Christian Persecution Updates: July 18, 2012

July 2012; reported July 18  Nigeria

Boko Haram had declared war on the Christians in Nigeria and it seems that every weekend a church is bombed.  Officials are being assassinated.  The Red Cross reported yesterday that 5,500 people have fled their homes because of attacks on villages – most of them Christian – during July so far.  Over 100 people were killed in these attacks on villages.  Over 80 people were killed on July 7th alone.  “The humanitarian organisation said it was now providing food, blankets, soap and other essential items to more than 2,800 displaced people.”

Source:  ANGOP; ICC

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June 16, 2012; reported July 17  Iran

Eshan Behrooz had been imprisoned for his Christian faith, enduring 105 days of solitary confinement during his eight months in prison.  In July 2010 he had been arrested along with other Christians; he was not released because he refused to sign a document renouncing his faith.  He had been released on a very high bail at one point, but then re-imprisoned.  He has suffered mental and health problems because of his treatment in prison, and was not allowed basic rights like seeing his family or a lawyer.  He was a student at University of Mashhad, but now may not be allowed to return.

Source:  BarnabasAid.org

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July 16, 2012; reported July 17  Gaza (Palestine)

A small group of Christians held a brave and rare protest in Gaza, after becoming too frustrated over the forced conversions of Christians and the systematic persecution there that is driving so many Christians out of Gaza.  While Christians claim the conversion of a family (Al-Amash, his wife, and daughters) was forced, mediators claim it seems legitimate [there are actual forced conversions in many parts of the Muslim world, so the Christian claim is not unreasonable].  Since Hamas took over Gaza, life for the small minority of Christians has become so bad that many have left.  There are only about 1,500 Christians left, when a few years ago there were 3,500.  “The two converts, Al-Amash, and Hiba Abu Dawoud, 31, could not be reached for comment. . . .  ‘People are locking up their sons and daughters, worried about the ideas people put in their head,’ said Al-Amash’s mother, Huda.”

Source: Haaretz

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June 19, 2012; reported July 18  India

In eastern India, in Chhattisgarh state, 150 Hindus forced 12 Christians in Jawanga village to a Hindu temple.  The Christians were made to participate in Hindu rituals, worshiping tribal deities.  They were reportedly assaulted as well, but details are not available.  After this, the assaulting Hindus would not let the Christians return to their homes, but chased them out of the village.  The Christians later requested from the village head that they be allowed to return, but they were not given permission.  They are all staying in Geelam.  Chhattisgarh state had adopted the “Freedom of Relgion Act,” which has actually harmed religious freedom [as many in the West said it would]; about 1 in 50 Indians are Christian.  “The June 19 episode is only the most recent example of harassment of Christians in Chhattisgarh. The Evangelical Fellowship of India reported in April that 300 residents of Belgal village disrupted the attempted burial of a man who had converted to Christianity. Ten people were injured, and the burial was completed after district authorities intervened.”

Source:  Compass Direct News (primary source, Open Doors News)

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