading on this Super Highway of terror and the death and destruction that follows this ideology.  Who is pulling the strings, and what is behind it.  What it’s not, is a tribal dispute, or anything else.  It’s a form of religion mixing with politics and it’s implications are frightening.  A new fear that if Sharia law is implemented full force in Nigeria, the outcome for Christians and other minorities will be devastating.  All one needs to do is look to other countries that live by Sharia law (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, & Sudan). Tell persecuted Christians discriminated against in nations ruled by Sharia, they have nothing to fear. It becomes appallingly clear what a dismal future lays in wait for the innocents in Nigeria.

C. Refsland/L. Kanalos VOP Advocates

Why Should The West Concern Itself With Elections In Nigeria? Read This

Why should the West concern itself with the elections in Nigeria, you ask.  You think the mudslinging during our campaigns are bad, what is happening in Nigeria is frightening, not only to the people there, but to the world.  Or at least it should be.  Take a look at what’s surfacing today.

“If Maiduguri falls into the hands of Boko Haram, it would be a disaster for Africa as a continent”  And that’s only a portion of the implications for the West and the world.

Snapshots of Chaos in Nigeria and the elections and what it’s about.  Who are the parties?

Ideology: Social democracy,Big tent Progressivism, Federalism Political position:Centre-left International affiliationSocialist International

Ideology : Social democracy,Big tent
Progressivism, Federalism
Political position:Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International

Ideology: Catch all Economic liberalism, Political position: Centre-right to Right-wing Religion:Secular International affiliation:None

Ideology : Catch all
Economic liberalism,
Political position: Centre-right to Right-wing
Religion: Secular
International affiliation:None

We have been reporting on the increase of attacks in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad ahead of the Feb. elections in Nigeria. We have verified that intense fighting is taking place in Maiduguri and surrounding areas by a force from Chad and the military of Nigeria.  Some reports claim that there is a civilian force also  combating this evil.  Reports are surfacing that offer proof that indeed this an effort to thwart the election. And at the very least throw off the outcome.  Nigeria is at a crossroads.  A very dark crossroad. One that could shake the world if the back and forth between candidates is true.  And it appears as if they are.  I wondered why John Kerry would visit Nigeria ahead of the elections and it’s becoming frighteningly clear.

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – “If Maiduguri falls into the hands of Boko Haram, it would be a disaster for all of Africa”, says Fr. Gideon Obasogie, head of social communications of the Diocese of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria.

“Maiduguri is the state capital and the seat of Government, with all its structures, with a high concentration of state population and the commercial nerve of the northeast”, explains Fr. Obasogie. “If the city falls, citizens will be more facile to radicalization and the terrorists will have more conscripts. Maiduguri for Boko Haram would become a strong base and then rumble into Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa. Finally, if Maiduguri falls, the militants would control an airport and a military base with the 7 Div. This is really and truly dangerous for Nigeria, as it is a potential disaster for Africa as a continent”, emphasizes the priest. “So far – said Fr. Obasogie – the militants have conquered and occupied towns and villages near Maiduguri”.

The priest describes the situation in the capital of Borno State: “With the recent waves of attacks, there is so much fear and tension in the air. With the February Polls drawing ever close we see all sorts of personalities with well fashioned and designed promises too good to be taken as true; trooping into Maiduguri and the northeast, not to identify with us in our plight but to beg for our votes”.

“Citizens of Maiduguri as much as possible avoid crowded areas and the polling units would not be an exception, unless people’s security is assured and ensured. If anyone needs our votes, our safety must first be assured”, concludes Fr. Obasogie. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/02/2015)

Another report from Fides confirms the above dire situation that Nigeria and the Christian population faces:   “We risk seeing Boko Haram conquer the entire north-east before the end of the election, unless foreign troops intervene”, said Mgr. Doeme, referring to the presidential elections to be held in mid-February and to the coordination of the military actions of neighboring Countries against Boko Haram, after the latest raids of Nigerian extremists in Cameroon and the conquest of the base of the international force of Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad (see Fides 09/01/2015).
“The situation is very complex and the first victims are innocent civilians”, concluded the Bishop of Maiduguri who implies the existence of some “saboteurs” and accomplices within the Nigerian army, who favor the advance of Boko Haram for political reasons.”

Not only that, but we have reported on the checkered past of Buhari (has been referred to over the years as: “Janjanweed ticket”) who is running for President, and the smear campaigns on both sides, now this quote from today’s report by the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh sends chills down the spine of those watching and know the groups behind the demonic slaughter taking place in the whole of Africa:  “We know that 90 per cent of these non-indigenes are supporters of the PDP. This is part of the APC  Janjaweed ideology to truncate democracy in this country.”  “The APC have been saying they were on top of the election, but now that it is obvious that PDP is on top, that President Goodluck Jonathan will win the election, they have resorted to causing mayhem.”  

 "Janjaweed are omnipresent. They are seen in marketplaces and within walking distance of refugee camps. They have terrorized black Africans in Darfur for more than a year."

“Janjaweed are omnipresent. They are seen in marketplaces and within walking distance of refugee camps. They have terrorized black Africans in Darfur for more than a year.”

We shared this report a year ago,  about the evil in the CAR and now there are those who are tying this in with the current violence in the Northeast of Nigeria.  Africa:  A Sinister Plot Behind the Massacre In CAR.

The Janjaweed are a ruthless group with the same ideologies as ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabob, the Seleka, and many other groups.  To form their own government, “Sharia” and rule the continent of Africa and the Middle East— with the end time goal of ruling the World.  They hate the West, they hate democracy, they hate Christians and other minorities.  They show no mercy in their murderous slaughter.  And now they have their sights on Nigeria.

Still other reports tell of the untold suffering of civilians most specifically Christians.  Doctors without Borders is desperately trying to send what aid they can.  Most have retreated to the bush as the refugee camps are either overcrowded or are not safe. The very least implication is that certified voters will be null and void as at least 1/4 of the population is displaced with more displacement every day.  Malnutrition is rampant, and disease is not far behind.  When you ask questions and seek the answers they are not hard to find, and it’s not hard to see that the interests of Africa are not for the innocent.  Pray for Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Screenshot: From "The Devil Came On Horseback" (Janjaweed)

Screenshot: From “The Devil Came On Horseback” (Janjaweed)

Recommended:

The Devil Came On Horseback:  A documentary about the Janjaweed, a Sudanese government backed militia, who have stolen, raped and murdered Sudanese people in Darfur. (Watch)  *Very Graphic*

“Terror,Blood and Death of Christians” When Will It Stop?

pray

My heart is breaking.  We have spent countless hours on video conference calls, and phone conversations with our brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan.  Two countries, our Lord has laid on our hearts to intervene and bring hope. We have listened to heartbreaking story after story of the desperation, the untold death and suffering.  We comfort those who have fled, forced to leave loved ones behind. The sorrow and helplessness in their voices digs at our very soul.  But we do this with great love and joy as our Lord commanded us, but at times we shed uncontrollable tears. And today is one of those times.

As I look at videos and pictures of the achievements and growth of a family that we are aiding, I hear sadness in the father’s voice. He is alone, without his family, not by choice but a situation forced on him through extreme persecution.

A short while later I reviewed videos of another sort—the death and destruction carried out by evil men and my soul cries out like theirs does.  One on the frontlines was literally broken for a time.  The sights of brutal slayings, wails of brokenhearted and lives forever turned upside down, proving too much for his mind and soul to process—literally unable to speak of it.  He even began questioning his own faith.  After much prayer and comfort from God, he is healing with a renewed spirit and sense of commitment.

We could share all the details that would break your heart in two, but for fear for our brothers and sisters safety, the risk is too great.  But know this, their suffering is real, their tears are real, what they are witnessing is real.  Traumatized until they reach the Kingdom of Heaven and all sorrow is wiped from their eyes.

The shock and pain the children are enduring is impossible for us to recognize in the West.  Our precious brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan wonder, “Do our brethren in the West even know, do they care?” They wonder what would it be like to live in a country where you can walk the streets without fear. Never needing to look over your shoulder, or fearing what awaits around the next corner. To live in a nation not bombarded by targeted attacks month after month, week after week. No need to flee their home to find safe places, as they pass the dead careful to avoid bodies strewn along the path. Why can’t it be this way in their own country, their generational homeland, they don’t want to leave.  “We just want to live in Peace.”

I want to share their story, but must do so with discernment.

Recently, we learned of 2 men who were captured by the Boko Haram. They were given the options, convert or die.  In fear, one converted, but they killed him anyway stating, “We will send you to Allah without sin.”  The other refused to denounce Christ. As they butchered him, he began preaching the Gospel. He begged them not to kill him, not because he was afraid, but because in his words, “You will be judged for this, please don’t do it.”  He had that much forgiveness and love for his attackers.

One dear soul tells of a vision that keeps him going, a vision from God of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Those of you that share the gifts of prayer and hope, letters, and donations mean so much to those persecuted.  One day soon they will be able to tell their stories.  But as for now I can only ask that God would allow me to take their pain from them, if only for a moment to allow them comfort.

What if each one of us did this every day, or even once a week?  Asking God to give us for a time, the pain of one who suffers allowing them to heal and feel peace.  Could you handle it?  Could you handle the shock, the pain, the sorrow, the helplessness and hopelessness that they feel every day even for a moment?  What if we took 5 minutes even 10, every day to pray and intercede (to act or interpose on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition) in this manner?  I believe the healing that would go forth would amaze.

We don’t normally share video’s that portray horrific images, but I turned to this video by accident which normally I will shut off rather than watch. I already hear firsthand these stories vividly in the lives of our brethren, but this time it was as if God said No, you will watch and then share it.  Right now, if God is speaking to your heart to intercede for them—watch this video from Nigeria. It’s 2 years old and at present it is much more volatile.  Please use discretion, the video is very graphic and not for the faint of heart. Afterwards, spend time with God asking “What can I do?” Let us know how God is using or moving you for care for these dear ones.

C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst

WARNING! VERY GRAPHIC VIDEO BY CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AMERICANS

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