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‘Worship in the woods’ a year after Islamic extremists destroy Aceh churches

Burning of HKI church at Suka Makmur Aceh Singkil by Radical groups

Burning of HKI church at Suka Makmur Aceh Singkil by Radical groups

Churches destroyed a year ago by Islamic extremists and police in Aceh Singkil – a rural ‘regency’ in Indonesia’s only Sharia-ruled province – have still not been rebuilt because of discrimination against Christians by local authorities, say church leaders. However, despite the troubles, church membership is climbing.

Hardliners started destroying Aceh Singkil churches in October 2015 following clashes between Muslims and Christians in another part of the country. Some churches were razed by extremists and others demolished by police following demands from residents that all unlicensed churches be pulled down.

Of 11 churches demolished last year, the members of six continue to meet in tents. The rest have joined other churches, but many live in fear of further violence. “The perpetrators live in the neighbourhood and they always watch my church members’ activities,” said Noldi,* whose church meets in two sites 25km apart – to cater for its growing numbers.

Boru Manik, a local church member, added: “I’m sad that we have to worship in tents in the middle of a palm-oil plantation. But we’re keeping our spirits high.”

The heavy rain in largely tropical Indonesia can be a problem in temporary structures. “[Rain] has happened many times, but we still continue the service. Even if the tents are leaking and rainwater or mud is splashing in from the outside, no-one ever leaves the service!” said a member of the Indonesian Christian Church.

The authorities allow Christians to meet in these temporary structures, but church leaders say they are nevertheless playing politics with plans for new buildings. Churches fear that these authorities are reluctant to grant them planning permission because it would not be popular with Aceh’s largely Muslim voters in the run-up to local elections in February 2017.

Alongside this, all local churches that were not destroyed must become licensed, but the registration process is slow and churches fear it will not be prioritised during election campaigning.

Lamhot*, a Christian activist, told World Watch Monitor that it is already too late to expect building permits to be issued by the authorities now that candidates have started registering for the election. Lamhot’s church was burned down last year and services are now held in tents in the nearby woods. Even this also requires a permit, denied by the government to many hundreds more on security grounds.

Another setback is the formula planners insist is used to estimate the size of a new church. They stipulate that estimates must be based on the number of church members with local identity cards, multiplied by 0.8 metres. Outsiders without local ID cards may not be counted, so new churches are in danger of being granted too small a plot if most of their members are not local.

Berutu, a member of Pakpak Dairi Christian Church in the village of Pertabas, is disappointed by the lack of progress. “The government is afraid of pressures from Muslim clerics and extremists,” she said. “When they gave instructions to knock down our church, they were no longer our protectors.”
Local politicians are putting added pressure on the Church in the lead-up to elections. The regency chief who instigated last year’s demolition of unlicensed churches – a move agreed by Christians following last year’s religious clashes – wants each church to appoint five people to his election campaign team. Christians believe it is a bribe to win him their backing, but understand that other candidates are less tolerant of Christianity. “Vote wisely for your leaders – our fate for the next five years depends on it,” Berutu told her congregation.

Conviction for a Muslim’s murder ‘without reliable evidence’

Progress has been slow on another front too. Natanael ‘Wahed’ Tumangger was convicted of killing a Muslim in last year’s clashes. But the legal process that saw him sentenced to six years in jail was flawed, according to Christians who say he was not accompanied by a lawyer during police interrogation and that no proper evidence was shown during his trial. Later, the Council of Churches in Indonesia sent a team of lawyers to represent him. They said that the prosecutor mentioned a projectile and a gun, but failed to present any reliable evidence at the next hearing. The prosecutor’s statement on the colour of Tumangger’s clothes during the clash was the only ‘proof’ used against him.

Local Christians say Tumangger’s sentence was passed to satisfy the Muslim community.
In jail, news had spread among inmates that a Christian had killed a Muslim, so Tumangger was beaten regularly during his first weeks behind bars. His first few months were spent in a room only 6×4 metres, with 26 other inmates.

“The prison guard didn’t let us out even for a few minutes. Those were miserable times,” he said of his experience. His wife remembered him being as pale as a corpse when he finally got out of that cell.

Tumangger has been transferred to a better room – the same size, but with no more than six people. Prisoners normally ‘rent’ the room for an equivalent of US$300 for the duration of their time behind bars. However, Tumangger is an electrician and the head of the prison ‘employs’ him as payment for the better room.

“There’s nothing to worry about me here. But what about my wife and our four children?” he said. “How are they going to survive in my absence?”

The Indonesian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but by-laws in provinces such as Aceh can prevent these rights from being upheld.

The Open Doors World Watch List 2016 cites Islamic extremism as the main source of persecution in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest population of Muslims. It’s ranked 43 among the 50 countries in which it’s most difficult to live as a Christian. In strictly Islamic regions like Aceh, Muslims converting to Christianity face pressure from family and friends to deny their new faith.

*Names changed for security reasons

World Watch Monitor

NIGERIA – The Bishops alarm: “A hurricane of violence that threatens to plunge the country into chaos”

Nigeria_Map

Agenzia Fides) – “A hurricane of violence by herdsmen and other agents of death has left in its wake a landscape of blood and destruction” accuse the Bishops of Nigeria in their message “Restoring confidence in Nigeria” published at the end of their plenary assembly.

The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, seems to mark a change in tone of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria towards President Muhammadu Buhari, who had received the approval of the Bishops for the anti-corruption campaign (see Fides 04/05/2016). While emphasizing that the election of the Muslim Buhari, was “one of the most peaceful elections in our history” and by voting him “Nigerians demonstrated, beyond the pale of religion, region and ethnicity, that indeed wanted to turn a new page in a history replete with broken dreams”, the Bishops underline that “sectionalism” of the last presidential appointments, are “difficult to associate with the high moral credentials of the President”.

The message stresses that “political violence, corruption, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual murders and all ills of the past, are still very much present and we seem to be progressively sinking deeper into the mud. Our people are now ravaged by disease and hunger. The result is the rise in the curve of violence both by the state agents and non-state actors among our own people”.

The Bishops recall that the State must ensure the safety of all, such as the concept of equality of all citizens before the law, criticizing “the scope of Sharia law in public life at variance with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution”. The Bishops launched an appeal to the people to continue to live according to the values of compassion and solidarity, inviting them not to fall victim to “charlatans” who use religion for their own interests.

The Bishops finally remind the President that “most Nigerians are today disillusioned by the frittering away of the high hopes which they invested in his resolve to turn things around”, and can “no longer safely ignore the very strong allegations of a rise in nepotism and sectionalism in federal appointments”.  [The Bishops’ full statement added below]

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) is on the ground helping to care for the persecuted in Nigeria through our aid program, ‘Project 13:3’. They have suffered much, so many lives have been lost or forever changed by the insurgency. Many suffer from unbearable heartbreak. Living conditions for the displaced brings extreme hardship and too often disease and illness. Their physical, emotional and Spiritual needs are immense.

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

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They’re so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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

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

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. Donations always desperately needed

RESTORING CONFIDENCE IN NIGERIA

A Statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria on the State of the Nation

1. Less than two years ago, from His throne, the Lord looked down upon Nigeria with mercy and compassion and then showed us how much He loved us. Against all odds, even when as a people we had almost given up on ourselves and the international community looked on, we were able to conduct one of the most peaceful elections in our history. When Nigerians voted for General Muhammadu Buhari, they demonstrated, beyond the pale of religion, region and ethnicity, that they indeed wanted to turn a new page in a history replete with broken dreams.

2. We hoped that drawing from past experience, the government would rally our people around to confront the behemoth of corruption that had destroyed the very foundations of our society. Again, after we successfully contained Boko Haram’s murderous escapade, we had hoped that our nation would witness a massive programme of national rebirth and that the President would work assemble a cross section of patriotic citizens from diverse backgrounds to commence a programme of national rebirth and reconstruction.

3. One-sided appointments into public office have displayed a tendency towards a form of sectionalism that we have found difficult to associate with the high moral credentials of the President. A hurricane of violence by herdsmen and other agents of death has left in its wake a landscape of blood and destruction. Political violence, corruption, kidnappings, armed robbery, ritual murders and all the ills of the past, are still very much present and we seem to be progressively sinking deeper into the mud. Our people are now ravaged by disease and hunger. The result is the rise in the curve of violence both by the state agents and non-state actors among our own people.

4. We recall that in his address to us, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, on 11 February 2015, General Buhari as a Presidential candidate stated among other things: “Government has no business preferring one religion to the other. The role of government is to protect lives and properties of citizens and to respect and protect their constitutional rights. One critical right that every government must seek to protect is the right of citizens to exercise their respective faiths, Christians and Muslims or others, in a lawful manner without fear or hindrance and to prosecute those who use religion as an excuse to destroy homes, schools, and places of worship. When governments fail in that duty, they must then assist in the rebuilding of the structures including destroyed places of worship and giving full restitution to property.”

5. As things now stand, most Nigerians do not see a government committed to attaining these stated objectives. Furthermore, we find the calls for the expansion of the scope of Sharia law in public life at variance with the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution. In view of all this, to restore confidence of our people in Nigeria, and to reverse the feeling of hopelessness and distrust, we make the following appeal:

To the People of Nigeria:

6. These are difficult and trying times for us as a nation and a people. We salute the courage and resilience of the majority of our people who, in the face of provocation and suffering, have continued to live by our traditional and genuine religious values of compassion and solidarity. While we must renew our commitment to the fact that God loves our country and that His promises never fail, we must stand together and remain resolute. We equally commend the courage of our young people, who, at various levels, sacrificed so much in the hope that this would mark the beginning of a new era. We call on them to resist all attempts to turn them into instruments of the destruction of the very legacy on which they have built their hopes. As Scripture says: “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, produces character; and character produces, hope. And hope does not put us to shame” (Rom 5: 3-5).

To the Political Class:

7. It is a tragedy that over sixteen years after our return to Democracy, the political class has still not come to terms with the fact that politics is a noble vocation. Political parties ought to be platforms for the realisation of the lofty goals of nation building and human development. Unfortunately, far too many politicians in our country have continued to use politics merely as a platform for self-enrichment, oppression and the pursuit of goals that are totally at variance with our common good, collective wellbeing and aspirations. The result is that ordinary citizens have lost confidence in the political class. They have also become more vulnerable and many have resorted to violence as a means of self-protection and personal wellbeing.

8. We wish to state firmly that the debate about the restructuring of our country should not be seen as an act of rebellion or as a call for division. It should rather be seen as an expression of our people’s desire that the political class return to the fine principles of democracy such as true federalism, negotiation and consensus building as means of achieving a more equitable distribution of the resources of our country. To this end, we urge the entire political class to rise beyond party and sectional interests and loyalties and to heed the yearnings of Nigerians. Only in this way can we possibly reverse the dangerous slide towards self-destruction.

To the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:

9. We call on our President to wake up to the fact that most Nigerians are today disillusioned by the frittering away of the high hopes which they invested in his resolve to turn things around. The President can no longer safely ignore the very strong allegations of a rise in nepotism and sectionalism in federal appointments. This has further deepened the feelings of alienation and the rise of centrifugal forces that are threatening the foundations of our unity.

10. Nigerians have been shocked and traumatised by the rampaging criminals who, without let or hindrance and under various guises, have gruesomely murdered, raped, kidnapped and mutilated innocent citizens across the country. In the process, they have vandalized and destroyed homes, farmlands, oil installations and sacked entire villages and communities. The President should remember that his primary duty and responsibility is the protection of lives and property. Without this, nothing else has meaning in any society.

An appeal and a Prayer:

11. Finally, we acknowledge that our current woes did not begin with this administration. We also support the President’s genuine resolve and efforts through the various government agencies to tackle corruption. Nonetheless, we reiterate that this must not be at the expense of civil liberties and the rule of law. The President must ensure that Nigerians do not feel that our country is sliding back into dictatorship.

12. We acknowledge the deep sense of genuine commitment of our people to live by the tenets of their various religious beliefs. True religion has to do with the relationship between human beings and God, which in turn guides and nourishes correct relationship among people. However, unfortunately, religion in our country seems to have been hijacked and held hostage by some charlatans who continue to exploit religion to further their ambitions and interests. We therefore urge our people to be more discerning in their spiritual quest. Government should make sure that these charlatans, no matter their claims, are not allowed to hide behind the mask of religion to continue to commit crimes.

13. May God the Father of mercy and compassion, bless our country Nigeria and turn our hearts towards His will.

+ Ignatius Ayau Kaigama                                                                          + William Avenya

Archbishop of Jos                                                                                  Bishop of Gboko

President of CBCN                                                                                  Secretary of CBCN

60-year-old Christian woman caned for selling alcohol in unprecedented Sharia law case

An elderly Christian woman has been caned in Indonesia, the first time a Sharia law punishment has been meted out to a non-Muslim. The 60-year-old, who was convicted of selling alcohol, was whipped nearly 30 times with a rattan cane, before a crowd of hundreds, in Aceh province on Tuesday, according to reports.

The Cause of Violence In Pakistan Through The Eyes Of A Pakistani Christian

DISCRIMINATION AND PERSECUTION THROUGH SHARIA

DISCRIMINATION AND PERSECUTION THROUGH SHARIA

(Voice of the Persecuted) Exclusive interview report— Pakistan is exploding in violence yet again.  Tensions have risen and underlying hatred has expanded since the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, an Islamist who assassinated Governor Salman Taseer who had called for the repeal of the Blasphemy law.  They’re also protesting the recent bill to recognize the rights of women. Both have caused a firestorm from ruling clerics for the push of Sharia Law in Pakistan. They are demanding the execution of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of 5 charged with blasphemy.  The There will only be more death, and persecution of Christians by denying this. The Islamist group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for the attack. They admitted Pakistani Christians were the targets and promised future attacks. The heart of Pakistan is torn in half. Jinnah, the first Governor-General of Pakistan had a dream for the country to be a peaceful nation.  A country of safety and equal rights for all citizens. His heart would be breaking to see the status of his beloved Pakistan, today.

The nation has been hijacked by a dark force of Islam. One that recognizes only hatred and persecution those who don’t follow their own beliefs.  It begins in 1977 with the rise of one man, General Zia, Pakistan’s most rabid military ruler. He even introduced a plan for Christians to wear special clothing so they could be identified.

“Sharization” or “Islamisation” (Urdu: محمد ضیاء الحق کے اسلامی حکمرانی) was the “primary” policy, or “centerpiece” of the government of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the ruler of Pakistan from 1977 until his death in 1988. Zia has also been called “the person most responsible for turning Pakistan into a global center for political Islam”.
Pakistan had been founded as a separate Muslim-majority state for India. Zia committing himself to enforcing his interpretation of Nizam-e-Mustafa (“Rule of the prophet” Muhammad), i.e. establish an Islamic state and sharia law.
Zia established separate “Shariat” courts and court benches to judge legal cases using Islamic doctrine. New criminal offenses (of adultery, fornication, and types of blasphemy), and new punishments (of whipping, amputation, and stoning to death), were added to Pakistani law. Interest payments for bank accounts were replaced by “profit and loss” payments. Zakat charitable donations became a 2.5% annual tax. School textbooks and libraries were overhauled to remove un-Islamic material. Offices, schools, and factories were required to offer praying space. Zia bolstered the influence of the ulama (Islamic clergy) and the Islamic parties, conservative scholars became fixtures on television. 10,000s of activists from the Jamaat-e-Islami party were appointed to government posts to ensure the continuation of his agenda after his passing. Conservative ulama (Islamic scholars) were added to the Council of Islamic Ideology. source

Shared in our previous interview with a Pakistani Christian whose family watched the founding of the nation:

An elderly woman recalled as a young girl of about 7 years, that she watched Muslims behead Hindu’s and Sikh’s, but spared the lives of Christian.  Her family helped by protecting and hiding them. They put crosses around their necks so they would go undetected and appear as they belonged in the Christian community. While listening to the story unfold, a distinct picture of Corrie Ten Boom came to mind, transporting them to safety. This Pakistani Christian’s family had formed a underground railway for those at risk, as seen in WWII during the Holocaust. She describes the family’s journey in small boats to reach the center of what is now Pakistan.  It took them 5 years to reach their final destination, a community where they would settle, dream of their future and build their lives. She describes the partitioning of a country that took 10 years. To this day, she still suffers anguish as she remembers the scenes of horror so long ago.

The people elected a leader to direct them in the path of freedom.  For a time, Pakistan grew strong, even adopted a Constitution that called for religious freedom for all citizens.  But as time went on, Pakistan took a wicked turn that took control. Pakistan instituted an Islamic law that oppressed minorities. Today, Christians have become targets much like the Hindu’s and Sikh’s who needed protection at the birth of the nation.  The woman lamented, “Pakistan was built on blood, I saw it with her own eyes.”  How horrible these atrocities will once again be seared into the minds of today’s youth, as in this woman’s case.  (More)

Another dear Pakistani who still suffers from the persecution against him told Voice of the Persecuted,

My grandfather was in the Royal British Army and was stationed in Bangalore, southern India at the time of partition. His village was to become part of Pakistan so he chose to cross into Pakistan and join Pakistan Army. They went in Army trains and crossed the border without any hindrance, but there was bloodshed between Muslims Sikhs and Hindus on both sides of the border. He shared that his grandfather wore huge crosses as they were ordered by the British Army to do so. He went out and he was stopped by a British soldier who pat searched him and saw him wearing a cross. He feared he could get victimized in the bloodshed. However we don’t find much proof of Christians being murdered during the partition. The obnoxious memories of partition are not so vivid as my family didn’t see much of it, but my uncle tells me that the slaughtering and beheading was started by the Muslims. They beheaded and slaughtered an entire train and wrote slogans on the side of trains with the blood of their victims. The Sikhs retaliated in the same fashion so it escalated more and more. Christians MPS at that time played a crucial role in the making of Pakistan, which is highly ignored and never mentioned in the history textbooks.

My parents tell me of horrific scenes when they were in their adolescence. They said that they feared to tell people about their Christian faith as they didn’t want to be discriminated. My mother never told her friends that she was a Christian until she was in 9th grade. My mother’s baptism name was a Christian name but my grandfather changed it fearing my mother would face discrimination in school due to her christian name. My parents tell me that Christians were not allowed to eat at food stalls. The vendors packed the food because they didn’t want Christians to eat from the same dish in the which Muslims ate. The reason you see a lot of Christians with Muslim names is due to that period of discrimination. Now the trend had changed because people are becoming more bold due to awareness and more people are getting education and shrugging the fear.

Again, we see that Christians have had a huge impact on Pakistan and the partitioning.  We are caught between what the West thinks and what Pakistani Muslims think as evidenced by this message from a suffering Pakistani Christian to the West.  We asked what he like to say to the West.

“Muslims call us Western spies. I doubt that Western Embassies have sympathies towards Pakistani Christians as the West considers us normal Pakistanis with no differentiation between a Muslim with extremist views and one with Christian beliefs.  In fact there was a banner in Forman Christian college ( when it was under the government). The Islamic student federation wrote that all Christians should go back to USA. It was written when Russia occupied Afghanistan and sentiments were high. Many wanted to wage jihad against West as they had been unable to defeat West since the crusades.

There is that old hatred that Christianity is a western product but in fact it is not. The cradle of Christianity, in fact, is in the cradle of civilization that Muslims claim as their own.

Flag of Pakistan

Flag of Pakistan

When asked he felt about the flag of Pakistan he answered,

Once I was travelling on the bus and men were discussing the Pakistani flag. One of the men said the white color represents the Christians and the pole is also put through the white part of the flag. This was a derogatory remark as the context meant that Christians are always considered to be 2nd class citizens and are always inferior to Muslims.

We instantly had the opposite vision. If the white part of the flag represents Christians and is used to secure the pole, then to us the white portion of the flag symbolizes how Christianity is what makes Pakistan stable or grounded. He responded to that statement:

Well all Christians are proud of their homeland but when they are beleaguered, discriminated and persecuted then we start to feel ashamed to be born in a country which doesn’t consider us their own.

When we told our brother we’re drafting and will petition the US government and UN security council he responded:

That would be nice. US aid gives billions of dollars in donations to Pakistan. They support educational institutions and charities. You may be shocked to know that madrasas or Islamic schools are getting funded through those funds. The USA is funding the spread of their hatred.

One of our advocates explained they felt shame for our nation’s treatment of Christians. Our Pakistani brother responded,

Yes, but there is freedom of religion and at least a person wouldn’t get killed in USA for their faith.  I hope the west realizes about the cultural jihad that the Muslims are waging at the moment. Muslims didn’t have any window of opportunity until the West became secular and opened its border. Most Muslims are dormant and rise when given the opportunity to attack. But we shouldn’t hate our Muslim brethren. We should love as Christ taught us to love. However, the West should control the perimeters of their own borders and stop Muslim infiltration.

How selfish we are in the West.  How cold hearted have we become that we can not see that people would give their life to come here and worship in freedom.  Our brother said that Pakistani Christians are forlorn figures when it comes to aid deliveries from the Western churches.  “But most still help the Muslims to try and show the love of Christ whilst ignoring their own brethren. It reminds me on an old English proverb, ‘Charity begins at home’. Churches should help their own brethren first and then look forward to helping others. And I’m sure of one thing, that there will be plentiful left after helping brothers in need.”

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Both the Secular and religious in Pakistan are beginning to question the underlying factors of this violence exploding.  (Read more)
What can we take from this?  Pakistani Christians and other minorities in Pakistan are suffering horribly while the world with closed eyes, refuses to acknowledge them.
HELP PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

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

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

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!
You may also send your gift to:

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P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Philippines: Islamists kill 7 Christian farmers on Christmas Eve

Philippines

(Voice of the Persecuted) 7 Christian farmers were killed during a series of attacks by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Christmas Eve.

Christmas attacks by Muslim rebels in Christian villages in the southern Philippines left at least 14 people dead and may have been partly influenced by the notoriety of the Islamic State group, officials said Saturday. The raids raised tensions of those in the Christians communities. One report claimed people have become so scared some go to the  local gymnasium to sleep at night.

Manila Bulletin reported more attacks by the BIFF Bunayog could not rule out.  BIFF continues to seek a separate Islamic state and remains opposed to a government-MILF effort to create a Muslim autonomous area in Mindanao as part of a peace agreement. The group split from main Muslim rebel group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)in 2008 after the MILF opened a peace process with the government.

Contacting a military spokesperson, USA Today spoke with Capt. Joan Petinglay by phone. About 200 rebels took part in at least eight attacks on Thursday and Friday,  She said the military learned about the impending attacks and secured towns and villages and warned villagers not to venture out, preventing a larger number of casualties.

“We learned that the BIFF had plans to attack civilians and our detachments so we went on heightened alert even before Christmas,” Petinglay said. “That prevented the rebels from attacking villages and inflicting more casualties.”

Despite warnings from the military, five farmers went to their farms [on] Thursday to spray insecticide on their crops in Maguindanao province and were captured and gunned down by the rebels, she said.

In a nearby village in Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat province, rebels fleeing from army troops took a family hostage on Thursday, freeing a mother and her child but killing three men. A village official was also gunned down by the militants late Thursday in a village in North Cotabato province.

Villagers in one area hid in a Roman Catholic church after word of the rebel assaults spread, Petinglay said.

The group had been seen meeting in numbers beyond their usual size. The motive for their new attacks on Christian communities was not known. A BIFF spokesman earlier confirmed they were behind the raids, but had said it was over a land dispute.

The BIFF seeks a separate Islamic state and establish Sharia law. The group opposes the government-MILF effort to create a Muslim autonomous area in Mindanao as part of a peace agreement. The latest attacks were the most brazen by the group to date.

Last year, the BIFF shared a video where one of its leaders pledged support for the Islamic State, the jihadists that controls a large territory in Iraq and Syria with a goal to establish an Islamic Caliphate.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines.

Rape Swept Under The Rug in Pakistan

(Voice of the Persecuted) We’ve have learned a heartbreaking story out of Pakistan that has been ‘swept under the rug,’ not reported in the media or in Police headquarters.  Through our contacts we have been told about the fate of a Christian girl.  This girl took employment with a family in Pakistan cleaning, and serving the family.  It’s common in Pakistan for a family to have another woman in the house to help clean, and care for the families children.  She lived in a small quarter of the employers home.  We are told that when the man’s wife was away, this man would take the girl and rape her.  This happened many times.  The girl was so ashamed thinking that she did something wrong, she didn’t want to talk about it.  This too is the normal behavior for rape victims.  When she finally  report it to the authorities, the man wasn’t charged. She quickly withdrew her statement after threats to her and her family.  He threatened to kill her brother and her family.  She was victimized for several years before the girl was able to leave. My heart breaks for this precious girl and others who have endured such trauma.   It happens repeatedly in Pakistan and gang rapes are also frequent, but not often reported to the police or reported in the media.

Rights workers and activists in Pakistan say that the police attitude is that if a girl comes forward to report a rape, she is shameful and has defamed her family.  Automatically they say she is lying.  And many times the burden of supplying 4 witnesses as sharia law commands is impossible.  The courts will not allow DNA evidence even when it proves guilt.  In January of last year, a girl was raped, killed and hung from a tree in the Layyah district in Punjab.  This case mirrored one in India where a girl was gang raped and found hanging from a tree.  In March of last year a young girl was gang raped, and then set herself on fire in protest after the police released the men responsible without pressing charges.  Five men kidnapped her at gunpoint and raped her.  Her brother said this:  “She was already depressed after going through the trauma, but after the release of the accused, she lost all hope of getting justice and set herself on fire,”  There is no justice for these heinous acts.  Rape and domestic violence against women are widespread in Pakistan.  From what we hear Human Rights abuses in Pakistan abound, especially with women and minorities, and often within the Christian population.

Some facts about domestic violence in Pakistan:

  • Domestic violence in Pakistan is an endemic social problem. According to Human Rights Watch, it is estimated that between 70 and 90 percent of women and girls in Pakistan have suffered some form of abuse.
  •  An estimated 5000 women are killed per year from domestic violence, with thousands of others maimed or disabled.
  •  The majority of victims of violence have no legal recourse.
  • Law enforcement authorities do not view domestic violence as a crime and usually refuse to register any cases brought to them.
  • Given the very few women’s shelters in the country, victims have limited ability to escape from violent situations.

Reporting of these abuses is very difficult.  “Freedom of the press is allowed but any reports critical of the government policy or critical of the military is censored. Journalists face widespread threats and violence making Pakistan, one of the worst countries to be a journalist in, with 61 being killed since September 2001 and at least 6 murdered in 2013 alone.  Tv stations and news papers are routinely shut down for publishing any reports critical of the government or the military.”

While everything is portrayed as normal, these awful abuses are taking place.   And this only covers one aspect of the abuses coming out of Pakistan.  Christians are killed and imprisoned on an almost daily basis.  Asia Bibi is still in prison awaiting a death sentence by hanging because she was a Christians and took a drink from a Muslim well.  Pakistan is one of the top receivers of aid from the West and the US.  It’s time to hold these countries accountable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voice of the Persecuted

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

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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

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

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