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Praying for Believers in Egypt and Morocco

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday March 22, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the Persecuted Church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

Tonight, on the prayer conference call, we will pray as the Holy Spirit leads for Christians in Egypt and Morocco.

Hebrews 13:3 “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

We will continue to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (Nightly as the Lord leads us to pray for Ukraine)

From any location on your phone

Time: (Note: USA time zones – please check your time zone)

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

‘Proselytism’ Conviction of Convert from Islam in Morocco Overturned

morocco christians

(Morning Star News) – An appeals court judge in Morocco today overturned a conviction against a Christian convert from Islam who had been sentenced to 30 months in prison for alleged proselytizing.

The judge in the Court of Appeal in Fez dismissed the case against Mohamed El Baladi, 31, because of lack of evidence, sources close to him said.

“The case has ended,” said one source close to El Baladi who requested anonymity. “The file will be closed on the 13th of February after a routine administrative process is finished.”

On Aug. 28, in the remote town of Ain Aicha, Taounate Province, 50 miles from Fez, security officials arrested El Baladi for alleged proselytizing of two Muslims after someone complained to police about a conversation he allegedly had with them about his faith. During the arrest, police insulted El Baladi for leaving Islam and tried to force him to reveal names of other converts to Christianity.

Police eventually raided his home where they seized several Christian CDs, books and magazines, along with the 5,000 dirhams, sources said.

On Sept. 3, no more than a week after his arrest, a court in Taounate found El Baladi guilty of attempting to incite at least one young Muslim to leave Islam and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, along with fining him 1,500 Moroccan dirhams (US$182). (See Morning Star News, Sept. 13, 2013.)

Human rights advocates said his hearing was irregular at best, with authorities finding El Baladi guilty without any legal representation and handing down the fine exceeding the maximum allowed by law. The penalty for violating Article 220 of Morocco’s penal code regarding “proselytism” is six months to three years in prison and a fine of up to 500 dirhams (US$60).

The penal code describes proselytizing as any attempt to stop someone from exercising their religious beliefs or from attending religious services. It is also illegal for anyone to employ “incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion.”

Authorities on Sept. 26, 2013, made the unusual decision to release him from prison until his appeal hearing. There were two scheduled court hearings for the appeal, one on Oct. 10, which was postponed, and one scheduled for Dec. 26, when the judge was absent; a previous report from Morocco published by Morning Star News that the court heard arguments on that date was later found to be inaccurate, although long-denied defense arguments were filed and the hearing was rescheduled for today (Feb. 6).

Having a conversation about one’s faith is not generally considered proselytizing in Morocco, but sources confirmed reports that El Baladi was set up by an uncle with whom he had a previous dispute. The uncle hired two teenage boys to feign interest in Christianity, and police were on hand to arrest him for proselytizing minors when he met with them a second time (see Morning Star News, Oct. 11, 2013).

Strict interpretation of sharia (Islamic law) condemns apostates from Islam to death, though that is not the case in Morocco. Moreover, converts from Islam in Morocco say the government tends to prosecute more noticeable evangelists. A quiet Christian convert is unlikely to run into problems other than from family, but “active” Christians who attempt to tell others about their faith will likely run into problems with government agencies, especially if they live in a rural area or a small city.

Police monitoring of converts, including phone conversations, is common, one convert from Islam said.

The West has generally applauded Morocco’s new constitution of 2011, which provides for a fair trial and presumption of innocence until proven guilty for those accused of breaking the law. But a fatwa issued in 2012 by the governmental High Council of Ulemas, the highest religious authority in Morocco that called for the execution of converts, has caused concern among human rights and religious freedom advocates.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is seen as a moderate, but Islam is the official religion of the state, and the king’s titles include, “The Defender of the Faithful.” Christians are also suspicious as his government shares power in a coalition that includes the Justice and Development Party, which is considered to have links with the Muslim Brotherhood; the group calls for a society governed by Islam.

On Dec. 28, 2005, Christian convert Jamaa Ait Bakrim was sentenced to 15 years in prison for proselytism and for destroying the goods of others by burning two abandoned telephone poles touching his property.

In March 2010, the government expelled at least 33 Christian foreign residents from the country. Among them were 10 adult Christians, along with their children, who were running The Village of Hope, a foster daycare center for orphans. The foster children were turned over to the care of people they did not know.

In addition to the expulsions, roughly 81 people were declared “persona non grata” for alleged proselytizing.

There are about 8,000 Moroccan Christians out of a population of almost 35 million people, according to the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report of the U.S. Department of State.

Verdict for Moroccan Convert from Islam Sentenced for ‘Proselytism’ Expected Feb. 6

Fez, Morocco. (Wikipedia, Zimaal)

Fez, Morocco. (Wikipedia, Zimaal)

 A Moroccan appeals court on Thursday (Dec. 26) heard arguments for a Christian convert from Islam hastily sentenced to prison for alleged “proselytizing,” sources said.

The Court of Appeal in Fez is expected to deliver a ruling on Feb. 6.

Mohamed El Baladi was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Sept. 3, just a week after his arrest on Aug. 28, in a court in the northern town of Taounate, 50 miles from Fez. Unlike that occasion, when the court convicted him before police allowed him to obtain legal representation, several defense lawyers were on hand yesterday at the hearing.

Authorities on Sept. 26 released him from prison after international outcry over his conviction. El Baladi, 31, was charged with inducing young Muslims to convert, punishable by six months to three years in prison and a fine of up to 500 dirhams (US$60), according to Article 220 of Morocco’s penal code. El Baladi’s fine of 1,500 dirhams exceeded the maximum, and police also took 5,000 dirhams from his home during the raid, a source said.

Police in the remote town of Ain Aicha, Taounate Province, arrested him for alleged proselytizing, vilified him for leaving Islam and pressured him to reveal names of other converts to Christianity, sources said (see Morning Star News, Sept. 13). Strict sharia (Islamic law) condemns apostates from Islam to death.

Mohamed Oulad Ayad of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights reportedly said he hopes the sentence will be reduced to a one-month suspended sentence and fine of no more than 500 dirhams.

Human rights advocates say El Baladi’s conviction and sentencing violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Algeria is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which implements provisions of the UDHR.

Along with the 5,000 dirhams police stole, gendarmerie also seized several Christian CDs, books and magazines, sources said.

The West has generally applauded Morocco’s new constitution of 2011, which provides for a fair trial and presumption of innocence until proven guilty for those accused of breaking the law.

While police monitoring and harassment of Christians is common in Morocco, El Baladi’s case comes as Christians have become increasingly unsettled by persecution and violations of religious freedom. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is seen as a moderate, but Islam is the official religion of the state, and the king’s titles include, “The Defender of the Faithful.” Christians are also suspicious as his government shares power in a coalition that includes the Justice and Development Party, considered to have links with the Muslim Brotherhood; the party calls for a society governed by Islam.

On Dec. 28, 2005, Christian convert Jamaa Ait Bakrim was sentenced to 15 years in prison for proselytism and for destroying the goods of others by burning two abandoned telephone poles touching his property. In March 2010, the government expelled at least 33 Christian foreign residents from the country. Among them were 10 adult Christians, along with their children, who were running The Village of Hope, a foster daycare center for orphans. The foster children were turned over to the care of people they did not know.

In addition to the expulsions, roughly 81 people were declared “persona non grata” for alleged proselytizing.

There are about 8,000 Moroccan Christians out of a population of almost 35 million people, according to the 2012 International Religious Freedom Report of the U.S. Department of State.

Morning Star News

Moroccan Christian Jailed For Evangelizing

Morocco

A Moroccan Christian man has been jailed for two-and-a-half years and fined for evangelizing.

Mohamed el Baldi, 34, from the town of Ain Aicha, near Fes, was ordered to pay 5000 dirhams ($600) for “shaking the faith of a Muslim”, at a court hearing on September 3.

He was arrested after his house was raided on August 28 and items linked to his faith such as his Bible were confiscated.

Propagating Christianity is prohibited under Article 220 of the Moroccan Penal Code. The law states that it is unlawful to stop one or more persons from practicing their religion by force, violence or threats.

By law, the maximum punishment for this offence is three-to-six months’ imprisonment and a fine of 200 to 500 dirhams. However, el Baldi has been punished much more strictly.

El Baldi, who is understood to have converted to Christianity around seven years ago, admitted friendship with two American Christians, who provided him with Christian materials, and confirmed that he attended Christian meetings in the cities of Meknes and Rabat.

During the court hearing, his mother was said to have been hysterical and to have asked Allah to exact revenge on whoever “tampered” with the mind of her son.

Morocco is ranked 39th in the Open Doors International’s World Watch List, which reports on countries where it is difficult to practice Christianity.

In 2010, a number of foreign Christians were declared as “a danger” to the country and expelled.

Of the 33 million population of Morocco, over 99 per cent is Muslim. The rest is comprised predominantly of Christians and Jews.

Source

Spain: “Soon the Muslims Will Be the Kings of the World”

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(Gatestone Institute) While Spanish Muslims are busy trying to Islamize Spain, Spanish politicians are busy removing all references to Christianity from public discourse…The requirement which will be enshrined in Spain’s legal code law, represents an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence.

Spanish police have arrested a Muslim immigrant in Mallorca after he claimed to have been sent by Allah to “kill all the Spanish.”

The arrest follows a series of other Islam-related incidents in recent weeks and months which reflect the mounting challenge that radical Islam is posing to Spain.

In the latest incident, police on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca arrested a German national of Tunisian descent on June 13 after he repeatedly threatened to carry out terror attacks in the name of Allah.

According to Spanish authorities, the man made “constant threats of death and references to being a Muslim” and warned,

“I do not mind dying; if I have to die, I will die, but I will take plenty of others with me.”

The man threatened to blow up a hairdressing academy in the Mallorcan capital of Palma and “kill everyone.”

The man said he had “terrorist friends who could plant bombs” and warned that “soon the Muslims will be kings of the world.”

Spanish police said the man — who had previously been arrested on February 15 for threatening to kill a local policeman — became radicalized after visiting Tunisia in 2012.

On June 12, police in Barcelona arrested five Tunisian jihadists for “inciting Islamist terrorism” after they shared more than 400 videos on social networks of speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as footage of summary executions, terrorist attacks and tutorials on bomb-making.

The Spanish Interior Ministry said the individuals had undergone “strong processes of self-radicalization which led them to embrace the thesis of Salafist jihad.”

The arrests were part of Operation Carthage (Operación Kartago), a nationwide, year-long effort to “neutralize” so-called lone-wolf jihadists as well as Islamists with combat experience returning from conflict zones in Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

Shortly after the arrests, Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz announced that the government would seek to amend the Penal Code to make it a crime of terrorism 1) to give or receive “passive training” by means of “proselytization in prisons” for those serving sentences for crimes of jihadist terrorism, and 2) for imams to “indoctrinate” in mosques or on the Internet or by travelling to Islamist training camps abroad.

Díaz said the legal change is necessary because although Spanish law already makes it a crime of terrorism to “indoctrinate,” prosecutors have found it difficult to prove that those who are involved in terrorism-related training are personally committed to carrying out actual attacks.

Spanish judges have long been accused of using the ambiguous legal framework to justify the lenient treatment of suspected terrorists. For example, four of the five individuals arrested in Barcelona were released from jail on June 14 after a judge decided that keeping them in preventative detention constituted “excessive” punishment.

On June 5, police in Barcelona arrested a Pakistani immigrant after he attacked the bodyguard of local politician with a metal rod. The politician in question was Alberto Fernández Díaz, the leader of the center-right Popular Party in Barcelona who also happens to be the brother of Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz. The Pakistani, whom police describe as being a “radical Islamist,” was shouting chants of “for Allah!” while carrying out the attack.

On May 24, police in the Basque city of Bilbao arrested a 44-year-old Muslim immigrant from North Africa after he raped and cut the toe off a 25-year-old female social worker. According to local police, the man tied the woman to a chair and gagged her with a curtain after she told him he would be evicted from an apartment building for violating the housing rules.

On May 10, police in Gibraltar deported to Spain a Turkish member of Al-Qaeda who entered the British territory illegally. Cengiz Yalcin had been arrested in Spain in August 2012 along with two Chechens for plotting to drop explosives from remote-controlled airplanes onto a shopping mall in Gibraltar during the 2012 London Olympics.

A police raid of Yalcin’s apartment in 2012 yielded enough explosives “to blow up a bus.” The raid also yielded three motorized para-gliders and a video in which Yalcin is filmed flying a large remote-controlled model airplane.

Spanish investigators said they suspected the cell was testing a remote-controlled airplane as a potential bomber. The video footage showed the aircraft — about three meters, or nine feet, long — being maneuvered into a descent during which two packages were dropped from both of its wings.

The three suspects , however, were quietly released on bail in March 2013 after a judge in Madrid ruled that there was insufficient evidence to keep them in custody.

In April, it was revealed that up to 60% of Moroccan immigrants in Spain are unemployed and living off the Spanish social welfare state. According to the Barcelona-based Friends of Morocco Association (ITRAN), many Moroccans in Spain do not know the language “despite having lived here for many years…they are uneducated and qualified only to work in construction, farming and restaurants. The ghettos are becoming larger, the various government administrations are guilty of a remarkable neglect and now the excuse is that there are insufficient financial resources.”

Also in April, an Islamist group known as the Moroccan Ghosts [fantasmas marroquíes] hacked a local government website in Huelva, a town in southern Spanish region of Andalusia.

The hackers uploaded an apocalyptic image showing the Spanish flag in flames with the words: “By attacking your websites we are going to destroy your economy.” The text continued, “You have always believed that our silence in relation to your continual mortal errors towards the kingdom of Morocco and the great Moroccan people is due to fear.” The message continued with a call for Islamic terrorism, and warned Europe and Spain that they will be the targets of a series of attacks that will turn into their “worst nightmare.”

The message also included innumberable references to Al-Andalus, the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492.

Many Muslims believe that the territories they lost during the Christian Reconquista of Spain still belong to them, and that they have every right to return and establish their rule there.

While radical Muslims are busy trying to Islamize Spain, Spanish politicians are busy removing all references to Christianity from public discourse.

In May, the Socialist government running the northern Spanish region of Asturias passed a new law that prohibits schools from using “religious terms” when referring to the Christmas and Easter holidays.

In an effort to “avoid offending the sensibilities” of Muslims students, teachers and pupils in Asturias classrooms will now have to refer to Christmas as “winter holidays” and Easter as “second term holidays.”

In February, Spain acceded to the demands of the Islamist government in Morocco by agreeing that Moroccan children adopted by Spanish families must remain culturally and religiously Muslim.

The agreement obliges the Spanish government to establish a “control mechanism” that would enable Moroccan religious authorities to monitor the children until they reach the age of 18 to ensure they have not converted to Christianity.

The requirement, which will be enshrined in Spain’s legal code, represents an unprecedented encroachment of Islamic Sharia law within Spanish jurisprudence. The move also represents a frontal assault on the freedom of religion or belief, which is protected by Article 16 of the Spanish Constitution.

Spanish Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón’s decision to make Spanish law comply with Islamic Sharia law has generated considerable controversy. But it remains to be seen if any lawsuits emerge to challenge what some are calling the “Islamization” of Spanish jurisprudence.

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.

Christians should be concerned. This very well may lead to further persecution.

Prisoners Set Free- Worldwide attention for persecuted Christians

Success Stories

Does advocacy work? Here’s just a few of our recent success stories:

35 Christians Released from Prison in Saudi Arabia

On December 15th, 2011, 35 men and women were arrested at a private prayer service in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. All 35 were Christians and Ethiopian citizens. During their interrogation, some of the men were physically beaten and the women were forced to undergo strip searches. Local authorities openly accused them of being “unbelievers” and friends of American and Israel. ICC broke the news a few days later and in January held a conference call with the U.S. State Department, urging the U.S. to take action on the case.

After four months and two ICC sponsored protests outside of the Saudi embassy in D.C., we took an underground pastor who was familiar with the prisoners to Capitol Hill and held twenty-four meetings with Congressional offices in the House and Senate. This resulted in calls directly from our nations leaders to the Saudi ambassador as well as Saudi officials being called to House offices to explain the arrest in person. We soon heard from our sources in Jeddah that orders had “come from above” for the release of the prisoners, who had never been officially charged with any crime.

It appears that local authorities were angered by the order to release the prisoners and delayed as long as possible, but finally, in early August, 2012, all 35 prisoners were released and sent back to Ethiopia after almost 8 months of detention.They reported that pressure from the outside had been instrumental in ending their stay in a Saudi jail.

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Justice for Christians in Ethiopia

In the first week of March, 2011, Muslim militants killed one Christian, burned down 69 churches and several Christian homes in Asendabo, Ethiopia. More than 10,000 were displaced in the violence due to the severe losses and fear of continued attacks. ICC was the first organization to break the news about the attacks and draw international attention to the impunity of perpetrators after the violence took place. ICC collected over 1,100 signatures from 50 nations worldwide, and worked with 14 offices of US federal representatives, commissions, and the State Department calling for known perpetrators to be judged in Ethiopian courts. This June, ICC was the first to learn that 579 Ethiopians were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 3 months to 18 years for taking part in the violence. An additional 107 individuals are accused of terrorism and the public prosecutors have brought charges against them in federal court. Eight individuals suspected to be among the masterminds of the violence are still at large, but Ethiopian authorities are searching for them.

Christians Released from Prison in Ethiopia

In March, 2011, ICC used government contacts to advocate on behalf of a Christian brother imprisoned in Ethiopia. After a few weeks he was released and cited ICC advocacy efforts as the reason for the release.

Then, in October, 2011, ICC discovered that three Ethiopian Christians had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel to Muslims. An employee of ICC contacted the prison officials responsible for the arrests and warned them that their detention of the Christian men for preaching was not only illegal, but that it had caught the attention of the outside world. Within days all three Christians were released from prison.

Nigerian Advocacy Efforts Picked up in Nigerian Press

We brought a church leader from Nigeria to the US to highlight the tragic slaughter of Christians that is happening in that country.  ICC organized two weeks of meetings with Senators, Congressmen, State Department officials, NGO’s, and local churches. These meetings resulted in two Congressional inquiries to the Nigerian legislature expressing alarm at the situation. The Nigerian press picked up on this and added further to ongoing actions enforcing justice for those who have failed to protect the hundreds of Christian victims.

Plight of Moroccan Christians Highlighted for First Time

In 2010, we brought a high-profile expelled Moroccan to the US to highlight the recent deportations of Christians and the underlying persecution of Moroccan Christians. He met with Congressmen who are leading an effort to hold the government of Morocco accountable for persecution. Because of his visit the plight of local Moroccan Christian’s was highlighted for the first time in an official hearing and he was able to submit testimony for the Congressional Record.

In June, 2010, ICC brought attention for the first time to the case of Jamaa Ait Bakrim, a Moroccan Christian who has been in prison for his faith since 2005. This has led to other organizations picking up the story; attention and pressure continue to build for his release.

Eight Months of Work Pay Off Imprisoned Afghan Believer Freed

Said Musa, a convert to Christianity, was imprisoned in Afghanistan in May of 2010. Within weeks, ICC visited Afghanistan to obtain an overview of the case and work on a strategy to get him released. Since then, we have been working steadily behind the scenes on his case with Senators, Congressional Representatives, the State Deptartment, and the press.

One of our early successes was to get him moved to a safer prison after we received a smuggled letter from him detailing his physical and sexual abuse. Upon receipt of the letter, we immediately met with a government agency to alert them to the case. We told them we would go public with the case unless he was moved to a safer cell. Since this kind of case is highly inflammatory, they didn’t want it going public.

The day after our meeting, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul immediately sent representatives to meet with Said in prison to ascertain his status. Three days after the meeting, he was moved to a safer cell away from Taliban prisoners. Following that initial meeting, we made numerous visits and calls to lawmakers and government officials to move the case forward.

Over the course of several months, ICC’s president and regional manager gave countless interviews to the highest profile newsmakers, including Fox News, Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, World Magazine, the AP, and the Washington Post, to name a few. All the hard work paid off in late February when we received news that he had been released. We had the honor to be the first to tell the world that he was free and in safety.

ICC Petitions Around the World

ICC petitions have been translated into Arabic and French, picked up by human rights organizations, and have supporters from around the world including many persecuted countries.

Source

An Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity

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by Raymond Ibrahim

While it is easy to confuse the recent jihadi attack on Egypt’s St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo as just more of the usual, this attack has great symbolic significance, and in many ways bodes great evil for Egypt’s millions of Christians.

Consider some facts: St. Mark Cathedral—named after the author of the Gospel of the same name who brought Christianity to Egypt some 600 years before Amr bin al-As brought Islam by the sword—is not simply “just another” Coptic church to be attacked and/or set aflame by a Muslim mob (see my forthcoming book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, for a comprehensive idea of past and present  attacks on Coptic churches). Instead, it is considered the most sacred building for millions of Christians around the world—above and beyond the many millions of Copts in and out of Egypt. As the only apostolic see in the entire continent of Africa, its significance and evangelizing mission extends to the whole continent, including nations such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, to name just a few. As an apostolic see—the actual seat of an apostle of Christ—the cathedral further possesses historical significance for Christianity in general.

In short, Muslim mobs—aided and abetted by the state of Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood tutelage—did not merely attack yet one more Coptic church, but rather committed an act of war against all Christianity. Such an open attack on a Christian center which holds symbolic and historic significance for all Christians—St. Mark, whose relics are in the cathedral and who authored one of the four Gospels of the Bible, belongs to all Christians not just Copts—was an open attack on a universally acknowledged Christian shrine. It was precisely these sorts of attacks on Eastern and Orthodox churches—including the destruction of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem in 1009—that presaged the way for the crusades (back when Christianity was not utterly fragmented and disunited as it is today).

Put differently, this jihadi attack on St. Mark Cathedral is no different for Copts than a jihadi attack on the Vatican would be for Catholics. Or, to maintain the analogy, but from the other side, it would be no different than a “crusader” attack on the Grand Mosque of Mecca for Muslims.

While one can only imagine how the world’s Muslims would react to a “Christian/Western” assault on their most sacred of shrines, “post-Christian” Western leaders, as usual, stand idly by (not unlike Egyptian state security, which stood idly by as the Muslim mob opened fire on the cathedral).

As for Egypt’s Copts, they certainly did rally to the defense of Egypt’s, if not the entire continent of Africa’s, most important cathedral—hence the draconian response from Egypt’s interior ministry (one eyewitness said security intentionally fired 40-50 gas bombs into the compound, knocking out many Christians, including several women and children). Just as Egyptian forces were wroth with Copts when they demonstrated against the ongoing attacks on their churches in Maspero in 2011—slaughtering over 20 Christians, including by intentionally running them over with armored-vehicles—it appears that Egyptian forces were quite irked with “dhimmi” Copts boldly defending their holiest site.

On the other hand, that Copts rallied to the defense of their cathedral—or, as Reuters characterized them, “an angry young fringe … of Christianity may also be turning to violence—has further validated the Western mainstream media narrative that Egypt’s Christian minority is somehow equally violent and responsible for the so-called “sectarian strife”—euphemism for Muslim persecution of Christians—plaguing Egypt.

The symbolical significance of this latest Muslim attack on Christianity was confirmed by several activists. For example, Coptic Solidarity President Adel Guindy said, “Attacking the seat of the Coptic Pope is unprecedented in the last two centuries. It was a deliberate and humiliating act demonstrating the growing Salafist-espoused culture of hate and aggressive behavior towards all non-Muslims. It amounts to a State crime.”

Even the Coptic Pope, who must always be diplomatic lest his comments exacerbate matters for his flock, did not equivocate the severity of this assault on Coptic Christianity’s most sacred spot—not to mention his primary residence. Among other things, Pope Tawadros said that President Muhammad Morsi had “promised to do everything to protect the cathedral but in reality we don’t see this…. We need action not only words… There is no action on the ground.” The Pope further confirmed that “This flagrant assault on a national symbol, the Egyptian church, has never been subjected to this in 2,000 years.”

The Pope’s comment “we need action not only words” was in response to President Morsi’s declaration that “I consider any attack on the cathedral an attack against myself”—a declaration he made even as Egyptian state security were firing tear gas canisters into the cathedral compound and standing by watching as Muslims also opened fire on the cathedral and hurled stones and Molotov cocktails, all of which was captured by photos. (Even so, and as usual, the only people to be arrested in connection with this latest assault on Egypt’s most important cathedral were Copts themselves.)

Instead of words—which, from Islamists, are absolutely worthless—what Morsi needs to address is the fact that the most unprecedented and symbolically lethal attack on a Christian place of worship in post “Arab Spring” Egypt took place right under his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s authority (under Hosni Mubarak, “not so much as a pebble”—as one activist put it—was thrown at the St. Mark Cathedral, a national landmark).

This of course is consistent with the fact that, unlike all former Egyptian presidents, who were all Muslim, Islamist President Morsi is the first president to refuse to enter a church—whether during the ceremonious installation of the nation’s new pope or whether during Coptic Christmas ceremonies. Could this be because the pious Morsi believes that a Christian church is like “a nightclub, [or] a gambling casino” as a prominent Egyptian fatwa council declared? Could it be that he, like other popular Muslim leaders, simply hates and is disgusted by Christians?

At any rate, here is the Muslim world’s latest, most flagrant, assault on Christianity, even as Western leadership yawns—that is, when it’s not actively enabling such anti-Christian animus through its wholesale support for the “Arab Spring.”

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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