Tag Archives: persecution

World Jews outraged by Christian murders, our own government isn’t

This is the crime against humanity of our time. It is the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing. It is deliberate, it is brutal, and it is systematic. And I, as a Jew, want to say that I stand solidly with Christians throughout the world in protest against this crime. And I am appalled that the world is silent.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (2013 Erasmus Lecture)

. . . the Jews seem to be the ones most outraged by it. . . . It’s shades of the past that a world that is indifferent to such brutal actions becomes indifferent to anybody’s suffering.

The White House—the whole Western community—ought to be taking action, as we would against any country that engages in this kind of action. Look, overall the West is muted in their response to the killings of Christians by the thousands, from Indonesia to Nigeria to Tehran to Damascus. Where is the outcry? Christians and Copts [are being killed] in Egypt, other countries—and hardly any response to it. . . .  Where are the [United Nations] Security Council resolutions? Why aren’t the condemnations coming from them?

Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

The above quotes are from the First Things article, “Jews and the Persecution of Christians” by Tom Wilson; the Hoenlein quotes were taken by Wilson from an interview of Hoenlein in The Time of Israel.

. . . the Middle East [was] once home to countless thriving Jewish communities, only for them to have been decimated in the mid-twentieth century. With the rise of hardline Islam and growing turmoil in many of these countries, Christians risk sharing a similar fate. . . .  A century ago, Christians constituted 20 percent of the population of the Middle East; today, that number stands at just 4 percent.

Jews care.  A lot of Jews get it.  What is with us?  Why does our own country, and the West, not care?  The western media is biased in its reporting when Christians are killed in countries like Sudan.  They seem to be ashamed that Christians even exist and that violent-minded Muslims are justified in doing evil.  But where is the Christian response, the Christian outrage?  If it doesn’t exist, then it can be surmised that Christians don’t really exist.  At least, our own government’s weak response against the atrocities can certainly be viewed as nothing but hot air.  But why should our government do anything about it or care, when we people of faith don’t even seem to??

Churches are our gathering places.  Why aren’t churches organizing anything to raise awareness about what is going on in the world?  If they don’t know . . . what excuse can be given?  Maybe some pastors are writing newspaper editorials and encouraging action by their flock–I don’t know.  Feel free to let me know of examples of such action in the comments below, or provide links there to Christians groups and organizations that are trying to do something about this (I don’t mean groups that report on it only).  Thanks.

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Brutality and Cruelty by Iranian Government, an Example

Iran sentences American pastor Saeed Abedini t...

The headline below doesn’t do justice to what its article conveys.  Abedini and his wife are from Iran, but are now American citizens.  Below the link are excerpts from the article – click the link to read the entire article.

Link:  Iran moves American Christian into solitary confinement over prayer protest

Saeed Abedini, the 32-year-old Christian and American citizen who is serving an eight-year prison term in Iran, was put in solitary confinement following a “peaceful, silent protest” in an outside courtyard at Iran’s notoriously brutal Evin prison, according to family members. Conditions at the prison prompted Abedini and other prisoners to sign a petition decrying the lack of medical care and the threats and harsh treatment facing family members who come to visit.

[Abedini] was arrested in 2005, but released after pledging never to evangelize in Iran again.  When he left his wife and two kids in Idaho last summer to return to Iran to help build a state-run, secular orphanage, Iranian police pulled him off a bus and imprisoned him.

The latest developments underscore the brutality of Iran’s continued violation of human rights – imprisoning, torturing and refusing medical care for Pastor Saeed merely because of his faith. This treatment not only violates international law, but is abhorrent . . .

See also Iranian American Pastor Unlawfully Imprisoned in Iran

 To learn more about Iran and to advocate for Abedini, see US State Department, Iran page (includes contact information).

The Anti-Semitic, Anti-Israel Nation of Sweden

I didn’t know Sweden had gotten so anti-Semitic.  Did you?  Isn’t this an example of hypocrisy to support violence against people, against a minority in your country, even?  I don’t keep up with European affairs too much, so I was very shocked and very sickened after reading the article linked below.  It’s so astonishingly tiring, too, to think violence perpetrated against Israel is Israel’s fault.

There is a lot of false “history” out there regarding the formation of Israel and the tensions and wars that followed (I guess even the educated in Sweden don’t want to know, but would rather spread hate).  Israel was not perfect – nobody is or was – but the Palestinians (and the Arab immigrant fighters brought in at that time) are not at all innocent.  Why do you think Israel received the land for their state after WWII, but then the Palestinians did not (nor have they ever since)?  Please read some real history if you don’t know and you think it’s all Israel’s fault (see the second link)!

LINK:  “Sweden. Violence dominates and a Jew today feels like a Jew in Berlin in the ’20s”

For a detailed history of Israel and Palestine, and all that has transpired in that region until the present day, go to this page to start, and then read on (links continue the narrative and provide other side links for more specifics):

LINK:  “Israel and Palestine: A Brief History – Part I” [it is not brief, it’s just not in book form . . .]

You will read that Israel had accepted the UN lines of partitions for their respective countries, even though it wasn’t great for Israel.  And then the Arab League declared war on Israel.  And, the Arabs were stabbing each other in the back over these lands (read the bottom of the “Partition” section).  Regarding the 1948 war:

The conflict created about as many Jewish refugees from Arab countries [as there were Arabs from Israel], many of whom were stripped of their property, rights and nationality, but Israel has not pursued claims on behalf of these refugees . . .

So who has moved on, left the past and revenge behind, and simply tried to make a good living?  Israel.  Israel defends itself, as anyone one would; it doesn’t terrorize and go out and kill innocents in buses, at restaurants, etc.  The hate toward them is mind-bogglingly unfounded.

Youcef Nadarkhani Re-Arrested on Christmas Day

Youcef Nadarkhani Re-Arrested by Iranian Authorities on Christmas Day.

This is just flat-out persecution, Iran thumbing their nose at Christians and any country that is associated with Christianity.  Iran also went against it’s own agreement and arrested Saeed Abedini, an American Iranian, earlier this year (https://withchristianeyes.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/dragonborn-dlc-playability-and-the-skaal-religion/).  Come on, everyone, write to your representatives and ask them to do something about iran.

Iranian American Pastor Unlawfully Imprisoned in Iran

Saeed Abedini and his family.  From Fox News online.
Saeed Abedini and his family. From Fox News online.

The situation for American reverend, Saeed Abedini, is getting desperate as no progress has been made in having him released from Iran’s worst prison.  He was arrested in Iran on September 26, 2012, while visiting his parents and relatives.  His immediate relatives were placed under house arrest as well.  32 year old Abedini has a wife and two children.

The court in Iran implemented a bail for Abedini, which is large but which his family had acquired,  but no one has actually accepted the bail after several attempts at officially paying it.  Officials reject their paper work and funds and tell them to get lost.  Making the situation grave is the lack of diplomatic relations between the US and Iran.

When Abedini still lived in Iran he had converted to Christianity and helped found underground churches.  Having had many run-ins with the government, he moved to the US and signed an agreement with the them.  If he did not do any more Christian evangelical work, the Iranian government would leave him alone when he visited the country.  The government has failed to keep their side of the bargain, however.  Abedini has helped, and continues to help, in setting up an orphanage in Iran.  He has visited his family and helped with the orphanage during a number of visits to Iran in recent years, but during this year’s trip he was imprisoned without charges.

Please pray for Abidini and his family.  To find out more, visit this article:  American Pastor Imprisoned without Notice of Charges While Visiting Family in Iran.  See BosNewsLife and Persecution.Org for news of other Iranian detentions.

Just prior to Abedini’s arrest, there was great news that Iranian Pastor Yousef Nardakhani was released from prison there.  He had been imprisoned for almost three years and had faced execution.  Compass Direct on Yousef Nardakhani’s Release.

Couldn’t have said it Better: Christians persecuted throughout the world

Western media generally ignores Christian persecution (photo by baikahl, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/250630).

There is now a high risk that the Churches will all but vanish from their biblical heartlands in the Middle East.

Wow.  I just wanted to share this article (below, in part) because I certainly couldn’t have said all that better myself.  I’ve been bad about not posting persecution updates, and it is partly due to the fact that the persecution is just so persistent and depressing.  The killing, maiming, threatening, imprisoning, etc., of Christians goes on everyday in just so many places, that I pray generally for my persecuted brothers and sisters.  It’s a tough one.  Jesus told us we’d be persecuted, so it’s natural to the faith; we are told to take joy in it, since the persecutors are really persecuting Jesus – it’s an acknowledgment of the truth of our faith and of the truth about God.  Still, it’s sad and horrible on an emotional level, and we are to pray without ceasing . . .

Here is the first part of the article by Rupert Shortt, as published in The Telegraph yesterday.  Please click on the link that follows it to read the rest of the article.

Imagine the unspeakable fury that would erupt across the Islamic world if a Christian-led government in Khartoum had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Sudanese Muslims over the past 30 years. Or if Christian gunmen were firebombing mosques in Iraq during Friday prayers. Or if Muslim girls in Indonesia had been abducted and beheaded on their way to school, because of their faith.

Such horrors are barely thinkable, of course. But they have all occurred in reverse, with Christians falling victim to Islamist aggression. Only two days ago, a suicide bomber crashed a jeep laden with explosives into a packed Catholic church in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, killing at least eight people and injuring more than 100. The tragedy bore the imprint of numerous similar attacks by Boko Haram (which roughly translates as “Western education is sinful”), an exceptionally bloodthirsty militant group.

Other notable trouble spots include Egypt, where 600,000 Copts – more than the entire population of Manchester – have emigrated since the 1980s in the face of harassment or outright oppression.

Why is such a huge scourge chronically under-reported in the West? One result of this oversight is that the often inflated sense of victimhood felt by many Muslims has festered unchallenged. Take the fallout of last month’s protests around the world against the American film about the Prophet Mohammed. While most of the debate centred on the rule of law and the limits of free speech, almost nothing was said about how much more routinely Islamists insult Christians, almost always getting away with their provocations scot-free.

Christian Persecution Updates: August 8, 2012

July 31; reported August 6, 2012  Bhutan

Location of Bhutan.

If you’re like me, you tend to think of Buddhists as peaceful, nonviolent people, but as you will see from this report, they are not necessarily so.  Reports from various areas tend to tell of the violence of  “radical Buddhists” against Christians, but Bhutan is officially against Christianity.  On July 31, Pema Sherpa, a house church leader from the town of Gelephu, was beaten and threatened with death by a government official.  The reality of life for the Christian in Bhutan is distressingly the same as in many other anti-Christian countries:  “The practice of Christianity is technically illegal, and Bhutanese who become Christians can pay a high price. They may lose their citizenship and associated benefits such as free education and healthcare, their job, and even access to water and electricity. Some face harassment and beatings.”  About 2% of the population in Bhutan is Christian.

Source:  Barnabas Aid

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August 6 & 7; reported August 7, 2012  Laos

In an action that is against the constitution of Laos, the village leaders of Nahoukou village ordered five families to stop practicing their Christian faith – to stop meeting together and to recant their faith (which is considered a “foreign religion.”).  They were threatened with harm if they do not comply with the village leaders and fellow non-Christian villagers.  When the church leader there, Tongkoun Keohavong, was questioned in the village, he said:  “God is real. When we believe, we are healed from sickness and immediately delivered from the possession of evil spirits.” He further stated: “We cannot deny the reality of God’s power.”

Source:  Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom

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April – present, reported July 23, 2012 Uzbekistan

Baptist house church leader Yelena Kim has been charged with illegally teaching religion in the country of Uzbekistan; the sentence for this is 3 years or less.  Her house church was raided during a Sunday service in April, but police returned in June with a warrant and confiscated bibles, computer discs, a copier, and more.  Yelena’s husband is being charged too, apparently, but the source was unclear.  Another church member, Losif Skaev, also had his house raided and Christian items were removed.  This “comes amid international concerns about President Islam Karimov’s perceived autocratic style towards groups and individuals deemed dangerous [to] the former Soviet state.  Critics say Karimov takes a ruthlessly harsh approach to all forms of opposition” (BNL).  The Kims had been fined a number of times prior to the raids and sentencing.

Source: VOM CanadaBosNewsLife

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Please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christian Persecution Updates: July 24, 2012

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.

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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.”

Source:  BosNewsLife.com

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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.

Source:  Persecution.com

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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.

Sources:  Barnabasaid.org; BosNewsLife.com; PresentTruthMn.com; aclj.org

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)

Christian Persecution Updates: July 17, 2012

July 16 2012; reported July 17  India

Students and teachers were terrified and beaten by 20 in Maharashtra, India, but police do nothing.  Ankur English Middle School is run by a Christian trust.  It has about 250 students, most of which come from the disenfranchised Pardhi tribe.  “‘The goons did not spare even our women, who were also beaten up,’ he said.  The incident shows the attackers wanted the Pardhi people to remain illiterate so that they can continue to exploit them, the attack was carried under the pretext of checking religious conversion.”  The chairperson of the school’s trust claimed a former member of parliament, Jambuwantrao Dhote, is behind the attacks.

Source:  Christian Persecution Update

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Vung Tau, Vietnam (Brimspark at Stock.Exchng).

 

July 15, 2012; reported July 17  Vietnam

In response to continued violent attacks on Christians, more than 10,000 Christians in Nghe An province led a peaceful demonstration, calling for religious freedom and the end of state-run propaganda against them.  Knowing the demonstration was planned, the government (and perhaps others) attacked individual Christians (one journalist was stabbed in his home) and made major efforts at intimidating marchers the night before, deploying tanks, using hired thugs to roam and threaten, and blocking ferries.  They even threatened and tried to detain a prominent Christian lawyer.   Christians from other areas in Vietnam held smaller demonstrations in support of the Nghe An Christians.

Source:  Barnabasaid.org

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July 15, 2012; reported July 17  India

House church pastor Nathaniel Shubas (26) was beaten by Hindu radicals and jailed.    Shubas has been a pastor in Kanartaka, India, for about three years, and he had been spreading the gospel to surrounding villages.  On the 15th of July, he had been preaching at a friend’s house when someone joined them, recorded part of his message, left, and then returned with about 20 Hindu activists.  They abused and beat him and dragged him to the police station, where they falsely accused Shabu of forcefully making converts.   Shabu was then jailed, yet those who beat him were not jailed or fined.

Source:  Persecution.org