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(AsiaNews) – Members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a radical Hindu group, on Monday stormed the Sanjo Hospital, Mandya district (Karnataka), and beat up Simon George, a public relations officer, and Sister Nirmal Jose the hospital administrator.
The extremists claim that the two denigrated Hindu deities. Instead of helping the victims of the attack, police took Simon George into custody. He applied for bail but the court turned him down.
For Fr Josekutty Kalayil, who takes care of the hospital’s legal affairs, the incident stems from the hospitalization on Sunday of an elderly Hindu with high blood pressure.
Just before he was discharged, the man asked why there was a Bible in his room. Simon George, who was doing a routine tour, replied that he could read it if he was interested. This was followed shortly afterwards by the attack.
According to Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the hospital was attacked because it is run by Christian religious, even though it serves everyone, regardless of faith or caste.
“Christian missionaries who work in the medical and educational field are targeted every day by extremists who try to discredit their altruistic work, which is to get people the ‘beneficial touch’ of Jesus,” George explained.
In his view, the charges against the Sanjo Hospital staff are false. “There is nothing criminal or illegal about keeping a Bible in a hospital room; no Hindu deity has been offended,” he noted.
The Christian community Mandya district is very small, about 9,000 people out of a population of 1.8 million, but it is under constant threat from extremist groups.
“Our Christian institutions serve mostly those who attack, abuse and assault us. May God forgive them for they know not what they do,” was George’s laconic comment.
(Voice of the Persecuted) November 21, 2017- This morning, VOP was notified that the Thai immigration police raided a condominium in Inthamara 44, Soi Pracha Suk, Din Daeng Distrcit in Bangkok and arrested a Pakistani Christian family.
Mr. Asif Ghouri, his wife along with their 3 grown children, son (Alisha Asif) and two daughters (Rebecca and Jasmine), were arrested during the raid around 3pm (local time).
Mr. Asif was surprised with a knock on the door and when they opened it, the officers were there along with journalists to record their arrest. The family was asked to show proof of identity, either passports or UNHCR cards. Their case had been dismissed by the UNHCR in the mid of 2017, hence their cards had been taken away. The UNHCR deemed they would be safe in Pakistan despite it being the 4th most dangerous country for Christians.
The police pressured them into showing proof of their identity. Mr. Asif had no choice but to give them their passports with no updated visas to stay in Thailand as they were living with UNHCR cards since 2014. Ultimately, the family was taken to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) where they will live in misery and despair, fed nothing but a soupy mixture of cucumber and boiled rice. Based on the UNHCR decision in their case, the family won’t have any chance of being resettled to another country as all UNHCR portals would be inaccessible. They have no other option than to wait while fighting the feelings of hopelessness in finding freedom soon.
The IDC already hosts about 150 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and refugees. Their arrest would make matters worse as they will have to struggle for space inside. Last month, about 35 refugees from Pakistan and Somalia were arrested from Bangkok including 12 children and 7 unaccompanied minors.
The Thai government claims it to be a crackdown on illegal people who are illegally employed. However, our correspondent in Thailand confirms that neither Mr. Asif nor the 35 arrested last month were working illegally in Thailand. This situation is truly alarming and the people need your prayers.
The actions by the Thai government should be condemned. The issue should be brought to the MPs to do more to bring the persecuted brothers and sisters to the United States and other countries. These countries should also step up to condemn this brutal act against our brothers and sisters in Christ.
UPDATE Dec. 4, 2017:
Elias Asif ( arrestrd with the family last week) Fiaz Masih ( arrested from Pratunam Market, Phaya Thai District) Asher Ryan ( arrested from outside his apartment at Vivid Tower Pattanakarn 54 district Suan luang).
Two more Pakistani Christians were arrested on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017
Please remember Pakistani Christian refugees seeking asylum in Thailand. Day by day, their situation grows more volatile with greater risks of arrest.
VOP is on the ground in Thailand. 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. Please consider our mission, this Christmas, to help care for a family and bring much needed supplies and nutrition to those suffering in the notorious IDC.
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According to The Pew Research Center, nearly 75 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions. But what is Christian persecution?
The United States-based group considers persecution of Christians any denying protection of religious freedom, preventing someone from converting to Christianity because of legal or social threats, physically attacking or killing because of the victim’s faith, forcing one to leave a job or home under threat of violence because of the victim’s faith, or imprisonment, interrogation or torture for refusing to deny one’s faith.
“Overwhelmingly, the main engine driving persecution of Christians in 36 of the top 50 countries is Islamic extremism, with the most violent region being the states of the African Sahel belt where a fifth of the world’s Christians meet one-seventh of the world’s Muslims in perilous proximity,” the Open Doors report stated.
Prince Charles says he is “deeply troubled” by the growing difficulties faced by Christians in the Middle East, who are being increasingly “targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants”. Report by Tom Ellis.
BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife)– Minority Christians were among those suffering Sunday, May 19, after at least 140 people died during four consecutive days of violence in Iraq, raising fears that sectarian conflicts could lead the troubled Middle East nation into civil war.
“It is difficult to tell of the intensity of violence here over the past week,” said Canon Andrew White, who leads the St. George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, the capital. “The slaughters and massacres have intensified so much that the sound of explosions has almost become the norm,” he added in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife.
“At first the attacks were all against the Shia by the Sunni [Muslims], but on Friday we saw a major Shia response against the Sunni with over one hundred Sunnis being killed as they left their mosques.”
More than 70 people were reportedly killed in bombings on Friday, May 17, in majority Sunni districts in Baghdad and surrounding areas, in what media called “the deadliest day in Iraq” in more than eight months.
White, who negotiated with different factions in the past, said 80 percent of the initial violence was linked to “Sunni terrorists” with most having links to the ‘al-Qaida in Iraq’ terror group.
“The sad fact is that there are now many Sunni clerics shouting from TV that the Shia should be killed before the Jews and the Christians,” he added.
Among several other deadly attacks was violence Saturday, May 18, that killed at least 16 people, including a police officer, his wife and two children, while armed men abducted 10 policemen, officials said.
In Anbar province, four state-backed so-called Sahwa (Awakening) fighters, and allies of the US military, were killed in an attack on their headquarters, reported Al Jazeera television. Armed men reportedly also ambushed and abducted 10 Sunni policemen near Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, a Sunni heartland bordering Syria.
Amid the chaos, White said he visited some of the 550 local Iraqi Christian families belonging to his church amid concerns about injuries. “There are people injured but not killed as far as I know.” Yet,
“The more terror and destruction that our people experience the more they are certain that when they have lost everything Jesus is all they have left,” he noted.
That became clear last week when Jews and Christians celebrated the Jewish feast of Shavuot, held 50 days after Passover to celebrate that God gave the Torah, the Jewish Bible, and “the Holy Spirit came” in his power, he said. “The celebration was very small and secret. We dined in the church as Jews and Christians in a nation where there are only six Jews left.”
The celebration came amid concerns that part of the violence is specifically targeted against Christians.
Since the fall of leader Saddam Hussein a decade ago, about 1,000 Christians are known to have been killed, a relatively high number compared with percentages killed from other groups in Iraqi society, according to Open Doors, a Christian aid and advocacy group.
“If these attacks take place in a Christian neighborhood or a Christian village, you can assume they are targeted, especially against the Christian population of the neighborhoods and villages,” added an Open Doors field worker, who was not identified amid security concerns.
Among those killed last month was Adbuljabar Khidher Toza, a devoted Christian from Mosul, Open Doors said. Armed men apparently shot him to death in front of his house. All these targeted attacks are part of a wider attempt to remove Christians from Iraq, the field worker said.
“We received documents and threats stating that the aim of the Islamist Insurgents is to make Iraq a ‘Muslim only’ country; they want the Christians out.”
Louis Raphael Sako, the recently elected Chaldean Catholic patriarch of Iraq and Syria, says he is afraid of what Islamist rule would mean for Christians.
“People are afraid of a kind of Islamic state as it was in the seventh century where Christians would be considered second-class citizens,” he added in published remarks.
Ongoing violence prompted hundreds of thousands of believers to flee the region to nearby countries Jordan and Lebanon as well as Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. Of the roughly 1.2 million Christians in the early 1990s, some 350,000 have remained in the conflict-torn country, according to Open Doors estimates.
The president of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance Sindh chapter, Saleem Khursheed Khokhar, survived an attack on him on his way to Karachi from Badin on Wednesday.
Two unidentified men on a red motorcycle tried to stop his white Corolla No. GS-9063 near Thatta, and opened fire when he didn’t stop. The police have registered an FIR No. 65/2013 at Thatta police station.
Khokar, who is a Christian and a former member of the Sindh Assembly, was very vocal in condemning the injustices done to religious minorities. He highlighted several cases of forced conversions and marriages on a number of occasions in the assembly.
Khokar, who has been attacked twice before in Essa Nagri, Karachi, feels that he is being targeted by religious extremists. “I am being threatened and have gone into hiding to protect myself,” he told The Express Tribune from an undisclosed location. “Law enforcement agencies know that I am being followed. My whole family is under threat but the government doesn’t care.”
Khokhar added that not one political leader or government official had contacted him since the attempted attack on him on Wednesday. “Where should I hide and to whom should I complain,” he asked. “Is it crime for the minorities to raise their voice?”
Khokhar used to be provided security but it was withdrawn after the government was dissolved. “It is the government’s duty to provide me security and find the people behind the incident.”
He denied the possibility that the attackers could have been mere robbers. “Police officials have told me that attacks like these don’t happen in the area through which I had been passing,” he said. “A mafia is after me and they want to kill me like they killed Shahbaz Bhatti.”
Bhatti, who was also a Christian, was elected the federal minister for minorities in 2008. He was killed allegedly by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in 2011 for his stance on the blasphemy law.
The Express Tribune April 5th, 2013.