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“32,000 Christians Butchered to Death”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, May 2020

The iconic iron cross that had stood on the summit of Pic Saint-Loup, France, since 1911.

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.”

St. Catherine’s in Lesvos, now a Muslim toilet.

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.”

Separately, Muslim “land grabbers” seized, desecrated, and ploughed over the graves of a century-old Christian cemetery with a tractor. According to the May 22 report:

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.

In a separate attack in the early hours of May 16, “an air conditioning technician threw a Molotov cocktail inside the Virgin Mary Church in Alexandria.” According to the report:

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.

France: Unknown vandals cut down an iconic iron cross that had stood on the summit of Pic Saint-Loup since 1911 and was visible for miles around. According to the May 14 report,

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.

By Raymond Ibrahim crossposted on Gatestone Institute

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.

A poem for the persecuted

You are not forgotten

Can you see these chains, they are my call
Yet in Christ alone I stand or fall
Though forces dark oppress my soul
To serve my King, my only goal

No matter what He puts me through
Here I’ll stand forever true
I’ve often saw no way ahead
It seems that I am surely dead

Yet in the darkness of my cell
You come to me and I am well
My bondage is a part of me
Though I am bound I’m surely free

No chains of darkness hold me down
Nor keep me from the joy I’ve found
You are my Christ my all in all
You hold me close when I would fall

To every saint whose far and wide
Beneath His wings you’ll surely hide
You’re not forgotten, you’re not forsaken
For through your trials my saints awaken

They see my glory rest on you
And they now pray to see you through
And fire falls and lights the night
And from your knees you stand and fight

Stand in darkness stand in light
Stand in Christ and stand and fight
In Christ alone the battles won
And you will stand till the day is done

Remember this dear saints in chains
Your not alone in trials and pains
For Christ on high He covers you
The Body of Christ is with you too

We clamor for no earthly aid
On Calvary the price was paid
To you alone we bring our plea
For you alone can set us free

So whether Lord, we stand or fall
Our ears have heard that heavenly call
No earthly chains no hand of man
Can alter your eternal plan

To you alone we bring our pleas
With hands outstretched and on our knees
We dare not stand on any ground
Before thy throne we shall be found

It’s not by might these chains erase
It’s not by power but by thy grace
Thy Spirit shall loose and break asunder
Every fetter shall fall and that by thunder

I listen for thy voice on high
And lightening fractures the very sky
I see thy glory move in power
The earthquakes shake this very hour

When every martyred saint reviled
Shall be with Him and reconciled
To walk the earth no more abused
Nor suffer greatly and accused

But know this saint behind those walls
The Master comes for those He calls
And every pilgrim refugee
Shall lift their eyes and be set free

He’s coming with the morning dew
He’s coming now for me and you
To elevate the captive soul
To take you home and make you whole

Rise in Spirit my captive brother
Rise with Christ and one another
For by your chains you testify
To Him alone you live or die                           bro Frank

The power less sought.

One of the most powerful and oft quoted Scriptures is also one of the Scriptures most quoted out of context. Consider 2 Cor 12:9. Typically when we quote a verse, we quote the whole verse. Yet for some strange reason (really not that strange) when we quote some verses we only quote a portion of it.

” And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Now consider the rest of that Scripture ,

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

The glory is in the midst of the “infirmity.” In fact we see that the power of God rests upon those who truly discover and encounter His strength in the midst of their weakness. We are never more weak or vulnerable when we are faced with disease and death. And so in the paradoxical Kingdom of God, when we are weak, then we are strong. This strength is what glorifies God. For all of us can glorify God on the mountain-top. Indeed this is the accusation of the Devil in the opening chapter of Job.

Yet only the few can glorify God in the deepest part of the valley, the depths of the dungeon. To glorify God when all is going well is very natural and is something the world understands. To glorify God in the depths of our infirmities, the depths of our dungeons like Paul and Silas, is supernatural and the world marvels at something so other-worldly. Indeed with Paul and Silas we get to see that supernatural power. The building shakes, the the captives doors are loosed and the jailer and his family are saved. All of that began with Paul and Silas glorying in their infirmities and praising God in one of the darkest moments of their life.

I believe peace to be our spiritual barometer. In the midst of a set of circumstances, what is the “atmosphere,’ around us that emanates form the condition of our hearts? Many people stoically go through situations, many are angry and bitter and unapproachable. Yet on the cross, even in the midst of unspeakable anguish, we see Jesus caring for his mother and giving directions for her well being. In saints who walk with the power spoken of in 2 Cor 12:9 we see them minister to others despite their situations. ………………..bro Frank

VOP Aid to Pakistani Christian families during Covid-19 pandemic

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) received reports from our Pakistani correspondent of numerous cases where poor Christians had been asked by Muslim charities to denounce Jesus and accept Islam in exchange for food packages during the Covid-19 crisis. It’s immoral that Pakistan’s religious minorities, often the most vulnerable in the society, are targeted for more abuse during a pandemic. The crisis has put them at an even greater risk of being discriminated against and persecuted solely for their faith.

In April, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) shared they were troubled by the reports of food aid being denied to religious minorities amid the spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan.

In a recent address by Prime Minister Khan to the international community, he highlighted that the challenge facing governments in the developing world is to save people from dying of hunger while also trying to halt the spread of COVID-19. This is a monumental task laying before many countries. Prime Minister Khan’s government has the opportunity to lead the way but they must not leave religious minorities behind. Otherwise, they may add on top of it all one more crisis, created by religious discrimination and inter-communal strife”, added USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore.

These actions are simply reprehensible,” stated USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava. “As COVID-19 continues to spread, vulnerable communities within Pakistan are fighting hunger and to keep their families safe and healthy.  Food aid must not be denied because of one’s faith. We urge the Pakistani government to ensure that food aid from distributing organizations is shared equally with Hindus, Christians, and other religions minorities.”

Pakistan’s economic and social structure is ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic like Covid-19. While the country was in strict lockdown people were unable to work with many Christian laborers unable to feed their families. With little choice, they sought help from charities who misused the situation to forcefully convert people to Islam. That’s when Voice of the Persecuted stepped in to help over 20 families with basic food necessities. We were able to identify impoverished families in Lahore and set out to cover them with food packages during the lockdown.

Our Pakistani representative, Akash Mushtaq, delivered food parcels and spoke with people on the ground. Akash asked Rafiq Masih how he has managed during the coronavirus lockdown.

“We have been very helpless. We have asked for help from government assisted charities and they have turned us down. Many Muslim charities have denied us food because of our Christian names. When they read Masih as our surname, they deny food.”

Many Christians are honored in writing Masih meaning “Christ” in English as their surname.

Shamim, a mother of five, told Voice of the Persecuted,

“I work as a maid in different households and I was able to earn about $200 a month. It was not enough for a family of seven people but we are thankful for whatever we have. Since the lockdown, I have not been allowed to enter homes and I cannot earn. My children are asking for food and clothes and I cannot provide for them. Many Muslims come to offer food if we convert to Islam. We are hungry but not faithless.”

A special thanks to our Pakistani representative for dedication, hard work and a loving heart. A huge thank you to those who have been supporting our work and making these missions possible. Your caring hearts mean more than you will ever know. They give thanks to God for answering their prayers through your gifts.

To contain the virus, Pakistan has decided to reimpose a partial lockdown and sealed off high risk residential areas across the country. The Punjab government decided to impose a ‘smart lockdown’ on seven major cities – Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Sialkot, and Gujrat – to cut down the sharp increase in infections. In Lahore, the partial lockdown started Tuesday at midnight with the other six cities went under restriction on Wednesday.

Voice of the Persecuted is asking for your help to distribute food packages to more needy Pakistani Christian families in the newly restricted lockdown areas. Together with your generous help, 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. Please consider partnering with us to continue aiding our suffering brothers and sisters in Pakistan during this time of great need.

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!

Please keep the people of Pakistan in your prayers, particularly Pakistani Christians as they continue to battle the crisis while searching for basic food supplies to care for their families.

Pakistan: Muslims attack Protestant church in Sheikhupura

At least one wall destroyed and a cross broken. The culprits wanted to take back land already sold to the church. This is a case of reverse blasphemy. For Punjab lawmaker, the cross has value for Christianity and Islam. “Not only was the cross broken, but our hearts were crushed too,” said a local Christian. A group of Muslims attacked the Trinity Pentecostal Church in Hakeem Pura, Sheikhupura district, a few dozen kilometres from Lahore, Punjab. The building, built 22 years ago, was desecrated, a wall destroyed, a cross and other valuables broken. Read More

Tonight on Persecution Watch Prayer Call: Pakistan

4/2/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Again, we want to lift up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison.

Pakistan

Population: 204 million, Christians 4 million

In 1947, the year of the country’s independence, the situation for Christians became more complicated as Pakistan officially became a Muslim state. All Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination, illustrated by the fact that occupations seen as low, dirty and derogatory are reserved for Christians by the authorities. Many Christians are poor and some are victims of bonded labor. There are middle-class Christians as well, but this does not save them from being marginalized or persecuted.

Historic churches (like Anglican or Roman Catholic churches) have relative freedom for worship, but they are heavily monitored, and extremists regularly target them for attacks. Christian churches that are active in outreach and youthwork face more persecution. In general, Christians are regarded as second-class citizens. Also, the country’s anti-blasphemy laws are disproportionately applied against the Christian minority—making it difficult and dangerous to live out one’s faith in public. These laws tend to target religious minorities (including Muslim minorities), but affect the Christian minority in particular given their overall percentage of population.

In May 2019, a landlord killed a Christian worker because he dared to work for another employer, according to a report by Morning Star News. This case illustrates the low social status of most Christians and is just a glimpse of the many similar cases that often go unreported.

Although there have been no major bombing attacks against church buildings in the 2020 World Watch List reporting period, dozens of smaller “everyday attacks” against churches and cemeteries occur. One example is the desecration of the Christian cemetery of Okara on May 12, 2019.

Examples of persecution include the confiscation or destruction of property, incitement to hate, arrests, imprisonment, beatings, torture, murder, and executions. Religious persecution is the opposite of freedom of religion.

Prayer Points

Pakistan is an Islamic Republic that suffers from a plethora of radical Islamic groups. Pray the Pakistani government passes laws that will protect the Christians and other religious minorities in the country.

Pray for protection and peace for Christians who converted from Islam. Family, friends and neighbors see these conversions as shaming the community.

Pray Christians accused under blasphemy laws will not face violence or mob “justice” and that they would stand strong in the midst of this dangerous trial.

Please pray for protection of Christian women and girls who are often raped and then forcefully married to Muslim men in the community. This usually results in forced conversions.

Pray to the Lord that the media will start reporting on Christian persecution by the government and radical Muslims

Pray for unity among all the Christian churches.

Pray for God to give courage and protection to the believers who share the gospel with Muslims

Pray that believers can love and forgive their persecutors

Pray that the internet will provide animated, inciting messages in Urdu and English

Pray that NGOs will provide clandestine spiritual support to the persecuted Christians.

Pray that the Lord will both continue to expand His Church and add a multitude to the community of the saints.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator for Persecution Watch

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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

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

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

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

Tonight on Persecution Watch: Iran, India, Uganda, Nigeria

(Voice of the Persecuted) Saturday, 2/29/20 – Dear Prayer Warriors, Jesus asked, “do you love me?”

“15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”  John 21: 15-17

Because we love Jesus, we come in obedience of His calling as we feed His sheep by lifting them up to the Lord in time of need!

In Iran

It’s been confirmed that Christian convert Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi is being held in Qarchak detention centre, south of the Iranian capital Tehran. It is a month today since Mary was arrested, as protests took place in central Tehran following the Iranian government’s admission of guilt in the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane. Since that time, there has been no word from Mary, although last week the Persian-language HRANA news agency.  Read more 

In India

Police find no evidence for accusations but yield to Hindu extremist pressure. India (Morning Star News) – Three Christians in northern India spent more than two months in jail suffering abuse from other prisoners, even though police found no evidence of wrongdoing and the complainant retracted his accusation, sources said. In Uttar Pradesh state’s Mau District, 23-year-old pastor Ajay Kumar, fellow pastor Om Prakash, 20, and another Christian, 62-year-old Kapil Dev Ram, still face fabricated charges after being released on bail late last month. Read more

In Nigeria

Islamic extremist militants from terrorist group Boko Haram on Friday night (Feb. 21) destroyed three worship sites and an unspecified number of houses in northeast Nigeria, sources said. Thousands of people were displaced as the militants set three church buildings and the houses on fire in predominantly Christian Garkida, in Adamawa state’s Gombi County, area residents told Morning Star News.  Read more

In Uganda

The pastor of a church in eastern Uganda faces a dilemma after receiving threatening messages from Muslim villagers last week. A large family is staying at his church site after Islamist threats for leaving Islam forced them to flee their home. His congregation is dwindling as members have stopped attending services out of fear of an Islamist attack. Read More

Dear Saints, We will pray for the dear ones affected by these atrocities, along with believers in these four nations. Lord willing we’re looking forward to praying with you, tonight.

In the love of Christ called to serve in prayer,

Nadia Dybvik, Prayer Leader for Persecution Watch

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

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

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

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

Pakistan: Christian girl kidnapped by Muslims returned to her family

(Voice of the Persecuted) Pakistani Christian Sneha, 14, of Bahar Colony, Lahore, who was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to her kidnapper Zeeshan, has been recovered and reunited with her family.

Sneha is the youngest daughter of Sabir Masih and has two sisters and one older brother.

She was a 9th grade student in the Franciscan Girls High School, Bahr colony Lahore but in the evening, she also attended a local academy for tuition to prepare for her final exams.

Sneha said in her statement that Zeeshan, a Muslim, used to tease her every day on her way back home from the academy and had persistently pressured her for friendship. Sneha constantly declined his request and told him that was not possible as she had to focus on her education and that they were of different religions. However, Zeeshan continued his unwelcome advances.

On the evening of January 14, 2020 while Sneha was returning home from the academy, Zeeshan tried forced her to go behind the building. But when she refused Zeeshan became violent. Sneha said that because she was alone, she was scared and he started pushing her. There was a vehicle parked in the street and he forcibly pushed her into it. Suddenly, six more young men got into the vehicle and started beating her.

They took her to an unknown place, where more men arrived and started beating and constantly raping her.

Sneha begged them to let her go home but they refused. One day they asked her to sign a few blank papers. When she refused they tortured her. Later she learned the documents included a marriage certificate and religion conversion certificate.

They threatened Sneha that if she told her family and gave their names, she would have to face severe consequences and they would do the same to her sisters.

Sneha’s father, Sabir Masih, reported her missing to police. The FIR (first information police report) was registered in Liaqatabad police station and the Session Court issued orders for the police to recover Sneha as soon as possible. After a few days, the police found Sneha on January 19, 2020 and brought her back to her parents. However, the police are favoring the Muslims kidnappers, which is a usual circumstance in Pakistan.

Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK told Voice of the Persecuted that their partners are supporting Sneha’s family and providing free legal aid to them. He relayed that they have applied to the court for Sneha’s statement and have asked for her medical tests.

Sabir Masih and his family are receiving threats from the Muslim kidnappers who are pressuring the family not to proceed further and withdraw the case against them. The family has been moved to an unknown place, Mr Saeed shared.

Cases of Christian and Hindu girls’ being kidnapping, forced into conversion and marriage to their kidnappers, in order to cover the crime, are continuing to rise. That Sneha was returned to her parents is a rare case. Most girls are forced to remain with their Muslim abductors.

Even recently the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has termed forced conversion un-Islamic. Last July Prime Minister Imran Khan had termed the practice of forced conversions as “un-Islamic” and said there was no precedent in Islamic history for forcefully converting others. Christian and Hindu MPs like Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani and Naveed Amir Jeeva have raised this matter in the Parliament several times but there has been no further progress.

Mr Saeed said: “CLAAS and several other organisations have been reporting such cases regularly for the last several years in the national and international media. Unfortunately the Pakistani government has failed to take action to stop the forced conversion of under age Christian, Hindu and other minority girls.

He called on the international community and human rights organisations to play their role to end ongoing forced conversion in Pakistan.

Please pray for the protection of minority girls in Pakistan and healing for victims of such heinous crimes.

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