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(Voice of the Persecuted) Yesterday, Ethiopians began three days of national mourning for more than 20 Ethiopian Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya. ISIS once again singled out Christians and documented their savagery in a video where they brutally beheaded and shot the believers in Christ.
The Islamic State – aka ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh – has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months. The militant terror group has established a caliphate and carried out mass persecutions of minority populations, primarily Christians and Yazidis. They have also published videos as a warning to countries that have militarily intervened and a way to control civilians through fear.
The discriminate murders have horrified Ethiopians and spurred international calls for condemnation.
The leader of the Catholic Church shared his anguish of the mass execution and offered his condolences to patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, Abuna Matthias.
Pope Francis lamented,
“With great distress and sadness I learn of the further shocking violence perpetrated against innocent Christians in Libya. I know that Your Holiness is suffering deeply in heart and mind at the sight of your faithful children being killed for the sole reason that they are followers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
He also stated,
“It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant,” Pope Francis said in his message. “Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ!”
He offered hope amidst the darkness, noting the Easter season of joy in the knowledge that “Christ has risen from the dead.”
“This year, that joy – which never fades – is tinged with profound sorrow. Yet we know that the life we live in God’s merciful love is stronger than the pain all Christians feel, a pain shared by men and women of good will in all religious traditions.”
The Pope offered “heartfelt spiritual solidarity” and assurances of “closeness in prayer at the continuing martyrdom being so cruelly inflicted on Christians in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia.”
Voice of the Persecuted is praying that more Christian leaders across denominations, will inform their congregations of the modern-day persecution taking place against Christians, encourage them to pray and care for the persecuted, and use their voices to advocate for and stand with our suffering brothers and sisters, worldwide. #WeAreOne
If you are a church leader raising awareness and praying for the persecuted, we would be very encouraged to hear from you! If you are a leader who would like to begin sharing with your congregation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Pastor for the Persecuted in the subject line. We’d be happy to help you in the process.
(Voice of the Persecuted) The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/Daesh) has released a shocking new video titled ‘Until It Came To Them – Clear Evidence’. The unverified video highlights the slaughter of at least 30 Ethiopian Christians (migrant workers) in Libya.
A masked militant pledged to kill Christians if they do not convert to Islam, ‘Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap. To the nation of the cross we are now back again.’ The footage also includes how Syrian Christians have been given the choice to convert to Islam or pay a ‘special tax’.
The Ethiopian Christians are divided into two groups and identified by the Islamic State militants as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church. Approximately 12 men were beheaded on a beach, the remaining shot dead in the desert.
An Ethiopian official, denounced the killings saying, “We strongly condemn such atrocities, whether they are Ethiopians are not.”
In February, IS released the video of them beheading 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. IS is using video media for their propaganda campaign to instill fear in the hearts of men to control and recruit them.
Chaos and unrest has wracked Libya since the U.S. led attack in 2011 that toppled Kadhafi. IS has taken advantage of it’s destabilization expanding it’s presence in the country.
In 2011 when Obama addressed Americans and the world to justifying NATO involvement in Libya, we heard the following:
- “This is a New generation refusing to be denied their rights any longer”
- “Change will make the world more complicated for a time.”
- “Justice & Human Dignity will be upheld by all.”
- “We will stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles as us.”
- “History is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa and the youth are leading the way.”
- “Our own future is safer if all mankind uphold these values.”
In the mission to uproot leaders deemed murderous and tyrannical, the west has aided to put something far worse in it’s place. Now multiple Libyan jihadist groups and those in other nations have pledged allegiance to IS.
IS marches forward with their tremendous funds, it’s own news agency, even issuing drivers licence and ID cards in the quest to redraw the map and create a caliphate—a new world governed by strict Sharia Law.
The’Christian Winter’ continues and intensifies.
- Pray for the families of these precious soul’s.
- Pray for God’s mercy and protection for his children.
- Pray for endurance.
We are reminded of a young Christian girl in Thailand who had fled persecution in Pakistan. She said there is no need for her to curse anyone who blaspheme’s Christ or our God. She said our God is big enough to defend Himself. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. We can find comfort in this tribulation as the Faith of these Christians in these lands are growing stronger, even in persecution.
Revelation 6:9-11 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
- Lucia Pulici, 75, Olga Raschietti, 82, and Bernardetta Boggia, 79, killed
- They had been at Roman Catholic convent in Kamenge, Burundi, for 7 years
- Two were found ‘partially decapitated’ and raped in their dorm on Sunday
- The nun who found them and raised the alarm was also found dead later
- Pope Francis is ‘greatly saddened’ by attack and has sent his condolences
Three elderly nuns were raped and beaten before two were decapitated and another murdered in a convent in Burundi. The bodies of Bernardetta Boggia, 79, Lucia Pulici, 75, and Olga Raschietti, 82, were found in their dormitory in Kamenge, north of the capital of Bujumbura. Police said three suspects had been detained for questioning as they probe claims it was a botched robbery at the hands of a mentally unbalanced attacker.
Father Mario Pulicini, who is responsible for the parish in a northern suburb of Bujumbura, said Ms Pulici and Ms Raschietti were found ‘partially decapitated’ in their dormitory on Sunday. It appeared all three had been raped.
Police arrested a man for killing and raping the three elderly nuns murdered in twin attacks at their convent. Reports said the man who carried out the first attack killing two nuns on Sunday afternoon, left and then the second attack took place on Monday morning. The police say on Sunday, he stabbed the first two and had beaten one with a rock. On Monday, the third nun was murdered in the same convent, her body beaten and head hacked off. read more
Thousands mourn the death of the Italian nuns. Mourners sobbed as Archbishop of Bujumbura Evariste Ngonagoye praised the life of service the three nuns had given in the impoverished nation, and condemned the “inhuman” crimes of the killer.
VOP: We are deeply sadden by the brutal murder of these women serving in love. Please pray for protection over the faithful in service— the hands and feet of Christ.
According to an Arabic report published today on Aleteia.org, back on January 8, 2014, yet another Christian man was beheaded and his body stabbed with a crucifix, by U.S.-sponsored “freedom-fighters.”
Two young Christian men, Fadi and Firas, were traveling by car, from Homs to the Christian village of Marmarita, when they were stopped and assaulted by five armed jihadis, who opened fire on the car.
According to the report, “And when the mujahidin [jihadis] approached the car, they noticed that Fadi was wearing a cross around his neck, so they decided to decapitate him and plant the cross in his chest.”
They also beat his companion, Firas, leaving him for dead on the ground, and proceeded to plunder their car, stealing money and documents.
However, he recovered — waking only to see his friend’s decapitated and stabbed body — and, wounded and on foot, reached the village of al-Mushtaya, where he was transferred to a hospital.
Update: Agenzia Fides confirms this report: “Islamist groups have killed and beheaded a young Christian man, seriously wounding another… A group of five armed jihadists intercepted the vehicle and opened fire on the car. Upon reaching the car, militiamen, noting that Fadi was wearing a cross around his neck, beheaded him.”
Fides, however, does not mention the cross stabbing recorded in the Arabic report. Did Fides deem it too graphic, inciting, hate-promoting, or whatever, opting to omit? At any rate, both English and Arabic language reports make clear that it was the sight of the crucifix that prompted the jihadis to murder Fadi. That alone is indicative of extreme vehemence for the Christian cross and those who wear it.
Please keep our Syrian brothers and sisters in your prayers.
“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—
brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. Isaiah 19:2
Egypt: The cabinet expressed on Monday “deep sorrow” regarding the sectarian violence that broke out in the Beni Suef village of Diabiya on Sunday. “The cabinet stressed its condemnation of all forms of violence and incitement, which causes strife between the sons of one homeland,” read the cabinet’s statement.
“The cabinet reiterates that the government will address it with all resolution and rejects attempts to sow discord and spread sedition.”
The cabinet called on Egyptians to be aware of “attempts made by some” to disrupt national unity. The statement also said the cabinet had decided to restructure the Supreme Council for Justice and Equality, a body that was established under former prime minister Essam Sharaf in 2011 and reactivated under ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s prime minister Hesham Qandil following violence at the Coptic Cathedral in April.
“I appeal to all to preserve [the] lives of fellow Egyptians with restraint to prevent violence and reckless attacks against any person or place,” said head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II on his Twitter account on Monday.
Restructuring the council, according to the statement, would involve developing mechanisms to intervene rapidly in social strife in coordination with the security apparatus, which has been criticised for being slow to respond to sectarian violence, especially in Upper Egypt.
A fight in the village of Diabiya broke out on Sunday after a dispute resulting from a Christian resident building a speed bump in front of his house, according to statements from pastor of the local church, Father Rizkallah Joudra to state-owned Al-Ahram.
An altercation started between the Christian and a Muslim neighbour and the situation escalated when “extremist Muslims,” according to the pastor, attacked Christian homes and stores with molotov cocktails, burning six home.
The village’s church was also attacked and ransacked. At least 15 people were injured, according to Al-Ahram.
The Beni Suef Security Directorate reportedly received notification that members Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya were involved in the clashes, an accusation the group denied, while condemning attacks on innocent residents and burning places of worship.
A reconciliation meeting between Christians and Muslims took place on Sunday in the village of Beni Ahmed in Minya. The terms of the reconciliation involved residents dropping charges filed against each other and the expulsion of anyone from the village who attempts to inflame the situation.
In comments made to state-owned Al-Ahram, Bishop Makarious, General Bishop of Minya, criticised the reconciliation, which did address compensation of approximately EGP 3.5m for damaged Christian property, asking where security and state institutions were to protect its citizens.
He also criticised the actions taken following the violence as focusing on overcoming the current situation and doing nothing to take necessary steps and precautions to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring.
The bishop said it was not “logical” for the Church to absorb the costs of the damages and losses, and that such matters should be the responsibility of the state.
The Maspero Youth Union (MYU) also rejected the reconciliation meeting and “any attempts to destroy the sovereignty of the state.”
“Such terms,” said the group regarding the outcome of the meeting in Minya, “represent the shame and disgrace over the heads of everyone who participated in this farce.”
The group also condemned the role of the security apparatus and even priests who took part in the reconciliation meeting in which they said they “accepted the waiver of applying the law, ignoring [compensation for] those affected…”
The Coptic rights group demanded an end to “so-called customary reconciliation sessions” and called on the state to apply the law fairly against perpetrators of violence.
“We wait for the judiciary to stand against those terrorist acts as he [they] stood against the injustice done to him [them],” said MYU.
Attacks on churches and Christians have increased since Mohamed Morsi’s ouster on 3 July across the country including Luxor, Sinai, Minya, Beni Suef, Sohag, and Port Said.
Police arrested a suspect accused of participating in a shooting at the Mar Girgis Church in Port Said last year, in which two were killed.
The Egyptian Socialist Party released a statement on Monday saying that the state should not tolerate “the practice of hatred, murder, and terrorism against Coptic citizens,” calling on the authorities to depart from its practice of complacency when dealing with such events and calling those who spread hatred against Copts “traitors.”
Earlier this month 16 human rights organisations called for Islamist groups to stop inciting violence against Christians and held the state responsible for their protection.
Khamis had no other choice than to leave his house in the village of Dalga, near the central Egyptian city of Minya. After an arson attack on his cousin’s house and the fatal shooting of another relative, he fled into hiding with his wife and six children.
He said they had been singled out for no other reason than being Christians. “It was a terrible night,” recalled Khamis, who agreed to talk to us but did not want to be identified. Khamis is not his real name. Khamis recounted what happened on the night of 3 July, when the army deposed Islamist former President Mohammed Morsi.
“Angry mobs and thugs rampaged through houses owned by Christians. They started with the house of my cousin, looting and setting it on fire. We weren’t taking any chances – we fled the village.”
‘You are doomed’
Since Mr Morsi was forced from office, there has been a string of attacks on Christians in different provinces.
Local Copts say they have been singled out by radical Islamists, for campaigning against the former president and his Muslim Brotherhood movement. On 6 July, a priest was shot dead by gunmen in an outdoor market in northern Sinai. Five days later, the body of a beheaded Christian man was found in the same area, where Islamist militants have launched a string of attacks on security and military posts since Mr Morsi’s overthrow. Arson attacks on Christian houses and shops have also been reported in remote southern villages, where Islamist hardliners hold sway. The violence included a church in Dalga, 350km (220 miles) south of Cairo. We visited the site and found a burned-out shell, ransacked and blackened by fire. The church’s priest, Father Ayoub Youssef, told us what happened the night Mr Morsi was removed from power. “They were many people, about 500,” he said. “They stormed the church chanting slogans accusing Christians of campaigning against Morsi like,
‘Shame on you Christians! You traitors conspired against the president. You are doomed!’
“They looted everything – benches, ceiling fans, windows and even toilets. They smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary, before setting the whole building on fire.” Father Ayoub was grateful to Muslim neighbours for saving his life.
“They helped me escape from the roof to their house. Had it not been for them, I would have been lynched,” he said.
“If you are attacked because of your political affiliations, I really don’t know what the world is coming to,” he said.
VOP message: For just a moment, picture yourself living under the same conditions. In many Islamic nations, the number of radicals are increasing. In these nations, Christians are considered of a lower class and below a Muslim. Is it truly possible for us to imagine the real pressure these brothers and sisters are going though? As free Christians, it is time to step out of our box and stand up for those in the body being abused. And always remember to keep them in your prayers. Prayer is the number one thing those being persecuted ask for.
Cairo, July 11, 2013: A Christian shopkeeper’s headless corpse was found in the Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, the second slaying of Christian there since the military deposed Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on 3 July.
Arabic satellite TV channel al-Arabiya cited Egyptian security sources as saying that 60-year-old Magdy Habashi had been abducted last Saturday in the city of Sheikh Zweid. His remains were found in a cemetery.
A Coptic Christian priest, Mina Abboud Sharobeen, was shot dead by gunmen on 6 July in the flashpoint city al-Arish in the northern Sinai.
Investigators suspect Islamic extremists are behind the two murders.
Egypt’s Christians make up around 10 percent of the country’s population and have frequently been targeted by Islamists.
Islamist extremists are believed to have shot dead a 28-year-old man who ran a bar selling alcohol in the centre of al-Arish in May.
The ousting of Egypt’s long term president Hosni Mubarak in a popular revolt in 2011 emboldened militant Islamists who have carried out a number of attacks in the lawless North Sinai and across the border in Israel.
Claims that a recently murdered Catholic priest, Fr. Francois Murad was beheaded in a violent video that has gone viral across the internet are false!
Priest ‘beheaded’ in Syria video actually ‘shot dead’
A Catholic priest, Father Francois Murad has been shot and killed in northern Syria
By Ruth Sherlock, Beirut
The footage, said to show Father Francois Murad, 49, as the victim in a brutal summary execution by foreign jihadists is likely to be an older video that bares no relation to the death of the Catholic priest.
Father Murad “died when he was shot inside his church” in the northern Syrian Christian village of Ghassaniyeh on June 23, three separate local sources told the Telegraph, who did not wish to be named.
Claims that Father Murad was one of two men to be decapitated by a foreign jihadist group went viral, the outrage expressed in blogs and articles worldwide.
The footage posted on YouTube shows three men kneeling on the ground surrounded by a group of foreign jihadists, now thought to be a group of Chechen rebels. The crowd whips itself into frenzy and screaming “God is great” some of the rebels slaughter two of the prisoners.
The film is too grainy to be able to confirm the identity of either of the victims as Father Francois. While the video’s title refers to the killing of a priest and a bishop, none of the participants in the actual video refer to any such actions, and accuse the victims of being collaborators and ‘shabiha’, a reference to pro-government militia members.
Father Pizzaballa, a colleague in the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, to which Father Francois belonged, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that none of their priests were the victims in the video.
“None of our priests have died in this manner. All our priests are alive. Reading the reports circulating in the media I conclude that they have mixed up events,” he said.
Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director for Human Rights Watch said: “Confusion may have arisen because of the appearance of this video around the same time that the news came out that Father Francois had been killed.
“Human Rights Watch has been conducting an in-depth investigation into this video, and it looks like it may have been filmed in a different location several months ago, long before Father Francois was reportedly killed.”
Yasser, a Syrian activist who has been researching the killings in the video said that the incident took place “months” before the priest’s death.
Several other Syrian sources, that asked not to be named, confirmed this account.
The Vatican news agency confirmed that Father Francois was killed on June 23 but said the “circumstances of the death are not fully understood”.
Two days after Father Francois was killed in Ghassaniyeh, the Custody of the Holy Land issued a press release saying Islamist groups on the Sant Antonio church shot the father dead. The press release said he had been given a funeral and buried.
“Islamists attacked the monastery, ransacking it and destroying everything.
When Father Francois tried to resist, defending the nuns, rebels shot him,” the release stated.
The resort town of Ghassaniyeh, in Syria’s Latakia province, which was visited by the Telegraph, has fallen under the control of the extremist jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra.
Father Francois was thought to be one of the last remaining Christian inhabitants.
Two months ago four Italian journalists were kidnapped by Jabhat al-Nusra as they filmed inside Father Francois’ church, which had recently been desecrated. Susan Dabbous, one of the kidnapped journalists, reported that Jabhat al-Nusra had referred to Father Francois as “a spy”.
Voice of the Persecuted strives to share and report actual events with you. We go to great lengths, researching and interviewing to post factual stories, updates and breaking news of persecution against our Christian brothers and sisters worldwide. We thank you for putting your trust in us as you share our information with others, which are continually under reported by the MSM. Please keep us in prayer as we continue to be their voice and do the work our Lord has called us for, in truth and in Christ.