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Man of God who defied Hitler – Dietrich Bonhoeffer martryed April 9, 1945

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Who stands firm? Only the one for whom the final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these, when in faith and sole allegiance to God he is called to obedient and responsible action: the responsible person, whose life will be nothing but an answer to God’s question and call. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer stands out among the Christian leaders during the Nazi era, for he was one of the few to actively resist the racist actions of the Nazi regime. In addition to his legacy of courageous opposition to Nazism, Bonhoeffer’s theological writings are still widely read in Christian communities throughout the world.

Education

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was the sixth child of Karl and Paula Bonhoeffer, born in Breslau, Germany, on February 4, 1906. He completed his studies in Tübingen and Berlin. In 1928, he served as vicar in the German parish in Barcelona; and in 1930, he completed his theological examinations at Union Seminary in New York. During this period, he became active in the ecumenical movement and accumulated international contacts that would later aid his efforts in the resistance.

In 1931, Bonhoeffer took a teaching position with the theological faculty in Berlin. There he produced many of his theological writings, in which he took a traditional viewpoint in Jewish-Christian relations, believing that the Jewish people must ultimately accept Jesus as the Messiah. This theological work greatly increased his prominence in the Christian German community.

Hitler Rises to Power

After years of political instability under the Weimar republic, most Christian institutions were relieved with the ascent of the nationalistic Nazi dictatorship. The German Evangelical Church, the foremost Protestant church in Germany, welcomed Hitler’s government in 1933. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, however, although a member of the German Evangelical Church, was not complacent. In his April 1933 essay, The Church and the Jewish Question, he assailed Nazi state persecution.

Bonhoeffer’s defense of the Jews, however, was based on Christian supersessionism – the Christian belief that Christianity had superseded Judaism as the new chosen people of God. Despite his outspoken defense of victims of Nazi persecution, Bonhoeffer still maintained, on a religious level, that the “Jewish question” would ultimately be solved through Jewish conversion to Christianity. The Church strongly advocated this view, as did the ecumenical movements most responsible for aiding Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism.

In The Church and the Jewish Question (1933), Bonhoeffer pledged to fight political injustice. The Nazi injustice must not go unquestioned, and the victims of this injustice must not go unaided, regardless of their religion, Bonhoeffer wrote.

With Hitler’s ascent, non-Aryans were prohibited from taking parish posts, and when Bonhoeffer was offered such a post in the fall of 1933, he refused it in protest of the racist policy. Disheartened by the German Church’s complacency with the Nazi regime, he decided to accept a position at a German-speaking congregation in London.

The opponents of Nazi interference in Church affairs formed the “Confessing Church,” Bonhoeffer was a key founding member of the church. Some members, including Bonhoeffer, advocated open resistance against Nazism. The more moderate Protestants made what they saw as necessary compromises to retain their clerical authority despite expanding Nazi control. But under increasing Gestapo scrutiny, the Confessing Church was soon immobilized.

Bonhoeffer returned to Germany to teach at Finkenwalde, a Confessing Church seminary, where he continued to train clergy for the Confessing Church. But the official church barred his students from taking its clerical posts. In August 1937, the regime announced the Himmler Decree, which declared the training and examination of Confessing ministry candidates illegal. Finkenwalde was closed in September 1937; some of Bonhoeffer’s students were arrested. Secretly, the church continued underground.

A scene from the movie ‘Bonhoeffer: Agent of God’. Bonhoeffer talks about “religionless Christiniaty” “in a world come of age”.

Resistance

Bonhoeffer went into hiding for the next two years; he traveled secretly from one eastern German village to another to help his students in their small illegal parishes. In January 1938, he was banned from Berlin, and in September 1940, he was forbidden to speak in public.

In the midst of political turmoil, Bonhoeffer continued to question the proper role of a Christian in Nazi Germany. When German synagogues and Jewish businesses were burned and demolished on Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938, Bonhoeffer immediately left for Berlin, despite having been banned by the Gestapo, to investigate the destruction. After his return, when his students were discussing the theological significance of Kristallnacht, Bonhoeffer rejected the theory that Kristallnacht had resulted from “the curse which had haunted the Jews since Jesus’ death on the cross.” Instead, Bonhoeffer called the pogrom an example of the “sheer violence” of Nazism’s “godless face.”2

The Confessing Church resistance expanded its efforts to help “non-Aryan” refugees leave the country. One member of the resistance movement was the passionate anti-Nazi, Hans von Dohnanyi, a lawyer married to Bonhoeffer’s sister. In early 1939, Dohnanyi was transferred from the Justice Department to the Armed Forces High Command Office of Military Intelligence, and used his new post to inform Bonhoeffer that war was imminent. Bonhoeffer, knowing that he would never fight in Hitler’s army, left the country in June 1939 for a teaching position at Union Seminary in New York.

But upon arrival in the United States, Bonhoeffer realized that he had been mistaken, that if he did not lead his people during the difficult years of war and turmoil, then he could not partake in the postwar revival of German Christan life. His place, he decided, was in Germany; he returned only a month after his departure, in July 1939. He undertook a more active effort to undermine the regime. With international contacts in the ecumenical movement, he became a crucial leader in the German underground movement.

In October 1940, despite previous Gestapo tracking, Bonhoeffer gained employment as an agent for Hans von Dohnanyi’s Office of Military Intelligence, supposedly working for the expansion of Nazism. In reality, he worked for the expansion of the anti-Nazi resistance. During his 1941 and 1942 visits to Italy, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries, he attempted to gain foreign support for the resistance movement.

Arrest

While plans to topple Hitler progressed only slowly, the need to evacuate more Jewish refugees became increasingly urgent. In early 1943, however, the Gestapo, which had traced Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi’s large monetary sums intended for Jewish immigrants, foiled plans for a new refugee rescue mission. Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi were arrested in April 1943.

Initially, the Gestapo believed that Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi were embezzling money for their own interests. Then the truth began to leak out, and Bonhoeffer was subsequently charged with conspiring to rescue Jews, using official travel for other interests, and abusing his intelligence position to keep Confessing Church pastors out of the military. But the extent of Bonhoeffer’s resistance activities was not fully realized for months.

In October 1944, Bonhoeffer was moved to the Gestapo prison in Berlin. In February 1945, he was taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp, and then to the Flossenbürg concentration camp, where he was hanged on April 9, 1945. Hans von Dohnanyi was executed soonthereafter. source

 

Christian Converts Flee German Asylum Centres After Muslim Intimidation

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One of the Iranians told German media, “we would read the Bible in our Twelve-bed room. Immediately, the Muslims come into the room to insult us, because we have converted from Islam to Christianity,” and one of the other victims of the abuse said, “suddenly seventy people stood in front of us called us names and said they wanted to beat us. We were afraid for our lives!”

According to reports at the centre it took over 20 police officers and a K9 unit in order to stop the Muslim mob from committing acts of violence against the Christians.

The National director of the asylum centres admitted: “yes, there is harassment against Christians,” not just in Berlin but all across Germany and in many asylum homes.

Fearing for their continued safety the Iranians have all taken refuge in the care of the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Berlin.

The church is headed by pastor Gottfried Martens who said, “In my estimation, at least half of our church members living in the refugee camps are living in fear,” and said many Christians are, “discriminated against, harassed, threatened, beaten in exceptional cases, beaten hospitalised or attacked with weapons.”

The pastor said he was greatly concerned with the safety of the Christians adding, “Many do not dare to identify themselves as Christians. Christians put on headscarves, so that no one recognises that they are not Muslims.”

He said that Muslims often do not recognise any conversion of religion away from Islam and that, “again and again Christians ask me to take them away from the (asylum) home, because there they have such fear. Some no longer dare to stay in the homes.” Read More

Fleeing Christians Persecuted in Europe’s Refugee Centers

 

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(L’OBSERVATOIRE DE LA CHRISTIANOPHOBIE the growing concern of the Catholic and Protestant authorities about the persecution that Christians migrants suffer from Muslim migrants in Germany. Cardinal Rainer Woelki said at an ecumenical meeting in Düsseldorf Saturday 13 February, “The fear increases that politicians and the authorities do not take seriously enough such threats [against Christians in refugee centers]. The persecution of Christians is not a thing of past ages.”  He demanded that Germany defend greater religious freedom. For his part, Pastor Gottfried Martens said the “harassment” against the Christian migrants in refugee centers in Germany has increased. He affirmed that Christians were forced to watch beheading videos, were banned from the common kitchen because  they were”unclean”, beaten and Christian necklaces torn from their necks. The pastor suggested Christians and Muslims needed to be be housed in separate shelters. “When I talk to politicians, they tell me that the churches do not consider that necessary accommodations are separated and I look ridiculous (…) Our efforts to be tolerant, which is in itself praiseworthy, are not so far allow us to let Christians become a kind of guinea pigs. ” (Source: Catholic Herald , February 19)

Among the thousands of Middle Eastern migrants, Christians who have fled to Europe have discovered that a familiar burden has followed them, religious harassment = PERSECUTION.

World Watch Monitor reports that Christian migrants have been subjected to discrimination, harassment and violence from Muslim migrants with extremist views. One Iranian convert to Christianity was murdered.

The phenomenon has been observed in various locations across Europe, including in the camp of Grande-Synthe in northern France, where Iranian converts have been targeted by migrants from Iraq.

The situation has raised great concerns among local churches, which are now supporting migrants by supplying them with food, clothing, and, in some cases, even shelter.

It all started at the turn of the year, recalls Philippe Dugard, the Pastor of Église Evangélique du Littoral, or EEDL, a church in the neighbouring town of Saint-Pol-sur-Mer, which has spearheaded the relief effort in Grande-Synthe.

“Between November and December, there was a group of Iranians who confessed their belonging to Christ, who started to attend our church. Some were Orthodox, while others said they were Christians but were not truly converted. But we got to know them, and we felt they had a real spiritual thirst,” he said.

“And then one evening [14 December], we were informed that two of them were stabbed and the whereabouts of a third one was unknown.

“We then said that as Christians we cannot leave them alone in that situation, and the victims themselves told us that they no longer wanted to stay in the camp, as they felt threatened.”

The incident marked the beginning of EEDL’s support for migrant victims of persecution.

For the next few days, the victims were put up in hotels, before they were moved to a church in Dunkirk, the closest city to the camp.

Just one of the victims from the initial group remains, a 29-year-old who wished to remain anonymous.

“Generally the Kurdish mafia in the camp are against Christians,” he said. “When we gave our money to them for them to help us to go to England, they didn’t help us and they just stole our money and did not give it back. Then they attacked us and called us kafir [infidels] and dirty. They came and cut me with a knife and they beat my friends.”

He said there are still some Christians in the camp, but that many are too scared to speak about their faith.

“Yes, there are still some Christians there in the camp,” he said, “But they don’t prefer to stay there beside these strong Muslims. They are so racist, they just want to clear the camp to be without Christians.”

He added that a mosque has been created in the camp, and that the Call to Prayer resounds around the camp every day, but unlike the nearby Calais camp, there is no church.

An explosive cocktail

Located in the northwest of France, beside the English Channel, the camp of Grande-Synthe hosts around 2,500 to 3,000 migrants – mostly Kurds from Iraq and Syria, but also some Iranians.

Tensions and other forms of violence are common in the camp, said a social worker, who wished to remain anonymous for fear that the report could impact upon his work with the Christians.

Ethnic differences have created tension in the camp between the Iraqis and Iranians, of whom there are only around 50. The thousands of Iraqi Kurds are mostly Muslim, while some of the Iranian minority are Christians.

Some of them attend local churches secretly, because they are scared of the Muslim migrants and smugglers, who hold sway within the camp. Night raids, theft and violence are among the common threats.

On the night of 14 December, a knife attack left several Christians injured. One of them, a 19-year-old named Mohammad, was murdered. The local police were informed and an investigation is underway. Police did not respond to World Watch Monitor requests for information about the investigation.

A staff member at the Mayor’s office in Grande-Synthe said there is no security problem in the camp, which she said is open to external visitors. However, police now patrol the entrance.

On 26 January, a shooting between rival gangs of smugglers erupted, prompting a huge police deployment around the camp. Security checks are now carried out at the entrance of the camp, and visitors must acquire prior authorisation from the Mayor’s office.

There are some who fear members of the so-called Islamic State may be among the migrants, intent on radicalising other migrants and imposing Sharia inside the camp.

A settled tension

Two months after the attacks against the Iranian migrants, the tension has settled, according to Dugard.

The majority of the victims of the December attacks have moved on. Some managed to reach England, their preferred destination, while others, tired of waiting for a hypothetical crossing or because of a lack of financial resources, returned to Iran. Others have left for other European destinations, with the hope of reaching England another way.

“Sometimes they just won’t show up at dinner time, even though we have already laid the table,” said Dugard. “They are always in search of new routes because the passages via Calais and Dunkirk seem completely blocked.

“But in the meantime, other refugees, including moderate Muslims who heard about the support provided to the Iranians, have now arrived.”

A group of about 10 migrants, only one of whom professes a Christian faith, are currently staying in a church in Dunkirk. A non-religious Iranian in his 30s, who identified himself as Max, complained of the poor conditions and lax security of the camp. A fellow Iranian, a Muslim man in his 20s who identified himself as Farhad, agreed.

“The living conditions in the camp are deplorable,” he said. “It is no place for humans. It is very cold and people fall sick easily.”

Churches overwhelmed

Local churches are struggling to cope with the demands being placed upon them, as they seek to support migrants of all faiths and none.

What started as an emergency has become a long-term commitment, Dugard said.

“We are wondering: what is the best option for us? Do we have the spiritual, human and financial resources to continue this work, which is full-time social work?” he said.

“Yet the migrants are really suffering. They crossed a multitude of borders and faced various obstacles to get here, in the hope of a better life. But they realise that it is often hopeless to cross to England and have ended up living in precarious conditions often more difficult than in their countries.”

Those conditions could be improved if migrants exploring Christianity could do so safely, said Michel Varton, director of Open Doors France, part of a worldwide charity that supports Christians who live under threat because of their faith.

“Many Christians amongst the refugees are fleeing persecution and discrimination. They are already traumatised by their terrible experience in the Middle East,” Varton said. “Imagine their despair to realise that, once here in France, they are suffering the same discrimination and hate from fellow immigrants.

“The local churches have shown dedication to help the Christian refugees and those who are genuinely interested in the Christian faith. The authorities must allow them to have simple buildings where they can meet and worship God in security and make sure that values of freedom of belief reign in the camps. It’s totally unacceptable that someone could lose their life for their faith once in France.”

In addition to the lack of resources, there is a logistical problem, as different churches act without much coordination.

Moreover, various groups and associations from all over Europe are also providing assistance to migrants, which has only added to the pressure, said Dugard.

“If some groups are useful, others believe that they can save the world,” he said. “They often come with very aggressive speeches, for two to three days, and then leave. In the end, their actions are doing more harm than good, because after they leave it becomes difficult for us to do serious work.”

Talks are currently underway among churches, as they seek to create a regional platform, which would come underneath the umbrella of the Conseil National des Evangéliques de France, the national Evangelical Church network.

Humanitarian disaster

The Grande-Synthe camp stretches over 20 hectares (nearly 50 acres) of marshland. It is difficult to walk through the slippery mud without proper boots.

With thousands of people, including women and children, living in such unsanitary conditions, respiratory problems and infectious diseases are common, says Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), which provides emergency care alongside Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World).

According to MSF, a new camp, equipped with heated tents and located three kilometres from the current camp, will accommodate migrants in the coming days.

However, the migrant crisis remains a very complex issue, says Matthew Bosiger, the pastor of the Salvation Army Church in Dunkirk.

“They are a bit like in a prison,” he said. “It is good to try to improve their situation, but they have no plan to stay in France. The migrants have only one thought in mind: to cross the channel to England, at any cost.”

Many say they have relatives or friends already settled there and the living conditions seem very attractive – partly because many know a little English, but also because of the prospect of better economic opportunities. Smugglers take advantage of migrants’ desperation to reach the UK by charging them everything that they have, with no guarantee they will succeed.

Voice of the Persecuted shared last August how Christian refugees moved from asylum accommodation after threats by Islamists in Sweden. The Christians feared for their safety after it was demanded that they stop wearing Christian symbols, like crosses around their necks. And that they were not welcome in common areas, such as kitchens when the aggressive Muslim group was there.

After receiving no help when the atmosphere became intimidating, the Christian refugees dared not stay and decided it would be safer to find other accommodations.

Voice of the Persecuted

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Jihad on Churches: Muslim Persecution of Christians, March 2015

On Sunday, March 15, as Christian churches around the world were celebrating morning mass, two churches in Pakistan—one Catholic, one Protestant—were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. At least 17 people were killed and over 70 wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility. It is believed that the group had hoped for much greater death tolls, as there were almost 2,000 people in both churches at the time of the explosions.

According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers approached the gates of the two churches and tried to enter them. When they were stopped—including by a 15-year-old Christian youth who blocked them with his body—the Islamic jihadis self-detonated. Witnesses saw “body parts flying through the air.”

According to an official statement of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, despite all the threats received by the churches, authorities only provided “minimal” security.

As in other Muslim-majority nations, churches in Pakistan are under attack.  On September 22, 2013, in Peshawar, Islamic suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church right after Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of approximately 550 congregants, killing nearly 90 worshippers. Many were Sunday school children, women, and choir members. At least 120 were injured.

One parishioner recalled how “human remains were strewn all over the church.” (For an idea of the aftermath of suicide attacks on churches, see these graphic pictures.)

In 2001, Islamic gunmen stormed St. Dominic’s Protestant Church, opening fire on the congregants and killing at least 16 worshippers, mostly women and children.

The rest of March’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches and Monasteries

Central African Republic: At least eight churches were burned in the northern province of Nana Grebizi, after heavily armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked several villages. Two Christians, including a pastor, were killed in the attack; another Christian was severely tortured. After the carnage, the Islamic herdsmen started fires and looted the local population. The blaze destroyed swathes of farmland, at least eight churches, several other mission centers and an unknown number of Christian homes.

Egypt: During the early morning hours of March 9, the Coptic Catholic Church of Kafr el-Dawar was attacked by armed men who used an explosive device against the place of worship.  Two policemen were hospitalized after the attack.  Separately, Dr. Yusuf al-Burhami, a leading cleric in Egypt’s Salafi movement, appeared in a video that surfaced in March saying that “Destroying churches is permissible—as long as the destruction does not bring harm to Muslims, such as false claims that Muslims are persecuting Christians, leading to [foreign] occupations.”  He further added that “the reason we agree to their [churches] being built, via the article in the constitution dealing with worship, and the reason we do not collect the jizya [tribute] from the Christians, is because the condition of Muslims in the current era is well known to the nations of the world—they are weak and deteriorating among the people.” Burhami explained that when the Arab Muslims first conquered Egypt in the 7th century, the ancient nation was Christian, and because the Muslims were few in number, Coptic Christian churches were allowed to remain—“just as the prophet allowed the Jews to remain in Khaibar after he opened [conquered] it, but once Muslims grew in strength and number, [second caliph] Omar al-Khattab drove them out according to the prophet’s command, ‘Drive out the Jews and Christians from the Peninsula.’”

Germany: A potential jihadi attack on the cathedral and synagogue in Bremen was averted following action by police, a Belgian newspaper reported.  Numerous police guarded the cathedral and synagogue and searched a local Muslim cultural center.

Iraq: Islamic State militants blew up a 10th century Chaldean Catholic church north of Mosul and bulldozed a nearby graveyard.  According to Nineveh Yakou—an Assyrian Archaeologist and Director of Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Affairs at A Demand for Action—the Saint George monastery was “wiped out” by IS.  The building was founded by the Assyrian Church in the 10thcentury but rebuilt as a seminary by the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1846. “The current monastery was built on an archeological site containing ancient Assyrian ruins. It was an important show of continuity from the Assyrian to our culture,” Yakou said. “ISIS is wiping out the cultural heritage of Iraq. The monastery was classified as cultural heritage. It’s a cultural and ethnic cleansing.”

Kenya: On the afternoon of February 28, in Maramande, Hindi, Muslims from neighboring Somaliset a Christian church on fire.  This same church was set on fire last July 5, 2014, but was built again in January 2015.  According to the pastor of the twice-torched church, “These people do not want Christianity in this area….  They want to finish me so that Christianity will not go on here. But I will continue raising up my eyes to God for help.”  According to Morning Star News, “Violence in Kenya’s coastal region has accelerated in the past few years. On Jan. 11 in the Mombasa area, a gunman shot a Christian dead at the gate leading to a church building, apparently after mistaking him for the church pastor. Police reportedly said the assailants could be members of an active Islamic extremist terror cell in Mombasa blamed for past gun and grenade attacks.”

Lebanon: Unidentified persons invaded Mar Elias, an ancient Maronite church in Bekaa.  Along with damaging one of the church’s windows, they destroyed a portion of the flooring, as they dug a large hole near the altar.  According to Maronite Bishop Joseph Mouwad, much of the church’s sacred items were left intact and not stolen.  Instead, “they broke the tiles and dug the ground, apparently looking for something, though we do not know what.”  Fingerprints and cigarette butts were found. 

Muslim Slaughter of Christian ‘Infidels’

Central African Republic:   An argument between a taxi driver and his Muslim passenger led tothe slaughter of at least 16 Christians in Bangui, the nation’s capital.  A Muslim man known as Aladji hailed a motorcycle taxi and asked to be taken to a Muslim-dominated district of Bangui. He was carrying a bag of grenades. When the motorcycle broke down, the driver stopped to fix it, but his agitated passenger pulled out a knife and tried to stab him. The driver overpowered Aladji and killed him instead.  After his body was found, Muslims marched to the Christian sector of the city where they slaughtered at least 16 Christians—some decapitated.  Authorities arrested 10 members of Seleka—the almost entirely Muslim rebel group—following the killings.

Libya: Two months after the Islamic State in Libya released a video of 21 Coptic Christians having their heads carved off for being “infidels” and “worshippers of the cross,” Copts continue to be targeted and killed.  A least 35 more Coptic Christians have disappeared in Libya since that video was released in med-February.  And, on March 2, the beheaded body of another Egyptian Coptic Christian was discovered on the outskirts of Mechili town in eastern Libya.   In related news, an Egyptian professor claimed that IS received its justification to slaughter Christians in Libya from a book titled (in translation) Christians in the Koran.  The author of this book is Mahmoud Lutfi ‘Amr—president of Damanhur’s Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiya, that is, “The Supporters of Muhammad’s Example.”  The book was being openly sold in Islamic bookstores all throughout Egypt.

Nigeria: Upset that watchmen of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Kaduna state dared set up a road-block as a security measure against jihadi raids, Nigerian soldiers opened fire on and killed five church members during Sunday Mass.  According to parish member Christopher Mamman, on Sunday, March 8, “A soldier approached our Cadets who had mounted a blockade during Sunday morning Mass on the road leading to our parish and ordered them to dismantle the blockade.  The Cadets told the soldier that Mass was going on, and they would remove the blockade as soon as it was over, but the soldier was dissatisfied with the explanation.”  It should be noted that hundreds of Christian churches have been attacked and Christians slaughtered during Sunday services—hence the reason for the church blockade.  Regardless, the soldier returned 10 minutes later with other soldiers:  “They stormed the parish, shooting at worshipers inside the church,” Mamman said. “Five of our members were shot and killed, while many others were injured. One other Christian from another church was also killed when the incident escalated and engulfed the town.”

Pakistan: A Christian mother accuses police of torturing her son to death in an attempt to extract from her a confession to a theft she did not commit.  Zubair Masih was buried on March 9 in a Christian graveyard in Lahore, under a heavy police presence. He was 20.  His mutilated body was found on the evening of March 7, outside his house in the Shamsabad sector of Lahore.  His mother, Aysha Bibi, worked until February 20 as a servant in the home of Abdul Jabbar. She said her wages had been paid in full when she left Jabbar’s employment.  But on March 4, she received a phone call from Jabbar’s wife, asking her to return for some work:  “When I went there, Jabbar took me to the Harbanspura Police Station, where I was told that I had stolen things from Jabbar’s house,” Bibi said.  “Jabbar beat me in the police station while other policemen called me names and forced me to confess that I had stolen 35,000 rupees (about US $350) and gold ornaments weighing up to 100 grams.”  On March 6, she said, “the police detained my son Zubair and tortured him in front of me. When Zubair cried with pain, they told him that he would be released only if I confess the theft…. I repeatedly told the police that I had no connection with the said theft, and then they threw me out of the police station while they still detained Zubair there. The next day we found Zubair’s dead body outside our house.”  Rights activist say that the allegation made by her former Muslim employer is suspect because he waited a week to register his complaint with police.

Uganda: A 16-year-old girl who fled from a Muslim uncle who beat her and her sister for converting to Christianity, died under mysterious circumstances on Sunday, March 8, one day after Muslim relatives who had been searching for her found her.  Namwase Aisha died at Iganga Hospital where she had been recovering from malaria after being admitted on March 2, as well as receiving further treatment for a head injury suffered on Feb. 1, when her uncle beat her and her sister with a wooden rod and locked them in a room for nearly three days without food.  According to a source, “On Saturday [March 7], Muslim relatives discovered her location and visited the hospital after tracing her whereabouts for some weeks….  Aisha then was responding very well to the medication, but on Sunday morning, after receiving morning medication, she became restless, and we wondered what could have happened to her.”  Her condition continued to deteriorate until her death, said a pastor caring for her:  “We suspect that the death of our sister Aisha could be related to the medication given the morning of Sunday, which has connection with the arrival of the Muslim relatives on Saturday.” Church leaders considered filing a case against the hospital but felt it would lead to more friction with Muslims, they said.  Aisha received a Christian burial near the area to which she had fled on Tuesday (March 10).  “As we took Aisha to the burial site, her body was swollen and smelling of drugs, which is an indication that her body could have been injected with unknown drug,” said her pastor.  Two years earlier, another convert to Christianity in Uganda was attacked by his Muslim family, including an aunt who poisoned his drink with insecticide.

Dhimmitude: Generic Contempt and Hostility

Egypt: “Unknown persons” set fire to the parked car of Fr. Ayub Yusif, the priest of the Saint George Coptic Catholic Church in the village of Dalga, Minya, Upper Egypt.  By the time authorities put out the fire, the car was completely charred.  Dalga has been the scene of many attacks on Christians.  For example, back in September 2013, Muslim Brotherhood supporters forced Coptic households to pay jizya, Islamic “protection money,” to be extorted from Christians and other non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic state.  Then, Fr. Ayub, the same priest whose car has now been torched, complained of how the Muslim Brotherhood was abusing the Christians of the village.

Kazakhstan: A drug and alcohol rehabilitation center run by Christians in the village of Sychevka, Pavlodar Region, was fined and closed down for three months following a court order that the center was “conducting illegal activities,” including religious worship. This charge, which the center denies, was made after police seized 18 Christian books and other materials in a raid on March 9.  The center had housed 14 residents, all of whom had freely chosen to reside there and could leave at any time. Eight of the residents decided to leave after police raided the center last year, scared after being questioned several times.

KenyaMuslims from Somalia attacked two Christian siblings, a brother and sister, in their home.  According to the brother (name withheld): “The attackers made a knock at the door, and my sister decided to go and open the door, only to be hit with a blunt sharp object near the forehead.  My sister fell down screaming, and I decided to rush in to help. Just at the door, I was hit on my right hand, and I fell down.”  When neighbors rushed to the scene, Somali-speaking assailants fled.   While doing so, one of the neighbors heard them saying, “We do not want hard-haired [derogatory for Kenyan] Christians in our region—they should go back to where they came from. We shall soon come back again.”  Less than a year earlier, the siblings’ father was slaughtered, also by Somali-speaking Muslims.

Syria: The International Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic organization, reported that some of its members in Syria were kidnapped by the Islamic State and told that if the adults do not deny their Christian faith, they will be decapitated and “their children burned alive in cages.”  Accordingto Sister Monique, of the Vincentian Daughters of Charity: “Late Sunday afternoon on 1 March 2015, I received a message from M. Francoise, a delegate of the International Society of St. Vincent de Paul [in Rome], and I managed to reach her by telephone.  She was leaving for Paris, and collapsed at the news she had just received: members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Syria were kidnapped, along with their wives and children. The children were isolated and put into cages. Adults who do not deny their faith will be decapitated, and their children burned alive in the cages.”  The fate of most of those kidnapped Christians, well over 200, remains unknown. 

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface 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 third-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.

Raymond Ibrahim cross posted on Gatestone Institute

Christians Burned Alive: Muslim Persecution of Christians, November 2014

crownthornPersecution

Both in the Islamic world and the Western world, Muslims continued to attack and slaughter Christians.

In Pakistan, “A mob accused of burning alive a Christian couple in an industrial kiln in Pakistan allegedly wrapped a pregnant mother in cotton so she would catch fire more easily, according to family members who witnessed the attack,” reported NBC News:

Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, were set upon by at least 1,200 people after rumors circulated that they had burned verses from the Quran, family spokesman Javed Maseeh told NBC News via telephone late Thursday. Their legs were also broken so they couldn’t run away.

“They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire,” he said. “And then they threw them inside the furnace.”

Bibi, a mother of four who was four months pregnant, was wearing an outfit that initially didn’t burn, according to Javed Maseeh. The mob removed her from over the kiln and wrapped her up in cotton to make sure the garments would be set alight.

Discussing this latest atrocity against Pakistan’s Christian minorities, an AFP report states:

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in the majority Muslim country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence.

Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

A Christian woman [Asia Bibi] has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.

An elderly British man with severe mental illness, sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan in January, was shot by a prison guard last month.

Two days after the Christian couple were burned alive, a policeman in Pakistan hacked a man to death for allegedly making blasphemous remarks against Islam.

Shazad Masih and his wife Shama Shazad Masih

Shazad Masih and his wife Shama Shazad Masih

Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress, wrote a letter to U.S. President Obama expressing surprise that the U.S. did not even bother to condemn the crime against the murdered Christian couple:

It is surprising that neither US Administration under your honor nor US State Department even bothered to condemn this horrific crime of burning live of Christian couple by a mob living in country named Islamic Republic of Pakistan which is receiving billions of aid of US taxpayers.

I would appeal your honor to put pressure on government of Pakistan to end misuse of blasphemy laws against Christian, Ahamadiyyia and other religious minorities and condition US Aid to Pakistan on human rights and repeal of blasphemy laws.

Meanwhile, in America itself, in Oklahoma, Jimmy Stepney, a Muslim, stabbed Jerome Bullock, a Christian, after Stepney had said that Muslims need to “step up” beheadings. According to Koco5 News:

The [police] report went on to say Stepney had been making comments about beheading people.

“We were watching the news,” said Bullock. “He said he felt like more Muslims need to step up to the plate and do certain thing. He was talking about beheading people.”

The severity of the plight of Christians in the Middle East was further underscored by Dr. Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who wrote:

Russia is currently considering the possibility of initiating a draft decision of the UN Human Rights Council on the protection of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. Russian experts are now working on this document.[…]

The scale of the problems demands the coordination of international efforts to protect Christians in the Middle East.

Further initiatives, new measures and relevant discussions aimed at finding durable solutions in this regard are strongly needed. Of course, we believe that Europe, including the UK, should make its contribution to these efforts, taking into account the Christian roots of the European civilization, which are now often forgotten for the sake of political correctness.[…]

The fate of the region’s religious minorities is of the greatest concern. The mass exodus of Christians, who have been an integral part of the Middle Eastern mosaic for centuries, is particularly troubling.

The rest of November’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Bangladesh: Two Christian pastors from the Faith Bible Church of God were arrested for preaching the Gospel to Muslims . They could face two years in prison if convicted for “hurting religious sentiments” and luring Muslims to convert by offering them money. The pastors deny both charges. Police arrested the pastors and 41 other people, including Muslims, after a throng of Muslims disrupted a house meeting. According to a witness: “More than 100 Muslims headed by local Jamaat-e-Islami party members and Muslim clerics gathered at the house and started barking questions at the pastors—why did they propagate Christianity in the locality and convert some of them,” and who gave them permission to preach to Muslims. “The pastors replied that it did not take any permission from any authority to propagate any religion and convert people to any religion. Suddenly the Muslims became apoplectic with rage, tried to pick a fight and started jabbing the pastors’ faces.”

Egypt: Father Timothy Shakar, priest of St. Mina Church in Port Said, confirmed that two homemade bombs were planted near the St. Mina Church but caused no injuries, or losses of life or property. Police searched other churches in the region for more bombs.

Germany: Nine men who had earlier broken into, vandalized, and robbed several Christian churches in the Cologne area—including by stealing money from the collection boxes and liturgical vessels—were caught during a massive raid. Apparently, all of the arrested are German by nationality, but Muslim by background and heritage. Some were also identified as “Salafis”—especially fundamentalist Muslims—connected to international terrorist organizations. Some had even raised hundreds of thousands of Euros from native (and naive) Germans to support overseas “charities,” the proceeds of which actually went to terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Iraq: As cries of “Allahu Akbar” emanated from surrounding mosques, Islamic State militants blew up yet another Christian church – St. George’s Church and its associated nunnery in the city of Mosul — along with other non-Sunni sites. Separately, after breaking the cross from off the dome of the St. Ephrem Church dome (before and after pictures here) and selling its pews and other furnishings, IS transformed the church into a mosque and council seat for the jihadis.

East Jerusalem: Despite constant and ever bolder attacks on a church, police refuse to respond to pleas for help from the Christian congregation. According to Morning Star News, “The attacks, driven by both intent to seize property and opposition to Christianity, have been mounted by young men with ties to Palestinian militants who for more than three months have been trying to force Living Bread Church from its rented building. Church pastor Karen Dunham and others have filed at least eight police reports about the assaults.” The most recent incident took place on November 5, when the gas tank of a car owned by a church volunteer was filled with sugar. On November 2, a car owned by one of the pastor’s relatives was stolen. And on October 16, three American Christians were injured while trying to repair a metal security door: A crowd of Palestinian men attacked them with box cutters, sticks, clubs and pepper spray.  According to the church’s attorney, authorities “have their [the assailants’] pictures, they have their names, they even have their national ID numbers, and still they do nothing…. The level of brute force compared to the level of lack of response of the police force there is pretty shocking…. It almost seems like if someone is going to go in and murder her [Dunham], that no one is going to lift a finger.”

Malaysia: Approximately 70 local residents in Petaling Jaya protested the construction of a church. They claimed the growing number of Christian places of worship in the area is part of an attempt to evangelize and convert Muslims to Christianity. An NGO, the local branch of Pertubuhan Sahabat, supported the claims of the Muslims. They argued that there are three churches in the vicinity, although close to 70 percent of the residents in the area are Muslims. According to a spokesman, “Even before the church is built, flyers on Christianity have been distributed to our homes, and this could confuse our children and divert them from the path of Islam.” The vacant plot was previously occupied by squatters, a car park and several food stalls. Another local Muslim added “None of our neighbours are Christians, we can vouch for that… it is an insult to Muslims to allow a church to be built here, but none of our representatives seem to have the time to listen to us.” One demonstrator hurled large rocks at the temporary steel fence around the vacant plot.

Jihadi Slaughter of Christians

Kenya: Members of neighboring Somalia’s Islamic group Al Shabaab—”the Youth”—hijacked a bus carrying 60 passengers in the town of Mandera, near Kenya’s border with Somalia. They singled out and massacred 28 non-Muslims, the overwhelming majority of whom were Christian. According to an eyewitness, “When we got down, passengers were separated according to Somali and non-Somali. The non-Somalis were ordered to read some verses of the holy Koran, and those who failed to read were ordered to lie down. One by one they were shot in the head at point blank range.”

Nigeria: On November 10, a suicide bomb attack on a Christian secondary school as students gathered for morning assembly killed at least 47 people. The Islamic group Boko Haram—meaning: “Western education is forbidden”—is believed to be behind the blast. In a separate incident, Christians from the predominantly Christian city of Mubi in Adamawa state were tortured and killed after Boko Haram took control of the town. Churches and homes were torched throughout the city, which was renamed Madinat al-Islam, or “the City of Islam.” In yet another separate incident, Boko Haram militants raided the mostly Christian town of Shani. According to a resident speaking to Reuters, “They rode on motorcycles and were more than 30 men. They started throwing bombs into houses… then the Boko Haram fired shots at people fleeing. They set ablaze the police station, houses and a telecom mast… I saw people fleeing, some bodies on the ground.” Reuters continues: “The Sunni jihadist movement is fighting to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in Nigeria’s north.”

Pakistani Persecution

A few days after the Christian couple, mentioned earlier, was burned alive, a 35-year-old Christian father of five known as “Mithu” was arrested on false charges by police and tortured to death in prison. According to the deceased’s brother-in-law: “It was a fake allegation, because the raiding party failed to recover any contraband from Mithu’s person and his house… On the morning of Nov. 22, we were informed by Ilyas Gill, a local councilor, that Mithu had died in police custody because of heart failure…. Young Christian men are made scapegoats to show police performance while the real culprits are carrying out their illegal activities right under the police’s nose.” Morning Star News adds: “Area police routinely round up young, impoverished Christians on false charges of drug peddling and bootlegging, and then force their families to pay heavy bribes in return for their release… family elders had seen signs of torture on the body…”

Christian families in a Punjabi village were forced to flee after a Christian man married a Muslim woman—an act forbidden by Islamic law. According to the Pakistani report, “The Muslims in this village became enraged when this occurred and began threatening them…. When the news of the marriage was learned, the Muslims in Sahiwal attacked Shahab’s [the Christian husband’s] family as well as other Christian families in the village. The Muslims demanded that Ruksana [the Muslim wife] be returned immediately, according to Sharia which prohibits Muslim women from marrying a man from another religion…. the entire Muslim community was threatening to kill Shahab’s father and all of the village’s Christians…. The Christians’ pleas for help from the local police were all in vain.”

And Qaiser Ayub, a 40-year-old professor of Christian background, was arrested and charged with insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad. The computer science professor had been a fugitive avoiding the police since 2011, when he was first accused of having written blasphemous comments on his blog.

Dhimmitude: Generic Contempt and Hostility

Denmark: In an apparent replication of the Islamic world’s modus operandi, Muslim refugees in the European nation are persecuting Christian refugees. According to 10news.dk, “Christian asylum seekers are repeatedly exposed to everything from harassment to threats and physical abuse by other refugees in the asylum centers, simply because they have converted from Islam to Christianity.” According to Niels Eriksen Nyman, who led the study, “There are certainly many more cases around the country than the ones we hear about in the church. I hate to say it, but I’m afraid that on some of the asylum centers there are some very unhealthy control mechanisms when the staff turns their back… I refuse to support Islamophobia, but we have a serious problem here.” Two recent examples: “An eight year old Christian at the Center Sandholm was bullied and beaten by the larger Arab boys on their way to school. Now the boy nolonger [sic] dares to go to school. On the island Bornholm, somebody had tampered with a Christian asylum seeker’s bike so that he crashed and broke both hands.”

Egypt: The Islamic State called on its followers to take the jihad to Egypt. Abu Mus’ab al-Maqdisi, a leader in the Islamic State, said in a statement titled “Advice to Egypt’s Mujahidin” that “It is necessary to take the battle to Cairo, until the Sinai is safeguarded from the apostates [reference to Egyptian government] and becomes a rear base [qaeda] from which to expand the jihad.” He also called on the jihadis in Egypt to “target the Copts,” the nation’s indigenous, Christian minority: “For targeting them, following them, and killing them is one of the main ways to serve the cause of our virtuous male and female hostages of the tyrants.”

Iraq: Christian homes in Tel Isqof were looted by Kurds who, after fighting the Islamic State, took control of the area on August 17. According to Agenzia Fides, “The city of Tel Isqof was occupied on August 7 by jihadist militias who already in June had conquered Mosul. Faced with the advancing of jihadists, the civilian population, mainly Christians, had fled to the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, leaving the city deserted. Ten days later [on August 17], with a counter-offensive the Kurdish Peshmerga had regained control of the city. But it is precisely since then that [Christian] residents periodically return to the city to check the status of their homes, and acknowledge that the doors of a growing number of homes and businesses have been forced and property looted: money and jewelry, technical equipment and electronic instruments.” As in the Islamic State, most Kurds are Sunni Muslims.

Islamic State: IS issued a document breaking down the purchase prices of Christian and Yazidi women being sold as sex-slaves. Apparently these enslaved unfortunates are priced based on age— the youngest being the most expensive. The breakdown is as follows (with USD equivalency in brackets): 40-50 years old: 50,000 dinars [$43]; 30-40 years old: 75,000 dinars [$64]; 20-30 years old: 100,000 dinars [$86]; 10-20 years old: 150,000 dinars [$129]; 9 years old: 200,000 dinars [$172].

Spain: Real Madrid, a professional football (soccer) team, stripped the traditional Christian cross from its club crest as part of a deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. “It is believed the European champions’ new crest, minus the Christian cross, was created so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities in the United Arab Emirates, where a marketing drive will take place,” wrote the Telegraph. Club president Florentino Perez said, “This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates.”

Syria: As of November, Raqqa, which once had approximately 1,500 Christian families, had only 23 Christian families remaining in it—the others were driven out or killed by the Islamic State. Those few remaining were unable to leave the city for lack of resources or for reasons of age and health. On November 16 they were told that they must pay $535, an exorbitant sum (as seen above, human sex-slaves are being sold for as little as $43). “In all likelihood Christian families, impoverished by the war, will not be able to pay the tax and will have to leave their homes” or convert to Islam, as many elderly, debilitated Christians unable to flee have already done.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface 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 third-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.

Raymond Ibrahim

U.S. Supreme High Court turns away homeschoolers’ request for asylum

Romeike family

Now that a homeschooling family’s last judicial hope for asylum in the U.S. has been dashed, an attorney fears they will face “certain persecution” if forced to return to Germany – unless his legal firm can find another avenue to help them.

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case of a Christian family from Germany seeking asylum in the U.S. The Romeike family fled Germany in 2008 to avoid persecution for homeschooling their children.

Michael Farris, chairman of the Homeschool School Legal Defense Association, says he’s disappointed because of indications last week the justices might take up the case. He is convinced the family would be secure in their asylum in America if it weren’t for the Obama administration.

“The original asylum judge held that this was a case of religious persecution and granted them asylum,” he explains. “And if the Obama administration would have just left that alone, it would have set no precedent; it was a very low-level decision. But they decided to make a case out of it – and literally make a federal case out of it.” HSLDA is currently working with members of Congress on possible legislation that could help the Romeikes – and others like them – who are fleeing persecution.

Farris points out while the administration is sympathetic toward the 12 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S., the Romeikes are apparently the object of its scorn.

“But one family that comes here for religious freedom, which is the original freedom-based reason to come to the United States, that’s not welcome anymore,” he laments. ”

I can’t read anything into it other than this is part of the overall attack on Christianity that this administration is waging.” The HSLDA chairman says if the family is deported, it’s possible German officials could immediately seize the Romeike children without the opportunity to appeal or comply with German law surrounding compulsory public education.

By Bob Kellogg One News Now

White House Responds to Petition for Asylum for Christian Homeschooling Family: No Comment

Romeike family

 

WASHINGTON — The White House responded to a petition on Monday that called for the granting of asylum to a Christian family who fled their homeland of Germany to homeschool their children, choosing not to comment on the matter.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled to the United States in 2008 after German authorities demanded that they stop homeschooling their six children. Homeschooling was made illegal in the country in 1938 under the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, and the law has never been repealed, but rather strengthened. In 2007, the German Supreme Court ruled that the country’s mandate that children be sent to public school is necessary to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”

German officials have been cracking down on families that keep their sons and daughters at home, and have threatened them with fines, imprisonment and even the removal of the children from the household. The Romeike children were taken from their parents for a time before fleeing to the United States for refuge.

In 2010, Memphis immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the family asylum, stating that he believed the Romeike’s would face persecution for their faith if they returned to Germany.

“[The law is] utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans,” Burman ruled. “Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution … therefore, they are eligible for asylum … and the court will grant asylum.”

However,  the United States Department of Justice soon appealed the hearing, and every court has denied the family asylum ever since, asserting that the family is not facing persecution for homeschooling as the requirement applies to all German citizens–not just Christians.

“The Romeikes [have] not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group,” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this past May. “There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.”

In addition to fighting the matter in the courts, the Virginia-based Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) filed an online petition this spring with the White House, urging the U.S. government to grant asylum to the family.

“Every state in the United States of America recognizes the right to homeschool, and the U.S. has the world’s largest and most vibrant homeschool community. Regrettably, this family faces deportation in spite of the persecution they will suffer in Germany,” it stated. “The Romeikes hope for the same freedom our forefathers sought. Please grant the privilege of liberty to the Romeike family.”

The White House responds to petitions that generate a minimum of 100,000 signatures within a 30-day period. The Romeike petition exceeded the needed amount of signatures, ending with 127,258 signees by the deadline.

On Monday–four months after submission, the White House responded to the petition, but said it could not comment on the case.

“To the extent that these petitions request a particular law enforcement or adjudicatory action, or address a matter before the courts, we cannot issue a comment,” it wrote.

“But while we can’t comment on this particular issue, we know that homeschooling is a popular option for many parents pursuing high academic standards for their children,” the White House continued. “Homeschooling can provide young people with the resources and attention they need to succeed academically, and we understand why their parents value this freedom.”

Michael Ferris, president of HSLDA, said that he is disappointed with the response from the Obama administration.

“No one can understand why the White House is showing so much leniency to millions of immigrants who have come here illegally in hopes of securing better jobs, but is so determined to deport this one family who has come to America in search of freedom for themselves and their children,” he stated. “This petition was the perfect opportunity for the White House to explain why this administration appealed the original grant of asylum. This was a perfect opportunity for the White House to explain the blatantly unequal treatment being received by the Romeike family. But the White House stalled for four months and said absolutely nothing.”

“When the White House simply notes that parents value their own freedom, it stops dangerously short in its statement,” Ferris said. “Where is the ringing endorsement that parental freedom is a fundamental human right? The White House silence on this point says a great deal.”

By:  for  Christian News

Obama Admin: Forcing German Christians to Send Children to Public School is Not Persecution

Romeike family

Source

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has replied to a request for rehearing of a case involving a Christian homeschooling family seeking asylum in the United States, asserting that the couple has not been able to prove that they have been persecuted by being forced to send their children to public school.

As previously reported, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the United States Department of Justice to respond to a rehearing request filed by attorneys for Uwe and Hannelore Romeike last month. The court had previously ruled against the Romeike family, opining that the requirement that their children be sent to public school in their homeland of Germany under penalty of law — and at the risk of losing their children — is not tantamount to persecution.

“The Romeikes have not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group,” the court stated. “There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.”

The Romeike family fled to the United States in 2008 after German authorities demanded that they stop homeschooling their six children. Homeschooling was made illegal in the country in 1938 under the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, and the law has never been repealed, but rather strengthened. In 2007, the German Supreme Court ruled that the country’s mandate that children be sent to public school is necessary to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”

German officials have been cracking down on families that keep their sons and daughters at home, and have threatened them with fines, imprisonment and even the removal of the children from the household. The Romeike children were taken from their parents for a time before fleeing to the United States for refuge.

In 2010, Memphis immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the family asylum, stating that he believed the Romeike’s would face persecution for their faith if they returned to Germany. However, the Department of Justice later appealed the ruling to the Sixth Circuit, which overturned Burman’s decision.

In court documents filed last week by the Department of Justice, the Obama administration asserted that the requirement that German children be sent to public school is valid as the government seeks to create an “open, pluralistic society.” It asserted that German officials are not persecuting the family by mandating attendance since the law applies to all citizens, regardless of their religion.

“Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen of Germany,” wrote Senior Litigation Counsel Robert N. Markle. “Along with other evidence that Germany punishes all parents who fail to comply with the law, regardless of all the reasons the parents may provide for failing to comply, substantial evidence exists to support the Board’s determination that Germany has no persecutory motive against religious minorities when enforcing the compulsory-attendance statute.”

He then requested that the court deny the Romeike’s request for rehearing of their case, essentially contending that the family should be deported.

However, Michael Farris, president of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which has been representing the Romeike family in the courts, wrote in a news release this week that it is antithetical to the principles of American liberty to assert that social tolerance trumps the right to homeschool.

“Attorney General Holder is trying to seek dismissal of this case because he believes that targeting specific groups in the name of tolerance is within the normal legitimate functions of government,” Farris said. “This cannot be the ultimate position of the United States without denying the essence of our commitment to liberty.”

“We’re trying to provide a home for this family who would otherwise go back to facing fines, jail time, and forcible removal of their children because of their religious convictions about how their children should be educated,” he added. “Why Attorney General Holder thinks that it is appropriate for any country to do this to a family simply for homeschooling is beyond me.”

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will decide in the days ahead whether to rehear the case before a full panel, or force the matter to be sent to the United States Supreme Court.

As our world continues down a immoral, destructive path, (if they have the ability) parents should have the right to educate their own!

Keep the Romeike family in your prayers!

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