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Persecution of Christians Radiates Outward from Hub in Northern India, Sources Say

Christians who obtained bail after being jailed on Sept. 11 in Pratapgarh District, Uttar Pradesh on false charges of forcible conversion. Photo: Morning Star News

“Incidents of violence and hate targeting Christians have risen to a never-before level in Uttar Pradesh,”

(Morning Star News) – Attacks on Christians that began in one area of Uttar Pradesh in July have spiked and spread, instilling fear in congregations throughout the state, sources said.

After several attacks in Jaunpur District in July, by the end of October persecution of Christians had spread to 32 of Uttar Pradesh’s 75 districts, rights activist Dinanath Jaiswar told Morning Star News, with some of those districts seeing assaults earlier in the year.

“Jaunpur District has emerged as the epicenter of violence against the Christian community,” Jaiswar said. “The frequency and intensity of the incidents took us by surprise. There were days when at least two or three incidents would be reported from different parts of Uttar Pradesh, and we would struggle on how to provide help to hapless Christians.”

Many pastors went into hiding since July, though in many cases their congregations were able to keep meeting, and all of the church leaders have since returned home, sources said.

“Many a time we have had to divide our team or call more people, just so we could stand with the people who were being targeted and arbitrate with the authorities for their release,” Jaiswar said.

“There is a sense of fear in the atmosphere,” a Christian leader said. “Which church would be attacked, and when, is a constant threat in the hearts of the pastors of Uttar Pradesh.”

Persecution of Christians in Jaunpur District spread like wildfire to nearby districts, making Uttar Pradesh the state with the most violence against Christians since January, rights activists said.

“Incidents of violence and hate targeting Christians have risen to a never-before level in Uttar Pradesh,” said the Rev. Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) and national director of EFI’s Religious Liberty Commission. “Whereas there were 50 incidents that were documented in the state of Uttar Pradesh last year as a whole, this year till [the end of] October we have already documented 64 incidents.”

September and October were among the worst months for aggression against Christians in the state, he said. EFI-RLC recorded 28 cases in September and 16 in October in Uttar Pradesh.

Since January, violence has broken out against Christians in districts of Azamgarh, Gorakhpur, Ghazipur, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Bareilly, Meerut, Agra, Lucknow, Mahoba, Mau, Pratapgarh, Varanasi, Kannauj, Pilibhit, Ghaziabad, Muzzafarnagar, Lakhimpur, Fatehpur, Raebareli, Sitapur, Meerut, Mirzapur, Hapur, Barabanki, Siddharth Nagar, Kanpur, Khushinagar, Gautam Budh Nagar and Kannauj, along with Jaunpur.

“It is a fact that the Christians living in the most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh, are facing heightened fear of threat to their lives for practicing their faith,” said A.C. Michael, national coordinator of minority affairs for the All India Catholic Union (AICU).

Pastors were routinely taken into police custody based on false allegations of forceful religious conversion, he said.

“In one such case, on Sept. 13, a Christian who was leading a prayer meeting was beaten up and warned of severe consequences if he continued to pray,” Michael said. “Christians in Jaunpur are in great fear of being attacked and are not even conducting prayers in their own homes.”

Police deliberately approached pastors’ homes late at night to harass them and their families, said a source who requested anonymity.

“Picking up pastors and Christian leaders after midnight, keeping them in police custody for 24 hours, is a technique to mentally harass them and to instill fear in them,” the source told Morning Star News.

Attacks on Christians in India have risen from 150-plus in 2014 to more than 250 already in 2018, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which undertakes legal advocacy for religious freedom.

“What should worry the Christian community, especially its leadership, is that out of three democratic pillars of India, both government and media are ignoring these seemingly systematic attacks on Christians,” an ADF press statement reads.

The third pillar, the judiciary, has more than 200 cases of false allegations of forcible conversion pending in various courts of India, including the Supreme Court, it adds.

Epicenter

The Hindu extremist targeting of churches started from the Bhulandih village, Jaunpur District, where pastor Durga Prasad Yadav leads the Jeevan Jyoti Satsang Prarthana Kendra (Light of Life Fellowship Prayer Centre).

Police also targeted Pastor Yadav, summoning and beating him in June. Between 7,000 to 8,000 people regularly attend his church services, according to reports.

On July 20, news portal jantakiawaz.org reported in Hindi that 95 percent of households in a Jaunpur village had become Christian. A subtitle read, “Christian missionaries running their campaign quietly but effectively. Conversions happening in the name of prayer…”

The portal updated the content the next day, and national Hindi newspaper Dainik Jaagran and other portals carried the same news.

On Aug. 3, an Additional Civil Judge in Pancham ordered registration of a complaint against Pastor Yadav and 270 other Christians. For Sunday services on Aug. 5, police provided protection from Hindu threats on his church at the pastor’s request.

Police on Sept. 5 registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Pastor Yadav and the 270 others based on the complaint by attorney Brijesh Singh. Christian leaders said that the police started to visit many area churches, questioning pastors, other Christians and whoever they could find on church premises.

Sources indicated that police began the harassment only after state officials became involved. Superiors at the Chandwak police station even removed a police officer, Shashi Chandra Chaudhry, from the Bhulandih village case for failing to act against Pastor Yadav and other Christians, according to local news outlets.

Meantime, news channels led by Zee TV created a furor with nearly 24-hour reporting on alleged forcible conversions in the Jaunpur area on Sept. 10-11. Christian leaders have slammed the coverage by Zee TV as inflammatory.

Between Sept. 11 and the end of the month, police arrested and detained many pastors, disrupted worship services and told people to go home and not attend anymore.

At the same time, Hindu extremists were targeting churches throughout the region, disrupting services and attacking Christians not only in Jaunpur but also other districts in Uttar Pradesh. Many pastors began to go into hiding.

Police Prohibit Services, Attendance

There are at least 10 megachurches in Jaunpur District alone, with about 25,000 people attending worship services, sources said.

“About six megachurches that were targeted by the police in Jaunpur are permanently closed since the initial attack,” rights activist Jaiswar said. “They have been asked to obtain permission from the district magistrate or High Court to resume church services.”

Pastors who had been in hiding since the attacks in September have all returned home, he said.

The largest megachurch, with 7,000 members, is that of Pastor Durga Prasad Yadav in Bhulandih village, Jaunpur, which has been shut down.

“I have not conducted church for two months now,” Pastor Yadav said. “Police are guarding our worship places morning and evening to stop any believer from coming to church. The situation here is very tense.”

Police issued an arrest warrant against Pastor Yadav, but he secured a stay order against it from the High Court on Oct. 10. He said he is desperately waiting for justice and permission for his church to resume services.

Hindu extremists on Sept. 23 attacked pastor Ashok Rajbhar, who leads a church of about 2,000 members in Nevadiya village, Jaunpur District. Though police have not registered a case against him, officers stopped worshippers from reaching church services on four consecutive Sundays, sources said.

For the next two Sundays, police arrested and locked up Pastor Rajbhar and his father to keep them from leading services, they said. His church is completely shut down.

Police on Sept. 24 arrested pastor Nanhe Lal of Jaunpur. Though they did not register a case against him, officers obtained a pledge in writing from him that he would not lead services until he obtains permission from the district magistrate or High Court.

Police secured the same pledge in writing from Pastor Ram Asre of Badlapur, Jaunpur District, threatening to arrest him if he led worship for his 1,000-member church. Pastor Ram Bachan received several threats before police booked him under various charges alleging forceful conversion. He obtained bail on Oct. 30, but his 500-member church has shut down.

Police also have registered a case against pastor Ram Kumar of Pratapgarh District on various charges. He has filed for a stay against the FIR in the Lucknow High Court, but his church has closed.

After these churches were forced to shut down, the members began meeting in small groups in their homes. Sources said police patrolled outside their homes and stopped them from meeting.

Christian leaders said that all churches in Uttar Pradesh are stricken with fear from reports every day of attacks on churches.

“The Christian community in Uttar Pradesh is under duress, and there is a sense of fear in the atmosphere,” a Christian leader from Uttar Pradesh told Morning Star News. “Which church would be attacked, and when, is a constant threat in the hearts of the pastors of Uttar Pradesh.”

ADF notes in its campaign celebrating the 70th anniversary of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights that it is sadly ironic that Christians are persecuted in India, a country with a long tradition and legal framework of freedom of religion.

Article 18 of the U.N. declaration asserts that believers have the freedom to practice their faith “in teaching, practice, worship and observance,” ADF notes in its campaign to obtain signatures supporting the Geneva Statement on Human Rights at www.ImHumanRight.org.

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution.

One of The Greatest Deceptions To Date: Christians In Pakistan are not Persecuted

pakistansharia

(Voice of the Persecuted) We have been reporting on the persecution of Christians in Pakistan for a long time.  Report after report of abuse against these Christians surfaces every day. From the burning Christians alive, destruction of entire communities and churches, to rape and torture of even women and children.   Some have been humiliated and dragged through the streets naked.  Many are forced into slavery through Pakistan’s bonded labor program, then die in these camps for their Christian faith as we saw in the case of the Christian couple.  The blasphemy law in Pakistan has long persecuted Christians.  A Christian woman, Asia Bibi sits in prison awaiting her death sentence for her faith in Christ.  She drank from a Muslim well accused of defiling it and then refused to denounce her faith.  For this, she was beaten, arrested and sentenced to death. Her case made global headlines and the international community has called for her release. Voice of the Persecuted still calls on the Pakistan government to do the right thing and release this woman wrongfully imprisoned. Pray with us for her release.

Exploiting religion, as we’ve seen things took a turn for the ugly during recent protests against the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed assassin of the former governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, a vocal critic of the blasphemy law. The Daily Times reported,

The rally led by the Sunni Tehreek Lahore leader, Mujahid Abdul Rasool and Sunni Ittehad Council leaders Razai Mustafa Naqashbandi and Muhammad Ali Naqshbandi, instead of registering a peaceful protest ensured that it made a mark in the wake of an almost complete media blackout of reactions against the Qadri execution. Not only were some policemen and lawyers beaten up by some unruly protesters, even clergy members like Allama Ahmed Ali Kasuri were harassed, and Razai Mustafa attacked with a baton. Posters, banners and signboards on the Mall Road were torn, a DSNG van of a television channel, and check post at the Punjab Assembly damaged, while some stone-pelting protesters marched from Data Darbar to Charing Cross. Another Friday, a day marked for special Juma paryers, saw violence from a huge rally of people who profess to be following a path of unity and peace.

The article claims religious groups wield a great deal of power and influence gullible minds to view the world in a regimented “us against them,” thus manufacturing a tinder box ready to explode at the slightest provocation. It went on to say, “instead of using their influence to impart a message of unity, brotherhood, kindness, empathy, compassion, and forgiveness, there is unfortunately, a great deal of emphasis on inciting hatred and violence.”

The voices and messages of enlightened religious scholars is overwhelmed by the cacophony created by all those self-avowed vigilantes of religion who believe destruction of property, life, unity and peace is the most effective way to register a protest. Be it against blasphemous cartoons made in Denmark, a film made in the USA, a book written in the UK, or a judicial execution of a self-confessed murderer of an unarmed man, the modus operandi is almost identical. Distort the truth, add layers of untruth to reality, paint it with a patina of piety, use the pulpit and loudspeaker of mosques to announce your declarations of hatred and vengeance, and watch ordinary people turn into killing machines. Read full article

Is it a wonder huge mobs attack Christians falsely accused of blasphemy and that extreme violence and hatred is often directed at Christians? Until the Pakistani government can curtail these dangerous leaders from inciting crowds with hatred, violence will continue to escalate against religious minorities in the country. The Pakistan government must hold these men accountable as accomplices when instigating criminal acts of the violence now and in the future.

A new report from Dawn News that Pakistan introduced a bill to protect women, show’s that the Islamic governing body is clearly barbaric.  They not only denounced this bill saying it would destroy society, they went so far as to name the assassin who murdered Salmaan Taseer, a martyr.

Pakistan is one of the top receivers of world aid.  The US is currently signing a deal to give Pakistan war planes.  Many in the west continuously shame those who call out the barbaric laws of Islam as Islamaphobic.  There seems to be a push to protect even defending these practices by the West and the UN.  In the name of tolerance? It’s a sad day when the world closes it’s eyes to uncivilized human rights abuses and persecution against innocent people.

We like to believe we live in a civilized world, yet the world is blinded by uncivilized, evil acts of violence. It runs rampant with a stamp of seeming approval from free western countries. They even refuse to help those fleeing this darkness by denying Christian persecution is happening.

Some western Christians and churches are also asleep, even going so far as to say, “we all worship the same god”.  We do not worship a god that calls for the discrimination, abuse, persecution, and slaughter of unbelievers or ‘rejecters of the faith’. Ask a former Muslim who has converted to Christianity and they will tell you, “Allah is not Yahweh.”  There is a vast difference between our God who inspired the Word in scripture, from what is written in the Quran. Yet they continue to ignore and deny.

Christians fleeing these lands on pathways to freedom are even hunted and persecuted in host countries like Thailand and also in Europe.  Is there no real freedom in the world today???  As governments claim they are helping refugees, they ignore the plight and voices of the persecute and the root problem that they’ve invited into their own lands. What could go wrong?

The leader of the free world, denies Christian genocide and abusive practices against Christians and women from Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries.  It’s not going away and the mountain that continues to grow from sweeping this under the rug is insurmountable.

Heading straight into a divided nation while the world is on fire. We in America are embroiled in a pathetic bid for a leader—our own divisions and unrest while untold horrors are taking place in the world.

A fire we will see rage out of control and change demographics forever.  Are their purposes humanitarian? Innocents are dying in untold suffering while western and Islamic nations war for control.  The west, east, and all in between are scrambling all across the scorched earth for power and wealth.  The collateral damage has come at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and millions displaced, from Africa to Iran and all points between.

They can deny it all they want, but this fire and darkness is spreading as the fastest growing cancer in the world, today.

Be a voice, pray for Justice and endurance for the faithful.

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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!
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“Hopeless” Cries From Thailand

 

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers at risk of arrest

(Voice of the Persecuted) Hopeless is what the Christians in Thailand are feeling tonight.  Instead of resting comfortably in their living room, they are hiding, and fearful and feel hopeless.  Their children will be subjected to conditions not meant for hardened, or  seasoned criminals.  One description of the detention center for imigrants in Thailand say’s that there was 100 people in a cell built for 20.  One toilet, and it got so bad they had to drill a hole in the side to allow it to escape.  There was so little room that they had to sleep sitting up.  One mother describes fights that broke out and trying to hide her children in a corner so they wouldn’t be hurt.  They separate the women from the men, breaking and separating families, some never to be seen again.

The fear in the voices of Christians  in Thailand who have fled Persecution in Pakistan is poignant and tragic.  Piercing the very soul.  We have shed so many tears, in anguish for these dear brethren. So many children have also been taken with their families. And now we have been told that they are threatening to send them back to Pakistan.  So many have gone into hiding, not knowing what the next minute will bring.  Not knowing if they will survive till morning, or survive the day.

I hear phrases like “we are dead.”  Or “hopeless.”  I hear and feel the desperation in their voice, and their souls.  Not knowing if I will ever hear from them again, is almost too much to bear.  The helplessness, and hopelessness that they and others feel is real, it’s very real.  Our hope is in the Lord.  I pray with them, encourage them, and pray some more.  They are always at the forefront of my mind.

We were informed of the tragedy befalling the Christians in Thailand, they fled a land where false blasphemy accusations can bring the death penalty and many are forced to convert.  A land where it is not uncommon for Christians to be burned to death, whole villages destroyed, or arrested merely for believing in Christ.  They fled to a country that they thought would be safe until the UNHCR would help them.  That help is not coming.  Interviews are put off, or not held.  There is no safety for assylum seekers in Thailand.

Now we have verified that law enforcement personnel in Thailand have leaked that the latest arrests of Christians would be sent back to Pakistan.  A death sentence for most.  At the least a prison sentence, with a death sentence to follow.  Pakistan recently lifted the moratorium on their death penalty.  Letters have been written, and pleas made.  But so far have fallen on deaf ears.  The MSM won’t cover this. I have contacted many pleading for coverage to raise awareness, and nothing.   And if you take away the persecution of Christians that this is encompassing you are still left with an international violation of the law.  Arresting children in any land is a clear violation.  Children have protected rights or at least they are suppose to.  Yet these precious children are not protected.

  • International criminal law is a body of international law designed to prohibit certain categories of conduct commonly viewed as serious atrocities and to make perpetrators of such conduct criminally accountable for their perpetration. Principally, it deals with genocide,war crimes, crimes against humanity, as well as the crime of aggression.
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child(commonly abbreviated as theCRC,CROC, or UNCRC) is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.
  • Currently, 194 countries are party to it, including every member of the United Nations except Somalia, South Sudan and the United States.

Just in one day alone we were told that children that ranged in  age from  6 months to 12 years old,  more than 44 children were taken into  police custody.  And yet the International Community has yet to even call an emergency meeting to address this.  No condemnation, no calls for cease and desist, no aid nothing.  Nothing but silence.  It’s hard to pin down exact numbers but it is in the hundreds by now.  CBN reports that it is 400.  We are attempting to verify these numbers.  It’s hard to reach contacts as they are arrested or in hiding.  So again we ask the question, “If Not For The Children When?”

If you feel so inclined one Christian suggested we call the UNHCR in Geneva to ask for intervention at least for the Children.  Here is their number:  +41 22 739 81 11

And they also asked if we could call the UNHCR in Thailand, and ask them to at least grant these families assylum to relocate to other countries.  Here is the number:  0066 2 665 2523

Voice of the Persecuted

Voice of the Persecuted is an interdenominational organization standing with and stepping up for 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. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Nigerian Christians-The Wearing Down Of The Saints

Members of self-defence groups against Boko Haram to Gombi in February 2015. (VOA-Wikimedia commons)

Members of self-defence groups against Boko Haram to Gombi in February 2015. (VOA-Wikimedia commons)

As violence escalates, threats abound and body counts rise, we pour over reports from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon for the latest on the developments in in the fight against Boko Haram. We see nations joining together in this fight, governments accusing one another, allegations of corruption and all manner of evil being manifest.  Threats of evil growing and threats to conform nations to world views.

What else are we witnessing?  The faithful being led to slaughter as lambs.  The heartbreaking grief of their families. The world with it’s watchful eyes, some in shock, some in fear, some in disbelief.  We watch the faith of our brethren in the midst of evil, in spite of the fear they face.  We see them crying out to the global community for help.  Crying out to the world body of Christians for prayer.

In a report shared by BBC, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said 

“Brothers and sisters, there is no better time to storm the heavens with prayers and petitions than now.”

What we are seeing particularly in larger areas like Maidaguri is the wearing down of the Saints.  How in their attempts to praise and thank God for His love and guidance, they are prevented from gathering in houses of worship. They are fearful not only for their lives, but for the life of their Nation.  Neighboring countries have united and are beginning to combat this evil with reports that 300 Boko Haram have been killed just in the last hours.  Recently, Maidaguri has come under attack with threats of being taken over by Boko Haram.

And as in this report that we received from Fr. Gideon Obasogie states, Christians in the capital city (Maidaguri)  are really paying the price for their faith.   Their movements are so restricted they cannot even have a sound gathering on a Sunday to thank God for his love thus far and most particularly to pray for peaceful elections. The threats and distractions have become totally unbearable. The ferocious attempt by the unrepentant radical Islamist militants, Boko Haram to overrun the capital city of Maiduguri has been very frightening. I wonder and sometimes I am forced to think aloud, when will this culture of savagery and bloodletting end.   Is it that as a Nation we lack the inner capacity to abate it?    With the recent waves of attacks, there is so much fear and tension in the air. With the  Polls drawing ever close we see all sorts of personalities with well fashioned and designed promises too good to be taken as true; trooping into Maiduguri and the northeast, not to identify with us in our plight but to beg for our votes. 

Nigerians are beginning to feel like pawns in a vicious lethal game, not knowing who to trust.  It is very encouraging to know that neighboring governments are rallying together to combat this. But it’s discouraging that  promises and visits from dignitaries are not addressing the plight of the millions that have been displaced in a blatant disregard for human life and dignity.  We have reported that the refugee camps are grossly neglected.  They are infiltrated with rebels from Nigeria to Yemen.  Rebels use these camps as recruiting tools, even kidnapping, sex traffic and arms trades, with some reporting that there are sleeper cells living with the refugees.  The camps are very dangerous causing many refugees to flee into the bush with out even the basic of supplies to sustain them.

We received a report from our contact who recently visited a refugee camp and the testimonies are heart wrenching.   Sharing with the refugee’s what little they had,  they were told this:  “I have been here for 10 months without meat, produce, nor salt to put in our soups.”  These precious people also said to pray hard for normalcy to returned to the Gwoza local government so that they can go back home.  Others mirrored this request and testimony pleading to the Christians in Nigeria and abroad to continue to pray for them because they have no shelter or even a mat to sleep on.  One father describes the tears his son sheds at night for simply an orange. In October of last year Fr. Gideon Obasogie reported that refugees in the thousands were eating grass to survive.  This has also been reported by our contacts on the ground.  The aid efforts are grossly inadequate, with many afraid to travel to the hardest hit areas.  They ask prayers for the governments to return to normal.  That statement alone stands out like the elephant in the room.  What has happened?  What evil has overtaken and infiltrated even the basic of government in this nation?  This country can’t even guarantee the basics of safety to it’s residents.

The confusion of the people and the government is obvious in Fr. Obasogie’s report in his statement  “If anyone needs our votes, our safety must first be assured.”  Where is the UN, where is the world?  The BRICS nations have been courting Africa for some time for it’s minerals, and oil, but where are they now when the people of Northern Africa suffer so much?  It’s been said the US offered to train the military, but it’s unclear what happened, if it was rescinded or turned down.  It’s been claimed that the US supplied drones to help look for the Chibok schoolgirls, but appears to have short lived.  It’s also been said that the US is supplying intelligence, but that can’t be proven. France has a presence in the nation off and on, Chad, Cameroon and Niger are building troops, but where is the UN?

Church gathering Maiduguri, Nigeria (World Watch Monitor)

Church gathering Maiduguri, Nigeria (World Watch Monitor)

Maiduguri’s Christian population is at great risk.  Maiduguri is the state capital and the seat of Government, with all its structures, with a high concentration of state population and the commercial nerve of the northeast.  If it falls, the citizens will be more facile to radicalization. And the terrorists will have more conscripts.  If it falls, we have only succeeded collectively in empowering the terrorists, recapturing it would take some time and the consequences apparently would be deadly.

Nigerian Christians are wearing down, their faith is great in the face of persecution, however their needs are also great.  They need and deserve a government that will fight for them, fight for their rights, their dignity, their right to live in peace and prosper.  And their right to worship Christ.

Pray for Nigeria.  We will be lifting up Nigeria on our International Prayer Call ‘FIRE in FERUARY on Friday, Feb. 2oth. See details here

  • Pray for leadership that will provide just & fair judgements. Leadership with a love for all Nigerians
  • Pray for peace.
  • Pray for Boko Haram to be defeated.
  • Pray for normalcy to return to the lives of the people of Nigeria.
  • Pray for comfort.
  • Pray for strength and endurance.
  • Pray for the lost in the country to be found in Christ.

Above all Nigeria know that Christians everywhere are with you, we are praying with and for you, we are suffering with you and we are watching.  God is with you!

By C.Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst

Related:

Why Should The West Concern Itself With Elections In Nigeria? Read This « VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

What Lies Ahead For Nigerian Christians And The Innocent Of Nigeria? Darkness Or Light? « VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Their Only Words “Were Jesus Help Me”

egypt copts

Pope Francis condemns beheading of 21 Coptic Christian by ISIS

Pope Francis has today expressed ‘profound sadness’ at hearing of the brutal murders of the 21 Christian Egyptians. ‘Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians,’ the Pope said in his native Spanish according to Breitbart. ‘Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!”  They were executed for nothing more than the fact that they were Christian. The blood of our Christian sisters and brothers is testimony that cries out [to us].  via Pope Francis condemns beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS | Daily Mail Online.

I haven’t watched the video but I have heard the descriptions, I have seen the images of the waves of blood in the sea, I have heard the warnings to the “Nation of the Cross”, I have heard them say that they will put the blood of Christians into the sea with the blood of Osama Bin Laden.   What I have not heard is the words from our leader that he condemns the killing of Christians.  What he said is far from condemnation, according to him he is Christian, but he shows no mercy, no compassion, no empathy no sorrow for our brethren.  He issued this statement by press secretary Josh Earnest late Sunday, “the killing of the 21 Egyptian men a “despicable and cowardly murder” that should accelerate the need for a political resolution to the burgeoning conflict in Libya.  And now it’s being reported that what Government remains in Libya is condemning Egypt for what they say is an attack on their sovereignty. Really?  Which begs the question that we asked in the beginning of the Libya invasion, why?  Why did we replace one dictator with a monster?  What did they expect would happen?

My heart is with our Brethren and their families.  My prayer is for Peace and comfort that can only come from our Father.  For endurance, for strength and courage.   Christians are mourning, we are mourning with the families of these precious souls, these men have been given white robes at the feet of our Savior, and are hearing the words, well done my good and faithful servant, welcome home.

Blood is seen in the Mediterranean Sea. In the video the jihadis say they now plan to 'conquer Rome'. Italy is only 450 miles away(Daily Mail)

Blood is seen in the Mediterranean Sea. In the video the jihadis say they now plan to ‘conquer Rome’. Italy is only 450 miles away(Daily Mail)

Revelation 6:  When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

 

Pakistan Teeters On The Edge

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While the world news outlets focus on only one portion of the middle east crises at a time, and portray the current crises as individual separate from the other outbreaks, there are similarities possibly linking it together as one.  (More)

Christians in Pakistan are reporting that the IS (notorious terror group now demonizing northern Iraq)manifesto is being distributed in Pakistan and Afghanistan:

(Excerpt) The IS manifesto entitled “Victory” has been apparently distributed to increase support for IS Caliphate. This manifesto was distributed in Afghanistan also. The booklet urges general public to support the Islamic caliphate.

IS Manefesto

The IS manifesto was published in Pashto and Dari languages and this twelve-page booklet has been distributed in Peshawar and Afghan refugees camps. In some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the IS graffiti has been approved with favour as people have set up posters on their cars in support of the IS.

The news this morning is grim.  Further alarming for Christians, Sikh’s, Hindu’s, and many other minorities. Our concern grows as Pakistan is in a full blown crises with tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets.  Much of the media shares of two men, one a political figure and former cricket star, Imran Khan, the other a cleric, Tahir-ul Qadri, as advocates of democracy attempting to take over the government to set it honest.  Many claim the two leading the protests and calling Sharrif’s government false are themselves corrupt with ties to the Taliban.  That there is no good or bad Taliban as former President Bush once said. We are told they are one with Al-queda, ISIS, Al-Nusra, Al- Shabob, Boko Haram and the rest.

The military in Pakistan are fighting to keep their borders safe—the borders to Iran, and India and though they are strong, they are too few in number to combat this.  And it has been said that if the people converge on the parliament, the military would stand down.  This would be catastrophic as Pakistan’s Nuclear weapons would fall into hands of those who wish to destroy.

However, it is reported, Khan released the president of his own political party after he accused Khan of conspiring with the army to oust the besieged prime minister and set new elections later this month. The party official said if Pakistan’s government collapsed, Khan would be responsible.

And,

“Imran Khan said we can’t move forward without the army,” the Telegraph reports Khan’s former party associate saying. “Imran Khan also said that all the matters had been decided and there will be elections in September.”

Excerpt from the Washington Post:

As the demonstrations calling for the prime minister’s resignation enter their third week, Sharif is trying to navigate Pakistan’s worst political crisis in more than a decade. With the violence increasing, what started as a routine demonstration has morphed into concerns that the government of a nuclear-armed country could collapse.

Watch this video of the protests claiming, “it is a pursuit of power by two individuals—one who is has a dedicated cult following and the other who has a political party who is probably number 2 in the country.”

There are tens of thousands of protesters in the streets organized by Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri. This is spreading to major cities of Pakistan, like Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. There are reports that 400 were wounded over the weekend and at least 40 killed, as police fired on protesters with tear gas, and live fire trying to protect the residence of Sharrif.

So you can see the differing opinions, media coverage, and world opinion. Talking to those who have been directly affected and the deteriorating constitution to protect minorities, it seems Pakistan’s government is on the verge of collapsing. But the question is what will take it’s place? Will the Taliban step in under the auspice of democracy and peace?  Some say what has happened in Iraq will happen there, and in a very short time. The US has extensive ties to Pakistan, tied together and originated from the Mujahadin and al-Queda. And remember the U.S. created al-Queda to fight against Russia in Afghanistan.

By mid-1979, the United States had started a covert program to finance the mujahideen. President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was later quoted as saying that the goal of the program was to “induce a Soviet military intervention”, but later clarified that this was “a very sensationalized and abbreviated” misquotation and that the Soviet invasion occurred largely because of previous U.S. failures to restrain Soviet expansionism.  (More about Operation Cyclone)

For quite some time, activists have been speaking out about the abuses of minorities in Pakistan—All minorities. Those who don’t share the brand of Islam supported by the Government are persecuted, increasingly with the Blasphemy law. Sharia law is governing in Pakistan and the people are caught in the middle. It’s also been said that restrictions have become so strict that they cannot worship and pray in public, or in a church without fear of some sort of persecution. Church’s have been threatened, with worshipers moving underground.

pakistan military

Pakistan’s Military has great intelligence capabilities. They were trained by the US and are still monitored by the US. They are powerful, but are fewer in numbers. We have done extensive research on the ties of these groups. Speaking to those who have fled, we are told they are united as one front whether the media or western governments want to admit it or not.

And it’s also known that Khan has always wanted to negotiate with the Taliban, and unfortunately their propaganda campaign has been successful in gaining followers, followers that are kept from the truth. Keeping information to a minimum, the tv stations were knocked off the air for a period of time over the weekend, phone service was down or very limited.

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

Qadri and Khan were seen together in Pakistan, today. Qadri was quoted as saying that not one of the articles of Pakistan’s constitution was upheld, and they would institute the first 40 articles of the constitution immediately. On researching the articles spoken of, you find that it does not protect the rights of minorities or give rights to the Pakistan people to worship as theychoose. In fact it states that Islamic teachings and way of life will be compulsory. (Read here)

If they are not concerned with the persecution of women, children, Christians, Sikhs, or other minorities, why is this change needed?  Change is needed, but a change that protects all the citizens of Pakistan.

Many Pakistani’s and human rights activists are struggling in the fight to find peace. Pakistani Christians and Muslims alike tell us that they fear for the future of their country and their children’s future and Pakistan is at its most troubled times. That they have always stood against injustice and unfairness, whether for women or minorities. That humans always come first. And how heartbreaking it is to see fellow country men and women in desperation. And from a courageous activist (a muslim), “I join you in the prayers for global stability and sanity.”

Please pray for those seeking peace and equality for all Pakistani’s. Please pray for this nation.

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By C. Refsland & L. Kanalos

Who are the Pakistani Taliban?

The Christians, & the innocent women and children in Pakistan continue to suffer under these rebels.  Pray for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and the innocent.  Pray for God to show himself to those lost, pray for caring hands to care for the persecuted, and a light to shine in this darkness.

Capturepakistan taliban

In the western world, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or TPP, is most notorious for its role in the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who has since become a global icon and campaigner for education. But Malala hasn’t been the TTP’s only victim. Far from it. Over the past seven years, tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the name of the militant movement, with tens of thousands more injured. And this week the Pakistani government was supposed to be taking part in “last attempt” preliminary peace talks with the militant movement that has recruited hundreds of children as suicide bombers and wants to implement sharia throughout the Pakistani state. We take a closer look.

Update: Pastor and Son Killed in Central African Republic as Religious Leaders Try to Keep Peace

Central_African_Republic_Map

My Comment: This is disturbing as there have been reports and videos of the Seleka leaving town, and again we see reports of the Anti-Balaka forces clashing. The UN is calling for sanctions on anyone violating disarmament and arms embargo’s. Through many months and lives lost to this, yet still there are unanswered questions. Terms are used like ‘Sectarian lines drawn’ and ‘common criminality.’ They say as the Seleka left town, they threatened retaliatory actions. Was the reason behind the killing of a Pastor and son? 

There is a report that came out on the 29th of January, that said the CAR’s 20 member cabinet appointed on Monday the 27th, has 7 women and Three Ex-Seleka Members (More here.) appointed by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke. And the deposed Djotodia’s family will hold a government and minister position. Again, many unanswered questions and implications. This region is far from calm. Continue to pray for the people of this region. Pray for the religious leaders that may have wisdom and courage. Pray for guidance, pray for comfort, pray for their basic needs to be met, pray for caring hands to provide relief. And Pray for peace. The following detailed report is from Assist News Service.

By Jeremy Reynalds Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service   Pastor Kongbo, treasurer of the Union des Eglises Baptistes (UEB), was killed on Jan. 28 along with his son at their home by Seleka forces as violence erupted in the  northern suburbs of the Central African Republic’s (CAR’s) capital city Bangui.

According to a news release from human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), two Seleka fighters were also killed on the same day by French troops. This followed a battle between anti-Balaka forces and Seleka fighters, who were moved from military bases in the south of Bangui to a camp in the PK 11 area on the northern outskirts of the city.

The Seleka fighters have not been disarmed, causing civilians in the area to seek refuge in the church of Saint Charles de Louanda in PK 12 for fear of attack.
Since Jan. 21, there have been ongoing clashes between anti-Balaka forces and Seleka fighters supported by armed Muslim civilians in Bangui’s PK5, PK11, PK12 and PK13 areas.

CSW said Christian and Muslim religious leaders have appealed for calm and the CAR’s senior Muslim leader, Imam Omar Kabine Layama, is visiting Europe with Catholic Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga to advocate for peace and call on European leaders to assist with the reconciliation process.

However, Walidou Modibo, imam of the Central Mosque in Bangui, has said Muslim leaders had given up calling for peace due to the atrocities being committed against their community.
As a heavily armed Seleka convoy left Bangui for the north on Jan. 26,  the group reportedly threatened retaliatory attacks on Christian communities in the northern towns of Ndélé, Bria and Birao in response to anti Balaka attacks on Muslim communities. The Seleka withdrawal has also raised fears of the possibility of a partitioning of the country along sectarian lines.
CSW reported that in a statement released on Jan. 27, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay expressed her deep concern at “the proliferation of armed groups and the explosion of common criminality which are making the situation even more chaotic and dangerous.”

She called upon the international community “to strengthen peacekeeping efforts” throughout the country as a matter of urgency, saying “Many lives are at stake.”
On Jan. 28, the UN Security Council agreed to sanctions allowing for targeted punitive action against anyone violating an arms embargo imposed in Dec. 2013, committing human rights abuses, undermining peace and stability or obstructing humanitarian assistance. The Council also unanimously authorised the deployment of a European Union force.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in the news release, “Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the family of Pastor Kongbo and with all who have lost loved ones in the last few days of fighting in Bangui. The continuing efforts of key leaders from both religious communities towards reconciliation in the face of relentless atrocities is courageous and laudable, and we join them in condemning violence committed by all armed groups.”

He added, “Every assistance must be given to Interim President Samba-Panza and interim Prime Minister Nazapayéké as they begin the monumental task of stabilizing the country, restoring law and order, disarming the various militia groups, encouraging reconciliation and facilitating the return of one million displaced citizens to their homes.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide works for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

 

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