VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Home » Posts tagged 'Islamists'

Tag Archives: Islamists

Categories

Archives

ISWAP Terrorists Execute Five Christians in Nigeria, Video Shows

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist terrorists who kidnapped 11 Christians in northeast Nigeria on Christmas Day have executed five of them, according to a video released by the Islamic State’s AMAQ News agency.

The 49-second video, dated Dec. 29, shows five armed members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) lining up behind five men dressed in orange robes who are kneeling with their hands tied behind them. Ordered in the Hausa language to state their names, each of the kneeling men in turn is heard saying their name and adding, “I’m a Christian.”

Morning Star News heard the names spoken as Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu and Garba Yusuf.

Speaking in the Hausa language common throughout northern Nigeria, one of the ISWAP militants then says,

“This is a warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria. We have not forgotten what you did to our brethren in Zangon Kataf town and other parts of Nigeria. Use the heads of these five of your brethren to continue with your ungodly celebrations.”

The five Christians are then shot to death.

The executioner’s citing of Zangon-Kataf appears to refer to ethnic clashes in the area in Kaduna state in 1992 over a proposal to relocate a market away from land granted to the Hausa people, who are primarily Muslim. Clashes broke out between them and the indigenous, predominantly Christian Atyap people, resulting in 60 deaths in February 1992 and 400 more in May 1992, with Hausa youths killing many Christians of various tribes in retaliation.

On Christmas Eve ISWAP terrorists began an attack on Garkida, Adamawa state, that local residents assumed was launched by Boko Haram, the Islamic extremist group from which ISWAP broke off in 2016. Government and local sources said the Nigerian army repelled the attack, but as it continued into the wee hours of Christmas Day, the assailants were said to have killed six Christians and kidnapped 11 others.

Screenshot of video released by Islamic State showing execution of Christians in northeast Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

Morning Star News received messages from area residents on Wednesday (Dec. 30) asserting that six Christians were killed in Friday’s (Dec. 25) attack on Garkida, and that the Christians martyred in the video were among the 11 kidnapped.

Moses Abarshi, a Christian leader in northern Nigeria, notified Morning Star News that a Christian had told him that his brother and four other Christians had been executed for their faith.

“Please let us keep the family in our thoughts and prayers in this trying time,” Abarshi said by text message. “May the blood of these martyrs keep speaking for the gospel. May the church not be frightened and discouraged, in Jesus name!”

In the attack on Garkida town, ISWAP burned down homes, looted shops and stores, set fire to a hospital and took food from homes, area Christians said.

On July 22 a video was released showing terrorists believed to be members of ISWAP executing five men, with one militant saying it was warning to “all those being used by infidels to convert Muslims to Christianity.”

The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 designated Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.

In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

Seven Christians Killed in Christmas Eve Attacks in Nigeria

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremist militants killed seven Christians in Christmas Eve attacks in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, according to area residents, while two people were reportedly killed in neighboring Adamawa state.

Residents of the villages of Pemi and Debro, near Chibok, Borno state said the insurgents were members of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, and that the militants burned a Church of the Brethren (EYN) building in Pemi. In addition, seven people were reportedly kidnapped, including a pastor.

Across the border in neighboring Adamawa state, residents of Garkida told Morning Star News that Boko Haram attacked at the same time on Dec. 24, but that Nigerian army forces repelled them. Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, however, released a statement on Christmas Day saying two civilians had been killed in the attack, including a 5-year-old boy, before soldiers drove the rebels away.

In Borno state, the jihadists began their attacks on predominantly Christian Pemi and Debro at about 6 p.m., area residents said.

“Seven Christians were killed at Pemi, and the church building of EYN was completely burned by them,” area resident Awiya Lawan told Morning Star News by text message. “Houses, cars and stores were burned down. The Boko Haram gunmen carried out the attacks for three hours before soldiers arrived at the area at 9 p.m.”

Peter Solomon, another resident of the area, also said that heavily armed Boko Haram rebels, who seek to establish sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, killed seven Christians.

“The Boko Haram attackers destroyed the church building of EYN and looted foods from many houses before burning about 10 houses in Pemi, which is located about 20 kilometers [12 miles] away from Chibok town,” Solomon said

In Adamawa state, the attack by suspected Boko Haram militants forced Christians to halt Christmas preparations and flee into bushes to escape, area residents said.

“Garkida town in Adamawa state is under a massive attack,” area resident Joel Bahago said in a text message to Morning Star News. “Please pray for us, as this isn’t how we planned for Christmas, Lord.”

Another area resident, Rhoda Yadiwutuwa, said in a text message on Christmas Day that Nigeria’s armed forces had repelled the assailants but that most of the residents were still hiding in bushes and nearby hills.

“It is well with us people of Garkida, we shall hold our peace, because victory belongs to our God and Lord, Jesus Christ,” Yadiwutuwa said.

Markus Bulus wrote in a Christmas Day text that area resident were thankful.

“Whatever Boko Haram planned against us has failed,” Bulu said. “Whatever it is, we shall still celebrate Christmas. Jesus, we’re so grateful this day even with the bad experience we had last night. We have nothing to offer as our thanksgiving, but we offer our hearts in deep supplication to your majesty on this Christmas Day.”

Terror in Kaduna

In north-central Nigeria, a series of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen across three counties of southern Kaduna state earlier this month killed 33 Christians, destroyed 18 homes and displaced more than 2,500 people, Christian leaders told Morning Star News.

On Dec. 17 in Zangon-Kataf County, the herdsmen killed at least 10 Christians in Goran Gan village and destroyed 18 homes, and on Dec. 21 they killed three others at Ungwan Jatau and Ungwan Gimba villages, area residents told Morning Star News in text messages.

Sule Tinat Bodam, general secretary of the Atyap Community Development Association and a Christian community leader in Zangon-Kataf, confirmed the attacks.

“On Dec. 17, the Gora Gan community was attacked by armed gunmen suspected to be Fulani militias on motorcycles,” Bodam said. “The attack left over seven people dead, and over 17 houses were burnt down. The Sheyin family was wiped out almost completely by the attackers.”

He identified those killed as Ayuba Sheyin, 69; his wife Jummai Sheyin, 55; their son Saviour Sheyin, 14; son Goodluck Sheyin, 11; daughter Patience Sheyin, 5; Peter Akau, 70; Joel Ishaya, 35; and Binta Musa Tauna, 85. In addition, 16-year-old Henry Jonathan was hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

“The Sheyin family lived just in front of the primary school where the military, meant to secure the village after previous attacks, are stationed,” Bodam said.

Luka Biniyat, spokesman for the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), added in a Dec. 21 press statement that three more corpses had been recovered, bringing the number of Christians killed in Gora Gan to at least 10.

SOKAPU executives visited a camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Zonkwa, Zangon-Kataf County, where 2,500 Christian women and children were taking refuge after raids by armed herdsmen, Biniyat said.

Also in Zangon-Kataf County on Dec. 19, herdsmen killed four Christians in four other villages: Ungwan Gaiya, Ungwan Gimba, Ungwan Makama and Apimbu, according to state Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan.

“The military confirmed that two houses were burned in the Apimbu attack,” Aruwan said.

In Chikun County, herdsmen on Tuesday (Dec. 22) killed seven Christians and wounded four in Gbaja village and killed two more Christians in Ungwan Gwaiva, area sources said.

In Kajuru County, herdsmen killed three Christians in Kujeni village on Tuesday (Dec. 22), sources said.

The Rev. Ali Buba Lamido, archbishop of Kaduna Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), issued a statement on Thursday (Dec. 24) expressing concern over kidnappings that have accompanied the killing.

“Kidnapping has become the order of the day as these kidnappers get into people’s houses and abduct them without any resistance or challenge from the security agents,” Lamido said. “Many people have been abducted, and a lot of millions of naira were paid as ransom. Those kidnapped were subjected to dehumanizing conditions and traumatizing experiences. Some family members of the those kidnapped were shot while trying to escape from the kidnappers.”

On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for further investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.

On Jan. 30 Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. CSI issued the call in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Heinous Attacks Against Christians in Nigeria under-reported

The coronavirus affecting Nigeria is dominating the headlines which has pushed news reports of Christians being slaughtered by Islamists even further to the back burner.

 April 16 – A Christian student was killed in an attack by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Kaduna state on Thursday night (April 16), a week after a pastor was slain at his church building residence in southern Nigeria, sources said. According to area residents, After his college in northwest Nigeria was closed due to the coronavirus, Sebastine Stephen was visiting his home in a suburb of the city of Kaduna, when armed Fulani attacked at about 11:30 p.m. , reported Morning Star News.

“Sebastine Stephen was shot when the armed Fulani herdsmen attacked Gbagyi Villa area in Chikun Local Government Area in the southern end of the city of Kaduna,” area resident Hosea Yusuf told Morning Star News. “Stephen raised alarm, warning residents about the invasion of our community as he was still outside at the time the herdsmen came to attack the community. The herdsmen instantly shot him and then proceeded to enter one of the houses close to them, where they kidnapped a couple.”

“The Fulani herdsmen were over 50 carrying sophisticated guns and shooting sporadically,” Chris Obodumu told Morning Star News. “After they killed the young man, Sebastine Stephen, they then broke into the house of Mr. Jack Nweke and abducted him with his wife, leaving behind their three children.” He said he feared the herdsmen may return to attack again. Gbagyi Villa community leader Martins Emmanuel said the herdsmen simultaneously attacked both Gbagyi Villa and the nearby area of Mararaban Rido.

April 14 – Six children and a pregnant woman were among nine people that Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed in north-central Nigeria 0n April 14, sources said.

About a dozen herdsmen armed with rifles and machetes raided Hura-Maiyanga village, in the Miango area of Kwall District in Plateau state’s Bassa County, shouting the jihadist slogan “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” sources said.

“They were armed with machetes and AK-47 rifles as they attacked us,” Hanatu John, a woman who survived the attack, told Morning Star News. “They attacked our village at about 8 p.m., and they were shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ as they shot into our houses.” The assailants were speaking Fulfulde, the Fulani language, as they shot into homes, she said.

“Most families had already retired into houses to sleep when these Fulani gunmen came into the village and were shooting into houses. As the herdsmen shot at us, we all ran out from our houses into the surrounding bushes. Some of the herdsmen chased after us and shot at us, while others were burning down our houses.”

“Hura hamlet of Maiyanga village in Kwall District, Miango Chiefdom in Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau state was invaded on the night of 14th by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen, who surrounded the entire area and unleashed mayhem on the unsuspecting natives,” Mwantiri told Morning Star News by text message. “As a result, nine persons were gruesomely killed and two injured while 33 houses were completely torched by fire. Most of the persons killed were children.”

The ages of the children were 3, 6, two were 7, 15 and an unborn baby.  Over 250 persons, mostly women and children, have been displaced.

Miango resident Grace Gye sent a message to the Plateau state government on April 15, calling on state and federal governments “to protect the people and their property.” She questioned why Fulani herdsmen were moving about freely in spite of a lockdown in the face of the novel coronavirus.

The Rev. Ronku Aka, a former Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) pastor and now community leader of the Irigwe ethnic group, lamented incessant attacks on predominantly Christian communities.

“So many of my people have been killed over the years, including the attack of last night, In spite of promises from the government to my people, the herdsmen have continuously been attacking our communities.”

“I am begging the international community to come to the aid of our people! this killing is too much,” Aka told Zenger. “More than the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the Fulanis are killing my people. Despite the lockdown,” Aka told Zenger News.

The attack on Maiyanga comes on the heels of attacks by herdsmen in the area last month. On March 31, Christians were killed at Ancha village; the next day three more Christians were slain in the predominantly Christian community of Nkiedow-hro village, and seven others were killed in Hukke village. On Jan. 14, 2018, armed herdsmen killed one Christian and wounded two others in an attack on Maiyanga village.

There is also a report shared on April 16 of Moses Gata, a resident from a targeted village, being abused by authorities after he criticized Nigerian police and military for withdrawing from a region where Muslim militants have killed at least 20 Christians.

“I blamed the security for withdrawal of soldiers at the checkpoints and hence the attacks when it was barely a week after the withdrawal,” Gata told Zenger News, explaining why he may have been targeted for retaliation.

“I also complained about the government inability to set up programs such as bringing relief materials to homeless people, rehabilitation program, resettlement program, reconstruction program of any sorts,” he said.

He claimed the captain told him, ’You’re going to respect the uniform from now on, aren’t you, little boy!’ as he hosed me down from head to toe in ice cold water.”  Gata said he was ordered to roll back and forth on the concrete porch of a temporary army barrack for close to two hours until he was rescued by an elected official who had heard from family about his predicament.

April 13 – Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria decapitated two Christians in Benue state.

According to residents, herdsmen ambushed two members of a Catholic church in  Ologba village at about 8 a.m. on Monday. “Oche Alaade and his friend who had visited the village were traveling out of the village on their way back to Obagaji town where they reside when they were ambushed by the Fulani herdsmen and their heads cut off,” area resident Louis Oguche told Morning Star News in a text message. Oyaje Sule, uncle of Oche Alaade, confirmed the killings in a statement issued to local press on Monday evening. The murders follow a herdsmen attack on two Christians the previous week who are receiving hospital treatment for their wounds, Sule said. Agatu, a predominantly Christian area in the north-central state of Benue, has been under siege by herdsmen in the past four years, with many Christians killed and displaced.

April 11 – A group of herdsmen in Plateau state on shot a Christian farmer dead.

Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 30-year-old Christian farmer Mabur Mallo Gwang in Maiduna village, Daffo District of Bokkos County, area residents said. Armed with guns and machetes, four armed herdsmen forced their way into the victim’s house attacked him. Neighbors fled into the nearby bushes when they heard the gunshots, The victim was a member of the local Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) congregation. Yusuf Machen, chairman of the Bokkos Local Government Council, confirmed the attack when contacted by Morning Star News. “We are deeply saddened about such incessant attacks on the communities in Bokkos Local Government Area,” Machen said.

Herdsmen have attacked Christian communities in Bokkos County over the past three years, as well as Christians in the counties of Barkin Ladi, Bassa, Jos South, Mangu and Riyom, residents told Morning Star News. In the Daffo area in the past two years, more than 40 Christians have been killed, 11 communities destroyed and more than 7,000 people displaced, they said.

April 10 – In southern Nigeria’s Delta state, church members identified two armed men who came to the church building the night of April 10 and shot and stabbed pastor Stephen Akpor as Fulani herdsmen. He was 55.

Pastor Akpor, whose residence was on the church premises, was praying and counseling members of his church in Ibusa at about 8:30 p.m. at Breakthrough Cathedral, a local fellowship of the Celestial Church of Christ, church leaders told Morning Star News via text messages. “Two herdsmen came to a branch of our church, Celestial Church at Ibusa in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta state, where they shot him as he was praying and counseling five members in the church,” a senior leader of the church, Isaiah George, church, told Morning Star News.

Pastor Akpor reportedly retreated to his room before the assailants shot him through a window. The pastor’s wife was inside the building at the time, but she and the other church members escaped unhurt, George said. “The herdsmen shot the pastor several times and then stabbed him to death,” he said.

Another church leader, Peter Lotobi, said he received a phone call at the time of the herdsmen attack and immediately contacted police. “By the time the police got to the church, the herdsmen had already killed the pastor and retreated from the church premises,” Lotobi told Morning Star News. “His corpse was removed and taken by the police to the mortuary of General Hospital, Ibusa.” Pastor Akpor reportedly is survived by five children along with his wife.

Attacks by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen, most of them in the north-central part of the country, have drifted to southern Nigerian states as far back as 2016. Recently Muslim Fulani herdsmen in southern communities have reportedly taken over farmlands.

March 22 – Herdsmen attacked Div-Nzaav village in Kwande County as Christians were about to begin worship in the village church. “The Fulanis attacked us on Sunday; they shot and killed Tarfa Simon, while Ngusonon Kighir, a woman and member of our community, was cut with a machete,” Amande said in a text message to Morning Star News.

The attacked members of the Universal Reformed Christian Church (Nongu u Kristu u i Ser u sha Tar, or NKST) who escaped fled to Jato-Aka village, he added. “The herdsmen also kidnapped two Christian women from the village who were rescued a few days after the attack,” Amande said. “These attacks against us by the herdsmen have become incessant for several years.”

March 5 – Herdsmen also attacked Mbanyiar village in Guma County at about 2 a.m., residents said. Oliver Tyoor Chado of Mbanyiar said the herdsmen kidnapped his wife and destroyed houses, food and animals belonging to Christians.

“The herdsmen, who were about a dozen, were armed with AK-47 rifles,” Chado told Morning Star News. “My wife and two other members of our village were kidnapped and taken away by the herdsmen; but they were eventually rescued by security agents after they were tortured by the herdsmen.” He said displaced Christians have fled to Daudu town.

March 6 – In Guma County, seven NKST members were killed when Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked villagers at a funeral wake in Chongu village, sources said. Chongu resident Zaki Usuah he and others were holding a wake at about 11 p.m. when the Fulani herdsmen attacked. “The wake was for one of our deceased elders in our church, NKST church, who was to be buried the following morning at Chongu,” Usuah said. “Suddenly we heard sounds of gun shots all around us. Those killed in the attack include Chikwa, Taza Abuur, Tarnum Yanum and four others.”

March 3 – In Abaji village three weeks earlier, also in Kwande County, armed herdsmen stormed the area in droves, residents said. They attacked at about 10 a.m on March 3, according to area resident Aloysius Yaga.

“Eight of our people were killed, and six others were kidnapped by the herdsmen during the attack,” Yaga told Morning Star News by text message. “The herdsmen shot indiscriminately at us and injured many others through machete cuts. I narrowly escaped being killed.”

March 2 – In northwestern Nigeria, Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Niger state on March 24 killed at least 20 people in two predominantly Christian villages and on March 2 kidnapped eight Christians in raids on a mission station, sources said.

The attacks on the villages of Galkogo and Zumba, killing more than 20 people, displaced 3,000 people, area residents told Morning Star News.

In Niger state’s Shiroro County, Fulani herdsmen raided a school in Maruba run by Calvary Ministries (CAPRO), kidnapping four missionaries, two volunteer staff members, another staff member and one student, according to Niyi Gbade, the ministry’s national director. Ask God to release them unharmed now,” Gbade told Morning Star News in a text message. The school’s head teacher was shot and received hospital treatment, he said. “Pray for the remaining missionaries on the base, that they will not be kidnapped, and that those being held should be released from any form of captivity,” Gbade said.

Herdsmen also raided Global Glorious Mission in Gofa, Shiroro County, on March 22, forcing missionaries and students to flee into bushes, according to a mission press statement last month. “The Fulani herdsmen entered, ransacked and looted our Gofa field of Shiroro LGA, Niger and environs,” the statement read. “Some of the brethren have gone back in the night, and some returning this morning. Please stand with us in prayer for God’s intervention over this menace.”

In the past year, armed Fulani herdsmen have carried out a series of raids on Christian communities in the northwest, sending people fleeing to camps for the displaced.

On Jan. 30, (CSI) issued a genocide warning for Nigeria, calling on the Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council to take action. The warning was issued in response to “a rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants in the country’s north and middle belt regions.’

Dr. Samson Ayokunle, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President said, “Christians have become an endangered species in their own country. “Nigeria is under a siege orchestrated by the murderous bloodthirsty and criminally-minded Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani terrorist herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers.” He also called the government to account for its inaction in the face of the escalating conflict and the culture of impunity in Nigeria.

sources here, here and here

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.

One Dead, Several Injured in Islamist Attacks on Copts in Egypt

Christians-Egypt

(Morning Star News) – One Christian is dead, several others have been wounded and a fire gutted a church building after Muslims across Egypt waged a weekend of violence against Copts.

In Tahana El-Gabal village in Minya Governorate, on Sunday night (July 17) Fam Mary Khalaf, 27, was overpowered by a group of Muslims who stabbed him repeatedly in the chest. One of the knife stabs went directly into his heart, killing him instantly, a statement from the local parish reported.

Three others were seriously injured in the attack: Nagib Hanna, father of the Rev. Metaous, a local Coptic priest; Malak Aziz, brother of the Rev. Boutrous, another local priest; and Azza Jouma, a Christian neighbor of the three victims, was stabbed in the face.

The attack started when four Muslims began harassing Metaous’s primary school-age son as his grandfather was looking after him outside his home. The men threatened to run the boy over, witnesses told human rights activists investigating the incident. Once the stabbing began, the group of four quickly grew into a mob of more than two dozen screaming, “Stand by your Muslim brother!”

The assault was one of numerous cases of violence against Copts in Minya Governorate over the past few months, including an attack in May in which an elderly Coptic woman was stripped, beaten and paraded naked through her village streets because of a rumor, later shown to be false, that her son was having a romantic relationship with a Muslim woman.

Ishak Ibrahim, a human rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), said the attacks in Egypt and specifically in Minya continue because no one is being punished for committing them.

“What happened in Minya is nothing but a natural result of not enforcing the law in previous sectarian attacks against the Copts, and forcing the Copts to go through reconciliation meetings and obey illegal solutions that are demeaning,” he said.

The Tahana El-Gabal stabbing death came about a day after a mob of Muslims, enraged over a rumor that a church building was being constructed in the governorate, attacked Copts in their village. Starting shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday (July 15), groups of Muslims set on the Copts in the village of Abu Yacoub, causing minor injuries and torching five homes.

The attack lasted into the early morning hours of Saturday (July 16). Firefighters showed up several hours after the structures had been destroyed.

The bishop of Minya, identified according to tradition only by his consecrated name, Makarious, said in a press statement that the rioting mobs were in complete violation of the law and that there was no excuse for the violence.

“Nobody has the right to attack others and kill and destroy their property, no matter what,” he said.

The Abu Yacoub riot was the second such incident in 15 days to take place in Minya Governorate over a rumor that a church building was being constructed, and the third in the country in 30 days. In a surprisingly similar incident, on June 30 another mob rioted in response to a rumor of the building of a church in Kom El Loofy village in Minya Governorate. The 300-strong mob torched four Coptic-owned homes and otherwise harassed or assaulted Copts.

On June 17 in Amriya, a village south of Alexandria, local Muslims accused area Copts of building a church in a Coptic-owned construction site and began rioting. The mob assaulted Coptic men in the village and then attacked and looted several Christian-owned homes and a Coptic community center.

In the Amriya attack, police later arrested six Muslims and six Copts, including the owner of the construction site. The Muslims were released with no charges, in time to break the Ramadan day-time fast, but the Christians were charged with holding prayers without permission and building without a permit, then released the following morning.

The EIPR’s Ibrahim said the anti-church riots pose a dangerous problem for Copts, because they indicate that even if laws in Egypt change to allow them to freely construct church buildings, certain elements of Egyptian society still wouldn’t allow it.

“The government is not strong enough to protect the Copts from all these attacks,” he said.

Authorities are now trying to force Coptic communities in all the cases into what is known as a reconciliation process. Instead of criminally charging the perpetrators of Christian persecution, the government seemingly does everything it can to force victims into “Reconciliation Committees.”

Reconciliation Committees are based on traditional tribal councils, where two equal entities come together to solve a dispute. The committees are supposed to lead to equitable justice for all parties, but because Copts have significantly less power coming to the table than members of the Muslim majority, they are often victimized a second time instead of receiving justice. In some cases, Copts have been made to pay damages to attackers who destroyed their property in unprovoked incidents.

Bishop Makarious has urged all the victims to stand firm and refuse to participate in such committees because the perpetrators so often escape without punishment.

“We’re going to continue demanding the enforcement of the law and will not give up,” he said. “Every time they are set free, that is just encouraging others to do attacks in the same way, because they feel they are protected by the government.”

While mobs are burning down Coptic homes, churches are destroyed in mysterious fires. On Saturday (July 16) at 2:30 a.m., Copts rushed out into the streets of Al-Madamoud in Luxor Governorate to find flames shooting out of the roof of the Church of the Archangel Michael. An iconographer restoring the church’s religious paintings was stuck inside the building on the top floor in a room for visitors.

He had been allowed to sleep in facilities on the top floor of the church building. He was screaming for help and was about to jump, likely to his death or at least a crippling injury, but the gathered crowd was able to save him with a ladder.

When people pushed open the doors of the church building to go inside and fight the fire, they found the altar engulfed in flames and the blaze spreading everywhere. The men and women began trying to douse the flames with garden hoses and bottles of drinking water. By the time firefighters arrived two and a half hours later, the building was gutted.

The next morning, Safwat Samaan, director of human rights group Nation Without Borders, was able to visit the scene. Members of the congregation crowded into the blackened shell of the build with tears welling up in their eyes.

“It broke my heart to see old men, eyes full of tears and women wailing,” he said.

Now members of the congregation are afraid authorities will claim the fire was accidental, as officials nationwide have in so many other church building fires. Authorities claim the fires are accidental, started by unattended candles or an electrical short, even when no candles are present and electricity is shut off to the building.

That was the ruling in the fire at the Catholic Church of St. George, also located in Luxor Governorate, which caught fire under mysterious circumstances on April 20 at 3 a.m. Authorities claimed the fire was the result of either unattended candles or a short in a wire, but there were no candles, and a church attendant had turned off the main electric line to the building.

Because of the similarities between the fires at the Church of the Archangel Michael and the Church of St. George, many Copts have suspicions that a serial arsonist is targeting churches in Luxor, Samaan said.

“I wonder if this was just an accident, or if this was a planned arson, but the results will be in the hands of the firefighters and the police,” Samaan said. “I am concerned they will come to yet another all too convenient ruling.”

Asia Bibi’s Life Hangs in the Balance as Radicals Call for Her Death!

Asia

(Voice of the Persecuted) Muslim radicals, 25,000-strong at the peak of their demonstrations, ended a four-day sit-in at a high-security “red zone” near Pakistan’s federal parliament. On Wednesday, they claimed victory after the government made a deal to not change the country’s notorious blasphemy laws misused against minorities.  They assured that no amendments will be made to provision 295-C of the penal code, which states that “Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death.” It was also claimed they will not show leniency to anyone convicted under them. It’s an extremely dangerous situation. Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan.  Even unproven allegations can stir up huge mobs and extreme violence as seen in the case of a Christian man and his pregnant wife brutally tortured then thrown into a firey kiln oven. Whole communities violently attacked and burned down for an unverified claim of blasphemy. Revenge attacks as the suicide bombing carried out on Easter at a Lahore park which was meant to target Christians. The radicals have promised future attacks.

Mumtaz Qadri became a hero to fundamentalists after killing Salman Taseer, Punjab’s 26th governor, in 2011. His murder sent shockwaves throughout the country. Trained as an elite police commando, Qadri was assigned to Taseer as his bodyguard. He shot and killed the politician and a year later was sentenced to death.  He claimed it was his religious duty to kill Taseer, who had been an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, supported liberal reforms and championed for Aasiya Noreen, better known as Asia Bibi.

Bibi is a Christian mother of 5 who was sentenced to death for blasphemy. Bibi upholds she is innocent of the charge, but her court appeals have been unsuccessful. Christian Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was also murdered for advocating on her behalf and opposing the blasphemy laws. Her family was forced into hiding after receiving death threats. Extremists have promised to kill Asia if she is released from prison and her death sentence not upheld. Even those exonerated of blasphemy charges are at great risk, even murdered by radicals when released.

The extremists erupted in violent protest at the decision to execute the assassin. They are now calling for Asia Bibi’s execution. They blame her for Qadri’s execution and view her death as an eye for an eye.

When Saif-ul-Mulook, a Muslim, took her case his fellow lawyers said, ‘You have hammered the last nail into your coffin.” Mulook was also the special prosecutor in the murder case of Punjab governor Salman Taseer. Police have been stationed at his home as a plot to assassinate him had been revealed.

take action

Please contact your Senator or representative and ask them to act immediately.

Contact Your Elected Officials

Voice of the Persecuted letter to elected officials.

We at Voice of the Persecuted condemn the ongoing persecution against Christians in Pakistan. We are extremely concerned for the welfare of Asia Bibi who is being wrongfully held and sentenced to death on false blasphemy charges. Asia’s life hangs in the balance and is in grave danger. A government official recently claimed that security has been increased following intelligence reports that Islamist groups are conspiring to have her killed inside the prison to avenge the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri—an extremist who claimed it was his religious duty to kill Punjab’s 26th governor, Salman Taseer in 2011. Qadri is hailed as a hero by a large number of Muslims in Pakistan. Taseer, had been an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, supported liberal reforms and championed for Asia Bibi.

The risk of her being hung for her Christian faith has never been greater. No one should be put to death for their religious beliefs. Please put pressure on the Pakistani government to stop violating her human rights, revoke her death sentence and her immediate release. We ask that you help to protect her from extremists. In the event of her release please help to save her from certain death by assassination. Asia and her family will need to be immediately evacuated and given refuge in a country who can protect her human right to worship freely and live in peace. It’s important to act today before it’s too late!

Nigerian Christian Cries Out For Prayer As Christians In Nigeria & Niger Come Under Attack

Praying-22355

(Voice of the Persecuted) In communication with a dear Christian brother in Nigeria, he cried out to the global Body of Christ for intercession and prayer. Overwhelmed feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and sorrow resonated throughout the conversation. Still processing the unimaginable horrors that have been witnessed, proved difficult to convey at the moment. Looking directly into the face of evil in the scenes of death and slaughter, has broken many warriors and has taken a vast toll on victims and those coming to comfort them. They are inconsolable, repeating over and over “it’s worse, it’s worse, it’s worse everyday.”

Trying to verify recent reports in the media from Nigeria, we wanted reactions to the recent UNSC declaration condemning Boko Haram. We felt this declaration fell way short of the action needed in terms of aid and protection for the thousands of Christians suffering at the hands of Boko Haram. Their response,

“We are used to this type of statement coming out from the UN. But it is Christians that are suffering the most. When we engage them on the issue of mainly Christians being targeted, they debate the attacks are not only against Christians. What evidences is the UN looking for apart from the several videos released by BOKO HARAM? Repeatly, their leader says, “this war is against infidels”, meaning Christians. And again he stated, “any nominal Muslim that did not render support for them will be attacked”, yet the Western world will not open their eyes to the truth. Everyday we have been killed like animals. Abandoned, left on our own with no one to help us.”  

It seems as we have said numerous times, the UN holds a blind eye to the plight of Christians in Nigeria, throughout Africa to the Middle East and Asia. And yes, they are also killing Muslims, but not so indiscriminately as being reported. They are targeting Muslims who do not want to witness this type of violence or conform to Sharia Law.

We have confirmed the reports of the torching and killing in Niger. In the name of protests relating to the Charlie Hebdo secular newspaper who lampoons all religions, not Islam alone. This violence occurred against Christians by Muslims taking revenge for the cartoon portraying Mohammed. It was described by those on the ground as one of the worst yet. BBC reported that a Boko Haram flag was seen at the protest, and that a Christian School and Orphanage were also torched along with many churches. Niger’s President attended the Unity Rally in Paris, which fueled anger with the 99% Muslim majority population. One question should be raised, If they were angry with a cartoon by a secular newspaper, why target Christians? Our Nigerian brother also expressed great concern for those in Niger, being sure we were aware of the attack.

Beyond advocating and bringing awareness to Christian persecution, we are offering aid to those suffering in extreme conditions. We at Voice of the Persecuted have made Nigeria one of our top priorities. Countless hours of prayer and discussion has gone into our decision to move them, along with Pakistani Christians to the forefront of this mission. When it comes to awareness and aide, Christians in these two nations are practically invisible to the world. But these dear brothers and sisters are very visible and not forgotten by this mission.

Our Nigerian brothers and sisters are desperate and hurting beyond measure or comprehension. So many have been widowed and orphaned. The numbers astronomical and heart rending for these dear ones. God has laid it on our hearts to care for those widowed and the orphaned through persecution. We are designing this mission, (Project 13:3 NIGERIA) to be organized with consideration to coherently assist in their immediate and ongoing needs. To truly make a difference, we cannot desert them and must stay updated on their physical and emotional well-being. To encourage and help them find ways to rebuild their lives and sustain themselves. But we can’t do it alone.

We do not work in some luxurious office in a beautiful building with high rental fees. Humbled and honored to do so, we have volunteered all our time to expand this mission and give hope to those suffering in the Body for Christ. We have purposely kept our administrative expenses low, always looking for ways to keep those costs to the bare minimum. We have pledged to maintain this stance, so your support can go directly towards aid projects, not astronomical salaries and internal expenses. The needs are great and if God is laying it on your heart to help, we will make sure your donation counts in the lives of those suffering. We will update as we send comfort, though confidentiality plays a significant role in our reports, hesitating even to post pictures for fear of retaliation against the victims. It’s that volatile and we must also protect our advocates working in these nations. Our Nigerian advocate tells us that the urgent and immediate need, which transcends monetary aide is the need for prayer. They are pleading for our prayers.

We spend hours in communication with persecuted Christians encouraging and praying with them, which we consider to be the most important part of this mission. Prayer is our most powerful weapon against this evil. Won’t you pray with us, won’t you join with us sharing love for our brothers and sisters. Thank you so much for your continued voices, your prayers and support. Again, we can’t do this alone. With your generous support we can supply their basic needs, one family at a time.

Voice of the Persecuted

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you.

This article may be shared with credit to Voice of the Persecuted

Christmas: Solidarity With The Victims Of The Massacre In Peshawar

pray-for-Christians-pakistan-Voice of the Persecuted

Our hearts and prayers are with Pakistan as it mourns these precious souls.  One Pakistani Christian remarked as these events were unfolding, “they destroyed a generation.”

Lahore (Agenzia Fides) – For Christians in Pakistan, Christmas 2014 will be marked by prayers and moments of solidarity for the victims of the massacre in Peshawar, where the Taliban killed more than 130 children in an army school. Many churches have set up altars with images of victims and lighted candles. Archbishop Joseph Coutts, President of the Episcopal Conference, has launched an appeal so that the Christian community reflects on the message of hope and peace that Christmas brings. In a message sent to Fides, Peter Jacob, a Catholic activist for human rights, reports that 11 parishes and several churches in the city of Lahore have decided to cancel or postpone until after January 1, some programs and events (Christmas carol concerts, shows, games) that were planned to celebrate Christmas. According to deacon Shahid Mehraj, of the Cathedral of Lahore, “there is pain and concern” over what is seen as “an attack on the future of Pakistan”.  At Christmas, he informs “we will dedicate a special candle lighting ceremony to those who lost their lives in the attack”. “Christmas brings a message of hope to the world. The birth of Christ was also marked by a massacre of innocent children by King Herod. In the context of this bloodshed, Christ was born as a symbol of hope”, he says, pointing out the similarities with the Pakistani context today. For this, he concludes, “now is a time to spread the message of love and brotherhood in Pakistan”.  Christians remember that Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born on December 25, also for this reason the country should reflect on his vision and the country that Jinnah dreamed: a united, open, tolerant, peaceful nation, free from hatred and violence. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 22/12/2014)

We also want to remember Asia Bibi & those imprisoned for their faith, and the Christians there who have lost their lives for their faith in Christ.  Remember our brothers and sisters still there facing persecution.   May we always remember that Christ is the light in this darkness, and always let that light shine through us.

Pray for Pakistan

  • Pray for God’s healing power
  • Pray for God’s mercy
  • Pray for the light of Christ to shine through this darkness
  • Pray for comfort, knowledge, wisdom and guidance

Credit:  Original photo from wiki-media commons By (Matthew Bowden http://www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/148763) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons)

Updates From The Killing Fields Of Nigeria

boko-haram-4

(Voice of the Persecuted) Our contacts on the ground tell us that the recent attack with mass kidnappings is indeed true, but the numbers are not final.  And “It is definitely a case of persecution.” We have also learned this was a mostly Muslim village and they were attacked for their resistance to Boko Haram.  Boko Haram unrest: Nigerian militants ‘kidnap 200 villagers’.

In the past we have reported that Boko Haram, Al-Queda, ISIS and Al-Shabob are connected in their quest to form a super highway of ‘Terror’ from Syria to the coast of Africa.  Their goal is to install a caliphate with a brand of ‘sharia’ law that is demonic and dishonorable. One they plan will control the world.  Their acts of violence unite them under one banner, extending their chaos to encompass the entire region.

Victims who survive these attacks are sold into slavery or are forced to fight in their maniacal battles.  While France is attempting to rally the African Union states to combat this evil, Nigeria is embroiled in a political fight for new leadership. (more)

Today we received confirmation of yet another horrendous and inhumane attack on the elderly too weak to flee Gwoza.   Extremists in Nigeria lining up elderly and shooting them (AP via Yahoo News)

The Boko Haram released a video to journalists late Saturday, two days after fleeing villagers reported the extremists are rounding up elderly people and killing them in two schools in Gwoza, in northeast Nigeria.

In the video, one member is saying they are being killed because they are ‘infidels’ or non-believers.

‘We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels,’ the group leader says in a message.

‘From now, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombing will be our religious duty anywhere we invade.’

There are so many corpses the gunmen have difficulty stepping to reach bodies still twitching with life. Most appear to be adult men.

We will update you on the facts as new reports come in.

The numbers vary of those killed in the last 5 years. The MSM has begun saying in the thousands, while others say at least 2,000, with one report saying that 1.6 million people have been displaced. However, the Nigerian media is reporting that, the five-year uprising by the extremists has killed more than 13,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million others from their homes.

pray-for-nigeria-e1419122041286

The army has virtually been ineffective in controlling or combating the radical Islamic group.  In some instances, striking fear where they should be providing comfort.

Guinea’s president warned Sunday that Nigeria’s brand of Islamic extremism risked spreading throughout west Africa and called on countries in the region to do more to help Nigeria in its struggle against Boko Haram. The Islamic group has extended their activities to neighboring countries and in particular, Cameroon. Many of Nigeria’s displaced have fled to Cameroon. They are staying in horrific conditions at refugee camps beyond the brink of capacity.

Boko Haram, ISIS and the rest are some of the wealthiest group of bandits the world has ever seen.  In some cases as with ISIS, they are making millions of dollars a day with seized oil assets.

Meanwhile the trail of tears and suffering they leave is unimaginable to the West.  We have learned of the dark side of these events with children in the thousands who have lost parents and are now left to die in the elements.  The staggering number of widows & orphans flock to churches in the thousands, placing burdens that can not be measured.  The work of organizations and missions for aid is not enough when so many gather for what little food is handed out.   We hear about the starvation and those subject to illness, due to lack of proper food, and medicine. Orphans who can barely care for themselves, taking on the care of orphaned babies while they are practically babes themselves.

It’s hard for us to share the many photos we receive, worried they may again become targets of the militant terror group.  Men who have allowed evil to enter their hearts, carrying out acts as if possessed by demons.  Their lives and protection of the persecuted are of the utmost importance to us. But it’s truly heartbreaking.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for the leadership of Nigeria and courage and strength
  • Pray for the leadership of Nigeria for strength & courage, knowledge and wisdom while combating the militants.
  • Pray for comfort, strength, courage and protection of those suffering.
  • Pray for the steadfastness they need to endure suffering without giving up hope.
  • Pray that God’s peace will guard their hearts and minds.
  • Pray for God’s mercy over Nigeria.
  • Pray for caring hands, to provide comfort to the orphaned, widows, and the many fleeing.
  • Pray that those who are called to be the hands and feet of Christ for these people will answer this call.
  • Pray for the militants to miraculously have a change of heart and come to our Lord and Savior.

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support.

Voice of the Persecuted

pray for nigeria2

%d bloggers like this: