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Human Rights Watch) Taher, a Rohingya Christian pastor, and his 14-year-old daughter were abducted from their shelter in a refugee camp in Bangladesh on the morning of January 27. The previous night scores of men attacked 22 Christian families living in Kutupalong Camp 2 in Cox’s Bazaar. The attackers beat up residents, vandalized homes, and looted personal property in the sprawling Rohingya refugee camp. At least 12 Rohingya Christian refugees were injured and hospitalized following the attack. A makeshift Christian church and school were also smashed. After the attack the families relocated to a United Nations transit center and filed a police case against 59 alleged assailants.
The Benar News Agency and Radio Free Asia have reported that camp residents believe that the attackers are linked to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an ethnic Rohingya armed group. An ARSA representative denied and condemned the attacks on Christians, saying the assailants were harming the group’s fight for Rohingya rights.
Taher’s wife, Roshida, fears that her husband has been killed and her daughter abducted. She told Human Rights Watch that, “No one can give me any clear information, but my relatives told me that my daughter has been forced to convert to Islam and marry.”
Approximately 1,500 Rohingya Christians are among the more than 700,000 predominantly Muslim Rohingya forced to flee to Bangladesh as the result of the Myanmar military’s 2017 campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Victims say the Bangladesh authorities, who described the attack as an “ordinary law and order incident” and not an attack aimed at Christians, are not doing enough to protect them or to find Taher and his daughter. Camp officials “try to avoid our queries,” said one man. Another said a police officer in Cox’s Bazar told him that if the victims wanted to be safe they should “go to the moon.”
Rohingya Christians have previously reported facing threats and violence in the camps. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has expressed her concern for Rohingya Christian refugees who are facing “hostility and violence.” The Bangladesh authorities should urgently locate Taher and his daughter and bring those responsible to justice. The government should also act immediately to protect all vulnerable groups in the country’s refugee camps, including religious minorities like Rohingya Christians.
Each year monsoon rains cause waist-high flooding over one-third of Bangladesh. These storm surges bring murderous winds and squalls that prohibit the building of a strong permanent infrastructure. But they also replenish the silt that fuels the subsistence farms on which the majority of Bangladeshis rely. Rising sea levels have the potential to displace almost 20 million in Bangladesh by 2050. This constant struggle with nature has caused most to live on less than one dollar a day. Because of this, many children work, and girls are married at young ages. Lack of opportunity has forced many to migrate to cities where they work predominantly in garment factories with few safety regulations that are seldom enforced. Bangladesh is in the top ten most populous countries, with a population density in the top twenty. These realities only compound the nation’s issues.
With the help of international development assistance, Bangladesh has shrunk its poverty rate, improved health and education, and reached the World Bank’s lower middle income status. However, pollution, poor safety standards, waterborne diseases, lack of infrastructure, and low literacy rates persist. Their exports (mostly garments) have surpassed $25 billion, which has greatly helped their economy. Bangladesh is a democratic republic, but ranks 120 out of 183 on the corruption perceptions index. Conflict between the two rival political parties often causes long periods of instability and turnover.
Bangladesh declared Islam its state religion in 1988. Today 89% of the population is Muslim. The religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution is beginning to erode. Political parties are split along religious lines and often give in to Islamic and tribal pressure to imprison and confiscate the property of those who do not conform to local religious or ethnic practices. The Christian population (1%) experiences bouts of persecution and oppression, and missionaries are prohibited from traveling freely. However, with so many environmental, social justice, and humanitarian needs, many Bangladeshi churches have practically shown the love of Christ through relief work. God has used their efforts to grow His Church, especially among low caste Hindus and formerly unreached people groups.
It has been 200 years since William Carey first went to the share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. Though they revere his memory, significant spiritual breakthrough has yet to come.
Blaine Scogin, Prayer Director of Persecution Watch and Voice of the Persecuted
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(Voice of the Persecuted) In the latest attack on minorities in the country, Hossain Ali (68), a Christian convert was brutally hacked to death by suspected Islamic militants in the northern Bangladesh town of Kurigram. Witnesses claim during his regular morning walk, attackers jump out at Ali and slashed his neck. Law enforcement reported 3 unknown assailants fled the scene on motorbikes and that Ali died on the spot. They also reported that there had been disputes in the family and he may have been murdered for religious reasons.
Ali converted to Christianity in 1999. He had recently retired from government service. Locals also claim Hossain Ali was a pastor at a neighborhood church, although autorities have denied this claim. He was also a 1971 liberation war veteran.
In January, the Islamic State claimed the murder of Samir al-Din because he converted from Islam. Their statement, “Soldiers of the caliphate were able to eliminate the apostate, named ‘Samir al-Din’, by stabbing him with a knife,”
Despite ISIS claiming responsibily for a number of attacks, the government denies the presence of ISIS in Bangladesh and attributes the murders to the banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh. The nation seen a surge in Islamist violence as activists and religious minorities have been targeted.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh. Pray endurance for the many who have converted to faith in Jesus across the globe.
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Muslims Attack Christian Village Celebrating Easter, Stab Priest, Destroy Bibles and Crosses in Bangladesh
During last Easter, a Catholic Christian village made up of tribal Khasia people living in Bangladesh was attacked by Muslims.
Syed Ara Begum, a Muslim owner of a tea plantation, along with a Muslim mob, attacked the Christian village as its population was celebrating Mass for Easter Monday. The plantation owner reportedly seeks to seize the Christians’ land. Hearing the cries of his flock, Fr. James Kiron Rozario ran to the site of the attack. Once there, the crowd of Muslims attacked him with a knife, seriously wounding him and threatening to kill him.
The Muslim mob went on to steal items worth 33,900 taka (4,134 EUR). They also destroyed Bibles, crosses, holy pictures, musical instruments and homes — and slaughtered goats and chickens.
According to Msgr. Bejoy N. D’Cruze OMI, Bishop of Syleht, “We live in fear…. We want justice and security for our priests and our faithful. We hope that the government will find a peaceful solution and that our people can live free from tensions…. They [Catholic Khasia] are a very peaceful community but often fall victims of the Bengali [Muslim] majority.”
(Morning Star News) – Two pastors in northwestern Bangladesh could face two years in prison if convicted for “hurting religious sentiments.”
Police on Nov. 9 arrested the pastors and 41 people, including Muslims, who were listening to proclamation of Christ at a rented house in Nabinagar village in Lalmonirhat District, 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Dhaka, after at least 100 Islamists disrupted the meeting and began “jabbing” at the church leaders’ faces, sources said.
The 41 people who were detained along with their children were released that night; the pastors of Faith Bible Church of God were not released on bail until Nov. 17, charged with “hurting religious sentiments” and luring Muslims to convert by offering money. The church leaders deny both charges.
“We did not tell anything to anyone that might hurt religious sensibility,” one of the released pastors, Arif Mondol, told Morning Star News. “We did not offer any money to anyone to be converted to Christianity.”
An area source told Morning Star News on condition of anonymity that the incident caused a sweeping furor among local Muslims.
“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,” the source said.
The Islamist leaders asked the pastors who had given them permission to spread Christianity in the area.
“The pastors replied that it did not take any permission from any authority to propagate any religion and convert people to any religion,” the source said. “Suddenly the Muslims became apoplectic with rage, tried to pick a fight and started jabbing the pastors’ faces.”
Police arrived and detained all 41 people, along with their children, and the two pastors, and took them to the Lalmonirhat police station at noon.
Local imams filed a case against the pastors the following day. Police told Morning Star News they were investigating.
Nazrul Islam Mukul, an attorney who helped the two church leaders to obtain bail, told Morning Star News that the pastors told those in attendance that Jesus Christ was alive and would return, and that as the living one everyone should come to Him for salvation.
“If the allegations of the case are proved and if they are found guilty, they will be put in jail for maximum of two years according to Article 295/A,” Mukul said. “People of the locality were very angry with the pastors. If police had not come timely, they would have faced severe consequences.”
A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 21.
Nirmol Rozario, secretary general of Bangladesh Christian Association, told Morning Star News that the charges went against the spirit of the country’s constitution.
“I demand that the case against the pastors should be dismissed, since the grounds of the case are contradictory to our constitution,” Rozario said. “This is the act of the communal and religious fanatics.”
Sunni Muslims constitute 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, according to the 2011 census, with Hindu making up 9.5 percent of the total population, which the U.S. government estimates at 163.7 million people . The remainder of the population is Christian (mostly Roman Catholic) and Theravada-Hinayana Buddhist. There are also small numbers of Shia Muslims, Bahais, animists, and Ahmadiyya Muslims.
A massive attack by armed men on a Catholic convent in Bangladesh happened on July 7, reports Aid to the Church in Need.
The attack, by 50 to 60 men, was the first such instance of violence against a Catholic institution in Bangladesh. Authorities have arrested 12 Muslims in connection with the incident.
“It’s unprecedented because nuns are highly respected in Bangladesh,” said Bishop Sebastian Tudu of Dinajpur. He reported that the pastor was robbed and the nuns were brutally beaten and there were instances of attempted rape. He claimed the violence only ended when police arrived.
The attackers came to loot the mission.. They may also have been looking for land-ownership deeds, which poor and illiterate members of the community may have left to be kept safely at the mission. According to the Bishop the Diocese of Dinajpur had already been the scene of a number of attacks against Christian villages last year.
The Bishop said,
“It’s unprecedented because nuns are highly respected in Bangladesh. The attack is obviously a targeted and planned attempt at intimidation.”
“Nuns and priests are being attacked because they stand up for the disadvantaged and minorities.”
“The police are now investigating the case. They have promised to clear it up.”
He also relayed the the priests(45) and nuns(100) working in the diocese, and they now live in fear.
Strengthening the Underground Church in Somalia (February 14, 2013) The Christian community of Somalia is one of the most persecuted and secretive populations in the world. Because of intense levels of persecution, it is estimated that the numbers of Christians in Somalia may be as little as 550 individuals. Most are forced to worship at clandestine Bible studies conducted at the homes of other believers. Living in a failed state and in a society that is openly hostile towards Christians, underground churches are in desperate need of educated leaders, Bibles in the Somali language and other basic Christian resources. READ MORE
Saudi Hypocrisy at Its Best (February 14, 2013) Few things offer surreal experiences as when Islam and the West interact—when 7th century primordialism encounters 21st century relativism. Consider the issue of “interfaith dialogue.” In principle, it is a decent thing: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others trying to reach a common ground and professing mutual respect. But what does one make of the gross contradictions that emerge when a human-rights violating nation calls for “dialogue,” even as it enforces religious intolerance on its own turf? Enter Saudi Arabia. Birthplace of Islam, the Arabian kingdom is also the one Muslim nation that regularly sponsors interfaith initiatives in the West—even as its official policy back home is to demonize and persecute the very faiths it claims to want to have an interfaith dialogue with. READ MORE
- July 2008 – A historic interfaith dialogue conference was initiated by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to solve world problems through concord instead of conflict. The conference was attended by religious leaders of different faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism and was hosted by King Juan Carlos of Spain in Madrid. Source
- KAICIID Dialogue Centre – King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, globally known by its abbreviation: KAICIID, is a controversial but uniquely empathic non-governmental, not-for-profit worldwide organization founded in October 2011 by King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Accordingly, the Republic of Austria and the Kingdom of Spain are also backing the Centre with the aim of keeping KAICIID free from all political interference and influence. Source (Does this not send up red flags for you?)
Two More Churches Hit in Makassar Molotov Cocktail Attacks (February 14, 2013) Police in Makassar, South Sulawesi, are standing guard outside churches after would-be arsonists hit two more churches in a second wave of attacks early Thursday morning. Unknown assailants hurled homemade molotov cocktails at the South Sulawesi Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) and the Toraja Klassis Makassar Church Panakkukang Congregation in a pair of coordinated 4 a.m. attacks. Both churches suffered fire damage in the attempted fire bombings, police said. READ MORE
BAHRAIN: Sentenced to two years in prison for advocating and exercising the right to peaceful assembly (February 14, 2013)
“God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet did nothing to intervene.”
He quotes a story from the book When A Nation Forgets God by Erwin Lutzer, a German Christian. Lutzer recounted how the trains taking Jews to death camps would pass by his church every Sunday during the Holocaust. “Their screams tormented us,” he wrote, “but … what could anyone do to stop it? We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it anymore. But I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. God forgive me; forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians and yet did nothing to intervene.” READ MORE
We ask prayers for Alfonso Murillo, a pastor in northern Colombia who has received death threats from illegal armed groups, forcing him to flee for three months. Recently he returned home; however, the threats have continued. The pastor has reported these threats to government authorities and requested protection, which the authorities have not granted him. He approached Open Doors Colombia requesting protection. We ask prayers for his protection and protection for his family.
Religious persecution, rape still evident in Kachin State- Sixty-six Christian churches have been burnt down in Kachin state since the conflict erupted in June 2011, according to the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT), a figure that is backed by Myitkyina-based Kachin Baptist Convention. Speaking at a seminar at Chiang Mai University on Friday, Julia Marip of KWAT said that the burning of churches by Myanmar government forces amounts to religious persecution. lso on Friday, a group of Roman Catholic bishops in Kachin State called for peace. ccording to website CatholicCulture, spokesman Bishop Francis Daw Tang of Myitkyina said, “As a church, we walk with our displaced people, watch their lives being destroyed by war, their families fragmented by the depressing life in the displaced camps.” He accused government forces were waging “unequal warfare” on Christian holy days.
Kwat’s Marip said there are now 100,000 people displaced by the conflict in Kachin State, 60,000 of whom are sheltered at the Sino-Myanmar border or other areas under Kachin rebel control, and 40,000 in areas under government control. Marip said her organization had continuing evidence of systematic rape by Myanmar troops against Kachin and other ethnic women. She said KWAT had recorded 30 incidents where 64 women or girls had been sexually assaulted in Kachin State since the conflict began. “But there could be many more cases that we have not been able to document,” she said, explaining that NGOs were unable to make contact with many rural areas and villages under government control. “Half of those women raped were killed afterward,” she said. SOURCE
German Christians May Face Jail Time for Homeschooling Children – Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right, Justice Dept. Argues. ICC Note: In an unusual case an evangelical German family that fled to the United States. READ MORE
Libya: Christians arrested and allegedly tortured for proselytizing- Arrests continue of Christians accused of proselytizing in Libya, with a total of seven now known to be in custody including one reported to have been tortured, sources said.
Four expatriate Christians in the eastern coastal town of Benghazi were arrested on Feb. 10, accused of proselytizing. Libya’s Preventative Security Unit arrested the Egyptian, South African, Korean and dual Swedish-American Christians, who have yet to be officially charged. On Feb. 13, Preventative Security officers picked up two more Egyptian Christians, and another Egyptian Christian was arrested by Feb. 16, sources said. All the detainees were being held in Benghazi. It was unclear what led to their arrests. Peventative Security spokesman Hussein Bin Hmeid said in a statement to Reuters that the four Christians originally arrested were printing books calling for conversion to Christianity. He said the country is 100 percent Muslim and that proselytizing “affects our national security.” READ MORE
Last summer, we learned that Christian children from poor tribal areas in the mountains of Bangladesh were being trafficked from their homes and sold to Islamic Training Centers (madrassas…) in various cities. As news was released about the rescue of the first 19 children, whom ICC now cares for, families began to come forward asking for help finding their missing children. They thought they were sending their children to Christian schools in the city, but as an ICC partner investigated it became apparent that upwards of 300 children were told that same lie and are now suffering in madrassas around Bangladesh. In addition to the first 19 rescued, ICC, its partners, and the communities are joined together to build a safe hostel for 100 children to live. As of now, the first 90 have arrived. Plans are already being discussed to build safe hostels for others to go to once they are rescued. In these hostels, the children have their daily needs met, receive Christian spiritual education, and go to school. They are free, happy, healthy and have a bright future in front of them.
Accused of worshipping “Wrong God” couple loses 14 adopted children- (BarnabasAid) A Christian couple in Russia have had their 14 adopted children removed by the authorities, in a case that bears the marks of religious discrimination. Although Ilya Yaroslavkin, a church pastor, and his wife Lubov have won awards and been praised for their exceptional care, local authorities accused them of worshipping “the wrong god” and following “unintelligible church traditions”. The couple’s children were removed from their schools on 12 September 2012 without being able to say goodbye to their parents. Pray for this family, which has been so cruelly torn apart. Ask that the Lord will comfort Ilya and Lubov and their children as they endure this separation, and that the decision will be overturned so that the family can be reunited. SOURCE
Tanzania Too: Christians Threatened with Islamist Violence on Easter- Tanzania is the latest in a growing number of African countries to be struggling with escalating Islamist terror. In this country of 45 million people, over 60 percent of whom are Christian, church leaders are the canaries in the coalmine. On Sunday, 55-year-old Catholic priest Father Evarist Mushi was shot dead by assailants on a motorcycle in front of Zanzibar’s St. Joseph’s Cathedral just before Sunday morning Mass. According to the Pontifical news agency Fides, local bishops and priests received a message claiming responsibility from a group calling itself “Muslim Renewal.” READ MORE
A Hindu Who Converted To Christianity Gunned Down For His Faith By Muslim- Pakistan Lahore: On February 16, 2013, a 45 year old Christian man, Roshan Masih was murdered after a trivial disagreement on faith with a Muslim, Sohail Akhtar. Twenty years ago Roshan Masih(Hindu name Lal Ram) had migrated from Metro Basti Tehsil Fortabas, Behawal Nagar and settled in Lahore after accepting Jesus Christ. He was living at Jughian Asam Town in Lahore. READ MORE
“I ask that you don’t forget to pray for us.We need your prayers.”
He says, Boko haram has now divided. The first is controlled by (Sheikh Shakarau, (NORTH DIVISION). The second, he can’t confirm the leader, IS TRYING TO ADVANCE TO THE SOUTH. They’re involved in kidnapping of foreigners in Bauchi (NORTH). They attac…k the JTF going to Mali (at KOGI). Their aim is to spread their tentacles to unaffected areas, and the SOUTHWEST is their first thought)…..Brethren, Are we going to be watching these EVILs break into our house before we can Pray for Help? Here in the North, every Sunday is a (RED-DAY). Though there’s no bombing of churches for the past 3 weeks, they break into one’s house and kill people. “On Sundays, very few people can stand up with Faith to go to Church”.
I’M PRAYING THAT THESE THINGS WILL NOT HAPPEN IN THE SOUTH. WE NEED GOD’S HELP!
Psalms 121 says
“I will lift up my eyes unto the Hills, from whence cometh my (OUR) HELP.
My (Our) help comes from the LORD, which made heaven and the earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be Moved; he that Keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper; the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all Evil; he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time Forth, and even for evermore.”