Home » Posts tagged 'murdered'
Tag Archives: murdered
(Morning Star News) – Tribal Hindus persecuted a widowed, Christian mother of four before her body was found severely mutilated in the wilderness near her village in Chhattisgarh, India, sources said.
The body of 40-year-old Bajjo Bai Mandavi was initially unrecognizable as it appeared to have been eaten by wild animals when it was found two miles into the wilderness near her native Kumud village, Kuye Mari, on May 29. She was last seen going into the wilderness of Kondagaon District to collect firewood on May 25.
The death threats, deprivation of water and shunning she had suffered at the hands of villagers who were upset that she left their blend of Hindu and traditional tribal rituals led family members and area Christian leaders to believe she was raped and killed before animals fed on her body, they said.
“There was no way to find out who the people were who raped my sister-in-law and then murdered her, so police and the authorities thought best to call it an attack by a wild animal,” a sobbing Bhajnath Mandavi, her brother-in-law, told Morning Star News.
Bhajnath Mandavi is the younger brother of Bhola Mandavi, who died of an illness four years ago, leaving Bajjo Bai Mandavi with children who are now 6, 8, 12 and 17.
Villagers had met four times to discuss action against her, area pastor Rupesh Kumar Salam told Morning Star News.
“She was threatened and asked to leave her faith and re-convert, but she boldly took a stand for her faith,” said Pastor Salam, who leads a church of about 120 people in nearby Kue Mari.
Bajjo Bai Mandavi had attended Sunday services there regularly with her children. In Kumud village, hers was one of just two Christian families among 21 other families.
The tribal Hindu families prohibited her from fetching water from the common village tap, forcing her to walk miles for it, Pastor Salam said.
“She bravely fought all the odds and refused to deny her faith even after she started to receive death threats from the Hindu extremist villagers,” Pastor Salam told Morning Star News. “Bajjo Bai became a Christian a little more than three years ago, and since then had faced severe opposition from the villagers.”
She regularly talked about the threats and shunning she and her children faced from the tribal Hindu villagers, he said.
“I always told her that we are praying for her and that everything will be fine – we could never imagine that she would face such brutality,” Pastor Salam said. “She was raped and then murdered by religious extremists for her Christian faith.”
Brother-in-law Mandavi said her own brother, who lives in her village, would not speak with her after she became a Christian three years ago.
“Nobody except one Christian family would speak to Bajjo Bai and her children,” he said.
An influential, tribal Hindu family in the village likely had a hand in the alleged rape and killing, said a source close to her family who requested anonymity.
“The villagers and all of us know who they are, but no action would be taken against them,” the source said. “They have a lot of money to enable them to keep themselves out of any trouble.”
If a homicide, it would be the third religiously motivated killing of a Christian in India within a few weeks. In Bari village, Jharkhand state, followers of tribal religion on June 7 abducted and killed Kande Munda. On the night of June 4 in Odisha state, followers of tribal religion abducted 16-year-old Sambaru Madkami for his faith before stabbing and stoning him to death.
In Uttar Pradesh state on May 28, villagers tried to kill pastor Dinesh Kumar in an ambush that left him unconscious.
Foul Play Dismissed
The remains of the semi-naked body were found in the wilderness by the driver of a passing tractor loaded with road construction material, Pastor Salam said.
The driver notified police, and Christians arrived at the site of the body with officers, he said.
The head of Kumud and four other area mountain villages, Gurcharan Bhandari, denied any foul play.
“She was probably killed by a wild animal,” Bhandari told Morning Star News.
Though he had not seen the police report, he said that it states that she was killed by a wild animal. Family members and church leaders also have not received a copy of the police report.
The village chief said an autopsy took place at the site where the body was discovered. Though neither he, victim family members or church leaders have received a copy of the autopsy report, Bhandari said it indicated that she was mauled to death by a wild animal.
The village chief said it was common for wild animals to attack humans in the wilderness but admitted that no such attack had ever taken place in the area where she was collecting firewood. He said the last attack took place three years ago in a far different part of the wilderness.
Bhandari said he suspects a bear might have killed her but could not explain why only her legs appeared to have been eaten.
Siya Yadav, who pastors a church in Keshkal 18 miles from Kumud, said he saw the body while driving his car after road construction forced him to a detour through the wilderness on May 28, but that he did not stop to look closer.
He visited the site later and said a wild animal possibly fed on the body after it lay in the wilderness for days.
“We could see that she died at one spot where the bundle of the sticks lay – there were evident marks that she was dragged by a wild animal to another spot and from there to the third spot,” Pastor Yadav told Morning Star News.
Search for Justice
Brother-in-law Bhajnath Mandavi said he is caring for the deceased’s two younger children. The 12-year-old child has been living with another relative 30 miles away for the past year, he said.
“I am still in shock. I do not know what the future of her four children will be,” said Mandavi, who was unable to attend his sister-in-law’s funeral due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
The oldest son, a contract laborer in Tamil Nadu state, was also forced to miss the funeral due to travel restrictions, he said.
“The eldest son could not come home even at his mother’s death,” Mandavi said.
Bajjo Bai Mandavi had supported her family as a daily-wage laborer. A senior pastor and Christian leader in the area said converts to Christianity in India’s rural areas increasingly face the threats and shunning she suffered.
“Social boycott is very real,” Pastor Son Singh told Morning Star News. “It is practiced even against high-ranking government officials when they accept Christ, so what can we say about this woman who was just a poor person and also a widow?”
Chhattisgarh Christian Forum President Arun Pannalal said Bajjo Bai Mandavi’s death exemplifies violence against Christians that is routinely dismissed.
“This is a crime against a minority community, and the authorities are not doing anything about it,” Pannalal told Morning Star News. “The Chhattisgarh Christian Forum will move to the High Court if this matter is not taken seriously.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on April 28 urged the U.S. State Department to add India as a “Country of Particular Concern” to its list of nations with poor records of protecting religious freedom.
India is ranked 10th on the Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has worsened since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.
(Raymond Ibrahim) Hate for and Violence against Christians
Cameroon: Militant Muslims reportedly connected with the Nigerian based Islamic terror group, Boko Haram, “reached new heights” of depravity, according to a report: after devastating the Christian village of Kalagari in a raid, they kidnapped and fled with eight women. Some of the women were later released—but only after having their ears cut off (image here). The report adds that Boko Haram “has terrorised Christian communities in Nigeria for the last decade and has now splintered and spread its violent ideology into Cameroon, Niger and Chad.”
Nigeria: On August 29, Chuck Holton, a CBN News reporter, aired a segment on his visit with Christian refugees who had fled Boko Haram’s incursions into their villages. Among the stories of death and devastation, the following, spoken by a young man, stood out: “On 29 September 2014 was the day that they attacked my village. Around ten I had a call that they have killed my dad. They asked him to deny Christ and when he refused they cut off his right hand. Then he refused [again], they cut to the elbow. In which he refused, before they shot him in the forehead, the neck, and chest.” “Many of the 1,500 Christians living in this camp have similar stories,” adds Holton.
Indonesia: A Muslim preacher in a Christian majority region referred to the Christian cross as “an element of the devil,” prompting outrage among Christians and some moderates. Sheikh Abdul Somad made the comment during a videotaped sermon when he was asked why Muslims “felt a chill whenever they saw a crucifix.” “Because of Satan! Was his response: “There’s an evil jinn in every crucifix that wants to convert people into Christianity.” Christians and moderates condemned his words. Even so, “I can’t imagine the reaction if it had been another preacher of a different religion insulting an Islamic symbol,” observed one moderate. “There would have been a tsunami of protests, with the perpetrator severely punished.” Sheikh Somad responded by releasing another video; his excuse was that he was unaware that non-Muslims might hear his words: “The Quran reciting session was held in a closed mosque, not at a stadium, a football field, nor aired on television,” he explained. “It was for Muslims internally. I was answering a question about statues and the position of the Prophet Isa (Jesus) relative to Muslims.”
Burkina Faso: Although most mainstream media downplay the religious element in Muslim on Christian violence in Africa, attacks on the Christians of Burkina Faso have become so flagrantly based on religion that the Washington Post published a report on August 21 titled, “Islamist militants are targeting Christians in Burkina Faso.” Its author, Danielle Paquette, explained that “A spreading Islamist insurgency has transformed Burkina Faso from a peaceful country known for farming, a celebrated film festival and religious tolerance into a hotbed of extremism.” She noted that the jihadis have been checking people’s necks for Christian symbols, killing anyone wearing a crucifix or carrying any other Christian image. In a separate report discussing several deadly attacks on Christians and their churches, Bishop Dabiré said, “If this continues without anyone intervening, the result will be the elimination of the Christian presence in this area and — perhaps in the future —in the entire country.
Egypt: Authorities reinstated Sheikh Yasser Burhami, a notoriously “radical” cleric and hate preacher, to the pulpit (minbar) despite strong opposition. Burhami had previously issued numerous fatwas—edicts based on Islamic scriptures—that demand hate and hostility for non-Muslims, most specifically the nation’s largest and most visible minority, the Christian Copts, whom Burhami has referred to as “a criminal and infidel minority,” and has invoked “Allah’s curse” on them. He once went so far as to say that, although a Muslim man is permitted to marry Christian or Jewish women (ahl al-kitab), he must make sure he still hates them in his heart—and show them this hate—because they are infidels; otherwise he risks compromising his Islam. Burhami has also stated that churches—which he refers to as “places of polytheism (shirk) and houses of infidelity (kufr)”—must never be built in Egypt. He issued a separate fatwa forbidding Muslim taxi and bus drivers from transporting Christian clergymen to their churches, an act he depicted as being “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar.” Burhami’s fatwas also include calling for the persecution of apostates, permitting Muslim husbands to abandon their wives to rape, permitting “marriage” to 12-year-old girls, and banning Mother’s Day. In a video, Dr. Naguib Ghobrial, a Coptic activist, politician, and head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization—which over the years has lodged 22 separate complaints against Burhami—repeatedly questioned Egypt’s leading religious authorities’ decision to reinstate the hate preaching sheikh:
Is what Burhami teaches truly what Islam teaches—is that why no one has done anything to him [in regards to the 22 complaints lodged against him]? Truly I’m shocked! Please answer Sheikh of Al Azhar; please answer Grand Mufti: are the things Burhami teaches what Islam teaches? Is this why none of you oppose him or joined us when we lodged complaints against him?… Why are you so silent? Amazing!
The Slaughter of Christians
Pakistan: “A ten year old Christian child who chose to work in a dangerous scrap factory so he could support his mother who had to fend for a family of two boys and a drug-addict husband, was raped and tortured before being killed by his Muslim employers,” according to a report (with photos). Badil, 10, worked at the men’s factory in order to support his impoverished mother, Sharifa Bibi:
I worked hard for many hours just for the sake of my two sons so that they would not have to suffer as I have suffered without education. My son Badil couldn’t bear to see the struggle of his mother and insisted on working to help the family—despite my insistence that he avoid work till he was older. Badil was such a responsible son. Daily before leaving for work he asked me what should bring in the evening from his wages. I insisted that he kept his money for himself, but he brought groceries like sugar, rice, flour, ghee daily.
Badil had to walk long distances and work for many hours a day to earn the equivalent of one dollar a day. Soon his employer began to cheat him on his wages. His mother insisted that he quit, but the boy persevered; at one point he took his younger brother, 9, with him to help. When the employers refused to pay his brother anything for his contribution, Badil finally decided to quit—which angered his Muslim employer. His younger brother recalls:
As Mr Akram heard this he ran to hit Badil but Badil ran from the shop and Akram gave chase. However, A friend of Akram was standing nearby on his motorcycle and told Akram to sit behind him, then both men chased Badil till they caught up with him. Akram then got off the motorcycle and dragged Badil back to the store. They took Badil inside the store which is full of scrap. For half an hour I was completely unaware of what was happening with Badil inside. Eventually both men came outside and pretended as if nothing had happened inside. I thought my brother had also left the store from another exit so I went to look for him. I searched vigorously for 15 minutes and then saw my mother [approaching to walk the boys home], so I rushed to her to tell her what had happened.
Sharifa and her younger son searched frantically for Badil and finally found him collapsed on the ground near their home. They rushed to him, thinking he was exhausted from the day’s work and subsequent thrashing, but quickly realized that he was barely breathing: “At this point the whole situation was too much to bear for Sharifa who began to scream and wail hysterically,” the report notes. Badil was taken to a hospital where, seven hours later, the boy was pronounced dead. His brother “has been traumatised following his brother’s death and hasn’t left his house since and often screams in terror thinking the men responsible will take him too.”
Cameroon: A Bible translator “was butchered to death on Sunday morning [August 25] during an overnight attack while his wife’s arm was cut off,” according to a report: “Bible translator Angus Abraham Fung was among seven people said to have been killed during an attack carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen sometime during the early hours of Sunday morning in the town of Wum, according to Efi Tembon, who leads a ministry called Oasis Network for Community Transformation.” Fulani herdsmen are Muslim and the chief persecutors of Christian farmers in Nigeria. “They went into houses and pulled out the people,” Tembon explained: “They attacked in the night and nobody was expecting. They just went into the home, pulled them out and slaughtered them.” Fung’s wife, Eveline Fung, who had her arm hacked off was last reported as receiving a blood transfusion at a local hospital.
Attacks against Apostates and Evangelists
Iran: Authorities sentenced a 65-year-old woman, a Muslim convert to Christianity, to one year in prison, on the charge that she was “acting against national security” and engaging in “propaganda against the system.” According to the report, “The hearing was owing to her arrest shortly before Christmas when three agents from Iranian intelligence raided her home and took Mahrokh to intelligence offices where she endured ten days of intensive interrogation before she was released after submitting bail of 30 million Toman (US$2,500).” Friends of the woman said that “the judge was very rude and tried to humiliate Mahrokh after she disagreed with him.”
Separately, a Kurdish bookseller in Bokan, Western Azarbaijan province, was arrested for selling Bibles. According to the August 27 report, “Mostafa Rahimi was arrested on 11 June on charge of selling bible[s] in his bookstore, and he was released later on bail until the court issued his sentence. Hengaw Organization for Human Rights has learned that Rahimi is sentenced to 3 months and 1 day imprisonment. Later in mid-August he was arrested again, and he is currently at the central prison of Bokan.” Another report elaborates: “Iran’s government is officially Islamic, and authorities actively restrict access to Bibles and other Christian literature. Sharing one’s faith is categorized as a criminal offense, usually of the national security nature. The authorities often pressure Christians so extensively, routinely violating their human rights, that they are given no choice but to escape their country.”
Somaliland: An August 16 report shares the experiences a married Muslim woman, 32, underwent after her husband discovered a Bible in her possession.
“I told my husband that I found the Bible in Nairobi and wanted to read it,” the woman responded. “He just pronounced the word talaq [Arabic for divorce] to me. I knew that our marriage had just been rendered null and void because I joined Christianity, so without wasting time I left the homestead…. There and then he took our two daughters [ages 4 and 7] away from me and divorced me. He gave me a stern warning that I should not come close to the children, and that if I do, he will take the Bible to the Islamic court and I will be killed by stoning for becoming an apostate.”
Her former husband proceeded to expose the clandestine Christian to her Muslim family. “My brothers beat me mercilessly with sticks as well as denying me food,” she said. “I feared to report the case to the police or the local administration, because they will charge me with a criminal offense of apostasy in accordance with the sharia.” She has since relocated to an undisclosed location: “God has spared my life, and my fellow underground Christians in other regions of Somalia have received me and shared the little they have, but I am very traumatized.” According to the report,
Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims. Somalia is ranked 3rd on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
Pakistan: After opening a summer education program for the youth, a Christian family was “terrorized” and forced to shut down on the accusation that they were clandestinely trying to convert Muslim children to Christianity. According to a family member: “We started a project for interfaith harmony and education teaching marginalized children from different faiths about a year ago. In June, we started a summer camp that provided a free program for children that have dropped out of school. The design of this program was to provide guidance for these children to become civilized and tolerant.” Two weeks into the summer program, a group of men, two of whom were armed, stormed into the academy, did violence to the property and harassed the children, and beat one of the instructors: “They threatened us with consequences if the academy was not shut down. They alleged that we were promoting Christianity and were doing Christian evangelism. For safety and security, we had no other choice but to obey the extremists and shutdown the academy…. I don’t want to lose my son or any family member. This terrorizing incident has already put us into trauma.”
In a separate incident in Pakistan, around 4 a.m. of August 2, seven Muslim men stormed into a parish house, where they tied up and savagely beat two young priests, Fr. Anthony Abraz and Fr. Shahid Boota, all while they “humiliated and abused them for preaching the Gospel in a Muslim-majority neighborhood.” The invaders also vandalized the building—including by breaking windows, bookshelves, and cupboards—and desecrated Christian objects, including Bibles, Christian literature, and icons. Afterwards, “We were told we will have to face consequences if this house is not vacated,” Fr. Abraz reported. “They said, ‘We don’t want a Christian center near the mosque.’”
Finally, increasing numbers of Christian girls continue to be targeted for kidnapping, rape, and/or forced conversion in Pakistan. According to one report,
In August, Yasmeen Ashraf, age 15, and Muqadas Tufail, age 14, were kidnapped and raped by three men in Kasur. The pair of Christian girls were taken when they were on their way to work as domestic workers. Also in August, another young Christian girl, named Kanwal, was kidnapped, raped, and forcefully converted to Islam by a group of Muslim men and a cleric in Lala Musa, located in the Gujart District. After reuniting her family, Kanwal shared that she had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and threatened with the deaths of her brothers if she refused to convert to Islam.
In the previous month of July, at least three similar cases occurred. “Oppression exists in different layers for Christian girls in Pakistan. They are suffering on the bases of gender, religion, and class. It has been documented that young Christian girls face higher levels of sexual harassment and are persecuted for their Christian faith,” Nabila Feroz Bhatti, a human rights defender in Lahore, said in response to the aforementioned incidents. Similarly, the Pontifical charity, Aid to the Church in Need, announced in August that it “is sounding the alarm on the plight of young Christian women, and even teenagers, in Pakistan who are forced to convert to Islam.” “Every year at least a thousand girls are kidnapped, raped, and forced to convert to Islam, even forced to marry their tormentors,” elaborated Tabassum Yousaf, a local Catholic lawyer.
Meanwhile, those who try to protect Christian girls are punished. On August 16, Maskeen Khan and two other Muslim men attacked the home of Bahadur Masih, a Christian. While holding a knife, Khan and his partners tried to rape Masih’s daughter, Rachel, but were prevented by the rudely awoken family that immediately and desperately responded. “Since the Christian family was defending themselves, Khan also got some injuries,” Ahsan Masih Sindhu, a local Christian political leader, reported. “The family handed Khan over to police and he got medical treatment. However, he later died in police custody.” Police arrested and charged four members of the family with murder, even though they were in their own home protecting their daughter from violent intruders. Other members of the family have gone into hiding due to threats from the dead would-be rapist’s relatives. “We are sad about the death of Khan, however, the Christian family did have the right to defend,” Sindhu explained. “The police must conduct a fair investigation into this incident.” Instead, police are denying the family the “right to defend” itself.
Attacks on Churches
Algeria: On August 6, police barged into a church during worship service, evacuated reluctant worshippers, and sealed the church building off. “I am deeply saddened by so much injustice – it breaks my heart,” Messaoud Takilt, the pastor said. “This is not surprising since other Christian places of worship have been closed and sealed as was the case today. But anyway, we will continue to celebrate our services outside while the Lord gives us grace for a final solution.” When police denied, with a veiled threat, his request to at least let the worship service conclude, “The assembly finally yielded and agreed to leave the premises, but with much pain. Some went out with eyes full of tears. ” Police proceeded to empty the premises of all furniture and sealed off every door before the distressed pastor (picture here). Responding to this latest church closure the World Evangelical Alliance issued a statement on August 12 calling on Algeria to cease closing and instead reopen churches. A portion follows:
We deeply regret that two additional churches were forcibly closed by administrative decisions, in May and in August 2019 in the city of Boudjima, northeast of Tizi-Ouzou in Kabylie Region. This brings the number of forcibly closed churches to 6, including one house church…. Many more churches are threatened with closure, amid denial of formal registration and recognition by authorities.
Indonesia: Muslim protestors compelled local authorities to revoke a permit for and cease construction of a Baptist church in Central Java. On August 1, residents went to the partially constructed church and padlocked its fence. A meeting was later held between the church, local residents, authorities, and others. Although the pastor displayed the governmentally issued permit to build a church, Muslim residents insisted that it was wrongly given, leading to a standstill in negotiations. In the previous month, July, two other churches were shut down in Indonesia following local protests.
Turkey: St. Theodoros Trion, an abandoned, historic church—the original Greek congregation of which was purged by the Ottoman Empire—was vandalized, including with genocidal slogans. According to the report,
The vandals sprayed hate speech across the church’s walls. The vandalism was largely a reference to the secularism that Ataturk, modern Turkey’s founder, had forced into the governmental structure…. Just a few years ago, the same church was targeted by Islamist vandals who wrote slogans such as “the priest is gone, he went to the mosque” — a reference to the country’s genocide and the forced conversions which occurred during this time. There are no Christians attending this church. All of the congregants were victims of the genocide. They faced death, deportation, and forced conversions. Those few who survived have since fled the country. The church currently stands as a historic monument to the Christianity that once was commonplace in the region.
Egypt: A Christian toddler was the latest, if inadvertent, victim of Egypt’s draconian restrictions on churches. According to an August 21 report, Youssed Ebid, a 4-year-old Christian boy (photo), was struck by a tractor while waiting outdoors for a bus to take him to church in another village. His own village is currently denied one, forcing its Christian residents to travel long distances to attend church. Many Christians in Egypt are in the same situation, and accidents during their long treks are not uncommon.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
About this Series
The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic. Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in 2011 to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that occur or are reported each month. It serves two purposes:
1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.
2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.
Posted on Gatestone Institute
(Voice of the Persecuted) In the latest attack on minorities in the country, Hossain Ali (68), a Christian convert was brutally hacked to death by suspected Islamic militants in the northern Bangladesh town of Kurigram. Witnesses claim during his regular morning walk, attackers jump out at Ali and slashed his neck. Law enforcement reported 3 unknown assailants fled the scene on motorbikes and that Ali died on the spot. They also reported that there had been disputes in the family and he may have been murdered for religious reasons.
Ali converted to Christianity in 1999. He had recently retired from government service. Locals also claim Hossain Ali was a pastor at a neighborhood church, although autorities have denied this claim. He was also a 1971 liberation war veteran.
In January, the Islamic State claimed the murder of Samir al-Din because he converted from Islam. Their statement, “Soldiers of the caliphate were able to eliminate the apostate, named ‘Samir al-Din’, by stabbing him with a knife,”
Despite ISIS claiming responsibily for a number of attacks, the government denies the presence of ISIS in Bangladesh and attributes the murders to the banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh. The nation seen a surge in Islamist violence as activists and religious minorities have been targeted.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Bangladesh. Pray endurance for the many who have converted to faith in Jesus across the globe.
HELP SAVE PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate the horrific suffering of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183
Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Amid reports of more Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen, a clergyman here told protestors that in the past 15 years he has conducted more funerals than weddings.
After leading hundreds of Christian demonstrators to the Plateau House of Assembly on Aug. 31, the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Kwashi, Anglican archbishop of Jos, said the deaths were the result of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen and Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
“As a pastor, I have conducted more burial services of those killed through attacks than weddings and naming ceremonies since 2001,” he said. “It’s sad to note that most victims of the attacks are harmless children, some infants, women and youth.”
Archbishop Kwashi, also addressing members of the House of Assembly, said urgent steps must be taken to curtail the violence.
“The Nigerian government must end the killings,” he said. “Attention should not be concentrated only in the northeast alone, as people too are being killed here in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and Kaduna states.”
Peter Azi, speaker of the House of Assembly, responded with a statement condemning unprovoked attacks on Christian communities in Plateau state. He gave assurances that parliamentarians were doing everything possible to urge the federal government address the violence.
A protestor, Teyei Paul, said the Nigerian government has been largely silent on the unprovoked killings. Quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s statement, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil,” Teyei said government silence is an indication of subtle support for the onslaught against Christians in Nigeria.
On the day of the protest, armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed five Christians in Tanabu village, Gashish District, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, including a community leader and a leader of a Women’s Fellowship Group of a an area Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), sources said.
An area resident whose identity is withheld identified the victims of the ambush as Maiungwa Akare Mangam, Mashingil Mangam, Paul Akare, Elizabeth Ezekiel and Josephine Sunday, all of the COCIN congregation in Tababu Makoli Gashish, Barkin Ladi LGA. The source told Morning Star News they were killed on their way to a local market.
“The five Christians were ambushed and murdered on Monday, Aug. 31, at 6 a.m.,” he said. “They were shot with guns, and their heads were smashed and their faces destroyed. The victims were on their way to Mai-katako market for business.”
He added that it was the second attack in two days.
“Two days earlier, on Aug. 29, Jol village was attacked by the same Fulani herdsmen,” he said. “In this village, the Muslim Fulani gunmen killed many of the villagers and wounded dozens of others.”
He said Jol village has been attacked more than 30 times.
“Several Christian communities in Barkin Ladi and Riyom have completely been uprooted and displaced,” he added.
The Rev. Dachalom Datiri, president of the COCIN, confirmed the killings.
“We did receive report from our local church in that village on the killing of our members, and like we have always stressed, there is the need for the Nigerian government to take necessary steps to end these killings of Christians in the country,” Datiri told Morning Star News.
One of the Christians leading protestors alongside Archbishop Kwashi in Jos, Daniel Meshak, said Christians have largely deserted Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs, with survivors living in displaced persons camps. He said 50,000 Christians have been displaced from their homes.
Istifanus Pwajok, member of the Plateau House of Assembly, told Morning Star News at the protest that there were more than 22,000 displaced Christians in eight camps alone. Another protestor whose name is withheld told Morning Star News that on Aug. 29 he witnessed the killing of a Christian in Riyom.
Boko Haram also has continued to target Christians. Addressing journalists a week earlier, the Rev. Samuel Dali, president of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, said the Islamic extremist group, which seeks to impose Islamic law (sharia) throughout the country, had destroyed denominational church buildings, hospitals and Bible schools in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
Dali said most Brethren pastors in the three states lost their lives or been displaced.
“Seventy percent of our churches have been destroyed in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states by Boko Haram, more than 8,000 of our members were killed and 176 of the girls kidnapped in Chibok are our members,” he said.
The Brethren church’s headquarters in Mubi, Adamawa state in northeast Nigeria have been moved to Jos following an attack on the church headquarters last year.
Nigeria’s State Security Service issued a statement from Abuja on Aug. 30 that it had arrested 20 Boko Haram members in different parts of the country, and that some of them were involved in carrying out bombings in Jos.
Among other forms of “retaliatory terrorism,” some 80 Christian churches were attacked in Egypt immediately after the June 30 Revolution, which saw the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood president Morsi.
And now that Egypt has sentenced to death hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters for the widespread terror they launched on the nation after the people’s revolution, the Brotherhood and its supporters are, once again, retaliating by attacking Coptic Christian minorities and their churches.
[On]Friday — the day when Muslims meet for prayers, the day when their imams incite attacks on churches and other forms of terrorism — in Ain Shams, a suburb of Cairo, “Muslim protesters attacked a Coptic Orthodox Christian church on March 28. Four people were killed in the attack on the church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael. Among the dead are a 25-year-old journalist and a Coptic Christian worshipper. When Egyptian security forces intervened, violence spread throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Muslim radicals are frequently whipped up into frenzy by their religious leaders on Fridays when they gather for prayer.”
Among other things, the attackers set fire to parked cars and opened fire on the church itself.
According to eyewitnesses, Sameh Merry, a Coptic Christian woman, was “murdered by Muslim protesters when they noticed that she had a small cross dangling from the rear-view mirror of her car. Other witnesses claim that she was killed because she was in possession of a firearm. Coptic Orthodox Bishop Raphael expressed condolences over the deaths.”
It’s certainly plausible to believe this woman was specifically attacked because of her Christian cross. Anecdotes of Christians being targeted and mistreated because of the cross are many and across the entire Islamic world (see pgs. 84-94 of Crucified Again). Recent examples can be read here, here and here.
VOP Note: The ministry of interior issued a statement saying four people were killed in clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces in Ain Shams in east Cairo on Friday.
Multiple reports can be found that Morsi supporters around the country took part in demonstrations by Islamists opposing the recent decision of former Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to run in the upcoming presidential elections.
The ministry of interior said it arrested more than 100 that day.
Ain Shams, a strong base for the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. In recent months it has witnessed intense confrontations between the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces.
A journalist from the independent Dostour newspaper, Mayada Ashraf, 22, was among the dead as she was shot covering the demonstrations in Ain Shams.
Also among the dead is a Coptic woman, Mary George, who was reportedly stabbed to death by pro-Morsi supporters in the same area.
It is disappointing that there is little being reported by the Western media, who once again remains silent. It should also be noted that little is said of the Christian factor relating to this story in a majority of reports that have been published.
Coptic Woman ‘Martyred for the Cross’ — ‘Body Torn’
Ibrahim also reports that
On his Twitter account, Coptic Bishop Raphaeil, who also serves as Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Christian Church, just wrote:
Oh how lucky you are, Mary, you who are beloved of Christ. They tore your body because of the Cross. Yet they offered you the greatest service and gave you a name of honor as one who attained the crown of martyrdom.
The bishop also quoted Christ in the Bible, “Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2).
In the above report there are conflicting difference on the reason Mary was murdered.
Ibrahim relays in his report,
It’s clear which version of events the Coptic bishop believes occurred — considering he asserts that she was martyred for the cross.
Incidentally, let us briefly contrast the Christian and Muslim notions of martyrdom. Koran 9:111 declares:
Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah , so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah ? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.
Even the authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary translates shahid (Arabic for “martyr”) as “one killed in battle with infidels.”
On the other hand, Christian martyrdom has always meant being killed — as opposed to killing — on behalf of the Christian faith.
And this is precisely the definition that for centuries has applied to Egypt’s Copts, till the present moment. You can also read his report here
A few days after seven Copts were identified as Christians, pulled out of their homes by “unknown gunmen” and taken out and executed in Jarutha, some 20 miles west of Benghazi (see here for graphic pictures), Egyptian Copts are still being singled out and killed.
This comes after the Islamic jihadi group, Ansar al-Sharia—which appears connected to Egypt’s now ousted Muslim Brotherhood—offered a reward to any Benghazi resident who helps them round up and execute the nation’s few Christians, according to Egyptian human rights groups.
Yesterday another body was found, believed to be that of a Copt—due to the small cross tattooed on his wrist traditionally worn by Egyptian Christians, not least to identify themselves.
And the day before that, another Coptic Christian, Salama Fawzi, 24, was shot at, including in the head, while he was unloading food in front of his grocery stand in Benghazi by several “unknown gunmen”; he is currently in critical condition.
Under Col. Gaddafi, many Copts migrated to Libya looking for work opportunities. However, since the dictator was ousted—and sodomized and murdered, to gleeful laughter by Hillary Clinton—Christians have been under attack there, from the arrest, torture, and killing of Christians accused of “proselytizing,” to the bombing and burning of churches in the north African nation, evincing the true nature of the U.S-supported “Arab Spring” takeover of Libya.
Can the press be complicit in crimes against humanity? Or is it obstruction of justice? How else to account for their failure to report the ongoing bloodshed and carnage inflicted upon Christians in the Middle East and North Africa?
Regardless of whether the mainstream media’s culpability is a sin of commission or omission – malevolence or malpractice – the result remains the same. Christians are being massacred and the world is oblivious.
Earlier this month, a representative from the Vatican appeared on Capitol Hill before a House subcommittee to discuss the “flagrant and widespread persecution” of Christians in the Middle East. One of seven speakers, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, noting that this growing threat targets all those who practice Christianity, Arab or not, explained that Christian communities in Syria are being decimated and worshippers kidnapped, shot or beheaded if they refuse to convert to Islam.
As January came to a close, a delegation of Christian leaders from Syria came to the United States to make their case about the plight of Christians in their country. Dr. Riad Jarjour, a Presbyterian clergyman, told a crowd at the Heritage Foundation, “If things continue the way [they are], there will come a time [when] there will be no more Christians in Syria.”
Echoing Dr. Jarjour’s fears was world-renowned authority on jihadist ideology and Islamic persecution of Christian minorities Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, Director of the London-based Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. Dr. Sookhdeo illustrated the point with an historical reference to the 1915 genocide of Christian minorities as their communities in Armenia and Syria were destroyed. At that time the West “stood by and watched.” As a witness to the current atrocities in Syria, Dr. Sookhdeo stood before the Heritage audience in supplication: “We would plead for your media to break the silence.”
Ultimately the question is: Why is the media silent about the horrors committed against Christians?
With all the turmoil engulfing the Middle East and surrounding areas, there is no shortage of reporters or news bureaus in that part of the world. Yet, the massacre of Christians doesn’t make the pages of the New York Times or warrant a spot on the NBC Nightly News.
On Tuesday, mainstream media outlets reported the massacre of 29 students in Nigeria by the Islamist group Boko Haram. However, these reports fail to mention this group’s history of attacking Christian churches and villages as well as their message of “convert or die” to Christian women.
Since August 2011, the not-for-profit international policy council and think tank Gatestone Institute has been providing a monthly report tracking the “persecution of Christians in the Islamic world.” They specifically state that one of their objectives for this ongoing series is “to document that which the mainstream media often seems to fail to report.”
It’s hard to argue that traditional news outlets are not consciously avoiding the story. In November, one of the world’s most media covered individuals, Pope Francis, addressed the atrocities being committed against Christians in the Middle East when he declared, after meeting patriarchs from Syria, Iraq and Iran, “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.”
Strong words from the head of the Catholic Church. But newsworthy? Apparently not!
Do the mainstream media simply disdain Christians? I doubt it. Are they afraid of offending Islam? A safe bet. The fact is that nobody can truly tell what is in another’s heart. But what we do know about the current journalism profession is that the mainstream media outlets have a soft spot for the Obama administration. If President Barack Obama doesn’t acknowledge a situation as a crisis, then it isn’t one.
And that may be the underlying problem.
President Obama has avoided using his office to acknowledge the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa.
The family of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been held in Iran for over a year, was devastated to learn that the administration didn’t even attempt to secure his release when they entered into nuclear talks and eventual agreement this past November.
At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this month, the president pontificated, “We believe that each of us is ‘wonderfully made’ in the image of God. We therefore believe in the inherent dignity of every human being — dignity that no earthly power can take away. And central to that dignity is freedom of religion…”
“Wonderful” words from the leader of the free world. Unfortunately Obama’s homiletics and Washington’s social events don’t have very much impact on beheadings in Syria and the burning of churches in Nigeria. A diligent press, on the other hand – a press that doesn’t cherry-pick the atrocities it chooses to report, a press that keeps governments accountable – can indeed save lives and safeguard the dignity consecrated by President Obama’s rhetoric.
Paul Miller is an op-ed contributor to the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. He serves as principal of Pauliegroup LLC, a Chicago-based new media and political consulting firm. Follow Paul on Twitter @Pauliespoint.
A Christian Syrian family living in Alexandria, Egypt, was barbarically stabbed to death Monday in their home in the al-Ibrahimya neighborhood, Arabic media are reporting.
The family consisted of a father, 44, his wife, 35, their 6-year-old son, Michael, and the wife’s brother [other reports claim the wife’s sister].
After the murders, the house, where the family had been living for years, was set on fire by the murderers before being put out by authorities.
All four bodies were found bearing several stab wounds and other signs of extreme violence.
The wife and child had their throats slit, while the father appeared to have been stabbed to death.
Motive is currently unknown; the home was not robbed.
According to some preliminary reports, they were killed because they were supporters of the Bashar Assad government in Syria.
Islamists all around the Middle East and especially in Egypt strongly oppose and are supporting a jihad against the moderate Assad government in an attempt to oust it and set up a Sharia state in Syria.
Most religious minorities, including Christians, are supportive of the secular Assad regime, having seen the great violence done against fellow Christians by the Islamic rebels who deem them “infidels.”