Category Archives: Democratic Republic of the Congo
The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of May 2020:
The Slaughter of Christians
Nigeria: From January 2020 to mid-May 2020, Muslim terrorists massacred at least 620 Christians (470 by Fulani herdsmen and 150 by Boko Haram). According to a May 14 report:
Militant Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram … have intensified their anti-Christian violence … with hacking to death in the past four months and half of 2020 of no fewer than 620 defenseless Christians, and wanton burning or destruction of their centers of worship and learning. The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists. Houses burnt or destroyed during the period are in their hundreds; likewise dozens of Christian worship and learning centers.
The report further states that, since 2009, “not less than 32,000 Christians have been butchered to death by the country’s main Jihadists.”
Earlier this year, Christian Solidarity International issued a “Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria,” in response to the “rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants…” More recently, in a May statement, the Christian Rights Agenda, another human rights group, expressed concern for “the seeming silence of Nigeria’s President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces has not only failed to protect the Christian communities but has remained silent over these killings. To date, no Fulani herdsmen have been arrested and prosecuted over the killings, a development that has helped to embolden them.” It is worth noting that Buhari himself is a Fulani Muslim.
Separately, the Muslim man who murdered Michael Nnadi, an 18-year-old seminarian at the Good Shepherd Seminary, confessed from his jail cell that he did so because the youth “continued preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ” to his captors. According to the May 3 report, “the first day Nnadi was kidnapped … he did not allow [Mustapha Mohammed, his murderer] to have peace” due to his relentless preaching of the Gospel. Mohammed “did not like the confidence displayed by the young man and decided to send him to an early grave.”
Democratic Republic of Congo: Muslim fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces, which earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), murdered at least 17 people, possibly many more, in the Christian-majority (95%) African nation. “They fired several shots in the air,” a local said. “When the population was fleeing, they captured some people and cut them up with machetes.” In late 2019, the same group murdered a pastor after he refused to stop preaching and convert to Islam.
Attacks on Christian Churches, Cemeteries, and Crosses
Greece: Muslim migrants ransacked and transformed a church into their personal toilet. This public restroom was once the St. Catherine Church in Moria, a small town on the island of Lesvos, which has been flooded with migrants who arrived via Turkey. “The smell inside is unbearable,” said a local. “[T]he metropolitan of Mytilene is aware of the situation in the area, nevertheless, he does not wish to deal with it for his own reasons.” According to the report:
This is only the latest incident … [I]t has become extremely common for Greek Orthodox Churches to be vandalised and attacked by illegal immigrants on Lesvos….
As a deeply religious society, these attacks on churches are shocking to the Greek people and calls to question whether these illegal immigrants seeking a new life in Europe are willing to integrate and conform to the norms and values of their new countries.
These continued attacks have ultimately seen the people of Lesvos, who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, become increasingly frustrated by the unresolved situation that has restricted and changed their lives as they no longer feel safe on their once near crime-free island.
Other incidents on Lesvos include “African immigrants ridiculing and coughing on police in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of olives trees being destroyed.”
Turkey: On May 8, a man tried to torch a church in Istanbul; the church had been attacked in the previous years, sometimes with hate-filled graffiti. When police detained the arsonist, he said “I burned it because they [Christians] brought the coronavirus [onto Turkey].” Discussing this incident, another report said that “Minorities in Turkey, such as Armenians, Rums and Syriacs [all Christians], as well as their places of worship, are occasionally targeted in hate attacks.”
Two weeks later, on May 22, in broad daylight, a man climbed the fence of a historic Armenian church in Istanbul and proceeded to yank off its metal cross and hurl it to the ground, as captured on surveillance footage. The man, who looks more like a Westernized “hipster” than an ardent Islamist, walks up to and stares at the cross for a while — he even looks at and strikes a pose for the security camera — before attacking the crucifix.
Pakistan: After Friday prayers on May 8, an armed Muslim mob shouting “anti-Christian slogans” attacked and tried to set fire to the Trinity Pentecostal Church in Hakeem Pura. Built 22 years ago, the church was desecrated, and a large cross and part of a wall broken. The Muslim man behind the attack had sold land to the growing church a year earlier, and now wanted it back. A Christian eyewitness said that the mob, “after attacking the walls and the cross, challenging anyone who dare oppose them, fled… Not only was the cross broken, but our hearts were crushed too.”
The Christian community there reportedly protested against the violation and tried to stop the vandalism. However, they were allegedly threatened with guns… [A]ll graves that were destroyed had crosses fixed on the top… [S]ome of the houses occupied by the Christians were demolished and people were forced to flee from their homes. Amid widespread discrimination against the Christian community in Pakistan, the properties owned by the minorities are often subjected to injustice including land grabbing and being the target of criminals. Moreover, the economic disparities and religious bias in Pakistan’s judiciary have increased the struggles Christians face to recover the lost land.
Serbia: On Sunday, May 31, two Muslim migrants entered the St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Belgrade during service and robbed several of the mostly elderly congregants. “There were two of them. They broke into the church during the liturgy, which was in progress, and they stole two purses along with three mobile phones,” a church leader said, adding:
Upon entering the temple, they split up on two sides, and after the people saw what was happening, they managed to catch one of them and take away his mobile phones and the money he stole. The other managed to escape. He took two purses, in one there were 3,500 dinars, while in the other there were 18,000, which was the entire pension of one woman. We handed that young man over to the police, while the other managed to escape. This is an insult. Isn’t anything sacred to people, such as the liturgy? Terrible.
Egypt: On May 30, 2020 — two days before President Trump recognized Global Coptic Day — Egyptian authorities demolished the only Coptic church in village of Koum al-Farag, even though it had stood for 15 years and served 3,000 Christians. According to the report:
The destruction of the church was a punishment for the ‘crime’ of building rooms for Sunday school…. When the work began, some extremist Muslims began to attack Christians.
A separate report on this incident relates:
According to an ancient Islamic tradition, or common law, churches are prevented from being formally recognised or displaying any Christian symbols if a mosque is built next to them.
The authorities decided to solve this issue by demolishing the church, which took a tractor “six long hours,” a Copt recalled:
The decision was not welcomed by the Christians in the village, so they protested by appearing at the site in possession of the documents. However, the police and some radicals began to insult and assault Christians, including women and children. The church leader received so many punches in the face and chest that he passed out.
Security camera footage led to his apprehension. Fortunately, no one was injured in this attack. Predictably, however, the prosecutors appear to be [pursuing] an acquittal on the claim that the perpetrator of the religious hate crime is also mentally ill. Based on precedent, it is extremely unlikely that this perpetrator will face any consequences for his attempt to torch a church.
Mozambique: Islamic terrorists attacked a monastery. The four monks residing in it managed to hide and emerge unscathed. However, the hospital they were building for a nearby village was destroyed by the armed Muslims. According to the May 18 report:
Little is known about the insurgents, and until recently there were doubts they were actually islamists, but they have claimed to be fighting for the imposition of Sharia law in the North of Mozambique…. The attack on the monastery, which included the destruction of a hospital that the monks were building in the village, is the second most serious attack against a Christian target since the troubles began. Last month a Catholic mission was also attacked, although, as here, nobody was killed. Other communities have not been so lucky, as the insurgents have left a trail of death and destruction behind them in the towns and villages they attack.
Nigeria: On May 7, a helicopter bombed and destroyed a church. The building was empty at the time; no casualties were reported. According to a local leader,
The helicopter used to hover around the area, dropping some things. We don’t know what they have been dropping but yesterday in the afternoon, the helicopter came and dropped a bomb … [The] Assembly of God church was destroyed including a nearby building…. Hours after the incident, a group of people numbering about 100 pass through the village carrying guns. Some were trekking while others rode on motorcycles. One of them was carrying a flag which is not a Nigerian flag; one other person was making some incantations in Arabic… People have fled the village… The question is who was in the helicopter dropping bomb?… We are very concerned … If it was a mistake by security agencies, they should come out and explain so as to allay the fears of the community.
Algeria: Four Muslim guards responsible for protecting a church vandalized and overturned its statue of the Virgin Mary. According to the report,
[T]he chapel of Santa Cruz built in stones extracted from the mountain of Murdjadjo where it is perched, was the object of an attempted theft… Four looters allegedly destroyed the statue of the Virgin Mary by attempting to steal it. They have even destroyed other holy monuments in their path….
It was later found, however, that the chapel’s four hired guards were themselves the “looters” responsible for the desecration. The report continues:
In addition, the Christian community in Algeria denounces… the intimidation which the faithful are subject to. Many Christians have denounced the series of closings of churches in the national territory. Several evangelical associations and organizations have called for an end to “the increasing pressure and intimidation from the Algerian government.”
Iran: On Sunday, May 17, a Christian cemetery was set ablaze, just two days after the tomb of the biblical Esther and Mordecai was also set on fire on the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel. Damage at the tomb — a holy site shared by Jews and Christians — was reportedly minimal. Few other details concerning the burned Christian cemetery aside from video footage showing smoke billowing over its walls are available. A Hindu temple was also reportedly set on fire in May.
While Europe has experienced a growing number of acts of vandalism and profanation of Christian sites, the greatest number of such acts have occurred in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments “are being vandalized, desecrated, and burned at an average rate of three per day,” according to reports drawing from government statistics.
Although the identity of the vandals responsible for this latest outrage is unknown, it appears that Western European nations that have large Muslim migrant populations are seeing a disproportionate rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. According to a 2017 study on France — which has the largest Muslim population in Europe — “Islamist extremist attacks on Christians” rose by 38%, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during Christmas season and “many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship.” Similarly, around Christmas 2016, in a German region where more than a million Muslims reside, some 50 public Christian statues (including those of Jesus) were beheaded and crucifixes broken.
Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion of Christian Women
Nigeria: Between March 23 and April 30, six young Christian girls and one older married woman were kidnapped. “We are saddened to report to you the battles we have been fighting even amidst the lockdown,” the Hausa Christians Foundation reported on May 4, adding that it “has been working on the following tragic incidences of abduction and forceful Islamization, despite the fact that the lockdown has limited our efforts.” The statement continues:
The usual practice is that these girls will be forced into marriage and perpetually be abused sexually, physical and emotionally. We are doing our best to rescue these precious lives but our efforts have been truncated by the current government imposed lockdown that has put everything on hold…. The simple reason for the injustice and the persecution we have been subjected to… is because of our faith in Christ Jesus.
Two of the young girls have since been rescued.
Pakistan: Another young Christian girl was kidnapped. According to a May 2 report,
On Sunday, April 26, a 14-year-old Christian girl … was abducted by a group of armed Muslim men… [T]he Christian girl’s family has filed a police report and is begging police to recover their relative…. Myra Shehbaz was abducted by a group of Muslim men led by Muhammad Naqash. Eye witnesses claim that Myra was attacked while she was traveling to her workplace as a domestic worker on Sunday afternoon…. Myra’s abductors forced her into a car and Myra tried to resist…. [The] abductors were armed and fired several shots into the air…. [The girl’s mother] fears her daughter will be raped, forcefully converted is [sic] Islam, or even killed…. [A]n estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian community are assaulted, abducted, forcefully married to their captor, and forcibly converted to Islam every year.
Egypt: In a May 22 report, Coptic Solidarity, a human rights organization focused on the plight of Egypt’s Christians, made the following remarks:
The indigenous Coptic Christians of Egypt continue to experience increasing persecution, by the government and society…. To illustrate, at least five Coptic women, including some minors, have reportedly been kidnapped or disappeared in just the last few weeks, and Egyptian state security has made no concerted effort to recover them…. Ranya Abd al-Masih, a Coptic wife and mother of three from a town just north of the capital, Cairo… remains hidden despite protests, including from the region’s church, which laments “the total lack of reaction by the authorities.”
Hate for and Abuse of Christians
Austria: A local newspaper reported:
A graffiti that rightly causes a lot of agitation. The lettering “Christians must die” can be seen at the Traisen-Markt train station. Above it, in the same style, the words “Allach Akkbar” [sic]. The removal of the graffiti has already begun and will cost about 500 Euros.
Uganda: A Muslim father burned his daughter for converting to Christianity. While traveling with her father, a sheikh (respected elder) of the Muslim community, Rehema Kyomuhendo, 24, heard the gospel and secretly converted. On the night of May 4, while she and her father were staying at her aunt’s home, she called a Christian associate: “As she was sharing Christ with me, I was so overjoyed,” Rehema later explained, “and my father heard my joy and woke up, came from his bedroom furiously and started beating me up with blows, slaps and kicks.” He also shouted that he was “going to kill her.” He broke a gas container, lit the pieces with the unspilt fuel, and began to burn his daughter. Her cries awakened her aunt, who protected her from the sheikh. Last reported, Rehema was expected to need more than a month of hospitalization due to “serious burns on her leg, stomach, rib area, near her neck and on part of her back.” No one has “reported the assault to police for fear that her father might try kill her.”
Pakistan: In another example of abuse of Christians in connection to COVID-19, “an Islamic cleric claims his organization is using COVID-19 food aid to convert non-Muslims to Islam,” according to a May 8 report. Speaking on Pakistani television, the cleric boasted of how when a destitute Christian man came for aid, the “staff of the organization offered him conversion against food which he accepted.” The man was subsequently renamed Muhammad Ramadan, signifying his conversion had occurred during the Muslim holy month. The cleric had added that Muhammad was then fasting (which is ironic considering hunger is what prompted him to convert in the first place).
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.
Ibrahim’s writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications. He is theauthor of the recent 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.
Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) – At least nine people have been killed in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in a new attack of the ADF-NALU, group of Ugandan origin that now calls itself Muslim Defense International (MDI).
According to a statement from the Centre d’Etude pour la Promotion de la Paix, de la Démocratie et les Droits de l’homme (CEPADHO), sent to Agenzia Fides, on Saturday, September 5, a commando of the ADF attacked some locations in the territory Beni. In Ntoyi a mother of 11 children was decapitated as she was returning from the fields; in Ngite other 4 farmers were found killed; in Mukida a couple, parents of seven children, were killed, in PK25 the bodies of two other people were found brutally murdered with machetes.
The CEPADHO fears that the toll is expected to grow because many farmers work in the fields and may have been victims of the assault of the ADF terrorists.
Local bishops and civil society (see Fides 26/05/2015) have repeatedly denounced the presence of this group which has now taken the form of a real jihadist organization. The members of the ADF, also known as MDI, who come from Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sudan, Burundi, Central African Republic and Congo, have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in the space of just under a year (see Fides 09/06/2015). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 07/09/2015)
(Voice of the Persecuted) We are acquiring information of conflicts in Central Africa that are still waging despite virtual media silence. The Congo has seen many wars and Human Rights abuses. Mass graves, rape of children and many human rights abuses have been brought to our attention. One thing I’ve learned over the last 6 years is to have an analytic mind while reading news. To research the facts and digging out the truth. Often you will find that nothing is as it seems on the surface.
Most interesting is that in Africa, the countries with the most persecution and genocide of Christians, is that Christianity continues to grow. And the demographics of Christians in the world are actually changing. According to Pew Research in 2050, nearly four-in-ten of the world’s Christians (38%) are expected to be living in sub-Saharan Africa, up from 24% in 2010 and less than 2% in 1910. In addition, by 2050, five of the 10 largest Christian populations in the world – Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda – will be in Africa, which had three of the 10 largest Christian populations in 2010.
In December, World Watch Monitor reported when Religious leaders called for dialogue in the Great Lakes Region (Congo).
(World Watch Monitor) Situated in the middle of the continent, the Great Lakes region is one of the most volatile areas of Africa. For decades, it has been ravaged by violent conflicts, such as the bitter ethnic rivalries that led to the Rwanda genocide of 1994, in which more than 800,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered in the span of 100 days. Neighbouring Burundi also was torn by deadly ethnic tensions following its independence in 1963. Those tensions broke out in 2003 into civil war that lasted 12 years and claimed more than 300,000 lives.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, however, has suffered the worst conflict in Africa. Up to 6 million people were killed during the five-year civil war that started in 1998. Often referred to as Africa’s “World War” because it involved most of its neighbouring countries, the conflict technically ended with a 2003 peace agreement and the deployment of the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping mission, though the measures have yet to bring a lasting peace, particularly in the eastern regions of the country.
“This would commend us to draw lessons from it, in order to be able to allocate the things we can tolerate and those we cannot afford to tolerate anymore,” said Bishop John Rucyahana of the Anglican Church of Rwanda.
‘‘We need dialogue in order to strategize and set the pace for development,” he said. “We critically have to expose sources of conflicts as much as we need to dialogue to establish policies, not only to eliminate those conflicts, but also do it with the intent commitment to heal our social fabric.’’
‘‘It is imperative to assess and set apart all the things we can no longer tolerate, like the things that hinder our unity and disrupt the process of our development and our total recovery. We don’t only tolerate conflict resolutions or prevention but we remove it if possible,” Rucyahana said.
Further potential sources of violence exist, EIRENE’s regional director, Tahirou Sy Issaka, told World Watch Monitor in a telephone interview.
Several Great Lakes countries — Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Uganda – will hold elections in 2015. Issaka said religious and ethnic affiliations maybe manipulated for political purposes, creating conditions that could spark violence. (Read the full report)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo also known as DR Congo, DRC, Congo, Congo-Kinshasa, DROC, or RDC(known as Zaïre 1965–97), is a country located in Central Africa. It borders theRepublic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan to the north,Uganda, Rwanda,Burundi and Tanzaniato the East, Zambiaand Angola to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. With a population of over 75 million.
- The Congolese Civil Wars, beginning in 1996, brought about the end of Mobutu Sese Seko’s 31 year reign, devastated the country, and ultimately involved nine African nations,multiple groups of UN peacekeepers and twenty armed groups.
- The wars resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people since 1998 with more than 90% of those deaths the result of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, aggravated by displacement and unsanitary and over-crowded living conditions.
- Nearly half of the victims were children under five.
These facts seem to ring true in every conflict present today. The weak and the vulnerable are the victims, not the governments or the groups waging war against them. We are told that the Congo is still in conflict and human rights abuses abound, but are simply not being shared. So we went to work. We found reports of abuses, and raging conflict, that rebel groups in this area have alliances with Al-Shabob, (through the Allied Democratic Forces). And remember this is where the LRA raged their murderous campaigns of kidnapping and rape. When you begin to peel back the layers, the smell is overwhelming.
For the last couple years rights groups like Amnesty International and and sources such as World Watch Monitor have been reporting on the abuses of women. One Congolese Doctor say’s that “Rape is a weapon of mass destruction.” Last June, Fides Agency reported Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor, who has been working for years to treat victims of rapes in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Dr. Mukwege manages the health center of Panzi, in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu which together with North Kivu are two of the most unstable areas of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, due to the presence of numerous armed groups that terrorize the population.”Rapes – explains the doctor – are born from the desire to destroy the woman as the bearer of life. In this sense, they are weapons of mass destruction”. He goes on to say that “A woman is considered first of all a mother”, recalls the document. “She gives life. That is all which is to be considered sacred in African tradition. … In such a context, violence against women is considered a way of inflicting death to an entire community. It is a way to strike at the very heart of the community”. According to Dr. Mukwege, war rapes are weapons used in various conflicts around the world, from the former Yugoslavia to Syria: “I met some Bosnian women and Syrian doctors who told me of similar rapes.”
Reuters shared in March, that girls as young as 18 months old are being raped and left with horrific injuries. Precious babies and as one doctor said, their bodies have been destroyed. They cited that 34 babies and young girls had been treated from one community alone. Giving credence to the above report from Fides. It seems this evil is dead set on controlling the population and indeed destroying communities by attacking those who give life, not a new tactic. Whole communities in the Congo are being attacked, attacking the very vulnerable and defenseless….children. And nothing is done to stop this. Nothing from the media, nothing from World leaders, only silence.
The UN Peacekeeping force does have a presence and refuse to leave until they can make progress with Rwandan rebels, so we find many factions just lurking under the surface. Many rebel groups, many mentions of bloody and disastrous conflicts, incessant human rights abuses and the innocent suffer unspeakable horrors.
The New York Times did do an op-ed in Dec. of 2012, and titled the conflict in the Congo “The World’s Worst War.” The author of this articles say’s “The Congo has become a never-ending nightmare, one of the bloodiest conflicts since World War II, with more than five million dead.” (Read here)
Something else stands out in the above report, the rapes have been marked by a level of brutality that is shocking even by the twisted standards of a place rived by civil war and haunted by warlords and drugged-up child soldiers.
More than 5 Million people killed. Wikipedia puts the numbers at 5.4 million since 1998. In January of this year, it was reported that the government opened fire on civilians protesting election law change. It seems this is a practice. A mass grave has been uncovered and reports say that overnight in January 421 bodies were buried by the government. It was uncovered when women working in a field smelled a stench and found a leg. A US based Human Rights Organization say’s that the bodies are from the crackdown on protesters in January. They called for exhumation of the bodies since the government said they were babies that died or fetuses. But the Government is refusing to exhumation—Human Rights Abuses again meet silence.
This morning the Fides Agency shared that The Democratic Republic of Congo would have the potential to be a rich country, not just for exotic and natural landscapes, but also for the presence of minerals such as gold, diamonds, iron, coltan and natural gas. The same oil fields, if properly exploited, could bring important resources to invest in the Country. Unfortunately, the proliferation of armed groups and often the economic interests of other Countries, which agree that the situation remains so, make any kind of change difficult. The violence of rebel groups, particularly in the eastern part of the territory, leave destruction everywhere, broken families, women raped, children abducted to be recruited by criminal gangs. In addition, health care is possible only in major cities. School education is not remotely contemplated. Extreme poverty is widespread with the exception of a very small group. Volcanoes in full activity and that are close to Goma make the already precarious situation even worse. One of the most active volcanoes in the world, Nyiragongo has already erupted over 50 times in the last 150 years, causing widespread damage and deaths, flooding the city and 14 other surrounding villages. A short distance from Nyiragongo is Nyamuragira volcano, the most active in all of Africa.
No justice, no condemnation, too few calls for committees to investigate. This is an ongoing story, one of indeed a never ending war, with the same players moving with the same agendas. Where is the outcry for their protection? Who will be their VOICE encouraging those with the power to act? Has history not taught us how our silence only emboldens violent men? With these questions, we are reminded of:
“A sad truth of human nature is that it is hard to care for people when they are abstractions, hard to care when it is not you or somebody close to you. Unless the world community can stop finding ways to dither in the face of this monstrous threat to humanity those words Never Again will persist in being one of the most abused phrases in the English language and one of the greatest lies of our time.” ― Paul Rusesabagina
“We must recognize that if we feel helpless when facing the record of human depravity, there was always a point at which any particular scene of madness could have been stopped.” ― Robert H. Abzug
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy
And the parable Jesus told of the Good Samaritan when a man beaten, half dead on the side of the road was overlooked by religious men, but noticed and shown compassion by a certain Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37
Often we miss the chance to care for those who truly need us. To speak up for those who are silenced out of fear or oppression. Maybe we’re afraid of being rejected or possibly humiliated in someway. For many, it’s simply easier to say nothing and go about our own business…to speak would require action. “My schedule doesn’t allow for that?” Surely someone else will step up to improve the situation, or so we hope… If that rings true for you, you’re not alone. In the past, a few of us have been guilty of the same.
Didn’t Jesus advocate for others? We should all remember that faith and action to go hand in hand. We have the power of God behind us and we are not called his hands and feet for nothing. Let us not find ourselves one day saying in regret, “Why didn’t someone do something…why didn’t I?” There will be no passing the blame, collective guilt begins with ‘me’. And we need to be accountable for our own actions or reactions.
Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
We are Christians, be bold in faith, stand up, be a VOICE. It’s time for us to do something!
We will watch this closely and report as information becomes available.
- Pray for the Children
- Pray for the innocent
- Pray for God to shine light on this darkness.
- Pray for Him to send caring hands and comfort.
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 ( o 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
Yaoundé (Agenzia Fides) – More than 30.000 people represent a serious humanitarian emergency on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. Most are Nigerians fleeing the advancing front of Boko Haram, the Islamist sect which has vowed to establish a Caliphate in Northern Nigeria.
Terrifying events described by inhabitants fleeing from the city of Kerawa in the Nigerian state of Borno: at least 60 persons, mainly Christians and soldiers brutally slaughtered by Boko Haram warriors. On the other side of the border the Cameroon city with the same name Kerawa (Kerawa Cameroon) was also attacked and its people forced to flee to shelter in the city of Kolofata.
In the Kerawa Cameroon there is a concentration of Christians who fled Nigerian villages, and these are followed by Muslims fleeing from Gwoza department, also in Borno state. From Borno come contradictory reports of occupation by Boko Haram of the city of Bama, considered strategic since it would open the way to the conquest of the local capital Maiduguri. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 3/9/2014)
VOP Note: Our hearts break for Christians in North Nigeria and what they are going through. We have people on the ground who keep us updated on the situation and their urgent needs. We will be setting up an ongoing aid mission for persecuted North Nigerians and those who have become orphans and widows through persecution. But we can’t do this alone. Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate their suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Thank you for your support!
There is so much violence in the CAR, Nigeria, Sudan, and Somalia. Staggering chaos and many, many unanswered questions. The MSM reports that Chadian Troops have killed 24 people, mainly Christians when they attacked neighborhoods in Bangui 2 days ago. Reports from BBC indicate that the Chadian troops were attacked by the ‘Christian Militia.’ BBC also say’s that Chadian forces have been accused of supporting muslim rebels. (more) What is puzzling is that the Chadian troops are not part of the African Union Peacekeeping force. So why are militaries, and militia’s allowed to wreak havoc here? Why has the government, strengthened by the French army, the UN and African Peace keeping forces not been able to bring about calm?
The African Peace keepers are defending the Chadian Troops, stating that they came under attack from ‘Christian Militias’. There are very deep feelings from the area about the Chadian troops. (More) Chad has been accused of meddling in the conflict, helping to overthrow the government last year. The new government lead by the Central African Republic’s first female president Catherine Samba-Panza, has been embroiled in it’s own controversy. At her first speech to the nation, she re-introduced the military, and minutes after she left, the new Army beat a man to death and drug him through the streets. (Read here)
Chad and Libya has had their share of back and forth, but remember Chad in the beginning was backing Gadaffi. And he even had Chadian forces defending him. We all know about the French, Nato, and Gadaffi, with reported hints of arms trafficking into Libya and the Benghazi incident, where Ambassador Stevens and others were killed. Here is a quote from International Crises Group from 2011 titled ‘Africa without Qaddafi: The Case of Chad:
“When the crisis began, Déby tried to defend Qaddafi’s legitimacy by accusing the rebels of colluding with Islamists. Though his government denied it was providing any military support, the presence of Chadian fighters in Libya among Qaddafi’s troops stripped his statements of weight.” (More)
Despite sincere efforts of the media portraying this as a religious war, this is most likely not the case. Religious leaders have been speaking out regularly stating it’s a political conflict not religious. And it’s Christian and Muslim leaders. This map may show why this conflict continues to rage. Take note of the oil pipelines.
The Christians and the Muslims have lived side by side here for years without incident. We have just reported recently that it’s been found that so-called Christians are fighting with the Seleka (muslim rebels) and the Muslim rebels are fighting with these so-called Christians. The Anti-balaka raise many red flags, such as who is training them? And the big question—where is the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’? We know they are in the area. And not much has been said about them lately. We also found that the practices of the Anti-balaka closely resemble the practices of the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army.’ They wrongfully call themselves, Christian Militia. Their actions and rituals are far from Christianity.
Religious leaders from both sides recently met in the West begging us not to forget them. But it appears we have done just that.
The refugee camps which many are fleeing to, are rife with rebels hiding as refugees. These camps are hot beds for kidnapping, rape, torture and arms trafficking. So why can’t the government gain control? Not surprising, these arms shipments are making their way north to the Boko Haram in Nigeria. With some caches recently found and seized by the Cameroon military near the Nigerian border.
The Boko Haram are a vicious, radical Islamist sect who kill anything that move in their attacks. And they have become more embolden in recent months. Is there a connection?
According to the UNHCR: Over 400,000 people are estimated to be internally displaced, compared to some 94,000 in early 2012. Some 65,000 individuals have fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of the Congo, Chad and Cameroon, bringing the global number of Central African refugees close to 220,000.
Euro news: Thousands have died since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power a year ago and launched a campaign of terror.
Nigeria, Boko Haram: The group is known for attacking Christians and government targets, bombing churches, attacking schools and police stations, kidnapping western tourists, but has also assassinated members of the Islamic establishment. Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2002 and 2013. The conflicts have left around 90,000 people displaced. Human Rights Watch claims that Boko Haram uses child soldiers, including 12 year olds.
The statistics are very hard to obtain for these areas, I can tell you in 2014 the violence and death’s have increased to the point of Genocide. The amount of people displaced has exponentially increased. Please don’t let the horrors these people face go unnoticed or forgotten. Speak out, and pray. Pray for calm, pray for peace, pray for comfort, strength, and protection. So many innocent people and children are suffering beyond imagination.
This is an ongoing conflict, and we will update as we get new information.
By C.Refsland & L.Kanalos VOP Advocates
My Heart goes out to the people of Ukraine, but as I received a comment today from a Sister in Christ that got me thinking. Since the world is focused on Ukraine, and Russia, and they are very fixated on this. Media reports that lead to believe that all that remains is the first shot. Some of the media reports indeed seem staged. I watched one popular news channel, parade pictures all evening last night of ordinary citizens of Ukraine, posing with armed soldiers like it was a summer parade or picnic. On the other hand, I saw pictures of Russian troops with priests in the background carry a large cross standard. But while we are all focused on Russia, as we should be concerned, but what is happening in Syria?
What is happening in Israel, and Iran, and Libya? Libya is a hot bed again, killing Christians, threatening Christians either convert or die. Parts of Syria have turned completely insane. There are reports coming out of Syria that ISIS, Iraq and the Levant have taken over large swaths of Christian communities and they are demanding that Christians either convert, or be killed or pay a tax of 500.00 per person. I’ve heard it called dhimmitude, I’ve heard it called Jizya. (More)
This is ‘Sharia Law’ 101. Most westerners know nothing of this practice. It’s oppressive and the penalty for not paying this tax is death or worse. Whatever it is, it’s hideous, appalling and unspeakable, that in the modern world that the west enjoys that one would think that this could actually happen. Open doors is reporting that Syrian Christians are running out of options. Mission Network News is also reporting:
Syria (MNN) — Ukraine has taken over the world’s spotlight, but developments in Syria are cause for concern: believers are running out of options. David Curry of Open Doors USA explains: “Over the past several months, Christians have increasingly been caught in the cross-fire of the battle between those that are loyal to the government and the Muslim extremists.“Some extremist groups have been quoted as saying, ‘We’ll either kill you or you’ll have to leave.’ There’s a concerted effort to put Christians in the middle of these battles because they want them to leave; they want to impose Sharia law.”
Iran continues to spew hatred about Israel and the US. World leaders have seemed recently to actually be welcoming chaos and anarchy. It’s as if they want this to re-shape the world. I asked the question on a previous post, and that was ‘Do you suppose that Christians are just collateral damage?’
Do you suppose that they know that the western world as a whole, is not informed about the plight of the Christians? Do you suppose that in their zeal to re-shape the world into a ‘New World Order’ that Christians are just insignificant?
Well in Africa, evidently chaos and anarchy has blinders. In the North Boko Haram are killing Christians and destroying villages and towns like a ravenous wolf. In the CAR the UN is calling for more UN troops on the ground to quell the violence there. They are protraying a war war between the Muslims and the Christians, with both attacking each other with what can only be described as heinous and demonic. They are still removing dozens of bodies from streets today that have been hacked to pieces or burned. (More)
Soon, the world will be enveloped in darkness and chaos. It’s in the Bible. Then you will be faced with this very choice. What will you do? What will you choose? Man or God?
Right now, choose to be informed, choose to pray for peace in these regions. Speak out to your Representatives, ask your Church leaders to speak out, and get behind those who dare to speak out, before this right is torn from us. Pray for our Brother’s and Sisters as they face this evil.
In previous reports, we looked at the refugee camps in Syria. But the refugee camps in Africa are just as wretchedly miserable. The recent CAR conflict has left thousands displaced. The exact numbers are cloudy, but are starting to surface. The entire region in Southern and Central Africa are in crises and the fighting continues. Other news agencies are reporting that the weapons movement to this region has a fairly easy road from Libya and other countries. Christian Persecution is at an all time high. Wanting nothing but peace and normalcy, innocent children are the ones who suffer the most, as they tell us in this touching video below.
News agencies and Christian organizations report that the refugees are living in deplorable conditions “like animals.”
They claim that pastors are in dire need, attempting to worship amidst the difficulties. Through it all, they continue to demonstrate great faith and strength.
Sky News is reporting on the horrific conditions for those caught in the CAR conflict. They witnessed a teenage girl go into labor. She had been raped by the Seleka, and gave birth in squalid conditions, while mid wives tried to help her by forcing the baby. (From Sky News Click to watch video, *Graphic*)
France 24 reported in October of last year that those fleeing the Seleka were flooding a Catholic Mission in Bossangoa, mostly women and children. The men were afraid to leave the mission for fear of being picked up by the Seleka and accused of being part of a militant group. The women were left to scrounge for food, and still had to pay bribes and face rape and torture.
Interim President Djotodia has been removed from office and it is said the Seleka are being disbanded. But these people have lost their homes, their families and everything they had. Most of the children have lost their security. There have been reports that the Seleka will still retaliate if they don’t agree with the new government. An apparent vicious circle. Today, Yahoo news is reporting that fresh acts of violence has broken out. They say there is violence everywhere and it will get worse as the deadline to the election closes in. It’s far from over for these beleagured, war weary people. How much more can they endure? (More)
Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are facing similar trials. There are thousands fleeing from Sudan into UN humanitarian camps. It has been reported that human trafficking has become the new black market and is prospering. Those fortunate enough to scrape money together and are strong enough to flee, are met on the roads by bandits and human traffickers. From this map you can see how easy it is for them to traffic arms and people.
According to Caritas the number fleeing Sudan has grown by leaps and bounds:
We can see this war in Sudan is no different than the conflict happening in CAR. Warring tribal leaders and government’s driven by greed over control of mineral and oil rich lands, force innocent people into extreme suffering.
Two weeks ago, Sudan was reported as the youngest South African country. Today it is possibly the next Rwanda. Again we see an oil rich country that has it’s government fighting for control with the rebels, while the citizens are caught in the middle. Some say ‘It’s a resource wealth coveted by global powers.’ So again, at the expense of people wanting nothing more than to rebuild their shattered lives in peace. (More)
Here too, we see the world turns a blind eye, and as in the past–world leaders turn their heads. What is the answer? Start with awareness. Help us to raise awareness of this and other humanitarian crises. Share these reports, talk about them, write to your representatives. Talk to your Pastor’s and church leaders, your prayer groups. Keep praying for those persecuted and those caught in this ethnic and sectarian violence.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
Report by: VOP Advocates, C.Refsland / L.Kanalos
Article may be reprinted with link to original report and credit to VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED.
Africa: A Sinister Plot Behind The Massacre In CAR (Voice Of The Persecuted)
WARNING: Brink of Catastrophe – Central African Republic (Voice Of The Persecuted)
Bishop: Sudan’s Christians Are ‘On the Cross’ Daily (Voice Of The Persecuted)