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They came as refugees. Now they’re giving back.

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Voice of the Persecuted recommended read:

Ijaz Gill still gets choked up every time he speaks about the twin bomb blasts that killed 122 of his congregation, many of them children, and injured 168 of his friends. “When the first bomb blast hit I fell down; it hit my head and shoulder, I was injured. The second bomb blast hit many, many people,” he says, unable to detail the carnage any further. Asked if there were many bodies, he murmurs in horror: “pieces”.

Perth-based Arastoo Yazdani, 32, came to Australia from Iran as a refugee when he was still a toddler. Living under Islamic rule in Isfahan, Iran’s second city, his non-Muslims parents were treated as second-class citizens.

Esther Lukabyo fled the murderous regime of Ugandan despot Idi Amin with her family in 1974. She was just eight years old.

READ MORE at Eternity News

80 Muslim Refugees Convert to Christianity and are Baptized

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Over 80 Muslim refugees from Iran and Afghanistan have converted to Christianity and been baptized in Hamburg, Germany.

Mohabat News  _  Albert Babajan, the pastor who conducted the mass baptism, said that the converts were dissatisfied with Islam and were looking for something more. “The motive for the change of faith is the same for many: they are disappointed with Islam.”

Shima, one Christian convert who was recently baptized, shared about her conversion:

“I’ve been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found it,” she said. “To be a Christian means happiness to me.”

Another convert, Somaz, said: “In Islam, we always lived in fear. Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However, Christ is a God of love.”

Babajan conducted the baptism ceremony in Hamburg city park.

Many refugees have converted to Christianity since coming to Germany. Babajan says he is aware that some refugees will convert not out of true conviction, but because Christian converts are generally given added protection since they would face death should they return to their home countries.

In order to determine who the true converts are, Babajan says he asks them how Christ has changed their lives.

“Because the Christian faith changed the way of thinking, the world view. If someone told me that at night he can sleep again or an old enemy could forgive, then I know that in his heart he is a Christian.”

“There are maybe 20 or 30 percent who really want to hear the gospel. For those who want to have a license, I must face the door… It is very easy, whoever does not believe will not be baptised,” he added.

 

AFGHANISTAN – The closure of schools increases the recruitment of children on behalf of the Taliban

Child soldier Afghanistan Photo: Robin Kirk www.flickr.com

child-soldier-afghanistan
Photo: Robin Kirk http://www.flickr.com

(Agenzia Fides) – The escalation of conflicts in the Afghan province of Helmand has forced the closure of more than 150 schools, leaving about 100,000 students exposed to the recruitment by the Taliban. For about two months a constant battle raged between government forces and the Taliban for the control of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, which the insurgent group almost took over in October 2015. Since then thousands of troops have been deployed, but only with the result of bringing the Taliban to a distance of 17 km from the city center. The rebels now control parts of Babaji, an area on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, and have consolidated their positions in the neighboring districts of Nad-e-Ali and Marjah.

The education system is paying a high price due to the conflicts. More than 50 schools in the districts around Lashkar Gah were closed for nine weeks because of the continuous fighting, leaving almost 30,000 students without classes, according to a statement from sources of the provincial Ministry for education. 104 other institutions in other districts, bringing together 70,000 students, were closed last year. The lack of opportunities for education and work have left few options for young people, and the Taliban are exploiting the situation by distributing pamphlets and audio cassettes, encouraging young people to join them, giving them money and weapons. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 18/12/2015)

  • Pray for Christians, many who worship in secret, in Afghanistan.
  • Pray for their families members who are often their greatest threat.
  • Pray the young will see the darkness of joining the Taliban and turn away.
  • Pray for those who are taken by force.
  • Pray for the God’s presence to awaken many.

Urgent Prayer Request: Missionary and his children have been martyred in Afghanistan

Urgent Prayer

One of our contacts in South Africa and dear brother in Christ has notified VOP that a beloved co-worker, also a South African, Werner Groenewald has been killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. He had been running an education charity. His two teenage children were also killed. His wife escaped death, as she was not home at the time of the attack.

Reports claim a Taliban spokesman said in a statement that it was targeting “a secret Christian missionary and foreign invaders’ intelligence center.”

The small California-based NGO that he had been working with shared this statement on their website:

“It is with great sadness that we report the death and injuries of several of our staff yesterday during an attack on the offices of Partnership in Academics and Development in Kabul, Afghanistan. The attack which occurred on November 29, 2014 by multiple gunmen included one who detonated a personal explosive device killing three and injuring other staff members.

We are caring for all staff and their families as they grieve the loss of their friends and co-workers and nurse the wounded. We honor their commitment to the people of Afghanistan. We grieve for their loss and hold them close to our heart. Our thoughts are with the survivors and their families as they grieve the loss of life. Their selfless sacrifice for the people of Afghanistan is an inspiration to all.

In the midst of this unprovoked attack, Partnership in Academics and Development remains committed to providing educational resources for Afghan citizens as they become part of the international community.”

An expression of grief and anguish and an appeal for the wider body of Christ to share in the pain of this family.

Please pray the Lord will comfort his wife, Hannelie Groenewald who has also lost her children. And for all those who love them.

Thank you for always committing to pray for those enduring great suffering. To them, your prayers are priceless!

killed in Afghanistan

killed in Afghanistan

Join & Support The Killing Fields Or Provide Aide, Comfort & Love For Those Suffering Persecution

I recently did a post about the growing trend of supporting and joining the killing fields in the middle east.  There is an ever growing number of those from the west calling themselves Christians who are supporting and even calling for killing in the name of Christianity.  Is this what we are suppose to do?  Is this commanded by Jesus?  Yes, we can defend ourselves, but to be a crusader that backs and supports killing is another matter all together.  Yesterday, on a Christian site, I read a piece titled, “Christian Militia teaches ISIS a lesson.” It literally sent chills down my spine.  This is not about a re-birth of the crusades, this is not about imitating a Roman Emperor (Constantine).  This is not about keeping score or revenge.  God say’s ‘Vengeance is mine.’   This is about watching 1/4 of the world’s population as they are slaughtered and tortured.

Today while reading the news about the American aide worker captured and beheaded by ISIS (his identity has not been confirmed), I felt what everyone feels—sadness, anger, rage even, but I also feel what he felt. Below is a quote from Peter Kassig in an interview he did about his work and why he felt compelled to do it.

“It’s about showing people that we care, that someone is looking out for those who might be overlooked or who have slipped through the cracks in the system for whatever reason.”  

He started his own organization 2 years ago and traveled to Syria out of love to provide aid (food, clothing, and medical assistance) to the suffering people of the war in Syria.  His Mother is calling for restraint in the media. She does not wish for the hostage takers to use anything that would further their cause.  I couldn’t agree more.  This honorable man should be held in high esteem, but to allow this evil to use any retaliation to further their cause and ideology is wrong.

The claimed Christian militias are spreading fear and hate and a mindset of revenge.  What they may not realize is they’re actually allowing this evil to grow in popularity.  This tribulation is turning into a sort of sports game where scores are kept.  The so called christian group in Nigeria called Anti-balaka are also spreading this same type of fear and hatred. They recruit those weak in faith or weakened by greif. By the way we have proven they are not a Christian group.  We can also say that it’s been proven that the Lord’s Resistance Army has a huge presence in Nigeria even today.

The lack of interest from the UN and western governments has fueled Boko Haram, ISIS, Al-Queda, and those like them, and the fear they are spreading.  Fear breeds fear.  Hate breeds hate.  What have we become?  As Christians, what have we become when we remain silent about the persecution our brothers and sisters are facing?   As Christians is the only answer to take up arms and join in the slaughter?

We can take a lesson from what is happening in Nigeria.  Watch this video, it’s very graphic, but then ask yourself what are we becoming, when we allow fear and hatred to overtake us.  We’ve remained silent while murderous rampages happen.  What did we expect would happen, while thousands watch their loved ones systematically killed in the name of a religion and leaders stand idly by?  What do we expect will happen when we as voices for the persecuted remain silent and complacent?  What do we expect will happen unless we unite and form a chain of love and peace to aid those suffering.  There is such a great need in Nigeria, Syria, Libya, Pakistan and all parts between.

As these men who more resemble monsters are taking over 1/4 of the world, or at least that’s what they portray. The leaders of the free world are taking an obligatory response and fueling the flames, while some in the west are taking up arms to join the fight.  A fight that is a losing battle at least for Christians, expanding the bulls-eye giving them reason to target each and every one of us. We, or at least some of us are sending the wrong message.  As peace is taken from Jerusalem and a form of evil hatred is forced upon Israel, the rest of us are lulled into believing that peace has been taken from the world and there is no recourse except to trust in bureaucrats, or dictatorship.  One that closes it’s eyes to genocide and persecution in order to divvy up the spoils and carve up the land.

Psalm 29:11

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Romans 14:17-19

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,  because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints..

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So does the word of God sound like it advocates hatred and killing?  No in fact just the opposite.  It advocates a peace that passes all understanding.  (Philipians 4:7)  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

So let us unite in our prayers for the 1/4 of the earth still in slavery and chaos, let us unite for our persecuted brethren, let us unite to give aid to the weak, the sick, the war torn, the tortured.  Let us unite in Christ’s love and peace, for He alone can calm the storm, though it rage all around us, He alone can keep us safe in the midst of the waves.  Not man, not a government, not a militia, not a crusade.  God.

I ask again, “How far do you go to stop evil, before you are also evil.”??????

We have not forgotten them. They are not invisible. We can not look away from our family in Christ. Our brothers and sisters need our immediate assistance. Will you partner with us in this mission?

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 HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTEDgiving hands to provide light and hope.

Thank you for your continued support. We could not do it without you!

 

World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World

Christian refugees, who fled or were expelled from Mosul, crowd around a truck distributing food aid.

Christian refugees, who fled or were expelled from Mosul, crowd around a truck distributing food aid. Photo: Ray Ibrahim

(Gatestone InstituteWhile the world fixates on the conflict between Israel and Hamas—and while most mainstream media demonize Israel for trying to survive amid a sea of Arab-Islamic hostility—similar or worse tragedies continue to go virtually ignored.

As Reuters reported:One of the most ancient Christian communities in the world, that of Iraq—which already had been decimated over the last decade, by Islamic forces unleashed after the ousting of Saddam Hussein—has now been wiped out entirely by the new “caliphate,” the so-called Islamic State, formerly known by the acronym “ISIS.”

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq’s dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul….

It said Christians who wanted to remain in the “caliphate” that the Islamic State declared this month in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a “dhimma” contract—a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as “jizya.”

“We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement said.

The amount of jizya-money demanded was $450 a month, an exorbitant sum for Iraq.

Hours after the demand for jizya was made, Islamists began painting the letter “n” on Christian homes in Mosul—in Arabic, Christians are known as “Nasara,” or “Nazarenes”—signaling them out for the slaughter to come.

Most Christians have since fled. A one-minute video in Arabic of their exodus appears here—women and children weeping as they flee their homes—a video that will not be shown by any Western mainstream media outlet, busy as they are depicting instead nonstop images of Palestinian women and children.

The Syrian Orthodox bishop of Mosul said that what is happening to the Christians of Mosul is nothing less than “genocide… not to mention the slaughters and rapes not being reported… Forcing more than a thousand Christian families out of Mosul, and turning Christian churches into Muslim mosques, is equivalent to genocide.”  Of course, the word genocide means to kill or make extinct a people.

Others were not as lucky to flee. According to Iraqi human rights activist Hena Edward, a great many older and disabled Iraqis, unable to pay the jizya or join the exodus, have opted to convert to Islam.

Meanwhile, the jihadis continue destroying churches and other ancient Christian holy sites in the name of their religion, and murdering any Christians they can find. Among other acts, they torched an 1800 year old church in Mosul, stormed a fourth century monastery—formerly one of Iraq’s best known Christian landmarks—and expelling its resident monks.

Most recently, in Syrian regions under the Islamic State’s control, eight Christians were reportedly crucified.

The Islamic State’s call for Christians to pay jizya is not simply about money. It is about subjugation. Most Western media reporting on this recent call for jizya have failed to explain the accompanying dhimma contract Christians must also abide by. According to the Islamic State, “We offer them [Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.”

The “dhimma contract” is a reference to the Conditions of Omar, an Islamic text attributed to the caliph of the same name that forces Christians to live according to third class citizen status.

In fact, several months back, when the Islamic State was still called “ISIS,” it applied the Conditions of Omar on the Christian minorities of Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic group had issued a directive

citing the Islamic concept of “dhimma”, [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS… “If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” the statement said [emphasis added].

The persecution and exodus of Christians is hardly limited to Iraq. In 2011, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom noted: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt,” all Muslim majority nations.

Under Saddam Hussein, and before the 2003 U.S. “liberation” of Iraq, more than a million Christians lived in Iraq; Mosul had some 60,000 Christians. Today there are reportedly none thanks to the new Muslim “caliphate.”

In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.” But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat. Displacements began in Ameriya [62 Christian families evicted], then they stretched to Dahshur [120 Christian families evicted], and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Sinai.”

In late 2012, it was reported that the last Christian in the city of Homs, Syria—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered. An escaped teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians…. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”

In the African nation of Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled. According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.

One can go on and on:

  • In Ethiopia, after a Christian was accused of desecrating a Koran, thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes when “Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.”
  • In the Ivory Coast—where Christians have been crucified—Islamic rebels “massacred hundreds and displaced tens of thousands” of Christians.
  • In Libya, Islamic rebels forced several Christian nun orders serving the sick and needy since 1921 to flee and killed several Coptic Christians, causing that community also to flee.
  • In Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, where hardly a Sunday passes without a church bombing, Christians are fleeing by the thousands; one region has been emptied of 95% of its Christian population.
  • In Pakistan, after a Christian child was falsely accused of desecrating a Koran and Muslims went on an anti-Christian rampage, an entire Christian village—men, women, and children—was forced to flee into the nearby woods, where they built a church, to permanently reside there.

Despite all these atrocities, exoduses, and even genocides, the mainstream media seems to spend every available moment airing images of displaced Palestinians and demonizing Israel for trying to defend itself. Yet Israel does not kill Palestinians because of their religion or any other personal aspects. It does so in the context of being rocketed and trying to defend itself from terrorism.

On the other hand, all the crimes being committed by Muslims against Christians are simply motivated by religious hate, because the Christians are Christian.

It is to the mainstream media’s great shame that those who slaughter, behead, crucify, and displace people for no other reason than because they are Christian, rarely if ever get media coverage, while a nation such as Israel, which kills only in the context of self-defense, and not out of religious bigotry, is constantly demonized.

by Raymond Ibrahim

Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by Fronda, a leading website in Poland.  The English-language version of the Polish interview, originally titled “Raymond Ibrahim: Prostration before Islam, English version – Read it HERE

A Christian Convert, on the Run in Afghanistan – Pakistan Censors Article

AFGHANISTAN-burn-cross

KABUL, Afghanistan — In a dank basement on the outskirts of Kabul, Josef read his worn blue Bible by the light of a propane lantern, as he had done for weeks since he fled from his family in Pakistan, the NY Times reports

His few worldly possessions sat nearby in the 10-by-10-foot room of stone and crumbling brown earth. He keeps a wooden cross with a passage from the Sermon on the Mount written on it, a carton of Esse cigarettes, and a thin plastic folder containing records of his conversion to Christianity.

The documents are the reason he is hiding for his life. On paper, Afghan law protects freedom of religion, but the reality here and in some other Muslim countries is that renouncing Islam is a capital offense.

Josef’s brother-in-law Ibrahim arrived in Kabul recently, leaving behind his family and business in Pakistan, to hunt down the apostate and kill him. Reached by telephone, Ibrahim, who uses only one name, offered a reporter for The New York Times $20,000 to tell him where Josef was hiding.

“If I find him, once we are done with him, I will kill his son as well, because his son is a bastard,” Ibrahim said, referring to Josef’s 3-year-old child. “He is not from a Muslim father.” READ MORE

Pakistan Censors NY Times News Article

Mashable spoke with someone from The New York Times, who said the Express Tribune is the one that censored their content. The Express Tribune is The Times’ partner in Pakistan and publishes theInternational New York Times in Pakistan. The spokesperson said they “obviously disapprove” of their print partner’s decision to censor their paper. She emphasized that it was an independent decision made by their print partner in Pakistan.

Indian Jesuit abducted in Afghanistan

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The director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Afghanistan was abducted on Monday afternoon by a group of unidentified men from Sohadat village outside Herat, according to Jesuit Provincial of South Asia Fr Edward Mudavassery.

Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, 47, was visiting a school for refugee Afghan children recently returned from Iran and Pakistan at the time of the abduction.

“There was no violence. The kidnappers just came and took the priest with them,” Fr Mudavassery told ucanews.com.

“The Indian consulate in Herat and the Afghan security forces have been informed and a search has begun to find the priest,” he said.

Security officials in Afghanistan have interviewed a group of teachers who were with Fr Kumar at the time of his abduction, Fr Mudavassery said.

Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson for the federal External Affairs Ministry, said via a Twitter post that Indian officials in Herat were pursuing the matter with local authorities.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the abduction, Fr Mudavassery said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed and very much concerned about the well being of [Fr Kumar].”

The kidnapping follows thwarted attack last month on the Indian consulate in Herat by four armed gunmen who were killed by consulate guards.

Jesuits work in several areas of Afghanistan and generally keep a low profile, but in Herat “we are the only Indian NGO, so we might be more visible,” Fr Mudavassery said.

“Our people have not been out much after the attack [on May 23] because there was talk of possible attacks on Indians in the region,” he added.

Fr Kumar is a member of the Madurai Jesuit province in Tamil Nadu in southern India. He has served in Afghanistan for the last three years and has worked with JRS for more than a decade.

ucanews.com

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