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PAKISTAN – Case of the Christian student killed in school taken to Parliament

Photo: Youtube

(Agenzia Fides) – “The case of Sharon Masih is tragic and a shame for the country. It is necessary to act urgently. That is why I have asked all members of the National Assembly to reconsider the issue of the school curricula reform in Pakistan as a priority and I have asked to introduce the theme ‘inter-religious harmony’ as a subject in all public schools of every order and degree of study”: says to Agenzia Fides Christian parliamentarian Khalil George, who on 12 September spoke to the Pakistani Parliament concerning the case of the lynching of Christian student Sharon Masih, who was killed in school on August 30 by his Muslim peers (see Fides 2/9/2017 and 13/9/2017). As Fides learns, the serious question was listened and discussed by legislators. The episode, notes the Christian parliamentarian, “is an opportunity to reiterate the curriculum reform in schools”.

“Intolerance and religious hatred towards minorities are instilled in the minds of students through study programs. Instead, they should be based on inter-religious harmony, the basis for social cohabitation”, he explains to Fides. In the case of Masih, George adds, “serious action must be taken against the perpetrators, and the assassin must be punished according to the law”.

Khalil George also announces that he will present an official request to name the school, where he was lynched, after Sharon Masih. “And the victim’s parents, who live poorly, must be supported by the government”, he notes.

Other details of Sharon Masih’s story emerge. According to the reconstruction of some family members, one of the pretexts used by Muslim students to hit him (Masih was the only Christian in a class of 70 students) is “having used a glass used by all other students to drink water”. “Sharon was beaten up and the teachers did nothing to stop the violence”, they say. One of the teachers who attended school this morning told the police that he had not seen anything, as he was “busy reading a newspaper”.

The Pakistan Minorities Teachers Association, founded and led by Catholic Professor Anjum James Paul, said: “As confirmed by our studies, many textbooks adopted in schools contain sentences that give a distorted vision and fuels hatred and discrimination against non-Muslims. We are trying to convince the government to change this situation. We want to help make Pakistan a state in which people belonging to religious minorities feel and live as an integral part of the nation”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 14/9/2017)


 

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Persecuted Christians pressured to return to homeland under threat of persecution

Christian asylum seeker worries for 1 yr. old son born in Thailand

 

Bangkok Thailand (Voice of the Persecuted)  – Pakistani Christians fleeing persecution face much discrimination receive little help while seeking asylum through the UNHCR. Instead of a reprieve, most are living in horrid conditions with little to no support. They are unable to legally work and therefore unable to shelter or feed themselves or their children. Cries of hunger from the little ones is a heartbreaking reality for many parents. Their poor children are not even allowed to attend school.

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers at risk of arrest

Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 refugee convention and considers these asylum seekers, who hold UNHCR asylum seeker cards, as being illegals in the country. The are live in constant fear of being arrested and sent to the IDC, or worse, the Central Jail. Imagine years of going through this process waiting to be approved and sent to a host country. High blood pressure and depression is common even for young adults.

Many Pakistani Christians in Thailand are now being denied asylum status. When the UNHCR denies asylum, the applicant is given 30 days to appeal against the decision or their case file is automatically closed. If they decide to appeal, then their cards are extended for another year.  If the applicant decides not to appeal, then they must file an application in writing to be repatriated which they can do through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who are accepting applications for those with active and closed files that want to repatriate.

Jackson, his wife and their 1 yr. old son, who was born in Thailand, is a family who had received support through Voice of the Persecuted’s relief program. Sadly are going back to Pakistan. After a series of devastating events, the couple made the very hard choice to leave Thailand and return to Pakistan. The UNHCR had recently denied their application for refugee status and told them it was safe for them to return despite the heavy impetus of ongoing persecution against Christians in Pakistan.

The family was extremely disappointed with the decision and did not want to go back as they feared for their lives in their homeland. Despite the UNHCR’s rejection, they were determined to stay in Thailand and appeal the denial. However, they were forced to review their decision when Jackson was called back to the Thai Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) on 31st August 2017.

Along with other asylum seekers, Jackson was arrested when Bangkok police and Thai immigration authorities carried out raids in March 2015. He went through a harrowing experience of staying in Central Jail with hardened criminals then subsequently moved to the IDC. He had been on a bail bond of 50,000 THB ($1500) since August 2015. He was required to report every 2 weeks to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) and he had been punctual in doing so. In March 2017, his bail was in jeopardy as the IDC was in conflict with UNHCR. The IDC issued a notification that the bails of those who had not received refugee status from the UNHCR would be cancelled. At that time, approximately 200 asylum seekers were on bail. Like them, Jackson was still waiting for the status result and told to return to the IDC.

Miraculously, some charities and the UNHCR negotiated with the IDC to extend the deadline so the UNHCR would have more time to assess the cases. Unanimously it was decided that the IDC would extend its deadline till August 2017 and in return the UNHCR would give results of all those on bail. It is disturbing to note since then, all except one have been denied refugee status by UNHCR. Upon appeal, most have had their files closed and their UN identity cards confiscated. The closure of their UNHCR asylum file automatically gives the IDC the right to cancel the bail. However, Jackson’s case remained active because, in fear for his family’s situation, he never appealed against the UNHCR’s decision. He feared that the UNHCR would close their case if they appealed, so they requested for return tickets from the IOM instead.

The return process was also not easy for them. They needed travel documents to return. Jackson’s passport had been confiscated by the IDC and his son didn’t have a passport as he was born in Thailand. Jackson had to go to the Pakistan Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand where embassy officials treated him with disgust and humiliated him by calling him a traitor.

Jackson cried and told them that he had 1-year old son and asked them to have pity on him. The officials asked him to give a copy of his UN cards and told him to write in the application that he felt safe returning to Pakistan. Under pressure, he felt he had to write as they asked. We believe the Government of Pakistan will use such applications at an international level to prove its innocence despite its World Watch List status of the

VOP representative includes a message for our suffering brothers and sisters in the IDC

4th worst country to live as a Christian.

The young father pleaded to the Immigration to extend his bail by 4 more days as he had return tickets for this month, but they didn’t listen to him. He was put in the IDC while his wife remained outside with their son. They too have confirmed tickets. Jackson would be taken to the airport from the IDC and his wife travel alone with her son. She was also expected to pay 20,000 THB ($614) or else she would not be allowed to embark the flight. Because she evaded arrest during her stay in Thailand, the penalty of staying illegally in Thailand must be paid before she could leave. If the fine couldn’t be paid, she would have to stay, with her son, in the IDC for over 1 week before being allowed to leave the country. She feared her 1-year old son might contract a skin infection or other contagious diseases. Graciously, a Thai citizen paid her fine and airfare for the family. We are grateful for their compassion.

By Christian, VOP Asian Correspondent

“Blessed are those that are persecuted.” Matthew 5:11 

This appalling situation has forced ‘our brother and sister’ to make this high-risk decision. Our hearts are hurting for them and our prayers go with them.

Once in Thailand, the family will move to another province in effort to be safe from their persecutors, but there is no guarantee that they would ever be safe.

Please keep them in your prayers as they wanted to stay but were stuck in whirlpool of problems in Thailand’s harsh system which instigated their extremely hard choice to return.

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Donations always desperately needed

 

‘Prostitution is rife’ – sexual exploitation of Boko Haram survivors in IDP camps

Christian women living in IDP camps are vulnerable to sexual exploitation by government officials.

Thousands of Christians in north-east Nigeria displaced by Boko Haram’s insurgency now face discrimination and harsh treatment – including sexual exploitation – by government officials, reports Global Christian News (GCN).

While many thousands have been killed, others sought refuge in neighbouring Cameroon or in the relatively safe states in the Middle Belt and southern Nigeria. Still thousands of others, trapped in camps run by the government, are often forced to convert to Islam even to get food, GCN points out.

“Whenever supplies come, the sharing is chaotic. The officials would make us queue and usually fights break out as people struggle to jump queues, and if you are a Christian you are harassed and insulted. ‘Get out infidel!’ is usually what you hear all the time,” said Margaret, who was forced to leave the government-controlled NYSC camp in Maiduguri.

Christian women are particularly vulnerable, she noted, saying: “Muslim men come in their cars every evening and women are ‘arranged’ for them by some camp officials and middlemen who have access to the camps.”

She said prostitution is rife in the camps. “Our young vulnerable Christian teenage girls are being destroyed by men,” she said. “They deceive the girls, get them pregnant and divorce them. Many times the Muslims come to meet us [women] and say they want to marry us and take us away from the suffering. They say we should simply convert to Islam and all will be okay.”

The report also highlighted other forms of discrimination against Christians, notably in the reconstruction efforts. The governor of Borno state claimed that 20 churches have been rebuilt, but according to some Christian leaders, the picture the government is trying to paint to show its magnanimity is false.

“As you drive into Maiduguri from Damaturu, please do observe for yourself how many villages have been rebuilt by the Borno government. In each of the villages, the government will build a large mosque, whether that mosque existed before or not,” one pastor said.

GCN’s report echoes previous allegations of discriminations faced by Christians IDPs.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our persecuted Christians including those who’ve fled government camps to escape the ongoing threats and pressure to convert. If you would like to show your love and support for those who’ve faced unimaginable persecution please support our Nigerian relief mission, today.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thankful for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support. Your gifts have brought so many smiles. THANK YOU!

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

Nigeria: father and son killed, three women and a baby kidnapped

At least nine Christians were killed and a number of churches and properties burnt down in 2007, in Tudun Wada. (WWM.)

(World Watch Monitor) A father and son were killed, and three women and a baby abducted, in an attack in Nigeria’s northern state of Kano, in the largely Muslim area of Tudun Wada.

At around 8pm on 15 August, armed men, believed to be local Muslims, attacked the house of Baba Kale Dankali (62), a local Christian, and killed him.
His son, Micah Kale (20) heard the gunshot, went out to see what had happened and found his father dead. At his agonised cries, the attackers returned and shot him dead too.

Both victims’ widows fled with their children.

The armed men also targeted other Christian families, kidnapping three women and a baby.

Fear caused many Christians to flee; it brought back memories of previous attacks, including the September 2007 violence, which claimed nine lives among Christians, according to official figures. (However, other sources put the toll far higher than that – one policeman was overheard complaining he was “fed up of packing corpses.”)

Locals say the latest attack is part of ongoing persecution aimed at uprooting Christians from the region.

In April 2015, in Gidan Maso village, Rogo, local youths set fire to the home and Baptist church of Rev. Habila Garba, after they failed to find a Christian man who’d briefly converted to Islam before returning to Christianity.

Reverend Garba’s daughter died of suffocation in the fire.

This prompted a reaction from the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, one of the most prominent Muslim leaders in Nigeria. In a landmark decision, he expressed his dismay, and ordered the rebuilding of the destroyed church and house. He also warned that such an incident should never be repeated in Rogo or anywhere else in Kano State Emirate.

In 2007, several churches had been burnt and businesses and homes of non- Muslims looted and destroyed during the violence, forcing owners to flee. Policemen were reported to have lost their homes and property.

That violence appears to have begun when a group of Muslim students invaded a room shared by two Christians at the Government Secondary School in Tudun Wada, and began to severely attack them. When the Christians asked what they had done wrong, their assailants told them to “mind their own business”. However, once the school Principal arrived, the Christians were accused of drawing a picture of Mohammed on a mosque wall and of planning an assault on Muslim students.

Despite the Emir’s stance in 2015, violence still goes on, a local Christian leader – who prefers to remain anonymous – told World Watch Monitor. He said years of impunity make Christians an easy target, as Muslim armed men can attack or kidnap Christians for ransom, with the complicity of some local authorities.

All attempts to bring cases to justice have failed, as no investigation is carried out. Even when the perpetrators were identified, they were not prosecuted. Moreover, the victims face lots of intimidation, with some often arrested or charged themselves by local authorities when they report the crime.

An aid worker from Open Doors (a charity which supports Christians under pressure for their faith), who visited recently, confirmed that Christians in Tudun Wada are in great difficulty.

Each time they tried to rebuild churches destroyed during the 2007 violence, local Muslims destroyed everything overnight. The government is not doing anything to prevent the locals from this vandalism, he said. This has become so discouraging that some churches decided to sell their land to the government and rebuild their churches elsewhere. Others are forced to gather for worship in the ruins of their church.

He says Christians are also denied basic rights, and are not allowed to buy land or build churches. All mission schools and hospitals have been repossessed by the government, while Christian children are denied scholarships for study.

Christian girls are frequently abducted and forced to marry Muslim men.
Christian youths have to be home-schooled, or assume Muslim names in order to be allowed entry to government schools – or have to relocate to schools in the predominantly Christian south or in the Middle Belt region.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christians experiencing brutal persecution. If you would like to show your love and support for those who’ve faced unimaginable persecution, please support our Nigerian mission project, today.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thankful for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support. Your gifts have brought so many smiles. THANK YOU!

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

EGYPT – Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II: Let us pray also for the evil who attack churches

Following the attacks on churches and the massacres of Christians that have bloodied Egypt in recent months, “the Coptic Church has prayed for all”, even for “the evil people” who have attacked churches and Christians . With these words, the Coptic Patriarch has again given witness of the transparent faith with which many Coptic Christians have experienced the many experiences of martyrdom that have marked the recent journey of their Church. He did this during an interview with the Japanese television network Asahi, reiterating his confidence in the power of prayer, “which can change hearts”.

The interview was released by Patriarch Tawadros during the Japanese visit that the Coptic Primate of the Coptic Church is carrying out in several communities of the Coptic diaspora and starting from August 30, will continue in Australia. During his stay in Japan, Tawadros also inaugurated the Cathedral of Our Lady of St. Mark in Kyoto, the first Japanese Coptic church.

In the interview with Asahi TV, the Coptic Patriarch also stated that (more…)

Islamic Clerics Warn Against Spread of Christianity in the Most Islamic City in Iran

Qom, arguably the most Islamic city in Iran, is a socially and religiously conflicted city where house churches are hunted down and conversion to Christianity is viewed as an action against national security.

Mohabat News – Christianity has been growing at an exponential rate in the last couple of decades in Iran, causing the Islamic government a great deal of concern. In a most recent expression of their distress, one of the high profile Islamic seminary officials, Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, stated “accurate reports indicate that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches”. However, this is not a new development. Earlier reports had also shown a surprising rise in the number of Iranians turning away from Islam and converting to Christianity.

One of the most senior Islamic Shi’ite clerics who has repeatedly expressed his concern over the spread of Christianity among the youth in the country is Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi. He, as well as most of his colleagues blame the foreign influence for the conversion of young Iranians to Christianity. The question that comes up however, is that what could be the real cause for Iranian youths’ rejection of Islam and its principles, despite the serious risks involved with conversion to Christianity in an Islamic country such as Iran?

This high rate of conversion of Iranian youth to Christianity is in spite of rigorous Islamic indoctrination of the youth in their families and educational system. The Islamic government of Iran dedicates massive budgets to the support of Islamic organizations that promote Islam among the youth within and without Iran’s borders. Such efforts to attract Iranian youth is much more noticeable in Islamic cities such as Mashhad and Qom. Regardless of such efforts, Iranian youth seem to become increasingly distant from Islam, which is a cause of great concern for the Iranian Islamic government.

Last year, after Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi expressed his deepest concern over the popularity of Christianity in the suburbs of Mashhad, the city’s religious and political officials immediately sent a vast number of Islamic teachers and preachers to Mashhad’s suburbs in order to turn the youth away from Christianity. The next phase in dealing with this matter was to crack down on the youth who refused to turn back following the efforts of Islamic teachers and preachers. The Iranian law enforcement and intelligence ministry got involved and began waves of arrests and harassment of Christian converts, facing them with long term prison sentences and heavy bails for their temporary release.

Another Iranian Ayatollah, Wahid Khorasani expressed concerns over the spread of Christianity in the country. He said he had received reports about the exponential increase in popularity of Christianity amongst the youth in the Islamic city of Qom. He criticized government authorities “for their negligence in preparing counteracting strategies to stop the spread of Christianity. In his remarks eight years ago, he had encouraged the government authorities to develop a coherent strategy to eradicate Christianity in Iran.
Another Ayatollah, based in Tabriz, stated he had received reports that at one time, 600 residents of one of the cities in Khorasan province had converted to Christianity.

These harsh remarks years ago, led to a rigorous crackdown campaign against the Iranian Christian community, resulting in arrests, imprisonments and disbanding of a number of house church gatherings.

— Failure of Islamic Authorities’ Efforts to Stop the Spread of Christianity

The Iranian Islamic government implemented a two fold plan to stop the spread of Christianity in the country, and it has failed on both fronts.
The first front was the allocation of millions of dollars for Islamic propaganda across the country, which over the years has proven to be ineffective as Iranian youth seem to be distancing themselves from the Islamic lifestyle the Iranian government wishes to spread.
The second front, in which the Iranian government’s Islamic agenda has failed is their crackdown campaign on newly converted Christians in order to plant fear in those who are interested in learning more about Christianity and possibly becoming Christians themselves. This failure is obvious as Iranian Islamic authorities continue to express their concern over the rapid growth of Christianity in the country.

In recent years many Iranian Christian converts have been arrested. However, the rate of growth of house churches in the country has been exponential, despite a mass exodus of Iranian Christians.
In this regard, Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, one of the high profile Iranian Islamic figures, wrote in a paper a few years ago, “There was a time when Islamic institutions in Qom were sufficient to counter the spread of Christianity in our city. However, today we do not have any Islamic institution in Qom that can stop Christian evangelism effectively”. In his remarks he also referred to the son of one of the Islamic clerics as having become a Christian.

In a report released seven years ago, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards identified 200 house churches in the Islamic city of Mashhad. Other reports indicate this number has grown significantly ever since. Mashhad is known as the Islamic capital of Iran and the Shi’ite Muslim world. Other cities having a record number of house churches in Iran include Rasht, Tehran and Karaj.

In Tehran there are many house churches that meet on a regular basis. One of Tehran’s Imams said in an interview, “today Christians present their gospel to our youth in the most appealing way. They gather in many neighbourhoods across the city, including Bani Hashem neighbourhood (in Tehran) where tens of homes have been turned into house churches which evangelize their neighbours”.

One of the visible effects of the Iranian government’s crackdown on Christians has been the closure of numerous churches, including the Central Assemblies of God (AOG) church and Janat Abad church in Tehran and the AOG church in Ahwaz. Additionally, Christian converts were banned from entering official churches and Farsi services were forced to cancel permanently across the country in all churches. Publication of anything related to Christianity or any material referring to Christianity was also restricted and books about Christianity already in the market were confiscated./ Farsi

Christian Student Killed in Spate of Boko Haram Attacks in Northeast Nigeria

Ambore Gideon Todi – photo: Facebook

(Morning Star News) – Among several Boko Haram bombings that have put northeastern Nigeria on edge this year was a suicide attack on Christian student organization quarters that killed a Christian student, sources said.

Ambore Gideon Todi, a 21-year-old student at the University of Maiduguri in Borno state, was staying in the Evangelical Church Winning All’s student ministry tent when Boko Haram suicide bombers detonated explosives in mid-May, according to leaders of the school chapter of the student ministry.

Joseph Kamida Cham, a Christian leader from Todi’s native Gombe state, told Morning Star News that a friend of Todi’s also staying in the Christian student quarters had decided to travel just prior to the bombing.

“When Ambore’s friend returned from his trip and could not find him during the student ministry fellowship, that made him to start asking questions,” Cham said. “It was later disclosed that Ambore was mistaken for one of the suicide bombers that died.”

School authorities had reported that one army member along with three suspected suicide bombers were affected by the blasts. The school decided against announcing that any students were affected, fearing the school would be closed, Cham said.

Leaders of the university ECWA student ministry confirmed the killing shortly after his death, Cham said.

“It is believed that he was not the only one affected by the bomb blast, as there were others involved and were in their fellowship program,” he said, saying he was close to Todi’s family. “The authorities did not say anything about their demise till after nine days. We knew of his death because he is from my state.”

Only after Todi’s friends alerted authorities to his disappearance nine days after the bombing was he identified as a victim of the bombing, he said.

“He was identified as a victim through his shirt found at the scene of the attack,” Cham said.

Williams Abba Todi, the student’s father, announced the killing in a post on Facebook on May 22.

“KILLED BY BOKO HARAM,” he wrote. “The management of the University of Maiduguri has today officially informed us of the death of our son AMBORE GIDEON TODI killed in the suicide bombing. Ambore rest in the LORD as you were killed in the Church on active service give us consolation you are on the right hand of GOD.”

Williams Abba Todi could not be reached for comment.

Cham said Todi was the only member of his family to have gone to university and the only male child.

“He was the only child of the family who went beyond secondary school,” Cham said. “He was in Physics Department and in his 100 level.”

The family is from Biliri, Gombe state.

Maiduguri has been the site of a series of bombings and attacks by Boko Haram terrorists who aim to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria. They have also attacked predominantly Christian towns of Borno state such as Chibok, Gwoza, and Uba since January.

In an attack on a mosque in Maiduguri on Monday (July 17), at least eight people were reportedly killed when a female suicide bomber detonated explosives. Since being driven out of captured territory by military counter-insurgency operations, Boko Haram has increasingly used women and girls, presumably kidnapped, to carry out suicide attacks.

The previous week, four women reportedly detonated explosives in a suicide mission in the Molai Kolemari area of Maiduguri, killing 19 people and injuring 23 others.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims account for 45 percent.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christians experiencing brutal persecution. If you would like to show your love and support for those who’ve faced unimaginable persecution, please support our Nigerian mission project, today.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thankful for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support. Your gifts have brought so many smiles. THANK YOU!

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

EGYPT: Soldier Beaten to Death for His Christian Faith, Relatives Say

The body of Joseph Reda Helmy. (screenshot)

(Morning Star News) – Egyptian military officers beat a new soldier to death on July 19 upon learning that he was a Christian, relatives said.

Joseph Reda Helmy of Kafr Darwish village, Beni Suef Governorate, had just completed training at Mobarak military training center and was transferred to Al-Salaam special forces police unit, where three officers killed him, relatives told Middle Eastern media. The Egyptian army told relatives Helmy died of an epileptic seizure.

His father, Reda Helmy, told Al Karma TV by phone that his large, strong son had arrived at the camp at 2 p.m. and was dead by 8 p.m. In the same program, the deceased’s cousin, Youssef Zarif, said he received a message at 2 a.m. on July 20 from the Ministry of Interior to come and retrieve Helmy’s body.

When Zarif arrived, he asked to meet an officer and was initially rebuffed. Eventually he met with an officer who told him that Helmy had died of an epileptic seizure. Zarif refused to believe the army explanation, saying Helmy was a healthy, quiet person loved by all in his village of Christians and Muslims. The heavily Muslim country has population that is about 10 percent Christian.

He told Al Karma that the extensive bruising he found on the body did not look like those of an epileptic episode. He said Helmy had bruises on his head, shoulders, neck, back and genitalia, with the worst injuries occurring on his back.

The doctor who examined the body refused to bow to pressure from those who brought it and reported that the cause of death was not natural, Zarif said. A prosecutor accompanying the family firmly concurred and demanded an investigation, he said.

Zarif said he thanked the doctor and prosecutor for not trying to cover up the truth.

The three officers who attacked his cousin are in custody and under investigation, he said.

Zarif said he learned from police and other soldiers that the three officers began to harass Helmy because of his Christian faith, and that the marks on his body indicate they kicked him with their boots and hit him with heavy instruments.

Another cousin, Malak Youakim, confirmed the killing to Alhorreya.TV. Youakim also said Helmy was attacked for his Christian faith.

A Christian leader in Helmy’s home village said many there are in mourning.

“Many women are wearing black, a sign of mourning for the death of one of their Coptic youth,” he told Morning Star News. “Many are sharing the graphic pictures of the bruised body of Joseph Reda Helmy, a new draftee doing his military service.”

He said Helmy had been in the army for only month when he died on July 19.

Several other Coptic Christians have died for their faith while serving in the Egyptian military. On Feb. 17, 2016, the Egyptian military informed the family of Michael Gamel Mansour that the 22-year-old conscript from Assuit had committed suicide. Authorities claimed Mansour, who was assigned to a unit that guards El Gomhoreya Stadium in Cairo, shot himself with a rifle. They asserted that moments before his suicide, Mansour became despondent after a telephone conversation with members of his family.

Sources said they do not believe that Mansour killed himself. Family members have said the phone conversation the military cited was about innocuous issues. Mansour was not dealing with any major problems and gave no signs that he was having any sort of psychological episode, they said, and no suicide letter has been found.

Mansour had been scheduled to be discharged from army service on July 1, 2016, according to family members. His case marked the third time in nine months that the government reported a Coptic Christian soldier committing suicide. A fourth Christian was killed in August 2016, according to the government, in a shooting incident in which no one has been criminally charged.

On Nov. 20, 2015, the military informed Nataay Boushra that his son, Private First Class Bishoy Nataay Boushra, a second-year conscript soldier in the Egyptian army, was dead, also a victim of suicide. Boushra, 21, served in the Central Security Forces (CSF), a ubiquitous, 450,000-man unit under the command of the Ministry of Interior used to augment the Egyptian National Police. Boushra was posted to the outskirts of Cairo, guarding the CSF barracks used by his duty section.

According to the military, Boushra was found dead the morning of Nov. 20, 2015 in the bathroom of a military jail cell with a sheet wrapped around his neck. Officials told Nataay Boushra that his son hung himself from a windowsill.

Nataay Boushra rejects the government’s claim of suicide. His son was deeply spiritual and considered suicide to be a grave sin. During his army service, he was in regular contact with his family and gave no indication of any depression before his death. He was just three months away from being discharged from the army and pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a monk.

As with the case of Mansour, the military made its ruling that the cause of Boushra’s death was a suicide before an autopsy was performed. At the morgue, the family refused to take the remains until officials conducted an autopsy, but while waiting, Nataay Boushra and his brother were able to examine the body. In addition to the ligature marks expected from a hanging or strangling death, Boushra’s torso was covered with bruises and huge welts from what appeared to be sustained, brutal beatings.

For months before his death, according to his father, Boushra endured threats, violence, intense verbal abuse and public humiliation from a fellow draftee, a Muslim known to the public only as “Mustafa.” Boushra took the abuse in stride until Nov. 4, when the Muslim soldier launched into yet another tirade against Christianity. Boushra picked up a stick the size of an ax handle and hit the other soldier in the head, knocking him to the ground, according to military court testimony.

The soldier was taken to a hospital for examination and then released. Both men were arrested and placed together in a jail cell awaiting a hearing in a military court.

For reasons still unknown, another soldier who was a friend of Mustafa was later locked in the military prison cell with Boushra and Mustafa, the same cell in which he was later found dead, according to the military.

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