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Minorities in Turkey on edge amid threats, attacks

(Al-Monitor) Vulnerable groups have faced intimidation or worse in recent weeks in what both the government and the opposition warn are efforts to stoke conflict, though they disagree on who’s to blame.

ISTANBUL — Ethnic and religious minorities in Turkey are on edge after a series of threats and attacks, with both government officials and their critics warning society’s most vulnerable are being targeted to foment strife.

Kurds, Christians and others have all faced intimidation or outright violence in recent weeks in what appear to be mostly unrelated incidents. Yet they coincide with growing economic uncertainty and political tensions wrought in part by the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 4,500 people in Turkey and hammered the economy. READ MORE

Reported by Ayla Jean Yackley


DAMASCUS/ANKARA (BosNewsLife)– Tens of thousands of panicked-stricken people, many of them Christians, are seen fleeing north-east Syria amid fears that a brief ceasefire will not end a deadly Turkish invasion. They escape a region where over 100 people, including some Christians, were reported killed in recent fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces. Others were injured.

“Already one Christian home in a Christian neighborhood in the city of Qamishli has been shelled, with family members injured,” confirmed Christian aid group, Barnabas Fund.

“The mother is in a critical condition in hospital. Two other Christians in Qamishli have been killed and many wounded,” the group added.

Barnabas Fund said, “Christians are alarmed to note that the attacking forces include not only the Turkish army but also Syrian Islamist rebel factions whose extremist ideology makes them strongly anti-Christian.”

At least one Islamic rebel group, the Levant Front, seized Christian homes of those fleeing in the town of Tal Abyad, other Christian aid workers told BosNewsLife. It was not immediately clear how many houses had been taken over.


Barnabas Fund claimed that some of the Christian refugees were already displaced several times during Syria’s civil war. They “finally found stability in this region. Now they must run for their lives again,” the group explained in a statement to BosNewsLife.

As many as 100,000 people have already left their homes, according to the United Nations. The number of internally displaced persons could reach 300,000 in the area, warned Barnabas Fund citing local sources.

Turkey’s attacks, launched last week, target a part of Syria viewed as relatively secure in eight years of civil war. “But overnight it has become a battlefield,” Barnabas Fund complained.

The group noted that the region has strong Christian communities that are “often seen as a peace-keeping buffer between the Arabs and Kurds.”

Barnabas Fund said it is providing humanitarian aid such as food and shelter to Syrian Christians. Additionally, “We have also helped to support our brothers and sisters spiritually. That includes funding projects to strengthen church ministry and build them up in their faith through the years of unrelenting conflict, loss, and trauma,” it stressed. “As Christians, they suffered persecution for their faith in addition to all the normal suffering of the war.”


Christians have reasons to fear more violence. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey warned his troops would “crush the heads” of Kurdish fighters if they don’t withdraw from a planned safe zone area in northern Syria.

Turkey agreed on Thursday, October 17, to suspend an offensive for five days to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from the region.

But both sides have accused the other of violating the ceasefire, which was negotiated by the United States. American forces appeared unwilling Monday, October 21, to be drawn into the conflict. Reporters saw hundreds of trucks carrying American troops crossing into Iraq in a long military convoy Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that he would bring all American troops stationed in Syria “back home.” He rejected concerns that this could lead to the freeing of Islamic militants from prisons and more pressure on minority Christians and other vulnerable groups.

American troops fought the Islamic State terror group alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Most of these forces will move to western Iraq, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. But he suggested that some would remain temporarily in Syria to protect oil fields from Islamic State, despite President Trump’s call for a full withdrawal.

Genocide of Christians Reaches “Alarming Stage”

Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels,’” the title of a May 3 BBC report, cites a lengthy interim study ordered by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and led by Rev. Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro.

According to the BBC report, one in three people around the world suffer from religious persecution, with Christians being “the most persecuted religious group”; “religion ‘is at risk of disappearing’ in some parts of the world”; and “In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is also quoted on why Western governments have been “asleep”—his word—concerning this growing epidemic:  “I think there is a misplaced worry that it is somehow colonialist to talk about a religion [Christianity] that was associated with colonial powers rather than the countries that we marched into as colonisers.  That has perhaps created an awkwardness in talking about this issue—the role of missionaries was always a controversial one and that has, I think, also led some people to shy away from this topic.”

Whatever the merits of such thinking, the fact is, many of the world’s most persecuted Christians have nothing whatsoever to do with colonialism or missionaries.  For example, those most faced with the threat of genocide—including Syria’s and Iraq’s Assyrians and Egypt’s Copts—were Christian several centuries before the ancestors of Europe’s colonizers became Christian, let alone went missionizing.

The BBC report highlights “political correctness” as being especially responsible for the West’s indifference, and quotes Hunt again in this regard: “What we have forgotten in that atmosphere of political correctness is actually the Christians that are being persecuted are some of the poorest people on the planet.”

Although the BBC report has an entire heading titled and devoted to the impact of “political correctness,” ironically, it too succumbs to this contemporary Western malady.  For while it did a fair job in highlighting the problem, it said nothing about its causes—not one word about who is persecuting Christians, or why.

For instance, it is well established that the overwhelming majority of Christian persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations.  According to Open Doors’ World Watch List 2019, which surveys the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, “Islamic oppression continues to impact millions of Christians.”  In seven of the absolute worst ten nations, “Islamic oppression” is the cause of persecution.  “This means, for millions of Christians—particularly those who grew up Muslim or were born into Muslim families—openly following Jesus can have painful consequences,” including death.

Among the worst persecutors are those that rule according to Islamic law, or Sharia (which academics such as Georgetown University’s John Esposito insist is equitable and just).  In Afghanistan (ranked #2), “Christianity is not permitted to exist,” says the WWL 2019, because it “is an Islamic state by constitution, which means government officials, ethnic group leaders, religious officials and citizens are hostile toward” Christians.  Similarly, in Somalia, (#3), “The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence.”  In Iran (#9), “society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted.”

Equally telling is that 38 of the 50 nations making the WWL 2019 are Muslim majority.

Perhaps the BBC succumbed to silence concerning the sources of Christian persecution—that is, succumbed to “the atmosphere of political correctness” which it ironically highlighted—because it did not rely on the WWL in its own report.  The problem with this interpretation is that the study the BBC did rely on, the Bishop of Truro’s, is saturated with talk concerning the sources of Christian persecution.  In this regard, the words “Islam” and “Islamist” appear 61 times; “Muslim” appears 56 times in this comprehensive review on persecuted Christians.

Here are a few of the more significant quotes from the Bishop of Truro’s report:

  • “The persecution of Christians is perhaps at its most virulent in the region of the birthplace of Christianity—the Middle East & North Africa.”
  • “In countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia the situation of Christians and other minorities has reached an alarming stage.”
  • “The eradication of Christians and other minorities on pain of ‘the sword’ or other violent means was revealed to be the specific and stated objective of [Islamic] extremist groups in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, north-east Nigeria and the Philippines.”
  • “[T]here is mass violence which regularly expresses itself through the bombing of churches, as has been the case in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia.”
  • “The single-greatest threat to Christians [in Nigeria] … came from Islamist militant group Boko Haram, with US intelligence reports in 2015 suggesting that 200,000 Christians were at risk of being killed…  Those worst affected included Christian women and girls ‘abducted, and forced to convert, enter forced marriages, sexual abuse and torture.’”
  • “An intent to erase all evidence of the Christian presence [in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, north-east Nigeria and the Philippines] was made plain by the removal of crosses, the destruction of Church buildings and other Church symbols. The killing and abduction of clergy represented a direct attack on the Church’s structure and leadership.”
  • “Christianity now faces the possibility of being wiped-out in parts of the Middle East where its roots go back furthest. In Palestine, Christian numbers are below 1.5 percent; in Syria the Christian population has declined from 1.7 million in 2011 to below 450,000 and in Iraq, Christian numbers have slumped from 1.5 million before 2003 to below 120,000 today. Christianity is at risk of disappearing, representing a massive setback for plurality in the region.”

The BBC should be commended for (finally) reporting on this urgent issue—even if it is three years behind the times.  As the Truro report correctly observes,  “In 2016 various political bodies including the UK parliament, the European Parliament and the US House of Representatives, declared that ISIS atrocities against Christians and other religious minority groups such as Yazidis and Shi’a Muslims met the tests of genocide.”

At the very least, it may be hoped that the BBC has stopped trying to minimize  the specter of Christian persecution, as it did in 2013, when this phenomenon was just starting to reach boiling point.

INDIA – Intolerance and violence against Pentecostal Christians

Indian Christians

(Agenzia Fides) – “There is growing intolerance and hostility toward small Pentecostal Christian communities, that are not allowed to do what is guaranteed by constitutional guarantees”: says to Agenzia Fides Sajan K. George, president of the global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), recalling the recent episodes of violence suffered by Protestant Pentecostal Pastors.

On August 20, Pastor Roy of the “Sharon Fellowship Church Town” was pelted with stones by extremists in Kodungallur, in the state of Kerala. Pastor Roy explained that, over the last five years, during the Sunday liturgies there have always been tension due to the presence of fanatical Hindus militants who want to stop the celebrations.

In another recent incident, in Bangalore, Karnataka, on August 18, a 26-year-old evangelist Christian leader of the Thadou Christian Fellowship Church was attacked and punched by five men, after paying a visit to his friend to lead a prayer meeting.
According to the Pentecostal communities, these attacks are on the rise. Speaking to Fides, Sajan K. George said: “Pastors are not doing anything illegal, or causing problems of public order or security. It is the militants who carry out gratuitous violence on innocent Christians. It is up to the state to give an institutional response, to stop the violence, ensure the rule of law”.


Nigeria: Attack on Christians: Islamic leaders should dismantle doctrine of hatred

north nigeria

In a signed statement made received and shared by Vanguard news, Chairman of NCEF, Solomon Asemota (SAN), identified doctrine of hatred as significant to  factors affecting the country.

“What the nation is witnessing today can be attributed to three immediate factors:

The doctrine of hatred that was used to indoctrinate Almajiris in the various Islamic Madrassas in the North where Muslims were deliberately taught to hate Christians and people of other faiths.

“Secondly, the concept of “sacred space” in which Islamists believe, for example, that the road leading to their mosque belongs exclusively to them. “The “sacred space” concept is applied to every area in which Islamism has traveled. The belief is that all land on earth has been given by Allah to Muslims and it is theirs by right, to stage a Jihad to retake them.

“Thirdly, the result of one Nation operating two political systems of Democracy and Sharia.

“Nigeria is witnessing a recurring decimal of violence as a result of narrow minded religious indoctrination and the onus is on Muslim leaders in the country to take steps to reverse this anomaly in the best interest of everyone. “No country can make progress and live in peace when a section of the population is consumed with hatred for other citizens.

“The National Christian Elders’ Forum wishes to emphasize, once again, that the main cause of the crisis in Nigeria is rooted in the conflict of ideology – Democracy versus Sharia in which one nation has two systems of government. It is impossible to have two national ideologies (Democracy and Sharia) as we witness today. “Nigeria was established by our founding fathers, British and Nigerians, as a Democratic country to accommodate all the divergent groups within the nation. Those whose aim is to turn the Nation into a Sharia state are the architects of the present distress.

“The National Christian Elders’ Forum is calling on all Christian leaders to meet urgently and appraise the situation in the Nation with the Vice President, Pastor Yemi Osibanjo SAN as Chairman. “There is the need for a holistic response to the relentless attacks by Islamists on Christians and Christian communities. Thereafter, there should be a meeting with Muslim leaders. This is the only way out of this agony, because while the Islamist Jihadists are few, the majority of Muslims must lead in the fight against Islamist extremism. “If Nigeria is to remain a nation that all the citizens will call their home, Islamic leaders must champion the cause of dismantling the “doctrine of hatred” and promote Democracy which guarantees freedom of choice for all the citizens. “Those pushing for Sharia ideology should be persuaded by their Muslim counterparts that in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society like Nigeria, Sharia as a national ideology cannot stand. “If this is not done, and done quickly, then the nation that is tottering on the edge of the precipice will be pushed beyond the brink. Christians constitute a significant portion of the Nigerian population and, it is impossible to have Nigeria without Christians.”

#INDONESIA – Thousands of Christians Flee as Churches Burned and Destroyed by Radicals and Government Authorities

Tensions raised as multiple churches in Aceh Singkil, Indonesia burned down by mob of radical Islamists

Indonesian believers fear as multiple churches in Aceh Singkil, Indonesia burned down by mob of radical Islamists, last week

(Voice of the Persecuted) Over the last few days, Indonesian Christians under extreme pressure have been sharing reports, photos, videos and their prayers with Voice of the Persecuted. Tensions are high among the Christian communities in Indonesia as radical Muslims burn down their churches and government authorities tear down their places of worship.

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In 2006, the controversial Joint Rules set by the Minister of Religious Affairs and the Minister of Home Affairs No. 8 and No. 9, demands states churches cannot be built without providing authorities with a list of names and signatures of 90 congregation members along with written support from at least 60 local residents and a village chief.

This has made it nearly impossible, if at all, for religious minorities to collect the signatures of 60 people required for the permit, particularly if the signatures are needed from citizens whose religion differs from their own.

‘Houses of worship’ are the most visible symbol of a religion and the oppressive government regulations on places of worship have been used to target followers of minority religions, including Christians. Believers relayed to Voice of the Persecuted that many of the Mosques are without permit/license, but those cases are overlooked.

Despite growing intolerance and escalating persecution in the world’s largest Muslim-populated nation, the Church in Indonesia continues to grow.

The province of Aceh is located at the northern end of Sumatra and the only region in Indonesia where Sharia law is officially authorized. Religious tension has been brewing there for months.

A radical Muslim youth group, Aceh Youth Concerned for Islam held protests demanding alleged unlicensed churches be torn down by authorities. Many believe the government’s decision to destroy ten Christian churches came by pressure of Muslim fundamentalists. But Impatiently, Muslim extremists took actions into their own hands and instigated mob violence to destroy Christian buildings and threaten Indonesian believers. Police were deployed but unable to stop the violence as one authority reported they were outnumbered by a mob of 500-800 strong.

When hatred flared, more than 5000 Christians fled their communities and were displaced as internal refugees.

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The chronology of attacks and burning of churches by radicals in the district of Aceh Singkil, continued with the demolition of churches carried out by the Government Aceh Singkil by unjustly using SKB 2 menteri ( A decree between minister of religious affair and minister of home affairs in 2006) No. 8 in 2006 on the establishment of House of worship and the 2007 Governor of Aceh regulation No. 25 regarding the establishment Houses of worship.

SKB 2 menteri No. 8, No. 9 and regulation No. 25 applied to the places of worship built after the policies were confirmed. Referring to the history of established churches in Aceh Singkil, the majority stood prior to both regulations.

article 3-indonesia

In translation means…if Houses of Worship were built before 2006 or have historical values and do not have a permit, the local government must help them to obtain the permit. There is no wording in the regulation that the government is authorized to destroy those Houses of Worship.


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August 18 2015, GKPPD Mandumpang was burned by unknown person at Aceh singkil

• Tuesday, October 13th , Hki Church was burned by radical groups At Aceh Singkil * Friday, October 16th , GPIB church was burned by unknown people at Sabang Aceh

Tuesday, October 19, 2015 at 10:00 held the destruction of church GKPPD Siompin church, GMII Siompin church and Catholic Mandumpang church. ( 3 churches)

•  October 20, 2015, The distruction of churches continued, and 2 churches had been demolished: the Church GKPPD Kuta Tinggi church, and GKPPD Tuhtuhen ( 2 churches)

 October 22, 2015, The destruction of the GKPPD Siatas Church and GKPP Sanggaberru Church ( 3 churches)

• The government still has plans to destroy the 2 other churches also in the district of Aceh Singkil.

The following data shows the establishment of churches in Aceh Singkil.

1. GKPPD Kuta Kerangan church , di Kuta Kerangan Village,  est. 1932.

2. GKPPD Siatas church in Pertabas  est. 1942.

3. GKPPD Kuta Tinggi Church in Kuta Tinggi est. 1943.

4.  GKPPD Tuhtuhen church in Tuhtuhen village was established in1948.

5. GKPPD Lae Gecih church in Lae Gecih village est. 1967.

6. GKPPD Mandumpang church in Mandumpang village est. 1950.

7. GKPPD Siompin church in Siompin village est. 1964.

8. GKPPD Keras church in Keras Village est. 1952.

9. GKPPD Guha churchin Guha village was est. 1947.

10. GKPPD Gunung Meriah church in Gunung Meriah village est. 1960

11. GKPPD Sanggaberru church in Sanggaberru village est. 1962.

12. GKPPD Daling Dangguren church in Dangguren village est. 1995.

13. GKPPD Biskang church in Napagaluh village est. 1953.

14. GKPPD Situbuhtubuh in Situbuhtubuh village est. 1989.

15. GMII Siompin church in Siompin village est. 1995.

16. GMII Mandumpang church in Mandumpang village est. 2000.

17. JKI Kuta Kerangan church di Desa Kuta Kerangan Kecamatan Simpang Kanan est. 2003.

18. HKI Gunung Meriah church in Sukamakmur village est. 1968.

19. Catholic church Gunung Meriah in Sukamakmur village est. 1963.

20. Catholic church Lae Mbalno est. 1993.

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Based on chronology of the attack that occurred on October 13, 2015 and data in establishing the churches in the district of Aceh Singkil, the GKPPD Church Leaders and NGO’s concerned with freedom of religion, faith, mentoring, advocacy and education in Aceh Singkil hold that:

1.The action of attacking and burning HKI church by radical groups in Aceh Singkil on October 13, 2015 and where the State has participated in facilitating that action through its inability to prevent and crack down on Islamic groups that carried out the attack, expanding affecting conflict area that led to the victims having been displaced out of Aceh Singkil is a violation of Human Rights.

2. Restrictions on the churches in Aceh Singkil is contrary to the Constitution amendment in 1945 Article 29 verse 2 that states that the country to ensure freedom of all citizens to embrace their faith of choice.

On October 24th, The Vice Governor of Aceh said, “The tragedy/conflict of Aceh Singkil is not a big problem/a reasonable thing.” Hearing this, one Christian shared, “Oh my, what kind of leader does Aceh have nowadays? He must be educated about Indonesia’s Laws, the Constitution and Pancasila (five principles).

Messages from our Indonesian brothers and sisters

• I don’t know why they have cruel hearts, but we know our Dear Lord Jesus sees all.

• The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord for the harvest and to provide them with the reapers.

• Unity in diversity is torn to shreds.

• May the Lord Jesus give the best ways to Christians friends in Aceh, they still believe God is not asleep..God is watching all.

Where is the voice of the media?

We only want freedom in our own land, free from discrimination and religious freedom.

Pray for Aceh Singkil

Anxiety and fear, our grief has not passed, the tears have not dried. Who will hear our pleas for Justice.

Goodbye My Church

The church that we have built with great difficulty, the church that we have built with our sweat and tears, now memories that have been flattened.

Word of God, “You will be hated for My Name”

My friends, stay strong, joyful, still rely on the Lord. Do not let our faith also collapsed and be flattened, but stay strong growing in faith.  No need to be angry, abuse, or kill. God never taught this way to us. The teachings of the Lord, is teaching us…love others, even love your enemies. Remain patient, God never sleeps. We can always reach out for His hand. There are BEAUTIFUL plans HE will provide for us.

Voice of the Persecuted received this touching letter by a young Christian sister sharing from her heart after she saw the pictures and people who had burned some of the churches in Aceh Singkil.


The people of Indonesia should be taught and often read the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia, Chapter XI about Religion Article 29 :

(1) The State shall be based upon the belief in the One and Only God.

(2) The State guarantees all persons the freedom of worship, each according to his/her own religion or belief.

Friends, you can burn our churches because they are only buildings.

Friends, you can destroy our churches because the churches are merely stone, sand, cement, and arranged wood. We only call these buildings churches.

You can burn our churches, because theses buildings are not our Lord.

Friends, you can flatten our churches to the ground, because we are not worshiping church.

You can burn our churches because the churches are only places where we gather as people who believe in our God.

Friends, you can burn and flatten our places of worship, but not our faith nor our belief in our God.

Will we avenge your cruel actions? We will not do that, friend.

Will we cuss you and say you are perverted? You will not hear this from us.

Behold, we are only minorities, Christian people trying to defend our faith and trust. We won’t avenge the cruel actions you have done, because that’s not what our God has taught us. But this is what we will do. We will fold our hands and pray to God, so that HE will forgive you, friends.

You can burn our churches, but it will not hinder our trust in the Lord.

But friends, may I ask this question to all of you who have burned our church buildings?

What is wrong with the churches?

May I ask what is wrong with our religion, friends? If our religion is different than yours, why we can’t we build our own places of worship in our country, Indonesia?

What’s so wrong that our religion is different from the majority of people of Indonesia? Doesn’t the State of Indonesia according to the CONSTITUTION of 1945 article 29 paragraph 2, ”GUARANTEES ALL PERSONS THE FREEDOM OF WORSHIP, each according to his/her own religion or belief”?

Thank you, friends for the churches which you have chosen to burn. What you have done has made us stronger in our faith and even more trusting in our Lord.



The recent number of attacks on religious communities has impelled the Indonesian government to reexamine the controversial 2006 joint ministerial decree on establishing houses of worship.

ANTARA News quoted Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo as saying, “My office and the Religious Affairs Ministry are seeking to amend our decree on building houses of worship so that everyone will show respect when a religious community is setting up their holy place.”

Indonesia’s national motto is “unity in diversity”. The Government of Indonesia must act swiftly to revise this decree, an initiator of tension and abuse among Indonesia’s religious communities. A mandate to protect the entire community with freedom of worship without fear must be put in place throughout the nation, including the province of Aceh, without exception.

We pray for Indonesia as our brothers and sisters fear the pressure and intolerance Christians now face in Aceh may very well spread across the nation. They’re also concerned that the influx of Muslim refugees may fuel further intolerance. Some tell us the nation’s claim of religious harmony is merely for show, a decoration.

Dear brothers and sisters, though you may be on the other side of the globe, we suffer with you and will keep you close in our hearts and prayers. We rejoice and thank God for you. Hold on, there is hope…the Lord is with you.

Mazmur 59:16 (59-17) Tetapi aku mau menyanyikan kekuatan-Mu, pada waktu pagi aku mau bersorak-sorai karena kasih setia-Mu; sebab Engkau telah menjadi kota bentengku, tempat pelarianku pada waktu kesesakanku. (Psalm 59:16)

Father, protect them in this land and help them to respond in Your will. We pray the Church and their faith will continue to grow as they endure suffering for the sake of the Gospel. We ask as they turn their eyes towards the Lord and that God’s Holy presence will be felt among them. May they unite as One in the Body of Christ and be strengthened beyond measure. Father, we ask this in the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

(Voice of the Persecuted)

They’re also asking that we stand with them by signing the petition below addressed to the President in Indonesia.  Grateful for your help and say, “Thank you!”

The petition translated:

The minority religion places were regulated by 2 of our ministers from previous government-the Minister of Religious Affairs and the Minister of Home Affairs No. 9 and No. 8 of 2006, in which the regulation should require no ID card of 90 church members and 60 ID Cards from local community approval.

Regulatory clause that mentions “local community support at least 60 people” makes discriminatory for religious minorities in the region.

It Is really not easy to collect the signatures of 60 people to get a permit the establishment of houses of worship, especially if the required signatures of citizens whose religion is different with those who will build a house of worship.
Now, a lot of violence, closures, and arson by anarchist groups for reasons not meet the approval of 60 people.
Violence of this kind, will make hostility among Indonesian citizens at many places, crime, and erode our sense of nationhood. Imagine this country will be fragmented and disappearing sense of tolerance we are as the nation.
Indonesia should not be grouped based on the majority and the minority religion, where it will actually make it disintegrate our nation, and become brittle.

States should ensure that every citizen can worship wherever they are throughout Indonesia.


Article may be shared or reprinted with credit/link to Voice of the Persecuted

Together with your generous support, 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.


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 mail your gift to:

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

PAKISTAN: Christian girls kidnapped and raped by Muslims – Human Rights of Minorities Still Unprotected

pakistan christian prays

Pakistani christian girl praying

(Voice of the Persecuted) Two Christian girls were kidnapped and raped by a group of Muslim men. Two of the criminals were arrested, three are still at large in the city of Jaranwala in Punjab.

The victims are defended by Christian lawyers, who reported these incidents to Agenzia Fides. Another case regards a 13-year-old Christian girl, who was kidnapped and raped. The third case reported to Fides concerns two girls abducted and abused by a group of human traffickers who forced them into prostitution, always in Punjab.

The phenomenon of girls of religious minorities kidnapped, raped and in some cases, forced to Islamic marriage, is endemic in Pakistan and, according to Fides sources, affects about one thousand girls every year. It is part of the condition of subordination of women in Pakistani society, especially in rural areas, but women belonging to religious minorities are doubly vulnerable. Notes a source of Fides, given that Muslim men feel they are guaranteed impunity in committing such abuse and are often backed by the police and the judiciary. We too have heard this by our contacts as a sure cause of the ongoing rise of abuse.

Pakistan grossly lacks protection of human rights for women, children and religious minorities, which subjects them to outrageous cruelty.Horrific violence is perpetrated against women, teens and young girls (including kidnapping, torture, rape, forced marriages), discrimination against religious minorities, force conversions, the misuse of blasphemy law, modern-day slavery through the illegal practice of bonded labor, sectarian violence—targeted mob killings and deadly attacks on Christians and other religious minorities.

Last November, in response to the barbaric murder of a Christian couple thrown into a burning furnace by an enraged Muslim mob, VOP wrote a letter to the U.S. government and the United Nations to pressure the Pakistani government to take action. Globally, many have condemned the heinous acts of violence against Christians and religious minorities in Pakistan.  We’ve yet to see an improvement by the Pakistani government for their protection, nor firm punishments put in place to deter perpetrators from violence. The abusers are often released and never face any type of criminal charges.

Christians continue to languish in prisons on controversial charges of blasphemy against Islam, which potentially carries the death penalty. Such is the internationally known case of Asia Bibi, a mother of 5 sentenced to death for charges of blasphemy she maintains are false. Obvious discrimination has been shown in her case.

Religious political parties have been known to squash the government’s intentions to amend or repeal discriminatory laws, with threats of boycotts and countrywide violent protests. These religious parties are mainly silent of persecution against minorities, or the severe humiliation and abuse of Pakistani women and children. Religious political parties are equally responsible for the plight of human rights, as part of the democratic system and having more influence in the country. Plain and simple, they must be held accountable for their role in advancing and securing human rights for all Pakistani citizens.

Countries most frequently cited for the most aggressive laws banning free expression are Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan.

Freedom of religion is a cornerstone right for all other fundamental human rights. It must be advanced, and vigorously guarded everywhere in the world. Fierce protection of the rights of women and children must also be implemented in all nations. Until then, the violent rape of these two Christian girls will continue to be reported again and again against others. We will also continue to see more minorities leaving to seek safety in other nations further burdening immigration departments. Many of these asylum seekers never wanted to leave their families and homeland, they were forced. Special exceptions should be made for Christian asylum seekers in Western nations…they’re running out of safe places where their human rights will be protected.

Let us pray for those without human rights, rights that we in the West often take for granted. And please, don’t remain silent. Let us speak out to encourage others to pray. Let us be their VOICE and wake up the world to this abuse.

Voice of the Persecuted

Together with your generous support, 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.


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 mail your gift to:

2740 Third St
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Nigerians, fearing election violence, forfeit vote to move to other end of country

About 1.5 million people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North may not be able cast their vote. Here, a child arrives at a camp all by himself. November 2014 World Watch Monitor

About 1.5 million people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North may not be able cast their vote. Here, a child arrives at a camp all by himself. November 2014
World Watch Monitor

Ahead of Nigeria’s general elections on March 28, hundreds of people, fearful of election violence, have fled back to their place of origin, World Watch Monitor has been told.

The election was originally scheduled for February 14th, before being postponed to the March date for security reasons.

Take for example Sam Nwodo, 48, a dealer in motor parts, who has moved his family from Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State in northern Nigeria, to his native Imo State in the South. In 2000, Zamfara State was the first State to implement Sharia Law in the country. This act was then followed by 11 other States in the North.

The election between the two main candidates: incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition (All Progressive Congress, APC) one,  Retired Gen. Muhammed Buhari, has crystallised tensions and divisions along religious and ethnic lines.

In 2011, the victory of Jonathan, a Christian from the southern Niger Delta, provoked an eruption of violence in Katsina, the hometown of Gen. Buhari in the North. The post-election violence, which Human Rights Watch described at the time as one of the bloodiest episodes in Nigerian history, spread quickly to all 12 Northern States and claimed more than 800 lives. More than 350 Churches were burnt down, among other properties.

The conflict has left lasting scars on many Nigerians who would not want to be caught in another wave of violence. Sam Nwodo, for instance, is sceptical and has been willing to forfeit his vote for his safety.

“We are afraid because we feel that this election may lead to the disintegration of Nigeria. There may be war because of the desperate nature of politicians. The candidacy of President Jonathan and Gen. Buhari has polarised the Nigerian masses along religious lines.

‘‘Many Igbos (from the majority Christian south) in Gusau are leaving en masse because we don’t know what will happen. No matter how brave you are, when you see your people leaving in such large numbers you have no choice but to move too”.

Charred remains of a Church building, following the 2011 post-election violence. May 2011 World Watch Monitor

Charred remains of a Church building, following the 2011 post-election violence. May 2011
World Watch Monitor

The fear of violence has also gripped Nigeria’s Central States, known as the Middle-Belt, the natural border between North and South. From Kaduna, capital of Kaduna State, some 400 ethnic Igbos are known to have relocated to their hometowns in the South East of Nigeria. Others have chosen to stay but have relocated their families, according to a source at the Igbo Welfare Community.

Innocent Anya, 48, relocated his family back to his hometown in the southern Enugu State, even prior to postponement of the election. The father of four has lived in Kaduna, where he earned his living repairing air conditioning units, for the past 22 years. He told WWM that there were glaring signs of violence even before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the election.

‘‘Each time there are problems in the North, we Igbos are always the target of attack by northern Muslims as if we are the cause of the problems.”

‘‘I was almost killed during the 2011 election violence. Many of our people were killed and our properties were either looted or destroyed. So we don’t want to be caught in another wave of violence again.’’

Donatus Ezenakwe, a stationery dealer in Kaduna, recalled that ‘‘in 2011, they took us unawares, and many of us were killed.  So I can’t stay back and witness another killing,’’ he said.

“The campaigns have been violent. The Muslims in the north are insisting that General Buhari must win the election this time around.  President Jonathan’s supporters, especially the Niger Delta militants, are threatening that there would be war if Jonathan does not win the election. So the scenario is frightening.

“I had no choice than to relocate to my village in (the southern) Anambra State where we will be safe from the mindless killings,’’ he added.

A similar trend has been observed in various southern States where hundreds of mainly Hausas have fled back to the North.

Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu, a 51 year old Muslim, lived and worked in Bayelsa, Nigeria’s most southerly State, for about 20 years. He has now moved his wife and six children to the northern town of Funtua, in Katsina State.

“We are afraid because the moment they start attacking people in the north, the southerners will want to retaliate by attacking northerners who are living in their communities and we will have  to run to the military and police barracks,” he said.

The 2015 election campaigns have been marred by violence. According to Nigeria’s Human Rights Commission, no fewer than 58 people lost their lives between December 2014 and January 2015.

In Kaduna, Christians and Muslim clerics have been working together to prevent a new eruption of violence.

Leaders of the Kaduna State chapters of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Jamatu Nasril Islam (JNI) have helped launch the One Family Under God campaign to combat identity-based conflict.

The campaign has resolved to ensure that anybody engaging in violence or harbouring anyone with violent intent during the elections would be handed over to security agents.

Meanwhile, about 1.5 million people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North may not be able to cast their vote, although the government says it has plans for polling stations in IDP camps and so on.

Nigeria’s 173 million people are split almost evenly between Christians in the oil-wealthy and westernized south and Muslims in the underdeveloped north.

World Watch Monitor

  • Praying for Nigeria and a peaceful election.
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