July 23; reported July 24, 2012 Syria
New addition to this day’s updates, quoted from article: “The persecution of Christians is quickly escalating in war-torn Syria. On July 23, an entire Christian family was brutally murdered by Islamists in the Damascus neighborhood of Bab Tuma. According to the Catholic News Agency, Islamists from the rebel group Liwa al-Islam, meaning “The Brigade of Islam”, ordered Nabil Zoreb, a Christian civil officer, his wife Violet, and his two sons George and Jimmy to get out of the car. The militants opened fire, killing them all.” Continue with the article here (Persecution.org blog); important information about Syria, a country reeling out of control.
July 13; reported July 15, 2012 Mexico
About 90 minors were attacked by a violent group of 12 men at a Christian youth camp outside of Mexico City, and seven females were raped. The area was supposed to be patrolled by police but no police intervened. No arrests were made at the time of the report, and corruption is feared. “In a report published this week, Amnesty International mentioned the state’s abuses against women, and said Mexican police solve only one in every 21 rapes.” “Devoted Christians have often been singled out for attacks by violent groups in the country for a variety of reasons, according to church groups and Christian rights investigators.”
April – present, reported July 9 & 18, 2012 Kyrgyztan
Although Kyrgyzstan has religious freedom laws, those laws are often disobeyed. Following a 2009 “religion law,” churches are required to register before starting, but most are not approved; a pending law will make it even more difficult to practice Christianity since it will censor materials allowed in the country. A Christian worker, Narsbek, who was severely attacked in the village of Ak-kyia in April, has filed suit in Kyrgystan in order to bring the religious laws out into the open and to hopefully provide peace to Christians in that country. Narsbek and his brother-in-law Marazat were in Ak-kyia by invitation of the school master, who wanted them to distribute humanitarian items. After they had arrived at the school, the village mullah visited them, and then 20 young men with him through stones at the men, and beat and strangled them. They were able to escape, though the men chased them and ruined their vehicles. The humanitarian items were burned by the Muslims; the police did nothing. Narsbek spent a year in prison 14 years earlier because of his faith – and due to the same village mullah. The lawsuit filed by Narsbek seems to be headed to the country’s Supreme Court.
July 2012 Iran
Updating news on the persecution of Christians in Iran is not an easy task since there is so much of it going on there. If the reader is interested in learning more, any sources provided in these updates will have news about Iranian Christians and persecutions.
- Currently, there is much concern over the health of Benham Irani, a pastor who has been in prison since May 2011 for his faith. He has received many beatings while in prison, resulting in leg and eye injuries; he lost consciousness due to a bleeding ulcer and many fear he will die within the next few months. He had also been subjected to psychological torture. Since Irani is considered an apostate, that means he “can be killed.” He is now in the prison hospital.
- There is some good news. Noorollah Qabitizade, a house church leader who had been arrested in December 2010 for apostasy, has been released. He did not deny his faith in prison, and even shared his faith.
- As can be seen by the experience of the two men mentioned above, there seems no rhyme or reason as to who is kept in prison and who is not. The most widely known case right now is that of Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor who has been in prison in Iran for his faith since September 2010. He had been sentenced to death for this faith but has a new trial set for September 2012 (the charges have not been announced!). A great deal of international pressure has been in place, and continues, on the government of Iran. Nadarkhani was arrested after complaining that his children were not required to be taught Islam in their school (Iran’s constitution has provisions for religious freedom of minority religions). Believers in Brazil have been instrumental in gaining international attention to this case.