Latest News

17 Sep 2014

PAKISTAN: Dozens of Believers Accused of Blasphemy

Fifty-five Christians were recently accused of blasphemy following an argument over a graveyard. [more...]

17 Sep 2014

NIGERIA: Boko Haram Violence Rages On

Gunmen entered the village of Manjakwa in the Hawul local government area of Borno state and ordered residents either to embrace Islam or be killed. [more...]

17 Sep 2014

MALAYSIA: Pray for Arne and Bernadette, Christians under Investigation

VOM contacts ‘Arne’ and ‘Bernadette’ are under police investigation after a rumour circulated that a church in the area was allowing a Malay girl to attend services. [more...]

10 Sep 2014

PHILIPPINES: Pray for Aljon, Escaped from Kidnappers

In early August, suspected Islamists attempted to kidnap a church elder serving in a Muslim community in Mindanao. [more...]

10 Sep 2014

INDIA: Persecution, Poverty and Inequity

On 26 August 72 Dalit "untouchable" Christians in Uttar Pradesh were re-converted to Hinduism inside an SDA church in Asroi that had been seized and turned into a Hindu Temple. [more...]

10 Sep 2014

IRAN: Pastor Irani Faces 18 New Charges

Iranian pastor Behnam Irani is being held in solitary confinement and is facing 18 new charges, including "spreading corruption on Earth," which is a capital crime. [more...]

4 Sep 2014

LAOS: Christians Pronounced Not Guilty, yet Remain Detained

On 6 August, five Christians in Savannakhet province were found not guilty of the crime of murdering a convert to Christianity. [more...]

4 Sep 2014

IRAN: Pastor Farshid Fathi Endangered

Housing only the most violent and hardened criminals, Rajaei-Shahri prison is known as one of Iran's most dangerous prisons. [more...]

4 Sep 2014

CHINA: Church Leaders Detained, Churches and Crosses Demolished

At least ten leaders from house churches across Hunan province in central China have been detained in what appears to be an ongoing crackdown. [more...]

29 Aug 2014

The Cost of Finding the Truth

The Cost of Finding the Truth

Miriam grew up in a typical Muslim family who held fast to the Islamic traditions and its culture. When she was 16 years old, her stepfather arranged her marriage to a Saudi Arabian man, who paid 25,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,700.00) for her. [more...]

28 Aug 2014

IRAN: Incarcerated Believers Suffering for Promoting the Gospel

Earlier this month, we requested urgent prayer for Amir, a young Christian man sentenced to death after being caught with a load of Bibles. [more...]

28 Aug 2014

NIGERIA: Pray for John Yakubu, Tortured for Faith

John Yakubu, a Nigerian Christian, was tortured by Boko Haram terrorists recently for refusing to convert to Islam. [more...]

28 Aug 2014

PAKISTAN: Fifteen-Year-Old Christian Girl Gang Raped by Two Muslim Men

Muqadas Liaqat, a 15-year-old Christian girl, was gang raped by two Muslim men on 2 August at Baghwanpura, Lahore. [more...]

21 Aug 2014

CHINA: Gao Zhisheng Released

Well-known human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng was released from prison in China’s far west Xinjiang Uyghur Automonous Region into controlled freedom on 7 August. Gao is now staying with family in Xinjiang province, but is under heavy surveillance. [more...]

21 Aug 2014

ISRAEL: Pray for the Witness of Local Evangelist

An evangelist and group of visitors were harassed by a shop owner and a policeman for distributing Christian materials during Ramadan. [more...]

21 Aug 2014

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Churches Open Doors to Refugees Fleeing ISIS

Throughout northern Iraq and Syria, the scourge of ISIS, the Islamic State, has forced thousands and thousands into a life without homes, jobs and family. While they face an uncertain future, churches are helping fill that void with help and hope. [more...]

14 Aug 2014

NEPAL: Pray for Jaya, Attacked for Evangelising

A Christian woman in western Nepal was attacked recently for spreading her “foreign” religion. ‘Jaya,’ an evangelist who has led 32 people to Christ in the past two years, was beaten by nearly 20 Hindu women and then kicked out of her village. [more...]

14 Aug 2014

UKRAINE: Four Young Mission Workers Murdered

Four young FEBC (Far East Broadcasting Company) volunteers, who were recently captured by pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, were brutally beaten to death simply for being Christians. [more...]

14 Aug 2014

CAMEROON: Pastor Abducted and Killed

On Thursday afternoon, 24 July, Boko Haram launched a massive attack targeting Cameroonian military positions at Bargaram (close to the Nigerian border). [more...]

6 Aug 2014

SUDAN: Meriam Ibrahim finally arrives in US

Meriam, the courageous Sudanese women who refused to deny her Christian faith, finally arrived in the United States with her family on 31 July. [more...]

6 Aug 2014

TAJIKISTAN: Pray for Local Church Members

On Sunday 20 July, officials from the Committee on Religion interrupted a worship service of the International Church in Tajikistan, which meets in a building owned by the Russian Baptist Church, to question leaders about the church’s government registration. They continued to question the building’s manager as well as worshippers in attendance for about an hour before leaving. [more...]

6 Aug 2014

IRAN: Mother of Sentenced Believer Urgently Seeks Prayer

A ministry organisation working in Iran recently received an emergency prayer request from a mother whose 32-year-old son has been sentenced to death. [more...]

31 Jul 2014

Emergency Relief for Iraqi Christians

Emergency Relief for Iraqi Christians

On 17 July, Christians in Mosul, Iraq were given three choices by the Islamic militant group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham).

1. Convert to Islam

2. Pay a protection tax

3. Leave before 19 July or be killed [more...]

30 Jul 2014

SUDAN: Meriam Ibrahim Arrives in Rome

Meriam Ibrahim is free at last. She arrived in Rome, Italy on Thursday 24 July, with her family, after being spared a death sentence for renouncing Islam. [more...]

30 Jul 2014

NEPAL: Chhedar Bhote Released from Prison

Pastor Chhedar Bhote Lhomi was arrested for eating beef and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The 37-year-old pastor and his wife were ministering in a remote part of Nepal among Tibetan people. [more...]

30 Jul 2014

INDIA: Church Attacked, Pastor Assaulted in Uttar Pradesh

The Nazarene Church at Sehkari Nagar, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh was attacked on 16 July by activists of the Hindu extremist group, Bajrang Dal. [more...]

28 Jul 2014

The World's Worst Place for Christians: North Korean Concentration Camps

The World's Worst Place for Christians: North Korean Concentration Camps

Every day in North Korea's prison camps, 30,000 Christians rise to eat a few mouthfuls of cabbage and corn porridge before trudging to an assigned workplace. They spend about 15 hours toiling in coal mines, cleaning and maintaining the camp, or doing farm or construction work. In late evening, they eat the same meagre meal before falling to sleep on concrete floors. [more...]

28 Jul 2014

Letter of Confession

Kim Jong Un is guilty of the imprisonment and torture of 30,000 of your brothers and sisters in Christ. He demands they confess their 'crimes'. What would you confess to him? [more...]

24 Jul 2014

Why the Arabic Letter in Facebook Profile?

Why the Arabic Letter in Facebook Profile?

Have you noticed that many people have changed their Facebook profile picture to the above Arabic letter? Why? [more...]

23 Jul 2014

IRAQ: ISIS' Persecution of Christians Intensifies

Facing the promise of execution if they do not embrace Islam or pay tribute for being Christians, the remaining Christians in Mosul, Iraq fled before the deadline of noon on Saturday 19 July. [more...]

23 Jul 2014

NIGERIA: Boko Haram Responsible for More than 2,000 Deaths in 2014 Alone

Human Rights Watch's West Africa Director Corinne Dufka says the Nigerian group Boko Haram has killed more than 2,000 people in the first half of this year by bombings, murder, rape and kidnapping in widespread or systematic attacks. [more...]

23 Jul 2014

UKRAINE: Pray for Pastor Sergei Kosyak

Evangelical churches in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk are being targeted by pro-Russian forces, which view the evangelicals as 'sects' which support the Ukrainian government by praying for peace. [more...]

15 Jul 2014

NIGERIA: Continue to Pray For Nigerian Kidnap Victims

Three months after the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls, the Islamic militant leader behind the abduction surfaced in a video on Sunday with a defiant and dismissive message. [more...]

15 Jul 2014

COLOMBIA: Pray for Family of Murdered Pastor and Teenage Son

Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killed a pastor and his oldest son recently after the pastor refused to shut down his church or allow them to recruit his oldest son and daughter. [more...]

15 Jul 2014

IRAN: House Church Members Imprisoned for their Faith

Mohammad Roghangir and Suroush Saraie were arrested on Saturday 5 July in Bandar Azali in northern Iran. It is believed that they have been taken to Shiraz prison in order to serve sentences handed down in July 2013. [more...]

8 Jul 2014

LAOS: Christians Arrested; Falsely Accused of Murder

Five Christians in Laos have been charged with murder after a sick woman, who sought prayer from a local church, converted to Christianity and later died of an unknown illness. [more...]

8 Jul 2014

CHINA: Pastor Zhang Shaojie Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison

Pastor Zhang Shaojie of Nanle Country Christian Church, Henan Province, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud and “gathering a crowd to disturb public order”; he has also been fined 100,000 RMB (approximately AU$17,000). [more...]

8 Jul 2014

TANZANIA: Pray for Pastors Charged with Blasphemy

A group of 43 Tanzanian pastors, most former Muslims, have been charged with blasphemy for teaching biblical foundations to their church members. [more...]

3 Jul 2014

CEO's Personal Report on 2013

CEO's Personal Report on 2013

As I look back over 2013, I am filled with a deep gratitude for the opportunities Voice of the Martyrs has had, in partnership with you, to serve the persecuted church in many ways. [more...]

2 Jul 2014

SUDAN: Meriam Ibrahim freed again

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese mother imprisoned for six months and released from death-row charges for apostasy, was released for the second time last Thursday night. [more...]

2 Jul 2014

INDONESIA: Churches Attacked In Yogyakarta

On 29 May Islamic militants attacked a prayer meeting in the home of Julius Felicianus (52) attended by members of the St Francis Agung Banteng Church. Dressed in robes and armed with knives, the attackers claimed to be loyal to the cleric Jafar Umar Thalib, the former commander of Laskar Jihad. [more...]

2 Jul 2014

NIGERIA: "Scores" Massacred, Churches Burned to the Ground in Latest Attack

Armed Islamic militants have killed "scores" of worshippers and civilians and burned down four churches in raids on two villages in Nigeria's northeast. Nigerian military and law enforcement personnel have neither confirmed the attacks nor announced an official death toll. [more...]

26 Jun 2014

UGANDA: Injured Pastor Celebrates Homecoming

On 25 May, a pastor who was severely injured for his Christian witness was able to return home to his wife, six children and congregation in Kampala. [more...]

26 Jun 2014

PAKISTAN: Seven-Year-Old Christian Victim Receives Justice

The day after Palm Sunday, on the outskirts of the city of Sailkot in Pakistan, 7-year-old Sara Masih, the daughter of a poor Christian family, headed to a corner store a few blocks from her home. On her way out, a young man stopped her. At first, he offered her gifts to come with him, but then grabbed her and hustled her to an abandoned apartment building nearby. Three other men went in with him. [more...]

26 Jun 2014

SUDAN: Meriam Ibrahim Freed then Re Arrested

The Sudanese woman freed from death row has been accused of trying to leave the country with fake documents.
Meriam Ibrahim was detained on Tuesday, a day after a court released her, annulling the death sentence imposed on her for renouncing the Islamic faith. [more...]

26 Jun 2014

NIGERIA: Sixty More Schoolgirls and Women Kidnapped, Plus 31 Boys

More than 91 people – including 60 schoolgirls and young women, plus 31 schoolboys – were kidnapped last week by Boko Haram extremists, two months after the same group kidnapped more than 300 schoolgirls in north-eastern Nigeria, according to the Los Angeles Times. [more...]

25 Jun 2014

Sudan re-arrests Christian woman one day after release from death row

Sudanese authorities re-arrested a Sudanese woman on Tuesday hours after she was freed from death row, and detained her and her family as they tried to board a plane in Khartoum, a security source and her lawyer said. [more...]

24 Jun 2014

SUDAN: Christian Woman Meriam Ibrahim Ishag Set Free From Prison

The case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag sparked an outcry from Western governments and rights groups after a judge sentenced her to hang on 15 May. [more...]

18 Jun 2014

CHINA: Pray for Prisoner Alimujiang Yimiti and family

The wife of Uyghur Christian Alimujiang Yimiti reports that her husband, who is being held in a prison in China, has lost a lot of weight since her last visit to the prison and that he looks pale. However, she said he is still doing well spiritually. [more...]

18 Jun 2014

IRAQ: Christian 'Heartland' Under Attack

Islamist militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS), an off-shoot of al-Qaeda, have gained full control of the northern city of Mosul, historically known as Nineveh. The vast majority of Christians in the city, up to 1,000 families, are said to have joined the exodus of half-a-million residents fleeing the violence. The army too has reportedly fled. [more...]

18 Jun 2014

VIETNAM: Mennonite Bible School Attacked

At 11pm on 9 June, several hundred people including police, government officials, civil defence authorities and hired thugs arrived at the gates of the Mennonite Bible School in Binh Duong province in southern Vietnam. [more...]

12 Jun 2014

INDONESIA: Seven Churches Shut Down by Radical Islamists in Cianjur District

Under pressure from Islamic extremist movements, the authorities in Cianjur district, 90km from Jakarta, have ordered the closure of seven Protestant Christian churches for alleged irregularities in building permits, confirming that the province of West Java is one of the most intolerant towards religious minorities in Indonesia. [more...]

12 Jun 2014

NIGERIA: Boko Haram's Blood-lettings: 10 Days of Escalating Terror

More than 45 churches have been destroyed and 258 civilians killed as Nigeria's northeast descends into chaos. Uniformed men in camouflaged, military-grade trucks descended on Attagara, Agapalawa and Aganjara villages on 3 June, indiscriminately firing on and killing at least 83 civilians and wounding an unknown number of others. [more...]

12 Jun 2014

UGANDA & KENYA: Churches Warned of Potential Attacks

Security has increased in recent days in Uganda and Kenya after authorities were warned by Western countries that an Islamic militant group is planning to attack churches. [more...]

4 Jun 2014

Sierra Leone: Predominantly Christian Villages Burned Down

Two Christian-majority villages in northern Sierra Leone were burned to the ground recently. In late April, a VOM worker quickly mobilised a team to assist the residents of Kabo village after he learned that their homes had been set ablaze. [more...]

4 Jun 2014

Sudan: Update on Christian Woman Sentenced to Death

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a believer from a Muslim background, married to a Christian man of South Sudan, was arrested on 17 February and on 4 March was charged with adultery and apostasy and sentenced to death. On 15 May Meriam confirmed to a court that she remains faithful to Christ.

 [more...]

4 Jun 2014

North Korea: South Korean Missionary Sentenced to Life of Hard Labour

North Korea has sentenced a South Korean missionary to hard labour for life, after he was convicted of spying and setting up an underground church.
 [more...]

28 May 2014

IRAN: Update on Dual-National Detained for his Christian Activities

Saeed Abedini has been detained since 26 September 2012. In mid-March 2014 he was transferred to a hospital where he received limited medical care but his family were able to feed him, enabling him to gain some weight and regain strength. [more...]

28 May 2014

TANZANIA: Pray for Members of Area's Only Church

A church in the predominantly Muslim area of Mafia, Tanzania, was burned down on Friday 9 May, just hours before a scheduled prayer meeting. Radicals had threatened the pastor, Ombeni Omari, and the church for the past two years. [more...]

28 May 2014

KAZAKHSTAN: New Laws Threaten Religious Freedom

New laws with tougher restrictions on religious freedom are currently awaiting approval in Kazakhstan. The laws, which are currently being reviewed with the parliament's Senate, would usher in harsh new punishments that are raising concerns among human rights defenders and religious communities. [more...]

26 May 2014

Mindanao: "If We Die, We Die"

Mindanao:

At 10 pm, 'Ruth' awoke with a start to the sound of nearby bombing. She and her family lived in a small village in central Mindanao, Philippines, an area where Muslim insurgents had been fighting Philippine government forces for decades. But in the 18 years they had lived there, Ruth had never heard fighting so close to their home. [more...]

26 May 2014

Overcomers Conference Report: Philippines

One very important commitment that VOM honours is to set up training conferences for pastors and leaders in Mindanao. These training conferences are well attended and normally run for a three day period, where delegates gather for specialised teaching that will equip them for their Ministry.
 [more...]

26 May 2014

From Bomber to Bible Teacher

“At one point, it was easier to kill a person than a chicken,” said ‘Alejandro.’ Back then, he was a terrorist with a militant Islamic organisation in Mindanao. He’d bombed civilians, government soldiers, US Marines and the homes of Christians. He didn’t even know how many people he’d killed. “I was not afraid to kill anyone for the glory of Allah,” he said. [more...]

21 May 2014

PAKISTAN: Christian Girl Abducted and Raped

Maria Sarfraz, 11, was abducted from the town of Distt, Sheikupora and gang raped multiple times. [more...]

21 May 2014

UZBEKISTAN: Believers Fined for Owning Christian Literature

A court in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent has fined both Grigory Kasparov and his wife Yelena for "illegally storing" Kasparov's Christian books in their private home. [more...]

21 May 2014

MIDDLE EAST: Christian Women Killed by Family Members

Three Christian women were killed by their Muslim family members in separate incidents on 30 April and 1 May. [more...]

14 May 2014

NIGERIA: VOM Volunteer Killed

Boko Haram militants murdered a VOM volunteer in Gwoza, Borno state, in late April as he was delivering hundreds of VOM-Nigeria newsletters. "His death shocked almost all the Christian community," said a VOM worker in Nigeria. [more...]

14 May 2014

PAKISTAN: “Fearless” Lawyer Murdered for Continuing to Defend Man Accused of Blasphemy

Rashid Rehman, 53, took on the case of university lecturer Junaid Hafeez, when no other lawyer in the city of Multan would, because he believed in the universal human right to legal counsel, friends said.
 [more...]

14 May 2014

SUDAN: Pregnant Mother Sentenced to Death

A Christian mother pregnant with her second child has been formally convicted of adultery and apostasy, punishable by 100 lashes and death respectively. [more...]

8 May 2014

NIGERIA: Boko Haram Conducts Follow-Up Kidnapping to Mass-Abduction of 243

Boko Haram is suspected in the abduction of eight girls from a small village in Northern Nigeria's Borno State. [more...]

7 May 2014

PAKISTAN: Some 700 Christian Girls Stolen/Trafficked Annually

The Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) in Pakistan has released a report entitled 'Forced Marriages & Forced Conversions in the Christian Community of Pakistan' (published April 2014). According to this report, around 1000 minority girls – some 300 Hindus and 700 Christians – are forced to marry Muslim men in Pakistan every year. [more...]

7 May 2014

NIGERIA: Kidnapped Girls Being Sold into Slavery by Boko Haram

Boko Haram leaders have formally claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping of 243 school girls. As reported by the parents of the abducted, Boko Haram is suspected to still be in possession of more than 230 girls, who are being sold into domestic and sexual servitude for as little as $12.00 each. [more...]

7 May 2014

BAHRAIN: Child Beaten for Her Faith

A 10-year-old girl was badly beaten recently by her mother and uncle after she told them she believed in Jesus. The girl's father has been a believer for several years and is open with his family about his faith. [more...]

30 Apr 2014

SOMALIA: Christian Convert Dragged from Home and Publicly Executed

Last month suspected al Shabaab militants murdered a woman professing the Christian faith. Sufia was at home with her parents when a group of armed men burst into her home. Leaving her parents untouched, the men grabbed Sufia, forcefully dragged her from the home at gunpoint, and then publicly shot her, firing into the on-looking crowd as friends and neighbours attempted to save her. [more...]

30 Apr 2014

IRAN: Update on Pastor Serving Six-Year Prison Sentence

Iranian church leaders have requested intercession for Farshid Fathi, a believer from a Muslim background, who is serving a six-year prison sentence. He was injured on 17 April when revolutionary guards attacked a number of prisoners held in Evin prison, Tehran.
 [more...]

30 Apr 2014

PAKISTAN: Christian Cleaner Shot for Refusing to Convert

A 22-year-old sweeper from Lahore was shot dead by a colleague after he refused to convert to Islam. The cleaner, known as Haroon, was shot in the head after refusing to give in to the repeated demands of a security guard at the Islamic bank where they both worked. [more...]

23 Apr 2014

NIGERIA: Appalling Escalation in Violence Leading Up to Easter Sunday

Terrorist organisation Boko Haram has unleashed a series of attacks upon the peoples of Nigeria throughout the 2014 Easter week. [more...]

23 Apr 2014

CHINA: Wenzhou Churches to Be Demolished or 'Rectified'

Several churches in one city in China's Zhejiang province face demolition or being 'rectified' under a local government campaign to 'modernise' the area and boost its economy. [more...]

23 Apr 2014

EGYPT: Christian Woman Brutally Attacked and Killed

Mary Sameh George, a 25-year-old Christian who lived with her parents and sister in Cairo, was brutally attacked and killed on 28 March by pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators. [more...]

23 Apr 2014

Syria

Syria

"This war is like a knife in the heart of the church. No human can stand that suffering. But there is God's presence. I can see Christ in the midst of darkness." VOM National Contact
 [more...]

23 Apr 2014

From Infidels to Bible People

'Fatima' was beaten by her fundamentalist Muslim husband nearly every day. As a woman living in a Muslim nation, there was little she could do about it. Her husband also abused their 5-year-old son, using the boy's arms to extinguish his cigarettes. With nowhere to turn, the young wife and mother cried out to God. "Where are you, God?" she asked each night. "Please rescue me!" But Fatima heard no answer. Then, one night she prayed, "God, who are you?" That night Jesus appeared to her in a dream and told her to follow Him. [more...]

22 Apr 2014

Tell Your Friends

Syrian Christians are targeted by both sides in the civil war simply for being Christian. Some flee the violence, but others stay, risking their lives to reach the lost. VOM is standing with these bold witnesses, and you can help in raising awareness by requesting your free 25-pack of this month's newsletter.
 [more...]

16 Apr 2014

CHINA: Detained Christian Leads Fellow Prisoners to Christ

During a recent visit with his family, imprisoned believer Wenxi Li excitedly shared that several more prisoners have become Christians after hearing the Gospel message! Prior to this, while awaiting his trial last year, Wenxi had led three other prisoners to Christ. [more...]

16 Apr 2014

PAKISTAN: Update Asia Bibi Appeal Postponed

The appeal hearing for Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi was this week adjourned to a date unspecified. Judges at Lahore High Court were expected to have heard final arguments in her appeal against a death sentence for 'blasphemy' on Monday. [more...]

16 Apr 2014

SYRIA: Homs Priest Killed By Assassins

Dutchman Frans van der Lugt, a Jesuit priest who refused to leave the embattled city of Homs, Syria, in solidarity with the few Christians still living there, was killed by assassins on Monday 7 April in his garden. He was 75. [more...]

9 Apr 2014

KENYA: Six Fatalities after Church Attacked by Gunmen

On the morning of 23 March, as a congregation gathered for worship at their church in Likoni, a hooded gunman burst through the church's back door and began firing indiscriminately. [more...]

9 Apr 2014

NEPAL: Pastor Attacked for Distributing Bibles

Pastor Mohan Limbu was confronted by about 60 local Hindus while distributing Bibles in a Nepali village. [more...]

9 Apr 2014

IRAN: Update Alireza Seyyedian in Shocking Health in Evin Prison

Harsh conditions inside Tehran's Evin prison are taking a heavy toll on the health and well-being of Christian prisoner of faith Alireza Seyyedian. [more...]

3 Apr 2014

INDIA: Praise God for Jailed Believer who led 14 to Christ

Vani, a 30-year-old widow, spent 15 days in jail after being charged with kidnapping and forcing a child to convert to Christianity. [more...]

3 Apr 2014

PAKISTAN: Blasphemy Death Sentence for Christian

A Christian road sweeper from Lahore, Pakistan, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. [more...]

3 Apr 2014

UZBEKISTAN: Christian's Home Raided; New Decree Increases Repression

On 20 January, Natalya Gaiyer had her home raided and several hundred Christian books confiscated by secret police working for the National Security Service (NSS) and Anti-Terrorism Department. [more...]

31 Mar 2014

Bibles Plus gives hope in China

Bibles Plus gives hope in China

"According to the Chinese Communist government sources, over the past 24 years the government has made available 60 million legal Bibles, or possibly 25% of the actual need just to supply believers. No one knows exactly how many have been provided illegally, but we know that we encounter Christians every month who have never owned a Bible or whose Bible is very old and worn." Chinese underground Church leader. [more...]

31 Mar 2014

Central Asia: Hungry for the Word

Traditional Islam is on the rise in Central Asia and several Muslim countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan) invest huge amounts of money in sending missionaries into countries in Central Asia. Their effectiveness is high and even Russians are being converted to Islam. With the steady increase in registered mosques being reported, not to mention the unregistered ones, the government is becoming increasingly concerned with the tensions caused by the Muslims. Their reaction is to consider expanding their oppressive religious laws. [more...]

31 Mar 2014

Bibles Plus comes to Nepal!

We are excited to announce that we will be distributing our Bibles Plus program in Nepal. Our national contacts understand the importance of God's Word reaching the believers in many rural communities who cannot afford to own their own Bible. [more...]

26 Mar 2014

SRI LANKA: Pastor's Family Attacked for Christian Activities

On the evening of 16 February, a mob of approximately 250 villagers led by 11 Buddhist monks stormed a pastor's property in Asgiriya, Kandy district, demanding that worship services at the site cease immediately. [more...]

26 Mar 2014

KENYA: Four Killed in Attack on Church

On Sunday morning, multiple gunmen stormed the packed Joy Jesus Church in Likoni, Kenya. [more...]

26 Mar 2014

LAOS: Officials Attempt to Force Christians to Abandon their Faith

On 2 December 2013, five Christian families received an eviction order from the Natahall village authorities and the Phin district police. [more...]

19 Mar 2014

North Korea: Dozens Detained, 33 to be Executed

On 27 February captured South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook (50) fronted a North Korean press conference in Pyongyang to 'confess' to 'anti-State' crimes and plead for mercy. [more...]

19 Mar 2014

Pakistan: Update - Asia Bibi's Appeal Hearing Postponed

Asia Bibi's appeal hearing has been postponed "to a later date". The Christian woman was sentenced to death without evidence on the basis of the 'blasphemy law'. [more...]

19 Mar 2014

Nigeria: Attackers Kill more than 150

More than 150 people have been killed since Friday in central and northern Nigeria in separate attacks on villages populated by a concentration of Christians. [more...]

12 Mar 2014

SYRIA: Christians Subjugated in Raqqa

Since January 2014 the terror group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq/Syria) has ruled the northern city of Al Raqqa. Sharia is enforced and the whole community lives in terror of ISIS's extreme violence. [more...]

12 Mar 2014

INDIA: Andhra Pradesh Emerging Hotbed of Anti-Christian Violence

Church leaders in India are alarmed over a dramatic increase in attacks on Christians in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where in recent weeks one pastor has been murdered, others beaten, and churches demolished. [more...]

12 Mar 2014

IRAN: Pray for Pastor's Recovery from Surgery

Pastor Behnam Irani, who has suffered complications as a result of stomach ulcers and intestinal problems, underwent surgery on 22 February at Shahid Madani Hospital in Karaj. The surgery was said to be successful, and the pastor is doing well. He was scheduled to return to prison on 26 February. [more...]

5 Mar 2014

NIGERIA: Islamists Kill 59 Pupils in Boarding School Attack

Last week suspected Boko Haram Islamists killed 59 people in an attack on secondary school students as they slept, in the latest school massacre to hit Nigeria's troubled north-east. [more...]

5 Mar 2014

INDONESIA: Aceh, Sharia for Everyone

Aceh's provincial administration and legislative council have approved a new by-law that will force everyone in Aceh to abide by Sharia (Islamic) Law.
 [more...]

5 Mar 2014

KENYA: Pastor Murdered

Assistant Pastor Lawrence Kazungu Kadenge was murdered in the early morning hours of 2 February while guarding the Glory of God Ministries Church in Mombasa. [more...]

4 Mar 2014

AUSTRALIAN MISSIONARY DEPORTED FROM NORTH KOREA

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS
Australian missionary John Short has arrived in Beijing after being released by North Korean authorities.
 [more...]

26 Feb 2014

PAKISTAN: Murdered MP's Brother Threatened Three Years after Death

Almost three years have passed since the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani MP who lobbied against the country's controversial blasphemy laws. Now, his elder brother's life is under threat. [more...]

26 Feb 2014

IRAQ: Baghdad Christians in 'More Than Desperate' Crisis

Canon Andrew White, known as the 'Vicar of Baghdad', has asked for urgent prayer for the church in Iraq amid intense violence. With frequent bombings and shootings in cities such as Baghdad and Mosul, monthly death tolls have soared recently. January's toll of 1,000 dead was the highest for almost six years. [more...]

26 Feb 2014

KAZAKHSTAN: Pastor Given a Four-Year Suspended Prison Term

Retired Presbyterian Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev was given a four-year suspended prison term in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on 17 February. He was convicted of harming the health of a church member, even though that church member has repeatedly insisted to state authorities that her health was not harmed. [more...]

26 Feb 2014

When Children Become the Target

When Children Become the Target

As parents, it is far more difficult to see our children suffer than to face it ourselves. As we consider the little ones God has entrusted into our care, may we never take for granted or dismiss the high calling of parenting. Likewise, may our lives daily demonstrate to them the cost of picking up our cross and following Christ while assuring them that our trust lies fully and solely in Him. [more...]

26 Feb 2014

Beaten in prison ... Beaten in school!

David who is now 17 years of age told us of the psychological and physical persecution that is inflicted on the Christian students at his school. The father of one student is a prison guard and he would often tell his son of the satisfaction he experienced whenever he beat the Christians serving time in his prison. [more...]

26 Feb 2014

Released prisoner and family say "Thank You!"

Recently a VOM worker visited Dmitry Shestakov, a pastor and former Christian prisoner from Uzbekistan. Dmitry, spent four years in prison for his Christian work in Uzbekistan. Dmitry was released in January 2011, but he had difficulty supporting his family because of his criminal record and was constantly watched by the police. He was finally forced to leave Uzbekistan last year with his wife and three daughters.

The family sent this message of thanks to VOM.
 [more...]

24 Feb 2014

AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ARRESTED IN NORTH KOREA

AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ARRESTED IN NORTH KOREA

URGENT PRAYER REQUESTED!

News of an Australian man arrested in North Korea while on a tour has come as a great shock to the international Christian community. [more...]

19 Feb 2014

NIGERIA: Over 100 Dead in Attack

Around 100 suspected Boko Haram militants have killed 106 people – 105 men plus one elderly woman, in an attack on a village in Nigeria. [more...]

19 Feb 2014

TURKEY: ‘Ugly’ Charges against Turkish Pastor Dropped

Protestant Pastor Orhan Picaklar was informed earlier this month that what he called “ugly slanders” against his character and conduct have been officially dropped by the Turkish prosecutor investigating his case. [more...]

19 Feb 2014

CHINA: Crackdown Preceded Chinese New Year Celebrations

Before the commencement of the nation's Chinese New Year celebrations, which began on 31 January, Christians were targeted several times in what is believed to be a crackdown on church activity. [more...]

12 Feb 2014

PAKISTAN: Christians Devastated by Death of Preacher

Friends of a popular Pakistani preacher, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver, believe he may have been murdered because of his conversion from Islam. [more...]

12 Feb 2014

IRAN: Shahnaz Jayzan Released from Prison

Shahnaz Jayzan, an Iranian Christian arrested in December 2011, was released from prison on 28 January. Shahnaz was imprisoned along with Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, Davoud Alijani and her husband, Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh. The three men were earlier freed after spending over 200 days in jail.
 [more...]

12 Feb 2014

SOUTH SUDAN: Female Church Workers Raped and Killed

Scores of female church workers were massacred last month as they sought refuge at a church in the central South Sudanese town of Bor. [more...]

5 Feb 2014

NIGERIA: Christians Killed in Boko Haram Attacks

At least 22 Christians were killed by members of Boko Haram on Sunday, 26 January, when the Islamists attacked a church in Waga Chakawa village, located in Adamawa state. Another 25 from the village were killed while fleeing their homes, which the attackers had set on fire. [more...]

5 Feb 2014

MALAYSIA: Church Attacked with Molotov Cocktails

The Church of the Assumption in Penang was attacked on Sunday, 26 January, by two men on a motorcycle who threw Molotov cocktails into the building. The building sustained minimal damage, as only one of the Molotov cocktails exploded.
 [more...]

5 Feb 2014

CHINA: Pastor Charged with 'Fraud' and 'Disrupting Public Order'

Zhang Shaojie, 49, a pastor detained in November of 2013 along with over 20 other Christians, has been charged with committing fraud and gathering a mob to disrupt public order. His criminal hearing has been scheduled for 12 February.
 [more...]

30 Jan 2014

CEO's Report: Nigeria

CEO's Report: Nigeria

An exclusive report on persecution in Nigeria from John Wilson, VOM's CEO. John shares his insights from meeting persecuted Christians on his recent trip to Nigeria. [more...]

30 Jan 2014

Pastor John's Story: A Modern-Day Job

Pastor John Ali Doro lost his wife, four children and two grandchildren in an attack against Christians in Nigeria. In the midst of terrible grief, the story of Job has taught him to continue trusting God and to pray for those who killed his family. [more...]

30 Jan 2014

Thirteen Three Report

2013 was a fantastic year for Thirteen Three. We have so much to thank God for! Read this exciting report on our Fearless event series and find out how youth responded to raise money for persecuted Christians in Nigeria. [more...]

29 Jan 2014

NEPAL: Church Leader's House Burned

Karuna, a church leader who lives among Brahmin (Hindu upper caste), lost his home and belongings in early January 2014 when villagers burned his house because of his evangelistic work. [more...]

29 Jan 2014

KAZAKHSTAN: Update - Criminal Trial Begins for 67-Year-Old Pastor

The criminal case launched against retired Presbyterian pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev in July 2011 finally reached a court in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on 22 January. [more...]

29 Jan 2014

IRAN: Update - American Pastor Saeed Abedini Moved to Safer Ward in Prison

Saeed Abedini, an American citizen imprisoned in Iran for practising his Christian faith, has been moved from a murderers' ward to one reserved for political prisoners; a slight improvement his supporters say is the first positive sign in his long and desperate legal battle. [more...]

22 Jan 2014

SRI LANKA: Christians Targeted in Several Attacks

Our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka were targeted in several attacks in recent weeks. Around midnight on 21 December, two petrol bombs were thrown into a pastor's premises in Ahangama, Galle District. Thankfully, the pastor and his family were not injured. [more...]

22 Jan 2014

SYRIA: Wife and Daughter Persecuted for Christian Faith

Three years ago, “Karima” learned about the love of Jesus and became a devoted follower. As the married mother of three, she hoped her husband, “Ismaeil,” a Muslim, might also believe. Instead, he became even more devoted to his Muslim faith and became an imam. [more...]

22 Jan 2014

IRAN: Pastor Released from Prison

A pastor at the Assemblies of God Church of Ahwaz, who had been imprisoned for his faith, has been released. Davoud Alijani (also known as David), was released from Karoon Prison on 13 January, after spending 257 days locked up. He was released with 20 days remaining on his original prison term. [more...]

15 Jan 2014

INDIA: Pastor and Wife Brutally Attacked

A Baptist pastor in Andhra Pradesh, India, is in a critical condition after he and his wife were attacked on 30 December by a group of radicals wielding swords, knives and sticks. [more...]

15 Jan 2014

CHINA: Update on Alimujiang Yimiti

This month marks Alimujiang Yimiti's sixth year in prison. Alimujiang was first charged in 2009 for "providing state secrets to overseas organisations." However, many believe the real reason for his incarceration is his zealous commitment to share the Gospel and for leading a church in the Uyghur area of China's northwest. [more...]

15 Jan 2014

PAKISTAN: Deadly "Reform" to Controversial Blasphemy Laws

The Federal Sharia Court, the organisation that determines whether or not Pakistan's laws comply with Sharia law, has ordered the Pakistani government to remove life imprisonment from punishments for blasphemy, leaving death as the only consequence. [more...]

8 Jan 2014

IRAN: Christian Prisoner: We Celebrate Christmas in Prison!

Farshid Fathi was arrested on 26 December 2010 in Tehran. He was eventually tried in January 2012 and sentenced to six years in prison for "acting against national security through membership of a Christian organisation, collection of funds and propaganda against the Islamic Regime by helping spread Christianity in the country". The Revolutionary Court Judge, Mr Salavati signed his sentence. [more...]

8 Jan 2014

NIGERIA: Christians Killed as Extremists Confirm 'Religious War'

Twelve Christians were killed in extremist attacks on two villages in Nigeria's northern Borno state - just as Boko Haram confirmed that Christians remain a target for its violence. [more...]

8 Jan 2014

EGYPT: Christian Reportedly Shot by Muslim Brotherhood Protesters, then Refused Treatment

A Coptic Christian man died on New Year's Eve from a gunshot wound to the head after three hospitals in Cairo are reported to have turned him away. [more...]

2 Jan 2014

Welcome to 2014

Welcome to 2014

A special New Year message from John Wilson, VOM's Executive Director. John shares an exclusive insight into some of the exciting VOM programs that are coming up in 2014. [more...]

2 Jan 2014

Persecution Update from Sudan

God is doing a great work in Sudan despite the terrible humanitarian disaster which has uprooted thousands of Christians from the Nuba Mountains and forced them to flee to refugee camps. Read Pastor Wani's story and get a glimpse into the reality of life for Sudanese Christians. [more...]

2 Jan 2014

VOMedical Sudan

Believers in Sudan suffer intense persecution and lack basic medical care. Find out how VOM is serving our Sudanese brothers and sisters through our VOMedical program. [more...]

18 Dec 2013

KENYA: Tensions High After Pastors Murdered

Tensions between Christians and Muslims remain high in Kenya's Mombasa region following the murder of two pastors in separate incidents on 20 October. [more...]

18 Dec 2013

EGYPT: Well-Known Convert Arrested

Mohammed Hegazy, a high-profile convert from Islam who is now known by his Christian name, Bishoy Armia Bolous, was arrested outside a café in Menia, Upper Egypt, on 4 December for “inciting sectarian strife.” [more...]

18 Dec 2013

ALGERIA: Church Attacked for Third Time

On the night of 12 November, a group of assailants attempted to set a church ablaze in southern Algeria. The group dispersed after police arrived, but no suspects were apprehended. [more...]

12 Dec 2013

IRAN: Update - Church Leaders Released from Prison

After 220 days in prison, Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh and another church minister, Naser Zamen-Dezfuli, were released on 4 December 2013. [more...]

12 Dec 2013

PAKISTAN: Federal Court Calls For Mandatory Death Sentence for Blasphemy

An influential court in Pakistan is calling for the mandatory death sentence for blasphemy. VOM Australia’s partner, UK-based religious liberty group Release International believes the move – if implemented – could result in further attacks and accusations against Pakistan’s Christian minority. [more...]

12 Dec 2013

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Country Descends into Chaos

As rebel groups and soldiers ravage the country of Central African Republic (CAR), the international community fears the possibility of religious genocide. The rebels, known as "Seleka" (meaning "Alliance"), have been pillaging villages, raping women, conscripting children as soldiers, and brutally murdering innocent victims in recent months. Sources estimate that approximately 10 % of the population has been displaced. [more...]

4 Dec 2013

INDIA: Seven-Year-Old Boy Murdered for his Christian Faith

The body of a seven-year-old boy in India revealed signs of horrific torture before he was brutally murdered because of his Christian beliefs. The son of a believer, Anmol went missing after attending Sunday School at a Believers Church on 17 November in northern India. His body was found the following day. Previous threats and persecution of his family indicate he was targeted because of his family's faith. [more...]

4 Dec 2013

TANZANIA: Youth Pastor Killed in Machete Attack

The brutal murder of a youth Pastor in Tanzania confirms suspicions of an ongoing campaign of Christian persecution in the region and raises concerns over the rise of radical Islamists in East Africa. Two others were also attacked but are recovering. [more...]

4 Dec 2013

CHINA: Church Members Arrested Despite Church's Registration

More than 20 believers from Nanle County Christian Church, in Henan province, were recently detained. The crackdown occurred despite the fact that the church was legally registered, beginning with arrests on 16 November, when the pastor, Zhang Shaojie, arrived at the church for a meeting with the Nanle County Public Security Bureau Chief and a deputy. [more...]

28 Nov 2013

Persecution Update from Vietnam: Decree 92

Persecution Update from Vietnam: Decree 92

Vietnam's Communist Party recently released a revision to their official policy on religion, Decree 92. This new law places severe restrictions on the freedom to worship. Read this exclusive update from Pastor Quang, one of Vietnam's key Christian leaders, to find out more. [more...]

28 Nov 2013

Training the Next Generation

Andrew recently finished Bible College in Vietnam and has just started his ministry as a house church pastor. Already he's facing persecution from the authorities. Read Andrew's story and find out how you can help train leaders for the persecuted church. [more...]

27 Nov 2013

NIGERIA: Islamists Force Christian Women to Convert

The al-Qaida linked Islamic group Boko Haram unleashed a new tactic in its war to obliterate Christianity in northern Nigeria: convert or die. [more...]

27 Nov 2013

ERITREA: 185 Christians Arrested at Prayer Gathering

Eritrean security forces recently raided a prayer meeting and arrested 185 Christians in Maitemenay, a northern suburb of Asmara. VOM sources say the believers had apparently gathered to pray about the worsening exodus of Eritreans from the country. [more...]

27 Nov 2013

INDIA: Maimed Believer Acquitted of Blasphemy

TJ Joseph, a Christian professor accused of blasphemy in 2010, was finally acquitted on 15 November. The accused professor was suspended from his job in March of 2010 after he included questions in a test that were deemed offensive to several of his Muslim students. [more...]

20 Nov 2013

SOMALIA: Christian Community Leader Murdered by Extremists

A Christian community leader in Somalia was shot to death earlier this month by members of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab while closing his pharmacy for the evening. [more...]

20 Nov 2013

TURKEY: Pastor Arrested on Human Trafficking Accusations

A Turkish Protestant pastor arrested by police in the Black Sea province of Samsun last week is accused of involvement in prostitution and the human trafficking of refugees. [more...]

13 Nov 2013

LAOS: Believers Blamed for Villagers’ Deaths

A group of new Christians in a Laotian village have been blamed for the unrelated deaths of three men. When the deaths occurred shortly after their conversion, the community concluded they had angered their ancestors. [more...]

13 Nov 2013

IRAN: Update - Acquitted Believer Released From Evin Prison

Mostafa Bordbar, a Christian resident of Rasht (northern Iran), was unexpectedly released from Evin prison on 3 November, following 11 months in prison. All charges were dropped after a hearing by the appeals court on 30 October. [more...]

13 Nov 2013

INDIA: Church Attacked, Assailants Arrested by Authorities

Members of Christian Faith Centre have been attacked by a fundamentalist Hindu group and the pastor has been severely beaten. As a result, security guards have been posted outside the church. [more...]

6 Nov 2013

IRAN: Update - Pastor Saeed Abedini Transferred to Brutal Prison

Pastor Saeed Abedini, a US citizen imprisoned in Iran because of his Christian faith, has been transferred from Evin Prison to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. It is an even more dangerous prison, where he faces life-threatening conditions and treatment. [more...]

6 Nov 2013

ERITREA: Christian Woman Dies in Jail

An Eritrean Christian woman has become the latest known prisoner of conscience to have died in Eritrea. She was denied access to medical treatment because she refused to denounce her Christian beliefs. [more...]

6 Nov 2013

PAKISTAN: Punjab Christian Accused of Blasphemy Presently in Hiding

Another blasphemy row has broken out in a Lahore township where Christians fear they may become targets of violence. Adnan Masih, a 25-year-old Christian teacher, has been in hiding since 8 October after being accused of writing blasphemous comments in a book about Islam. [more...]

31 Oct 2013

Hope for North Korea

Hope for North Korea

Hope Yoo is a North Korean defector who has committed her life to reaching North Koreans for Christ. She has led 28 people inside North Korea to Christ using a very unique method of evangelism. [more...]

31 Oct 2013

Christmas Care Video

We have created a special Christmas Care video asking Australian school children to share their thoughts about the experience of persecuted Christians at Christmas. You will be encouraged hearing their compassion towards children of the persecuted church and seeing their smiles as they share how they would like to help. [more...]

30 Oct 2013

KENYA: Church Set Ablaze by Rioters Seeking Retaliation

Militant Muslims, angered over the murder of an imam, sought retaliation by burning a neighbouring Salvation Army church on 4 October in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa. [more...]

30 Oct 2013

COLOMBIA: Terrorist Bombing Threatens Christians and Neighbouring Families

Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada, who has recently returned from Colombia, reports that a bomb blast took place near the home of one of VOM's in-country ministry partners, causing terrible destruction in the neighbouring area. [more...]

30 Oct 2013

NEPAL| Christian Killed While Praying for His Attacker

An elder in the Believers Church in Nepal, which is supported by Gospel for Asia, was killed in the early morning hours of 20 October 2013 during prayer for a sick man. [more...]

23 Oct 2013

NORTH KOREA: China Attempts to Block Radio Broadcast into North Korea

Chinese authorities are targeting a Christian radio broadcast produced by North Korean Christians in partnership with Seoul USA and Voice of the Martyrs. Both the Chinese and North Korean governments have unsuccessfully attempted to block the radio broadcast. [more...]

23 Oct 2013

NIGERIA: Sharia Law to be Enforced in Kano State

Kano is one of nine states in northern Nigeria that has introduced Shariah law. Southern Nigeria is mostly Christian and is ruled by secular law. Islamic police in northern Nigeria's Kano state will begin enforcing Sharia law. [more...]

23 Oct 2013

EGYPT: Three killed in Attack at Christian Wedding

On Sunday night two unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles opened fire on guests exiting the Virgin Church, located in Warrag, Giza. The gunmen fired automatic weapons as the guests exited the church after attending a wedding ceremony. [more...]

16 Oct 2013

KAZAKHSTAN: Update - Pastor Under House Arrest Pending Trial

Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev, who has been imprisoned for nearly five months in Astana, has been placed under house arrest for the remainder of his pre-trial detention, according to a court decision. [more...]

16 Oct 2013

IRAQ: Trusting God Amidst Escalating Violence

The following is an urgent update received recently from Canon Andrew White, known as the Vicar of Baghdad: [more...]

16 Oct 2013

PAKISTAN: Prisoner's Accuser Recants

Zafar Bhatti, accused of blasphemy under Pakistan's 295C blasphemy law, was charged and jailed in July 2012, based on rumours that he insulted Mohammed's mother in text messages. [more...]

9 Oct 2013

IRAN: Christians Jailed for their Faith

Iranian Christians are requesting prayer for their country following a series of arrests just as the government released some prisoners in an effort to appear more liberal. [more...]

9 Oct 2013

SYRIA: The New Road to Damascus

The war in Syria is one of the greatest crises seen in the Middle East in the last 20 years. It has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, both Muslim and Christian. More than 2 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries. [more...]

9 Oct 2013

INDONESIA: Update - Two Indonesian Christians Sentenced to Three Years Behind Bars for Evangelism

Two Indonesian Christians were sentenced to three years in prison on 2 August for conducting evangelistic activities among Muslims. The Christians, known as Kashfi Rosyid and Jalaludin, are brothers and were arrested by police on 20 March in Sukabumi, West Java, after an angry mob of approximately 200 Muslims attacked their home. [more...]

2 Oct 2013

TANZANIA: Pastor Severely Burned in Acid Attack

A pastor in Zanzibar, Tanzania, has suffered severe burns after having acid poured on him by one or more Muslims just outside an Internet café. [more...]

2 Oct 2013

NIGERIA: Pastors Killed in Extremist Raids

Two pastors have been killed and three churches destroyed, as militants attack yet more civilian targets in north-east Nigeria. [more...]

2 Oct 2013

MOROCCO: Update - Christian Tentatively Released from Prison

Mohamed El Baladi has been released from the Moroccan prison where he was held after being sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for the crimes of evangelism and shaking the faith of a Muslim. Mohamed had been held in prison since his arrest in late August. [more...]

25 Sep 2013

NIGERIA: Twenty-Five Churches Marked for Demolition

Government authorities in northern Nigeria's Borno state plan to demolish 25 churches and schools, ostensibly to make room for new housing. However, no plans for the housing development have been produced. [more...]

25 Sep 2013

LAOS: Laotian Christian Families Facing Expulsion and Abuse

Eleven Laotian families, about fifty people in all, face expulsion from Nongdaeng village (Borikan District, central province of Bolikhamsai) because of their conversion to Christianity. [more...]

25 Sep 2013

PAKISTAN: Church Bombing Kills at Least 85

A twin-suicide bomb attack outside the All Saints church in Peshawar killed at least 85 people in one of the worst attacks on Christians in Pakistan. [more...]

23 Sep 2013

The Impact of Christmas Care: Kamea's Story

The Impact of Christmas Care: Kamea's Story

Kamea is a 12-year-old Christian girl from Laos. Her father has been imprisoned twice for sharing the Gospel. Find out how Christmas Care blessed Kamea and her family. [more...]

23 Sep 2013

Persecution in Laos

As one of the few remaining Communist nations, Laos is a volatile area for Christians. Social pressure, prevention of new church buildings and imprisonment are some of the challenges Laotian Christians face. [more...]

23 Sep 2013

2012 Christmas Care Report

Thanks to the generous response of our supporters, over 4800 children of the persecuted church in Nigeria were blessed through Christmas Care in 2012. [more...]

18 Sep 2013

MOROCCO: Christian Convert Imprisoned for Evangelising

During a recent court hearing, a Moroccan Christian man was ordered to serve a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence for evangelising Muslims. On 28 August, police raided the home of 34-year-old Mohamed el Baldi, of Ain Aicha, confiscating his Bible and about 30 additional Christian books. [more...]

18 Sep 2013

EGYPT: Christians Murdered for Refusing to Pay Muslim Tax

Two Coptic Christians (government employees) were shot dead last week for refusing to pay Jizya, the Muslim poll tax on Christians. Emad Damian, 50, and his cousin Medhat Damian, 37, from the village of Sahel Selim in Assuit Province, were contacted two days before their murder by the leader of a Muslim gang, who was identified by Watany Coptic Newspaper as Ashraf Ahmed Mohammed Khalajah, a registered criminal from the village. [more...]

18 Sep 2013

UZBEKISTAN: Christians Fined for Illegally Using Religious Literature

In two separate cases on the same day in August in Samarkand and Kashkadarya, fines on 20 religious believers for "illegal religious literature" totalled the equivalent of nearly 68 years' official minimum wage. [more...]

12 Sep 2013

CHINA: House Church Pastor Attacked by Government Agents

Li Shuangping, pastor of Linfen house church, was abducted, beaten and threatened by government agents on the night of 13 August. [more...]

12 Sep 2013

PHILIPPINES: Displaced Christians Wait to Return Home

Voice of the Martyrs is helping hundreds of Christians who were run out of their villages at the end of July by the Muslim Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). [more...]

12 Sep 2013

AFGHANISTAN: MP - “Execute Afghan Christian Converts”

A member of Afghanistan's Parliament has suggested that all those who have converted from Islam to Christianity should be executed, according to Islamic Sharia Law, in order to stop the rapid growth of Christianity among Afghans within and outside the country. [more...]

5 Sep 2013

INDONESIA: Pastor and Assistants Arrested for Baptisms

Pastor Onekesyi Zegaand and three of his assistants were arrested recently by a district police officer after being accused of baptising Muslims. [more...]

5 Sep 2013

VIETNAM: Praying Christians Brutally Assaulted by Police

On 31 July, a group of Christians in Ho Chi Minh City were assaulted by police while gathered in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral for prayer. [more...]

5 Sep 2013

ALGERIA: Christian Convert Facing Prison Time for Defaming Islam

An Algerian Christian convert from Islam is still awaiting a verdict on his appeal to a harsh 5-year jail term handed to him by a court for proselytism and defaming Islam. [more...]

29 Aug 2013

IRAN: Court Refuses Pastor Saeed's Appeal

An Iranian court has rejected an appeal from Saeed Abedini, the American Christian pastor held in Iran for his Christian faith, and refused to reduce the eight-year prison sentence according American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). [more...]

29 Aug 2013

VIETNAM: Bibles Confiscated from House Church

Local authorities confiscated 16 Bibles and some hymnals from a group of Hmong believers during a house church meeting two weeks ago, a VOM worker reports. The house church of 30 families was formed two months ago after an evangelist came and shared the Gospel in their mountain village. [more...]

28 Aug 2013

The Rise of Extreme Islam in East Africa

The Rise of Extreme Islam in East Africa

Muslim extremists are pouring resources into east Africa resulting in an increase of attacks against Christians. Read this report to find out more about the challenges Christians are facing in this region. [more...]

28 Aug 2013

Urgent Prayer Update From Egypt

An exclusive update from our contact in Egypt about the increasing unrest in recent weeks. Please join Christians worldwide in praying for the persecuted church in Egypt. [more...]

28 Aug 2013

Bibles Plus Update | Thank You!

With your help, we have raised over $140,000 to provide persecuted Christians with Bibles Plus Packs. Praise God! [more...]

22 Aug 2013

KAZAKHSTAN: Pastor Victim of Soviet-Era Methods

Lyazzat Almenova (34) is a member of Grace Church in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana. In 2011 her mother made allegations against the church, claiming the pastor had caused her daughter to become 'schizophrenic'. [more...]

22 Aug 2013

IRAN: Farshid Fathi Tells of his Agonies in a Letter from Prison

Farshid Fathi (34), a Christian convert activist who is currently serving a six year term in the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran, explained in a letter how he has been subjected to severe mental torture. [more...]

21 Aug 2013

EGYPT: Nonstop Attacks

Christians in Egypt are experiencing increased attacks in conjunction with the government’s attempt to disperse two groups calling for the reinstatement of former President Morsi. [more...]

15 Aug 2013

PHILIPPINES (Mindanao): Christian Villages Attacked

Two Christian villages in Midsayap, Cotabato, were attacked by the Muslim Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on 29 July and 31 July. More than 70 armed men attacked the villages, using four boats to reach the villages and to carry away their spoils.
 [more...]

15 Aug 2013

IRAN: Believer Sentenced to 10 Years Imprisonment

Christian convert from Islam Mohammad-Hadi Bordbar, known as Mostafa, was sentenced to ten years in prison for being a part of an “anti-security organisation” and “gathering with intent to commit crimes against Iranian national security” on 31 July. [more...]

15 Aug 2013

INDONESIA: Evangelists Jailed for Three Years

Two Christians in Indonesia have been given a three-year jail sentence after being arrested originally for 'evangelising Muslims'. [more...]

8 Aug 2013

NORTH KOREA: Balloon Launches Help Spread the Gospel

A VOM worker reports record launches of New Testaments into North Korea in July. For the month of July alone, 23,130 New Testaments were launched into North Korea. [more...]

8 Aug 2013

CHINA: Chinese house church leader Samuel Lamb dies

One of the most well-known Christian leaders in China, Pastor Samuel Lamb, died on Saturday 3 August in Guangzhou, aged 88. [more...]

8 Aug 2013

EGYPT: Christian Girls Snatched by Traffickers

One of the challenges facing Christian families, particularly in Upper Egypt, is the kidnapping of young Christian girls. It generally happens when the girls enter their teen years. [more...]

1 Aug 2013

INDIA: New Amendment Could Restrict Christian Evangelism

A proposed amendment to the “Freedom of Religion” law in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh poses a threat to potential conversion to Christianity. The amendment stipulates a mandatory one-month advance notice to the district magistrate by both a prospective convert and the minister who wishes to preside over a conversion ceremony. It also provides more stringent punishment (a 3-4 year prison term) and heftier fines for non-compliance. [more...]

1 Aug 2013

VIETNAM: Recent Convert Tortured and Imprisoned

A new Christian, “Bao,” is being pressured by village authorities to recant his faith, a VOM worker reported. After Bao and his family converted to Christianity four months ago, authorities told Bao he could not live in the village and that he could not use or purchase food, clothing or candles from the village as long as he continued in his beliefs. They repeated their threat three times. [more...]

1 Aug 2013

IRAN: Imprisoned Pastor Now Receiving Medical Care

Pastor Saeed Abedini has been in prison in Iran for over 300 days and has finally received medical treatment a private hospital in Tehran. During his incarceration, he has been subjected to beatings which have caused internal injuries. [more...]

31 Jul 2013

Persecution Update from the Philippines

Persecution Update from the Philippines

John Wilson, Executive Director of Voice of the Martyrs, has just returned from meeting persecuted Christians in the Philippines. We caught up with him recently to find out more about his trip and give you an exclusive insight into what life is like as a Christian living in the persecuted areas of the Philippines. [more...]

31 Jul 2013

Pastor Magtoto's Story

Pastor Magtoto leads a church of 30 families in a devout Muslim area on the Filipino island of Mindanao. Her congregation faces frequent threats from Muslims who want to drive Christians from the area. Find out why Pastor Magtoto chooses to stay despite persecution. [more...]

31 Jul 2013

Bibles Plus Boots | Fearless Fundraising Project

Through Thirteen Three's Fearless youth events, we are aiming to raise $15,000 to give Bibles Plus Boots packs to 600 persecuted pastors in Nigeria. Find out why they need gumboots and why our team is so excited about this project. [more...]

24 Jul 2013

PAKISTAN: Christian Teenager Gang Raped

In July, a 14-year-old Christian girl in Punjab was abducted and raped. According to her father, the men responsible have threatened to attack Christian properties and churches if the family proceeds with charges against them. [more...]

24 Jul 2013

IRAN: Eight Christians Imprisoned

On 16 July, eight Iranian Christians received jail sentences between one and six years after being found guilty of 'action against the national security' and 'propaganda against the system.' [more...]

24 Jul 2013

NIGERIA: Six Christians Killed

Christian leaders reported that gunmen killed six Christians in an early morning attack on Dinu village in southern Plateau state. Rev Johnson Kikem, chairman of a nearby Regional Church Council of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), reported that church members who fled the village in Wase Local Government Area said the assailants were Muslims. [more...]

17 Jul 2013

UGANDA: Persecuted Teen Returns to School

Susan Ithungu, a teenager who was abused because of her Christian faith, began a new school term recently. Susan suffered permanent damage to her legs as a result of being kept in a tiny room for three months by her father. [more...]

17 Jul 2013

VIETNAM: Christian Couple Attacked for Refusal to Recant Faith

In Lao Cai province, a Christian husband and wife were beaten by police until the wife was bleeding, at which point the police stopped the beating and let the couple go. The attack has been reported to the attention of the federal government. [more...]

17 Jul 2013

HONDURAS: Pastors' Lives Threatened

Eight pastors have been murdered in Honduras in 2013. In the most recent attack, which took place on 19 June, Pastor Eduardo Mejia was stabbed to death. Pastor Mejia led a church called "God Is Love." The other seven pastors died from gunshot wounds. [more...]

12 Jul 2013

IRAN: Pastor Released from Prison

Iran has conditionally released Pastor Robert Asseriyan from jail on bail after 43 days in custody and has reportedly been instructed to remain silent about his imprisonment and any abuses he suffered, according to Mohabat News. [more...]

12 Jul 2013

EGYPT: Christians targeted by Morsi supporters

Hard-line Muslims in Egypt angry over President Morsi's removal from power have attacked churches and Christian property. Reports of attacks on Christians began to surface just hours after the Egyptian army announced that it had removed from office the Muslim Brotherhood-backed premier and his cabinet. [more...]

12 Jul 2013

SRI LANKA: Pastor and Christians Assaulted

A Christian pastor and his congregation in Sri Lanka were assaulted by a Buddhist monk and his associates during a Sunday service on 23 June. A monk began to insult and attack the pastor with a tree branch while he was on an errand in Neluwaththuduwa, in the district of Colombo. [more...]

3 Jul 2013

SYRIA: Christians Hopeful Amid Civil War

Christians in Syria remain hopeful despite increasingly difficult circumstances, a VOM contact reports. He said many people are begging, searching in the rubbish and looking for a place to stay and that the value of the Syrian pound continues to drop. Syrians still face danger from snipers and mortars. [more...]

3 Jul 2013

INDIA: Hindu Nationalists Harass Christians

Three months of intimidation and assaults by Hindu extremists in two villages in eastern India has left four Christians hospitalised and others injured. Two houses were damaged and the Christian community has been unable to do business or draw water from the town well, church leaders report. [more...]

3 Jul 2013

PAKISTAN: Asia Bibi Transferred

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani woman who has been imprisoned for four years under blasphemy laws, has been moved to a prison that is much farther from her family, VOM contacts reported. [more...]

27 Jun 2013

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Prayer Requests

Islam is gaining influence in the country and Muslim extremists are trying to gain a political hold. Traditional African religions are also growing in number with members claiming that Jesus is a God of white people. [more...]

27 Jun 2013

TAJIKISTAN: Convert Suffers Severe Persecution

Nadia, a Christian convert in Tajikistan, is experiencing severe persecution from her Muslim family members. Nadia converted from Islam to Christianity in 2011 and was baptised. When her mother found out, she beat Nadia, burned her Bible and tore her clothing. [more...]

27 Jun 2013

PAKISTAN: Christian Teenager Dies in Police Custody

Over 4000 Christians in Punjab recently took to the streets in protest at the alleged torture and killing of a Christian young man held in police custody. Eighteen-year-old Adnan Masih died at Sharaqpur Sharif city police station on 10 June after being detained for six days. [more...]

27 Jun 2013

Nepal | Children's Safety or Evangelism?

Nepal | Children's Safety or Evangelism?

In today's persecuted church, children sometimes become victims of persecution. Find out the true story of one Nepali woman who continued to follow Christ, even when her family faced persecution because of her ministry. [more...]

27 Jun 2013

Dorcas Centre | India Project Update

The final bricks are being laid for the Dorcas Centre, a boarding house and training facility for Christian widows who have lost their husbands and homes through persecution. Find out how your generous support will help impact hundreds of Christian sisters in India. [more...]

26 Jun 2013

30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World: Ramadan

Unite with Christians worldwide to pray for the advance of the Gospel in the Muslim world during Ramadan, a 30 day fast observed by Muslims. This booklet will equip you to intercede for Muslims and is a fantastic resource for your church or small group. [more...]

20 Jun 2013

TANZANIA: Two Pastors Attacked by Muslim Extremists

On 2 June, Pastor Robert Ngai was attacked in north-eastern Tanzania by a group of radical Muslims. They broke into his home and attacked him with machetes. He was rushed to hospital and is being treated in ICU. [more...]

20 Jun 2013

PAKISTAN: Family Pressured to Compromise Charges


A Christian family is being pressured to compromise on charges against two men who allegedly abducted raped and tortured 15-year-old Fouzia Bibi from village Roday (District of Kasur). On 25 January, Fouzia was delivering milk to the landlord when two men armed with pistols reportedly abducted and assaulted her, leaving her unconscious. [more...]

20 Jun 2013

LAOS: Christian Families Face Expulsion


Families in two villages have been asked to leave their homes and resettle elsewhere because they have turned to Christ. Village chief Keang Khean of north-central Laos has asked all Christians to leave immediately. Tensions are high in the village, which is located in Luang Prabang province, Laos. [more...]

13 Jun 2013

PHILIPPINES: Christians Forced to Flee Homes

One hundred and sixty Christians were recently forced to flee their village after it was attacked by Muslim extremists, according to a VOM worker. [more...]

13 Jun 2013

SOMALIA: Christian Woman Imprisoned and Tortured

A Christian woman in Somalia has been imprisoned for participating in underground Christian work, VOM workers report. [more...]

13 Jun 2013

PAKISTAN: Taliban Kidnap Young Disciple of Christ

A 16-year-old Christian convert from Islam by the name of Aman Ullah was kidnapped by the Taliban on 25 May in Peshawar, the heart of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. [more...]

6 Jun 2013

CHINA: Christians Sentenced and Imprisoned for “Cult Activity”

Seven Christians charged with 'cult activity' have all received prison sentences ranging from three to seven-and-a-half years. [more...]

6 Jun 2013

SAUDI ARABIA: Two Believers Imprisoned Over Conversion

In July 2012, Maryam (28), a Saudi convert to Christianity, fled the country. Subsequently, her employer, Henna Sarkees (51), a Christian Lebanese national, was charged with abusing his position by coercing her to convert. Also, an un-named Saudi national was charged with facilitating Maryam's flight from the country. [more...]

6 Jun 2013

BANGLADESH: Islamic Traffickers Cry Forced Conversion in Attempt to Retaliate against Christian Rescuers

Rescuers of Christian children taken captive by Islamic traffickers in Bangladesh are being accused of forcefully converting the children to Christianity. [more...]

3 Jun 2013

God's Witness Protection Program

God's Witness Protection Program

We recently caught up with John Wilson, Executive Director of Voice of the Martyrs Australia, to give you an exclusive insight into our safe house ministry. [more...]

3 Jun 2013

Youth Coordinator Report from Nigeria

Jono Fox recently travelled to Nigeria with Voice of the Martyrs to meet persecuted Christians. He will be sharing his experiences at this year's Thirteen Three Fearless youth events to help raise awareness and funds for Nigerian Christians.

 [more...]

30 May 2013

INDIA: Judicial System Resolves Missionary's Murder

Fourteen years after Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burnt to death by a mob, two more suspects have been arrested from Odisha's (formerly known as Orissa) Keonjhar district. [more...]

30 May 2013

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: "Reign of Terror" Against Christians

Christians in the Central African Republic are being targeted by Islamist militants who violently seized control of the country on 24 March. Although many have been killed or seriously wounded in the violence, others are being tied up, beaten and forced to hand over money to save their lives. [more...]

30 May 2013

SIERRA LEONE: 150 New Christians Baptised

A VOM worker reports that 150 new believers were baptised recently in the village of Kaboreh, and 80 of them are converts from Islam. [more...]

30 May 2013

IRAN: Largest Persian Speaking Church in Tehran Closed

The Central Assemblies of God church in Tehran was closed last Thursday, 23 May, due to pressure from Iranian security authorities. [more...]

23 May 2013

NIGERIA: Suspected Boko Haram Gunmen Kill Christian Leader

Gunmen believed to be members of the deadly Islamic extremist Boko Haram group killed Rev Faye Pama Musa, secretary of the Borno state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). [more...]

23 May 2013

UZBEKISTAN: Criminal Conviction and Fines


Sharofat Allamova, a Protestant from Urgench in north-western Uzbekistan, has been given one and a half years of corrective labour, after being convicted under criminal charges brought for the "illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious literature". [more...]

23 May 2013

SRI LANKA: Christians Under Attack

In recent months, Christian persecution in Sri Lanka has intensified owing to the rise in Buddhist nationalism in the country. [more...]

16 May 2013

INDIA: Pastor Beaten During Church Service

A Pastor in Uttar Pradesh state was recently attacked and beaten during his church service, a VOM worker reports. Near the end of the service, a group of Hindu men attacked Pastor “Caleb,” tied him to a tree and beat him. The attackers, who apparently were directed by Hindu leaders in the village, broke Pastor Caleb’s arm during the beating. [more...]

16 May 2013

IRAN: Christians’ Appeal Rejected

Four Christians from the Ahwaz Assemblies of God Church have been ordered to begin serving their one-year prison sentences, after the High Court rejected their appeal on 1 May. [more...]

16 May 2013

SUDAN: Officials Threaten to 'Bury Christians Alive'

Sudanese officials are reported to be deporting increasing numbers of Christians, amid worrying reports of interrogations and threats against them.
 [more...]

16 May 2013

TANZANIA: Two Killed and Over 50 Wounded in Church Bombing

St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha was bombed on Sunday, 5 May. At least two people are confirmed dead as a result of the blast. [more...]

8 May 2013

CHINA: Book Store Employee Arrested

In December 2012, an employee of a Christian bookstore in central China was asked to come to a police station to retrieve $6,000 worth of books that had been seized from the store in a raid several months earlier. However, when Mr Li arrived at the police station, he was immediately arrested and sent to prison. [more...]

8 May 2013

LIBYA: Christian Workers Released

Libyan authorities have released an Egyptian national and three other foreigners who were arrested on 10 February in Benghazi for allegedly illegally importing Christian materials. The Egyptian national is recuperating at home with his wife and two children. [more...]

8 May 2013

SOMALIA: Widowed Mother of Five Shot by Militants

On 13 April, members of the Al-Shabaab militant group ended the life of 42-year-old Fartun Omar, a Christian mother of five in Beledweyne, Somalia. Fartun's husband Siad, who was also a believer, had been previously killed by gunmen on 8 December 2012, for converting from Islam. [more...]

2 May 2013

EAST AFRICA: Pastor Murdered in Tanzania

Persecution of Christians by Muslim extremists continues to increase in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Pastor Mathayo Kachili was killed in Buseresere, Tanzania, recently by radical Muslims who attacked him with machetes. Pastor Mathayo was a husband and father of 12 children. [more...]

2 May 2013

SOUTHEAST ASIA: New Believer Persecuted for Holding Christian Fellowship

Brother “Keon” and his wife have suffered intense persecution since opening their home to other Christians last Christmas, a VOM worker reports. The family accepted Jesus Christ after their son was miraculously healed from an illness. But after converting to Christianity, Brother Keon was forbidden to associate with anyone in the village. [more...]

2 May 2013

NIGERIA: The Deadliest Place to be a Christian

With countries like North Korea, Pakistan and Somalia topping the list as some of the world's worst persecutors of Christians, it's hard to imagine that none of these countries hold the highest Christian death toll. In 2012, that shameful distinction went to Nigeria, where almost 70% of Christians killed globally were murdered. [more...]

29 Apr 2013

Persecution Update from Iran | Mohammed's Story

Persecution Update from Iran | Mohammed's Story

Mohammed is a former drug addict who came to know Christ four years ago. Now he is a bold evangelist in Iran, sharing the Gospel with everyone he meets. God is using evangelists like Mohammed to grow the church in Iran despite persecution. [more...]

29 Apr 2013

Pakistan Christian Released from Prison

Younis Masih has been released!! Younis was in prison from 2005 sentenced to death for blasphemy. Find out how your prayers led to his release and reunion with his family. [more...]

24 Apr 2013

SYRIA: Two Bishops Kidnapped by Rebels

Two prominent Syrian bishops, who had warned of the threat to religious tolerance and diversity from the two-year conflict in their country, were kidnapped on Monday 22 April by armed rebels in the northern province of Aleppo, state media said. [more...]

24 Apr 2013

NIGERIA: Extremist Violence Targets Christians in Borno

According to Stefanos Foundation, gunmen pulled over a bus near Maiduguri on Saturday 20 April, demanded passengers declare their faith and then killed the six people who said they were Christian. Meanwhile, in Gwoza, also in Borno state, Islamists are reported to have embarked upon an 'Islamisation campaign'. Stefanos reports that gunmen are going from door to door demanding people profess allegiance to Islam at gunpoint. [more...]

24 Apr 2013

MYANMAR: Christian Converts Lose Jobs and Homes

Persecution is increasing in Myanmar as more people turn to Jesus Christ. Buddhists who convert to Christianity have difficulty keeping jobs and are often driven from their homes, according to a VOM worker. Two families currently working with VOM’s Burma fish farm project lost their jobs and homes after coming to faith in Christ last July. [more...]

18 Apr 2013

IRAN: American Pastor's Condition Worsens in Prison

American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison term in Iran because of his Christian faith, has been suffering from internal bleeding for months – injuries received from beatings in prison. [more...]

18 Apr 2013

MALI: Christian Work Continues Amid Civil War

Though Mali is ravaged by civil war, life and work continue in the southern part of the country, a VOM worker reports. Several safe houses in the region continue to shelter groups of former Muslims who were threatened by their Muslim families. [more...]

18 Apr 2013

PAKISTAN: Police Watch while Christian Neighbourhood is Ransacked

A Muslim mob attacked Christian-owned shops and a church in the Francis Colony of Gujranwala, Pakistan on Wednesday 3 April following a dispute between Christian youth and a Muslim cleric a day earlier. [more...]

16 Apr 2013

How Much Does the Bible Mean to You?

Bounchan was imprisoned for his Christian ministry in Laos for over 10 years. Despite the risks, he went to extraordinary lengths to smuggle Bibles into prison. [more...]

16 Apr 2013

2012 Bibles Plus Report

Thanks to the generous response of our supporters, over 4440 persecuted Christian families were helped through Bibles Plus in 2012. [more...]

11 Apr 2013

EGYPT: Christians Killed, Mourners Attacked by Muslim Rioters

One Christian was killed and at least 21 were injured by Muslim rioters during a violent assault on mourners attending a funeral at St Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo on Sunday. The attack was the third day of anti-Christian violence in Egypt which has claimed five Christian lives. [more...]

11 Apr 2013

SENEGAL: Brazilian Missionaries Detained on False Charges, Granted Bail

Two Brazilian missionaries detained on false accusations in November 2012, were granted bail on 5 April after spending 5 months in prison in Senegal. [more...]

11 Apr 2013

SIERRA LEONE: Armed Thieves Attack VOM Worker

During the last week of March, thieves entered the compound of a VOM partner in Sierra Leone, attacking him in the process. "They were well armed and could have harmed me if I made an attempt to stop them," he testifies. [more...]

11 Apr 2013

PAKISTAN: Christian Wins Blasphemy Appeal

Pakistan Christian Younis Masih, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, has been released on appeal Wednesday 3 April. The father-of-four had been in jail since November 2005. He was set free after a successful appeal to the High Court in Lahore.
 [more...]

4 Apr 2013

Bibles Plus | Food for the Soul and Body

Bibles Plus | Food for the Soul and Body

For only $25, you can give a Bibles Plus pack to a persecuted Christian family struggling with spiritual and physical hunger. [more...]

4 Apr 2013

Unashamed | Thirteen Three Event Report

Thirteen Three recently finished a series of youth events raising awareness and funds for persecuted Christians in Colombia. We have so much to thank God for from this event series! [more...]

4 Apr 2013

VIETNAM: Hmong Church Leader Beaten to Death in Police Custody

VIETNAM: Hmong Church Leader Beaten to Death in Police Custody

According to a local church leader, police beat Vam Ngaij Vaj around his neck and shoulders and probably electrically shocked him, resulting in his death on 17 March.

 [more...]

4 Apr 2013

NIGERIA: Islamic Leaders Call on President to Absolve Boko Haram of 3,000 Murders

Islamic leaders from Nigeria have urged their country’s 19 northern governors to completely pardon Boko Haram militants for the violence that has consumed Nigeria for the past three years, despite pleas by President Goodluck Jonathan. [more...]

4 Apr 2013

INDONESIA: Church Bulldozed in Permit Dispute

About 40 local government officials watched as a bulldozer destroyed the unfinished church building of the Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) in the Bekasi region on 21 March. [more...]

4 Apr 2013

Aring's Story | God's family is a BIG family

Last year, 76-year-old Aring and his wife Mah were facing the possibility of starvation in southern Myanmar. "When my wife and I did not have any food to eat, we just prayed and trusted the Lord." Find out how God answered their prayers. [more...]

27 Mar 2013

IRAN: Wife of Pastor Saeed Testifies Before Human Rights Commission

On 15 March, Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of American-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini, tearfully presented the case of her imprisoned husband's torture to a US congressional committee on human rights. [more...]

27 Mar 2013

NIGERIA: At Least 20 Killed in Suicide Bombing

At least twenty people have been killed by a series of bombings targeting buses in a predominantly Christian neighbourhood of Nigeria's northern city of Kano. [more...]

27 Mar 2013

CHINA: Christian Dies in Police Custody

A small house church in western China was raided by five policemen and 15 locals in late February. The pastor was thrown to the floor and restrained while police scuffled with a 50-year-old male church member. When the pastor told police the other man had a heart condition, they set the sick man upright and began to beat the pastor. [more...]

27 Mar 2013

SENEGAL: Brazilian Christians Remain in Jail after Conversion Complaint

Two Brazilian Christians remain in prison in Senegal on charges of kidnapping and child trafficking. The Christians operated a home for street children, many of whom were members of Quranic schools that force their pupils to sleep on the streets. The home provided food, shelter and education to about 17 children. After one of the youths told his father he had become a Christian at the home, the boy’s father made accusations against Pastor Jose Dilson Alves Da Silva. Legal efforts and intervention by Brazilian diplomats have so far had no effect. “This is a prayer subject for all of us,” said VOM’s field worker in Senegal. “The only person who can solve this problem is the Lord.”
Source: VOM Contacts [more...]

21 Mar 2013

INDIA: Pastor Released after Eight Years

After eight years of imprisonment under false accusations, Pastor Samuel was released on Wednesday 13 March. Gospel for Asia leaders rushed to welcome him as he walked out of jail, greeting him with flowers and praise to the Lord.
Originally accused of Naxalite (Maoist) activities, Pastor Samuel was cleared of all charges in the summer of 2010, but strikes and delayed court hearings prevented him from returning to his wife and 8-year-old daughter. [more...]

21 Mar 2013

LIBYA: Torture Probably Led to Death of Egyptian Christian

Repeated electrical shock torture of an Egyptian Christian accused of “proselytising” in Libya likely exacerbated his heart ailment, leading to his death in custody, according to sources close to the deceased. Ezzat Hakim Atallah, 45, died on 10 March in a Tripoli jail while in the custody of an Islamic militia group known as the Preventative Security Unit.
Atallah, who had run a mobile phone sales business in Benghazi, was arrested as part of a round-up of foreign Christians on 13 February. Seven Christians were arrested that week, four of them Egyptians. [more...]

21 Mar 2013

EGYPT: Hostility against Christians Escalates

More than one year after the country's 2012 revolution, violence against Christians in Egypt has escalated. One of the recent attacks occurred on 15 February, when a mob of a few hundred Islamic militants threw stones and set fire to St Georgas Coptic Church, located in the poor village of Sarsena (about 100 km southwest of Cairo). [more...]

14 Mar 2013

PAKISTAN: Christian Homes Torched by Muslim Mob over Blasphemy

A mob of some 3,000 Muslims set fire to approximately 178 Christian homes and two churches in the Joseph Colony of Lahore on 9 March following accusations that Sawan Masih, a Christian sanitation worker, had made derogatory remarks about the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Masih had allegedly made the blasphemous comments on Wednesday during a dispute on religious issues with Shahid Imran, a Muslim, while the men "were drunk," said local resident Altaf Masih. [more...]

14 Mar 2013

SYRIA: Increasing Incidence of Religiously-Motivated Attacks against Christians

Syrian Christians continue to request prayers for their country. In recent months, there have been increasing numbers of attacks on Christians that seem to be religiously motivated. There has been a spate of reported incidents involving the kidnapping of Christians. On 9 February two priests, Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox), were kidnapped when travelling by public bus between Damascus and Aleppo. The bus was stopped by armed men belonging to one of the groups fighting the government. The gunmen checked the identity documents of all passengers and only the two priests were taken. Negotiations for their release are on-going. [more...]

14 Mar 2013

NIGERIA: More Unexpected Attacks during Militant Rampages

More vicious attacks have been made against the peaceful inhabitants of two neighbouring Christian villages. During the early hours of 22 February, ten family members were tragically hacked to death and two others sustained gunshot wounds after an unexpected attack took place in Kogwom Village (Vom District in Jos South, Plateau State). The grieving family had gathered together that morning to conduct the funeral of a grandmother when the unfortunate tragedy took place. [more...]

14 Mar 2013

NEPAL: Maoists Force Evangelist to Leave Village

Maoists in Nepal recently accused an evangelist of defiling the harmony of society and ordered him to leave his village within seven days. Before telling him to leave, the communist Maoists asked the family to give up their Christian faith. They threatened to kill the evangelist and stayed with him for seven days before finally ordering him and hisfamily, including two children, to leave the village. [more...]

8 Mar 2013

Persecution Update from Indonesia: Meeting Mr Pindongo

Persecution Update from Indonesia: Meeting Mr Pindongo

John Wilson, Executive Director of Voice of the Martyrs, recently travelled to Indonesia to meet with persecuted Christians. We caught up with him recently to find out more about his trip and give you an exclusive insight into what life is like as a Christian in Indonesia.
 [more...]

7 Mar 2013

MYANMAR: Sixty-Six Churches Burnt, Systematic Rape since 2011

According to a recent report, 66 Churches have been burnt down in Kachin state, Myanmar since conflict reignited in June 2011. The report, released by the Kachin Women's Association of Thailand (KWAT) stated that the churches were burnt down by Myanmar government forces. [more...]

7 Mar 2013

EGYPT: Two Young Boys Convicted

Egyptian Christians have requested prayer concerning a legal case involving two young boys who were accused of defacing pages of a Koran in 2012. Mina Nady Farag and Nabil Nagy Rizk, ages nine and ten, were detained on 30 September when Ibrahim Mohamed Ali, a local imam from their home village of Ezbet Marco in the Beni Suef province of Egypt, accused the children of tearing pages of a Koran. The boys, both illiterate, claimed that they found pages of the Koran amongst rubbish and were unaware what they had found and were playing with. [more...]

7 Mar 2013

SUDAN: More than 50 Christians Detained

At least 55 Christians are being held by the Sudanese government despite no charges having been laid. The group includes church leaders and they have been falsely accused of receiving money from foreign countries, including Israel. [more...]

4 Mar 2013

Write a Letter to Alimujiang Yimiti

Alimujiang Yimiti is a house church leader in China who has been in prison for over five years. Writing letters is a tremendous encouragement to imprisoned Christians and in some cases has led to their release.
 [more...]

28 Feb 2013

JESUS IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL LACK NOTHING

JESUS IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL LACK NOTHING

Ribur and Roy are Christian evangelists in a strict Muslim area in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. For the past few years they have been witnessing to Muslims through a mission providing locals with assistance for farming and cattle breeding. This practical service has enabled them to develop friendships and they have seen five Muslims become followers of Christ. [more...]

28 Feb 2013

IRAN: Letter from Imprisoned American Pastor

According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Pastor Saeed Abedini – a US citizen facing a lengthy prison sentence in Iran because of his Christian faith – has spoken out in a letter from prison. The 32-year-old Pastor Saeed stated that the conditions inside Evin Prison are “so very difficult that my eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky.” [more...]

28 Feb 2013

LIBYA: Egyptian Christian Detained and Mistreated

Prayers have been requested following the arrest of an Egyptian Christian businessman in Benghazi, capital of Cyrenaica province, eastern Libya. Sherif Ramses is a businessman who runs a bookshop in Benghazi. The stock includes Christian books, intended for sale to the many expatriate Arabic speaking Christians living and working in Benghazi and the surrounding areas. Sherif was arrested on 10 February. He remains detained and to date has not been charged before a court. He has been physically mistreated repeatedly. [more...]

28 Feb 2013

NIGERIA: Six Killed in Raid on Village


Six people were killed and many more were injured in an attack on a village in a Christian area in the northern state of Kaduna on Saturday. Stefanos Foundation, adds that a substantial amount of property was also destroyed in the raid by ‘terrorists’ on Aduwan Gida village in Zangon Kataf local government area. [more...]

21 Feb 2013

TANZANIA: Pastor Beheaded in Religious-Linked Brawl


Pastor Mathayo Kachili of an Assemblies of God Church in Tanzania was killed last Monday in a brawl between Christians and Islamic extremists. According to Denis Stephano, the local police commander, tensions between Muslims and Christians in Buseresere, a town located in Tanzania's Geita Region, had been boiling over for quite some time before the attack. The source of these tensions was whether Christians were allowed to open and operate butcheries in Buseresere. According to All Africa News, Muslim leaders demanded the immediate closure of butcheries owned by Christians. [more...]

21 Feb 2013

ALGERIA: Conviction Upheld for Convert from Islam

An Algerian judge under pressure from Islamists to uphold a Christian's conviction for alleged proselytising rescinded his one-year prison term today but doubled his fine, a lawyer said.

Ibaouene Mohamed was sentenced in July 2012 to one year in prison and a fine of 50,000 Algerian dinars after he was accused by a co-worker of attempting to convert him to Christianity, a charge that Mohamed denied. The co-worker, a 27-year-old machine operator, known to be an Islamic extremist, levelled the accusation only after Ibaouene, a convert from Islam, refused to renounce Christ, Ibaouene said. [more...]

21 Feb 2013

ERITREA: Number of Christians Arrested Rises to 50

The number of Christians arrested in the Eritrean capital Asmara in the last month is now thought to have risen to 50. Thirty arrests were made on 20 January, at a worship meeting of the Philadelphia Church in a private home in the district of Mai Temenai. Among the detainees was an 85-year-old woman, who was also accused of hosting Bible study groups in her home. Release Eritrea says the raid was 'well planned and targeted Bible study leaders'. All detainees are being held in the notorious Karchele security prison in Asmara. Sources: Release Eritrea, Release International [more...]

21 Feb 2013

SYRIA: Silent Exodus of Assyrian Christians

In the midst of terrible war and chaos, Syria’s Christian minority is facing insurmountable challenges due to distinct persecution. Vicious attacks have been made by militant Islamists and criminals, resulting in a massive exodus of believers who are being forced to flee the country. [more...]

14 Feb 2013

LAOS: Police Arrest Three Pastors on Charges of Spreading the Christian Religion

Three Christian pastors in Laos have been arrested and detained for “spreading the Christian religion” by reproducing a DVD of a Christian film. Pastor Bounma of Alowmai Village Church, Pastor Somkaew of Kengsainoi Village Church and Pastor Bounmee of Savet Village Church, were arrested on 5 February 2013 by the Phin District police in Savannakhet province. [more...]

14 Feb 2013

CHINA: Christians Thrive, Despite Increase in Persecution

A new report released last week tracking Christian persecution in China reported a marked rise in arrests, harassment, and imprisonment of Christians in China for the seventh year in a row. Despite this, or perhaps partially as a result of it, Christianity has been growing at an explosive rate throughout China. Unofficial estimates indicate there may be as many as 130 million Christians living in China today.
 [more...]

14 Feb 2013

INDIA: Christian Villagers Assaulted by Angry Mob

On 14 January, three Christian women were attacked by Hindu extremists in Tamsai village (located near Navi, Mumbai). The incident took place while they were washing clothes at a public well. It all began because the 12-year-old daughter of one of the Christian women listened to Gospel songs on a mobile phone, causing the other villagers nearby to become enraged. These irritated people protested that Christian music should not be played within their hearing range. [more...]

14 Feb 2013

SAUDI ARABIA: Arrests of 53 Ethiopian Christians at Private Worship Service

While attending a worship service in the private rented home of a fellow believer, 53 Ethiopian Christians were arrested by Saudi authorities in Dammam, the capital of the country’s Eastern Province. The incident, which took place at about 10 am on 8 February 2013, included the arrests of three church leaders. During a hearing in an Islamic court, authorities alleged that the leaders were converting Muslims to Christianity. [more...]

7 Feb 2013

UZBEKISTAN: Raids, Criminal Charges and Christmas Bible Destruction


After two raids on her home in Urgench in north-west Uzbekistan in January and being detained for 11 hours, Protestant Christian Sharofat Allamova is facing criminal prosecution for "illegally" storing religious literature, the police officer who led the raids told Forum 18 News Service. The criminal charges carry a fine up to 200 times the minimum monthly wage, or a prison term of up to three years. [more...]

7 Feb 2013

EGYPT: Whole Family Sentenced To 15 Years' Jail for Apostasy

The criminal court of Beni Suef (115km south of Cairo) has sentenced an entire family to prison for converting to Christianity. Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was born into a Christian family, converted to Islam when she married Mustafa Mohamed Abdel-Wahab 23 years ago. When Mustufa died in 1991 Nadia decided to return to Christianity, bringing her seven children with her. [more...]

7 Feb 2013

INDIA: Extremists Attack Satellite Church in Bangalore

Hindu extremists recently attacked a satellite church that is working among the extremely poor of Bangalore. The perpetrators entered the church while the service was taking place. Thankfully, most of those who participated in the service had safely escaped, with the exception of two church workers who were badly beaten. [more...]

7 Feb 2013

ERITREA: More Than 20 Church Leaders Recently Arrested

It has been reported by Release International ministry partners that more than 20 Christians have been arrested in the Eritrean capital of Asmara within the past few weeks. The arrests took place at the homes of the accused, indicating that they were planned in advance by the city's authorities. These government officials have been targeting church leaders of various denominations, including the Full Gospel Church and the Mesret Kristos (Mennonite) Church. [more...]

6 Feb 2013

IRAN: American Pastor Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, an American imprisoned in Iran on charges of evangelising, was sentenced on Sunday 27 January to eight years in prison. He will serve the time in Iran's notorious Evin Prison, known as one of the most brutal.

Pastor Abedini's trial was held without public access to the courtroom, in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran and judged by Mr Pir-Abbasi. As a Fox News report says, Mr Pir-Abbasi has been sanctioned many times by the European Union for his court actions and sentences. [more...]

6 Feb 2013

INDIA: Tribal Christians Brutally Beaten

As a result of two recent attacks by Hindu extremists, more than 100 Christian villagers have been forced to flee from Tamsai (in Thane District of Maharashtra State) for “rejecting their tribal identity.” Apparently, the Hindu nationalists involved in the attacks were angered that these converts to Christianity no longer practised their traditional tribal religions. Equally alarming is the fact that about 20 police officers failed to intervene, but rather passively stood by, prompting concern of anti-Christian bias being represented by the police force. [more...]

6 Feb 2013

AZERBAIJAN: Court Ruling Mandates Closure of Greater Grace Church

On 9 January, Greater Grace Protestant Church in Azerbaijan's capital of Baku lost its final appeal against closure. This means that any further religious activity carried out by the church is now considered illegal according to the recent Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, those representing the congregation no longer have any more options available to further challenge this ruling through the court system. [more...]

6 Feb 2013

RUSSIA (Chechnya): Completion of Bible Translation Provokes Extremists

While Chechnya (Chechen Republic) presently consists of about 1.4 million people, less than two percent of the population reflects its former predominant Russian leadership and citizenship. Since President Ramzan Kadyrov came into power in 2007, Sunni Islam has become the main religion. This includes the practice of Sharia law, women wearing traditional Muslim clothing, polygamy and honour killings. [more...]

1 Feb 2013

NIGERIA'S RED LETTER BIBLE

NIGERIA'S RED LETTER BIBLE

The blood-spattered Bible is a symbol of what it means to be a Christian in northern Nigeria where the Muslim militant group Boko Haram uses bombings and village raids in an attempt to rid the region of Christians. [more...]

1 Feb 2013

February 2013

February 2013

Nigeria [more...]

2 Jan 2013

January 2013 - Impact Report

January 2013 - Impact Report

How your gifts made an impact in 2012 [more...]

13 Dec 2012

PAKISTAN: Christian Girl Raped and Tortured for Eleven Days

A 14-year-old Pakistani Christian girl was out picking flowers when two Muslim men kidnapped her on 11 November. The two men, Mohammad Javed and Mohammad Mumtaz, whisked the girl away to a secret location where she was forced to sign a document stating that she had converted to Islam. They also raped her and tortured her for 11 days. [more...]

13 Dec 2012

SRI LANKA: Mob Storms Southern Church, Injuring Pastor

A large mob including Buddhist monks stormed a church in southern Sri Lanka on Sunday 10 December, causing serious damage to property and injuring the pastor. According to a preliminary report from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), the raid took place during Sunday morning's meeting in Weeraketiya in Hambanthota, a district of Southern Province. Children were in the congregation during what is being described as a 'distressing attack'. [more...]

13 Dec 2012

KAZAKHSTAN: Violation of Religious Freedom

Kazakhstan's infringements of religious freedom are due in part to the country's newly adopted Religion Law. The new law requires all religious communities to register or re-register their organisations and churches with the government.
On 25 October, the new "re-registration" deadline was enforced for all religious communities. All churches were required to turn in paperwork that included the signatures of at least 50 church members. If a church did not have 50 members, it was not eligible for registration and was scheduled for liquidation. [more...]

13 Dec 2012

MALDIVES: Christian Deported for Bringing in Literature


Authorities in the Maldives held a Bangladeshi Christian in jail for 23 days before deporting him for bringing Christian literature into the South Asian archipelago that claims to be 100% Muslim. Customs officials found Jathish Biswas, 46, with 11 books on Christianity in the Dhivehi language, the Christian worker said. Arrested on 27 September at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in MalĂ©, the nation's capital, he was deported on 19 October, after being held in jail for 23 days. [more...]

6 Dec 2012

UZBEKISTAN: Fined for Discussing their faith and Praying Together

Uzbekistan continues to fine and raid people meeting to discuss their faith and pray together. In Tashkent Region a Protestant was fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage for allegedly illegally distributing religious literature, and books including Bibles and New Testaments were ordered to be destroyed. Legal procedures were violated, the official who produced "expert analyses" allegedly managing to within one working day read 1,300 books, 2,100 brochures, 450 leaflets, 50 magazines, watch 200 videos, and listen to 350 audio cassettes. "This beats the Guinness Book of Records", a local Protestant observed to Forum 18. [more...]

6 Dec 2012

NIGERIA: Ten Christians have Throats Slit as Boko Haram Continues its campaign of Terror

At least ten Christians, including one pastor, were killed by suspected Islamist fighters connected to the extremist group Boko Haram in an attack on the village of Chibok located in Nigeria's north-eastern state of Borno. In a separate attack, three churches were burned as a group of Islamic radicals attacked the border town of Gamboru Ngala. [more...]

6 Dec 2012

MIDDLE EAST: Expatriate Fellowship Meeting Violently Disrupted

Christians in a Middle Eastern country have requested our prayers following an attack by armed men on a fellowship meeting of African and Asian Christians in a private location. A meeting on the evening of Sunday 2 December was interrupted by a group of armed men. [more...]

6 Dec 2012

PAKISTAN: Swedish Christian Worker Shot in Pakistan

A 70-year-old Swedish Christian worker who has served in Pakistan for 38 years, is in critical condition after unidentified gunmen shot her as she returned home from her office in Lahore on Tuesday, sources said. According to a story by Morning Star News, Birgitta Almby, who has been serving as area director with Full Gospel Assemblies (FGA), was returning home for lunch from the FGA Bible School in Lahore's predominantly Christian Bahar Colony. It was then that two unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle opened fire at her as she stopped the car outside her house in the upscale Model Town area. [more...]

3 Dec 2012

THE MIDDLE EAST: NO PEACE HERE

THE MIDDLE EAST: NO PEACE HERE

In September an anti-Islamic film posted on the internet sparked a wave of angry and violent protests by Muslims around the world, including here in Australia. The film and the Muslim community's response gained widespread media attention. Meanwhile the voices of Christians persecuted in the name of Islam continues to be ignored. [more...]

3 Dec 2012

December 2012

December 2012

Middle East and Nigeria [more...]

29 Nov 2012

SUDAN: Potential Mass Genocide Threatens Christians

The threat of genocide looms in Sudan as Christian and non-Arab communities in three regions have been targeted by President General Omar al-Bashir, a notorious leader well known for the systematic slaughter of those who oppose Islamisation. [more...]

29 Nov 2012

CHINA: Harsh Prison Sentence for Christian Poet

After being illegally detained for more than a year, Christian poet Li Bifeng was sentenced with a fabricated charge of "contract fraud," stemming from a legitimate business deal. As of the 19 November sentence, the dissident poet is now facing 12 more years in prison.
 [more...]

29 Nov 2012

EGYPT: Young Teen Becomes Latest Kidnapping Victim

A 14-year-old girl in Egypt has been kidnapped and reportedly forced to marry her Muslim captor. Sarah Abdelmalek is the latest victim of a common practise of kidnapping Coptic Christian girls and forcing them to marry as part of a strategy to limit and intimidate the country's Christian population. [more...]

29 Nov 2012

NIGERIA: Suicide Bomber Kills 11 Christians

Suicide bombers killed 11 people and injured 30 more in the Kaduna state of northern Nigeria. The bombs had detonated following a Sunday worship service on 25 November after two vehicles carrying ammunition were driven into the state's military barracks with the purpose of attacking the church. [more...]

29 Nov 2012

SOMALIA: Militants Publicly Murder Young Believer

A young Christian man was beheaded by Muslim extremists in Somalia before an assembled crowd. The brutal murder of 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose occurred in broad daylight in the city of Barawa, and his body was desecrated as a warning for others. [more...]

22 Nov 2012

PAKISTAN: Blasphemy Charges against Teenager Dropped

The charges against Rimsha Masih, a teenager accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, were dropped on 20 November due to lack of witnesses. Rimsha, who was accused of burning sacred Islamic texts, spent three weeks in an adult prison before being released on bail in September. [more...]

22 Nov 2012

ERITREA: Muslim Convert Killed

Adris Ali Mohammed has been killed after spending two very difficult years in prison in the Aderset Military Camp in Eritrea. The 31-year-old was confined to a small dungeon-like cell, and after being denied medical treatment for malaria, Christ's victory over death has freed him from his suffering and he is now receiving the promise of eternal life. [more...]

22 Nov 2012

INDIA: Christians Facing Opposition in Karnataka

Hindu extremists beat a pastor unconscious by the side of a road in Karnataka state, India, and then assaulted him again in his hospital bed the next day in a relentless attack that left the man�s neck severely injured. Pastor John Samuel Kim was handing out his sister�s wedding cards when he was initially attacked by a mob of about 20 extremists who falsely accused him of forceful conversions. At last report, he had guards posted outside his hospital room door so he could recover. [more...]

22 Nov 2012

ISRAEL: Attacks on Churches in Jerusalem

Calvary Baptist Church in Jerusalem is the latest target in a string of vandalism incidents against Christian holy sites in Israel this year. The church, which is led by an Arab Israeli Christian pastor, was vandalised on 12 November. "The sign pointing people to the church was defaced with white paint with 'Justice' written on the wall next to the sign," said Pastor Steven Khoury. [more...]

22 Nov 2012

INDONESIA: Opposition against the Church Continues

Muslim protesters recently used loudspeakers Hand loud music to prevent a church from holding Sunday services in West Java, Indonesia. The Batak Society Christian Church of Philadelphia was forced to cancel its Sunday service after scores of protesters gathered to harass the believers. [more...]

15 Nov 2012

IRAN: Two Imprisoned Believers Released

Two Christians arrested in a raid on a house church in Shiraz, Iran, in October have been released after posting bail amounting to about US$25,000 each. [more...]

15 Nov 2012

PAKISTAN: Two Believers Accused of Blasphemy Fight for Freedom

While Pakistani believer Younis Masih awaits word on his appeal against the death sentence he received for blasphemy, Pakistani teenager Rimsha Masih is scheduled to return to court to face blasphemy charges. [more...]

15 Nov 2012

CHINA: Believers at Shouwang Church Remain Steadfast

Shouwang Church in China recently held its 45th outdoor worship service amidst the rain and snow while praising God's faithfulness this year. Church leaders report that while two believers were detained at a hotel and at least 18 more were taken from home or from locations near the service, all have now been released. [more...]

15 Nov 2012

JORDAN: Christian Girl Kidnapped

A Christian girl in Jordan was kidnapped by Muslim extremists on 15 October and forced to convert to Islam. [more...]

8 Nov 2012

KENYA: Chaplain Killed in Grenade Attack on Church

Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, is believed to be responsible for a grenade attack on the Administrative Police Church in Garissa, Kenya. The chaplain of the church, Chaplain Julius Mukonzi, was killed and eleven others were wounded. Six of the eleven were air-lifted to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi because of the seriousness of their injuries. [more...]

8 Nov 2012

SUDAN: Christian School Reopens Amidst Growing Persecution

Amid threats of further losses, classes resumed this month at a Khartoum Bible school and church compound that Muslim extremists set ablaze in April, an area Christian source said. On 21 April 2012, Sudanese Muslims set Gerif West Bible School on fire—a fire that not only obliterated school walls, but also destroyed cartons of Bibles and school textbooks. [more...]

8 Nov 2012

INDONESIA: Church Set Ablaze

Unidentified attackers torched a Church in Poso, Indonesia, in a series of renewed violence against the local Protestant community late last month. The fire at the Madele Pentecostal Church began after attackers doused a collection box with petrol and set it on fire. The Pastor's residence was also damaged in the blaze. [more...]

8 Nov 2012

EGYPT: Massive Christian Rally in Desert Brings Estimated 25,000 to Christ

During the first weekend in October, 10,000 young people gathered in the desert 100 kilometres north of Cairo to sing, pray and worship the Lord. The youth gathering was followed up with an even larger event at the same location — a 25-28 October "Count It Right" Christian rally which drew 45,000 people. Hundreds of buses brought in people of all ages to the conference grounds, which also hosted artistic and sports activities. But the focus of the event was to present the message of salvation and call people to give their lives to Jesus at a time in Egypt when Christians are being persecuted even more since the June election of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi. [more...]

1 Nov 2012

KAZAKHSTAN: Fifteen Years Jail for UNHCR-Recognised Refugee if Deportation to Uzbekistan Proceeds


Uzbekistan is now seeking to extradite detained UNHCR-recognised refugee Makset Djabbarbergenov from Kazakhstan on charges which carry a maximum 15 year jail term. The Protestant who fled to Kazakhstan is being sought by Uzbekistan for exercising freedom of religion or belief in his home town of Nukus. A Kazakh 15 October Almaty court decision authorised further detention until 5 November. [more...]

1 Nov 2012

INDIA: Attackers Target Prayer Meeting

A group of Christians in Maharashtra state were beaten up and then accused of forcibly converting people – after withdrawing a complaint about the attack.Hindu fundamentalists attacked a prayer meeting of the New Life Fellowship in Malwan six days ago. According to All India Christian Council (AICC), a number of Christians – including women and children – were beaten up in the attack. One man was hospitalised. [more...]

1 Nov 2012

NIGERIA: Kaduna Catholic Church Hit in Nigeria Suicide Bomb Attack

At least seven people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide bombing on Sunday 28 October, during Mass at a Catholic church in northern Nigeria, officials say.
An explosive-laden vehicle drove into St Rita's Catholic Church which was packed with worshippers when the suicide bomber struck in the Malali area of Kaduna, Nigeria, and detonated its load, ripping a hole in the wall and roof. "The vehicle had been stopped at the security gate outside the church. The driver initially reversed, but then careered straight through the church wall and detonated the bomb," said the BBC. Members of the choir are thought to be among the dead and injured. [more...]

1 Nov 2012

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Abducted, Forcibly Converted to Islam

Shamaila Bibi is just one among hundreds of Christian women and girls in Pakistan to be kidnapped and tortured into converting to Islam over the past several years. Shamaila was on her way home from work when her kidnapper forced her to go with him. Being a devout Christian who remained faithful to her beliefs, she had shunned Muhammad Javaid Iqbal's advances and his marriage proposal. So, he took her at gunpoint to a lawyer and drugged her. Once Shamaila was unconscious, Javaid obtained her thumbprint on documents that confirmed her marriage to him and legally converted her from Christianity to Islam. [more...]

1 Nov 2012

AN UNLIKELY BIBLE SMUGGLER

AN UNLIKELY BIBLE SMUGGLER

Before he came to Christ, Bounchan* was an assistant district governor for the communist government of Laos. After becoming a Christian, he couldn't stop sharing the Gospel. Authorities repeatedly warned Bounchan to stop preaching. In 1999 he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. "They put me in stocks," Bounchan said. "They also put handcuffs on me ... and even put smaller ones on my thumbs. Then they put me in a black room without food for seven days."

When authorities did offer Bounchan food and drink, he refused to take it, fearful that it could be poisoned. "I had to be careful because I knew that my life was valuable for God and for His ministry," he said. "However, one of the guards came secretly to my cell at night, quietly knocked on my door and gave me a little food. I was able to survive because of that. The other guards would have been happy if I'd died because they thought I had betrayed my country." [more...]

1 Nov 2012

November 2012

November 2012

Laos [more...]

25 Oct 2012

KAZAKHSTAN: Church Accused of Drugging Congregants

Two churches were raided in Kazakhstan earlier this month following unsubstantiated allegations that a congregant was drugged during communion. A source at the police department reportedly said, "Members of the religious association ... were given hallucinogens to drink." [more...]

25 Oct 2012

PAKISTAN: Blasphemy Allegations Continue

The High Court in Islamabad has delayed the trial of Rimsha Masih, a mentally challenged Christian girl charged with blasphemy, while another young follower of Christ has also been accused of the same offence. The Court will take until 14 November to decide if the case against Rimsha will be dismissed. [more...]

25 Oct 2012

TANZANIA: Christian Teen in Safeguarded By Believers in Prison

A teenager in Tanzania sentenced to two years in prison for desecrating the Koran is being watched over by two Christian prison guards. A VOM contact who visited 17-year-old Eva Abdullah in October said he was greeted by two Christian female guards who are caring for Eva. They both promised to help keep her safe. [more...]

25 Oct 2012

INDONESIA: Nine Churches Closed Down in Aceh

Officials in a province of Indonesia under strict Islamic law have closed down nine "illegal" churches in response to pressure from Islamist groups. [more...]

18 Oct 2012

IRAN: Christians Facing Arrests, Detentions and Court Trials

There has been an alarming upsurge in the harassment of Christians in Iran, with reports indicating an increase in arrests during recent weeks. Three hundred Christians have reportedly been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned in the country since 2010. [more...]

18 Oct 2012

INDONESIA: Christians Bombed

A Christian's home and a church building were targeted with bomb blasts this month in Indonesia. Explosives were detonated outside a Christian's home and about an hour later, a bomb exploded outside the Imanuel Church building in nearby Taripa, Pamona Timur. Police said the house targeted in the first attack was that of Okrifil Mamuaya, a Christian working for the local government. No one was injured in the blasts, but the attacks have created fear among Christians who have long endured violence in a region considered a hotbed for Islamist militancy. [more...]

18 Oct 2012

NIGERIA: Gunmen Murder 14 Christians

Militants have killed at least 14 ethnic Berom Christians in raids on villages in Plateau state. Included in those killed were a mother and her three children in Riyom, as well as two half-brothers who were reportedly ambushed in their car and shot dead in Barkin Ladi. A 33-year-old man, Yohana Tengwong, was shot in Barkin Ladi as well. Source: Release International [more...]

18 Oct 2012

INDIA: Christians Attacked and Arrested During Baptisms in India

About 20 Christians celebrating a baptism were attacked and beaten by Hindu militants before being arrested by local police. The Christians, including 10 believers who were being baptised, were accosted by members of Hindu nationalist groups in the district of Balasore, Odisha (formerly called Orissa) state. [more...]

15 Oct 2012

October 2012

October 2012

Pakistan [more...]

15 Oct 2012

September 2012

September 2012

Myanmar and Malaysia [more...]

11 Oct 2012

TANZANIA: Muslim Radicals Burn Homes and Livestock

Extremists in Tunduru District in south-western Tanzania burned the homes and livestock of several Christians on 17 September. One home was burned to the ground, but bystanders managed to save five others from complete destruction by dousing them with water. The Muslim extremists also burned more than 60 pigs belonging to Christians. [more...]

11 Oct 2012

EGYPT: Christian Children Arrested for Defiling Koran

Mina Nady Farag and Nabil Nagy Rizk, ages nine and ten, were detained on 30 September when Ibrahim Mohamed Ali, a local imam from their home village of Ezbet Marco in the Beni Suef province of Egypt, accused the children of tearing pages of a Koran. The children denied the incident and said they found the pages on a street. A court in Egypt has ordered their release pending investigation. [more...]

11 Oct 2012

SYRIA: Three dead, 280 Christians held hostage in Rableh

In addition to the 150 civilians who were detained earlier, another 130 Christians have been kidnapped in the village of Rableh, in western Syria on the border with Lebanon, by armed gangs in the area, creating a group of 280 hostages.
Local sources of Agenzia Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, report the hostages were crammed into a school in the village of Gousseh, while the kidnappers released the women that had been stopped previously. The armed kidnappers announced that they intended to wait for their head and then discuss any possible ransom. [more...]

11 Oct 2012

NIGERIA: Students Killed in Massacre

Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group, invaded the off campus hostel of Federal Polytechnic College in northern Nigeria late last Monday 1 October, they allegedly separated Muslims from Christians and massacred up to 30 students. The attack took place in the city of Mubi in remote Adamawa State, located in north-eastern Nigeria. [more...]

10 Oct 2012

August 2012

August 2012

Somalia and Nigeria [more...]

4 Oct 2012

KENYA: Grenade Attack on Sunday School

A nine-year-old boy was killed and at least three other children were seriously injured in a grenade attack on a Sunday school in Nairobi on 30 September. Suspected Islamist militants attacked St Polycarp's Church on Juja Road during a worship service for children aged between six and ten. Witnesses reported a loud explosion then 'people started running for their lives'. A total of nine children were hospitalised, according to Agence France-Presse. [more...]

4 Oct 2012

PAKISTAN: Radicals Burn Church

On Friday 21 September, a mob of several thousand radical Muslims attacked St Paul's Lutheran Church in Mardan City, Pakistan. The attackers, armed with rifles and kerosene, overwhelmed security guards and broke into the church. They destroyed Bibles and prayer books, desecrated the altar and set fire to the church building and several surrounding homes and buildings. The mob was returning from a protest against the film Innocence of Muslims. [more...]

4 Oct 2012

PAKISTAN: Setback in Case of Teen Facing Blasphemy Charges

Three witnesses whose testimony could absolve a 14-year-old Pakistani girl facing life in prison have changed their statements. According to a story by Reza Sayah and Nasir Habib, for CNN, it's the latest twist in the case of Rimsha Masih, a Christian teenager who was charged more than a month ago under Pakistan's blasphemy laws for allegedly burning pages of Islam's holy book for cooking fuel. She has denied the charges. [more...]

4 Oct 2012

TURKMENISTAN: Raids, Fines, Exit Denial, Bloodied Hands


Police and other unidentified officials who raided the home of a Baptist family in the northern city of Dashoguz dragged the father of the family, 77-year-old Begjan Shirmedov, from the house by his collar and beat the hands of his 68-year-old wife until they bled. About 15 church members were questioned and religious literature seized. [more...]

2 Oct 2012

PAKISTAN: FAITHFUL IN THE FURNACE

PAKISTAN: FAITHFUL IN THE FURNACE

Twenty-seven-year-old evangelist Sajid Masih* climbed aboard the bus that would take him to his next mission. He was heading into a region of Pakistan dominated by Islamic extremists. Since graduating Bible school, Sajid had led many Pakistanis to Christ. Most people he met were open to the Gospel, and some experienced miraculous healings. [more...]

27 Sep 2012

NIGERIA: Church Bombed in Second Attack on Believers


At least three people have been killed and more than 48 injured in a suicide bombing at a church in Bauchi Town, Nigeria. Among those confirmed as deceased are the bomber and a woman and child who died at the scene. Many others are hospitalised with life threatening injuries. The bomber, a suspected member of Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, detonated his explosives at the church gate after being refused entry. [more...]

27 Sep 2012

CHINA: Believers Rejoice Despite Hardship

Believers at Beijing's Shouwang Church in China are full of joy and praise despite 17 months of difficult outdoor worship. The believers have been meeting outdoors since the government began thwarting their efforts to rent premises to worship indoors. While recently conducting their 38th outdoor worship service of the year, 22 believers were arrested. Ten were released soon after, while the rest were detained at a local police station. The remaining believers were released in the afternoon. [more...]

27 Sep 2012

RUSSIA: Pastors Fined and Harassed

Aleksandr Kravchenko, a Russian pastor, has been fined for conducting religious worship without state approval. He is the first religious leader in Russia known to be fined under the country's new Demonstrations Law. Pastor Aleksandr insisted in court that advance notification is not legally required for religious events. [more...]

27 Sep 2012

UZBEKISTAN: Raids and Confiscations of Christian Literature Rampant


Authorities continue to raid homes, confiscate religious literature and interrupt Christian worship in Uzbekistan, punishing alleged offenders with fines of up to 50 times the minimum wage. In one case, court bailiffs confiscated basic household goods owned by Artur and Irina Alpayev to compensate for an unpaid fine they received for "illegally" keeping Christian books in their home. A refrigerator, piano, washing machine and dining table were taken from the Baptist couple who require these items to care for their five children. [more...]

20 Sep 2012

LAOS: Three Christian Leaders Arrested

Three Christians in Laos were arrested earlier this month. It appears that authorities targeted them after believers from a Korean church visited their congregations. Charges are pending against Pastor Bounlert AlaomaiVill, who leads a church of 170 believers, Pastor Adang KengsaiVill, and Onkeo KapangVill, a church leader. [more...]

20 Sep 2012

TURKMENISTAN: Escalation in Threats to Churches

The harassment of Christians has been intensifying in Turkmenistan since July, with several Christians facing fines and threats of ostracism and expulsion from villages and schools. Several believers have been accused of violating the country's law against participating in an unregistered religious community. This charge carries the punishment of a fine between five and 10 times the minimum monthly wage.
 [more...]

20 Sep 2012

INDIA: Restrictions on Religious Freedom Struck Down

The Himachal Pradesh High Court in India has struck down a law which made it compulsory for those seeking to convert from his or her religion to give a 30-day notice to the District Magistrate before conversion. The verdict in the landmark anti-conversion case challenged both the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act of 2006 and Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Rules of 2007 [more...]

20 Sep 2012

KAZAKHSTAN: Uzbek Pastor Facing Extradition Case


A Protestant pastor who was wanted in his home country of Uzbekistan for illegally teaching religion and distributing literature has been arrested by authorities in Kazakhstan, where he sought refuge in 2007.

The husband and soon-to-be father of five, Makset Djabbarbergenov, was detained after police held his sister-in-law for two weeks in an effort to uncover his whereabouts. The 32-year-old pastor faces up to three years in prison for each violation. A court in Kazakhstan has ordered that Makset be held in detention until the General Prosecutor's Office decides whether to send him back. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

20 Sep 2012

AFGHANISTAN: Christians Gain Confidence and Faith

Christians in Afghanistan are less fearful than they were a couple of years ago, and many are dedicated to witnessing and growing in their faith. "The fear that gripped the believers in 2010 is gone,"‱.wrote a VOM contact. That year, two Christian men, Said Musa and Shoaib Assadullah, were imprisoned for their faith, and a parliamentary leader called for the execution of Christians. But since then, some believers have become more open about their faith and several small groups have started meeting again. [more...]

13 Sep 2012

RUSSIA: Church Demolished

A three-storey church in Moscow, Russia, was destroyed recently with heavy equipment in a matter of hours. The Holy Trinity Pentecostal Church, located on the eastern outskirts of the city, was destroyed in the early morning hours of 6 September. [more...]

13 Sep 2012

CHINA: Prisoners of Faith Kept From Lawyers

A lawyer for a prominent house church leader and two lawyers for an imprisoned Christian attorney have been refused access to their clients in two separate incidents.In August, an attorney from Beijing applied to meet with imprisoned Christian Alimujiang Yimiti in Urumqi, Xinjiang. The lawyer was illegally and unreasonably refused access to Alim by prison officials. Alim, a convert from Islam to Christianity, has been detained since January 2008 and was convicted of "instigating separatism and revealing state secrets to foreigners." He is currently serving a 15-year sentence. [more...]

13 Sep 2012

TURKMENISTAN: Escalation in Threats to Christians

The harassment of Christians has been escalating in Turkmenistan since July with believers facing fines, threats, and expulsions. Turkmenistan has banned unregistered religious activity, in defiance of its international human rights commitments. [more...]

6 Sep 2012

UPDATE: Pakistani Christian Girl Accused of Blasphemy

Judge Muhammad Azam Khan has repeatedly delayed bail proceedings for Rimsha Masih, who was arrested last month accused of burning papers containing verses from the Koran in breach of Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Mr Khan again put back the hearing overnight until 7 September following a request from a lawyer representing Rimsha's original accuser, neighbour Hammad Malik. [more...]

6 Sep 2012

NIGERIA: Government Official Arrested Following Church Attacks

Nigerian police arrested a government official after gunmen killed 19 Christian worshippers and two soldiers in the central Nigerian town of Otite, Kogi State on 6 August. The police arrested Yahaya Karaku, Special Advisor to the governor of Kogi State, after he was suspected of involvement in an attack at Deeper Life Church. The pastor of the church was among the victims. [more...]

6 Sep 2012

LAOS: Vientiane Officials Pressure Christian Villagers

Villagers in Vientiane province are being made to pay a high price for turning to Christ. Sadly four Christian families in one village recently signed papers renouncing their faith after their baptisms reportedly angered the village chief. Officials detained for questioning a group of visiting Christians who led the baptism – although they were later released. [more...]

6 Sep 2012

KENYA: Churches Attacked, 2 Killed in Riots in Mombasa

Muslim rioters attacked five churches and killed two people on 28 August, including a Police officer in Mombasa, Kenya. The riots began after unknown gunmen killed Sheikh Aboud Rogo, a radical Muslim cleric. Mombasa Pentecostal Church, Redeemed Gospel Church, Neno Evangelistic Church, Salvation Army and the Seventh Day Adventist Church were attacked in the incident. [more...]

3 Sep 2012

Kachin Christians in Myanmar are suffering severe persecution at the hands of Myanmar's government forces

Kachin Christians in Myanmar are suffering severe persecution at the hands of Myanmar's government forces

Reliable information regarding Kachin Christians has been limited. In July I went to Myanmar to investigate and verify reports of persecution I had received from our contacts. What I found confirmed the reports and revealed an even darker picture. [more...]

30 Aug 2012

NIGERIA: Christian Family Attacked

Muslim extremists attempted to kill a pastor supported by VOM and his family earlier this month in Nigeria. At least seven gunmen entered Pastor Audu D. Gadzama's church on 10 August, intending to kill the pastor, his wife and his three children. One gunman shot Pastor Audu's 24-year-old son, Thomas, in the leg. [more...]

30 Aug 2012

INDIA: Four Years after Violent Attacks, Christians Still Suffer

About 10,000 Christians remain homeless four years after Hindu militants destroyed upwards of 5,600 homes while plundering and setting more than 400 villages ablaze in Orissa State (now called Odisha State), India. Violence broke out in 2008 in Orissa following the death of the leader of a Hindu ultranationalist group, who was killed by a Marxist group. During the attacks, tens of thousands of Christians fled their homes, dozens were killed, and hundreds were injured. [more...]

30 Aug 2012

LAOS: Imprisoned Christians Released

Four Christians who were arrested in June and held without charges have been released in Laos. The believers were arrested and their personal belongings were seized after they were caught explaining the Bible to a man in the home of a local Christian. [more...]

30 Aug 2012

AZERBAIJAN: Church’s Appeal Rejected

The Greater Grace Protestant Church in Azerbaijan has lost its bid to overturn a court decision to forcibly close the church. A panel of three judges at Baku Appeal Court upheld the decision to liquidate the church.
All unregistered exercise of religion or belief is illegal under the country's Religion Law. The church had state registration with the Justice Ministry since 1993, but the State Committee argued the church should be liquidated for failing to gain re-registration in 2009 even though it applied to do so. [more...]

23 Aug 2012

PAKISTAN: Disabled Girl Arrested for Blasphemy

Pakistani police have arrested a mentally disabled 11-year-old girl. Rimsha Masih has been taken into custody after a mob accused her of desecrating pages of the Koran. The mob demanded the Christian girl's arrest and threatened to burn down Christian homes outside the capital Islamabad. Officials said the girl could not properly answer police questions. [more...]

23 Aug 2012

SYRIA: Christians Fleeing by Thousands

Thousands of Christians have fled Syria after being accused of supporting the Assad regime or observing a "Western religion." Church groups report that some believers have even been killed. Among those killed was Atallah Ibrahim Bitar, who was shot to death while taking food to people forced into hiding by a week-long bombardment, according to Christian aid workers. [more...]

23 Aug 2012

BANGLADESH: Missing Christian Children Found in Radical Madrasas

According to International Christian Concern 80 children from Christian homes in Bangladesh were taken under false pretences by mullahs (Islamic clerics) to various madrasas (Islamic boarding schools). Attempts were made to forcibly convert them to Islam. Eleven of the children have been rescued, while the whereabouts of the additional 69 remain unknown. [more...]

23 Aug 2012

SRI LANKA: Pastor and His Wife Assaulted by Mob

A pastor and his wife were attacked in Deniyaya, Sri Lanka, whilst they were returning home after visiting a church member. A large mob of around 40 men, accompanied by 5 Buddhist monks and the assistant secretary of the local government authority, had approached the pastor and his wife shouting, "attack them," "kill them". The pastor was then assaulted and dragged along the road as the attackers accused him of spreading Christianity in the area. [more...]

16 Aug 2012

TANZANIA: Christian Teen Sentenced to Two Years in Prison


A teenager in Tanzania was sentenced to two years in prison recently after being accused of desecrating the Koran. Eva Abdullah, 17, converted from Islam to Christianity three years ago. Her parents disowned her after her conversion and a group of radicals in her hometown of Bagamoyo tried to persuade her to renounce her Christian faith. When she refused, they falsely accused her of desecrating a Koran. Many Christian leaders were afraid to defend Eva because of Muslim dominance in the district. On 26 July, Eva was sentenced to two years in prison by a judge who was allegedly bribed by the Islamic militants. Source: VOM Contacts [more...]

16 Aug 2012

NIGERIA: Muslim Group Demands Christian President Convert or Resign

In an online video released last week, the militant Muslim group Boko Haram demanded that Nigeria's Christian president either convert to Islam, or resign. Boko Haram head Abubakar Shekau told President Goodluck Jonathan to "repent and forsake Christianity," otherwise Shekau's followers would continue their violent campaign, but presidential spokesman Reuben Abati dismissed the demand. [more...]

16 Aug 2012

INDIA: Christians Tormented with Music, then Attacked

For months, a group of Hindu extremists in southern India had been blasting high-volume movie music at the prayer meetings of a local Christian ministry. In early July, the harassment crossed the line to assault when the Hindus burst into the prayer meeting of EndTime Ministries, knocked three worshippers unconscious and ripped the clothes off a widow, ministry officials say. The assault occurred in the village of Romagonadanahalli in central Karnataka, a fast-growing, comparatively wealthy state in southwest India.
 [more...]

9 Aug 2012

UPDATE: Released Iranian Prisoner Thankful for Prayers

Mehdi "Petros" Foroutan spent approximately a year in prison in Iran for sharing his faith with Muslims. Thankfully, he was released on 10 June. Since his release, VOM has been helping Petros resettle.
Petros recently shared with VOM that he is very thankful for all who were praying for him while he was imprisoned. Source: VOM contacts [more...]

9 Aug 2012

NORTH KOREA: Gospel Balloons Released

A VOM partner, along with four North Korean defectors now living in South Korea, released 10 Gospel balloons into the "Hermit Kingdom" on 5 July. The North Korean believers hope the balloons and their cargo will reach their hometowns in North Korea and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ there. [more...]

9 Aug 2012

VIETNAM: Pastor’s Sentence Upheld

An appeals court has upheld the 11-year sentence given to Nguyen Cong Chinh, 43, a Vietnamese believer who pastors a Mennonite church banned by the government. In March, the pastor was found guilty of giving interviews to foreign media and for posting articles online that "distorted the country's religious and human rights situations." [more...]

9 Aug 2012

EGYPT: Christian Vulnerability Grows as Security Declines

On 1 August a massive Islamic pogrom occurred on the outskirts of Cairo. A Muslim took offence when a Coptic launderer accidentally singed his shirt. Rejecting the Copt's offer of compensation, the Muslim returned with a large mob and attacked his business. [more...]

2 Aug 2012

INDONESIA: Church Building Set Ablaze

A church building was doused with petrol and set on fire early in the morning of 18 July in the province of Aceh in Indonesia. Thankfully the entire building was not lost as congregants arrived to help extinguish the flames, although pews and several musical instruments were consumed by the fire. Since May, at least 20 house churches or prayer chapels have been closed by government officials in the province and violence is becoming a growing concern. Source: Asia News [more...]

2 Aug 2012

IRAN: Children of Imprisoned Believers Suffering

Two children in Iran are suffering severe hardship as they are forced to fend for themselves and work to support their parents who have been imprisoned for their faith. Helma, 12, and Nima, 17, must earn money to survive and send half their income to help support their parents in prison. [more...]

2 Aug 2012

TANZANIA: Church Undeterred by Attacks

Believers in a church twice attacked by a violent mob continue to worship and share the Gospel despite the danger. Members of an Assemblies of God church on Zanzibar Island are continuing to meet for worship and outreach even though in May, a mob of 300 broke into the church and set musical instruments, chairs and the pulpit on fire. Just months before that, Muslims extremists threw a large homemade bomb into the church as 500 believers celebrated the New Year. The bomb did not detonate, but police said it could have killed everyone inside had it exploded. Source: VOM contacts [more...]

1 Aug 2012

SOMALIA: WHERE CHRISTIANS ARE HUNTED

SOMALIA: WHERE CHRISTIANS ARE HUNTED

Somalia is second only to North Korea as the world's worst persecutor of Christians. Somalis who are discovered to be Christians face almost certain death, not only in their own country, but also in neighbouring countries where many Somalis flee as refugees. [more...]

26 Jul 2012

IRAN: Believers Released From Prison

Two Christians in Iran who endured many months in prison, including significant amounts of time spent in solitary confinement, have been released. Noorollah Qabitizse, 48, a house church leader arrested on Christmas Eve 2010, was released after being imprisoned almost 19 months. He had been arrested along with 10 other Christian converts who had gathered to celebrate when the house church was raided. Noorollah was interrogated numerous times and suffered mental abuse as authorities tried to force him to denounce his faith. [more...]

26 Jul 2012

INDIA: Trio of Anti-Christian Attacks

Christians were attacked in three different states in India on 15 July. In the village of Sainagara in Karnataka, Pastor Nathaniel Shubas of Immanuel Pentecostal Prayer Hall was beaten by more than 20 Hindu activists. The attackers beat him and insulted him, dragging him for more than one kilometre to the Vidyanagara police station where they accused him forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity. [more...]

26 Jul 2012

AZERBAIJAN: More Restrictions on Religious Materials

Azerbaijan's parliament has passed an amendment that says religious materials must have a state-issued verification mark before they can be sold. Those selling religious materials -- literature in electronic or hard copy form as well as audio and video products -- without the verification mark may face fines and confiscation of the materials. [more...]

19 Jul 2012

CHINA: Children’s Summer Camps Targeted

Two house churches in Jiangxi province jointly held a church summer camp for elementary school students between 2 and 7 June. On 6 June, officers and officials from the police station, the public security bureau, the religious affairs bureau, and some primary and secondary school principals converged on the classroom, recording the names of everyone present and confiscating a computer and projector. [more...]

19 Jul 2012

UZBEKISTAN: Christians Charged


A Baptist believer in Uzbekistan, who was charged with illegally teaching religion, faces up to three years in prison. Yelena Kim's home church was raided by about a dozen police and government officials in April during a Sunday service. Officers drew up a record of an offence against Yelena even though she was not present when the raid occurred. [more...]

19 Jul 2012

SUDAN: President Plans Islamic Constitution

Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has proclaimed the country's next constitution will be "100% Islamic" to set an example for neighbouring countries. The President's formal statement on 7 July comes amid significant shifts in North African countries where Islamist parties are gaining influence and positions of power. [more...]

12 Jul 2012

KENYA: Church Attacks Kill Seventeen

At least 17 Christians were killed in simultaneous attacks on two churches near the Somali border on Sunday 1 July. A group of masked assailants launched grenades and opened fire with assault rifles on a Roman Catholic Church and an African Inland Church located about two miles apart in Garissa, Kenya. In addition to the 17 killed, more than 40 people were wounded in the attacks. The deadliest attack was on the African Inland Church, where two policemen guarding the church were shot and killed. The attackers then threw two grenades into the building, causing serious injuries to worshipers. [more...]

12 Jul 2012

LAOS: Three Lao, Two Thai Christians Arrested

Lao officials arrested two Lao and two Thai Christians in Luang Namtha Province earlier this month, seizing them from a private residence in Long district, according to Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). Officials also arrested a pastor in Luang Namtha and dismissed two civil servants in Savannakhet for converting to Christianity, HRWLRF reported. An HRWLRF source told Compass today that officials have charged the two Lao and two Thai Christians arrested on 16 June in Luang Namtha with "spreading the Christian faith without official approval." "That is ironic, since Lao officials are highly unlikely to approve of anyone spreading the Christian faith," said another source who requested anonymity. [more...]

12 Jul 2012

NIGERIA: Muslim Attackers Kill 22 Christians, Attack Nine Villages in Nigeria

Muslim attackers killed 22 Christians and attacked nine villages around the city of Jos, Nigeria on Saturday 7 July. The Muslims, who are of the Fulani ethnic group, attacked the Christian villages of Kakuruk, Kuzen, Ngyo, Kogoduk, Ruk, Dogo, Kufang, Kpapkpiduk and Kai. [more...]

12 Jul 2012

IRAN: Pastor's Sentence Upheld

Iran's Revolutionary Court recently upheld Pastor Farshid Fathi's six-year sentence for "political offences," forcing him to complete a prison term that began more than 18 months ago. Farshid was arrested in December 2010 for his Christian work, but authorities continue to cast his activities as political offences. He has become much beloved among inmates in Tehran's Evin prison, according to Elam Ministries. [more...]

5 Jul 2012

KENYA: Churches Bombed

On Sunday morning 1 July, seven militants launched simultaneous attacks on two churches in Garissa in Kenya's east. The congregations were at prayer when militants threw grenades and started shooting. Seventeen people died and some 60 were wounded in the main attack at the Africa Inland Church, while three believers were wounded at the nearby Catholic Church. [more...]

5 Jul 2012

AZERBAIJAN: Not Arrested, Merely Detained

Police in Azerbaijan have threatened six Baptists with criminal prosecution for sharing their beliefs with others. The passports of three have been confiscated, as has Christian literature and a car. Deputy police Chief Misir Imamaliyev, who interrogated one group held at a police station, claimed that they were not arrested but merely detained. "Distribution of any religious books without state permission is illegal," he stated. Elsewhere, Baku's Greater Grace Protestant Church is awaiting its appeal against a court ruling that it be liquidated. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

5 Jul 2012

VIETNAM: Officials Destroy Two New Church Buildings

Vietnamese officials in Muong Cha district, Dien Bien Province, destroyed two new church buildings of ethnic minority Hmong Christians and threatened to tear down a third. The Ho He Church, erected in April by the unregistered Vietnam Good News Mission, was demolished on 17 June. The Phan Ho Church of the registered Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) was destroyed on 13 June 2012. The church building threatened with demolition, The Cong Church, also belongs to the Vietnam Good News Mission. [more...]

5 Jul 2012

IRAQ: No Future for Iraqi Christians in Jordan

As the persecution of Christians in Iraq grows, many have found safe haven in the country of Jordan, but problems do not stop there. Jordan officials never signed the UN 1951 Refugee Convention agreement, which legally obligates the state to take care of refugees. Therefore, Jordan considers displaced Christians as "guests" which makes it illegal for refugees to obtain employment. Many of the Christian refugees were upper-middle class in Iraq, and only brought what they could with them. After years of living off their savings, many have nothing left and nowhere to go. Since the government is not providing any assistance many are starving. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

2 Jul 2012

THEIR GOD IS DEAD

THEIR GOD IS DEAD

On 17 December 2011, Kim Jong Il, North Korea's 'Dear Leader' and son of self-proclaimed god Kim Il Sung, passed on to eternity. That same day, a handful of North Korean defectors graduated from Underground University, a VOM sponsored Bible college where North Korean Christians learn how to reach their countrymen with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. North Korea has long been one of the darkest and most isolated nations on earth, especially for believers. [more...]

2 Jul 2012

July 2012

July 2012

North Korea [more...]

28 Jun 2012

CHINA: House Church Baptism Disrupted By Raid

Seventeen believers were detained during a baptism service when officials and police raided a Han Chinese house church in the far west region of Xinjiang. The raid on the Bajiahu house church in Jinghe county occurred early in June during a gathering of more than 20 Christians. The church has also been ordered to stop holding meetings. [more...]

28 Jun 2012

INDIA: Attacks on Christians in Odisha

After believers rescued a pastor in Odisha (formally called Orissa) state, India, who was brutally beaten on his way home from a prayer service, about 50 Hindu militants terrorised the 12 Christian families, beating them, looting their homes and attempting to rape some of the girls. Some of the attacked Christians remain unaccounted for and it is believed they have fled into the jungle. [more...]

28 Jun 2012

SYRIA: War Brings Additional for Trials Believers

Christians in Syria who share their faith have always faced danger, but the escalating civil war is making evangelistic efforts even more dangerous. Several evangelists who work with VOM have lost family members. "In some cases, people were killed because of their Christian identity," said VOM's program officer for the region. "We are checking into how we can be of assistance to those who have been injured for their faith, including one whose face was mutilated as a warning to other Christians." [more...]

28 Jun 2012

KUWAIT: Leader Rejects Death Sentence

Kuwait's ruler has refused to pass a bill previously voted through by parliament that would allow Muslims who insult Islam to be put to death and would harshly penalise Christians and other non-Muslims. [more...]

21 Jun 2012

NIGERIA: Dozens of Christians Slain in Bombing

The Boko Haram Islamic sect has claimed responsibility for the bombing of three churches in Kaduna state, Nigeria, on June 17 - the third consecutive Sunday that Christian worship services in the country have ended in bloodshed. [more...]

21 Jun 2012

ETHIOPIA: Christian Man Released from Prison, Loses Family

After being wrongfully imprisoned in southern Ethiopia for two years, Tamirat Woldegorgis returned home to find his two children, ages six and 15, missing. Tamirat was falsely accused of desecrating the Koran in 2010 and spent two years confined to a small cell with 50 other inmates. The harsh conditions left the Christian widower with one leg paralysed. Tamirat was arrested after a Muslim co-worker accused him of writing "Jesus is Lord" in a copy of the Koran and on some cloth, although no evidence was ever found. [more...]

21 Jun 2012

Kazakhstan: Pastor Acquitted after Praying for the Sick

Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov, who was found guilty of "causing severe damage to health due to negligence" after he prayed for an ill church visitor, has been exonerated by Kazakhstan's Supreme Court. [more...]

21 Jun 2012

TANZANIA: Three church buildings destroyed in Zanzibar

A Muslim mob demolished three churches in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in May, bringing the total number of churches destroyed in the past 10 years up to 25. Tanzanian Christian leaders say Muslim government officials are perpetuating the persecution by refusing to bring attackers to justice and failing to help the victims rebuild. [more...]

14 Jun 2012

LAOS: Police Arrest Pastor for Spreading Faith

A 53-year-old Lao pastor remains behind bars after Lao police arrested him on Wednesday 6 June for encouraging others to convert to Christianity, a spokesman from the group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) confirmed. The arrest of Asa, identified by only a single name, took place at around 4pm at his home in Peeyeur village, Luang Namtha Province, according to HRWLRF. [more...]

14 Jun 2012

IRAN: Petros Fourotan Released

Present Truth Ministries have received news from Iran that on Sunday 10 June, Petros Fourotan was released from prison. In total he served about one year in prison for crimes against national security because of his Christian faith. Youcef Nadarkhani remains in Lakan Prison in Rasht, Iran. He is still awaiting an official response from the local court regarding his trial in September 2011. As he waits, he remains strong in faith and positive in his attitude. Behnam Irani is still in Ghezal Hezar prison. His faith remains strong but he is in very poor health and the prison officials are still not allowing him to visit a doctor. Source: Present Truth Ministries [more...]

14 Jun 2012

EGYPT: Islamists Blame Christians

Over 23-24 May, Egyptians voted to elect a president from amongst 13 candidates. There was a low turnout of only 46%. The two front-runners will go head-to-head in a run-off over 16-17 June. They are the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi who polled 25.3%, and Ahmed Shafiq who polled 24.9%. Shafiq, a former air force commander, was former president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister. [more...]

14 Jun 2012

NIGERIA: Islamists Vow to Continue Killing Christians after Launching Deadly Attacks

Members of Nigeria's radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, carried out separate attacks on two churches during worship services on Sunday 10 June in northern Nigeria, killing at least one Christian and wounding over 40. Following the attacks, the Islamists vowed to continue their killing campaign until they succeed in establishing an Islamic state in Nigeria. [more...]

7 Jun 2012

NIGERIA: Blast Wreaks Bloodshed on Two Churches in Bauchi

A suicide bomber crashed the gate of a church compound in this northern Nigerian city on 3 June, killing himself and at least 10 others and leaving more than 30 injured, according to eyewitnesses and officials. The Islamic extremist Boko Haram group was suspected of detonating the bomb at the gate of Living Faith Church as members were leaving an early morning worship service; the explosion also brought down a wall of the adjacent Harvest Field Church, an eyewitness told Compass. [more...]

7 Jun 2012

KAZAKHSTAN: Church Closures Continue

Kazakhstan continues to use land use regulations as a means to prevent religious communities and their members exercising freedom of religion or belief. In one of several recent examples, in Taldykorgan the authorities have with this tactic forced a Methodist church to "voluntarily" close and fined the wife of the church's pastor. Pastor Valery Kim told Forum 18 that the church paid for an announcement in newspapers that it was liquidating itself. [more...]

7 Jun 2012

EGYPT: Twelve Christians Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

On 18 April 2011, a Muslim minibus driver complained that a speed bump in front of Coptic lawyer Alaa Reda Roushdi's home was damaging cars (specifically minibuses). What started out as a small complaint turned into an all-out war—a war where many homes, lives, and livelihoods were destroyed. The "speed bump fight" resulted in the death of two Muslims, injury to four Coptic Christians, and the torching of 56 Coptic homes. [more...]

7 Jun 2012

PAKISTAN: Pregnant Woman Miscarries After Beating by 'Rapists'


A Punjabi Christian woman miscarried twins after she was beaten by men trying to silence her for accusing them of raping her niece. The group of men raided the woman's home in a village in Narowal district and attacked her and her family just a few weeks after they allegedly gang-raped her 13-year-old niece. The men are alleged to have issued repeated threats to the teenager's family – in an attempt to silence them. They had also reportedly seized a piece of land belonging to the family to try to deter them from pressing charges. [more...]

31 May 2012

Executive Director Report: A Season of Change?

Executive Director Report: A Season of Change?

Last year I went to Myanmar to inspect the fruit of VOM Australia's ministry to persecuted Christians. I met with our contacts to discuss potential future projects and interviewed believers for this newsletter. While I was there I also had the opportunity to assess what impact the recent political changes are having, especially on Burmese Christians. A question I found myself asking was, 'Is Myanmar poised to embrace dramatic changes with their newly elected government or is this just another subtle camouflage for oppression to continue?' [more...]

31 May 2012

PAKISTAN: Blasphemy Conviction Overturned

A court has acquitted a Christian couple in Pakistan sentenced to life in prison for blasphemy. The couple's lawyer said the judge accepted the couple's appeal because prosecutors failed to prove allegations that 32-year-old Munir Masih and his wife Ruqqiya defiled the Koran or insulted Muhammad in December 2008. [more...]

31 May 2012

AZERBAIJAN: Church Swarmed and Raided by Police

Police in Azerbaijan have denied the recent raiding of a church, even though at least 20 police officers, including the police chief and the local head of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations, participated.
During the raid, police first searched for foreigners. After finding none present, they began questioning about 50 children to make sure they had permission from both parents to be there. At least one congregation member has been fined without being tried by a court. [more...]

31 May 2012

INDONESIA: Islamist Mob Hurls Urine, Rotten Food at Christians

About 600 Muslims threw bags of urine and filthy water at 100 members of a church in Indonesia and threatened to kill the pastor. No arrests have been made. The mob, which included the chairman of the Bekasi chapter of the extremist Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), attacked the Philadelphia Batak Christian Protestant Church members while police looked on. The Christians were peacefully worshipping on the street of a community in Bekasi, near Jakarta, on 17 May when they were accosted. [more...]

31 May 2012

LAOS: Mother expels Christian Children from Home

An 18-year-old son and 20-year-old daughter have been expelled from their home because of their Christian faith. When their mother became extremely ill, village elders claimed that the spirits were displeased because the two Christian children were living in the house. An older son tried to persuade his brother and sister to recant their faith, but they refused. Their mother then accused them of hating their older brother and wishing him dead. She threw their belongings out of the house and told them to leave. The two siblings immediately moved to a Christian village where they originally heard the gospel, where they were welcomed with open arms. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

31 May 2012

June 2012

June 2012

Myanmar [more...]

25 May 2012

INDONESIA: Churches Sealed Shut

Seventeen churches have been forcibly closed in Indonesia's Aceh province following last month's election of a hard-line Islamic governor. [more...]

25 May 2012

SUDAN: Officials Close Christian Offices in South Darfur

Authorities in South Darfur shut down offices of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) and Sudan Aid, ordering staff off the property and arresting three employees of Sudan Aid. [more...]

25 May 2012

PAKISTAN: Families Trust in Christ

An evangelist in Pakistan supported by VOM has asked for prayer for several people who have recently been receiving the gospel message. [more...]

25 May 2012

EGYPT: Judge Upholds Christian's Prison Sentence

A judge in Upper Egypt has upheld a six-year sentence of a Christian man convicted of blasphemy against Islam. [more...]

17 May 2012

KUWAIT: Parliament Approves Death Penalty for Blasphemy

A new law may soon allow Kuwait courts to sentence those convicted of blasphemy to death. Muslims who insult Allah, the Koran, Muslim prophets or Mohammad's wives may receive the death sentence if the bill, which was approved by 40 members of Parliament while only six opposed it, is approved by Kuwait's leader, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Christians and other non-Muslim minorities will be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years for the same offense under the new law. Right now, blasphemy carries a sentence of one year and is defined as slander by Kuwait's penal code. [more...]

17 May 2012

UZBEKISTAN: Christians Harassed

Police in Uzbekistan raided a home where Christians were meeting in the search for an alleged bomb, which was never found. Christian books and a laptop were confiscated, however, and 14 members of the church gathering in the home were fined for holding an "unsanctioned meeting in a private home." Natalya Kim, who was hosting the meeting, received a fine equivalent to 60 times the minimum monthly salary in Uzbekistan. [more...]

17 May 2012

INDIA: Hindu Extremists Attack Christians

Hindu villagers trying to prevent the burial of a convert to Christianity beat a pastor and other Christians, including children and two 60-year-old women who fell unconscious. The violent attack occurred in Chhattisgarh state. [more...]

10 May 2012

IRAN: Lawyer of Pastor on Death Row Faces Prison

The main defense lawyer for Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is appealing a death sentence, may be facing imminent imprisonment for defending the rights of Iranians, according to Amnesty International. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a prominent human rights activist, had been sentenced in July to a nine-year prison sentence and a 10-year ban on legal practice and teaching, and he learned on 28 April that an appeals court had upheld the sentence. [more...]

10 May 2012

CHINA: Government Plans to Eradicate House Churches

China's government is engaged in a three-phase campaign to eradicate Protestant house churches, according to a statement released Friday 20 April by the China Aid Association (CAA). The government's strategy was clearly outlined in a document released last September during a training class for "Patriots in the Christian Community" run by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, according to an unnamed CAA source. [more...]

10 May 2012

VIETNAM: New Believers Expelled from Villages

According to VOM contacts, several Hmong families have been forced to leave their villages in northern Vietnam after coming to faith in Jesus. There are no Christians living in these villages because converts to Christianity are immediately expelled. In one northern province, 13 individuals from three families converted to Christianity after experiencing miracles through the prayers of a Hmong Christian. Family members who had suffered from physical and mental illnesses were healed of their infirmities after the Christian prayed for them. But after converting to Christianity, the families were no longer welcome in their village. In another northern province, a village leader forced a Christian family of eight to leave their home. The family now has no land to farm, and they are struggling to make a living. This family of new believers also came to Christ through the witness of a Hmong Christian. Source: VOM USA [more...]

10 May 2012

SUDAN: South Sudanese Christians Trapped in Hostile North

As tensions between Sudan and South Sudan turn into military combat on the border, predominantly Christian citizens of southern origin trapped in Sudan fear the Islamic government and Muslims in general will turn on them, sources told Compass. Officially foreigners, though many of the half million southern Sudanese in Sudan have never lived anywhere else, the ethnic southerners have been granted another 30 days as of 8 April to register or leave the country. But the government has forbidden hundreds of ethnic southerners from boarding planes for Juba, saying they require documents from the southern capital in order to leave. South Sudanese Christians were surprised to learn that all flights and land routes to South Sudan were closed to them on 9 April, with no information forthcoming on when they would be allowed to leave, sources said. [more...]

3 May 2012

KENYA: Grenade Attack on Church in Kenya Kills One

A grenade explosion on Sunday killed a 27-year-old university student at a church in Nairobi and injured 16 people, sources said. Kelvin Walumba was killed after a man pretending to be a worshipper at God's House of Miracles International Church in the Ngara area of Nairobi threw three grenades as the service was concluding; only one of the grenades exploded. A security guard said the assailant, who after running out into the street fired three pistol shots into the air, appeared to be of Somali origin. [more...]

3 May 2012

INDIA: Christians Arrested

Mafford Maharaj Singh (62) and his wife Kusum (60), a Christian couple from New Delhi, have been arrested in northern Kashmir and charged with 'promoting enmity' - a criminal charge under Article 153A of the Ranbir Penal Code. According to authorities the couple, along with a local girl, were distributing leaflets about Christianity. However, the couple's family in New Delhi maintains that their parents travelled to Srinagar on 16 April to attend a wedding and were merely shopping in the Bandipora market when Mr Singh got into a conversation with a vendor. [more...]

3 May 2012

IRAN: One Believer Released, Others Remain in Prison


Fariborz Azram, a believer from a Muslim background, was released on 11 April after six months in detention on account of his faith. He was arrested during a raid on his home on 17 October 2011. For most of his time in prison he was denied visitors and little information about his condition was disclosed to his wife and two children. It remains unclear whether he was released unconditionally or whether bail was paid pending formal charges and a court hearing. [more...]

3 May 2012

NIGERIA: Deadly attack on Christians at Bayero University in Kano

Attackers armed with bombs and guns opened fire at church services on Sunday 29 April at a Nigerian university, killing about 20 people as worshippers tried to flee, witnesses and officials said. "Explosions and gunfire rocked Bayero University in the northern city of Kano, with witnesses reporting that two church services were targeted as they were being held on campus," said a report from the AFP news agency. A witness told the AFP news agency the attackers had first thrown in explosives and fired shots, "causing a stampede among worshippers," adding that "they now pursued them, shooting them with guns. They also attacked another service at the sporting complex." [more...]

2 May 2012

INDONESIA: LICENSE TO PREACH

INDONESIA: LICENSE TO PREACH

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Although the Indonesian constitution guarantees religious freedom, Islamist extremists have gained influence in the government. In the last two years, at least 59 churches have been attacked, burned or vandalised. The Ministry of Religious Affairs is now considering a bill that would further limit the ability of Christians to practise their faith. If enacted, the 'Religious Tolerance' law would regulate proselytism, religious holidays, funerals, religious education and the construction of places of worship.
 [more...]

2 May 2012

May 2012

May 2012

Indonesia [more...]

26 Apr 2012

PAKISTAN: Christian Cleared of Blasphemy

A Pakistani Christian man, who rescued his eight-year-old nephew from an attack by a group of Muslim boys, has been acquitted of blasphemy charges. The 27-year-old father of two, Dildar Masih, was cleared of all charges on 26 March due to a lack of evidence. [more...]

26 Apr 2012

TURKEY: Pastor Attacked over Easter Weekend

Semir Serkek, a 58-year-old pastor in Instanbul, Turkey, says although he has experienced hostility from Muslims nearly all his life, it was the first time he had been physically attacked.
Semir was alone at Grace Church preparing for the next day's Easter celebration when he heard frantic pounding at the door. Four young men in their late teens claimed they had questions and demanded to enter. They then threatened to kill him if he didn't recite the Islamic testimony of faith, and after a period of verbally harassing the pastor, one of the men kicked Semir in the chest, knocking the pastor down a set of stairs. [more...]

26 Apr 2012

LAOS: Update Orphans Remain Faithful

A group of 11 orphans in Laos who were threatened with expulsion from school for attending church have shown remarkable faith. The children have continued to attend church, slipping away one at a time to avoid being detained by school officials on their way to worship. [more...]

23 Apr 2012

Tom White: (1947-2012)

Tom White: (1947-2012)

20 April 2012
Voice of the Martyrs statement concerning the death of Tom White:

The events of the last week are tragic. On Wednesday we learned that Tom White, VOM USA's executive director, had died.

Allegations were made to authorities this week that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl. Rather than face those allegations, and all of the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry and himself, Tom appears to have chosen to take his own life.

None of those in leadership at VOM USA, or at VOM Australia where Tom served as a board member, including our Board of Directors, were aware of these allegations at the time of Tom's death. [more...]

19 Apr 2012

ALGERIA: Believer Appeals Prison Sentence

An Algerian Christian sentenced to five years in prison for "shaking the faith" of Muslims after sharing his faith is awaiting a decision on his appeal. The believer, "Kadar," who regularly shares his faith with Muslims in the city of Oran, was discussing his belief in Christ with a man at an outdoor food court last May when the man became angry and accused Kadar of insulting Muhammad. [more...]

19 Apr 2012

KUWAIT: Leaders Try to Halt Church Construction, Strengthen Blasphemy Laws

A Kuwaiti Member of Parliament is drafting a law banning the construction of churches and other non-Islamic places of worship. The MP, Osama Al-Munawer, at first said he planned to submit a draft law requiring the removal of all churches in the country, but later said existing churches could remain and that only new construction would be banned. A fellow MP who supports the law said, "Kuwait already has an excessive number of churches compared to the country's Christian minority." About 13 per cent of the population is Christian, although most are expatriates. [more...]

19 Apr 2012

AZERBAIJAN: Church Building May Soon Be Closed

A court will determine if Greater Grace Protestant Church should be liquidated in a decision likely to be made on 19 April in Azerbaijan's capital Baku. If the court upholds the liquidation suit filed by the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations, all the church's communal activity will become illegal. The church had state registration for 19 years. [more...]

19 Apr 2012

INDIA: First Murder Conviction Issued After 2008 Massacre in Orissa

Kartik Paramenika has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Ramesh Digal in Orissa, India. The conviction, which was handed down in March, is the first conviction for any of the murders that occurred during widespread mob violence against Christians in Kandhamal, Orissa in August and September of 2008. [more...]

12 Apr 2012

NIGERIA: Suicide Bomber Targets Churches in Kaduna

Churches celebrating Easter services were the targets of a suicide bomber who killed at least 38 people on Easter Sunday in Kaduna city in northern Nigeria. Security personnel at one of the church buildings blocked the bomber, believed to belong to the Boko Haram Islamic sect, who then decided to detonate his explosives in the street at a nearby motorcycle taxi centre, the sources said. Dozens of people were injured in addition to those killed. The bombs damaged the buildings of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Good News church and the All Nations Christian Assembly, besides blasting off roofs from homes and hotels and destroying vehicles. Located on the same street, Gwari Road, are the Redeemed Christian Church of God and an Assemblies of God church. [more...]

12 Apr 2012

EGYPT: Christian Boy Given Jail Term for Insulting Islam

On 4 April, Gamal Abdou Massoud, 17, was convicted in an Egyptian court for posting cartoons on Facebook deemed offensive to Muslims and distributing them to friends at school in the Upper Egypt province of Assiut. The cartoons, published in December, led to violent Muslim protests in neighbouring villages that lasted for two days. Several Christian houses were burned and several Christians were injured during the protests. [more...]

12 Apr 2012

MALI: Christian Leader Beheaded as Islamists Terrorise Mali

A Christian leader has been beheaded and others are being threatened with similar treatment as Islamic militants run amok in Mali, West Africa. Christians have fled the town of Timbuktu in the north of the country where harsh sharia law has already been imposed amid reports that churches in Gao, 200 miles to the east, have been completely destroyed. [more...]

12 Apr 2012

SYRIA: Syrian Violence Drives 50,000 Christians from Homes

During the past six weeks 50,000 or more Christians have left their homes, fleeing from persecution and violence in Syria. Homes have been attacked by 'fanatics' who are linked to al-Qaeda. Islamists have gone to houses, forcing Christians to leave. Fears have grown that Islamists are gaining influence and power in this region. The increased violence and persecution has caused many to flee and escape to villages in the mountains. [more...]

5 Apr 2012

KENYA: Islamic Radicals Bomb Open-Air Christian Meeting

On 31 March, suspected Islamists threw a grenade and killed two Christians and wounded more than 30 in the Kenyan city, Mtwapa. The Christians were holding an outdoor worship service at the time of the attack. A simultaneous bomb attack was also carried out on a bar in the nearby city of Mombasa. [more...]

5 Apr 2012

VIETNAM: Pastor Sentenced to Eleven Years’ Imprisonment

A pastor of a banned Mennonite church was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment for undermining national unity. State media reported that on 27 March Nguyen Cong Chinh was found guilty of writing and spreading material that slandered government authorities and "distorted Vietnam's domestic situation." [more...]

5 Apr 2012

AFGHANISTAN: Some Parliament Members Embrace Christianity

Afghanistan, a country long suffering from civil wars, has not experienced peace for many years. Ongoing bombings by fundamentalist Muslims have stolen peace from the lives of Afghanis. However, according to a story by Mohabat Christian News Agency, the country has recently seen signs of change. [more...]

5 Apr 2012

LAOS: Officials Arrest Five Christians in Southern Village

Officials in a village in southern Laos on Sunday (25 March) arrested and detained five Christians during worship and charged them with leading a religious movement without official approval, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). The five Christians from Palansai district were attending a worship service in nearby Boukham village in Ad-Sapangthong district. HRWLRF identified the five by their single names, as is customary in Laos: Phosee (male), Viengsai (male) and Alee (female) from Phosai village; Poon (female) from Pone village and Narm (also female) from Natoo village. Previously they had attended many services in Boukham, Savannakhet Province, without interference from authorities. [more...]

4 Apr 2012

NIGERIA: Religious Civil War?

Yet another Islamist attack on a church and a violent reaction Christian youth provide more evidence that Nigeria is closer than ever to sliding into a religious civil war. Thus far, authorities have been unable to stem the tide of violence, and in some cases, officials themselves are biased by their religious persuasions. Nigerian Christians are split between wanting to fight back and trying to follow Jesus' teaching to turn the other cheek. [more...]

2 Apr 2012

CAVE CONFERENCE

CAVE CONFERENCE

Deep inside a cave in the mountains of Vietnam, the Hmong believers huddled together after spending the day learning God's Word from a visiting evangelist. Hidden from the gaze of the authorities, they felt safe and secure. If the evangelist taught in the village, the police would come and he would be arrested. The village where these believers live is vehemently opposed to the Gospel. [more...]

2 Apr 2012

April 2012

April 2012

Vietnam [more...]

29 Mar 2012

MOROCCO: Three Secret Believers Arrested

Three Christian men were arrested in a city cafĂ© on 1 March in Morocco. During the arrest, police apparently gained information about other secret believers in the country. The arrest involved two young men who were meeting with an older believer from another city. While the two young men were released later that night, the older believer remains in custody. The families of the two young men did not know their sons were following Christ, and one of the young men was no longer welcome in his home once his beliefs were discovered. [more...]

29 Mar 2012

CHINA: House Church Raided, Believers Detained

More than 70 Christians were taken into custody when a house church, which had been meeting for more than two decades, was raided in western China. The church, located in the region of Xinjiang, was stormed by police on 18 March. About a dozen policemen and Domestic Security Protection agents burst into Pastor He Enjun's home, and authorities on the scene declared it was an "unapproved, illegal meeting" and ordered an immediate end to the meeting. [more...]

29 Mar 2012

IRAN: Update on Arrested Believers

There are calls for praise and for prayer in Iran as some formerly imprisoned believers are released while yet others remain jailed for their faith. Davoud Alijani was arrested in Ahvaz last December and was released on 8 March. Sharifeh Dookh, Masoud Golrooyan and Nima Shokouhi arrested in Shiraz last February were released after 36 days in custody. And Giti Hakimpour, a 78-year old detained for three days in February, received all the property back that was confiscated when she was arrested including her passport, pension book, computer, mobile phone and Bibles and other religious materials. [more...]

29 Mar 2012

INDIA: Hostility for Believers Increasing

Three vicious attacks against Christians in India reflect a growing anti-Christian sentiment. A pastor and his children were attacked last month in Kerala state. Pastor Titus Ignatius Kapan and his family were eating dinner in the home of a Hindu convert when Hindu extremists stormed in abusing the pastor and his children and then dropping large boulders on the pastor's car. [more...]

21 Mar 2012

ERITREA: Church Leader in Urgent Need of Medical Care

An imprisoned church leader in Eritrea is in desperate need of medical attention as he is diabetic and his health is rapidly deteriorating without treatment. Patriarch Antonios, head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, was detained for asking the Eritrean government to release members of his church who have been held in prison for their faith and for asking the government to stop interfering with the church."It is a miracle that he remains alive without medical care", said an Eritrean Orthodox priest in the United States. [more...]

21 Mar 2012

NIGERIA: Suicide Bombers Attack another Church

A suicide bomber has killed eight people, including two boys and an expectant mother, after detonating an explosive device just outside a church in Nigeria. The car bomb that was detonated outside the gate of St. Finbarr's Catholic Church on 11 March could be heard up to two kilometres away, shattering the glass in buildings within a 200-metre radius. [more...]

21 Mar 2012

PAKISTAN: Woman Charged With Blasphemy for Refusing Islam

A young mother who angered relatives when she refused to deny her Christian faith has been falsely accused of "blaspheming" Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Shamim Bibi, the 26-year-old mother of a five-month-old baby girl, was arrested by police in Khichiwala, Bahawalnagar district, in Punjab Province on 28 February after neighbours accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad – an offence punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws [more...]

21 Mar 2012

SUDAN: Deadline Looms for South Sudanese Christians To Evacuate

Sudanese Christians have just a couple of weeks to leave the north or risk mistreatment by the Islamic-majority Sudanese government. Former citizens, known by the Sudanese government as "southerners," were stripped of nationality after South Sudan's January 2011 vote to secede. They now have until 8 April to leave or establish alien residency, though no residency terms have yet been established. The ultimatum will impact between 500,000 and 700,000 people who are mainly Christians of southern origin that still live in the north. [more...]

15 Mar 2012

SAUDI ARABIA: Christian Attacked on Social Networks

Muslim social network users are calling for the arrest and even for the death of a Saudi Arabian Christian convert they say has insulted the Muslim prophet Muhammad via Twitter. Hamoud Bin Saleh, who has been imprisoned three times in eight years, was first arrested for "attacks against Islam" in 2004 and spent nine months in jail after blogging about his conversion from Islam to Christianity. [more...]

15 Mar 2012

ISRAEL: Church Buildings Vandalised

Anti-Christian graffiti and slurs against Jesus were spray-painted onto a Jerusalem church late last February. The words "Death to Christianity" were written on the wall of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation church building along with the words "Price Tag" – a slogan used by Jewish extremists. "Price tag" attacks are occurring all over Israel, and these targeted acts of destruction are meant to suggest that vandalism is the "price" that must be paid by non-Jews for the evacuation and demolition of Jewish settlements. [more...]

15 Mar 2012

IRAN: Imprisoned Pastor Suffering Ill Health

Behnam Irani, an imprisoned 41-year-old pastor from Iran, is unwell with an intestinal disorder and a serious foot injury. There are more than four years left in his sentence. The husband and father of two was convicted of crimes against national security in January 2011 and was sentenced to one year in prison. After voluntarily surrendering to authorities last spring, he learned that he would be forced to serve five years in connection with a previous conviction. [more...]

15 Mar 2012

TURKEY: Visa Restrictions Impede Missionaries

Missionaries will have to leave Turkey every three months and will be forced to remain outside the country for three months before returning, now that the Turkish government has tightened its visa regulations. The new policy, which came into effect on 1 February, allows 180-day multiple-entry visas, but visitors can only spend 90 days in the country and then must wait another 90 days to re-enter the country. This will significantly hamper the work of foreign missionaries. Since early February, the Turkish government has expelled a number of missionaries who held resident permits, and other missionaries who have left the country and have tried to re-enter have been turned away at the border under the new visa regulations. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

8 Mar 2012

NIGERIA: Boko Haram Plot To 'End The Christian Presence' in Northern Nigeria

The al-Qaeda-linked Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram has declared it is plotting to 'end the Christian presence' in much of Northern Nigeria. According to a spokesman, the group is preparing to launch a 'war,' a campaign of terror, against Christians through co-ordinated bombings and kidnapping Christian women. The women reportedly will be held for ransom and returned only to Christian families who leave the region. The goal is to eradicate Christians completely so that a 'proper Islamic state' might be established. The authorities say Boko Haram is well armed with sophisticated weaponry and munitions. This new threat against Christians is very direct and indicates very dangerous days lie ahead. Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission [more...]

8 Mar 2012

IRAN: Elderly Christian Woman Arrested

A 78-year-old member of a church in Esfahan was arrested by police and held for three days before being released. Mrs Giti Hakimpour, who attends the Church of St Luke and lives alone, was seized from her home in the early hours of 22 February. The retired nurse is from a Christian family and is the sister-in-law of the former Anglican Bishop Iraj Motahedeh. Her extended family all live abroad. After persistent enquiries and repeated visits by church leaders in Esfahan, Mrs Hakimpour was eventually allowed home on 25 February. [more...]

8 Mar 2012

UGANDA: Doctors Try to Save Remaining Eye of Pastor

While a Ugandan pastor was fighting to retain sight in his remaining eye after an acid attack, Muslim extremists this month were shooting at his close friend, a leader of another church. Doctors at Sheba Hospital in Tel-Aviv, Israel, are still not sure what kind of chemicals Muslim extremists cast on Bishop Umar Mulinde of Gospel Life Church International outside of Kampala last Christmas Eve, but they know that the acid is threatening the vision in his remaining eye. Mulinde, a former sheikh (Islamic teacher) who became the target of Islamic extremists after converting to Christianity in 1993, said his left eye has been getting better under the specialised treatment he has been able to receive since Compass publicised the attack on him. "The damaged right eye is somehow affecting the left eye," Mulinde said. [more...]

8 Mar 2012

EGYPT: Islamists in Egypt use Rumours to Attack Christians

Tensions remain high in an Egyptian village where as many as 5,000 mostly Salafi Muslims went on a rampage over a false rumour that a church was holding a girl against her will in order to convert her back to Christianity. Dismissing media reports of 20,000 rioting Muslims, sources said that between 2,000 and 5,000 hard-line Muslims, most of them from the Salafi movement, last month harassed Christian villagers in Meet Bahsar in the Nile Delta, attacked a church building to 'save' the girl, damaged a priest's house and then destroyed his car. [more...]

1 Mar 2012

NIGERIA: Suicide Bomber Kills Three Christians

A member of a radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, killed three Christians in a suicide bomb attack in Jos, Nigeria on Sunday. The Islamist drove a car packed with explosives into the compound of a church, killing two women and a one-year-old child. The bomber carried out the attacks at 7:20am local time, while Christians were worshipping at the headquarters of the Church of Christ (also known as the Cocin). Following the attack, Christian youth took to the streets and killed two Muslims and burned down several Muslim-owned shops. [more...]

1 Mar 2012

PAKISTAN: Muslims Employ ‘Blasphemy’ Threat in Land Grab

Tensions are still high in a village following Muslims' attempt to seize land from a Christian family by threatening to accuse them of "blasphemy." What began on 19 February as a quarrel over a pigeon between Christian and Muslim youths at Nawa Pind Sabu Mohal village, in Sialkot's Pasroor area in northeast Punjab Province, grew into an occasion to jail some Christians in the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim country, the Christians said. Gulshan Masih, 20, told Compass that after the young Muslims carried on the stone-throwing fight from within a mosque – later accusing the Christians of desecrating the mosque by throwing stones at it – police officers arrived and took his father, 55-year-old Bashir Masih, and 50-year-old uncle, Pervaiz Masih, into custody. [more...]

1 Mar 2012

BELARUS: Raids, Threats, Warnings for Religious Meetings


Religious communities in various parts of Belarus have faced visits, threats and warnings for holding meetings for worship which officials regard as illegal. On one Sunday in January, officials visited three Pentecostal services in separate villages. Pastor Vasili Raptsevich - who led worship in a church-owned house in a village in Brest Region for about ten disabled church members unable to travel to the main congregation in a nearby town - was summoned to the police station. There he was told that he had violated the law by conducting a religious service away from its legal address without permission from the Regional Executive Committee. [more...]

1 Mar 2012

CHINA: Li Ying Released

Journalist and Christian activist Li Ying was released from prison in China on 25 December 2011, just three years shy of completing a 15-year sentence she received because of her work on an underground Christian magazine. Li was arrested in April 2001 along with 16 others from the South China Church. China Aid Association founder and president Bob Fu spoke with Li on Friday 10 February. Li is very grateful for the support she received from around the world. She told Fu that she was aware of the many letters she had received but that authorities never let her see the letters. [more...]

1 Mar 2012

March 2012

March 2012

Iran [more...]

1 Mar 2012

Iran: Songs in the Night

Iran: Songs in the Night

After a disputed election in 2009, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reassumed his position as president, dashing hopes for lasting change in Iran. Since then, Ahmadinejad's government has taken an increasingly anti-Western and anti-Christian stand and tries to control every aspect of life in the name of Islam. [more...]

23 Feb 2012

SUDAN: Christians Abducted by Militia Groups

Christians in Sudan are under threat by South Sudanese militias rebelling against the new South Sudan government. South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011. Christians in the primarily Islamic Sudan said that abductions are increasing as the government supports militias as part of an effort to rid the country of Christianity. The militias have been forcibly conscribing South Sudanese into rebel militias loyal to Sudan's Islamic government. Christian sources say hundreds of young men have been forcibly conscripted, while older men are either killed or ransomed. [more...]

23 Feb 2012

PAKISTAN: Evangelist in Pakistan Harassed and Under Attack

An evangelist supported by The Voice of the Martyrs in the Afghan-Pakistan border region says he is being harassed by a local Muslim leader and is also under attack by spiritual forces. [more...]

23 Feb 2012

KAZAKHSTAN: Harsh New Punishment Enforced

A shoe repairman and father of 10 in eastern Kazakhstan has been fined the equivalent of 18 months' average monthly salary. Aleksei Asetov was fined for leading the small congregation that meets in his home. The judge also banned the congregation.

Aleksei is the fifth member of a religious community known to have been fined since the harsh new Religion Law and associated punishments were adopted. However, he is the first to be tried under the new penalties. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

23 Feb 2012

PAKISTAN: Man Charged With Blasphemy

Dildar Yousaf, 28, was arrested and charged with blasphemy after defending his eight-year-old nephew who was being attacked by a group of Muslim boys last June. Dildar's nephew, Ehtasham, was passing by a "madrassa," a school where Islamic students study the Koran, when seven boys surrounded him and tried to force him to say, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet." Ehtasham refused, and the boys began to verbally and physically assault him. Dildar happened to be passing by and pulled his nephew away and took him home. [more...]

23 Feb 2012

TURKMENISTAN: Pastor Released From Prison

Nearly 18 months after his August 2010 arrest, Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev has been released from prison. Pastor Ilmurad was arrested at his home in Mary in south-eastern Turkmenistan on 27 August 2010. He was charged with extracting money from three people -- an accusation his wife, Maya, and fellow church members strongly denied. [more...]

23 Feb 2012

IRAN: Nadarkhani Execution Fears

Pastor Nadarkhani's lawyer is trying to confirm reports that the Iranian authorities have decided to execute the pastor. There are grave concerns that the death sentence could be carried out at any time without prior notification and that the authorities will merely announce it later, a practice that is not uncommon in Iran. [more...]

16 Feb 2012

COLOMBIA: Violent Guerrilla Group Impedes Evangelism

Members of the notorious guerrilla group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) recently prevented a VOM evangelist, "Rolo", from entering La Macarena region in Colombia with radios, Bibles and Christian books. The Marxist-Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organisation has been a significant contributor to violence and volatility in the region. A VOM worker in the area reported that members of FARC are closing churches and burning buses that are attempting to travel into the region. [more...]

16 Feb 2012

LAOS: Seven Imprisoned Christian Leaders Freed

Seven Christian leaders arrested during a church service last December in Boukham village in Laos were unconditionally released on 12 January. The village chief had ordered authorities to raid the Christmas service on 16 December 2011, even though freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Lao constitution. [more...]

16 Feb 2012

SOMALIA: Islamic Extremists Behead another Believer

Islamic extremists belonging to the al Shabaab extremist group in Somalia beheaded a young Christian man just outside Mogadishu last month. Twenty-six-year-old Zakaria Hussein Omar, who had worked for a Christian humanitarian organisation banned by al Shabaab, was murdered on 2 January in Cee-carfiid village. The body of the young husband, brother and son lay undiscovered for about 20 hours before nomads came upon his remains. [more...]

16 Feb 2012

IRAN: Court Bars Christian Convert from University for One Year

A Christian convert was recently sentenced to one year of deprivation of education by a court in Tehran, Iran. Fatemeh Nouri, an art student in one of the universities in Tehran, was arrested in September 2011 at her home in east Tehran and was then transferred to Evin prison. Fatemeh was convicted of attending a house church and insulting sacred figures and activities against national security. She was released on 30 November 2011, after spending almost three months in prison; however, she is not allowed to receive an education for the duration of her one-year deprivation sentence. [more...]

9 Feb 2012

SUDAN: Samaritan’s Purse Bible College Bombed

A Bible school was destroyed on Wednesday 1 February in the latest bombing raid to hit South Kordofan, an oil-rich Sudanese province that borders the newly created independent country of South Sudan. At least eight bombs were dropped in the area of Heiban Bible College on Wednesday during the school's first day of classes, according to a statement by Samaritan's Purse, Franklin Graham's Christian humanitarian group, which supports the school. [more...]

9 Feb 2012

CHINA: ChinaAid Releases Annual Report of Persecution in 2011

Government persecution of Christians and churches in China worsened significantly in 2011. In comparing the total number of persecution cases, the number of people persecuted, the number detained, the number sentenced, the number of abuse cases and the number of people abused with the same figures for 2010, the total of all six categories showed a jump of 42.5% over the previous year. Compared with the statistics in past annual reports, this trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past six years, with an average annual increase of 33.1% in the total of all six categories of persecution statistics tracked by ChinaAid. [more...]

9 Feb 2012

ALGERIA: Church Ransacked in Eastern Algeria

The Protestant Church of Ouargla in eastern Algeria was vandalised by an unknown number of armed men late Wednesday evening. After breaking through the gate, the church was ransacked and the crucifix rising high above the premises was dismantled. "We heard noises on the terrace, but we could not get out because the threat was real. They could kill us," said Pastor Mourad, who was inside the building with his wife and children. Afraid to leave the church compound on Wednesday night, Pastor Mourad reported the incident to the local police the next morning. [more...]

9 Feb 2012

EGYPT: Gross Insecurity Increases for Christians

Islamisation is advancing across Egypt post-Mubarak, facilitated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi ultra-fundamentalist Muslims. As the Islamic order is established, Christians are reduced to second-class citizens without fundamental human rights, their lives dependent on their total submission to the Islamic order. Murder, theft and extortion are becoming commonplace, as is the abduction, rape and forced Islamisation of young Coptic girls. [more...]

2 Feb 2012

UGANDA: Former Muslim Extremist Flees Wrath of Ex-Colleagues

A former member of a Muslim extremist group in Uganda who converted to Christianity is in hiding in Kenya, his movements severely restricted following threats to kill him. Hassan Sharif Lubenga, 54, was a sheikh and member of the Buk Haram, a violent group of Islamists whose name suggests that the Bible is corrupt and therefore forbidden. Originally from Chengera, seven kilometres from Kampala, the husband to four wives began his conversion process four years ago; in June 2011, he said, after dreams and visions in which Jesus appeared to him, he made a full commitment to follow Christ. In 2009, he said, a message from Jesus came to him in a vision: 'Do not hide your Christian faith.' Within a few months, a threatening letter arrived: 'If you do not join Islamic Jihad, then we shall kill you.' [more...]

2 Feb 2012

IRAN: Christian Convert Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Leila Mohammadi, a Christian convert, has been sentenced to two years' prison after enduring 5 months of uncertainty in notorious Evin prison. Her trial was held on 18 January where she was charged with "collaboration with foreign-dependent groups, broad anti-Islamic propaganda, deceiving citizens by formation of what is called a house church, Insulting sacred figures and action against national security." She was acquitted of collaboration with foreign-dependent groups because the judge believed she had done that unintentionally. For the other charges she was sentenced to two years in prison.
 [more...]

2 Feb 2012

SOMALIA: Islamists Arrest a Muslim Father After His Sons Convert to Christianity

On 14 January Somali Islamists arrested a Muslim father after two of his teenage children converted to Christianity in Kismayo, Somalia. The two sons of Mo'alim Mohamud Aw-Omar converted to Christianity late last year. They fled their homes following their conversion. Members of the radical Islamic group, al-Shabaab, accused Aw-Omar of "failing to raise his sons as good Muslims" because "good Muslims cannot convert to Christianity." Aw-Omar, who is still a Muslim, insisted that his sons have memorised the Koran, fasted and prayed regularly and therefore he should not be accused of failing his duties. [more...]

2 Feb 2012

EGYPT : Mob Sets Christian Homes Alight Over 'Phone Image

A 3,000-strong mob attacked a Christian village near Alexandria, looting shops and homes and then setting them alight. The attack on Kobry-el-Sharbat on Friday 27 January followed rumours that a Christian man, Mourad Samy Guirgis, had an 'intimate' photo of a Muslim woman on his mobile phone. Two Christians and one Muslim were reported to have been hospitalised after the attack, which began mid-afternoon. [more...]

1 Feb 2012

“But God is with us”

“But God is with us”

"Christians are like bed bugs, who hide under the guise of so-called missionary work and drink the blood of innocent vulnerable people, and bed bugs should be killed ..." According to World magazine, these words were spoken at a February 2011 Hindu nationalist event in India attended by an estimated two million people. Volunteers distributed literature calling on Christians to convert to Hinduism. Attacks against Christians continue in India. In 2010, more than 159 Christians were attacked in 11 Indian states. The heaviest persecution occurred in Karnataka state, which accounted for 59 of the 159 attacks, according to VOM contacts. In June 2011, there were attacks against Christians and churches in at least five Indians states. [more...]

1 Feb 2012

February 2012

February 2012

India [more...]

25 Jan 2012

UGANDA: Girl Tortured by Her Father for Her Faith Walks Again

A 15-year-old Christian girl in Uganda is slowly regaining the use of her legs after her father, in an attempt to make her convert back to Islam, confined her in a small room and deprived her of adequate food and water. Susan Ithungu was locked in a room for six months after accepting Christ as her Saviour in 2010. She weighed just 20 kilograms when she was finally rescued after her brother informed neighbours of his sister's life-threatening condition. [more...]

25 Jan 2012

PAKISTAN: Two Imprisoned Christians Released

Blasphemy charges against 74-year-old Rehmat Masih have been dropped while a Christian woman who was brutally beaten by police while pregnant has been released on bail due to lack of evidence. The elderly believer arrested in June 2010 under Pakistan's contentious blasphemy law, which is often used to persecute Christians in the predominantly Muslim nation, was released after 18 months in prison. [more...]

25 Jan 2012

SUDAN: Church Leaders May Face Arrest

Sharing Christ could land pastors in prison as Sudan's Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments has threatened to arrest church leaders if they carry out evangelistic activities and fail to provide their names and contact information.

The threats were sent by letter to church leaders of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) shortly after the New Year. It arrived just a few days after Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur, told cheering crowds that following the secession of the largely non-Islamic south Sudan last July, the country's constitution will be more deeply entrenched in Shariah, or Islamic, law. [more...]

25 Jan 2012

AZERBAIJAN: New laws Attempt to Repress the Gospel

Believers in Azerbaijan who distribute religious material that hasn't been through compulsory state censorship will now face prison terms of two to five years or fines equivalent to nine years' minimum wage salary. The punishments were included in proposed amendments to the Criminal and Administrative Codes, which were prepared by the powerful Presidential Administration. [more...]

19 Jan 2012

INDIA: Karnataka Most Dangerous State for Christians

Christmas and New Year's holidays in the south Indian state of Karnataka brought a dramatic increase in attacks on believers, and the state was identified as the most unsafe place for Christians for the third consecutive year. There were 49 cases of violence and hostility against Christians in the state last year, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India's annual report. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported there were at least six anti-Christian attacks between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day alone. [more...]

19 Jan 2012

CHINA: New Year Brings Renewed Efforts to Prevent Worship at Shouwang Church

Christian believers at Beijing Shouwang Church, who had arranged an outdoor worship service after the government continued to thwart their efforts to rent premises to worship indoors, were harassed, detained and prevented from worshipping together on 1 January. The church has long been a target for the oppressive government. Believers report that at least 49 Christians were taken into custody either before they were able to depart for the outdoor service or as they made their way there. Most believers were sent to 13 local police stations. Many were released home late that night and all were released by 3 January. [more...]

19 Jan 2012

IRAN: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani refuses to Compromise Faith for Release

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani recently refused to state that the Muslim prophet Muhammad was a messenger sent by God despite the fact that it would have secured his release. On 30 December, local authorities said they would release the pastor if he agreed to make the statement, but the pastor rejected the offer and remains in prison awaiting a final decision on his case. The request violates article 23 of the Iranian Constitution, which states that no one should be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief. [more...]

19 Jan 2012

YEMEN: Pray for Missing Christians

December 2011, marked two-and-a-half years since the kidnapping of nine foreigners in Saada, north-west Yemen, three of whom were murdered shortly afterwards. There continues to be no news of Johannes and Sabine (a German couple), Simon (their son, age 3) or of Tony (a British man). Lydia and Anna (7 and 5, daughters of Johannes and Sabine) who were freed in May 2010 are with relatives in Germany and are reported to be in good health. It is reportedly a challenge for these relatives to function as Lydia and Anna's parents in light of their unique needs and in the context of the other children in their home. [more...]

19 Jan 2012

PAKISTAN: Christian Sentenced to Death Fasting, Praying and Forgiving

Asia Bibi, a Christian wife and mother sentenced to die for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam, says she has forgiven those who are persecuting her. She recently told a Pakistani journalist, who asked her a list of questions prepared by an American journalist, that she spends her time praying and fasting for her family and other persecuted Christians. [more...]

12 Jan 2012

SOMALIA: Convert from Islam Whipped in Public

A Somali convert from Islam was paraded before a cheering crowd last month and publicly flogged as a punishment for embracing a "foreign religion," sources said. Sofia Osman, a 28-year-old Christian from Janale city in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, had been taken into custody by Islamic extremist al Shabaab militants in November; the public whipping was meant to mark her release. She received 40 lashes on 22 December while jeered by spectators. [more...]

12 Jan 2012

NIGERIA: Radical Muslims Kill 29 Christians in Two Days

Members of the radical Islamic group, Boko Haram, have killed a further 29 Christians in two days. Twenty Christians were gunned down on 6 January while holding a meeting to discuss ways to transport a body of a fellow Christian who was killed in an attack a day earlier. The martyrs in the 5 January attack were attending a worship service at Deeper Life Church in Gombe when the attack took place. The wife of the church's pastor was among the martyrs. [more...]

12 Jan 2012

INDONESIA: Anti-Christian Incidents Nearly Doubled in 2011

Acts of violence and intolerance against Christians in Indonesia almost doubled in 2011, with an Islamist campaign to close down churches symbolising the plight of the religious minority. The Indonesian Protestant Church Union, locally known as PGI, counted 54 acts of violence and other violations against Christians in 2011, up from 30 in 2010. The number of such incidents against religious minorities in general also grew, from 198 in 2010 to 276 in 2011, but the worst is perhaps yet to come if authorities continue to overlook the threat of extremism, said a representative from the Jakarta-based Wahid Institute, a Muslim organisation that promotes tolerance. [more...]

12 Jan 2012

EGYPT: One Year On, No Answers to Egypt Church Bombing

Just over a year ago, Amira Maurice was attending a New Year's Eve Mass in the Saints Church in Egypt's Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria with her parents and fiancĂ©, their marriage set for only a few months away. Then the bomb blast ripped through the church. Now, the 28-year-old pharmacist is in Germany undergoing the latest in a string of surgeries to save her leg and deal with her burns. Her fiancĂ© is dead, one of the 21 people killed in the suicide bombing targeting the church. [more...]

4 Jan 2012

January 2012 - Impact Report

January 2012 - Impact Report

How your gifts made an impact in 2011 [more...]

4 Jan 2012

NIGERIA: Christians Warned by Islamist Militants to Leave the North Within 3 Days

On Sunday the militant Islamist group Boko Haram issued an ultimatum giving Christians living in northern Nigeria three days to leave the area amid a rising tide of violence there. CNN reports that Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa, also said late Sunday that Boko Haram fighters are ready to confront soldiers sent to the area under a state of emergency declared in parts of four states by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday. [more...]

4 Jan 2012

LAOS: Officials Force Christians to Recant for Burial

Officials forced Christians in a Lao village to give up their faith in order to bury a family member in the village graveyard, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). In Huey, Ad-Sapangthong district of Savannakhet Province, the village's eight Christian families quickly began to arrange a funeral for the deceased, a woman who died on Christmas Day who went by the single name of Wang. On Monday 26 December, however, village officials ordered that her body be buried according to Buddhist funeral rites or be taken to a burial ground in Savannakhet city. [more...]

4 Jan 2012

CHINA: “Disappeared” Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Imprisoned in Remote Far Western China

For the first time since his most recent forced disappearance 20 months ago, the whereabouts of human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been confirmed. Gao Zhisheng's older brother, Gao Zhiyi, received written notification on Sunday of Gao's incarceration in Shaya Prison in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in far western China. The notification was signed and dated on 19 December by the prison. [more...]

4 Jan 2012

UGANDA: Muslim Extremists in Uganda Throw Acid on Bishop

Islamic extremists threw acid on a church leader on Christmas Eve shortly after a seven-day revival at his church, leaving him with severe burns that have blinded one eye and threaten his sight in the other. Bishop Umar Mulinde, 37, was attacked on Saturday night, 24 December, when a man who claimed to be a Christian approached him. [more...]

3 Jan 2012

Supporting Underground Bible Colleges

Supporting Underground Bible Colleges

In 2011 Voice of the Martyrs Australia had a special focus on underground Bible colleges in order to equip evangelists, church planters, missionaries and pastors in restricted nations. We praise God for providing the funds needed to reach our target of $100,000. [more...]

22 Dec 2011

SUDAN: Brutalised Teenage Believer in Sudan Prays for Forgiveness for Her Tormentors

A young Sudanese Christian teenager who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and physically attacked over the course of one year is praying her former captors, a gang of Muslims who tried to force her to convert to Islam, find mercy.
After escaping last July, she says she is praying that Jesus reveals himself to her assailants, and "forgives them for what they did to me." Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo says she escaped from them with the help of God who did not want her to suffer any more. [more...]

22 Dec 2011

WEST BANK: Bomber of Christian Family in the West Bank Deemed Fit to Stand Trial

An American-born man who bombed the home of a Messianic Jewish family in the West Bank has been declared fit to stand trial. Yaakov "Jack" Teitel, 39, stands accused of planting a bomb in the home of Pastor David Ortiz in 2008.Teitel, who has been dubbed the "Jewish terrorist," is also charged with the murder of two Palestinians and with other serious offenses. [more...]

22 Dec 2011

NEPAL: Buddhists Oust Believers from Their Homes


Buddhists in Nepal drove a pastor and other believers from their village, accusing the pastor of bringing a foreign religion to the village and promoting teachings against society. The oppressors accused Christians in the village of using bribery and coercion to covert local residents to Christianity. It is also believed a six-year-old girl was sexually abused by one of the individuals who incited the expulsion. A VOM worker has helped the victims resettle in another village and also prayed with the family of the girl who was abused. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

22 Dec 2011

IRAN: Three Iranian Pastors Report to Prison

Three pastors, who are also husbands and fathers of young children, have been ordered to report to prison in Shiraz, Iran.
Pastor Parviz Khalaj, a husband and father to a 10-year-old son, was convicted of committing crimes against the order and was sentenced to two years in prison. Pastor William Belyad who was convicted of the same crime, was sentenced to five years in prison and will be taken away from his wife and one-month-old son. [more...]

15 Dec 2011

PHILIPPINES: Church Elder Killed In Mindanao

MacArthur Arbado, an elder at the Bible Baptist Church in Carmen, Cotabato, was murdered on 10 November as he returned to his farm. The attackers shot him in the leg, back and abdomen before decapitating him with his own machete. MacArthur leaves behind his wife, Lolita, and 13 children. [more...]

15 Dec 2011

IRAN: Officials in Iran Frantically Deny Spread of the Gospel

The Iranian media is desperate to refute claims that Christianity is spreading among Iranian youth and through cities considered to be almost exclusively Islamic. The government-supported Jomhouri-e-Eslami daily newspaper is calling the spread of Christianity an unfounded rumour, but there are definite contradictions in fact to this statement. On 2 October, the government-supported news website, Javan-Online, acknowledged that the acceptance of Christianity was becoming a trend and reported 200 house churches were discovered in just a few months in the traditionally Islamic city of Mashhad. [more...]

15 Dec 2011

IRAQ: Christians in Iraq’s Kurdish Region Under Siege

Christian-owned businesses were burned to the ground earlier this month as unprecedented violence erupted against Christians in Iraq's Kurdish region. Local sources say the attacks were organised by a pro-Islamic political party. The attackers waved flags that said, "There Is No God but Allah," according to Ankawa News. [more...]

15 Dec 2011

NIGERIA: Believers Killed and Property Destroyed by Muslim Herdsmen and Soldiers

At least 45 Christians were murdered by Muslim herdsmen and soldiers in Nigeria in late November. Unfounded allegations of cattle theft preceded the attacks, according to Christian leaders in Plateau state, and thousands of vulnerable and unarmed Christians fled the area in fear, leaving churches largely empty on the Sunday following the attacks. Homes were burned, churches were closed and many Christians were also maimed or injured. Muslims were also reportedly moving onto the farms belonging to the Christians who had fled and were destroying their crops. Witnesses say Fulani Muslim herdsmen were shouting, "Allahu Akbar," which means, "God is greater." [more...]

15 Dec 2011

INDIA: Falsely Imprisoned Pastor Released


Reverend CM Khanna, who was arrested and imprisoned on false charges of forced conversion in the Kashmir Valley in India in October, was granted bail by the Srinagar court and has been released from jail.

When Rev Khanna could not help a Muslim cleric, the Grand Mufti, obtain admission for a student into one of the schools run by the Church of North India (CNI), it is believed the Grand Mufti retaliated by summoning the Christian to appear before the Sharia court on false charges of forced conversion based on video evidence of a routine baptism ceremony in his church. The seven newly baptised Christians had also previously been detained and beaten. [more...]

8 Dec 2011

UZBEKISTAN: Illegal Prosecutions and Punishments

Sergei Kozin, a Baptist, has been fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage after a police raid on a group of Baptists who were reading on holiday together. The case was brought even though it was beyond the legal time limit to bring charges. Baptists stated that the case was "fabricated", with the alleged "witness" not producing the required identity documents.
The judge in the case had noted the lack of evidence legal documents produced by police. In another case, five officials raided a home in Fergana without a search warrant. [more...]

8 Dec 2011

MYANMAR: Christian Civilians Face Deadly Attacks

On Wednesday 30 November, Burmese soldiers killed a woman and injured six other villagers as they fired four rounds of mortar shells at civilians in the Tarlawgyi area of Kachin state's Waingmaw Township, Kachin News Group reported. Another battalion burned down 10 homes in Nam Wai village and five more in neighbouring Hpa Ke village, both in Dawhpumyang sub-township in Bhamo district, the Thailand-based news agency added. The killing and arson followed two explosions that killed a student and injured another the previous night in the state's capital, Myitkyina. [more...]

8 Dec 2011

PAKISTAN: Death Threats for Evangelist Challenging Injustice

A Pakistani Christian has received death threats after condemning the murder of a Christian government minister – who was himself killed for opposing the blasphemy laws.

Evangelist Arif Ferguson, 36, and his entire family have had to go into hiding, following death threats from the Pakistan Taliban and others. Arif was first warned for sharing the Gospel among Muslims. More serious death threats followed after he made a statement to a local newspaper condemning the assassination in March of Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, who had spoken up against the blasphemy law. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for killing Shahbaz Bhatti – and the same group is now threatening Arif. [more...]

8 Dec 2011

EGYPT: Islamist Group Leading in Parliamentary Elections

Islamist groups made a strong showing last week in the first stages of Egypt's parliamentary elections, according to figures released by elections officials, renewing concerns Christians have about their future in the country.
The Freedom and Justice Party, affiliated with the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, won 40 % of the vote overall. The Al Nour Party, made up of members of the extremist Salafi group, garnered 20 % of the vote. By comparison, the relatively liberal Egypt Social Democratic Party received 15 percent of the total vote. [more...]

1 Dec 2011

NOT ABANDONED - EGYPT

NOT ABANDONED - EGYPT

President Mubarak was ousted from his 30 year rule after mass protests and demonstrations this year. The effect of Egypt's political revolution continues as more nations in the Middle East challenge their own authoritarian governments. What has the recent political revolution meant for Egyptian Christians? David, one of VOM's partners said, "Revolution or no revolution, our mission remains the same: to tell people about Jesus and to build His church." [more...]

1 Dec 2011

December 2011

December 2011

Middle East [more...]

1 Dec 2011

EGYPT: Christians Ask For Prayer for Elections

Egyptian Christians have requested prayer as Egypt started elections this week (the elections are in stages and are scheduled to conclude on 10 March 2012). Christians continue to be a vulnerable group, disproportionately affected by the lack of security in Egypt. They fear that the current climate of intimidation, violence and instability could lead to fewer Christians voting, which would impact their representation in Parliament. [more...]

1 Dec 2011

KAZAKHSTAN: New Draft Regulations Outline Official Religious Censorship

Kazakhstan's state Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA) has prepared - but not yet adopted - new regulations to implement the system of compulsory state censorship of almost all religious literature and objects. The Regulations for "expert analyses" will also apply to religious organisations' statutes.

Without such ARA approval, religious books cannot be imported (apart from in small quantities) or distributed, and religious organisations will not be able to gain state registration. The draft Regulations make no provisions for any challenges to ARA's censorship decisions. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

1 Dec 2011

PAKISTAN: Police in Pakistan Beat Pregnant Christian, Husband for 3 Days

A Christian couple is facing charges of theft after police in Abbottabad severely beat a pregnant woman and her husband for three days when they refused to confess. Salma Emmanuel was taken to a hospital in critical condition on 7 November, the life of her unborn child also threatened. The 30-year-old Emmanuel and her husband, Emmanuel Rasheed, 39, said that they were inexplicably arrested after the Muslim woman who employed Emmanuel as a maid had allowed the Christian woman to temporarily store some of her jewellery at her employer's house. Emmanuel said police arrested them on 5 November, keeping her at the Women's Police Station for interrogation and her husband at the City Police Station. [more...]

24 Nov 2011

VIETNAM: Believers Beaten and Belongings Destroyed in Vietnam

More than a dozen Christian men, women and teenagers were brutally beaten and their property destroyed near Hanoi, Vietnam, in what sources say was a religiously-motivated attack.

The Christian house church leaders, as well as other assembled believers, were severely injured during a gathering in the home of Pastor Nguyen Danh Chau in Lai Tao village. A gang burst into the home at 9:30 am on 13 November and warned Nguyen that they would kill him if he continued gathering Christians, according to sources in Vietnam. The attackers then beat him until he lost consciousness. [more...]

24 Nov 2011

NIGERIA: More Than 130 Christians Murdered by Extremists in Nigeria’s North this Month

A murderous, four-hour rampage in early November in the eastern region of northern Nigeria left 150 people dead – at least 130 of them Christians, according to church sources. Ten church buildings were also bombed and hundreds of people are still missing after more than 200 members of the Islamic extremist Boko Haram sect stormed the Yobe state capital on 4 November. The attacks by Boko Haram were motivated by anti-Christian sentiments. Witnesses say the terrorists asked Christians they met to recite the Islamic creed, and those who could not do so were instantly slaughtered. [more...]

24 Nov 2011

ERITREA: Three Christians Die in Military Camps

Denied their most basic needs for survival, three Christians have died in Eritrean military camps.
Two Christian women died in the Adersete Military Camp in western Eritrea, according to a local source, as they were confined in a dungeon-like cell intended for religious prisoners. Twenty-eight-year-old Terhase Gebremichel Andu and Ferewine Genzabu Kifly, 21, both employees of a wholesale store, were arrested during a prayer meeting in 2009 at a private home. After two years of physical military torture and the denial of medical care, the women succumbed to starvation and poor health. [more...]

24 Nov 2011

INDIA: Police Detain, Beat Converts From Islam in India

Seven newly baptised Christians were detained and beaten by police in India's Kashmir Valley, and arrests are expected for Christian leaders considered responsible for converting the former Muslims.

Police identified the converts and pastors from a video recording of the baptism obtained by Kashmir's grand mufti (the highest official of religious law), Bashir-ud-din Ahmad. The video was later posted on YouTube. [more...]

24 Nov 2011

EGYPT: Religious Identification of Two Boys Restored to Christianity

A positive development has ended a long running case concerning twin boys in Egypt. Mario and Andrew's religious registration was changed to "Muslim" by their father when he converted to Islam and divorced his wife, Kamilia. Although Kamilia won a custody battle in 2009, a court ruled in 2010 that the twins' religious registration should remain "Muslim." Kamilia later submitted an appeal. [more...]

17 Nov 2011

IRAN: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani to hear Court's Decision in December

With his faith intact and his love for Christ steadfast, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani remains in Lakan Prison in Iran charged with apostasy and sentenced to death. The Iranian government has denied the sentencing is based on apostasy despite abundant evidence to the contrary. [more...]

17 Nov 2011

CUBA: Formerly Imprisoned Pastor Forced to Remain in Cuba

Confined to a country where the government has made it well known his presence is unwanted, a Cuban pastor and his family have been refused permission to leave despite the US government's offer of asylum. [more...]

17 Nov 2011

CHINA: Bible Exhibition Called ‘Propaganda’ by House Church Leaders

A deceptive exhibit in the United States that displays Chinese Bibles is causing North Americans to believe there is religious freedom in China, say three former Chinese house church leaders. [more...]

17 Nov 2011

PAKISTAN: Update: Christian Charged with ‘Defiling the Qur’an’ Seeks Bail

Ruqqiya Bibi was sentenced to 25 years in prison for 'defiling the Qur'an' by touching it with unwashed hands, and after spending eight months in prison, she is seeking bail. Her husband, Munir Masih, who was also imprisoned for the same crime, was released on bail in December of last year. At last report, the outcome of her 10 November hearing was unknown. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

10 Nov 2011

NIGERIA: Boko Haram Hits Nine Churches

On Friday 4 November al-Qaeda affiliate Boko Haram launched attacks in Damaturu and Potiskum (Yobe State) and in Maiduguri (Borno State). The death toll from the co-ordinated bombings and gun battles presently stands at 150 and is expected to rise. Nine churches were targeted, along with mosques, a bank, an anti-terrorist court, police stations and army posts. In Damaturu's mostly Christian New Jerusalem district, six churches were bombed. According to one resident, "The whole city is traumatised." Nigeria's The Nation reported on 7 November, "In spite [of] their churches being burnt, Christians in Damaturu yesterday defied the security panic and held their Sunday service in [the] open air at the premises of their burnt churches." According to Boko Haram spokesman Abul-Qaqa, "More attacks are on the way." Source: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin [more...]

10 Nov 2011

ETHIOPIA: Radical Wahhabi Muslims Seeking to Turn Ethiopia into an Islamist State

In a recent press conference, the Ethiopian government expressed its concern over the growing violence against moderate Muslims and Christians by radical Wahhabi Muslims. The government also announced discovering plans by the Wahhabi Muslims to turn Ethiopia into an Islamic country governed by Sharia law.

"We have found evidences and pamphlets [which] were publicly distributed during the month of Ramadan calling on the Muslim community to stand up against all non-Wahhabi Muslims and followers of other religions," said Mersessa Reda, the Director General at the Ministry of Federal Affairs of Ethiopia, in a statement quoted by The New Business Ethiopia in early October. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

10 Nov 2011

KENYA: Attack on Church Compound Kills Two, Wounds Three

Suspected Islamic extremists with Somalia's al Shabaab militia threw a grenade into the home of the church guard of an East Africa Pentecostal Church congregation outside Garissa, Kenya, on the night of Saturday 5 November. Killed instantly were 8-year-old Winnie Mwenda Mutinda and 25-year-old church member John Kikavu. The child was the youngest daughter of church elder Patrick Mutinda, who also serves as the guard or watchman of the church building, sources said. The watchman's son, Samuel Mutinda, 12, suffered burns on his chest and leg, and his 10-year-old brother, Peter Mutinda, sustained burns on his hand and leg; their grandmother, Rachael Kandu, was also severely burned, but all three were in stable condition at press time. [more...]

10 Nov 2011

EGYPT: Coptic Student Murdered By Classmates for Wearing a Cross

Seventeen-year-old Ayman Nabil Labib was murdered following a classroom altercation in Mallawi, Minya province 16 October. Although Egyptian media reported the incident as non-sectarian, his parents confirmed to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) that their son was murdered "in cold blood because he refused to take off his crucifix as ordered by his Muslim teacher". Ayman also had a cross tattooed on his wrist, as per the Coptic tradition, as well as another cross which he wore under his clothes. According to witnesses, he was told to cover up his cross tattoo, but refused and defiantly exposed the second cross he wore under his shirt. [more...]

3 Nov 2011

LIBYA: Sharia to Rule New Libya

On Monday 24 October, National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil declared Libya to be 'liberated'. Operating free of any democratic constraints, Jalil also declared that the law against polygamy will be repealed, Islamic banking will be adopted and Sharia (Islamic) Law will form the basis for all Libyan law. As has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, any concession to religious freedom will be rendered void by the supremacy of Sharia which prohibits fitna (anything that could shake the faith of a Muslim), especially proselytism (Christian witness), blasphemy (criticising Islam) and apostasy (leaving Islam). [more...]

3 Nov 2011

IRAN: Church of Iran Member Transferred to Underground Torture Cell

Mehdi Furutan, 27, a Church of Iran member who was arrested in January 2010 was recently transferred from Shiraz prison to an underground cell in Adelabad high security prison, where torture of inmates is commonplace. He has been incommunicado for a week and his current condition is unknown. Mr Furutan had just begun serving a one-year prison sentence, after an earlier sentence for 'crimes against the order' was upheld at an appeal hearing. While in the general prison, Mr Furutan had been presented with Islamic literature and sources fear that his transfer may have been prompted by responses he may have made when questioned about them. [more...]

3 Nov 2011

NIGERIA: Christian Mother of Five Killed

Nigerian soldiers summoned to stop inter-religious fighting between Muslim and Christian youths last week shot and killed a Christian mother of five in the Yelwa area of Bauchi city, according to family and church sources. Soldiers were called in to restore calm following fighting that broke out at a high school soccer match on Thursday 20 October and later three Muslim soldiers shot and killed Charity Augustine Agbo and shot a Christian boy. The circumstances leading to the shooting of the boy, who is unrelated to Agbo, were not immediately known, his name has not been disclosed. He is recovering in hospital. [more...]

3 Nov 2011

AZERBAIJAN: Up to Five Years Imprisonment for Uncensored Religious Literature

Prison terms of up to five years or maximum fines of nearly nine years official minimum wage are set to be adopted by parliament in mid-November, for groups of people who produce or distribute religious literature without going through Azerbaijan's compulsory prior state censorship of all religious literature. [more...]

1 Nov 2011

CHINA'S GROWING EVANGELICAL PROBLEM

CHINA'S GROWING EVANGELICAL PROBLEM

In December 2010, the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, the powerful nine-member committee of top party leaders, launched a new strategy called "Operation Deterrence" to deal with their growing "evangelical problem."

At a national conference, China's director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs outlined a programme intended to "guide" Protestants who worship at "unauthorised gathering places" toward churches controlled by the state. [more...]

1 Nov 2011

November 2011

November 2011

China [more...]

27 Oct 2011

SOMALIA: Islamic Extremists behead 17-year-old Christian

Al Shabaab militants murdered a teenage boy on 25 September after monitoring Bible studies hosted by the boy's family near Mogadishu, says a journalist in the Somali capital. Islamic militants began watching the family of Guled Jama Muktar after the family arrived in the country from Kenya in 2008. "I personally know this family as Christians who used to have secret Bible meetings in their house," the source said. According to witnesses, al Shabaab members arrived at Guled's home at 6 am while he was getting ready for school and his parents were already at work at an area market. "The neighbours heard screaming coming from the house, and then it immediately stopped," the source said. [more...]

27 Oct 2011

MALDIVES: Indian Teacher Arrested and Deported for Owning a Bible

Police in Maldives arrested and held Shijo Kokkattu, a 30-year-old teacher from India, for more than two weeks before deporting him earlier this month for keeping a Bible in his home, according to a foreign source in the capital city. Shijo was arrested during a police raid in late September prompted when his colleagues found Christian materials on a school computer he had used and reported it to authorities. [more...]

27 Oct 2011

NIGERIA: Evangelist Murdered in Nigeria


A 36-year-old Christian evangelist was shot and killed in violence-ridden Borno state, Nigeria, the day after his family, along with other Christians, were evacuated from the region in the face of death threats by Boko Haram extremists. Mark Ojunta was ministering in Nigeria's north-eastern state with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO) when he was murdered. "Brother Mark took his family out on Friday 26 August, but he went back to the field because he had a class with some believers on Saturday," said CAPRO international director Amos Aderonmu. "It was in the night that the sect came to where they were staying and knocked at the door, and he tried to escape but could not get away." Mark is survived by his wife, Ema, and two children, 3-year-old Kambe and 9-month-old Akira, as well as his parents and sisters. [more...]

27 Oct 2011

CHINA: Christian Student Fellowship Banned in Inner Mongolia

Chinese police and government officials shut down a Christian student fellowship group in Inner Mongolia, China, and detained its leader in September. Authorities cited "illegal evangelism" as the reason for the ban. Mengfu (Blessed) Fellowship was forced to close and its leader, Liang Guangzhong, was put into administrative detention for 15 days as part of China's ongoing persecution of house churches and Christian groups that meet outside government-approved churches. [more...]

20 Oct 2011

SUDAN: Officials to Demolish Church Buildings

Government officials are threatening to destroy three church buildings in Sudan. The church buildings were marked for demolition with red crosses on 11 September, and local church leaders say the officials simply said, "We are going to demolish these churches." Officials from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Public Utilities-Khartoum State arrived at the Sudanese Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Roman Catholic Church accusing them of operating churches on government land without permission, although church leaders say the buildings are not located on government land. [more...]

20 Oct 2011

INDONESIA: Church Closed and Pastor Arrested

The pastor of an Indonesian church established almost a quarter of a century ago has been arrested for allegedly forcing people to attend church. He faces up to three months in prison for the charges against him. His church has also been closed. Officials allege that the Indonesia Pentecost Church in Sumedang was using an illegal building permit. Officials had previously asked the church to cease conducting Christian worship and had also requested that the church move its services into a building belonging to the Institute of Public Administration (IPND). An Indonesian Christian organisation said the IPND cannot accommodate the congregations of any more closed churches, since about 14 churches have already been relocated to the building. At least 30 churches have been closed or burned in Indonesia this year alone, according to Jakarta Christian Communication Forum. Sources: VOM-USA, Kabar Gereja [more...]

20 Oct 2011

KAZAKHSTAN: New Laws Oppress Christians

The president of Kazakhstan has ushered in two new laws that severely restrict freedom of religion. President Nursultan Nazarbaev signed the laws – which have been adopted with what one observer called "unprecedented" speed – in mid-October. The laws have attracted fierce criticism from local religious groups, human rights defenders and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). "The Law on Religious Activity and Religious Associations" imposes a very complicated registration system for faith groups, bans unregistered religious activity, promotes censorship and requires government approval to build or open new places of worship. The other new law includes amendments that may also have a far-reaching impact on religious freedom. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

20 Oct 2011

UPDATE: Pastor Vahik and Sonia Abrahamian flee Iran

Iranian pastor Vahik Abrahamian and his wife, Sonia, left the country for the Netherlands on 15 September with the help of the Netherlands Embassy and with approval from the Iranian government. Vahik and Sonia continually expressed their desire to remain in Iran for the sake of their ministry; however, fears for their safety caused them to flee the country.
The Abrahamians were arrested along with another couple in September 2010. Sonia and the other Christians were released from prison in April 2011. Sonia was told her husband would be released 10 days later, but Pastor Vahik was not released until 29 August. Source: FCNN [more...]

13 Oct 2011

EGYPT: Egyptians Mourn Massacre of Coptic Christians

Funeral services were held Monday in Cairo for some of the victims of a military attack against a group of Christian protestors that left at least 26 dead and hundreds wounded. In the wake of what could be the worst act of violence against Egyptian Christians in modern history, leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church called for three days of fasting and prayer for divine intervention, along with three days of mourning. [more...]

13 Oct 2011

IRAN: Update on Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

There have been developments in Iran concerning Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, whose death sentence for apostasy was upheld in court hearings in late September.

The case will now be referred to Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Secondly, the Supreme Court has announced that it would be willing to consider a further appeal. There is continuing uncertainty about the case. The Iranian authorities have repeatedly suggested that a death sentence has not been passed. This is despite the fact that written verdicts issued by the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province in September 2010 and the Supreme Court in July 2011 explicitly stated that the charge was apostasy and the sentence death.
Source: Middle East Concern [more...]

13 Oct 2011

PAKISTAN: Armed Group Kills Christian Over Land Dispute


Safdar Masih, a Pakistani Christian, was shot to death over a land dispute on 5 October. Masih's church in Mian Channu purchased land to build an orphanage; however, their claim on the land was contested by an influential feudal lord. The church filed a complaint with the police but was encouraged by authorities to withdraw the petition. Days later, armed men attacked the village, murdering Masih and injuring a dozen others, including the children. The police have yet to file a report about the attack. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

13 Oct 2011

INDIA: Students at Orphanage Forced to Pay Idol Worship Fee

Hindu extremists in West Bengal, India who earlier this year refused to admit Christian orphans to a high school have forced them to contribute funds for idol worship in order to gain admission, sources said. The Rev Dr Subimal Dutta, director general of Ambassadors Service Society, which operates the Gilgal Children's Home, said he faced threats after opposing the collection of money for idol worship at government schools or government-aided schools. Dutta said that he has tried to stop school officials from collecting money from the Gilgal Children's Home and from non-Hindu students at public schools for the "Puja subscription," or idol worship fee. [more...]

6 Oct 2011

PAKISTAN: Progress in Rape Case but Alleged Victim's Father Dies

A Christian mother of five who was allegedly raped by two Muslims rejoiced after police in Pakistan's Kasur district arrested a suspect and suspended an officer who had dismissed her complaints, but her solace was short-lived when her father collapsed and died Friday 30 September after learning of her ordeal. The 32-year-old woman and her husband, Mushtaq Masih, told Compass that they had lost hope of getting justice as they were facing threats from area Muslims to withdraw the case even as police were deliberately slow to investigate and arrest the accused. [more...]

6 Oct 2011

EGYPT: Hard-line Muslims in Attack Coptic Church, Homes

A group of hard-line Muslims attacked a church building in Upper Egypt on 30 September, torching the structure and then looting and burning nearby Christian-owned homes and businesses. The 3,000-strong mob of hard-line and Salafi Muslims gutted the Mar Gerges Church in the Elmarenab village of Aswan, then demolished much of its remains, multiple witnesses at the scene said. The mob also razed four homes near the church and two businesses, all Christian-owned. Looting was also reported. [more...]

6 Oct 2011

INDONESIA: Church Suicide Bombing In Solo, Central Java

On Sunday 25 September the second worship service at the 700-strong Bethel Full Gospel Church (Gereja Bethel Injil Sepenuh) in Kepunton ended as usual at 11am. At the moment the believers started moving out, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives by the main glass doors of the sanctuary. [more...]

6 Oct 2011

IRAN: Wild Allegations Heaped Upon Pastor

The life of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nardarkani continues to hang in the balance as the Iranian state media is now getting involved in the case. 34-year-old Youcef has new, false charges levelled against him, including rape and extortion.

According to sources inside Iran, Iranian government authorities are providing deceptive information to Western media regarding charges against Pastor Youcef. There is some good news however, according to Todd Nettleton of VOM USA, "the international pressure is working. The Iranian government is hearing from people around the world".
Sources: Mission Network News, VOM USA, Assist News Service [more...]

4 Oct 2011

Rubbish Dump Evangelist

Rubbish Dump Evangelist

A couple years ago we shared with you the story of Neneng*, a bold young woman with a passion to reach out to her people group, the Sundanese in West Java – one of the most devout followers of Islam. There are around 31 million Sundanese in Indonesia. Many of them are uneducated and extremely poor, needing their children to work with them to help provide the family's daily needs. [more...]

4 Oct 2011

October 2011

October 2011

Indonesia [more...]

29 Sep 2011

IRAN: Pastor Stands Firm in Faith, Faces Execution

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani refused to recant his Christian faith yesterday at the fourth and final court hearing in Iran to appeal his death sentence for apostasy (leaving Islam). Applying sharia (Islamic law), the court in Rasht gave Nadarkhani, 35, a final chance to recant Christianity and return to Islam in order for his life to be spared. Nadarkhani refused. [more...]

28 Sep 2011

IRAN: Pastor Refuses to Recant During Court Hearings

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy in September 2010, refused to recant his Christian faith during two court hearings held on 25 and 26 September. In July, the Supreme Court instructed the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province to review his case to verify whether he was previously a practising Muslim. At the recent hearings, the court in Rasht ruled that Pastor Youcef was not a practising Muslim before becoming a Christian but that he remains guilty of apostasy because of his Muslim ancestry. Further sessions have reportedly been scheduled for today (28 September). If Pastor Youcef continues to refuse to recant his faith, it is expected that he will be executed. Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Present Truth Ministries [more...]

28 Sep 2011

WEST BANK: Lives Touched through Youth Centre Programme


Pastor Stephen Khoury, a VOM partner, successfully completed a summer Bible school programme in the Bethlehem suburb of Shepherd's Field, despite opposition from neighbours and local authorities. On the first day, Stephen was accosted by a neighbourhood woman and her two sons, but the Holy Spirit enabled Stephen to respond wisely and to calm the woman. Over the course of the five-day event, the leaders' car tires were slashed and the building and grounds of the youth centre were vandalised. But Stephen and the other Christian workers were encouraged. "We had more than 78 kids come, and more than 25 kids from different religions received Christ," Stephen said. "Lives were changed forever." As a result of their success, a new outreach meeting will be held each Friday at the centre. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

28 Sep 2011

LAOS: Orphans under Pressure

Eleven orphans in northern Laos are currently facing pressure from the principal of their orphanage to stop attending church. If they do not obey, the children may have to leave the orphanage.
After attending a local church and becoming a Christian, one of the orphans shared the Gospel with his peers. Soon, 10 other orphans turned to Christ and began regularly attending church. When the principal heard of the conversions, he told the children multiple times to stop attending church. After pressuring the children with no results, the principal called the group to his office on 19 August. He told them they must stop attending church or face the consequences. Seven of the orphans promised they would stop attending church, but none of them have renounced their faith. The remaining four orphans continue to attend church and refuse to bend under the pressure. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

28 Sep 2011

NIGERIA: Scores of Christians Killed In Plateau State

Dozens of Christians have been killed by Muslim extremists in Nigeria's Plateau state in recent weeks. On 4 September, eight members of a Christian family were shot and butchered with machetes in Tatu village. The next day, seven Christians were killed in the village of Zakalio. Another four Christians were killed on 5 September after Muslims attacked the Christian communities of Dabwak Kuru and Farin Lamba. On 8 September, extremists attacked Tsohon Foron village and killed 10 Christians. The following evening, Muslim attackers killed 14 believers, including a pregnant woman, in the village of Vwang Kogot. The Muslims, aided by men in Nigerian Army military uniforms, then raided the village. A pastor in the area said, "No help or relief from the government has been received by our people.... We've just been living with the horror of not knowing what will happen next." Source: Compass Direct [more...]

22 Sep 2011

CHINA: Pastor Released Early from Prison

Zhang Rongliang, a prominent house church leader sentenced to 7 Âœ years in prison in 2004, has been released nine months early. Zhang was charged with "attaining a passport through cheating" and "illegal border crossing" after attending several international mission conferences. [more...]

22 Sep 2011

PAKISTAN: Christian Mother of Five in Pakistan Alleges Rape

A Christian mother of five was allegedly raped by two Muslim men last week, and area Islamists are threatening to harm her family if charges against the suspects are not dropped, the woman and her husband told Compass. On Thursday 15 September, the 32-year-old woman said, she was returning home to Mustafabad, in Punjab Province's Kasur district, when Muslims identified only as 23-year-old Bhallu and 27-year-old Shera, along with an unidentified accomplice, allegedly abducted her at gunpoint, took her to an abandoned house in the area and raped her. Muslim criminals in Pakistan, where the population is more than 95 percent Muslim according to Operation World, tend to assume they will not be prosecuted if their victims are Christians. [more...]

22 Sep 2011

VIETNAM: Church Leader Re-Arrested, Suffering Ill Health

Father Nguyen Van Ly, a church leader who has spent over 15 years in prison for his work in advocating religious freedom, democracy and human rights in Vietnam, was re-arrested by authorities on 25 July.
Father Ly, 65, was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2007 for distributing material "harmful to the state." He was released temporarily in March 2010 to undergo a year's medical treatment for serious health concerns after suffering two strokes in prison that left him partially paralysed. Despite his ill health, Father Ly continues to be detained. Sources: AsiaNews, Human Rights Watch [more...]

22 Sep 2011

IRAN: First Hearing Scheduled For Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

The first hearing for Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who received a death sentence for apostasy, has been scheduled for 25 September. In July, the Supreme Court instructed the Revolutionary Tribunal of Gilan Province to review Youcef's case to verify whether he was previously a practising Muslim. Youcef claims that, although raised in a Muslim home, he was never a Muslim by choice, conviction, belief or consistent practise, and that he should therefore not be regarded as an apostate. If the Tribunal concludes that Youcef was previously a Muslim and so is now an apostate, the Supreme Court's ruling makes clear that he should then be executed unless he recants his faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Sources: Middle East Concern, Door of Hope International [more...]

15 Sep 2011

CHINA: Church Leaders Released

Several church leaders from the Linfen-Fushan house church in Shanxi province, China, have been released from detention. The released Christians were among those arrested following a police raid on their church's grounds in September 2009. More than 30 believers were seriously injured and 17 buildings were destroyed in the attack. Three women -- Gao Fuqin, Zhao Guoai and Yang Hongzhen – were released, along with a Christian man, Li Shuangpin. Yang Caizhen, who was also imprisoned with the women, was released earlier on medical parole. All five of these leaders suffered physical and mental torture while detained at labour camps. [more...]

15 Sep 2011

TURKMENISTAN: Update on Imprisoned Pastor

Family and friends of Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev were disappointed in late August when the president did not include the pastor in what has become an annual amnesty of prisoners. Pastor Ilmurad was arrested at his home in Mary in south-eastern Turkmenistan on 27 August, 2010. He was charged with extracting money from three people -- an accusation his wife, Maya, and fellow church members strongly deny. [more...]

15 Sep 2011

IRAN: Pastor Freed On Bail; Others Remain Imprisoned


A pastor arrested and charged with blasphemy against Islam was released on bail on 27 August. Pastor Matthias Haghnejad was arrested 10 days earlier while making a pastoral visit in the city of Rasht, Iran. He was held until his family paid $30,000 in bail. While Pastor Matthias is currently free, he still faces a trial on the blasphemy charge.
Earlier this year, Matthias and 10 other church members were detained and charged with partaking in activities against the Iranian order. They were later acquitted. At least eight other Iranian Christian leaders are currently in prison. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

15 Sep 2011

SOMALIA: Convert to Christianity Kidnapped, Beheaded

A kidnapped Christian convert from Islam was found decapitated on 2 September on the outskirts of Hudur City in Bakool region, in south-western Somalia. Juma Nuradin Kamil was forced into a car by three suspected Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab terrorist group on 21 August, area sources said. The kidnapping and subsequent manner of murder suggests that al Shabaab militants had been monitoring him, Christian leaders said. Muslim extremists from al Shabaab, a militant group with ties to al Qaeda, have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, and they control the area some 400 kilometres from Mogadishu. [more...]

8 Sep 2011

PAKISTAN: Two Christians Seriously Injured for Refusing Islam

Liaqat Munawar, a Pakistani Christian, reported that his brother Ishfaq Munawar and his friend Naeem Masih were attacked by Pashtun youth in Karachi, Pakistan. Ishfaq and Naeem were travelling home from a church service when they were flagged down by a group of Pashtun youth. The youth questioned their identities and why they were travelling through the town. When they discovered Ishfaq and Naeem were Christians, they told them to recite the Kalma (the Islamic conversion creed) and that this was the only way they would leave the town alive. [more...]

8 Sep 2011

KAZAKHSTAN: Expelled For Preaching In Own Church


After legal residence in Kazakhstan for 15 years, marriage to a Kazakh citizen and a two-year-old daughter, Russian citizen Leonid Pan was, in mid-August, denied his application to renew his residence permit because he volunteers to preach in his local Protestant church. The local Internal Policy Department had already refused permission for him to become leader of the church. "How can the Migration Police, without having a Court order, demand that Leonid leave the country?" church members complained to Forum 18. The KNB secret police denied to Forum 18 it was involved in the expulsion. [more...]

8 Sep 2011

NIGERIA: Violence in Jos continues

On Sunday around 2am a mob of some 30 Fulani Muslims - reportedly with 'sophisticated weapons' - crept into Tatu village and forced their way into the home of the Chollom Gyang Christian family. Apart from the couple's fourth child who was away, all eight other family members were massacred in their beds, including a four- month-old baby. Due to rumours that they would be attacked there, most Christians stayed away from their churches all day. [more...]

8 Sep 2011

IRAN: Believers Must Report to Prison to Serve One Year Sentence

Five Iranian Christian believers and ministers who were convicted of crimes against the Islamic Order on 8 March 2011 in Shiraz, Iran, have been told to report to prison immediately to serve a one-year prison sentence. According to Jason DeMars of Present Truth Ministries their names are: Behrouz Sadegh-Khandjani, Mehdi "Petros" Furutan, Mohammed "William" Belyad, Nazly Belyad, and Parviz Khalaj. [more...]

1 Sep 2011

Unstoppable Courage: Singh's Story

Unstoppable Courage: Singh's Story


Forty-eight-year-old Singh* has been jailed several times for his courageous devotion to Christ. A poor subsistence farmer, Singh and his wife Lae* lost six of their seven children to malaria. When Singh's seventh child also contracted malaria, the prospect of losing his last child to this illness was unbearable. The local medical clinic had no medicine for malaria, so he turned to the village witchdoctor for help. The child's illness grew worse. "Why don't you try that Christian God?" a villager suggested. "What have you to lose?" "Why not?" Singh and Lae concluded. Singh offered up a simple, sincere prayer, "God, if you will heal my son, I will follow You all my life." [more...]

1 Sep 2011

September 2011

September 2011

Laos [more...]

1 Sep 2011

IRAN: Prisoner Vahik Abrahamian Released

Pastor Vahik Abrahamian, a 45-year-old Armenian Christian, was released from prison on the morning of Monday 29 August, after suffering greatly behind bars for a year, and has now rejoined his family. On 4 September 2010 Pastor Vahik Abrahamian and his wife Sonia Keshish Avanesian were meeting with another Christian couple at Vahik and Sonia's home when all four were arrested. Sonia and the other couple were released from prison in April 2011. Officials told Sonia they would release her husband 10 days later, however, he was retained at Iran's notorious Evin prison in Tehran. The couples had been accused of various offences, including propagating Christianity, opposing the Islamic Republic of Iran, and having contact with exiled opposition figures. [more...]

1 Sep 2011

PAKISTAN: Enforced Conversion and Marriage after Kidnapping of Christian Girl

In 2009, Arifa Alfred, a 27-year-old Christian girl, was kidnapped in Pakistan after drinking tea that had been drugged. When she awoke, she was in the home of Amjad, a Muslim man who told her that she was now his wife and that she had converted to Islam. Arifa's parents reported her kidnapping to the police in 2009, but the police did nothing to help. [more...]

1 Sep 2011

NIGERIA: Army Said to Help in Slaughter of Christians


Muslim extremists, with the alleged help of Nigerian army personnel, killed 24 Christians this month in central Nigeria's Plateau state, area sources said. The attacks started 11 August in Ratsa Foron village, where assaults that day and on 15 August left six Christians dead; also on 15 August in Heipang village, Muslim extremists killed nine members of one Christian family along with another Christian, the sources said. "I can swear to God Almighty that the attack was carried out with the support of the soldiers; I saw them," said a tearful Nnaji John, who lost her family in the attack. [more...]

1 Sep 2011

TURKEY: Government Overturns Historic Religious Property Seizures

The Turkish government made an historic U-turn in state policy last weekend, issuing an official decree inviting Turkey's Christian and Jewish communities to reclaim their long-confiscated religious properties. The decree comes 75 years after the Turkish government seized hundreds of lands and buildings owned by its Greek, Armenian, Syriac and Jewish communities. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the surprise decision on Sunday evening 28 August in Istanbul, addressing a large gathering of Istanbul's non-Muslim religious leaders representing 161 minority foundations. [more...]

25 Aug 2011

NORTH SUDAN: Church Building in Ruins as Hostilities Grow

More than seven months after Muslim extremists burned its church building, a Presbyterian Church of the Sudan (PCOS) congregation is still afraid to meet for worship, according to Christian sources. The Rev Maubark Hamad said his church in Wad Madani, 138 kilometres southeast of Khartoum, has not been able to rebuild since the 15 Jan devastation due to the congregation's meagre resources. Christian sources said they are increasingly fearful as Muslim extremists pose more threats against Christians in an attempt to rid what they call Dar al Islam, the "Land of Islam," of Christianity. [more...]

25 Aug 2011

CHINA: ChinaAid Seeks Special UN Investigation of "Disappeared" Human Rights Lawyer

ChinaAid formally requested a special UN investigation into the torture of missing Christian lawyer Gao Zhisheng on Monday 15 August, the five-year anniversary of his first kidnapping by Chinese police. The request by China Aid Association was submitted by its legal counsel and was filed with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. Human rights lawyer Gao was taken by police on 15 August 2006 from his sister's home and held incommunicado until the Chinese government announced on 21 September 2006 that he was being charged with inciting subversion. [more...]

25 Aug 2011

VIETNAM: Christian Worshippers Brutally Beaten by Police

A violent attack against indigenous minority Montagnard Christians in the central highlands of Vietnam took place in July, leaving 16 men and women severely injured and one man still under arrest; his welfare remains unknown to date. On 7 July at approximately 8pm, Vietnamese security forces and police descended upon a worship service in the village of Buon Kret Krot (H'Ra commune, Mang Yang district, Plei Ku city, in Gai Lai province), and began kicking and beating the attendees. Security forces threatened the villagers, stating: "If anyone worships like this way, we will return to arrest you all and put you in prison for five years." Twelve men and four women were beaten, and of these, ten men and two women were violently beaten to unconsciousness. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

25 Aug 2011

IRAQ'S "Bloody Monday"


At least 80 people were killed in Iraq on Monday 15 August when a coordinated series of bombs were set off across the country, including outside a church in Kirkuk. More than 350 people were injured in the attack believed to be the work of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQIR). Recently, Sunni and Shia Islamists bombed St Ephraim Syrian Orthodox Church and Holy Family Syrian Catholic Church, and attempted to bomb a Presbyterian church, but the bomb was fortunately defused before it caused any damage. Many Christians have already fled Iraq, but those that remain live in constant fear, claiming that the government makes no attempt to protect them from radical Islamists. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

25 Aug 2011

SOMALIA: Islamists Prevent Starved Christians from Receiving Food Aid

A famine in Somalia has resulted in the death of thousands of people and millions more in urgent need of food aid. Aid is reaching some affected areas but radical Islamists are controlling its distribution and preventing Christians from receiving help and causing many to starve to death. [more...]

18 Aug 2011

EGYPT: Christian Killed, others Injured in Mob Attack

A Christian was killed and several others were injured by a mob of Muslims who recently attacked the predominantly Christian village of Nazlet Faragallah in Upper Egypt. The attack was reportedly sparked by an argument on 6 August between a Muslim man and a Coptic Christian woman. The nature of the argument could not be confirmed, but several Christian men allegedly came to the aid of the woman, ending the dispute. Several hours later, a group of Muslims arrived at the village church and started pelting congregants with rocks as they left the building. The Christians responded in kind. Several people suffered cuts and bruises, and some of the windows of the church building were broken. [more...]

18 Aug 2011

UGANDA: Christian Brutally Imprisoned by Muslim Father

A 14-year-old girl in western Uganda remains in frail health 10 months after her father tortured her for leaving Islam for Christianity. In March 2010, Susan Ithungu came to faith in Christ after an evangelist came to speak at her school in Isango village, Kasese district. A month later, news reached Susan's father that she had converted to Christianity. He warned her and her brother, Mbusa Baluku, against attending church or listening to the Gospel message, threatening to kill them in broad daylight if they embraced Christianity. Susan was then locked in a room with no sunlight. Her brother was warned against telling anyone of her imprisonment, but would secretly bring her food and water. [more...]

18 Aug 2011

CHINA: House Church Members Targeted

Chinese authorities have recently targeted several Christians who were involved in house church activities.

On 11 August, approximately 100 officials surrounded the residence of Pastor Lu Jingxiang in Mingguang city, Anhui province, where his house church was hosting a summer camp for children. Pastor Lu and three visiting Christian leaders were taken to the police station for holding an "unregistered, illegal meeting." The principal of the local elementary and high school recorded the names of all the children in attendance. Pastor Lu and the three other leaders were later released. The evening before the raid, local officials had spread rumours that Pastor Lu had hidden drugs and cult members in his home. [more...]

18 Aug 2011

UPDATE: Formerly Imprisoned Cuban Pastor Settles in United States

A formerly imprisoned Cuban pastor recently arrived in the United States as a political refugee along with his wife and daughters. In February 2006, Cuban authorities raided the home of Pastor Carlos Lamelas and arrested him on charges of aiding emigrants who sought to leave the country illegally. Pastor Carlos was later accused of being involved in human trafficking. Those acquainted with Pastor Carlos denied that he was ever involved in such activities and believed he was being targeted for opposing the Cuban regime on religious rights issues. Carlos suffered in prison without charges until he was suddenly given a "conditional release" in June 2006. He was later fined, however, on charges of "falsifying documents. [more...]

18 Aug 2011

IRAN: Imported Bibles Seized by Government

The Iranian government is expressing great concern over the large volume of Bibles entering the country. Authorities reportedly seized 6,500 Bibles in transit between the cities of Zanjan and Abhar in northwest Iran. An Iranian official recently stated that "missionaries with reliance on huge money and propaganda are trying to deviate our youth." He also expressed his concern that "religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam." Prior to this, in November of 2010, police officers and revolutionary guards seized 300 Bibles and burned them. Source: Mohabat News [more...]

11 Aug 2011

SUDAN: Christian Teenager Traumatised after Kidnapping

A Christian teenager in Sudan recently escaped from kidnappers who tortured her and pressured her to convert from Christianity to Islam. On 17 June 2010, Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo, then 15 years old, was abducted by a gang of Muslims. She was initially locked in a room and beaten until she was unconscious. For months, the men moved her to various locations in Khartoum, threatening to kill her if she tried to escape and insulting her Christian family members as "infidels." [more...]

11 Aug 2011

ERITREA: Mass arrests of Christians Continue

Eritrean officials have arrested at least 90 Christians in recent months, including many college students. In May, authorities detained 64 believers in Adi Abeyto, a village near the capital, Asmara. Only six of the 90 arrested have been released. The others are thought to be held at a police station or in the notorious Mitire military prison. It is not clear why the Christians were detained, but college students have reportedly been arrested in recent weeks for refusing to take part in celebrations for the country's Independence Day (24 May). For example, 26 students from the Mai-Mefhi College of Technology were arrested in June and detained at an unknown location. [more...]

11 Aug 2011

PAKISTAN: Pray for Distraught Christian Widow

On 21 March, a group of young Muslim men attacked a Salvation Army Church in Hyderabad, Pakistan, and shot to death 25-year-old Jamil and another man. Recently VOM staff visited with Jamil's wife, Sana, who had been married to Jamil but a month before his tragic death. Sana is very emotionally fragile at this time. "One minute she is laughing and the next she is crying. Her behaviour is very erratic," said the VOM team leader. Jamil had been supporting Sana, his parents and two siblings by working as a sweeper. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

11 Aug 2011

SUDAN: Genocide of Nuba by Starvation

Continual aerial bombardment has displaced hundreds of thousands of Nuba, the predominantly Christian African tribes indigenous to the Nuba Mountains in Sudan's South Kordofan State. Furthermore, the Government of Sudan (GoS) is preventing humanitarian aid entering the region. Sudan experts warn that if there is no intervention 70,000 or more Nuba will starve to death within the next two months. Eye-witnesses report that Christian pastors specifically are being targeted for arrest, torture and execution, because the Church has been labelled an enemy. Please pray for God to intervene on behalf of his imperilled and besieged people in the Nuba Mts. Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission [more...]

4 Aug 2011

UZBEKISTAN: Persecution of Church Leaders Continues

An indictment has been filed against a Baptist in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. Konstantin Malchikovsky is accused of not paying in monies from church offerings and book sales. Baptists strongly dispute the charges, describing them as "absurd", and noting that they "violate the Religion Law". They also note that courts have ignored what they describe as "exhaustive proofs of falsification and forgery of documents by the tax authorities". The charges have, as in previous cases, been accompanied by a hostile campaign in the state-run media accusing Baptists among other things of running an "illegal training centre". [more...]

4 Aug 2011

SAUDI ARABIA: Jailed Indian Christians Released After Six Months

Two Indian Christians, Sekhar and Yohan, were arrested and charged with proselytising in Saudi Arabia. After six months in prison, they were released and returned to India on Sunday.

The raid and the arrests in Saudi Arabia are believed to be an attempt to stop Christians from worshipping in their homes. During the raid in which the two men were arrested, authorities confiscated Bibles, Christian literature, and musical instruments. They also reportedly painted verses from the Koran on the apartment walls [more...]

4 Aug 2011

CHINA: House Church Leader Sentenced to Labour Camp

The deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, Pastor Shi Enhao, has been sentenced to two years of "re-education through labour," an extra-judicial punishment that is handed out by police and requires no trial or conviction of a crime. The charge on the sentencing papers is "illegal meetings and illegal organising of venues for religious meetings." This charge stems from the fact that Pastor Shi's large house church of several thousand members meets in various different sites around the city. [more...]

4 Aug 2011

TANZANIA: Muslim Extremists Torch Churches in Zanzibar

Muslim extremists on Saturday 30 July burned down a church building on Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania, church leaders said, just three days after another congregation's facility on the island was reduced to ashes. In Fuoni on the south coast of Zanzibar island, Islamic extremists torched the building of the Evangelical Assemblies of God-Tanzania (EAGT) at around 2 pm, said Pastor Leonard Massasa, who oversees Zanzibar's EAGT churches. The assailants were shouting, "Away with the church – we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children," Pastor Massasa said. The EAGT church is about 60 kilometres from Zanzibar town. In Kianga about 10 kilometres from Zanzibar town, another church building was burned down on 27 July at about 2 am, said Pastor George Frank Dunia of Free Evangelical Pentecostal Church in Africa. [more...]

1 Aug 2011

PAKISTAN: A Call for Mercy

PAKISTAN: A Call for Mercy

In Pakistan today, Asia Bibi, a Christian wife and mother, sits alone in a 1.8m by 2.4m jail cell, awaiting possible execution. Her 'crime' was that she spoke the truth about her faith. Asia is an ordinary Pakistani Christian, an impoverished fruit picker, but she is a vital link in the Lord's plan to bring His truth to Pakistan and the entire world. Militant Muslims view Asia and courageous Pakistani evangelists as blasphemers. They are offended and angered by the truth of the Gospel, and they think they are serving Allah by burning churches and jailing or killing Christians. [more...]

1 Aug 2011

August 2011

August 2011

Pakistan [more...]

28 Jul 2011

SRI LANKA: Violence Against Christians

Several Christians were assaulted and threatened throughout Sri Lanka in recent weeks. A pastor was assaulted after attending a meeting convened by a Buddhist monk in Ampara District, Eastern Province on 10 July. During the meeting, which was in regard to land distribution, the pastor was assaulted by the monk and others present. The monk kicked the pastor, resulting in serious injuries to his arm and stomach. They later followed the pastor to his home and continued to verbally abuse him and members of his family. [more...]

28 Jul 2011

LAOS: Christian Kicked out by Family for Refusing Witch Doctor

A Christian in Laos was recently kicked out of his home for taking his daughter to a medical doctor rather than seeking treatment from a witch doctor. Twenty-six-year-old 'Noy' lived with his wife and their two children in his in-laws' home. He has faced opposition from his family members since he converted to Christianity because he attended church on Sunday rather than work in the field. When his daughter became ill, the family told Noy to take her to a witch doctor. Instead, Noy said, "I will take my daughter to the hospital. God will rescue her life." His in-laws cursed him and burned his Bible and other Christian books while he was at the hospital. When Noy returned after his daughter's recovery, his in-laws told him he couldn't live there unless he renounced his faith. Noy refused, saying, "How can I forsake the living God?" They then forced him to leave the house. [more...]

28 Jul 2011

TAJIKISTAN: New Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The Upper Chamber of Tajikistan's Parliament recently adopted two legal measures that will further restrict religious freedom, particularly the religious education of children. On 21 July, a new Parental Responsibility Law was passed, banning almost all children under 18 from participating in religious activity. At the same time, an amendment to the Criminal Code was passed to punish organisers of 'extremist religious' teaching – an unidentified concept that could easily be applied against Christian leaders.

Both of the new legal measures – which still need to be signed by President Emomali Rahmon to come into force – come just two weeks after an amendment made to the country's Religion Law decreed tight restrictions on religious education abroad for children and adults.
Source: Forum 18 [more...]

28 Jul 2011

PAKISTAN: Update: Muslims Convicted for Murdering Christian

Three Muslims were recently sentenced to life in prison for murdering a Christian who refused to convert to Islam. Rasheed Masih, a 36-year-old potato business owner in Punjab province, was brutally killed in March 2010 by Muslims resentful of his success. Rasheed was also pressured to renounce his faith. On 7 July, the Sessions Court in Mian Channu convicted the three men of torturing and killing Rasheed and sentenced them to life sentences of 25 years. They were also each ordered to pay 100,000 rupees (approximately AU$1,045) to Rasheed's family. A fourth suspect was acquitted.
Source: Compass Direct [more...]

21 Jul 2011

SUDAN: South Sudan Receives Independence; Christians Remain at Risk

On 9 July, North and South Sudan officially became separate nations—a separation in accordance with a referendum held in January. The succession comes after a long history of violence and conflict, including two civil wars between the largely Islamic North and the Christian and animist majority in the South. Christians, in particular, have endured severe opposition. [more...]

21 Jul 2011

IRAN: Court Re-Examining Case of Iranian Pastor Sentenced To Death

In early July, it was reported that the case of Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor sentenced to death for leaving Islam, was being returned to a lower Iranian court. In recent days it was learned that has lawyer has finally received the written confirmation of the ruling from the Supreme Court. According to one source, the Supreme Court has agreed with the death sentence verdict. However, the court also found procedural flaws and is asking the lower court to re-examine the case. The judges are reportedly seeking clarification as to whether Pastor Youcef was truly a Muslim prior to becoming a Christian. If Pastor Youcef is determined to have been a "true" Muslim and does not recant his Christian faith the death sentence will stand. It is also feared that Pastor Youcef could be executed before the court re-examines the case. Sources: VOM contacts [more...]

15 Jul 2011

LAOS: Imprisoned Pastor ‘Extremely Weak,’ Family Says

A Lao pastor imprisoned six months ago for holding a "secret meeting" has lost weight under harsh prison conditions and is extremely weak, according to his family. Police arrested Wanna and fellow pastor and inmate Yohan, both identified only by a single name, on 4 January along with several other Christians in central Laos's Khammouan Province. [more...]

15 Jul 2011

NIGERIA: Boko Haram Strikes

Boko Haram, 'the Nigerian Taliban', formalised its links with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in mid-June 2010. Consequently terror has escalated. On 16 June Boko Haram perpetrated Nigeria's first ever suicide bombing, attacking the Police Headquarters in the capital Abuja, killing eight. Whilst some church bombing plots have been foiled, four Christians died when militants bombed the All Christian Fellowship Mission in Selija, Niger State, 40km from Abuja, on Sunday 10 July. [more...]

15 Jul 2011

EGYPT: Sexual Harassment of Christian Wife Turns into Violence against Christian Villagers in Egypt

On 30 June, the Egyptian village of western Kolosna was looted and torched--injuring at least ten Christians. Earlier in the week, a Coptic Christian man tried to protect his wife from being sexually harassed by Muslim men at a local bus terminal. The fact that the Christian husband was defending his wife enraged the Muslim men. [more...]

7 Jul 2011

Iran ‘Annuls’ Death Sentence for Youcef Nadarkhani

Following a huge prayer campaign on behalf of an Iranian pastor, the ASSIST News Service has learned that Iran's supreme court has overturned the death sentence handed down to Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor accused of apostasy for having converted from Islam. [more...]

7 Jul 2011

KAZAKHSTAN: "Absurd" Criminal Charge for Praying for the Sick

Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov of the New Life Protestant Church in the city of Taraz could face up to two years' imprisonment if criminal charges of harming an individual's health, brought by the KNB secret police, reach court. The KNB claim a visitor to the church suffered after Pastor Ushanov prayed for him using hypnosis, the second time the secret police have brought such charges against a Protestant pastor in Jambyl Region. "This is not the first time the authorities in southern regions of Kazakhstan bring such absurd accusations against pastors for allegedly using hypnosis, while in reality all they do is pray for the sick," [more...]

7 Jul 2011

INDIA: Pastor’s Father Beaten Unconscious in Attack in Rajasthan

Hindu extremists in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan have threatened to kill a pastor after beating his family and violating an agreement to stop attacking them, the pastor said. Pastor Shantilal Ninama of Believers Church told Compass that the Hindu extremists beat his 65-year-old father until he fell unconscious in one of the attacks last month. On the evening of 8 June, after agreeing to do no further harm to Pastor Ninama and his family in exchange for him dropping police charges he'd filed over a previous attack, the enraged Hindu extremists stormed into his home and began beating and stoning his father, sister, wife and three children, he said. [more...]

30 Jun 2011

IRAN: Pastor’s Death Sentence Upheld

The death sentence of Youcef Nardarkhani, an Iranian pastor convicted of apostasy, has been upheld and confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court. Pastor Youcef, a leader in the Full Gospel "Church of Iran" network, was arrested and imprisoned in October 2009 after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Koran. In September, Iran's 11th Circuit Criminal Court of Appeals for the Gilan Province upheld Pastor Youcef's death sentence and conviction for apostasy. The delivery of the death sentence, however, was delayed. Many believe the delay was a means to pressure him to him to turn away from Christ in prison. [more...]

30 Jun 2011

SUDAN: Christians Tortured and Killed in South Sudan

Government agents and Islamic militants recently launched deadly attacks on Christians in Sudan's South Kordofan state. On 8 June, a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Intelligence unit detained a seminary student, Nimeri Philip Kalo, near the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in the capital city of Kadugli. Nimeri and other Christians were fleeing the town after Muslim militias loyal to the SAF attacked and looted at least three local churches. The agents reportedly accused Nimeri of being a Christian and suspected he was therefore opposed to the Islamic government. The UNMIS's mandate is to support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of Sudan and the country's Christian and animist south, which is scheduled to secede on 9 July. Nimeri was killed in front of several bystanders. "They shot him in front of our eyes and forced us not to cry, or else we would face the same fate," said one witness. [more...]

30 Jun 2011

NIGERIA: Pastor Killed In Borno State

Two Christians were recently killed by members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram in the northeastern town of Maiduguri, Nigeria. Pastor David Usman (45) and Hamman Andrew, the church secretary, were shot dead near the church in an area of Maiduguri called the Railway Quarters. In 2009, when the church was set on fire by militants, Pastor David had reportedly raised the problem of Boko Haram with his superiors and commented that the Government needed to do more to stop their aggression. [more...]

30 Jun 2011

CHINA: Harassment Continues For Shouwang Church in Beijing, China

Members of the Shouwang Church in Beijing, China have been arrested and repeatedly harassed by authorities for their attempt to hold outdoor Sunday worship in recent months. In the latest such incident, 15 Christians were detained for gathering at the church's designated outdoor worship site on 26 June. Several of the detained believers were visiting from other churches, including one woman who had travelled from Henan province to show her support. Police had reportedly stopped two other Christian women from another house church from leaving their home to visit the worship site. By 9:00 pm that evening, all of the believers were released. [more...]

30 Jun 2011

UZBEK: Christian Threatened by Police

A Christian man is facing threats and harassment from police in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for challenging a fine he received for his religious activity. In April, Anvar Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage after police raided his home and confiscated literature. In an attempt to stop Anvar from appealing against the police actions and court decisions, local police summoned him to the police station in late May. [more...]

30 Jun 2011

VIETNAM: Pastor Kidnapped by Authorities

According to VOM sources, Pastor T a Mennonite from Ho Chi Minh City was arrested on the evening of Saturday 26 June. He was beaten in custody and taken to an unknown location. While speaking on RFA radio, Nu, Pastor T's wife said, at around 10pm her husband left home but phoned 15 minutes later from the Ward 26, Binh Thanh district police station to say he was being held. [more...]

30 Jun 2011

July 2011

July 2011

Nigeria, Philippines, Malaysia [more...]

30 Jun 2011

The New Mecca of Terrorism

The New Mecca of Terrorism

On Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines, a modern-day religious war is raging. Radical Islamists are using violence, kidnapping and murder to persecute Christians, most of whom are poor subsistence farmers.

Christians live under constant threat from their Muslim neighbours. The violence is so routine, one United States official dubbed Mindanao 'the new Mecca of terrorism.' Though it makes up just five percent of the population on Mindanao, the Muslim minority plays a sadistic game of musical chairs, stealing the land, destroying the homes, dividing the families and targeting the lives of Christians. It is their hope, when the music stops, the 13 million Christians currently living on the island will either be dead or Islamic converts. [more...]

23 Jun 2011

INDONESIA: Mission Training School Attacked

A mission training school was recently attacked by a mob of Muslims following a prayer meeting in Jonggol, West Java, Indonesia. Approximately 85 Muslims rushed into the school and raided each class and living quarters, removing pictures of Jesus. They told the staff that the school must be closed. No students were on the premises, as school was not in session that day. Several police officers and soldiers accompanied the mob from a nearby military base and neighbours did not recognise them as locals. [more...]

23 Jun 2011

IRAN: Christian Held in Solitary Confinement

Friends and family of a detained Iranian Christian are calling for clarification of his case more than five months after he was sent to Tehran's notoriously brutal Evin prison. Farshid Fathi (32) was one of several believers detained by government security officials in December 2010 during a series of raids on Christians' homes in Tehran. He has endured months of solitary confinement even though no court orders or instructions have been issued in his case. Interrogators have reportedly used psychological torture in attempts to force Farshid to reveal details of Christian contacts. [more...]

23 Jun 2011

LAOS: Missionary Charged With Human Trafficking

A missionary to youth in Laos was recently charged with human trafficking, an offence that carries a hefty fine and a prison sentence of five to 50 years. Brother K was arrested and charged with human trafficking in May after he went to a police station to seek the release of 24 young people. The youths had been detained while travelling to a Christian training conference, where Brother K was serving as a leader. [more...]

16 Jun 2011

SUDAN: The South Approaching Independence

Sudanese Christians request continued prayer as the North and South prepare to separate on 9 July , in accordance with a referendum held in January. Alarming developments include the North's intention to implement Shariah more strictly, potentially reducing the limited freedoms given to Christians and other non-Muslims. There is also fear that, with many Christians feeling the South, the remaining believers will be especially vulnerable to pressure and attacks. [more...]

16 Jun 2011

INDIA: Christians Attacked and Threatened In Jharkhand State

Several Christians came under attack in Jharkhand state, India, in recent weeks. On 28 May, Hindu militants beat the members of five Christian families in Palamu district. A week prior, a group of Hindu militants threatened to beat Pastor Sanjay Choudary of the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society if he did not stop leading worship meetings. He and his congregation then filed a complaint, leading the police to visit with them on 28 May. Immediately after the police left, the enraged militants appeared and started beating people. One woman suffered internal injuries, and another of the believers was still missing at last report. [more...]

16 Jun 2011

AZERBAIJAN: New Measures to Control Religious Freedom


Christians in Azerbaijan fear that new amendments to the restrictive Religion Law will increase state restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in the country. The amendments, adopted 10 June, could make it difficult to determine which individuals are able to serve as religious leaders. A news article states that a "religious person engaged in religious activity is a person with higher or secondary specialised religious education." While this definition does not specify that only "professional" religious workers can conduct activities such as religious education or leading worship, officials could use the new definitions to ban individuals from any religious activity not specially authorised by the published law. [more...]

16 Jun 2011

YEMEN: Continued Prayer Requested For Christians Abducted

June marks the second anniversary of the kidnapping of nine foreigners in Saada, northwest Yemen, three of whom were murdered shortly afterwards and two of whom were freed last May. There continues to be no news of Johannes and Sabine, a German couple, and their young son, Simon, or of Tony, a British man. Johannes and Sabine�s daughters, Lydia, 6, and Anna, 5, are currently living with relatives in Germany and reportedly in good health. It is understood that both German and British investigators have stopped the active search for the missing believers. Those close to this situation remain hopeful that those still missing are alive and ask for continued prayerful intercession on their behalf. Source: Middle East Concern [more...]

9 Jun 2011

PAKISTAN: Police Reluctant to Prosecute Attack on Church

Armed Muslims disrupted the worship service of a church outside Lahore on Sunday 29 May, cursing the congregation, smashing a glass altar and desecrating Bibles and a cross, Christian leaders said. Police initially tried to protect the leader of the Muslim intruders, the nephew of a former Member of the Punjab Assembly (MPA), and instead of making arrests eventually pressured Christians to accept an apology from the accused, they said. [more...]

9 Jun 2011

NEPAL: Planned Criminal Code Forbids Evangelism


Five years after it abolished Hinduism as the state religion, Nepal is working on a new criminal code forbidding a person from one faith to "convert a person or abet him to change his religion." Article 160 of the proposed code also says no one will be allowed to do anything or behave in any way that could cause a person from a caste, community or creed to lose faith in his/her traditional religion or convert to a different religion. Offenders could be imprisoned for a maximum of five years and fined up to 50,000 Nepalese rupees ($A 656). [more...]

9 Jun 2011

CHINA: Two Women Ministers Detained & Beaten by Police in Xinjiang are Released

Two women house church ministers in the far northwest region of Xinjiang were taken into police custody on Saturday and beaten, but were quickly released early Sunday morning, according to ChinaAid sources. The two – Li Tianping and Wang Ling – were detained by police in the city of Korla at 7pm and taken to the Sayibage police station, but were released on Sunday at 3am. Sources credited prayer for the speedy release. [more...]

9 Jun 2011

EGYPT: Muslim Mob Besieges Egyptian Church

Thousands of Muslims protested against the reopening of the St Mary and St Abraham church in Egypt. The church was forced to close in 2008 because of severe protests occurring against Christians and church goers. When the church attempted to reopen on 19 May, the priests were met with the same protests and violence. Muslims are protesting the church's dome and cross, which reportedly violate the Muslim custom of "dhimmitude" – the custom considers displays of faith by religious minorities to be intolerable. [more...]

2 Jun 2011

SUDAN: Christian Woman in Darfur Arrested for Evangelising

Hawa Abdalla Muhammad Saleh was arrested on 9 May in the Abu Shouk camp for Internally Displaced Persons in Al-Fashir. Authorities have accused her of possessing and distributing Bibles to others in the camp. Sources said she could also be tried for apostasy, which carries the death sentence in Sudan. Abdalla has been transferred to an unknown location in Khartoum, sources said, adding that they fear she could be tortured as she was detained and tortured for six days in 2009. [more...]

2 Jun 2011

ALGERIA: Christian Sentenced beyond Prosecutor’s Request

In Oran, 470 kilometres west of Algiers, a criminal court in the city's Djamel district on Wednesday 25 May sentenced Siaghi Krimo to a prison term of five years for giving a CD about Christianity to a neighbour, who subsequently claimed he had insulted Muhammad. Krimo was also fined 200,000 Algerian dinars ($A 2,590), according to Algerian news reports. The prosecutor had reportedly requested the judge sentence him to a two-year prison sentence and a fine of 50,000 Algerian dinars ($A 646). The lawyer said he plans to appeal the case. Krimo is not required to serve his prison sentence until the court hears his appeal and upholds the conviction. [more...]

2 Jun 2011

TAJIKISTAN: Restrictive Parental Responsibility Law May Be Adopted

Tajikistan's Parliament may adopt a restrictive Parental Responsibility Law, drafts of which ban children from attending religious activities apart from funerals. The latest text of the proposed Law has not been made public - even though it is being discussed in Parliamentary Committees - and deputies and officials have been giving contradictory answers about the expected timetable. It may be adopted by July, even though drafts of the Law - which was initiated by President Emomali Rahmon - break the Constitution and international human rights standards. Local religious communities, independent legal experts and human rights defenders have condemned the draft Law, but Deputy Marhabo Jabborova, Chair of a parliamentary committee leading discussions on the Law, told Forum 18 that: "I am not aware of any comments from religious communities." Source Forum 18 News Service [more...]

2 Jun 2011

IRAN: Christians on Trial for Christian Practice

Eleven members of an evangelical denomination, who were charged with 'action against the order of the country' and drinking alcohol, have been acquitted by an Iranian court. The charges referred to their involvement in a house church meeting and to taking communion wine. Following their arrests in April, the eleven members of the Church of Iran denomination were brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal in Bandar-Anzali on 1 May for a rushed hearing where their lawyer, Mr Seyyed Mohammed-Ali Dadkhah, hastily drafted a statement in their defence. [more...]

1 Jun 2011

Colombia: The Jungle Evangelist

Colombia: The Jungle Evangelist

After Rolo turned to Christ, he met a pastor who took him under his care. "He told me to stay as long as I wanted," Rolo said. He began to join the pastor on trips to distribute Bibles. "He started taking me to the little villages, and I was really enjoying it," Rolo said. "I really loved giving out Bibles." Rolo told his pastor he wanted to be a full-time missionary in the red zones. "It's too dangerous there," the pastor said. "They will kill you." Rolo was determined to go. "I had completely lost all fear," he said. "It wasn't because I thought I was so great or because I wanted to show them, but rather I had a desire to be back in the jungles giving out Bibles. I felt a tremendous necessity." [more...]

1 Jun 2011

June 2011

June 2011

Colombia [more...]

26 May 2011

IRAQ: Christian Tortured and Killed

A 29-year-old Christian man was recently tortured and killed by members of al Qaida in Kirkuk, Iraq. [more...]

26 May 2011

COLOMBIA: Christians Facing Increased and Intense Violence

Colombian Christians are on high alert as intense and deadly violence continues in the country. [more...]

26 May 2011

PAKISTAN: Christian Accused of Blasphemy

A Christian bookstore owner is facing blasphemy charges due to the allegations of a local Muslim, his former business partner, in Punjab province, Pakistan. [more...]

26 May 2011

AZERBAIJAN: Officials Raid Churches, Question Christians

Several Christians were targeted by authorities in town of Sumgait, Azerbaijan, in recent weeks. [more...]

19 May 2011

NORTH AFRICA: Blasphemy Laws Threaten Christians

Amid the political shifts in the North African countries of Egypt and Sudan, the laws against defaming Islam continue to threaten Christians in the countries.

Article 98(f) of Egyptian law, known to attorneys as the "contempt of religion" charge, is not officially an anti-blasphemy law. It is meant to discourage people from offending others' religious sensitivities. In reality, however, it is reportedly used to stifle free speech and punish and intimidate those who do not subscribe to the standard, Orthodox version of Sunni Islam practiced by most in Egypt. Violating this statute is known as having "defamed a heavenly religion." Others have been charged under the statute with "insulting Islam." By comparison, no convert from Christianity to Islam has ever been charged with Article 98(f) for defiling Christianity. [more...]

19 May 2011

CHINA: Released Chinese Christian in Ill Health

Yang Caizhen, a Chinese Christian detained along with her husband and four other believers in November 2009, has been released. In September 2009, Yang Caizhen and four other members of the Fushan church in Linfen, Shanxi province, were sentenced to two to several years of criminal detention for organising a prayer rally. She has been ill and in the hospital several times since her arrest and was reportedly released in February due to her poor health. At last report, she was still in a very fragile state. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

19 May 2011

CHINA: Shouwang Church in Beijing Continues To Face Opposition

For the sixth straight week, members of Shouwang Church in Beijing, China, have faced opposition from authorities for trying to hold outdoor Sunday worship. On 15 May, Beijing police rounded up about 20 church members and roughly 100 church members were confined to their homes to prevent their going to the outdoor worship site. By noon, a few of those taken into police custody were released. Some of the church's leaders, however, including its pastors and elders, have been under extra-judicial house arrest since 9 April, the day before the first outdoor worship attempt. [more...]

12 May 2011

NIGERIA: Muslim Attackers Kill Christians

Muslim attackers killed 17 Christians, including the wife and three children of a pastor, and burned down several Christian homes in the village of Kurum, Bauchi State, Nigeria late on Friday 6 May.

Since the introduction of Sharia law in northern Nigeria in 1999, thousands of Christians have been killed by Muslim radicals in an unrelenting series of regular attacks. The local Muslim government officials have failed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Jonathan Racho, International Christian Concern's Regional Manager for Africa, said, "We are extremely concerned with this latest killing of Christians by Muslim attackers. We once again urge Nigerian officials to prevent the bloodshed of innocent Christians in northern Nigeria. Nigeria must end impunity for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes." [more...]

12 May 2011

PAKISTAN: Christians Oppose Appointment of a Muslim to Replace Slain Christian Minorities Minister

Pakistani Christian leaders are opposing the appointment of Riaaz Hussain Pirzada, a Muslim, to the position of the Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs (FMMA). Pakistan's Christian leaders are concerned that the appointment of a Muslim will be a further blow to the rights of religious minorities. The FMMA's job is to represent religious minorities and their interests to the federal government. Islamists assassinated Shahbaz Bhatti, the former FMMA, on 2 March 2011 for opposing the country's blasphemy laws. [more...]

12 May 2011

EGYPT: Islamic Extremists Attack Churches in Cairo

At least 12 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded when members of a conservative Muslim movement attacked two churches and surrounding Christian-owned homes and businesses in a poor section of Cairo on Saturday 7 May. Salifis, a hard-line Islamic movement with extremist tendencies, set fire to one of the two church buildings, leaving most of it gutted.
The arson attack on the Virgin Mary Church in Imbaba was one of many recent assaults on Coptic Christians by members of the Salafist movement, and the second time in two months that a church building in the country has been set ablaze. [more...]

12 May 2011

CHINA: Police Turn Out in Force to Stop Shouwang Church's Outdoor Meeting in Beijing

Police in Beijing confined the clergy and lay leaders of one of the capital's largest house churches in their homes and turned out in force at the church's planned outdoor meeting site on Sunday 8 May to prevent hundreds of Christians from holding an open air worship service. Police vehicles were waiting at the meeting site in western Beijing's Haidian district when some of Shouwang Church's more than 1,000 members arrived. Witnesses reported seeing at least 20 members being taken away by police, but others regrouped as planned in smaller numbers at nearby locations and proceeded to hold their regular Sunday worship using worship order sheets that had previously been distributed. Authorities shut down mobile phone service at the meeting site area in an apparent effort to prevent news from getting out. [more...]

5 May 2011

PAKISTAN: Rioting Muslims Damage Church, Properties

Hundreds of Muslims in Gujranwala on Saturday 30 April attacked Christians' homes, a school and a Presbyterian church building after learning that police had released two Christians accused of "blasphemy" – amid reports of another alleged desecration of the Koran. Mushtaq Gill and his son Farrukh Mushtaq were released on Friday afternoon after a handwriting expert hired by police determined that the latter had not written a threatening note accompanying burned pages of the Koran, police sources said. The two Christians had been taken into protective custody on 15 April. [more...]

5 May 2011

ALGERIA: Christians Arrested For Proselytising and Blasphemy

Two Algerian Christians are scheduled to appear in court on charges of proselytising and blasphemy and may face a five year prison sentence. Sofiane and Krimo were arrested in Oran on 14 April after sharing their Christian faith with their neighbours. Sofiane, was released a day after their arrest, while Krimo was imprisoned for three days. [more...]

5 May 2011

UZBEKISTAN: Raids and Confiscations

Uzbekistan's secret police with other officials have carried out two raids on an officially registered Baptist church in the capital Tashkent. Over 50,000 Christian books, a large quantity of printing and office equipment, and a sum of money personally belonging to one person were confiscated. [more...]

5 May 2011

ETHIOPIA: Muslims Beat Evangelist to Death, Assault his Pregnant Wife

On 21 April four Muslims beat an evangelist to death and assaulted his pregnant wife in Worabe, Ethiopia, an area that is 97% Muslim. Evangelist Abraham Abera died on the spot, but his wife, who sustained a severe head injury and was left unconscious on the street, was found and taken to a hospital in Butajira, where she regained consciousness on 22 April. Though Birtukan did suffer injuries to her mid-section, her unborn baby fortunately survived the attack. [more...]

2 May 2011

LIFE UNDER A MILITARY JUNTA

LIFE UNDER A MILITARY JUNTA

"There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised," states the first sentence of the "Program to Destroy the Christian Religion in Burma." The document, created in 2007 and reportedly sanctioned by the government, outlines a 17-point plan to "wipe out' Christians. "The Christian religion is very gentle," states the document. "Identify and utilise its weakness." [more...]

2 May 2011

May 2011

May 2011

Burma [more...]

28 Apr 2011

CHINA: Five Christian leaders arrested in Inner Mongolia

Four Christian leaders were recently arrested in Inner Mongolia, China. One of the leaders, a pastor named Jesse, was reportedly arrested for the 'offence' of having 1,000 university students attend his church. Approximately 100 of the university students are also Bible school students who are taught by a VOM worker. Police have detained Pastor Jesse five times over the last year, and they had warned him that he was being kept under close watch. [more...]

28 Apr 2011

CHINA: Members of the Shouwang Church Arrested Again


Police placed at least 500 members of the Shouwang Church, in Beijing, China, under house arrest in an attempt to prevent them from holding an outdoor Easter worship service on 24 April. The arrests did not stop other members from showing up at the designated worship site, however. Several went to the site, a plaza, where they were met by police and police vehicles and then bundled onto a bus. Other church members were able to assemble in small groups in nearby restaurants, where they proceeded to hold their worship service. Police reportedly detained 34 of the believers. [more...]

28 Apr 2011

SOMALIA: Christian Convert from Islam Murdered

A newly converted Christian from Islam was recently murdered by Muslim militants in the Lower Shabele region of Somalia. On 18 April, two members of the al Shabaab Islamist group entered the house of 21-year-old Hassan Adawe Adan in Shalambod town and shot him dead. Adan, single and living with his Muslim family, reportedly came to Christ several months ago. Members of the secret Christian community to which Adan belonged suspect someone informed the Islamic militants of his conversion. One source said that a relative who belonged to the al Shabaab Islamist group had told Adan's mother that he suspected her son was a Christian. The murder has heightened fear among other converts living in the area. Source: Compass Direct [more...]

28 Apr 2011

INDIA: Christian Leader Attacked by Militants

Hindu militants recently beat Ramesh Devda, 30, a pastor and evangelist, in Madhya Pradesh state, India. On 4 April, Pastor Ramesh was travelling by motorbike with his two sons from Chikklia to Raseda when three militants on motorbikes suddenly blocked his way. The militants, drunk and armed with large bamboo sticks and clubs, beat the pastor in front of 10-year-old Elias and 8-year-old Shimon. They threatened to kill Pastor Ramesh and warned him not to come to the area again. [more...]

21 Apr 2011

NIGERIA: Muslims Riot over Election Results in Nigeria

Muslim rioters have killed more than 100 Christians and burned down more than 40 churches in an attack that began in response to the election of Jonathan Goodluck, a Christian, as president of Nigeria. The rioters even destroyed the homes of many Muslims who supported President Goodluck Jonathan. In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, it took the military and police over four hours to rein in rampaging Buhari supporters. [more...]

21 Apr 2011

INDIA: Christians Beaten and Arrested

Two Christian meetings were attacked by Hindu militants in India in recent weeks. On 9 April, a mob of more than 100 attacked an open-air Christian worship meeting in Bhajanpura, East Delhi. The Christians had received permission from government officials to conduct the meeting, and five police officers were present. Shortly after the meeting began, militants armed with clubs and stones arrived on scene. They beat several Christians, including the pastor. The five policemen were also severely beaten. Two believers sustained head injuries. The militants destroyed furniture, a sound system, a generator and a Christian's vehicle. The attack lasted for about an hour before police reinforcements arrived and the attackers fled. At last report, two of the assailants had been arrested. [more...]

21 Apr 2011

MEXICO: Pastor Kidnapped

A pastor has been kidnapped by suspected drug traffickers in the city of LĂĄzaro CĂĄrdenas, Mexico. At approximately 8:15am on 10 April, a group of men armed with machine guns barged into the Christian Centre El Shaddai where some 500 Christians were gathered for a worship service. The men fired guns into the air and grabbed Pastor JosuĂ© RamĂ­rez Santiago. The following day, the pastor's family received news that the criminals wanted a ransom of 20 million pesos (approximately $A 1.6 million). Even if the family could raise such an immense sum, however, it is unlikely that payment would secure the pastor's safe return. [more...]

21 Apr 2011

UZBEKISTAN: Christian Assaulted, Fined For Distributing Bible

An Uzbek Christian was recently assaulted and fined in the capital city of Tashkent for giving a children's Bible to one of her work colleagues in 2010. On 1 April, Galina Shemetova was leaving a hospital after medical treatment, for which she had been granted sick leave from her work at the local subway station, when she was accosted by a police officer. The officer struck her on the head and dragged her into a police vehicle. The same day, Galina was charged with "attracting believers of one confession to another (proselytism) and other missionary activity" and fined 50 times the minimum month salary in the country approximately $A 1,375. The officer who assaulted Galina claimed that she was "hiding from police for one week [by] pretending to be ill" and when asked what she had done wrong, said "she is a missionary and violated the law." Source: Forum 18 News [more...]

21 Apr 2011

CHINA: Church Leader Brutally Beaten By Police


A house-church leader was brutally beaten this month by authorities attempting to prevent a Christian meeting in Shaanxi Province, China. On 7 April, Pastor Wang Zhanhu and other members of the Cross Church in Huaxian were gathered for praise and worship when they were approached by three police officers. When the officers grabbed a microphone away from a female believer, Pastor Wang protested, saying, "How can you rob people's belongings like this?" The police then asked the pastor for his identification card, but he refused to provide it, saying that he had not broken any laws. One of the officers then started hitting the pastor's shoulders and the others soon joined in hitting him. [more...]

14 Apr 2011

AZERBAIJAN: Riot Police versus Worshippers

Three religious communities in Azerbaijan's second city Gyanja have been banned from meeting for worship. Babek Sadykov of Gyanja Police completely denied this, claiming that "no one is being prevented from worshipping". Local people, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of state reprisals, told Forum 18 that one of the communities was warned that "if they met for worship on the following Sunday or at any future date they will all be arrested". Two buses full of ordinary police and riot police later arrived to prevent any religious worship. Protestants told Forum 18 that the church had already reluctantly decided not to hold one big Sunday service that day. "People are now very afraid." [more...]

14 Apr 2011

CHINA: Church Leaders kept from Public Worship Attempt

Police in China held "about two dozen" pastors and elders of Beijing's Shouwang Church under house arrest or at police stations over the weekend to keep them from attending a Sunday worship service in a public location, according to Bob Fu of the China Aid Association. Three top leaders of the church remain in jail and several others are under strict surveillance after hundreds of Chinese police cordoned off the walkway to a third-floor outdoor meeting area adjacent to a property purchased by the church in Haidian district, Beijing, and arrested at least 160 members of the 1,000-strong church as they tried to assemble. Most have since been released. [more...]

14 Apr 2011

NEPAL: Christians on Hunger Strike for Cemetery

On 20 March, thousands of Christians marched with empty coffins (and empty stomachs) in front of Nepalese government offices. The believers were begging the government of Kathmandu to allot them plots of land to bury their loved ones. In recent years, there has been a limited amount of land available to Christians, forcing them to bury their dead on top of one another in the same tomb. In 2009, Christians were given the Shleshmantak Forest as a place to bury their dead, but unfortunately, this forest was right next to a Hindu temple. This decision sparked protests from Hindus around the country, forcing the government to ban Christian burials in Shleshmantak Forest. Although the Nepalese government has lifted the ban, radical Hindus continue to stop Christians from burying their dead in the forest. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

14 Apr 2011

VIETNAM: Government Steps Up Repression of Christian Group

Recently, the Vietnamese government has been harassing the Montagnards, a peaceful group of Christians living in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Although the Montagnards have always been a target of Christian persecution, it has just been recently that the Vietnamese government has stepped up its repression of this indigenous minority – forcing hundreds to renounce their religion. According to reports, "
the Vietnamese government has increased its harassment of peaceful ethnic minority Christians in the Central Highlands, targeting members of unregistered house churches." Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

7 Apr 2011

CHINA: Government Persecution of Church Worsens for Fifth Straight Year

Persecution of the church in China continued to worsen in 2010, the fifth straight year of escalating persecution, according to an annual report released by the Christian monitoring group ChinaAid Association. Although the report was based on just 90 known cases of persecution of Christians and churches in China last year, ChinaAid founder and President Bob Fu pointed out that these cases are just the tip of the iceberg. The Chinese government's stranglehold on information and the authoritarian regime's other security measures make getting a true picture of the extent of persecution impossible. [more...]

7 Apr 2011

INDIA: Christians Arrested

Fourteen Christians, including two pastors, were arrested on 29 March for converting to Christianity without official permit in Orissa's Mayurbhanj district. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that the arrests came after a police complaint was filed against Pastors Samuel Mohopathra and Manuel Mahopathra and 12 newly converted Christians. The Christians were produced before a court and were released on bail the same day, charged under the "Orissa Freedom of Religion Act," which, ironically, bans any conversion lacking a permit issued by authorities. Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, called on Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to withdraw the accusations and put a stop to anti-Christian violence in the state. Source: Compass Direct [more...]

7 Apr 2011

AFGHANISTAN: Christian Remains Behind Bars

An Afghan who was arrested for his conversion to Christianity remains behind bars a month after the release of Said Musa, another convert who was quietly granted asylum in Europe after an abusive nine month imprisonment. Shoaib Assadullah, 23, was arrested on 21 October in Mazar-e-Sharif for giving a Bible to a friend. While in prison, Assadullah described being physically abused and receiving death threats from fellow prisoners. Assadullah also fears he may face the death sentence for his conversion if he is summoned back to court. While Afghanistan's constitution upholds freedom of religion, apostasy is tried under Islamic law and is punishable by death. [more...]

7 Apr 2011

PAKISTAN: Death Threats Issued Against Joseph Francis and Other Christian Leaders

A leading human rights campaigner in Pakistan has urged the government to provide "full-fledged security" for Mr Joseph Francis, Director of CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement), after Francis has received death threats for his work on the repeal of the country's controversial blasphemy laws. [more...]

31 Mar 2011

CHINA: House Church Raided By Police

Chinese authorities recently raided a home in Shaanxi Province where believers were gathered for Sunday worship. On 13 March, a dozen Christians were attending a house-church service in the village of Ma'an when the local police chief and two other officers barged into the building. The officers confiscated Bibles and other Christian literature. They also took all of the believers into police custody. Ten of the Christians were released that same evening. At last report, however, two believers—Weng and Zhang Yongkuan—remain detained.
Source: China Aid Association [more...]

31 Mar 2011

NIGERIA: A Call to Pray

Nigerians will go to polls three times during April: 2 April to elect their National Assembly (parliament); 9 April to elect their President; 16 April to elect State Assemblies and governors. The leading candidates are the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan (People's Democratic Party), Ibrahim Shekarau (All Nigeria Peoples Party), Muhammadu Buhari (Congress for Progressive Change) and Nuhu Ribadu (Action Congress of Nigeria). Jonathan (a Southern Christian), the front-runner, is favoured to win. [more...]

31 Mar 2011

MALAYSIA: Detained Bibles Released

Two shipments totalling approximately 30,000 Bibles detained by Malaysian port authorities in January were recently released. Authorities seized the Bibles, which had been imported from Indonesia for distribution in schools, churches and longhouses; because they claimed they could cause a conflict with an ongoing court case involving use of the word "Allah" in a Catholic newspaper. Most Christians, however, believe the government is worried that the Bibles will be distributed to Muslim Malays, and see the seizure as part of a systematic plan to deny access to the Bible in Malay. Authorities had taken similar action in March 2009, when they detained 5,100 copies of the Good News Bible in Malay in Port Klang. [more...]

31 Mar 2011

UZBEKISTAN: "Anti-Terror" Raid On Old People's Home


Six Baptists who led Sunday worship in an old people's home near Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent face criminal and administrative charges after an "anti-terror operation" against their service. Asked why the authorities halted the service and harassed participants, deputy police chief Major Sofar Fayziyev - who took part in the raid - told Forum 18: "They could not produce any proof that they had authorisation for their activity." Elsewhere, three Baptists were fined after police raided a Sunday morning church service. As happens frequently, the court verdict ordered the destruction of Bibles and other confiscated Christian literature. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

31 Mar 2011

April 2011

April 2011

North Korea [more...]

31 Mar 2011

Delivered from Death: Yang’s story

Delivered from Death: Yang’s story

Yang* is a North Korean Christian now living in South Korea who carries physical and emotional scars from life in North Korea and her escape into China. North Korean women who attempt to flee the country are especially vulnerable, and are preyed on by human traffickers, who sell them into forced marriages or prostitution in China. Life is so unbearable in North Korea, women like Yang are willing to take the risk. "I was living in the poorest village in North Korea," said Yang. "We had to eat sand, which was hard to get. I had to go far away to get this sand and only a few people got some. I also had to eat wood. It was difficult to go to the bathroom."

During the 1990s, an estimated two million North Koreans starved to death in a preventable famine, while dictator Kim Jong Il bolstered his armed forces. At the peak of the famine, Yang said 10 or 11 people in her village were dying of starvation every day. Many people suffered mental breakdowns because of the horrors they witnessed. [more...]

24 Mar 2011

SAUDI ARABIA: Indian Christians Arrested


Two Indian Christian men working in the state of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia were recently arrested and sentenced to 45 days in prison. At approximately 8:30 pm on 11 March, Vasantha Sekhar and Nese Yohan were beaten and arrested in the city of Batha on accusations of "proselytising." Their apartment was ransacked after they were imprisoned, and local Christians believe they were arrested to keep them from practising Christianity privately in their home. An employer has returned the passport of one of the Christians, making it clear that his job is no longer available, and he will be expelled. The other Christian awaits information regarding his legal status and job. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

24 Mar 2011

EGYPT: Convert From Islam Escapes with Daughter


An Egyptian father and daughter who have been in hiding for two-and-a-half years after converting from Islam to Christianity recently fled the country. In February, Maher El-Gohary (58) and his daughter, Dina Mo'otahssem (17), flew from Cairo to Syria. After contact with a US organisation that concentrates on religious freedom, El-Gohary expected he would quickly be able to obtain a visa to the United States, where his wife lives. He tried for over a week, however, and was not able to make any headway. He then went to a U.N. office in Syria seeking assistance, and an appointment was scheduled for late April at last report. [more...]

24 Mar 2011

CHINA: Imprisoned Christian Released


Shi Weihan, a Christian bookstore owner and house church leader, has been released from prison nearly three years after his arrest for "illegally" printing and distributing Christian literature. Weihan, who was first arrested in November 2007, was reportedly released on 9 February. He is said to be in "stable condition both mentally and physically." At last report, he was at home with his wife and two children, but government officials were closely monitoring his activities. Sources: Christian Broadcasting Network, China Aid [more...]

24 Mar 2011

TURKEY: Court Cases Continue For Several Christians


Turkish Christians are requesting prayer in response to three long-standing court cases involving injustice against Turkish believers.

There continue to be complications in the ongoing trial of the five men charged with the vicious murder of three believers at a Bible-publishing house in Malatya in April 2007 as a result of efforts to identify those behind the five suspects. The trial has been underway since November 2007. On 17 March, twenty people suspected of being involved in the slayings of the three Christian men, Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske, were arrested. [more...]

24 Mar 2011

PAKISTAN: Two Christians Slain in Attack Outside Church

Two Christians were gunned down and two others are in a serious condition with bullet wounds after Muslim youths attacked them outside a church building in Hyderabad earlier this week, witnesses said. Residents of Hurr Camp, a colony of working-class Christians in Hyderabad in Sindh Province, were reportedly celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Salvation Army church when a group of Muslim youths gathered outside the building and started playing music loudly on their mobile phones. They also started teasing Christian women as they arrived for the celebration, according to reports. [more...]

17 Mar 2011

PAKISTAN: Christian Freed From Her Captors

A Christian mother of seven in Lahore, Pakistan, was recently freed from her Muslim captors after being kidnapped last August, drugged, raped, sold into marriage, and threatened with death if she did not convert to Islam. Forty-year-old Shaheen Bibi was taken from her place of employment to a nearby city, drugged and raped. When she awoke, her kidnappers told her that she had been sold into marriage to one of them. She told them she was a Christian, and they gave her a prayer rug and tried to get her to convert to Islam by reciting a Muslim prayer.
 [more...]

17 Mar 2011

INDIA: Police Ransack Church and Arrest Pastors

Two pastors were recently arrested for conducting a worship service in a home in Karnataka state, India. On 6 March, Pastor Mathew and Pastor Jose were holding a worship service in a house church when a police officer disrupted the meeting. The officer asked the pastors to stop the service, and then ransacked the building and confiscated Bibles and other Christian literature. Both men were arrested and taken to the local police station. They were told that a leader of a local Hindu militant group lodged a complaint against them for engaging in "forceful conversion activity." That evening, the pastors stood before the magistrate, who freed them on temporary bail. Source: Global Council of Indian Christians [more...]

17 Mar 2011

MALAYSIA: Christian Literature Held By Authorities

Authorities in Malaysia's Kuching Port have detained approximately 30,000 copies of the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs in the Malay language, causing great upset among the nation's Christians. Gideons International imported the books from Indonesia for distribution in schools, churches and longhouses in Betong and other Christian areas in Sarawak state. They have been detained since January. Authorities told an officer that he could not distribute the books because they "contained words which are also found in the Koran." The officer was ordered to transport the books to the Home Ministry's office for storage. [more...]

17 Mar 2011

PAKISTAN: Imprisoned Christian Dies

A Christian serving a life sentenced on blasphemy charges has died under suspicious circumstances in Lahore, Pakistan. Qamar David was imprisoned in June 2006 after a business rival accused him of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. He died overnight on 14 March, with prison authorities claiming he had a heart attack. Christian human rights activists are calling for an inquiry into Qamar's death. At last report, his body was being held in the Civil Hospital in Karachi where an autopsy was to be performed by health authorities. Qamar was reportedly threatened and viciously beaten regularly by prison guards and inmates during his three years in prison. Source: AsiaNews [more...]

10 Mar 2011

EGYPT: Islamic Mob Burns Down Church

A Muslim mob in a village south of Cairo last weekend attacked a church building and burned it down, almost killing the parish priest after an imam issued a call to "Kill all the Christians," according to local sources. The attack started on Friday evening in the village of Sool, in Helwan city 35 kilometres from Cairo, and lasted through most of Saturday. A local imam, Sheik Ahmed Abu Al-Dahab, issued the call to area Muslims to kill the Christians. [more...]

10 Mar 2011

INDIA: Spate of Attacks on Christians Erupts in Orissa

Hindu extremists have attacked Koya tribal Christians in villages in a remote area of Orissa state at least 15 times since 8 December 2010, Christian leaders said. In the latest incident in Murliguda, about 80 kilometres from Malkangiri town, about 60 assailants from the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on 23 February damaged the eardrums of Bhadan Hontal and beat another Christian, Markari Soma, until he fell unconscious, according to a report by the Malkangiri District Christian Manch (MDCM, with Manch meaning "Forum"). Christian women, some pregnant, as well as children were among those injured in the attacks on churches, reported Pastor Vijay Purusu of Bethel Church and president of the MDCM. [more...]

10 Mar 2011

ETHIOPIA: Muslims Kill Christian, Burn More Churches and Christian Homes in Ongoing Attacks

According to International Christian Concern, Muslims have killed one Christian, burned down another eight churches, a Bible school, and 17 Christian homes in stepping up their attacks against Christians in Asendabo, Ethiopia. The attacks started on 2 March after Muslims accused Christians of desecrating the Koran. The attacks bring the total number of razed churches to 13. More than 150 Christians are now without homes. The attacks have spread to the villages surrounding the town of Asendabo. [more...]

10 Mar 2011

PAKISTAN: Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti Laid to Rest

Over 30,000 mourners and protestors from many different religions in Pakistan, gathered on Friday, 4 March for the funeral of Mr Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, 42, the Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs and the only Christian cabinet member. [more...]

3 Mar 2011

PAKISTAN: Suspected Islamists Kill Pakistan’s Christian Cabinet Member


Unidentified gunmen in Islamabad today shot dead Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's only cabinet-level Christian and an outspoken critic of the country's widely condemned "blasphemy" laws. Suspected Islamic extremists from Pakistan's Taliban and al Qaeda reportedly left a letter at the scene saying those who try to change Pakistan's blasphemy laws would be killed. The murder comes two months after Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer was killed by his bodyguard for supporting Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan on blasphemy charges. [more...]

3 Mar 2011

EGYPT: Monk, Workers Shot in Monastery Attack

One monk and six church workers were shot and wounded last week when the Egyptian Army attacked a Coptic Orthodox monastery in order to destroy a wall monks had built to defend their property from raiders, sources said. The attack with small arms, heavy machine guns and armoured personnel carriers happened Wednesday afternoon 23 February at the Anba Bishoy Monastery in Wadi Al-Natroun, 110 kilometres north of Cairo. The soldiers used armoured personnel carriers to bulldoze the wall, sources said, as the monks sang a prayer in unison, declaring, "God is merciful." A monk who witnessed the attack said on condition of anonymity that the scene resembled "a war zone." [more...]

3 Mar 2011

SUDAN: Islamists Suspected in Abduction of Christian Girl


A Christian widow in north Sudan is agonising over the kidnapping of her daughter eight months ago by suspected Islamic extremists in Khartoum. Ikhlas Anglo said her daughter, 15-year-old Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo, went missing while returning from the Ministry of Education in Khartoum on 27 June 2010. Hiba, a member of Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum, had gone to the education ministry office to obtain her transcripts for entry to secondary school. Two days later, the family received threatening telephone calls and SMS messages from the kidnappers telling them to pay 1,500 Sudanese pounds (AU$550) in order to secure her return. [more...]

3 Mar 2011

ETHIOPIA: Christian Students Attacked by Muslim Mob in Ethiopia


International Christian Concern reports that on 26 February, a Muslim mob assaulted and wounded 17 Christian college students on a mission trip in Oma village, Ethiopia. The mob overwhelmed the government militia who attempted to protect the students. The students, who were from Meda Welabu University, went to the Muslim village in Bale province on a short term mission trip. After the students started to distribute Bibles and speak with the Muslims, one of the villagers angrily argued with them, inciting a mob to attack the students. The Muslims shouted Allah Akbar (Allah is greater) as they hurled stones at the Christians and beat them with rods. When the Christians fled the village, the mob unsuccessfully attempted to set fire to their car. [more...]

3 Mar 2011

IRAQ: Murder of 70-Year-Old Chaldean Man in Baghdad Raises Fears of More Attacks

A group of armed men burst into the home of an elderly Christian believer, stabbing him to death in Iraq. AsiaNews reports the group's modus operandi suggests the murder was a 'targeted killing' against Christians. The Christian community expect more violence. Street demonstrations were scheduled in Iraq's main cities in the wake of the attack. The victim's name is Youssif Isho, a 70-year-old Chaldean Christian. He lived alone in a house in Karrad, central Baghdad. Nothing was stolen from the premises. [more...]

3 Mar 2011

March 2011

March 2011

Nigeria [more...]

2 Mar 2011

Hope & Healing for the Persecuted

Hope & Healing for the Persecuted

MOURN WITH THOSE WHO MOURN

In November 2010, a team from Voice of the Martyrs Australia visited a small village in Nigeria with the hope that they would be an encouragement and support to the brothers and sisters rebuilding their shattered lives. Young and old spoke to us of the persecution they had endured. Their pain was written on their faces. [more...]

24 Feb 2011

VIETNAM: Priest facing imprisonment again

Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Vietnamese priest who has spent more than 15 years in prison, including time in solitary confinement, could soon be imprisoned again. The 64-year-old's last arrest was in February 2007, when he was detained for distributing material "harmful to the state." In March 2010, he was released to undergo a year's medical treatment after suffering two serious strokes that left him partially paralysed. During his medical leave, authorities prevented him from giving interviews or meeting with activists. Police reportedly roughed up a US diplomat who attempted to visit with him. Father Nguyen is scheduled to be re-admitted to prison on 15 March. He has said that if he is indeed forced to return to prison, he will go on a hunger strike and refuse medical treatment as a means of protesting the injustice. Source: VOM-USA [more...]

24 Feb 2011

CHINA: Government Planning Increased Regulations on Christian Worship

The Chinese government is reportedly planning to tighten regulations on Christian worship this year. China's State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) has announced that it will "guide Protestants worshiping at unregistered churches into worshiping at government-sanctioned ones." A VOM source in China confirmed that during a detention in 2010, police told him they would stop being "nice" in 2011. The report also stated, "SARA will strengthen regulation of foreign nationals' group religious activities in China and resist foreign infiltration under the pretext of religion." This new policy could mean increased persecution of Christians in China, especially those who worship in unregistered churches. Christians faced similar pressure from the government before the 2008 Olympics, when several Christians were detained, forced from their homes and put under house arrest. Sources: VOM-USA, China Daily Newspaper [more...]

24 Feb 2011

INDIA: Pastor Viciously Assaulted

A 65-year-old pastor was recently the victim of a brutal assault by Hindu militants in Rajasthan state, India. On 1 February, Pastor Hari Shankar Ninama was visiting his daughter in Ambarunda when her neighbour requested he pray for his 8-year-old son, who was ill. While Pastor Hari was praying, at least 10 Hindu militants stormed into the home. The militants beat the pastor, used abusive language against him and accused him of forcibly converting people. They also slapped his daughter and beat the sick boy's father. The militants forced the pastor onto a motorbike and drove to a location outside the village. There, they stripped off the pastor's clothes and beat him with wooden clubs. They threatened to kill him if he continued to spread Christianity. [more...]

24 Feb 2011

CUBA: Christians Facing Intense Pressure

Christians continue to face opposition in Cuba. The government has reportedly shifted away from higher profile forms of oppression, such as threatening to destroy churches, to pressuring pastors and other Christian leaders. Church leaders -- both in and outside of the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) that represents the Protestant Church -- report receiving frequent visits from state security agents and Cuban Communist Party officials. These visits and meetings seem to have the intent of intimidating church leaders by making them aware they are under close surveillance. [more...]

24 Feb 2011

EGYPT: Muslims Abduct Daughter of Church Contractor


Muslims recently abducted an 18-year-old Egyptian Christian from her home. On 19 February, a group of Muslims broke into a house belonging to a building contractor who constructed the St Mary and St Michael Church in the city of Giza. In November, the church was the site of severe clashes between State Security forces and Copts protesting over the closure of their church. Three Copts were killed and hundreds were injured and arrested. [more...]

17 Feb 2011

PAKISTAN: Christian Killed by Muslim Employers

A young Christian man was recently killed by his Muslim employer in Gujranwala district, Punjab province, Pakistan. On 5 February, Imran Masih, 24, stayed home from his job as a driver for two local Muslims because he was ill. When Imran returned to work the next day, his employer verbally confronted him, attacked him and killed him. Imran's body was brought to his father, Lal Masih, the next day, with the employer claiming that he committed suicide. Lal, who is also employed by the same estate, said that his son's body was covered in blood and bore clear signs of torture. [more...]

17 Feb 2011

AFGHANISTAN: Christian Convert from Islam Facing Execution


Said Musa, an Afghan who was imprisoned for converting from Islam to Christianity, is reportedly facing execution. A 15-year employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul, Afghanistan, Said was arrested on 31 May, 2010, after a television station in Kabul broadcast images that allegedly showed Western Christians baptising Afghans. Since his arrest, he has remained in Kabul Detention Centre, where he has reportedly suffered sexual assault and torture and been denied access to a lawyer. [more...]

17 Feb 2011

UZBEKIATSN: Christians Facing Prosecution after Police Raid

Authorities who raided a Christian meeting in Syrdarya Region, central Uzbekistan, in January, are reportedly preparing to prosecute several of the Christians present. On 6 January, 12 police officials broke into the home of Pastor Andrey Shevchenko, where approximately 25 members of an unregistered local Baptist church were gathered to celebrate the baptism of Christ. The officials confiscated DVDs, CDs and Christian books. They also forced some of the believers to write statements. Pastor Andrey showed the police documents proving that the material had been purchased from the officially registered Bible Society of Uzbekistan. However, police told him that the literature would be sent to the State Religious Affairs Committee in the capital Tashkent for "expert analysis." [more...]

17 Feb 2011

EGYPT: Christians Attacked

On 30 January, just days after the demonstrations to reform or overthrow the Egyptian government got underway, Muslims in the south of the country took advantage of the general chaos to break into two homes belonging to Coptic Christians and butcher every man, woman and child they could find. The Muslim assailants massacred 11 people and seriously wounded four others.Survivors of the attack told the Assyrian International News Agency the attackers were aided by Muslim neighbours of the Christian families. [more...]

17 Feb 2011

IRAN: Seven Iranian Christians released

Seven Iranian Christians who were arrested on 26 December, along with 31 other believers, were recently released from prison on bail. On 26 January, two men and a woman were released in Isfahan. Three days later, four women were released from Tehran's notoriously brutal Evin prison. The release of one of the women, Sara Akhaven, involved her family giving up their trade license in exchange for her bail. If authorities decide Sara has broken bail, however, the family's livelihood will be gone. Sadly, the trade license was not valuable enough to secure bail for Sara's sister, Leila, who remains in prison. Some of the original 31 Christians who were arrested have reportedly been released. [more...]

10 Feb 2011

SOMALIA: Islamic Somali Militants Confiscate Christian Farms

Since 19 January, members of Al-Shabaab, an Islamic Somali extremist group, have confiscated eight farms from Muslims who showed an interest in Christianity. Five of the farms were owned by Christian converts from Islam and three belonged to Muslims who had attended Bible studies in the cities of Afgoye and Baidawa. Most of the landowners fled their homes and remain in hiding. There are also unconfirmed reports of additional Christian farm seizures in Dinsor and Burhakaba districts. [more...]

10 Feb 2011

PAKISTAN: Pakistani Lawmaker Drops Bid to Change Blasphemy Law after Death Threats

After encountering death threats and government opposition, a Pakistani parliamentarian dropped her proposed bill to reform Pakistan's blasphemy laws. The bill introduced by Sherry Rehman, a member of the Pakistani National Assembly, would have eliminated death as a penalty for blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. However, the proposed bill was not even supported by Rehman's own party. In addition, approximately 40,000 people participated in a rally to throw out the bill. [more...]

10 Feb 2011

INDONESIA: Angry Muslim Crowd Attacks Churches

More than 1,000 Muslim protesters have stormed a courthouse and burned two churches in central Java, Indonesia. According to the BBC website, the attacks in Temanggung happened after a Christian man was sentenced to five years in jail for distributing leaflets deemed insulting to Islam. The BBC reported that Indonesian police said the crowd considered the sentence too lenient and were demanding the death penalty. A police spokesman told the BBC that the angry crowd began attacking the court building in Temanggung after the verdict was read out. [more...]

3 Feb 2011

EGYPT: Rights Group Slams Treatment of Copts

Following recent sectarian violence in Egypt, the Human Rights Watch published its 2010 annual report Monday denouncing Egypt as a country that discriminates against Christians and other religious minorities. Persecution against Egypt's Coptic Christians this January include violent attacks, such as the church service bombing on New Year's Day in which over 20 Christians were killed, as well as continuing government refusal to grant or renew Copts' church building permits. Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, says the West should not interfere in Egyptian affairs by urging him to do more to protect Coptic Christians. [more...]

3 Feb 2011

TURKMENISTAN: Heavy Fines Imposed


After a 22 January raid on Protestants in a private flat in Turkmenabad in eastern Turkmenistan, a court has imposed heavy fines on 17 of those present. All are thought to have been fined under Article 205 Part 2 of the Administrative Code, which punishes "support for or participation in the activity of a religious group of religious organisation not officially registered in accordance with the legally established procedure". [more...]

3 Feb 2011

ETHIOPIA: Muslims Warn Christians to Convert, Leave City or Face Death

Christians in the Ethiopian city of Besheno are being harassed and physically abused after Muslims posted notices on the doors of Christian homes warning them to convert, leave the city or face death. Three Christian leaders were forced to flee the city and two Christians have been forced to convert to Islam. In the Muslim majority city, the entire evangelical Christian community consists of about 30 believers. [more...]

3 Feb 2011

NIGERIA: Christians Killed in Targeted Attacks

At least 24 Christians have been killed in targeted attacks around Jos, Plateau state, since last Thursday – as sectarian rioting in the Jos area and parts of Bauchi state continues to claim lives. At least six people were killed in a raid on Dorowa village in the Barkin Ladi area near Jos last Thursday and 18 others died in neighbouring Christian villages. More than 30 homes in Dorowa were burnt down. Religious rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that six villages in total in Barkin Ladi were attacked on 27 January. [more...]

3 Feb 2011

February 2011

February 2011

Orissa, India [more...]

1 Feb 2011

INDIA: His Grace Abounds

INDIA: His Grace Abounds


Christians in India are facing increasing pressure from militant Hindus who are using mob violence and anti-conversion laws to attack the church. Despite this, believers testify to God's grace and strength helping them in their time of need.

"They warned me about preaching. They said they would 'finish me off' because I preach to people about Jesus." Pastor Krupanandam was returning home from visiting a new believer's home when a group of about 30 men attacked him, punching and kicking him. His spinal cord was damaged, and he was left with fractured ribs and severe bruising. A warning not to bring the name of Jesus into their community. [more...]

27 Jan 2011

PAKISTAN: Christian Murdered, Believers Threatened

Christians in the city of Karachi, Sidh province, Pakistan, are facing threats from local police after filing charges in the murder of an 18-year-old Christian man. On 6 January, Waqas Gil was abducted from his home by four police officers. His body was found in a sewer two days later. The Christians who found his remains protested against local police, claiming they covered up Waqas' brutal murder and accused them of delaying an autopsy. Head officials reluctantly filed charges against the four accused officers. An autopsy revealed that Waqas had been raped, tortured and shot with police-revolver bullets. [more...]

27 Jan 2011

INDIA: Cover-Up Suspected in Death of Indian Pastor

A pastor whose house was targeted by Hindu militants during anti-Christian mob violence in 2008 was recently found dead in Kandhamal, Orissa state, India. Though police officials claim Pastor Saul Pradhan, 45, froze to death, his relatives suspect murder. [more...]

27 Jan 2011

Update: South Sudan Secession Nearly Certain; Continue to Pray

The peaceful voting process of a historic referendum on Southern Sudan's secession from the North came to an end on 15 January. Early numbers of the vote indicate that the country may soon be divided, and Christians around the world continue to call for prayer for the nation and its people. Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, in the southern region of Sudan, says his people have strong "expectations of change for the better" and urged continued prayers worldwide for "permanent peace in Sudan." Many Christians have reportedly left the North and capital city of Khartoum for the South out of fear that President Bashir's regime will shift toward "radical Islamisation" in the wake of the referendum. Sources: Zenit, Christianity Today [more...]

20 Jan 2011

SOMALIA: Christian Killed

A mother of four was recently killed by Islamic militants in a village on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. On the morning of 6 January, Islamic militants, belonging to the insurgent group al-Shabaab, arrested Asha Mberwa, 36, outside her home in Warbhigly village. According to one of Asha's relatives, Asha was killed the next evening when the militants cut her throat in front of local people. Asha had reportedly been receiving threatening messages after al-Shabaab members monitored her phone conversations with a relative. One of her relatives had phoned her on 5 January to make arrangements for moving her family out of the area for their safety. Al-Shabaab militants were reportedly able to monitor the conversation and confirm that Asha had become a Christian. [more...]

20 Jan 2011

IRAN: Christian Couple Detained for Christian Activities

A Christian couple in Mashhad, Iran, was recently detained for hosting Christian prayer and worship meetings in their home. On 27 December, several Iranian agents of the revolutionary court arrive at the home of Hassan Razavi Derakhshan, 65, and his wife, Parya, 61. Only Parya was home at the time. The officers demanded she phone her husband and that he return home immediately. Razavi obliged. [more...]

20 Jan 2011

CHINA: Police Raid Large Christian Meeting in China

Chinese authorities raided a large Christian meeting in coastal Shandong province in early January. More than 1,000 believers were gathered at the meeting, which was held in a church building in Cangshun County. In the afternoon, local Public Security Bureau officers burst into the church and forced the meeting to end. They detained an unspecified number of believers, including Lu Daihao, a well-known evangelist visiting from Taiwan to speak at the event. Local Christians have reported that Pastor Lu has left Cangshun, but his exact location was unknown at last report. Source: ChinaAid [more...]

20 Jan 2011

BHUTAN: Government May Legalise Christianity

In the South Asian country of Bhutan, government officials recognise only Buddhism and Hinduism as the country's two religions. As a result, only these two communities have the right to openly practise their beliefs and build places of worship. That may soon change as Chhoedey Lhentshog, the authority that regulates religious organisations, discussed at its December meeting how a Christian organisation can be registered to represent its community, according to agency secretary Dorji Tshering. [more...]

13 Jan 2011

INDONESIA: Police, Islamists Put Up Obstacles to Worship in Indonesia

Government officials in West Java Province blocked one church from worshipping, and Islamic groups pressured authorities to seize the property of another during the Christmas season. The Bogor Regency Administrative Leadership Council tried unsuccessfully to forbid the Gereja Kristen Indonesia (Indonesian Christian Church, or GKI) in Bogor's Taman Yasmin area from holding a 25 December Christmas service, but authorities did block it from its regular Sunday service on 26 December. [more...]

13 Jan 2011

EGYPT: Muslims Attend Coptic Christmas Mass, Serving as ‘Human Shields’

Muslims turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas mass Thursday night 6 January, offering their bodies, and lives, as "shields" to Egypt's threatened Christian community. According to journalist Yasmine El-Rashidi, among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole. [more...]

13 Jan 2011

PAKISTAN: Christians Hold Memorial Services for Slain Punjab Governor, Shaheed Salman Taseer

Christians across Pakistan on Sunday, 9 January, held memorial services for slain Punjab governor Shaheed Salman Taseer, who was assassinated by a police guard last week. Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian, joined prayers at Fatima Church in Islamabad. Bhatti said the special congregations were arranged to promote inter-faith harmony, national integrity and religious harmony. Taseer had angered religious hardliners by defending Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death last year under the controversial blasphemy law. He also called for the amendment of the law to prevent its misuse. [more...]

13 Jan 2011

ERITREA: Mass Arrest of Christians in Eritrea

Eritrean officials arrested 30 Christians for praying at a private house in Asmara, the capital on 2 January. Some of the Christians were only recently released after being detained for their faith. According to International Christian Concern (ICC) security officials arrested the Christians and took them to police station one in Asmara. Officials also detained another Christian on 4 January. ICC says the detained Christians are members of the Philadelphia Church, an evangelical church outlawed in Eritrea. [more...]

10 Jan 2011

January 2011

January 2011

IMPACT REPORT
How your gifts made an impact in 2010 [more...]

6 Jan 2011

IRAN: Over 70 Christians Arrested in Iran during Christmas

In the early morning hours after Christmas day, the Iranian government arrested 25 Christians in Tehran and other locations. They also planned to detain sixteen others, but were unable to locate them. There are also unconfirmed reports that the authorities have arrested over 50 other Christians. According to BBC Persian, the Governor of Tehran has vowed to arrest more evangelical Christians. [more...]

6 Jan 2011

PAKISTAN: Punjab Governor Salman Taseer Assassinated in Islamabad

The influential governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, Salman Taseer, has died after being shot by one of his bodyguards in the capital, Islamabad. Mr Taseer, a senior member of the Pakistan People's Party, was shot when getting into his car at a market.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the guard had told police that he killed Mr Taseer because of the governor's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy law. Mr Taseer made headlines recently by appealing for the pardon of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Friends of the governor say he knew he was risking his life by speaking out. [more...]

5 Jan 2011

Orissa India

Orissa India

Voice of the Martyrs Australia had a special focus on Orissa state, India, in 2010. In August we hosted our national contact from India, Asit Samuel, who spoke to NSW supporters about the ongoing challenges faced by displaced Christians in Orissa. Many were attacked and forced to flee from their homes following a series of violent attacks by Hindu extremists in 2008. Asit estimated that as many as 40,000 Christians were still displaced in 2010. Many are living in tents or huts in the jungle with their families where food is scarce, sanitation poor, and the risk of disease is high. VOM Australia alerted you to the needs of Orissa Christians and you responded with intercessory prayer and great generosity. [more...]

5 Jan 2011

PAKISTAN: Christian Asia Bibi 'Has Price on Her Head'

Asia Bibi's husband, Ashiq Masih, says his family have been receiving threatening phone calls, though he is guilty of nothing, this Pakistani labourer is on the run - with his five children. His wife, Asia Bibi, has been sentenced to death for blaspheming against Islam. Mr Masih told BBC they move constantly, trying to stay one step ahead of the anonymous callers who have been menacing them. "I ask who they are, but they refuse to tell me," he said. He insists that Asia Bibi is innocent and will be freed, but he worries about what will happen next. "When she comes out, how she can live safely?" he asks. "No one will let her live. The mullahs are saying they will kill her when she comes out." [more...]

5 Jan 2011

IRAQ: Gunmen kill elderly Christian couple inside their Baghdad home

An elderly Christian couple in Baghdad was killed when terrorists placed a bomb outside of their home, rang the doorbell and walked away, according to media and human rights reports. The bombing happened at the same time other Christian-owned homes and neighbourhoods throughout Baghdad were being attacked. Estimates of the number of people wounded in the attacks in Iraq range from nine to more than 13. Source: Compass Direct [more...]

5 Jan 2011

EGYPT: Blast Kills 21 Outside Church in Alexandria

At least 21 people were killed and 90 were wounded on Saturday 1 January when a bomb outside a church in Alexandria, Egypt exploded as congregants were leaving a New Year's Eve Mass celebration. The explosion ripped through the crowd shortly after midnight, killing instantly most of those who died, and leaving the entrance-way to the Church of the Two Saints, a Coptic Orthodox congregation, covered with blood and severed body parts. [more...]

23 Dec 2010

TURKMENISTAN: "Ilmurad Will Pray and Praise God at Christmas in the Labour Camp"

Turkmenistan has not released any of its nine known religious prisoners of conscience in its latest prisoner amnesty. The latest prisoner of conscience sentenced for exercising the right to freedom of religion or belief - Protestant pastor Ilmurad Nurliev, given a four year jail term with forcible "medical" treatment in October - is amongst those excluded. Pastor Nurliev's wife Maya who is under MSS secret police surveillance - told Forum 18 that her husband has been sent to Seydi Labour Camp. [more...]

23 Dec 2010

EGYPT: Christian Charged with “Defaming Islam”

A convert from Islam to Christianity in Port Said, northeast Egypt, has been charged with "defaming Islam." Ashraf Thabet, 45, came to faith in Christ in 2004. For years he questioned his Muslim beliefs and learned about the Christian faith through a Christian friend, as well websites and other media. During these years, he shared his doubts about Islam and told others what he was learning about Jesus Christ. [more...]

23 Dec 2010

VIETNAM: Authorities Crack Down On Christmas Events


Authorities have put a halt to Christmas celebrations in several areas of Vietnam in what appears to be a central government crackdown on Christianity. On 19 December, hundreds of Christians arrived at the National Convention Centre in the Tu Kiem district of Hanoi for a planned Christmas event. However, they found the doors of the building locked and police on scene who tried to send them away. In a bold move, some of the Christians began to sing and pray in the square in front of the centre. Police then struck some Christians with their fists and nightsticks. [more...]

16 Dec 2010

Vietnam: Officials bulldoze Mennonite Bible school and beat Pastor unconscious!

Vietnam: Officials bulldoze Mennonite Bible school and beat Pastor unconscious!

Disturbing news comes from VOM contacts in Ho Chi Min City that Mennonite Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang was arrested by police Monday and taken away just minutes before his home and Bible school were demolished by authorities.

Pastor Quang is a human rights lawyer and chairman of the Legal Committee of the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship. It isn't the first time he's been in trouble with Vietnamese authorities. He's been jailed three times and was last imprisoned in 2004 along with five other church leaders. They were known as the "Mennonite Six". [more...]

16 Dec 2010

ALGERIA: Christians Sentenced For Setting up “Illegal” Place of Worship

Four Christians were recently given suspended prison sentences for opening a place of worship in the eastern region of Kabylia, Algeria, without a proper license issued by authorities. The Christians—a Protestant clergyman and three of his parishioners—were convicted on the basis of a controversial 2006 law that requires that anyone who wants to set up a place of worship, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, must obtain a permit indicating the name of the place of worship as well as that of the pastor. Some believe this law violates Algeria's constitution, and this is first time it has been enforced in the nation. [more...]

16 Dec 2010

INDONISIA: House Churches Forcibly Closed


Seven house churches were forcibly closed down in West Java, Indonesia, due to local Muslims' objections to the buildings being used for "illegal church meetings." On 12 December, between 200 and 300 Muslim militants from hardliner groups such as the Islam Protector Front (FPI), Moslem Forum (FUI) and the Islamic Reformation Movement (Garis) gathered outside seven houses and performed sudden inspections of the buildings. [more...]

16 Dec 2010

CHINA: Authorities Raid Worship Service in Hunan Province

Chinese authorities raided a house church worship service held by members of the Hope Church in the city of Changsha, Hunan Province on 12 December. At approximately 9:30 am, dozens of believers were gathered for worship when police officers and government officials arrived on scene. The authorities forced the believers to disperse and confiscated several items belonging to the church, including the podium, chairs and air-conditioner. They also took into custody two of the believers—Pastor Zing Jinfu and Minister Le. They were taken to a local police station and questioned for a couple of hours. [more...]

10 Dec 2010

VIETNAM: Two Evangelists Sentenced to Prison

Two Christian evangelists, Ksor Y Du, 47, and Kpa Y Co, 30, were sentenced this month to six and four years in prison respectively for "undermining national unity." Ksor and Kpa, of the Vietnam Good News Mission (VGNM) church, received the harsh sentences on 15 November. House arrest of four and two years respectively also was added to the sentences, according to church sources and Vietnam's Phap Luat (Law) newspaper. Both evangelists, who are of the Ede minority, live in Song Hinh district of Phu Yen Province, where there are some 20 VGNM congregations. Ksor was one of many thousands of ethnic minority people in Vietnam's Central Highland that participated in demonstrations in 2004 against religious oppression and illegal confiscation of their traditional lands. They were held 10 months without charges, the area sources said. [more...]

10 Dec 2010

SOMALIA: Teenage Girl Shot to Death for Embracing Christ


A 17-year-old girl in Somalia who converted to Christianity from Islam was shot to death last week in an apparent "honour killing," area sources said. Nurta Mohamed Farah, who had fled her village of Bardher, Gedo Region to Galgadud Region to live with relatives after her parents tortured her for leaving Islam, died on 25 November. Area sources said they strongly suspected that the two unidentified men who shot her in the chest and head with a pistol were relatives or acting on their behest. She was killed in Abudwaq district about 200 metres from where she had taken refuge. Her parents had severely beaten her for leaving Islam and regularly shackled her to a tree at their home, Christian sources said. She had been confined to her home since 10 May, when her family found out that she had embraced Christianity, said a Christian leader who visited the area. Source: Compass Direct [more...]

10 Dec 2010

PAKISTAN: Minister Condemns Reward for Killing Christian Woman

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti has condemned the recent announcement of a reward for killing the jailed Christian woman Asia Bibi. According to a story by Christian Post, Bhatti said the call is unjust and irresponsible. The Christian Post said a hard-line imam known for making similar reward-for-murder calls in the past offered about $6,000 to anyone who kills Asia Bibi during his sermon at the largest mosque in Peshawar on Friday. [more...]

2 Dec 2010

December 2010

December 2010

Uzbekistan, Laos, Eritrea [more...]

2 Dec 2010

ETHIOPIA: Christian Accused of Defacing Koran

A Christian in Ethiopia's southern town of Moyale who languished in jail for more than three months after he was accused of desecrating the Koran has been sentenced to three years of prison, church leaders said. Tamirat Woldegorgis, a member of the Full Gospel Church in his early 30s, was arrested in early August after a Muslim co-worker in the clothes-making business the two operated out of a rented home discovered Woldegorgis had inscribed "Jesus is Lord" on some cloth, area Christians said. His business partner later accused him of writing "Jesus is Lord" in a copy of the Koran, although no evidence of that ever surfaced. [more...]

2 Dec 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Christian Books Confiscated

Uzbekistan has confiscated Christian books from a youth group returning from Kazakhstan. An Uzbek customs official claimed to Forum 18 that the confiscations were "not confiscation. It's temporary removal". Customs officials claimed that a court would decide what would happen to the literature. Baptists complained that a customs official swore at them, saying: "We are the bosses here and we will do what we like. If we need to, we'll lock you away." Officials refused to provide copies of Confiscation Certificates and the group was released after being held for nine hours. [more...]

2 Dec 2010

PAKISTAN: Court Prevents Pakistan’s President from Pardoning Asia Bibi

A court in Pakistan has told that country's president that he could not grant pardon to the Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for 'blasphemy' against Muhammad. According to International Christian Concern the Lahore High Court issued the order after lawyers argued that the president cannot issue the pardon before Asia Bibi's appeal to the High Court is decided. ICC says Bibi had appealed to the High Court for the reversal of her death sentence, but the court has yet to set a date for the hearing of her appeal. [more...]

2 Dec 2010

EGYPT: Muslim Mob Firebomb Christian Homes, Businesses

Christians in a small village in southern Egypt are rebuilding their lives and homes after hundreds of Muslims rampaged through their community firebombing houses and businesses over rumours of a romantic relationship between a Christian and a Muslim. At least 23 homes and numerous businesses, all Christian-owned, were damaged or destroyed in the village of Al-Nawahid in Qena Governorate, 454 kilometres south of Cairo. [more...]

1 Dec 2010

The Church is NOT Dead

The Church is NOT Dead

"The Church is dead." That was the declaration of Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik party in 1923. The communists created the Soviet Republic and although their communist revolution was toppled in the early 1990s, the legacy of the party's war on religion lives on in former Soviet republic, Uzbekistan.

Evangelical Christians in Uzbekistan face a government that maintains the oppression established under the Soviet Union – lack of religious freedom. Although officials will say the constitution of Uzbekistan upholds freedom of religion, in practice, the government and laws restrict these rights. [more...]

25 Nov 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Killed For “Blasphemy”

Police suspect two Muslim militants are responsible for the recent murder of a Christian man in Punjab province, Pakistan. In early November, 22-year-old Latif Masih was granted bail after five months of imprisonment for "blasphemy" for allegedly burning pages of the Koran. His release came after the complainant in the case told the court he was not certain Latif was guilty. [more...]

25 Nov 2010

IRAQ: Three More Christians Killed in Mosul

This week, three more believers were killed in Mosul, Iraq -- the latest in a series of recent deadly attacks on the country's Christian community. On 22 November, assailants entered a shop owned by two Christian welders -- brothers, Saad Hanna, 43, and Waad Hanna, 40 --and shot them. Waad was killed instantly and Saad succumbed to his injuries two hours later. The same day, police found an elderly Christian woman strangled in her Mosul home.
Sources: Assyrian International News Agency, CNN [more...]

25 Nov 2010

CHINA: Church Building Demolished in Jiangsu Province


A church building was recently demolished in Tinghu district, Jiangsu province, China. On 19 November, Chengnan Church—that belongs to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement and is legally registered with the government—was destroyed on orders of the local government. The demolition came as a surprise, as registered churches in China do not typically face the same intensity of persecution from the government as non-registered churches. In response to the situation, ChinaAid President Bob Fu said, "While the government's powerful backhoes can destroy church buildings, they can never destroy the faith in the hearts and souls of believers. No one can stop the vigorous growth of the church in China. The Cross will surely be hoisted high in China by the glory of God and the sickle and ax will surely fall in shame." Source: ChinaAid [more...]

25 Nov 2010

INDONESIA: Islamic Groups Aim to Close Church

Muslims are reportedly attempting to stop a church from holding worship services in West, Java, Indonesia. Earlier this month, on 7 November, more than 50 Muslims gathered outside a multipurpose building in Karask village where members of The King of Glory Church were gathered for a Sunday worship service. The Muslims chanted 'Allah akbar' (God is great) and demanded that the meeting be put to an end because the building was not approved for worship services. The protest went on outside the church for more than an hour before the Muslims dispersed. [more...]

18 Nov 2010

IRAQ: More deadly Attacks on Iraqi Christians

Christians in Iraq have again been the targets of deadly violence in recent days, including bombings and gunfire. On 11 November, suspected Islamist militants detonated 11 bombs in Christian suburbs across the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, indiscriminately targeting shops and homes. At least five Christians were killed and approximately 33 injured. Fresh violence also erupted in predominately Christian areas of Iraq on the evening of 15 November. At least one person was killed and seven others injured when two car bombs exploded in Baghdad. Also that evening, gunmen invaded the homes of Christian families in the eastern region of Mosul and killed two men. The following afternoon, a Christian man and his six-year-old daughter were killed by a car bomb in Mosul. [more...]

18 Nov 2010

CHINA: Churches Raided, Members Detained


Officials in China raided at least two churches in recent weeks. On 10 November, Public Security Bureau officers and representatives from the Bureau of Religion disrupted a church meeting being held in the city of Shuangcheng, Heilongjiang province. The general ledger of the church was confiscated. On the morning of 12 November, local officials and members of the Bozhou Bureau of Religion raided a house-church meeting held in Pingyao county, in Shanxi province. Several items belonging to the church were confiscated. Officials took at least 10 believers away, and five of them were detained until late afternoon. Source: ChinaAid [more...]

18 Nov 2010

CHINA: Three Schools Raided In China; Believers Questioned


Officials invaded kindergarten classes in the Southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, China on 7 November. All three schools raided are under the leadership of Sun Haiping, who is the wife of formerly imprisoned house-church pastor Wang Dao. Sun is also part of the Chinese delegation currently in Washington DC, which focuses on issues of democracy and religious freedom. [more...]

12 Nov 2010

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED: Christian Woman Sentenced to Death

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED: Christian Woman Sentenced to Death

Asia Bibi, a 37 year old Pakistani woman, was sentenced to death on Monday 8 November 2010 for blasphemy. She is the first woman ever to receive the death sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan. [more...]

11 Nov 2010

PAKISTAN: First Woman Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

Christian mother-of-two Asia Bibi has been sentenced to death for blasphemy - the first woman ever to receive this sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan. A court judge gave Asia the maximum sentence yesterday at the end of a trial lasting more than 16 months. Asia, a farm labourer in her late-30s from Ittanwali, Punjab, was also fined more than the equivalent of two-and-a-half years' salary for the average worker. [more...]

11 Nov 2010

NEPAL: Missionary Badly Beaten

Six men attacked and brutally beat a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary 17 October in Nepal. The men accused Indra Rai Waglan of blasphemy against their traditional gods. They also accused him of forcing all the members of two families to convert to Christianity.
Indra and an elderly believer were travelling to a neighbouring village to conduct a prayer meeting when the attack happened. After the attack the men left him unconscious beside the road. He was later able to get medical treatment. He has a broken rib and bruises all over his body. The police have identified and charged six men with the attack. Their case is now before the court. Source: Assist News Service [more...]

11 Nov 2010

PAKISTAN: After Fatwa, Pastor Beaten with Bricks

Muslim extremists in Islamabad on Monday 1 November beat with bricks and hockey sticks a Christian clergyman who is the subject of a fatwa demanding his death. The Rev Dr Suleman Nasri Khan, a former fighter in Afghanistan before his conversion, suffered a serious head injury, a hairline fracture in his arm and a broken bone in his left ankle in the assault by 10 Muslim extremists; he was able to identify two of them as Allama Atta-Ullah Attari and Allama Masaud Hussain. [more...]

11 Nov 2010

ISRAEL: Church Building Set Ablaze

An unidentified arsonist in Israel set fire to a Jerusalem church building that has long been a focal point for anti-Christian sentiment in a Jewish ultra-Orthodox-leaning neighbourhood, church officials said. On Friday 29 October shortly before 1 am, someone broke the basement windows of the Jerusalem Alliance Church Ministry Centre and set fire to its bottom floors. [more...]

4 Nov 2010

AZERBAIJAN: Christian festival raided; believers detained

Police raided a Christian festival and detained four believers in the town of Kusar, Azerbaijan on 31 October. [more...]

4 Nov 2010

CHINA: Authorities raid Christian’s home

Approximately 10 police officials raided the home of a Christian in Beijing, China, in an effort to search for Hua Huiqi, a formerly imprisoned pastor. [more...]

4 Nov 2010

PAKISTAN: Update: Pray for imprisoned Christian Asia Bibi

In June 2009, Asia Bibi was imprisoned on charges of blasphemy in the village of Ittanwali, Punjab province, following a heated discussion with her Muslim coworkers. Since then she has been languishing in prison. Her husband and two daughters have been allowed very limited contact with her. A court hearing was planned for the end of October. At press time, it was not yet known if this hearing was held.

Source: VOM USA, VOM Canada [more...]

1 Nov 2010

November 2010

November 2010

Egypt [more...]

28 Oct 2010

The Bible in the Oven

The Bible in the Oven

Noora* and her two daughters became followers of Jesus through the witness of Noora's younger sister. After Noora became a Christian, she wondered, "What am I supposed to do with my life now? How can I tell my husband?" [more...]

28 Oct 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Massive Fine for Having a Film of Jesus' Life

Uzbekistan has imposed a massive fine on a Protestant for owning a Christian film. Murat Jalalov was fined - apparently on the instructions of the NSS secret police - after police raided his home. The film and other confiscated materials for analysis by the state Religious Affairs Committee, which said that the film "could be used among local ethnicities for missionary purposes" and was therefore banned. All the confiscated material was ordered to be destroyed. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

28 Oct 2010

TURKEY: Christians Acquitted of ‘Insulting Turkishness’

After four years of legal battle in a Turkish court, a judge acquitted two Christians of insulting Turkey and its people by spreading Christianity, but not without slapping them with a hefty fine for a spurious charge. Four years ago, gendarmerie officers produced false witnesses to accuse Turan Topal, 50, and Hakan Tastan, 41, of spreading their faith and allegedly "insulting Turkishness, the military and Islam." At the Silivri court an hour west of Istanbul, Judge Hayrettin Sevim on Thursday 14 October acquitted the defendants of two charges that they had insulted the Turkish state and that they had insulted its people by spreading Christianity. Sevim cited lack of evidence. [more...]

28 Oct 2010

TURKMENISTAN: Protestant Pastor Jailed

On 21 October Protestant Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev was jailed for four years on charges of swindling and is likely to be sent to the Seydi labour camp where there have been claims of the use of psychotropic [mind-altering] drugs against prisoners. Pastor Nurliev's wife and fellow-church members strongly deny the authorities' allegations, and are seriously concerned for his health as the court ordered forced treatment for alleged drug addiction. A diabetic, they told Forum 18 he looked "very, very pale and thin" at the trial. [more...]

28 Oct 2010

SOUTH ASIA: Missionary Beaten, Thrown in Jail, Released

On Saturday, 2 October a group of four anti-Christian extremists attacked Vikranta Rao, a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary while he and another GFA-supported missionary, Nirav Pillai, showed a movie about Jesus in a South Asian village. Vikranta was praying for the people as they watched the film when the attackers came. The extremists accused Vikranta of forcing people to convert to Christianity and called the police after they finished assaulting him. The police arrested Vikranta, instead of his attackers. They made him spend the night in a jail cell without food or adequate medical attention. [more...]

20 Oct 2010

INDIA: Hindu Militants Beat Christians in Karnataka


Suspected Hindu militants recently beat five Christians, including a pregnant woman, in Karnataka state, India. Approximately 40 local Hindus barged into New Public School in the district of Kolar, where Christians were gathered together for prayer. They then attacked five pastors, severely beating them. The assailants also struck Kejiya Fernandes, the wife of one of the pastors, in the stomach. Police eventually arrived on scene, but when the violence ceased, they took the Christian victims into custody instead of arresting the assailants. [more...]

20 Oct 2010

BHUTAN: Christian Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

A Christian was sentenced to three years in prison on 6 October, for "attempting to promote civil unrest" by screening films on Christianity in the predominately Buddhist nation of Bhutan. Four months ago, Prem Singh Gurung (40) was arrested after local residents complained that he was showing Christian films in the villages of Gonggaon and Simkharkha in Jigmecholing block. Prem was charged with violation of the Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Act of 2006. Sections 105(1) and 110 of this law require that authorities examine all films before public screening. While Prem has the right to appeal, at last report it was not yet known if he intended to take that course or even had the resources to do so. Source: Compass Direct [more...]

20 Oct 2010

CHINA: Police Harass Chinese Christians Invited to International Conference


Several Chinese Christian invitees to The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation -- which began on 16 October in Cape Town, South Africa -- have recently faced harassment from authorities. On 17 October, police raided a hotel in Beijing where more than 30 house church Christians, all invited delegates of the Lausanne Congress who had been blocked by Beijing customs officials, were gathered for a worship service. The officials charged the believers with holding an illegal gathering and sent most of them home. Others, including at least four pastors, were seized by police and taken to an undisclosed location. According to the pastors' families, authorities plan to detain the leaders until 25 October -- the last day of the Lausanne Congress. Source: ChinaAid [more...]

20 Oct 2010

NORTH KOREA: Pray for Christians Amid Political Transition

The recent naming of Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, as Vice Chairman of the Worker's Party Central Military Commission has led the nation into a political transition which many view as a turning point for the country's Christian population. On 10 October, during what is said to be the largest military parade staged by North Korea, the nation was officially introduced to Kim Jong-un, who is expected to succeed his ailing father as the country's leader. Little is known about Kim Jong-un. Some are hopeful that his appointment to leadership will lead to an improvement in the ruthless treatment of Christians in the nation, where believers are regularly imprisoned, tortured and even killed for following Christ. Source: Christian Post, VOM-USA [more...]

14 Oct 2010

ETHIOPIA: Christian Jailed Accused of Desecrating Koran

A Christian in Ethiopia's southern town of Moyale has been languishing in jail for two months after his Muslim business partner accused him of writing "Jesus is Lord" in a copy of the Koran, local church leaders said. Tamirat Woldegorgis, a member of the Full Gospel Church in his early 30s, was arrested in early August after the Muslim co-worker in the clothes-making business the two operated out of a rented home discovered Woldegorgis had inscribed "Jesus is Lord" on some cloth, area Christians said. The Muslim associate, whose name has not been established, went to a nearby mosque with the accusation that Woldegorgis had written "Jesus is Lord" in the Koran itself, sources said. [more...]

14 Oct 2010

SOMALIA: Family Laments Kidnapping of Christian Girl

An underground Christian family from central Somalia is agonising over the kidnapping of their daughter nearly eight months ago by Islamic militants bent on punishing those who leave Islam. Ghelle Hassan Aded has not seen his 15-year-old daughter, Anab Ghelle Hassan, since Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab ("the Youth") insurgency kidnapped her on 15 February. The family formed part of a growing movement of underground Christians in Dhusa Mareb. The al Shabaab insurgents fighting the Transitional Federal Government began monitoring the family's activities in 2008, Aded said, and often questioned him about their lack of attendance at the local mosque. [more...]

14 Oct 2010

INDIA: Church Building Destroyed

Believers in an Indian village were working hard to construct a church building, only to have their hopes—and their building—dashed by anti-Christian extremists. Over two days, radicals completely destroyed the new facilities. Although the congregation had received government permission to build the church, the extremists tore it down anyway; they accused the church members of not having the proper permission to build. [more...]

14 Oct 2010

Muslim Group to UN: Bar 'Defamation of Religions'

An international Muslim group is pushing for a controversial resolution in the United Nations after a Florida pastor threatened to burn Korans. The Organisation of Islamic Conference has sought a UN resolution barring defamation of religions for 10 years. The group claims the threatened Koran burning and the protests over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero make it imperative to protect against growing Islamaphobia. [more...]

6 Oct 2010

BANGLADESH: Christian Charged In Spite of Thief’s Confession

Police in Nilphamari district have charged Christian day labourer Abul Hossen with cattle theft four days after the primary suspect confessed and testified that Hossen had no part in it, according to a defence attorney and a local official present in the courtroom. Police submitted the charge sheet against the convert from Islam on 12 September, even though Sirajul Islam had confessed to the crime and testified on 8 September that Hossen was not involved and that he did not know him. [more...]

6 Oct 2010

CHINA: Church Raided, Members Beaten and Robbed

On 26 September, a house church meeting in Youqing, Sichuan Province was interrupted by 10 police and security people, who proceeded to destroy and confiscate private property and detain and beat church members. The authorities claimed the gathering was illegal. They smashed one desk and about 30 benches and hauled them away. They also confiscated the Christian's books, as well as the money they carried (approx $A 77). They then took 20 Christians to the police station and demanded money for their release. [more...]

6 Oct 2010

INDIA: Pastor Charged With Forced Conversions

On Sunday 26 September Hindu militants stormed the small, mostly tribal fellowship in Umachagi village, Karnataka, led by Pastor Shivanda Siddi, 45, for the past five years. After interrupting prayers they tried to argue with Pastor Siddi while abusing the believers and taking their Bibles. For the next half hour they insulted, beat and stripped the pastor before telephoning the police and falsely accusing him of forced conversions. [more...]

30 Sep 2010

Never Give Up Seeking Justice

Never Give Up Seeking Justice

The Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP), which translates Batak Christian Protestant Church, is the largest Protestant denomination in Indonesia, with a baptised membership of over four million. On 8 August Islamic extremists organised a protest against HKBP's church in the city of Bekasi, West Java. Protestors soon turned to violence, attacking and injuring dozens of believers.

We heard a protest leader say a prayer asking Allah's forgiveness for killing the Kafirs (infidels). "Then we heard a roar from the protesters, Allahu Akhbar! meaning god is great. They taunted the Christians by calling them, Christian dog! and some believers responded by shouting, Hallelujah! This made the protesters extremely angry and they tried to approach some of the women who were shouting this out, but the Police Riot troops protected them and pushed back the protesters.
 [more...]

30 Sep 2010

October 2010

October 2010

Indonesia [more...]

29 Sep 2010

SYRIA: Eight House Churches Closed

At least eight evangelical churches in northern Syria have reportedly been closed by the Syrian government. The Syrian government ordered the closure of numerous house churches, claiming that they were meeting in places deemed inappropriate for worship by the government. Many Syrian Christians, however, believe that the government's "legal" excuse for closing churches is merely a cover-up for a wider government crackdown against evangelical Christian activity in Syria. The closures are a devastating blow to Christian church communities in Syria, as many congregations cannot afford to buy a plot of land and build a church and so instead purchase apartment buildings to use as places of worship. Source: International Christian Concern [more...]

29 Sep 2010

CHINA: Church Demolished, Bible Study Raided

Nearly 200 police officers demolished the prayer room of Taishan Christian Church in Taizhou, Zhejiang province, China on 21 September on the grounds of a "building code violation." After the demolition, dozens of church members arrived on site and worshipped the Lord, reciting the Bible and singing hymns while the police officers tried to disperse them. A member of the church said a line of police prevented them from removing their belongings from the prayer room. The attack was the second such incident in less than a month, as authorities previously destroyed prayer rooms on 30 August. Commenting on the incidents, Pastor Zhu said, "The last time they came here, they tore down six of the eight rooms
. [In this attack], about 200 people came again and surrounded the entire place. Then, they totally leveled the buildings, stating that the structures violated the building code." [more...]

29 Sep 2010

LAOS: Christians Arrested; Five Still Detained

Thirty-seven young Christians were arrested by police in Meungfeung, the north district of Laos, on 18 September. All of the believers, who were reportedly in the area for a tree-planting project, were then held in detention. Later on, however, 32 of them were released, including the mother of a four-month-old child. The group is very active in sharing the gospel and has helped lead many people to the Lord. Many are deeply concerned for the welfare of the five who remained detained. [more...]

29 Sep 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslim Mob Attacks Christians in Punjab Province

Dozens of Christians were attacked by a mob of Muslims militants in Gujarat distract, Punjab province, Pakistan on 23 September. Approximately 40 Muslims -- some armed with guns and others with axes and clubs -- rampaged through the streets. They fired shots at homes and individuals in the streets and beat some Christians so severely that they were left for dead. Among the believers targeted in the violence was Tariq Gill, a man exonerated of charges of blaspheming the Koran in September 2009. Tariq's parents were also assaulted -- his mother was stripped naked and dragged through the streets. Several critically injured Christians were receiving hospital care at last report. Source: Compass Direct [more...]

23 Sep 2010

IRAN: Nine Believers Arrested

Nine believers were recently arrested on the charge of carrying out journalism just outside Hamedan, Iran, according to a broadcast on Iranian State television. Two of the arrested were reportedly supported by organisations based outside the country, in particular the United States and Great Britain, but their nationalities are unknown. The other seven detained were reportedly cooperating with "Christian-Zionist organisations"-- a term used in Iranian government culture for evangelical Christians who are benefiting from having access to a number of networks and TV satellite programs for evangelism. It is reportedly the first time in three decades that the State TV has broadcast news about the arrest of a group of Christians. Source: Farsi Christian News Network [more...]

23 Sep 2010

PAKISTAN: Church Attacked by Militant Muslims

On 18 September, the Nasri Pentecostal Church in Shah Latif Town, Karachi, Pakistan was attacked and vandalised by militants angered over a threat to burn the Koran in the United States earlier this month. "The church gates were open and the locks broken. The attackers broke open a cupboard and vandalised religious items at around midnight," said Pastor Peter Shahzad. Nine copies of the Bible, three hymn books and three wooden crosses were found burned, and a drum was damaged. It was the second church attack within a week as countrywide protests continue against American Pastor Terry Jones, who withdrew his threat to burn copies of the Islamic holy book on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Source: Union of Catholic Asian News [more...]

23 Sep 2010

CHINA: Pastor Detained At Trial for Chinese House Church Leaders

The court proceedings for the trial of Liu Yunhua and Gao Jianli, two Chinese Christians imprisoned in Xuchang, Henan province, began on 20 September. The outcome of the proceedings is not yet known. It was reported, however, that several believers who had come to witness the event were detained, including the previously imprisoned Pastor "Bike" Zhang Mingxuan and his wife. Pastor Zhang and his wife were released a few hours later. Other local Christians, including the son of the defendant Liu Yunhua, were detained by authorities on their way home from the trial. These believers remained detained at last report. Source: ChinaAid [more...]

23 Sep 2010

INDONESIA: Decree against Activities of Church in Bekasi Revoked

After months of conflict and legal battles, the State Administrative Court in Bandung, Indonesia has revoked the 31 December, 2009 decree prohibiting Christian activities of Batak Christian Protestant Filadelfia Church in Jejalan village, Bekasi. The ruling decreed that the regent of Bekasi should issue a permit for the church to establish a place of worship. The church has faced severe opposition in recent months, including recent violence in which two members were injured. [more...]

16 Sep 2010

TURKMENISTAN: Family Concern for Health of Imprisoned Pastor

Pastor Nurliev (45), who leads Light to the World Church in Mary, Turkmenistan, was arrested on 27 August on charges of large-scale swindling, which carry a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment and confiscation of property. His wife, Maya, and other church members continue to insist the allegations are false and that police pressured three people into writing fabricated statements against him. "He is innocent of the accusations against him and I want him back home. All this is being done because of his faith," Maya said. She has been denied access to her husband since his arrest. The last she heard was that he was being held in a small, overcrowded and smoky cell. She is seriously concerned for his health in these conditions, as he suffers from diabetes, which could worsen if he does not receive his regular medical treatment. Source: Forum18 [more...]

16 Sep 2010

INDONESIA: Congregation Attacked Again In Bekasi

Members of the Batak Christian Protestant Filadelfia Church in Bekasi, Indonesia were attacked by a group of eight unknown assailants during a worship service on 11 September. An elder, Asia Sihombing, was stabbed in the stomach. When Reverend Luspida Simanjuntak tried to come to his assistance, she was beaten with a stick and injured on her face, head and back. At last report, both of the believers were recovering in a local hospital. [more...]

16 Sep 2010

INDIA: Five Christians Arrested

A church was recently attacked and five Christians arrested in Patagunta village, Andhra Pradesh, India. On 5 September, Hindu militants destroyed the local building being used for worship. The following day, the militants filed a case against two pastors and three believers belonging to the church, alleging that the Christians had destroyed local temples and Hindu idols. The police then took all five believers into custody. Source: All India Christian Council [more...]

16 Sep 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Forced Into Slavery

A group of Muslims recently abducted Sana, a Christian mother of two, in Fatehpuh Kasur, Pakistan. Ejaz Masih, Sana's husband who works as a labourer, took out a loan in order to provide medical treatment for his ill father. When his Muslim landlord heard about the loan, he demanded that Ejaz repay it within two weeks, saying, "We'll come and take your wife and children to work for us as slaves. You have no choice [but pay]
. You are lowlife and will always be our slave. We Muslims are superior to any other religion." A few days later, on 3 September, a group of armed Muslims confronted the family, throwing Ejaz to the ground, abducting his wife and beating his father. When his mother called for help, neighbours came out but no one tried to stop the kidnappers. His brother contacted police, but they refused to register the complaint. Source: AsiaNews [more...]

9 Sep 2010

INDIA: Buddhists Assault Christian Aid Workers

A visually impaired Christian and his friend accused drunken Buddhists of abducting and assaulting them last week after the blind volunteer distributed relief material in a Buddhist-majority town in a region of India devastated by recent floods. The attackers are still at large after the assault on Wednesday 1 September in the town of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir state's Ladakh region, where flooding and landslides destroyed hundreds of houses and killed around 200 people on 6 August. [more...]

9 Sep 2010

SOMALIA: Christian Killed, Four Children Kidnapped

Another member of an underground Christian movement in Somalia has been murdered by Muslim militants in a continuing campaign to eliminate converts from Islam. Area sources said al Shabaab militants entered the house of Osman Abdullah Fataho in Afgoi, 30 kilometres from Mogadishu in Shibis district, at 10:30 the night of 21 July and shot him dead in front of his wife and children. Fataho was a long-time Christian deeply involved in the activities of the small, secret Christian community, sources said. Area Christians said they suspected someone had informed the militants of Fataho's faith. [more...]

9 Sep 2010

CHINA: Church Leaders threatened for Mission Conference

According to ChinaAid, at least three house churches were shut down on 5 and 6 August. The churches were located in Wuhan, Hubei, in Sanmenxia, Henan, and in Changsha, Hunan. They belonged to China Gospel Fellowship, one of the major house church networks in China, with an estimated 5-7 million members. [more...]

9 Sep 2010

IRAN: The Unknown Condition of Christian Detained in Ahvaz

Members of a home-based church in the city of Ahvaz are concerned about a fellow church member and have reported that after more than a month since his arrest, there is no information about his condition. The 27 year old Neshan Saeedi, on 24 July at 9:00 pm, while spending a quiet evening with his wife and young daughter at their home at the Golestan neighbourhood of Ahvaz, was attacked by plain-clothes security forces that had entered his house and was arrested. The security officers searched the home and seized personal belongings such as a computer, CDs containing films of Christian seminars and teachings, Christian books and Bibles, and family photo albums. [more...]

2 Sep 2010

EGYPT: Sharia Means No Equality before the Law

The Assyrian International News Association (AINA) reports that on 13 August Sheikh Tobah, Imam of the village of Shimi 170km south of Giza, used Friday prayers to incite local Muslims to wage jihad against the local Coptic Christian community. Within hours an Islamic hard-liner named Mohamed Ali Almstaui had attacked a local Copt, Maher Amin, who was washing his taxi. That evening Almstaui led a mob of some 20 Muslims against the Amin family home. When the security forces arrived they arrested the Christians, ignoring their injuries, so they could pressure them to accept 'reconciliation'. (To uphold the Sharia provision that Christians may not testify against Muslims in court, the Egyptian government enforces 'reconciliation' whereby Christians are forced to drop charges in exchange for Muslim assurances that the conflict has ended.) [more...]

2 Sep 2010

AFGHANISTAN: Aid Workers Killed

Just a week ago the world news agencies reported about the killing of a team of eye medics, including eight Christian aid workers, in a remote area of Afghanistan on 6 August 2010. The team of two Afghan helpers and eight Christian foreigners worked for the International Assistance Mission (IAM) - non-profit Christian organisation, registered as such in Afghanistan since 1966. Investigation by Afghan authorities on who is responsible for the deaths and what have been the motives still continues. [more...]

2 Sep 2010

BANGLADESH: Christian Convert Falsely Accused of Theft

A Christian convert from Islam was falsely arrested for cattle theft last weekend in a bid by influential Muslims to stop his Christian activities, area villagers said. Day laborer Abul Hossen, 41, was arrested on Saturday 21 August for alleged cattle theft in Dubachari village in Nilphamari district, some 300 kilometres northwest of the capital, Dhaka. Christian villagers told Compass that Hossen was the victim of "dirty tricks" by influential Muslims. "There is another Abul Hossen in the village who might be the thief, but his father-in-law is very powerful," said Gonesh Roy. "To save his son-in-law, he imputed all the blame to a different Abul Hossen who is a completely good man." Hossen, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 2007, is very active in the community, and Muslims are harassing him with the charge so his ministry will be discredited and villagers will denounce his faith, Roy said. [more...]

2 Sep 2010

TURKMENISTAN: Five Years' Imprisonment for Arrested Protestant Pastor?

Pentecostal pastor Ilmurad Nurliev, arrested at his home in Mary in south-eastern Turkmenistan on 27 August, faces criminal charges of large-scale swindling which carry a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment and confiscation of property, his wife Maya and his lawyer have told Forum 18 News Service. Three women who had attended church meetings wrote statements that he took money from them, charges his wife and other church members deny vigorously. They say police pressured the three to write the statements and they now regret doing so. Another church member has been threatened that if she does not testify against Pastor Nurliev her husband - who is not a church member - will be sacked from his job. Forum 18 was unable to discuss the case with officials, including police investigator Durdimurad Gazakov. [more...]

1 Sep 2010

"I will forgive you in the name of Jesus"

Life has become harder and more dangerous for Christians in Pakistan in recent years. Islamic militants see the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars on Muslims – and they regard Pakistan's Christians as agents of the United States and her allies. In 2009 a large mob of radical Muslims attacked Christians in Gojra and Korian. The rioting started with a cry of blasphemy at a Christian wedding in the village of Korian, a few hours' drive from Lahore. A boy cut up an Arabic textbook to use for confetti and some said the words printed on it were from the Koran. [more...]

1 Sep 2010

September 2010

September 2010

Pakistan [more...]

25 Aug 2010

INDIA: Twelve Christians Arrested

On 15 August, police arrested 12 believers in Mandya district, Karnataka state, India. Pastor Satish and Ravi, an evangelist with India Campus Crusade for Christ, were conducting a service in a believer's home when approximately 30 people entered the building and started to accuse them of forcibly converting locals. The men, along with 10 other believers, were arrested and remained in detention at last report.
Source: VOM-USA [more...]

25 Aug 2010

ETHIOPIA: Muslims Attack Somali Church Leader

Mohamed Ali Garas, a prominent Somali church leader and convert from Islam, was beaten recently by Muslims in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mohamed, who fled to Ethiopia from Somalia in 2005 after Somali authorities attempted to arrest him, recently moved to a new neighbourhood in Addis Ababa because Somali Muslims had threatened to attack him. On the evening of 21 August, he heard two men calling his name while he was walking to his new home. When he approached them, they struck him on the head with a wooden club and knocked him to the ground. The two Somali Muslims then continued to assault him, hitting and kicking him in the chest and stomach. They fled when a neighbour arrived on scene. At last report, Mohamed was being treated at a local hospital for his injuries, which included a damaged kneecap. [more...]

25 Aug 2010

TANZANIA: Evangelist Arrested in Zanzibar

Security agents have reportedly arrested Peter Masanja, an evangelist in Zanzibar's south-eastern town of Paje. Earlier this year, Peter invited fellow members of the Pentecostal Church in Zanzibar to hold religious activities in his home. Local Muslims grew angry, believing that he was planning to establish a church on his land. [more...]

25 Aug 2010

PAKISTAN: Family in Hiding Following Accusations of Blasphemy

A Christian man, Tanvir Masih, and his family are in hiding after Muslim militants accused him of blasphemy. On 28 July, Muslims in Bahawalnagar district, Punjab province discovered Tanvir, who is a cleaning worker, using a broom covered with a pharmaceutical firm's advertisement cards bearing a verse from the Koran in Arabic that read, 'God is the best healer!' They then accused Tanvir of 'defiling Muhammad.' Tanvir tried to explain that others had given him the cards, which were written mostly in English, and that he did not understand English. [more...]

19 Aug 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Exonerated of Blasphemy Charges

Rubina Bibi (25), a Pakistani Christian woman who has been imprisoned since March for blasphemy, was recently acquitted. Rubina was accused of blasphemy by a local Muslim shopkeeper following a dispute they had over a food product she had purchased and tried to return. Rubina was arrested and imprisoned in the Gujranwala jail along with her 18-month-old son, Joshua. On August 11, a judge dropped the charges against her and she was released. Had she been convicted, she would have faced the mandatory death penalty. Her accuser had reportedly offered to settle the matter out of court if she agreed to convert to Islam. Rubina, her husband, and their three children have since relocated to an unknown location for their safety.
 [more...]

19 Aug 2010

TANZANIA: Christian Evangelists Acquitted

On 12 August, a court in Tanzania acquitted two evangelists of "illegal preaching." Eleutery Kobelo and Cecil Simbaulanga were arrested in October 2009 after Muslims invited them to participate in a religious debate. The Christians reported that no Muslims showed up to the site of the supposed inter-faith debate until Islamists arrived with government security agents who charged them with "using religious sermons to incite Muslims and Christians into viewing each other with suspicion." The accusers had claimed that the Christians' message that Jesus is God had annoyed Muslims and therefore disrupted a peaceful coexistence between the two faiths. [more...]

19 Aug 2010

PAKITAN: Two Christian Girls Raped in Punjab

Two Christian girls in Pakistan's Punjab province were brutally raped in recent weeks. On 22 July, a group of madrassa (Islamic school) students gang-raped a 12-year-old Christian girl in Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi district. A teacher who reportedly witnessed the rape stated: "Three or four Christian girls were washing dishes near a pond
. These guys ran towards them, and the girls started running. One of them fell on the ground, and these madrassa students got hold of her and took her in the fields. I tried to stop them, but they were 15-16 in number." Seven or eight of the boys reportedly then raped the girl, while the others looked on. [more...]

13 Aug 2010

INDONESIA: Hundreds Injure Church Members in Bekasi

Leaders of a church in West Java, Indonesia demanded justice from police after a fifth attack from Muslim protestors left at least a dozen people injured. As some 20 members of the Batak Christian Protestant Filadelfia Church (HKBP Filadelfia) in Bekasi gathered for Sunday worship on a church-owned plot of land in Ciketing, at least 300 members of the Islamic People's Forum (FUI) and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) broke through a police barricade and ordered them to leave, Theophilus Bela, president of the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum, told Compass. When the church members refused, the protestors assaulted the group with sticks, stones or their bare hands. [more...]

13 Aug 2010

MALDIVES: Prospects of Religious Freedom Appear Grim

After Saudi Arabia, the Maldives is the only nation that claims a 100-percent Muslim population. But the Indian Ocean archipelago featuring 1,192 islets 435 miles southwest of Sri Lanka has more than 70,000 expatriate workers representing several non-Islamic religions, including Christianity; those who intermingle must exercise caution. "Even if you engage any Maldivian in a discussion on Christianity and the person reports it to authorities, you can be in trouble," said a source who requested anonymity. "A Maldivian youth studying in Sri Lanka became a Christian recently, but when his parents came to know about it, they took him away. We have not heard from him since then." [more...]

13 Aug 2010

UZBEKISTAN: "We Are Bandits"


Ten Protestant short-term prisoners of conscience have been jailed for between three and five days, and three were fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage. The raid which preceded the punishments - in which 23 people including small children were detained - was carried out with great brutality. Police under Major Ilyos Mustafayev broke into the house, confiscating two personal Bibles, four songbooks and one textbook of violin lessons. They then began "pushing the believers forcefully" into cars outside, Baptists complained. [more...]

5 Aug 2010

IRAN: The Mass Arrest of New Christian Converts in Mashhad

On Thursday, 18 July, a group of 15 newly converted Christians, who were travelling to the provincial town of Bojnoord to meet and to fellowship with the believers of that town, were arrested in the city of Mashhad, the capital of the North Eastern province of Khorasan. [more...]

5 Aug 2010

Two Christians Play Dead to Survive Attack in India

Two evangelists said they survived an attack in Balaghat district, Madhya Pradesh by playing dead when suspected Hindu extremists on July 20 surrounded them and severely beat them. The six assailants accused Mahindra Kharoley, 20, and 30-year-old Munshi Prasaad Bahey of "forced conversion." The two evangelists were bicycling to their home village of Susua following a prayer meeting at Dunda Sivni, 25 kilometers from Balaghat district, when the attackers on two motorbikes, with their faces covered, attacked them in Bhalwa village at around 10 pm. [more...]

5 Aug 2010

RUSSIA: Pastor in Dagestan Killed

A pastor in the Russian republic of Dagestan known for founding the biggest Protestant church in the region and for successfully reaching out to Muslims has been killed by unidentified gunmen, local authorities have confirmed. Artur Suleimanov, 49, pastor of Hosanna Christian Church in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, was shot on the evening of 15 July while leaving his church building.
The identity of the shooters remains unclear, but in the weeks leading up to the killing Dagestan media broadcast calls for people to take measures against Suleimanov because he was too "active" and converted ethnic Muslims. [more...]

5 Aug 2010

PAKISTAN: Suspected Islamists Shoot Five Christians to Death

A dozen masked men shot five Christians to death as they came out of their church building here on July 15, two months after a banned Islamic extremist group sent church leaders a threatening letter, relatives said. Pastor Aaron John and church members Rohail Bhatti, Salman John, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall of Full Gospel Church were leaving the church building after meeting to discuss security in light of threats they had received, said the pastor's son, Shahid John. "As we came out of the church, a group of a dozen armed gunmen came and opened fire at us," said Shahid John, who survived a bullet in his arm. Besides Shahid John, five others were wounded in the attack. [more...]

5 Aug 2010

BANGLADESH: Two Christian Families Suffer Extortion, Beatings

Two Christian women in Bangladesh's northern district of Jamalpur said village officials extorted relatively large sums of money from them – and severely beat the husband of one – for proclaiming Christ to Muslims. Johura Begum, 42, of Pingna village said a member of the local union council, an area government representative and the father of a police officer threatened to harm her grown daughters if her family did not pay them 20,000 taka ($A 315). The police officer whose father was allegedly involved in the extortion was investigating fabricated charges that Christians had paid Muslims to participate in a river baptism on 26 May. Only six men among 55 converts were baptised by leaders of the Pentecostal Holiness Church of Bangladesh, Christian leaders said, as the rest were intimidated by protesting Muslims. [more...]

5 Aug 2010

INDIA: Four Students Taken to Custody in Lucknow

A team of students from a Bible college in Lucknow of Uttar Pradesh have been attacked and detained by the police allegedly for their conversion activities. The police first beat up the four students belonging to Compassion for India Ministry late in the evening on 24 July. The students had been engaged in serving the poor and underprivileged in and around Lucknow. The police team, led by one Tripathi, forced their Pastor to visit them at the police station. The police accused them of indulging in conversion activities. The pastor and his team were questioned about their work in detail. The police also extracted money from the Pastor before releasing the students from their custody. Source: All Indian Christian Council [more...]

2 Aug 2010

God Will Use You Mightily

God Will Use You Mightily

At age five, Abdulmasi was forced into almajiri, an antiquated Islamic practice popular in West Africa. His story is like that of millions of young Islamic boys who are currently being educated in Koranic schools around the world, especially in Nigeria and other West African countries. Many of those schools are training grounds for Islamic militants fuelling hatred for Christianity.

A boy doing almajiri may join 40 or 50 other boys in the Imam's care. The boys live in poverty, without parental love or guidance. In the morning, the boys recite the Koran. It is in Arabic, a language they do not understand. They recite for hours, for years, until they memorise the Koran. Around 1 pm each day, the boys walk the streets and beg for food. Whatever food or money they get they must share first with the Imam. By 2 pm, they are back reciting and learning the Ahadith. [more...]

2 Aug 2010

August 2010

August 2010

Nigeria [more...]

29 Jul 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Nursing Student Brutally Assaulted

Magdalene Ashraf, a 22-year-old a Christian nurse trainee, was brutally attacked on 13 July by several Muslim men who raped her and threw her from the fourth-floor window of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. A fellow nurse tricked Magdalene into visiting the office of a Muslim doctor by telling her that he wanted to talk to her about a class assignment. The doctor, Jabbar Jabbar Meammor, reportedly has a history of sexually abusing Christian nurses in the hospital. Once she was inside the room with the nurse, Dr Jabbar and at least two other men then attacked her. [more...]

29 Jul 2010

ETHIOPIA: Somali Muslims Assault Christian

On 16 July, five Somali Muslim men assaulted and seriously injured a Christian man in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for reading a book critical of the Prophet Muhammad. Mike Abdul Falahow, a Christian convert from Islam, was reading "The Great Deception: How Muhammad Tried to Win Christians for Islam" when two Somali Muslims demanded that he hand over the book, saying that it was offensive and attacked the honour of the Prophet Muhammad. Mike refused to surrender the book and argued that they were living in Ethiopia and not in Somalia, and therefore had religious freedom. One of the Muslim men then attempted to seize the book from Mike's grasp. [more...]

29 Jul 2010

VIETNAM: House Church Attacked

A house church building in Xi Thoai village, Phu Yen Province, Vietnam was attacked and damaged by a gang of youths on 18 July. The building, which was also intended to be the home of Christian evangelist Mang Vuong, was in the process of being constructed in order to serve the ethnic Hroi community as the nearby church had reached full capacity. Vuong belongs to the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (South), the country's largest government-registered denomination. [more...]

29 Jul 2010

CHINA: Imprisoned Christian Refused Further Visits

Imprisoned Uyghur house church pastor Alimujiang Yimiti, who was finally allowed to visit with his family in recent months, has been prevented further visits. Alimujiang's mother, wife, and children were able to meet with him for the first time in two years in April. In May, they were permitted a second meeting for 20 minutes. However, authorities have since demanded that a letter stamped by the local police verifying Alimujiang's relationship with his wife and mother be brought to each meeting. The local police, meanwhile, claim the letter is unnecessary and refuse to cooperate. Alimujiang's lawyers have not been permitted to meet with him since he was moved into prison. [more...]

22 Jul 2010

NIGERIA: More Deadly Attacks on Christians

Muslims attacked the predominately Christian village of Mazzah, near the city of Jos, on 17 July, killing eight people and burning seven houses and a church building. At approximately 1:30 am, Muslims entered the village and began shooting sporadically in the air to lure sleeping residents outside their homes. They then attacked people with machetes, including children. Seven were killed instantly, while another died while on the way to the hospital. Three others were seriously injured. [more...]

22 Jul 2010

PAKISTAN: Two Christians Murdered After Accusations of Blasphemy

Rev Rashid Emmanuel (32) and his younger brother, Sajid Emmanuel (30), were shot and killed on 19 July after they were accused of blaspheming the prophet Muhammad. The two men, leaders of United Ministries Pakistan, were being returned to jail under police custody when they were attacked and shot by several masked men. Sajid was instantly killed, while Rashid later died from his injuries. The bodies of the two reportedly bore cuts and other signs of being tortured while in police custody. [more...]

22 Jul 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Authorities Crackdown on Christians

Authorities in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic in Uzbekistan, have renewed a crackdown on Protestant activity in recent weeks. On 8 July, two Christians were handed 10-day prison terms to punish them for their religious activities. One of the imprisoned believers, Lepes Omarov, has previously endured opposition. In 2003, he was dismissed from his job as a teacher after he rejected pressure from a local ideology official to renounce his beliefs. In 2006, a criminal case was launched against him for violating the law on religion, but the case never came to trial. [more...]

22 Jul 2010

EGYPT: Persecution Still Escalating

Egypt's Constitution elevates Sharia as 'the principal source of legislation', rendering constitutional guarantees of religious liberty illusory. In 2007 Mohammed Hegazi and in 2008 Maher el-Gowhary courageously pursued the Interior Ministry for their constitutional right to have their conversion from Islam to Christianity officially recorded. They did this for their children who would thus be free to be Christian. The courts, however, ruled that Sharia prohibits leaving Islam (apostasy). Their lives are seriously imperilled with fatwas issued against them. After Nagla al-Imam (36), an attorney and Sharia expert, had publicly announced her conversion to Christianity, police detained, bashed and threatened her in early July. She then posted an Internet video of herself (battered) and her two young children singing a Christian lament. The three have since 'disappeared'.
Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission [more...]

14 Jul 2010

INDIA: Woman Brutally Attacked for her Faith

Amodini, a Christian woman, was brutally attacked on Tuesday for sharing her faith in Karnataka, India. She was hospitalised and is in critical condition. Amodini, who is 40 years old, is a member of a church where a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary serves as pastor. She was at her home when a group of 15 men came to her house, called for her and began accusing her of forcing people to convert to Christianity. After making the accusation, they grabbed hold of the woman and began to beat her. Witnesses described a horrific scene. "Amodini's clothes were removed in public and she was attacked with knives," a witness reported. Police sprang into action when the attack was reported and they have arrested 14 of the accused attackers so far. [more...]

14 Jul 2010

KYRGYZSTAN: Church robbed in Bishkek

An Evangelical church in Bishkek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, has been robbed and a church member badly beaten by the assailants.
In a message sent to the ASSIST News Service (ANS), by Jed Courley, the pastor, he said, "Some of you may have already heard -- our church was broken into last night. At about 1:00 in the morning four men climbed over the fence and broke into the back door of the church. A woman, Valya, who was there was badly beaten, tied up with tape, and then beaten more when very little money was found. Rooms trashed, safe demolished. Some music equipment, a computer, and other things were taken. "Valya managed to escape about 4:00 in the morning, hobbled to a neighbour, and called us. [more...]

14 Jul 2010

IRAN: Family Visit Confirms Fears for Christian in Solitary Confinement

An Iranian Christian has won his fight to be allowed to visit his son in prison – but is now deeply concerned about the 29-year-old's health and well-being. Ali Golchin has been held in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison since he was arrested in his home town of Varamin on 29 April. After weeks of appealing to the authorities, his father was finally allowed access to Ali on 17 June – though they were allowed only ten minutes together.
 [more...]

14 Jul 2010

LEBANON: Sidon's Christians Threatened

Christians in the predominantly Christian villages east of the southern port city of Sidon were shocked on Friday 18 June to find pamphlets being distributed that called on Christians to 'spare their lives by evacuating the area within one week' or 'bear the consequences'. [more...]

14 Jul 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslim Mob Kills Wife and Children of Christian

A Muslim mob in Jhelum, Pakistan murdered the wife and four children of a Christian last month, but local authorities are too afraid of the local Muslim leader to file charges, according to area Muslim and Christian sources. Jamshed Masih, a police officer who was transferred 50 kilometres from Gujrat to Jhelum, Punjab Province, said a mob led by Muslim religious leader Maulana Mahfooz Khan killed his family on 21 June after Khan called him to the local mosque and told him to leave the predominantly Muslim colony. Masih's Muslim neighbour, Ali Murtaza, said that after a shopkeeper refused to sell laundry detergent to Masih's oldest son, 11, Khan led a Muslim mob to Masih's home and confronted his wife. [more...]

14 Jul 2010

PAKISTAN: Two Churches Come Under Attack from Islamists

Christian communities in two areas in Punjab Province came under attack earlier this month. In Sargodha, an unidentified motorcyclist on 1 July tossed a grenade in front of the gates of St Filian's Church of Pakistan, next to a small Christian-owned amusement park where children were playing, Christian sources said. It did not explode. The Rev Pervez Iqbal of St Filian's said the Bomb Disposal Squad and New Satellite Town police took the grenade away. High-ranking police officials cordoned off the area, declaring a "High Red Alert" in Sargodha, he added. [more...]

8 Jul 2010

AFGHANISTAN: Christians Plead for Help after Execution Call

A group of Afghan Christians living in exile in India have issued an "urgent" plea to the international community to help Christians still living in Afghanistan following the recent call for their execution by a government minister. The letter was issued earlier in the month by a community of 150 Afghan converts now living as refugees in New Delhi because of the threat to their lives in Afghanistan. In the letter they urge Christians around the world to speak out against the "egregious injustices" and "blatant human rights violations" taking place against Christians in Afghanistan. [more...]

8 Jul 2010

MOROCCO: Continues to Purge Nation of Foreign Christians

Moroccan authorities expelled eight more foreign Christians from the country last weekend, bringing the total of deported Christians since March to 128. Two foreign women married to Moroccan Christians were included in this third wave of deportations since March, raising concerns that local authorities intend to harass the country's small but growing Protestant community. "They are all in fear," a source told Compass, "because this happened to people who are married." One of the women, a Lebanese national married to a Moroccan, was diagnosed with cancer last month and is the mother of a 6-year old girl whom she was forced to leave behind. A Spanish national, Sara Domene, 31, was also deported on Monday 28 June, according to news sources. Domene was working as a language teacher in the Western Sahara, a territory under Moroccan sovereignty. [more...]

8 Jul 2010

NIGERIA: Eight Christians Killed in Nigerian Muslim Attacks

A human rights organisation has learned that last weekend Muslims attacked Christian villages and killed at least eight Christians in Kaduna and Plateau States of Northern Nigeria. International Christian Concern (ICC) reported in a news release that on the night of 3 July, several Muslims attacked Kizachi village in Kaduna State and killed five Christians, including a primary school teacher and mother of six children. The Muslims also burned down five Christian homes. Nigerian sources told ICC that the police had stopped protecting the village on 2 July after the government failed to pay their salaries.
In the second attack, on the night of 4 July, 2010 ICC reported that Muslims armed with guns and machetes invaded Ganawuri community, near Jos. Three Christians are feared dead. [more...]

8 Jul 2010

TURKEY: Christian Children Singled Out

There is a saying in Turkey: "To be Turkish is to be Muslim, and to be Muslim is to be Turkish." In this nation, 99.8 percent of its inhabitants are Muslim, and the few Turks who do turn to Christ are misunderstood and ridiculed for their decision to leave Islam. [more...]

8 Jul 2010

INDIA: Conviction of Legislator Falls Short of Expectations

– Christians in Orissa state had mixed feelings about the sentencing on Tuesday 29 June of state legislator Manoj Pradhan to seven years in prison for causing grievous hurt and rioting – but not for murder. "Pradhan is not convicted of murder, but offenses of voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons and rioting were upheld," attorney Bibhu Dutta Das told Compass. Kanaka Rekha Nayak, widow of murdered Christian Parikhita Nayak, acknowledged that the judgment on Pradhan and fellow Hindu nationalist Prafulla Mallick did not meet her expectations. She said she was happy that Pradhan was finally behind bars, but that she "expected the court to at least pronounce life imprisonment on Pradhan and Mallick for the gruesome act that they committed." [more...]

8 Jul 2010

ERITREA: Refugees Sent Back From Libya in Great Danger

As many as 250 highly vulnerable Eritrean refugees are in danger of being forcibly repatriated by Libyan authorities. CSW learnt that they were herded like cattle into trucks which took them from Misrata prison to a detention centre on the edge of the Sahara desert earlier this week. Before leaving, many of the group were severely tortured by their guards, some so badly that they had to be returned to the prison where they were being held for medical treatment. They are now being held in one single, dark, overcrowded cell, with no access to toilets, food or water and are being hosed with water, beaten and threatened by guards who say they have orders to "finish" them. [more...]

1 Jul 2010

INDIA: “Blessed are the Persecuted”

INDIA: “Blessed are the Persecuted”

The world knows the devastation wrought by anti-Christian violence that swept through India in 2008: 121 pastors and believers murdered, more than 5000 houses destroyed, 235 places of worship burned and more than 70,000 people displaced. The attacks have not thwarted the efforts of bold believers who continue to share Christ despite violent opposition. [more...]

1 Jul 2010

PAKISTAN: ‘Blasphemy Laws’ Used to Jail Elderly Christian

A Muslim vying with a Christian for a parcel of land here has accused the elderly man of "blaspheming" Islam's prophet Muhammad, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment, according to the Christian Lawyers' Foundation (CLF). Jhumray police on 19 June arrested Rehmat Masih of village No. 165/RB Jandawali in Faisalabad district under Section 295-C of Pakistan's controversial "blasphemy laws," and he was sent to Faisalabad District Jail on judicial remand by Magistrate Muhammad Sajawal. Christian sources said Masih, who suffers from arthritis, is 85 years old, though the First Information Report against him lists his age as 73. [more...]

1 Jul 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Professor in Pakistan Beaten for Refusing to Convert

Muslim students attacked a Christian professor at the Peshawar University College, this month after he refused their demand to convert to Islam, the instructor told Compass. Psychology professor Samuel John, a father of four who has been teaching at the university for 12 years, said that as he came out of his house on the university campus at 8:30 am on 14 June, about 20 to 25 students rushed and assaulted him. When his wife learned what was happening she ran to help him, but the students beat her as well. Both John and his wife were rushed to Lady Reading hospital, where they were treated for their injuries, with John listed in critical condition. "I am still getting threats," the professor told Compass. "They say, 'Leave the university or accept Islam – if you don't convert, we will kill your family." Police have refused to register a First Information Report on the incident, he said. [more...]

1 Jul 2010

KAZAKHSTAN: Parliaments to go against International Human Rights Commitments

Following a police raid on his ordination service, Baptist pastor Oleg Voropaev in Kazkhstan's northern Pavlodar Region has become the latest victim of the Administrative Code's punishments for leading unregistered worship. Voropaev told the court that he considered himself not guilty, as Kazakhstan's Constitution guarantees the right to worship individually or collectively. As a community without a bank account the church does not need legal status, and does not need or want registration to exist or meet. [more...]

1 Jul 2010

IRAQ: Christian Shot

On 7 June a 34-year-old Christian businessman Hani Salim Wadi was shot and killed in front of his home in Kirkuk, Iraq. According to the available sources the witnesses of the shooting have described it as a "targeted killing," which has brought fear of renewed violence against Christians in Iraq. During the recent months there have been other serious attacks against Christians in Kirkuk and Mosul.
Source: WEA Religious Liberty Prayer [more...]

1 Jul 2010

INDONESIA: Islamist Hardliners in Bekasi Declare 'War' on 'Christianisation'

Islamist hardliners are using fighting talk about the 'Christianisation' of Bekasi, amid rising interfaith tensions in the city. Nine Islamic groups meeting in the West Javan city have reportedly joined forces in a campaign to prepare local mosques to 'wage war on' the growing Christian influence in the city. The group is recommending that each local mosque should form its own laskar or 'paramilitary unit' to enforce Sharia or strict Islamic practices on local Muslims – and insisting that the Bekasi administration's policymaking should reflect this code. Hardliners say they are reacting to what they see as a concerted attempt by the church to extend its reach in Bekasi, a commuter city for Jakarta. Mass baptisms of Christians who were raised as Muslims are cited as a particular issue for concern. [more...]

1 Jul 2010

July 2010

July 2010

India [more...]

24 Jun 2010

USA: Three Christians Arrested in Outreach to Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan

Three Christians were arrested on 18 June at the Arab International Festival as they shared their faith with Muslims. The three were arrested by police as they engaged in intense, but respectful dialog in which they proclaimed their faith in Christ. "I never thought I would see this in America," says Steven Atkins, a resident of Toronto, Canada, who was visiting the festival and observed the incident. [more...]

24 Jun 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Child Abducted, Forced into Bonded Labour

An 11-year-old Christian boy is growing weak and ill from malnutrition from working in slave-like conditions for a Muslim landowner who kidnapped him and is forcing him to work off his family's debts, his mother told Compass. Katherine Bibi said landowner Ashraf Cheema of Dhonikay village, Wazirabad, has offered her son better conditions and possibly cancellation of the debt if he will convert to Islam. [more...]

24 Jun 2010

MOROCCO: Islamists Use Facebook to Target Christians

Moroccan Christians say Muslim extremists in the country are aiding and encouraging the government to pursue them by exposing and vilifying them on social networking site Facebook. Facebook user Gardes Maroc Maroc has posted 32 image collages featuring dozens of Christian converts, calling them "hyena evangelists" or "wolves in lamb's skins" who are trying to "shake the faith of Muslims" on the Arabic-language site. The online images depict Christian converts and their families from across the country and include details about their roles and activities in churches, their personal addresses and anecdotal stories attempting to malign them. [more...]

24 Jun 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslim Kidnap, Rape Christian Girl

Five Muslims kidnapped and raped a Christian girl after threatening to kill her unless her father allowed one of them to marry her. Lazarus Masih said one of his three daughters, 14, was kidnapped on 29 May by five men identified only as Guddu, Kamran, Waqas, Adil and Ali. Police recovered her on 6 June in a raid on the home where she was being held, though the suspects escaped. [more...]

24 Jun 2010

KENYA: Islamic Courts Issue Stirs Strife

Kenyans will vote on a new constitution on 4 August. Several elements in the proposed constitution are, however, highly controversial and opposed by the Church which is advocating a 'NO' vote. One contentious issue is the promotion of Kadhi (Islamic) courts. The Church maintains that if Islamic courts are entrenched in the constitution and given national jurisdiction, then secularism, equity, tolerance and religious liberty will be diminished. [more...]

24 Jun 2010

INDIA: Pastor Slapped, Threatened When Youth Disrupt Prayer Meeting

Nikhil Sarin was physically abused and threatened when local youths disrupted his prayer meeting on 4 June. The Gospel for Asia-supported pastor was leading a time of prayer with a family that recently chose to leave their traditional village faith and trust in Christ. The time of fellowship was abruptly cut short when a group of anti-Christian extremists started arguing with Nikhil and the family. [more...]

17 Jun 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman in Pakistan Abused, Forced to Resign

A Christian woman says she has been falsely accused of theft, beaten, threatened with rape and forced to resign her job in a bid to keep her from obtaining full benefits as a regular government employee. Razia Bibi, a 38-year-old sanitation worker known as Rajji of village No. 47-NB (Northern Branch), was due to obtain regular status as a government employee at Aysha Girls' Hostel at the University of Sargodha at the end of May. On 7 May, however, Muslim office worker Safia Bibi accused her of stealing 10,000 rupees ($A135) from her cubicle – and when hostel warden Noshaba Bibi learned of it, she called female police officers and ordered them to beat her until she confessed, Rajji said. [more...]

17 Jun 2010

SOMALIA: Family of 17-Year-Old Girl Abuses Her for Leaving Islam

The Muslim parents of a 17-year-old Somali girl who converted to Christianity severely beat her for leaving Islam and have regularly shackled her to a tree at their home for more than a month, Christian sources said. Nurta Mohamed Farah of Bardher, Gedo Region in southern Somalia, has been confined to her home since 10 May, when her family found out that she had embraced Christianity, said a Christian leader who visited the area. [more...]

17 Jun 2010

IRAN: Christian Held in Solitary Confinement without Charge

On 29 April, agents from the Iranian National police entered Golchin's home in Varamin and confiscated several Bibles, his computer, identification cards, and other personal belongings. The police did not allow Golchin to call his father before taking him to an undisclosed location. On 30 April, the Intelligence Office in Varamin summoned Golchin's father, a Christian minister, to the local intelligence office. The intelligence agents interrogated him for several hours and threatened to further harm his son if he spoke publicly about Golchin's detention. The intelligence agents similarly threatened Golchin's wife. [more...]

17 Jun 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Samarkand - City of Closed Protestant Churches

The seventh in a series of Protestant churches stripped of state registration in the central Uzbek city of Samarkand in the past four years is still battling to regain it. Without registration, all religious activity is illegal. "For more than a year our church has been trying to establish the illegality of the stripping of registration," a member of Samarkand's Central Protestant Church told Forum 18 News Service. "All the courts either say it is not within their competence or remain silent." [more...]

17 Jun 2010

INDIA: Pastors Arrested

Police arrested three pastors on anti conversion charges in Amapalli Deogarh, Sambalpur district of Orissa on 10 June. According sources, some villagers of Amapalli village requested Pastor Lamuel Patnaik, Pastor Philemon Naag, and Pastor Sudhir Nag for a baptism service. While they were in the process of conducting the baptisms for those who had previously embraced Christianity, a group of villagers came to object. The matter was reported to local police and a team of police led by a female Superintendent arrived and stopped the baptism ceremony. Police arrested the three pastors and they were taken into police custody for further investigation. [more...]

10 Jun 2010

AFGHANISTAN: Parliamentarian Calls for Execution of Christians

Abdul Sattar Khawasi, deputy secretary of the Afghan lower house in parliament, has called for the execution of Christian converts from Islam. Speaking earlier this month in regards to a video broadcast by the Afghan television network Noorin TV showing footage of Christian men being baptised and praying in Farsi, Khawasi said, 'Those Afghans that appeared in this video film should be executed in public. The house should order the attorney general and the NDS (intelligence agency) to arrest these Afghans and execute them.' [more...]

10 Jun 2010

INDIA: Missionary Murdered

Ajit Bansi -- a Gospel for Asia-supported missionary in Assam, India -- was killed by an anti-Christian militant group on 20 May while on his way home from purchasing construction supplies for a new church building. Pastor Ajit and three others were ambushed by the militants and then shot, their bodies left on the roadside. He was murdered just days before the building for his growing congregation of approximately 60 believers was due for completion. "Pastor Ajit was one of hundreds of missionaries risking their lives to share Jesus' love in this area," K.P. Yohannan, Gospel for Asia's President, has stated. "He was doing a great work, and his life brought hope to many people." Source: Assist News Service [more...]

10 Jun 2010

RUSSIA: Ghostlike Existence for Dagestan's Protestants

The Hosanna Church - the largest Pentecostal Church in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan - had a five-year agreement allowing prison visits abruptly cancelled in early 2010, Pastor Artur Suleimanov told Forum 18 News Service. The authorities have also changed their earlier positive assessment of the church's work with drug addicts. [more...]

10 Jun 2010

EGYPT: Couple Shot by Muslim Extremists Undaunted in Ministry

On the afternoon of 27 February, lay pastor Ephraim Shehata and his wife Rasha Samir were ambushed on a desolate street by a group of Islamic gunmen outside the village of Teleda in Upper Egypt. The attack was meant to "break the hearts of the Christians" in the area, Samir said. The attackers shot Shehata twice, once in the stomach through the back, and once in the neck. They shot Samir in the arm. Both survived the attack, but Shehata is still in the midst of a difficult recovery. [more...]

10 Jun 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslims Order Christians to Leave Village

The head of a Muslim village last week ordered 250 Christian families to leave their homes in Khanewal district, Punjab Province, local residents said. Abdul Sattar Khan, head of village No. 123/10R, Katcha Khoh, and other area Muslim residents ordered the expulsions after Christian residents objected too strenuously to sexual assaults by Muslims on Christian girls and women, said a locally elected Christian official, Emmanuel Masih. [more...]

10 Jun 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Lawyers and Christian Former Prisoners of Conscience Threatened


Lawyers defending three former prisoners of conscience from Tashkent's Protestant Church of Christ have been threatened by the authorities that "they could be stripped of their licenses if they continue to defend these cases." Similarly, the Religious Affairs Committee has threatened to strip the registered church of legal status if church members continue to complain about the imprisonments and other human rights violations. [more...]

10 Jun 2010

Pope Launches Middle East Bishops Group

Pope Benedict XVI launched a "special assembly" of bishops focused on the Middle East on Sunday, during a visit to the divided island of Cyprus. The group aims to "help to focus the attention of the international community on the plight of those Christians in the Middle East who suffer for their beliefs," he said in announcing the group, a part of the Catholic Church's Synod of Bishops. [more...]

10 Jun 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslim Boys Accused of Raping Christian Girl

Forensic DNA results of semen samples in a sexual assault case show they match those of the Muslim boys a 14-year-old Christian girl accuses of raping her, according to advocacy organisations. The girl accuses Muhammad Noman and Muhammad Imran, both 17, of abducting her from her school in Kamboh colony, Lahore, in Punjab Province, on 6 May and drugging her prior to sexually assaulting her, according to Khalid Gill, president of the Christian Lawyers Foundation (CLF), and officials of the National Commission of Justice and Peace. [more...]

3 Jun 2010

CHINA: Xinjiang Christian Petitioner Beaten and Detained

On 30 April, Feng Yongji, a Christian petitioner from Xinjiang was illegally intercepted by the Shanghai Domestic Protection Security Squad on her way to Shanghai during the opening ceremony of Expo 2010. The guards handed her over to the police of Shihezi (her hometown). As the Shihezi police "escorted" her home, four or five officers beat Feng so severely that she passed out. Feng Yongji is now being illegally detained at the Shihezi Police Detention Centre. Her current condition is growing worse, and she is in dire need of medical attention. [more...]

3 Jun 2010

PAKISTAN: Islamists Keep Two Newlywed Couples from Home

Islamists armed with pistols and rifles waited for two Christian couples to return to their rented home this week, seeking to kill them after the newlyweds complained to police that the radical Muslims had falsely accused them of desecrating the Koran, according to a local Christian legislator. Atiq Joseph and Qaiser William and their wives, who requested anonymity went to an undisclosed location after Christians in Gulshan-e-Iqbal town, Karachi, warned them that the armed Muslims were stationed in front of their joint home on Friday 21 May, said Saleem Khurshid Khokhar, a representative of Sindh in the Punjab Provincial Assembly. [more...]

3 Jun 2010

TURKEY: Trial over ‘Insulting Turkishness’ Again Yields No Evidence

The 11th hearing of a case of alleged slander against two Turkish Christians closed just minutes after it opened this week, due to lack of any progress. Prosecutors produced no new evidence or witnesses against Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal since the last court session four months ago. Despite lack of any tangible reason to continue the stalled case, their lawyer said, the Silivri Criminal Court set still another hearing to be held on 14 October. "They are uselessly dragging this out," defence lawyer Haydar Polat said moments after Judge Hayrettin Sevim closed the Tuesday 25 May hearing. [more...]

3 Jun 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Kidnapped, Escapes

A Christian woman who was kidnapped, forced to marry a Muslim farmer and told to convert to Islam amid a dispute over a loan said today she has returned home after weeks of "captivity and torture." Sania James, 33, was kidnapped 5 April by armed men who stormed her parent's house in the small town of Rawat, just outside Rawalpindi, neighbours confirmed to Compass. [more...]

3 Jun 2010

BELARUS: Action against the New Life Full Gospel Church

The head of the Belarusian capital Minsk's City Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Committee has denied to Forum 18 News Service that his action against the New Life Full Gospel Church is politically motivated. "I'm depoliticised," Aleksandr Borovikov insisted of his attempt to prosecute the church for alleged oil pollution, "I'm not part of any campaign against the church." Church members think the massive, disputed fine imposed on the church for environmental damage is part of the long-running state campaign against them. While concerned that grass being grown for a children's playground at the church might also cause environmental damage, Borovikov seemed unfazed when Forum 18 raised concerns about accumulated rubbish - including rotting vehicles and old washing machines - dumped within 500 metres of the church. [more...]

3 Jun 2010

CHINA: Imprisoned House Church Leaders Released!

On 5 May, sixteen major house church leaders from different provinces were detained while meeting for prayer and Bible study.They were held at a detention center in Luoyang city. ChinaAid urged the international community to call on the authorities to release the pastors, including Pastor Li Fuxing from Shandong and Pastor Zhang "Peter" Bide. Because of international pressure, on 21 May all the house church leaders were released! Source: ChinaAid [more...]

3 Jun 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Church Raided

On 16 May, a Christian church in Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, was raided by police, the secret police, tax inspectorate, fire Inspectors and the sanitary-epidemiological service. The 500 church members who were in the midst of the Sunday service as well as the Sunday school children were videotaped by the police. After a 5 hour search, which was carried out without a warrant, the police detained eight church members including the Assistant Pastor Artur Avanesyan. They were kept in detention for 24 hours without any food or water and were not allowed to contact their families. Equipment including computers and printers as well as Christian literature was confiscated. Letters of permission given by parents of 392 children to attend Sunday school were among papers taken away by the police. [more...]

2 Jun 2010

June 2010

June 2010

China [more...]

1 Jun 2010

Crossing the Line in China

Crossing the Line in China

Esther is the 28-year-old daughter of Pastor Yang Xuan and his wife, Yang Caizhen, leaders in a large Chinese church. Esther grew up in a Christian home in the city of Linfen, in Shanxi province, China. Her parents are members of Linfen Church, a network of house churches with as many as 50,000 members.

Linfen Church is considered to be 'illegal' because it is not registered with the communist, state-run Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). Nevertheless, the church has operated with a great deal of freedom. This freedom was so remarkable that within the Chinese house church movement, Linfen became known as the 'Liberated Zone.' Linfen's renown as a Liberated Zone held until September 2009, when Chinese officials closed the church headquarters, destroyed church buildings and arrested Esther's parents and other church leaders.
 [more...]

26 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslim Teachers Allegedly Abuse Christian Students

Muslim teachers at a girls school here have derided Christian students for their faith, beat them, pressured them to convert to Islam and forced them to clean school bathrooms and classrooms after class hours, according to area Christians. Muslim teachers at Government Higher Secondary School in village No. 79-NB (Northern Branch), Sargodha, have so abused Christian students that two have dropped out, said a 16-year-old student identified only as Sana. "Christian students are teased and mocked by radical Muslim female teachers from the start of the school day to the end," she said. "Due to the contemptuous behaviour on religious grounds of the fanatical Muslim principal and staff, Christian students feel dejected, depressed and frustrated. I am totally broken-hearted because of the intolerance and discrimination." [more...]

26 May 2010

INDIA: Hindu Nationalists Plan ‘Religious Cleansing’ in Madhya Pradesh District


Hindu nationalist organisations in Madhya Pradesh state have declared their intentions to rid Mandla district of all Christian influence by starting preparations for a large "reconversion" event next year. A similar event in Dangs district, Gujarat state in 2006 was filled with Christian hate speech. As a result of anti-Christian sentiment stirred at the 22 April ground-breaking ceremony for the Madhya Pradesh "reconversion" rally to be held next February, Hindu nationalists attacked a house church in the district's Bamhni Banjar village on 2 May, Christian leaders said. Hindu leaders reportedly announced a list of objectives to be achieved before the festival, with one prominent agenda item being to drive away Christian pastors, evangelists and foreign aid workers from the district. The leaders pledged to "cleanse Mandla of Christians" by means of the February 10-12 event. [more...]

26 May 2010

MOROCO: Second Wave of Deportations Hits Foreign Christians

In a second wave of deportations from Morocco, officials of the majority-Muslim country have expelled 26 foreign Christians in the last 10 days without due process. Following the expulsion of more than 40 foreign Christians in March, the deportations were apparently the result of Muslim hardliners pressuring the nation's royalty to show Islamic solidarity. The latest deportations bring the number of Christians who have had to leave Morocco to about 105 since early March. [more...]

26 May 2010

NIGERIA: Muslim Youths Burn Church Buildings, Pastor’s Home

Scores of Muslim youths on Wednesday 19 May besieged church property in Kano state in northern Nigeria, destroying two church buildings and a pastor's residence. One of the buildings and the pastor's house were set ablaze on the premises of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) at Kwasam, in the Kiru Local Government area, while another building under construction was demolished. [more...]

26 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Family Forced to Flee Town

A Christian who accused a Muslim of raping his 12-year-old daughter has fled his town in Punjab Province with his family following death threats and police pressure to drop the case. Citing "continuous threats" to take his life, Zafar Masih left Gujranwala's predominantly Muslim town of Nai Abadi Tatlay Aali within 10 days of accusing Ali Ahmed, a 28-year-old businessman, of beating and raping his daughter on 12 May. His daughter, whose name was withheld, told Compass that her employer, Ahmed, beat and raped her when she went to his home, where she worked as a house servant. [more...]

26 May 2010

EGYPT: Convert Endures Life at a Standstill – on the Run

The apartment where an Egyptian convert from Islam to Christianity was living in hiding with his teenage daughter is across the street from a mosque that regularly broadcast anti-Christian messages. "Do not shake their hands. Do not go into their homes," an imam shouted through the minaret loudspeakers as 57-year-old Maher Ahmad El-Mo'otahssem Bellah El-Gohary looked through his window and grimaced. For nearly two years, he and his daughter have been forced to hide after he sought to change the religious designation on his national ID card to "Christian." [more...]

26 May 2010

IRAN: Conditional Release of Christian Couple after posting a $100,000 Bail

A Christian couple who were arrested and detained for 75 days on the charges of evangelising the Christian faith in the city of Isafahan was released conditionally after posting a $100,000 bail bond. According to new received by the Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), Mr Hamid Shafiee and Mrs Reyhaneh Aghajary, who were arrested at their home on 28 February and detained for more than 75 days in a detention centre in Isfahan, were released separately after posting heaving bail and commitments to the government. [more...]

26 May 2010

IRAN: Marzieh and Maryam Acquitted

Praise God! On 22 May, Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh were acquitted of all charges by the Iranian judicial authorities, according to Elam Ministries. Iranian authorities warned Maryam and Marzieh that any future Christian activity would be dealt with seriously. "We are most grateful to everyone who prayed for us," Marzieh told Elam Ministries. "I have no doubt that God heard the prayers of his people." Maryam added, "I believe our arrest, imprisonment and subsequent release were in the timing and plan of God, and it was all for his glory. But the prayers of people encouraged and sustained us throughout this ordeal." Following their acquittal, Marzieh and Maryam left Iran for another country. [more...]

26 May 2010

VIETNAM: Murdered Christian’s Widow Could Lose Her Children

The widow of a Vietnamese Christian who was brutally tortured and murdered may be in danger of losing her children to the state. According to International Christian Concern, the widow was taken to a police station and told she must sign documents giving her children to the state. [more...]

26 May 2010

INDIA: Hindu radicals demolish Indian Church under construction, Installs Hindu Idol

A church under construction in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh, was demolished at around 9:00am on Sunday 23 May by a group of Hindu radicals, who then placed in what was left of the building, an idol of Hindu god Hanuman. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the church was destroyed by members of Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks (RSS), a Hindu radical group, despite the fact that the believers had secured all the necessary permits to build their house of worship in that place. [more...]

20 May 2010

CHINA: Family Finally Allowed Visit Imprisoned Uyghur Chinese Church Leader

On 20 April, the family of Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang Yimiti was allowed to visit with him for the first time since his arrest in January 2008. Alimujiang was sentenced in October 2009 to 15 years' imprisonment for "providing state secrets to overseas organisations" [more...]

20 May 2010

YEMEN: Christian Girls Kidnapped in Yemen Are Rescued

Saudi Arabian and Yemeni security forces rescued two German girls yesterday, 11 months after the two young sisters, their parents; brother and four other Christians were taken hostage in Yemen. Reported to be between 3 and 6 years old, the two girls, Lydia Hentschel and her younger sister Anna Hentschel, were part of a group of nine Christian foreigners who were kidnapped on 12 June last year. Three of the adult hostages, a Korean and two German women, were murdered shortly afterwards. The foreigners worked in a hospital near the city of Saada. [more...]

20 May 2010

LAOS: Christians Expelled from Village Suffer Critical Illnesses

In spite of assurances of religious rights by officials in March, Lao Christians expelled from a village in Saravan Province in January are suffering from prolonged lack of adequate food and clean water. The lack of basic resources has led to dehydration, eye and skin infections, fainting and general weakness for the Christians expelled from Katin village, and one person has died, Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) reported. [more...]

20 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Forced to Sell Kidney to Pay Debt to Boss

A low-wage Pakistani Christian said his Muslim employer last week forced him to sell his kidney in an effort to pay off a loan his boss made at exorbitant interest rates charged only to non-Muslims. John Gill, a molding machine operator at Shah Plastic Manufacturers in the Youhanabad area of Lahore, said he took a loan of 150,000 rupees ($A 2095) – at 400 percent interest – from employer Ghulam Mustafa in 2007 in order to send his 17-year-old daughter to college.  [more...]

20 May 2010

EGYPT: Convert from Islam Devastated by ‘Delay Tactic’

An Egyptian convert to Christianity said he is devastated by a recent court decision to suspend a lawsuit he filed to change the religion on his identification card from Muslim to Christian. The First District of the Court of the State Council on 27 April suspended Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy's case until the Constitutional Court rules on a challenge to Article 47, a section of the civil code that, in theory, allows Egyptians to change the religion listed on their ID card. Hegazy, 27, said the court's suspension endangers his children's welfare and will force them to lead a double life indefinitely. [more...]

20 May 2010

UZBEKISTAN: 15-Day Jail Terms, Large Fines, Literature Destruction Follow Raid

Uzbekistan has continued short-term jailings of religious minorities, with three Protestant Christians from a registered church on 18 May being given 15 day jail terms. Three other Protestants - arrested after a raid on the Tashkent church - were each fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage, and two other Protestants were fined five times the minimum monthly wage. Six computers seized during the raid were ordered to be given to the state, and seized Christian literature ordered destroyed. [more...]

20 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Accused of Blasphemy Faces Court in Pakistan

Martha Bibi (45), a Pakistani Christian woman accused of blasphemy in January 2007 is scheduled to appear in court on 26 May. If deemed guilty, she may face the death penalty. Martha has been accused of making derogatory remarks against the Koran and of "defiling the sacred name of the prophet Muhammad." According to local Christians, the charges were brought against Martha by Muslim contractors who did not want to pay for materials she and her husband, a bricklayer, supplied to a construction site. Source: VOM Canada [more...]

13 May 2010

IRAN: Christian Temporarily Released from Evin Prison

Vahik Abrahamian, an Armenian Christian, who was arrested unexpectedly and detained for 53 days in a solitary cell at the Evin Prison, without access to a lawyer or any of his family members, has been temporarily released. According to the Farsi New Network (FCNN), "Vahik Abrahamian", an Armenian Christian was released from his solitary conferment at the Evin Prison at 9pm on 24 April, 2010 after spending a total of 53 days in detention. He had to post a ten million tooman bond for his release and return to court for legal hearings surrounding the charges filed against him. [more...]

13 May 2010

CHINA: Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Missing Again

Gao Zhisheng, a Christian human rights lawyer released by Chinese officials on 6 April and missing again since 20 April, is "definitely in the hands of Chinese security forces," Bob Fu of the China Aid Association (CAA) told Compass."Right now nobody has been able to locate him," Fu said. "The Chinese security forces need to come up with an explanation." Gao, initially seized from his home in Shaanxi Province on 4 February 2009 and held incommunicado by security officials for 13 months, was permitted to phone family members and colleagues in late March before officials finally returned him to his Beijing apartment on 6 April. [more...]

13 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Christians’ Employer Has Them Illegally Arrested

Police illegally detained three Christians on false charges of alcohol possession in Sialkot last week at the request of their Muslim employer. The men – garment factory workers Atif Masih, Kamran Masih and Naveed Gill – said they had objected to their boss demanding they work on Sundays. Factory owner Rana Ejaz promptly accused them of selling alcohol, which is forbidden to Muslims in Pakistan and illegal to sell without a permit. On 4 May the station house officer (SHO) of Paka Garah, Sialkot, arrested the three Christians even though Ejaz had filed neither a First Information Report nor registered a written complaint, the Christians said. [more...]

13 May 2010

INDIA: Evangelist Killed in Bihar

An evangelist has been killed in Jamalpur of Bihar allegedly for his conversion activities in the area. A media team consisting of Pastor Yunus Mandal and some young people went to screen a film on Jesus Christ at Laksmanpur village in Jamalpur on 2 May 2010. [more...]

7 May 2010

INDONESIA: Muslims Burn Christian Centre under Construction

Hundreds of people calling themselves the Muslim Community of the Puncak Route last week burned buildings under construction belonging to a Christian organisation in West Java Province. Believing that a church or school building was being built, the mob set fire to the Penabur Christian Education Foundation's unfinished guest house buildings in Cibeureum village of Cisarua sub-district, Bogor Regency, on 27 April. They also burned a watchman's hut and at least two cars belonging to foundation directors. [more...]

7 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Five Christian Boys Accused of Blasphemy Forced to Leave their Homes

Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law continues to be allegedly abused by extremists in Pakistan, at least five Christian boys have been forced to leave their homes in the Green Town area of the eastern city of Lahore, after they were accused of committing blasphemy. [more...]

7 May 2010

IRAQ: CHRISTIANS UNDER SIEGE

After seven years of insecurity and ethnic-religious cleansing, few Christians remain in the south and the centre. Iraq's remnant Assyrian-Chaldean Christians live mostly in the historic Assyrian homeland: the Nineveh Plains of Northern Iraq. Even there Christians are under siege and so endangered that Christian students must travel to university in convoys under Iraqi military escort. [more...]

7 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslims Abduct Young Christian Woman, Family Says

Muslims who kidnapped and forcibly converted an 18-year-old Christian woman to Islam severely beat her mother on two occasions to discourage her from trying to recover her daughter, lawyers said. Muhammad Akhter and Muhammad Munir on 25 April broke into the home of 50-year-old widow Fazeelat Bibi while her sons were at work and beat her because they were upset at her continuous demands that they return her daughter Saira, Christian Lawyers Foundation (CLF) leaders told Compass. CLF President Khalid Gill said that neighbours' calls to the police emergency number went unheeded as the men beat her in Lahore's predominantly Muslim Bostaan Colony. [more...]

7 May 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslims Abduct Young Christian Woman, Family Says

Muslims who kidnapped and forcibly converted an 18-year-old Christian woman to Islam severely beat her mother on two occasions to discourage her from trying to recover her daughter, lawyers said. Muhammad Akhter and Muhammad Munir on 25 April broke into the home of 50-year-old widow Fazeelat Bibi while her sons were at work and beat her because they were upset at her continuous demands that they return her daughter Saira, Christian Lawyers Foundation (CLF) leaders told Compass. CLF President Khalid Gill said that neighbours' calls to the police emergency number went unheeded as the men beat her in Lahore's predominantly Muslim Bostaan Colony. [more...]

7 May 2010

SOMALIA: Militants Execute Christian Leader

Islamic militants killed another leader of the underground church movement in Somalia. Before he was fatally shot on Tuesday 4 May in Xarardheere, about 60 kilometres from Jowhar, 57-year-old Yusuf Ali Nur had been on a list of people the Islamic extremist al Shabaab suspected of being Christian, sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told Compass. Al Shabaab, said to have links with al Qaeda, has vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity.
 [more...]

7 May 2010

BANGLADESH: Buddhist Extremists Drive Christians from Village

Four Christian families in south-eastern Bangladesh left their village under mounting pressure by Buddhist extremists to give up their faith in Christ. Sources told Compass that 20 to 25 Buddhists, brandishing sticks and bamboo clubs in Jamindhonpara village, 340 kilometres southeast of Dhaka, began patrolling streets on Friday 30 April to keep the 11 members of the Lotiban Baptist Church from gathering for their weekly prayer meetings. [more...]

5 May 2010

North Korean Outlaws

A Special Report from Voice of the Martyrs Australia

Please click on file to download. [more...]

3 May 2010

May 2010

May 2010

North Korea [more...]

3 May 2010

"I'm Not Ready to Die.......Yet"

Mr Chin* travelled all night. Before dawn, he crossed the Tumen River and stepped back into his homeland of North Korea. The guards patrolling the river's banks remained deaf to his footsteps. Mr Chin knew the dangerous item that was buried under clothes in his backpack could lead to his execution, but he chose to carry it anyway. [more...]

29 Apr 2010

INDIA: Theology Student Dies in Attack in Madhya Pradesh

Hindu extremists raided Christian events in India's Madhya Pradesh state this month, leaving a visiting theology student dead and several other Christians injured. The body of 23-year-old Amit Gilbert was recovered from a water well 25 feet from the site of a Christian revival meeting that 15 to 20 Hindu extremists attacked on 17 April in Gram Fallaiya, Post Pathakheda, Betul district. With covered heads and carrying iron rods and bamboo clubs, members of the Hindu extremist Dharam Sena and Bajrang Dal cut electricity at the night-time event and began striking, sending the more than 400 in attendance running, Christian leaders said. Eyewitnesses said the assailants chased Gilbert, of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh state, and beat him mainly on his legs. [more...]

29 Apr 2010

CUBA: Family of Imprisoned Pastor Given Eviction Order


The family of a pastor who was given a six year and seven month prison sentence in July 2009 has been ordered to vacate their home in Cuba. Authorities delivered documents to Pastor Omar Gude Perez's wife, Kenia, notifying her that their home is to be confiscated and that the family will be relocated to a significantly smaller apartment in poor condition outside the city of Camaguey. Kenia has told officials that she and her children will not leave their home voluntarily. Although the official reason for the confiscation and relocation is "illicit gain," Kenia has been informed by authorities that she is being punished for informing international human rights groups and foreign governments about the human rights violations her family has suffered.

Source: VOM Canada [more...]

29 Apr 2010

NIGERIA: Journalists Become the Latest VictimsPlateau State Violence

Two journalists working for a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) publication have become the latest casualties of the violence that has afflicted Plateau State since January. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) says the bodies of Nathan Sheleph Dabak, Deputy Editor of The Light Bearer, and reporter Sunday Gyang Bwede were found in the mortuary of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) on the afternoon of 25 April, a day after they left their office to interview a local politician. [more...]

29 Apr 2010

BANGLADESH: Buddhist Extremists Beat, Take Christians Captive

Buddhist members of an armed rebel group and their sympathisers are holding three tribal Christians captive in a pagoda in south-eastern Bangladesh after severely beating them in an attempt to force them to return to Buddhism, Christian sources said. Held captive since 16 April are Pastor Shushil Jibon Talukder, 55; Bimol Kanti Chakma, 50; and Laksmi Bilas Chakma, 40, of Maddha Lemuchari Baptist Church in Lemuchari village, in Mohalchari sub-district of the mountainous Khagrachari district, some 300 kilometres southeast of Dhaka. They are to be kept in the pagoda for 15 to 20 days as punishment for having left the Buddhist religion, the sources said. [more...]

29 Apr 2010

NORTH KOREA: ‘Pinpricks’ of Truth Making Way

As refugees from North Korea and activists from Non-Governmental Organisations gather in Seoul, South Korea this week to highlight human rights violations in the hermit kingdom, there are signs that North Korean citizens are accessing more truth than was previously thought. A recent survey by the Peterson Institute found that a startling 60 percent of North Koreans now have access to information outside of government propaganda. "North Koreans are increasingly finding out that their misery is a direct result of the Kim Jong-Il regime, not South Korea and America as we were brainwashed from birth to believe," Kim Seung Min of Free North Korea Radio said in a press statement. [more...]

22 Apr 2010

NIGERIA: Pastor, Wife Killed in Northern Nigeria

Suspected Islamic extremists last week abducted and killed a Church of Christ pastor and his wife in Boto village, Bauchi state in northern Nigeria. The Rev Ishaku Kadah, 48, and his 45-year-old wife Selina were buried on Saturday 17 April after unidentified assailants reportedly whisked them from their church headquarters home on Tuesday 13 April and killed them. Their burnt bodies were found hours later. [more...]

22 Apr 2010

ETHIOPIA: Christians Hit by Unexpected Attack

Evangelical Christians in an area of Ethiopia unaccustomed to anti-Christian hostility have come under attack from Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) members threatened by their existence, Christian leaders said. In Olenkomi, about 65 kilometres west of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, two church buildings were attacked by an EOC mob in Olenkomi town, Oromia Region, on 27 January – leaving one evangelist unconscious and other Christians fearful of Orthodox hostility. [more...]

22 Apr 2010

CHINA: Authorities Reject Uyghur Christian's appeal

On 16 March, The People's High Court of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region rejected an appeal from Alimujiang Yimiti (37), a Uyghur house church leader. Alimujiang was sentenced in October 2009 to 15 years' imprisonment for "providing state secrets to overseas organisations. [more...]

22 Apr 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Feeding Homeless People is "Not According to Charter"

Protestants in Uzbekistan continue to be targeted. Police raided a Protestant youth conference, claiming to check identity documents. Many of the about 70 young people were playing football and basketball and 43 were taken to a police station where they were fingerprinted and photographed. Two leaders are under investigation for "violation of the procedure for holding mass events" and "violation of the law on religious organisations". [more...]

22 Apr 2010

INDIA: Pastor Attacked in Kerala

Activists of the Sangh Parivar have attacked a Pastor in Kozhikode of Kerala for allegedly screening a film on a social cause. Church Pastor Ponnachen and his team went to Perambra for a Gospel meeting on 12 April. They screened a documentary film about cancer caused on account of tobacco use. [more...]

22 Apr 2010

INDIA: Pastor Told to Get Out

A Gospel for Asia-supported missionary has been given notice that he must leave his mission field in Sikkim, India. Santua Barman, who serves as pastor of a small church, received the threat from a local anti-Christian group. They gave him 10 days to move away with his family members. In spite of the threats, Santua plans to stay in the village and continue ministering to the people. He filed a police complaint against the group that is making the threats against him. The courts are trying to resolve the matter, but the group's leaders have so far refused to show up for their court dates. [more...]

15 Apr 2010

VIETNAM: Released Christian Lawyer Vows to Fight on for Democracy

Christian lawyer Le Thi Cong Nhan has said she will continue to push for a free and fair Vietnam – after serving three years in jail as a pro-democracy activist. Nhan, jailed in 2007 for 'propagandising to destroy the Socialist Republic of Vietnam', was released from prison on 6 March. She is not yet free, however – she will spend the next three years under house arrest in Hanoi. In a radio interview with Voice of America soon after her release, the 31-year-old lawyer said she had no intention of giving up her struggle for greater democracy in Vietnam – even, she said, if there was a further price to pay. [more...]

15 Apr 2010

PAKISTAN: Young Christian Woman Allegedly Abducted

A Muslim tricked a 19-year-old Christian woman into leaving her house on 1 April, and he and a car full of friends took her away, according to her family. Sonia Mohan's family said they fear the Muslim, Ali Raza, will force her to convert to Islam and marry him. [more...]

15 Apr 2010

ERITREA: Seventeen Christian Soldiers at Prayer Arrested En Masse

Military officials arrested 17 young soldiers as they met for prayer and fellowship in the town of Segenaite in the south of Eritrea. The young men, believed to come from several different churches, were rounded up on 27 March and taken to Segenaite police station. The 17 are believed to be in the middle of their compulsory national service. Assist News Service reports that this brings to 28 the number of Christians arrested in Eritrea since the beginning of March. [more...]

15 Apr 2010

KAZAKHSTAN: "Struggle against Religious Extremism Must Be Carried Out On All Fronts"

Kazakhstan has left threats to deport Viktor Leven "hanging in the air". The now-stateless Baptist, who is Kazakh-born, was convicted of missionary activity without state permission, and because he and his wife do not have passports they cannot either obtain paid work or travel by train. He and his family live on what they can grow themselves. [more...]

15 Apr 2010

PAKISTAN: False Charges Filed against 47 Christians

Police have filed false charges of alcohol possession against 47 Christians, including women and children, on 28 March in an attempt to intimidate and bribe them, Christian leaders said. Police broke into and ransacked the home of Shaukat Masih at 10:15 pm on Palm Sunday, manhandled his wife Parveen Bibi, and threatened to charge them and 45 other area Christians with alcohol possession if they did not pay a bribe, said attorney Albert Patras. The Christians refused. Those charged include two children and eight women. None of the Christians has been arrested, as police are interested only in extorting money from them, Patras said. [more...]

1 Apr 2010

Lambs Among Wolves

Lambs Among Wolves

Albert Francisco tugged on the small hand of Mial Rose. The 9-year-old struggled to keep up with her older cousin as they made their way down the jungle paths in the Philippine mountains. It was early Sunday morning on 3 May 2009 and the two were on their way to the banana plantation where Albert worked so he could collect his pay. [more...]

1 Apr 2010

April 2010

April 2010

Philippines [more...]

30 Mar 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Jailed under ‘Blasphemy’ Laws

Police in Alipur have arrested a Christian woman on a baseless accusation of "blaspheming" the prophet of Islam. Rubina Bibi of Alipur, wife of Amjad Masih, is accused of making a derogatory remark about the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The charge comes under Section 295-C of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which have gained international notoriety for their misuse by Muslims to settle personal grudges. [more...]

30 Mar 2010

CHINA: Gao Zhisheng Confirmed 'Alive!' Thanks to International Support

Sunday, 28 March missing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng spoke to his wife and children for the first time in over a year - confirming he is still alive! False rumours of his death, torture, and escape from the custody of the Chinese Government have shrouded Gao's absence with mystery for over a year. Gao's brief phone conversations with western media mark the first official contact the public has had with him since his abduction by police on 4 February, 2009. [more...]

25 Mar 2010

EGYPT: Muslim mob attacks Christians in Egypt

A mob of approximately 2,000 Muslims attacked Christians gathered for prayer in a Coptic church in the north-western city of Marsa Matrouh on 12 March. Muslims hurled stones at the building before entering and assaulting several of the over 400 believers trapped inside. Twenty-five people were reportedly seriously injured. The Muslims also burned and destroyed houses, shops and cars. At last report, approximately 28 Christians had lost their homes. The violence was allegedly sparked by local Christians building a wall around a plot of land belonging to the church. Source: VOM Canada [more...]

25 Mar 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslims Accused of Rape Allegedly Attack Sisters

Five Muslims allegedly ransacked the house of an impoverished Christian in this capital city of Punjab Province last month and angrily beat his daughters in an effort to get the family to withdraw rape charges. Muhammad Sajjid wielding a pistol, Muhammad Sharif brandishing a dagger and Muhammad Wajjad and two unidentified accomplices carrying bamboo clubs arrived at the Lahore home of Piyara Masih the afternoon of 26 February, Christian leaders said. The Muslims allegedly ransacked the house and began thrashing his two daughters, a 15-year-old and her 21-year-old sister, Muniran Bibi, according to attorney Azra Shujaat, head of Global Evangelical Ministries, and Khalid Gill, president of the Christian Liberation Front. Muniran said Sharif stabbed her four times with the dagger. "They ripped apart my clothes, as well as my sister's," she said. "In the meantime, Muhammad Sajjid kept firing into the air to terrorise us."  [more...]

25 Mar 2010

INDIA: Christians Face 1,000 Attacks in 500 Days in Karnataka

Minority Christians in southern Karnataka state are under an unprecedented wave of Christian persecution, having faced more than 1,000 attacks in 500 days, according to an independent investigation by a former judge of the Karnataka High Court. The spate began on 14 September 2008, when at least 12 churches were attacked in one day in Karnataka's Mangalore city, in Dakshina Kannada district, said Justice Michael Saldanha, former judge of the Karnataka High Court. [more...]

25 Mar 2010

RUSSIA: Lutheran Extremists?

After initially denying it, Officer Senichev (who refused to give his first name) of the 1st department of Kaluga Police in central Russia admitted to Forum 18 News Service that eleven armed officers with dogs had interrupted the 28 February Sunday morning service of St George's Lutheran congregation. "We had a call on the hotline that extremist literature was there. We're obliged by law to investigate all such calls." He was unable to specify which Russian law requires the police to respond to anonymous calls. Senichev was also unable to say why, if extremist literature was believed to be present, police officers conducting a search needed to be armed and accompanied by dogs. Nor was he able to explain why the search was conducted during the church's Sunday worship service. Source: Forum 18 News Service [more...]

25 Mar 2010

LAOS: Officials Visit Expelled Christians, Give Assurances

Officials in Laos' Saravan Province last week visited 48 Christians expelled from Katin village and assured them that they had the legal right to embrace the faith of their choice, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom. The delegation, led by provincial Gov Khamboon Duangpanya, read out June 2002's Decree 92 on the Management and Protections of Religious Activity in Laos and explained its religious freedom provisions to the group, assuring them that they could freely believe in Christianity "if their faith was genuine." They also said they had the right to live anywhere in the district. [more...]

25 Mar 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslims Murder Christian with Axe Blows

Six Muslims in Khanewal district, southern Punjab Province, killed a Christian with multiple axe blows for refusing to convert to Islam this month, according to family and police sources. The six men had threatened to kill 36-year-old Rasheed Masih unless he converted to Islam when they grew resentful of his potato business succeeding beyond their own, according to Masih's younger brother Munir Asi and a local clergyman. The rival merchants allegedly killed him after luring him to their farmhouse on 9 March, leaving him on a roadside near Kothi Nand Singh village in the wee hours of the next day. [more...]

25 Mar 2010

SOMALIA: Islamic Extremists Kill Church Leader, Torch Home

Islamic militants in Somalia tracked down an underground church leader who had previously escaped a kidnapping attempt and killed him, Christian sources said. Islamic extremist al Shabaab rebels shot Madobe Abdi to death on 15 March at 9:30 am in Mahaday village, 50 kilometres north of Johwar. He had escaped an al Shabaab attempt to kidnap him on 2 March Abdi's death adds to a growing number of Christians murdered by Islamic militants, but his was distinctive in that he was not a convert from Islam. An orphan, Abdi was raised as a Christian. [more...]

25 Mar 2010

PAKISTAN: Muslims Allegedly Burn a Christian Man to Death

International Christian Concern (ICC) says it has learned that a Christian man, Arshed Masih, died after Muslims allegedly burned him alive for refusing to recant his faith. Additionally, a Muslim policeman is accused of raping Masih's wife. [more...]

25 Mar 2010

INDIA: Training Centre Attacked

A large mob of around 40 anti-Christian Hindu militants rampaged through a training centre for pastors, in the North Indian state of Chhattisgarh, on Sunday. Prebhu, a leader at the centre, was punched and kicked as he screamed for mercy. Many students were brutally beaten and seriously injured. While they were being tortured, the gang interrogated them about the leadership at the centre. Students refused to reveal any names or addresses, so the mob furiously burned down all of the valuable teaching tools, literature and Bibles in the centre - everything was destroyed. [more...]

18 Mar 2010

NIGERIA: Second Wave of Attacks Near Jos Leaves 13 Christians Dead

Less than two weeks after a massive attack in Nigeria that killed 500 Christians, Muslim Fulani herdsmen unleashed more horrific violence on two Christian villages in Plateau state, killing 13 persons, including a pregnant woman and children. In attacks presumably over disputed property but with a level of violence characteristic of jihadist method and motive, men in military camouflage and others in customary clothing also burned 20 houses in Byei and Baten villages, in the Riyom Local Government Area of the state, about 45 kilometre from the state capital, Jos. [more...]

18 Mar 2010

MOROCCO: Large-Scale Expulsion of Foreign Christians Begins

Moroccan authorities deported more than 40 foreign Christian aid workers this week in an ongoing, nationwide crackdown that included the expulsion of foster parents caring for 33 Moroccan orphans with Moroccan authorities expressing their intention to deport specifically US nationals. Sources in Morocco told Compass that the government gave the US Embassy in Rabat a list of 40 citizens to be deported. Citing Western diplomats and aid groups, Reuters reported that as many as 70 foreign aid workers had been deported since the beginning of the month, including US, Dutch, British and New Zealand citizens. [more...]

18 Mar 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Ten Year Sentence for "Honest Christian"

Uzbekistan has sentenced a Baptist to 10 years jail on drugs charges, which his fellow Baptists insist are fabricated. Seven weeks after his arrest, Tohar Haydarov was sentenced in Guliston on 9 March for "illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities". Fellow Baptists insist that this is to punish him for his religious activity. It is unclear why Haydarov has been given such a harsh sentence. [more...]

18 Mar 2010

LAOS: Officials Threaten to Burn Shelters of Expelled Christians

Officials in southern Laos plan to burn temporary shelters built by expelled Christians unless they recant their faith, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). Authorities including a religious affairs official, the district head, district police and the chief of Katin village in Ta-Oyl district, Saravan province, expelled the 48 Christians at gunpoint on 18 January. Left to survive in the open, the Christians began to build temporary shelters, and then more permanent homes, on the edge of the jungle, according to HRWLRF. [more...]

11 Mar 2010

CHINA: Guangzhou Police Kidnap Pastor Wang Dao

For more than two years, the Guangzhou police have harassed the house church believers of Liangren Church for their faith. In the boldest strike since last September, a mixed band of plain-clothed and uniformed PSB officers barged into the local restaurant at 3:20 pm on 4 March, where Liangren Church Head Pastor Wang Dao was meeting with twelve brothers and sisters for a meal. According to eye-witnesses in the restaurant, the policemen threw Pastor Wang violently to the ground, without showing their ID badges or any official documentation. [more...]

11 Mar 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian sentenced to life in prison under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws 

Qamar David, a Pakistani Christian who was on trial for alleged blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed, was sentenced last Thursday to life imprisonment. The verdict has been described as "biased and prejudiced" by a source close to Qamar.
Qamar and his lawyer, Parvez Choudhry received death threats leading up to the trial. They plan to appeal the decision. Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide [more...]

11 Mar 2010

NIGERIA: Hundreds killed in Explosive Situation in Jos

Around 2:30am on Sunday 7 March 2010, hoards of armed, mostly Fulani
Muslims slipped in and massacred some 500 mainly Christian ethnic Berom residents in three villages on the southern outskirts of Jos, the capital of Nigeria's volatile Plateau State. Whole families were ambushed, shot and hacked to death as they fled their burning homes. [more...]

11 Mar 2010

PAKISTAN: Islamic Gunmen Kill Christian Aid Workers

Suspected Islamic militants armed with guns and grenades stormed the offices of a Christian relief and development organisation in northwest Pakistan yesterday, killing six aid workers and wounding seven others. The gunmen besieged the offices of international humanitarian organisation World Vision near Oghi, in Mansehra district, of the North West Frontier Province. [more...]

11 Mar 2010

MEXICO: Christians under attack in Chiapas

There were several attacks on believers in Chiapas, Mexico in recent months. Evangelicals in the state face frequent threats and attacks by rebel groups and traditionalist religious groups. In one incident, a Christian community in the state was attacked by a group of 70 armed rebel sympathisers. Nearly 30 people were injured, including women and children. Seven Christians were kidnapped and one was shot in the back and left for dead. [more...]

11 Mar 2010

INDIA: Pastor Brutally Beaten While Conducting a Prayer Meeting

An Indian pastor was brutally attacked by a group of Hindu radicals on Monday, 8 March at Mysore in Karnataka State. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the incident took place at around 11:30 am as Pastor Ravi Chandran (30) was conducting a prayer meeting at a nearby believer's house. The source said that a group of about 10-15 Hindu radicals forcefully entered the house and began to abuse the pastor and the believers gathered there. The report said that they hit the pastor with glass bottles, as well as kicking and punching him mercilessly, after which they disappeared from the venue. [more...]

4 Mar 2010

IRAQ: Endless Terror in Nineveh

Iraq's indigenous Assyrian and Chaldean Christians are being killed or else driven from their homeland. Five Christians were assassinated in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh Province, Northern Iraq, in the week 14- 20 February. On Sunday 14 February Chaldean Rayan Salem Elias was killed by armed militants outside his own home. On Monday Fatukhi Munir was killed outside his shop by drive-by shooters. On Tuesday militants shot two Assyrian Christian university students, killing Zia Toma (21) and wounding Ramsin Shmael (22). On Wednesday militants kidnapped and then killed Assyrian Christian student Wissam George (20). On Saturday police found the body of Syrian Orthodox Adnan al-Dahan (57) who had been kidnapped for ransom a week earlier. Please pray for our traumatised, threatened fellow-believers in Iraq. Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance [more...]

4 Mar 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Persecution Intensifies

The Uzbekistan government's primary goal is the status quo: peace and regime stability at any cost. Jihadist and revolutionary Islamic groups pose a serious threat to national security. To address this threat, the government represses all 'non-traditional' (new) and 'foreign' religious groups, a policy that ensures Protestant Christians get caught up in the same net as prospective Islamic terrorists. As both the Russian Orthodox and Muslim populations are hostile to Protestants, the government can maintain peace and score points by targeting Protestants. Repression, harassment, intimidation and persecution are escalating. In scenes reminiscent of the mid-late 1990s, foreign missionaries are being deported, fellowships are being raided and worshippers are being beaten. Several Baptist pastors and leaders have recently been charged with criminal offences such as drug possession and tax evasion. Please pray for the Church in Uzbekistan.
Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance [more...]

4 Mar 2010

IRAN: Senior Church Leader Arrested

The well-respected leader of a church in Iran has been arrested and held at an undisclosed location. The Rev Wilson Issavi, the leader of a church in Karmanshah, was arrested on 2 February while visiting friends. Security forces entered the home of Issavi's friend and took him away, along with the host couple and another visitor. Friends and family have found it virtually impossible to discover the whereabouts of the church leader or his state of health.
 [more...]

4 Mar 2010

INDONESIA: Muslim Groups Demand Closure of Large, Legal Church

Hundreds of Muslims from outside the area where a 600-member church meets in West Java staged a protest there to call for its closure this month in an attempt to portray local opposition. Demonstrators from 16 Islamic organisations, including the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), gathered on 15 February to demand a stop to all activities by the Galilea Protestant Church (GPIB) in the Galaxy area of Bekasi City. [more...]

4 Mar 2010

PAKISTAN: Christians Arrested after Muslim Attack

In the wake of an attack this week by 150 armed Muslims on a Christian colony in this city in Sindh Province, police have filed a false First Information Report (FIR) against 40 unnamed Christians and arrested five, Christian leaders said. They said the 40 unnamed Christians in the FIR are accused without basis with beating Muslim men, abusing Muslim women and girls, ransacking Muslim homes and looting expensive items from Muslim homes. [more...]

1 Mar 2010

A Bible for the Imam’s Daughter

A Bible for the Imam’s Daughter

Voice of the Martyrs breaks the law by smuggling Bibles because the Bible contains the words of eternal life and we have seen its life-changing impact firsthand.
 [more...]

1 Mar 2010

March 2010

March 2010

Iran [more...]

25 Feb 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Beaten for Refusing to Convert to Islam

The four older Muslim brothers of a 26-year-old Christian beat him unconscious earlier this month because he refused their enticements to convert to Islam, the victim told Compass. Riaz Masih, whose Christian parents died when he was a boy, said his continual refusal to convert infuriated his siblings and the Muslim cleric who raised them, Moulvi Peer Akram-Ullah. On 8 February, he said, his brothers ransacked his house in this Punjab Province town 233 kilometres southwest of Islamabad. "They threatened that it was the breaking point now, and that I must convert right now or face death," Masih said. "They said killing an infidel is not a sin, instead it's righteousness in the sight of Allah almighty." [more...]

25 Feb 2010

ETHIOPIA: Authorities Concoct New Charge against Christian

Prosecutors and police are trying to concoct a terrorism case against an Ethiopian convert from Islam who has been jailed since May without formal charges, Christian leaders said. Bashir Musa Ahmed, a 39-year-old Ethiopian national, was arrested on 23 May when police found him in possession of eight Bibles in Jijiga, capital of Ethiopia's Somali Region Zone Five, a predominantly Muslim area in eastern Ethiopia. Zonal police arrested him after he was accused of providing Muslims with the Somali-language Bibles, sources said, though Ethiopia's constitution protects such activity. [more...]

25 Feb 2010

IRAQ: Four Christians murdered in Mosul

The Christian community in Mosul, Iraq was targeted in recent days in brutal attacks that some believe are motivated by the upcoming 7 March parliamentary elections. On 13 February, Sabah al Dahhan was kidnapped by a gang that has since demanded a large sum of money for his release. The next day, Rayan Bashir Salem was shot and killed in his home by armed assailants. Rayan's brother was also wounded in the attack. [more...]

25 Feb 2010

PAKISTAN: Threats Heighten as Christian Faces Verdict on Thursday

Qamar David, a 50-year-old Christian, is on trial under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, and the verdict is expected on Thursday. He has been held in the Central Jail in Karachi since 2006, where previously he has reportedly been threatened and beaten by the prison officials as well as other prisoners. [more...]

25 Feb 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Baptists Forced to Pay Massive Fines, "Taxes" and Removed From Posts

Uzbekistan continues to attack the country's registered Baptist Union, local Baptists have reported. One Baptist, Valery Konovalov, has been forced to pay a fine imposed in his absence, after he was forced to appear as a witness in the trial of three leaders of the Baptist Union. The three have themselves been forced to pay what the same court claimed was unpaid tax and two were removed from their posts. [more...]

25 Feb 2010

BHUTAN: Anti-Christian Sentiment Marks Journey for Exiles

Thrust from their homes in Bhutan after Buddhist rulers embarked on an ethnic and religious purge, Christian refugees in Nepal face hostilities from Hindus and others. In Sunsari district in south-eastern Nepal, a country that is more than 80 percent Hindu, residents from the uneducated segments of society are especially apt to attack Christians, said Purna Kumal, district coordinator for Awana Clubs International, which runs 41 clubs in refugee camps to educate girls about the Bible. [more...]

18 Feb 2010

KENYA: Push for Islamic Courts Alarms Christians

A constitutional battle to expand the scope of Islamic courts in Kenya threatens to ignite religious tensions at a time when authorities are on high alert against Muslim extremists with ties to Somalia. Constitutional provisions for Islamic or Kadhis' courts have existed in Kenya since 1963, with their jurisdiction limited to the coastal province, but in a hotly debated draft constitution they would expand across the nation and their scope would increase. The proposed constitution has gathered enough momentum that 23 leaders of churches and Christian organisations released a statement on 1 February asserting their opposition to any inclusion of such religious courts. [more...]

18 Feb 2010

TURKEY: Baseless Case against Christians Further Prolonged

Barely five minutes into the latest hearing of a more than three-year-old case against two Christians accused of "insulting Turkishness and Islam," the session was over. The prosecution had failed to produce their three final witnesses to testify against Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal for alleged crimes committed under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code. [more...]

18 Feb 2010

EGYPT: Another Copt Killed as Alleged Shooters Plead Not Guilty

Three men accused of killing six Coptic worshipers and a security guard pleaded not guilty on Saturday 13 February as the Coptic community mourned the loss of yet another victim of apparent anti-Christian violence. The three men allegedly sprayed a crowd with gunfire after a Christmas service in Nag Hammadi on 6 January. On the evening of 9 February, Malak Saad, a 25-year-old Coptic carpenter living in Teta in Menoufia Province, was walking outside a meeting hall that police had seized from Christians when he was shot through his chest at close range. He died instantly. [more...]

18 Feb 2010

KAZAKHSTAN: Government Proposes Retaining Punishments for Exercising Religious Freedom

Kazakhstan's proposed new Administrative Code continues current penalties for exercising freedom of religion or belief. The state-approved version being considered by Parliament continues existing fines and bans punishing individuals and religious communities operating without state-granted legal status or who conduct unregistered "missionary activity". [more...]

18 Feb 2010

TURKEY: Assailant in Street Attack Ordered Released

An Istanbul court has ordered the release of a jailed Turk who publicly threatened and held a knife to the throat of a Christian he attacked six months ago. In a ruling on Wednesday 10 February, the Kadikoy Seventh Court of First Instance convicted Yasin Karasu, 24, of making death threats and mounting an armed attack against Ismail Aydin. Shouting to attract passers-by as he held a knife to Aydin's throat on 3 August, Karasu had denounced the Christian as a 'missionary dog' who had betrayed Turkey by leaving Islam and evangelising others. [more...]

12 Feb 2010

February 2010

February 2010

Vietnam [more...]

11 Feb 2010

MOROCCO: Authorities Raid Bible Study, Arrest Christians

A large, military-led team of Moroccan authorities raided a Bible study in a small city southeast of Marrakech last week, arresting 18 Moroccans and deporting a US citizen, area Christian leaders said. Approximately 60 officers from the Moroccan security services on Thursday afternoon, 4 February raided the home of a Christian in Amizmiz, a picturesque city of 10,000 mainly Berber people 56 kilometres southeast of Marrakech. [more...]

11 Feb 2010

LAOS: Officials Force Christians from Worship at Gunpoint

About 100 local officials, police and villagers put guns to the heads of Christians during their Sunday morning service in a village in Laos last month, forcing them from their worship and homes, according to an advocacy organisation. Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF) reported that in Katin village of Ta-Oyl district, Saravan Province, Lao authorities including the village chief, a religious affairs' official, three district police and a 15-man volunteer unit joined 15 village police officers to force all 48 Christian adults and children of the church to an open field. [more...]

11 Feb 2010

TURKEY: European Court Rules against Religion ID

A European court on Tuesday 2 February ordered Turkey to remove the religious affiliation section from citizens' identification cards, calling the practise a violation of human rights. Religious minorities and in particular Christian converts in Turkey have faced discrimination because of the mandatory religion declaration on their identification cards, which was enforced until 2006. Since then, citizens are allowed to leave the "Religion" section of their IDs blank. [more...]

11 Feb 2010

INDIA: Attacks on Christians Karnataka Frequent, Furious

Karnataka state recorded the highest number of anti-Christian attacks in India last year, and it is keeping pace this year. Christians in Karnataka are being attacked "at rapid regularity" and "with near impunity," and it is "a serious matter of concern for the Christian community," said Dr Babu Joseph, spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. Much of the violence occurs under the vigilante pretext of rounding up Christians supposedly involved in "forcible" or "fraudulent" conversion efforts. On Monday 1 February in Thagadur village, Kodagu district, Hindu extremists dragged 11 Christians – including four women – from their homes and colluded with police to arrest them on such false charges. [more...]

11 Feb 2010

INDONESIA: Two Churches Forced to Close

Local governments have ordered the closure of two churches on Indonesia's Java Island. Under pressure from Islamist groups, authorities ordered Christian Baptist Church in Sepatan, Tangerang district, Banten Province to cease services. In Pondok Timur, near Bekasi in West Java, officials abruptly closed the Huria Christian Protestant Batak Church (HKBP) after delaying a building permit for four years. Tangerang district authorities issued a decree on 21 January ordering all worship activities to cease at the Baptist church. [more...]

11 Feb 2010

UZBEKISTAN: Drugs Planted and Worshippers Beaten Up?

Uzbekistan continues to punish people for unregistered religious worship. Tohar Haydarov, a Baptist, has been arrested and faces criminal charges of producing or storing drugs, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. Haydarov's fellow believers insist that the case has been fabricated, one stating that "police planted a matchbox with drugs." They also state that Haydarov "was beaten and forced by the police to sign different papers. His face looked exhausted and swollen, and he could hardly walk. He did not even remember what was written in those papers." The authorities claim these are "lies". [more...]

11 Feb 2010

KAZAKHSTAN: Women's Prayers Lead to Massive Fine

Kazakhstan has fined Zhanna-Tereza Raudovich 100 times the minimum monthly wage for hosting a Sunday morning worship service in her home, attended by local Baptist women and their children. Police who raided Raudovich's home drew up an official record that "they had discovered an illegally functioning religious community", local Baptists complained to Forum 18. An appeal is due to be heard on 11 February. It remains unclear how Raudovich could pay the fine, as she has six children and does not have paid work. She has been warned that she will face criminal charges if she does not pay the fine. [more...]

11 Feb 2010

CUBA: Pastors under Fire

Pastor Omar Gude Perez, a Cuban pastor who was sentenced to six years in prison on false accusations of illicit economic activity, falsification of documents and human trafficking in 2009, has been denied the right to appeal by the Supreme Tribunal in Havana. Pastor Omar's wife stated that the court's decision confirmed her belief that his arrest and imprisonment was orchestrated at the highest levels of government. [more...]

11 Feb 2010

January 2010

January 2010

IMPACT REPORT
How your gifts made an impact in 2009 [more...]

10 Feb 2010

ERITREA: Christian Dies in Eritrean Detention Centre

On 24 January, Hana Hagos Asgedom (41), a member of Asabe Rhema Church, died of a heart attack at Eritrea's Alla Military Camp. Hana, who had been detained at Wi'a Military Camp for three years following her arrest in 2007, was moved to the Alla Military Camp when the Wi'a camp was dismantled seven months ago. On arrival at the new camp, Hana was offered a final opportunity to renounce her faith. When she refused, she was placed in solitary confinement. Shortly before her death, she reportedly endured beatings with an iron rod for refusing to "make the chief commander in the camp a cup of coffee" -- an order local Christians believe was in reality a sexual advance. She was then returned to her cell where she endured further punishment and eventually passed away. [more...]

4 Feb 2010

PAKISTAN: Violent Death of Girl in Pakistan Spurs Push for Justice

A daring protest and a high-profile funeral here on Monday 25 January for a 12-year-old Christian girl who died from torture and malnourishment has cast a rare spotlight on abuse of the Christian poor in Pakistan. In an uncommon challenge in the predominantly Muslim nation, the Christian parents of Shazia Bashir Masih protested the unresponsiveness of police to the alleged violence against their daughter by Muslim attorney Chaudhary Muhammad Naeem and his family and his attempt to buy their silence after her death. [more...]

4 Feb 2010

IRAN: Christians Detained without Legal Counsel

At least 14 Christians have been detained in Iranian prisons for weeks without legal counsel in the past few months as last year's crackdown has continued, sources said. Three Christians remained in detention at Evin prison after authorities arrested them along with 12 others who had gathered for Christmas celebrations on 24 December in a home 20 kilometres southeast of Iran's capital, Tehran, according to a source who requested anonymity. While the others were released on 4 January, remaining at Evin prison were Maryam Jalili, Mitra Zahmati and Farzan Matin, according to the source. [more...]

4 Feb 2010

BHUTAN: Why Royalists Fear Christianity

Bars, pubs and discos have become legal in Bhutan – a cause of concern for the older generation – but construction of worship buildings other than Buddhist or Hindu temples is still prohibited. The prohibition remains in force even though Christians abide by Bhutan's codes of conduct, speaking the Dzongkha language as well as the Nepali language at church gatherings, and wearing the national dress. The National Assembly of Bhutan banned the practise of non-Buddhist and non-Hindu religions through edicts in 1969 and in 1979. But Christians do meet for Sunday worship, with attendance of more than 100 Christians in an underground church not unusual. [more...]

4 Feb 2010

TANZANIA: Arrested Evangelists Say Muslims Colluded with Police

Two Christian evangelists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, have been arrested after Muslims invited them to debate religion but instead called in security agents who charged the evangelists with illegal preaching. Anglicans Eleutery Kobelo and Cecil Simbaulanga, released on bail and facing a hearing on 11 February, told Compass that Christian and Muslim groups organised the inter-faith debate that was planned for a neutral venue in October of last year in the Kariakoo area of Dar es Salaam. Kobelo said no Muslims showed up at the debate until Islamists arrived with government security agents who charged them with "using religious sermons to incite Muslims and Christians into viewing each other with suspicion." [more...]

4 Feb 2010

TURKMENISTAN: Worship without State Registration "Illegal"

Turkmenistan continues to raid Protestants meeting for worship in different parts of the country. One such raid was led by Turkmenistan's former Chief Mufti, Rovshen Allaberdiev, who is now imam of Dashoguz Region as well as being the senior regional Gengeshi (Council) for Religious Affairs official. Allaberdiev and accompanying officials confiscated Christian books during the raid, including personal Bibles. All 22 people present were taken to a local government building, questioned and pressured to sign statements not to attend the church in future. [more...]

4 Feb 2010

INDONESIA: Two Partially Constructed Church Buildings Burned

Suspected Islamic extremists burned two church buildings under construction in a village in North Sumatra on 22 January. The attackers came from outside the area to burn the partially constructed buildings of the Huria Kristen Batak Protestan Church (HKBP) and the Pentecostal Church in Sibuhuan village, Padang Lawas Residency, during daylight hours, said the Rev S Lubis of the HKBP church. "Hundreds of people arrived on motorcycles and burned the empty church," he said. "After that, the mob moved 200 metres down the road and burned the empty Pentecostal church." No people were hurt in the fires. [more...]

4 Feb 2010

INDONESIA: Imprisoned Christian Teacher Released

After serving one year in gaol, Wilhelmina Holle, 49, regained her freedom on 10 December 2009. "When I was going out, all I did was cry and thank God for my release," she said.  Holle, a Christian elementary school teacher, was falsely accused of defaming Islam while giving private lessons to her students on 10 November 2008.  [more...]

1 Feb 2010

I WILL DIE FOR CHRIST

I WILL DIE FOR CHRIST

"Lord, if you truly exist, please heal me. I offer my life to you and will serve you," Trung prayed one night as he knelt in his room. The message he had heard in church that day about Jesus healing miraculously turned over in his mind, giving him a glimmer of hope. In 1985 Trung was conscripted into the Vietnamese army and sent to Cambodia for two years. He caught malaria and became extremely ill, but medicine seemed to have no effect and he was eventually sent home. Trung's health continued to deteriorate and he thought he would soon die. One day, childhood memories of hearing about Jesus resurfaced and Trung felt compelled to find a church.

After he prayed for healing, Trung lay down and went to sleep. At about midnight, Trung heard the Lord call his name. He was startled and as he sat up in bed, he felt God's peace come over him. "It seemed to bring healing and in the morning I felt well," Trung said. "The Lord had answered my prayer and I have remained malaria-free to this day." [more...]

28 Jan 2010

NIGERIA: Death Toll of Christians in Jos Clash Hits 48

Two pastors and 46 other Christians have been confirmed killed in the outbreak of violence 10 days ago in Jos, Plateau state in Nigeria, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). In the Muslim/Christian clash, triggered when Muslim youths on 17 January attacked a Catholic church, 10 church buildings were burned and 27 Christians are still missing, CAN officials said at a press conference in Jos today. [more...]

28 Jan 2010

BHUTAN: Despite Democracy, Christians Remain Underground

In this distant and isolated nation in the eastern Himalayas, known as the "Land of the Thunder Dragon," almost everything looks uniformly Buddhist. There are no visible signs of Christians' tiny presence, but they do exist. Christians, whose only official identity falls in the "others" category in the census, are estimated to range in number between 3,000 and 6,000. They live out their Christian lives underground – no church buildings, Christian cemeteries or Christian bookstores are yet allowed. [more...]

28 Jan 2010

BURNMA: Karen Refugees Hunted and Slain In Burma

The Karen people in Burma, half of whom are reported to be believers, are constantly harassed by Buddhist and Burmese armies. In Karen refugee camps, horrific stories of persecution are told coupled with reports of steadfast faith. The Burmese army captures Karen men and boys, forcing them to become slaves and porters. Karen women are raped and burned to death. Despite traumatic attacks and persecution, the Karen persevere in God. Orphans wake up at 4 am to have devotions for two hours. They also have nightly worship.   [more...]

28 Jan 2010

ALGERIA: Church Continues in Spite of Burnt Building

Members of a church in Algeria's Kabylie region gathered to worship last Saturday 16 January in their new building despite a protest, vandalism and a fire that damaged the building the previous weekend. Local Muslims bent on running the congregation out of the neighbourhood set fires inside and outside the building on 9 January. Before setting it on fire, the assailants ransacked the Tafat Church building in Tizi Ouzou, a city 100 kilometres east of Algiers. [more...]

28 Jan 2010

NIGERIA: Anglican Archbishop Kidnapped

Gunmen are still holding the Anglican archbishop of Benin diocese in southern Nigeria's Edo state after abducting him on Sunday 24 January. Peter Imasuen, who is also the state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, was abducted in front of his official residence on his way back from a church service. The kidnappers are reportedly demanding $750,000 for his release. [more...]

28 Jan 2010

SOMALIA: Islamic Militants Murder Christian Leader

Islamic extremists shot the leader of an underground church to death outside the capital city of Somalia this month and have threatened to kill his wife, his tearful widow told Compass. Having learned that he had left Islam to become a Christian, Somali militants from the Islamic extremist al Shabaab murdered 41-year-old Mohammed Ahmed Ali at about noon on 1 January, Amina Ibrahim Hassan said. He was killed sometime after leaving his home in Hodan, on the outskirts of Mogadishu, she said. [more...]

28 Jan 2010

PAKISTAN: Christian Sentenced to Life in Prison For Blasphemy

A 26-year-old Christian who was beaten by Muslims for allegedly burning verses from the Koran and another Arabic book in July 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison. On 11 January, the judge handed down the sentence to Imran Masih under Article 295-B, commonly known as the blasphemy law, claiming he burned the materials to deliberately "stir up religious hatred and offend the feelings of Muslims." Imran has also been sentenced to an additional 10 years in detention and fined 100,000 rupees ($A1,300) under section 295-A of the Penal Code. Source: VOM Canada [more...]

21 Jan 2010

VIETNAM: Update on Father Nguyen Van Ly

On 12 December, Father Nguyen Van Ly, who had suffered a severe stroke on 14 November, was sent back to prison after several weeks of treatment in a hospital. Father Van Ly's sister said, "His situation is a bit better now, but his life is not normal yet. We don't know why they decided to transfer him back to prison, as he still needs help." At last report, he is partially paralysed and is able to walk only a few steps with a walking stick. Please pray for Father Van Ly. Also pray for his persecutors. Source: VOM USA [more...]

21 Jan 2010

CHINA: Update on Gao Zhisheng

Since mid-December, 2009, ominous rumours have circulated about Gao Zhisheng, hinting that he has died after brutal torture in prison. However, no reports have been confirmed.
Gege, Gao's daughter, had been reportedly "pale and tired-looking" with worry for months. After hearing a rumour of Gao's death just before Christmas, Gege became so emotionally distraught, she was forced to be hospitalised. She remains fragile and under medical watch in a New York hospital. Last week, after searching out the policeman who originally detained Gao Zhisheng back in February, 2009, Gao's brother Zhiyi was told that Attorney Gao allegedly "went missing while out on a walk" on 25 September, 2009. Gao's wife refused to comment, but was reported to be extremely upset after hearing the news. [more...]

21 Jan 2010

PAKISTAN: Two Christians Critically Wounded at Wedding

Two Pakistani Christians who were shot at a wedding on 26 December for refusing to convert to Islam are still receiving treatment at a hospital intensive care unit, but doctors are hopeful that they will recover. In low, barely audible voices, Imran Masih, 21, and Khushi Masih, 24, told Compass that two Muslims armed with AK-47s in Punjab Province's Chak (village) 297-JB, in Toba Tek Singh district, shot them in their chests after they refused orders to recite the Islamic creed signifying conversion. [more...]

21 Jan 2010

VIETNAM: Forced Recantations of Faith Continue in Vietnam

A Vietnamese man violently forced to recant his fledgling Christian faith faces pressure from authorities and clansmen to prove his return to traditional Hmong belief by sacrificing to ancestors next month. Sung Cua Po, who embraced Christianity in November, received some 70 blows to his head and back after local officials in northwest Vietnam's Dien Bien Province arrested him on 1 December 2009, according to documents obtained by Compass. His wife, Hang thi Va, was also beaten. [more...]

21 Jan 2010

NIGERIA: Christians in Jos, Fear Further Attacks

Gunshots and smoke continued to alarm residents of Jos in central Nigeria, with the Christian community fearing further violence from Muslim youths who on Sunday 17 January attacked a Catholic church and burned down several other church buildings. [more...]

21 Jan 2010

IRAQ: Elderly Christian man killed in Mosul

A 75-year-old Christian was shot and killed in Mosul, Iraq on 11 January. Hikmat Sleiman had just returned home from closing his grocery shop when a group of assailants opened fire, killing him instantly. Local Christians see his murder and the string of other attacks against believers in recent months.
Source: VOM Canada [more...]

21 Jan 2010

YEMEN: Negotiations Begin for Release of Christian Hostages

Authorities in Yemen have reportedly started negotiations for the release of six Christian hostages -- a family of five from Germany and a British engineer -- who were kidnapped along with three other women in June. The bodies of the women, Rita Stumpp (26), Anita Gruenwald (24) and Eom Young-sun (33), were found shortly after the kidnapping. Until recently, however, the state of Johannes (37), his wife Sabine (37) and their children, Lydia (5), Anna (3) and Simon (1), as well as Anthony was unknown. The kidnappers have demanded a ransom of $2 million USD as well as immunity, free passage and a guarantee that they will not be handed over to neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Source: VOM Canada
 [more...]

14 Jan 2010

EGYPT: Coptic Christians Gunned Down after Christmas Service

In spite of threats of violence from Muslims in an area of Egypt wracked by sectarian violence, police declined to increase security for a Coptic Christmas Eve service on 6 January, and six Christians were shot to death after leaving the church. Three men suspected to be Muslims, including one with a criminal record sought by police, were in a moving car from which automatic gunfire hit Coptic Christians who had attended services at St. John's Church in Nag Hammadi, 455 kilometres south of Cairo. [more...]

14 Jan 2010

CHINA: Korla Police and Farm Leaders Burn Bibles and Persecute Elderly Christians

On 25 December, Puhui Farm leaders and policemen arrested several elderly and ailing Christians in Korla City, Xinjiang. Like many around the world, members of Corps house church were celebrating Christmas Day. In the middle of the celebration, a band of farmers and Security policemen disrupted the gathering of believers during their fellowship celebration. The Chief of Security, Yu Fagan, seized Wang Qiuyue, a 71-year-old widow, who had been a known Christian for over 45 years. Yu Fagan threw her roughly against a police car, like a rejected sack of garbage. The group wore hats of bearing the title "People's Police." They proceeded to dismantle and burn elderly Sister Wang's furniture before her eyes. [more...]

14 Jan 2010

MALDIVES: Legislators Seek to Increase Pressure on Non-Muslims

The People's Majlis (Parliament) of the Maldives have been debating a bill to ban non-Muslim places of worship. According to Maldivian sources the bill, proposed by Ibrahim Muttalib MP, would make it illegal to build non-Muslim places of worship or to practise non-Muslim faiths in public, although foreigners would be allowed to worship in the privacy of their homes. Punishment would be a gaol term of three to five years or a fine of between $A3000 and $A5000. [more...]

14 Jan 2010

PAKISTAN: Child Beaten for Claiming to Be a Christian

Christians in Pakistan have reported the ordeal of an 11-year-old Christian school girl in the town of Dharema, Punjab province, in October 2009. Nadia Iftikhar was beaten unconscious by the Muslim teacher at her evening coaching school "Bright Future Academy" after she said she was both a Pakistani and a Christian. [more...]

14 Jan 2010

CHINA: 30 Chinese House Church Alliance Leaders Detained, Facing Administrative Detention

Thirty leaders of the Chinese House Church Alliance (CHCA) were detained in Handan city, Hebei province on 8 January. According to one detained pastor, who was able to use his mobile phone briefly to notify an outside contact. A group of officers from the Handan City Public Security and Religious Affairs Bureaus broke into their leaders' meeting place where the 30 men and women were having a Bible study, and forcefully took them to an unknown interrogation centre within the city. [more...]

12 Jan 2010

MALAYSIA: Church Buildings Attacked in Malaysia Following Court Decision

In unprecedented acts that stunned Christians in Malaysia, suspected Islamists have attacked eight church buildings since the country's High Court ruled that a Catholic weekly could use the word "Allah." Firebombs were thrown into the compounds of four churches in Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Petaling Jaya on Friday 8 January; three more attacks occurred on Sunday 10 January in Taiping, Melaka and Miri; and another church building was hit today in Seremban. There were no reports of injuries. [more...]

7 Jan 2010

IRAN: Arrests, Coerces Christians over Christmas Season

A wave of arrests hit Iranian house churches during the Christmas season, leaving at least five Christian converts in detention across northern Iran, including the mother of an ailing 10-year-old girl. Security officers with an arrest warrant from the Mashhad Revolutionary Court entered the home of Christian Hamideh Najafi in Mashhad on 26 December and took her to an undisclosed location, according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN). [more...]

7 Jan 2010

INDIA: Christians Faced Three Attacks per Week in 2009

After unprecedented large-scale attacks on Christians in the previous two years, 2009 brought hardly any respite as the minority faith faced an average of more than three violent attacks a week. There were at least 152 attacks on Christians in 2009, according to the "Partial List of Major Incidents of Anti-Christian Violence in India" released by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The north-central states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Orissa in the east, Gujarat in the west and Himachal Pradesh in the north have anti-conversion laws, which Hindu hardliners routinely use to arrest Christians on spurious accusations of "forcible conversion." [more...]

4 Jan 2010

PAKISTAN: Delivered from Slavery

PAKISTAN: Delivered from Slavery

Shafia, now 20, grew up in a Christian family and was baptised in 2002. Her father died when she was a child and her older brother Rafi worked in a cotton factory to support the family. Rafi led his siblings and mother in prayer each evening. He stood up for the Christians in their community and publicly confronted Muslims who tormented young Christian women. On 3 July 2004, three Muslim men came to speak with Rafi. They gave him a drink spiked with sleeping pills, and he passed out. One of the men shot Rafi in the head, killing him. [more...]

24 Dec 2009

INDIA: Christmas Season Attacks Worry Christians

With at least two violent attacks and alleged “reconversion” of over 1,700 Christians in the week leading up to Christmas, a sense of fear is growing among India’s minority Christian community. On Sunday 20 December, Hindu extremists attacked a church during worship in western Maharashtra state’s Sindhudurg district and a Christmas exhibition in Gwalior city in Madhya Pradesh state. [more...]

24 Dec 2009

PAKISTAN: Muslims Gun Down Christian Friend

A group of Muslims shot their Christian friend dead this month on the outskirts of the city after saying they would spare his life only if he recanted his faith, according to the young man’s father. The friends of Patras Masih, who died from gunshot wounds on 3 December in Karol village, Punjab Province issued the ultimatum to him after accusing him of the murder of their friend Anees Mahammad. An autopsy reported showed Mahammad died from toxic alcohol earlier that day. [more...]

24 Dec 2009

KAZAKHSTAN: "There Is No Persecution in Kazakhstan"

As Kazakhstan is about to begin the role of 2010 Chairperson-in-Office for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the country continues to violate its OSCE human rights commitments. One Protestant pastor is facing criminal charges for "causing severe damage to health due to negligence" because he prayed with a woman about her health, at her request. The KNB secret police declined to explain why a pastor praying for people attending his church should be a matter for criminal charges. Asked whether Pastor Kim is being targeted for his faith, a KNB officer told Forum 18 News Service that: "There is no persecution in Kazakhstan". [more...]

17 Dec 2009

ERITREA: Elderly Women Arrested

Authorities have arrested 27 women of the Faith of Christ Church. Apparently the 27 women, all elderly, were arrested on Sunday morning, 6 December, while they gathered for fellowship in one of their members’ home. According to sources, the women are being held at Asmara’s Police Station Number 1 [more...]

17 Dec 2009

ALGERIA: Revival Continues Despite Anti Conversion Laws

Despite laws preventing conversion, Muslims are turning to Christ in what's being called an amazing move of the Spirit in northern Algeria. In 2008, Algeria put into full effect a new anti-conversion law to prohibit Muslims converting to another religion and gave the government the right to regulate every aspect of Christian practice. This law was a direct attack against Christians since almost all Algerian Christians are converts from Islam. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

SUDAN: Christian Woman from Sudan Flees Muslim Family

A Sudanese woman who fled to Egypt after converting from Islam to Christianity is living in secluded isolation as her angry family members try to track her down. Howida Ali’s Muslim brother and her ex-husband began searching for her in Cairo earlier this year after a relative there reported her whereabouts to them. While there in July, her brother and ex-husband tried without success to seize her 10-year-old son from school. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

VIETNAM: Unprecedented Christmas Gathering

On Friday evening, 11 December, history was made in communist Vietnam. Christian sources reported that some 40,000 people gathered in a hastily constructed venue in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate Christmas and hear a gospel message – an event of unprecedented magnitude in Vietnam. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

PAKISTAN: Church screening of ‘Jesus Film’ Attacked in Pakistan

Some 50 Muslim villagers armed with clubs and axes attacked a showing of the “Jesus Film” near this city in Punjab Province on Wednesday night 9 December, injuring three part-time evangelists and four Christians in attendance. Two of the evangelists were said to be seriously injured. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

INDIA: Hindu Nationalist Party Official in India Charged in Nun’s Rape

Police in Orissa state have arrested an official of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly leading an attack that ended in the rape of a Catholic nun during last year’s anti-Christian mayhem in Kandhamal district. Gururam Patra, identified by local residents as general secretary of the BJP in Kandhamal district, was arrested on Saturday 6 December in Balliguda; he was charged with leading the attack but not with the rape of Sister Meena Lalita Barwa, then 28, on 25 August, 2008. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

TURKEY: Turks Threaten to Kill Priest over Swiss Minaret Decision

In response to a Swiss vote banning the construction of new mosque minarets, a group of Muslims this month went into a church building in eastern Turkey and threatened to kill a priest unless he tore down its bell tower, according to an advocacy group. Three Muslims on 4 December entered the Meryem Ana Church, a Syriac Orthodox church in Diyarbakir, and confronted the Rev Yusuf Akbulut. They told him that unless the bell tower was destroyed in one week, they would kill him. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

PAKISTAN: Muslims Allegedly Poison Christian Employees to Death

Muslim employers of three Christian sanitation workers at a banquet/wedding hall here allegedly poisoned the three workers this week, killing two of them; at press time the third was struggling for life in intensive care. The father of the three workers, Yousaf Masih, said the owner of the hall, along with the manager, poisoned his sons because they were Christians who had dared to ask for pay owed to them. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

UK: Hotelier Cleared of insulting Muslim Guest

A district judge yesterday questioned the character of a Muslim convert as he dismissed the case against husband-and-wife Christian hoteliers accused of offending her new-found religion. Ericka Tazi, 60, who converted when she married a Muslim man, had claimed that Ben Vogelenzang, 53, had called her a terrorist and compared Muhammad to a warlord when she wore a hijab on the last day of her stay at the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool last March. She also claimed that his wife, Sharon, 54, told her that wearing such a garment represented a form of bondage, or oppression, in a finger-pointing tirade that left her traumatised. [more...]

17 Dec 2009

SOMALIA: Christian Flees Refugee Camp under Death Threat

Somali Christian Mohamud Muridi Saidi last month fled a refugee camp near Kenya’s border with Sudan after Muslims threatened to kill him. For Saidi, a father of four, the recent relocation of 13,000 refugees from the Dadaab refugee camp near the Somali border to the Kakuma camp, where he had lived since 2002, brought its own nightmare: the arrival of Muslims from Somalia’s Lower Juba region who knew of his father’s Christian activities in his home village. [more...]

16 Dec 2009

Pakistan: Christians Freed

Pakistan: Christians Freed

Pakistani Christians Sandul Bibi and her father, Gulsher Masih, were released from gaol today after a court found them innocent from charges of blasphemy against the Koran.

The pair had been in custody since October 2008, when a radical Muslim mob gathered outside their home after mosque loudspeakers announced rumours that Sandul had torn pages from a copy of the Koran. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

CHINA: Pastor Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

Chinese authorities have quietly sentenced Uyghur Christian Alimjan Yimit (Alimujiang Yimiti in Chinese) to 15 years in prison on the apparently contrived charge of “providing state secrets to overseas organisations,” according to China Aid Association (CAA). [more...]

10 Dec 2009

COLOMBIA: Bring freedom to the Kogui Christians

More Christians have been taken prisoner by the Kogui governor, as the situation in Colombia worsens. Late last month the governor ordered the wives and children of current prisoners to meet the authorities. When they arrived they too were taken prisoner, and are being pressurised to give up their faith. There are now 23 prisoners, including eight children and two babies who are dangerously ill. As the governor threatens to round up the remaining Christians (120 in total) and hold them indefinitely, the current prisoners are being subjected to hard labour and are physically and emotionally exhausted. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

PAKISTAN: Shop bombed for stocking 'Jesus film'

A man was seriously injured when Islamist extremists bombed his shop in North-West Frontier Province – because he stocked the Jesus film. Just half-an-hour before the attack, Muhammad Taos Khan received a warning letter, hand-delivered by a child to his shop in the Saleem Commercial Square in the Kas town area of Upper Dir district. 'It is evident from the letter that I was attacked for keeping the Jesus film in the Pashto and Urdu languages, as well as Islamic and Christian films about Abraham, Isaac and Adam and Eve,' Muhammad told BosNewsLife news agency. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

IRAQ: Church and Convent Bombed in Mosul

On the morning of 26 November, two Christian sites in the northern city of Mosul in Iraq were bombed. A group of approximately 10 gunmen entered the Church of Saint Ephrem, ordered those inside to leave and placed explosives around the premises. When the explosives detonated, the building was completely destroyed. Half an hour later, the attackers proceeded to the Mother House of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine and detonated more explosives. Although five believers were inside the building, no one was injured. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

INDIA: Three Churches Attacked in Tamil Nadu

Three church buildings were attacked within two days in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. On 29 November, a bomb exploded at a church in Thammathukonam, badly damaging the building's wall. Later that day, a statue of St Francis Xavier was desecrated by militants in Konamkade while the local congregation was preparing for an Advent procession. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

ERITREA: Regime Maintains Severe Persecution

Eritrean Christians have been suffering severely since May 2002 when President Isaias Afewerki's totalitarian regime launched a campaign of persecution. Initially Eritrea's 20,000 Protestants were targeted. Then the regime seized control of the large Eritrean Orthodox Church in 2006, arresting anyone who protested. Today some 3,000 Eritrean Christians are imprisoned in the most appalling conditions in underground cells, 'secret prisons' and shipping containers in the desert. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

TURKEY: More than Half the Population Oppose Non-Muslim Religious Meetings

More than half the population of Muslim-majority Turkey opposes members of other religions holding meetings or publishing materials to explain their faith, according to a recently issued survey. Fully 59 percent of those surveyed said non-Muslims either “should not” or “absolutely should not” be allowed to hold open meetings where they can discuss their ideas. Fifty-four percent said non-Muslims either “should not” or “absolutely should not” be allowed to publish literature that describes their faith. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

INDIA: Special Investigations Team Sought in Orissa

Christian leaders in India have called for a special investigations team to counter the shoddy or corrupt police investigations into anti-Christian violence in Orissa state in August-September 2008. Of the 100 cases handled by two-fast track courts, 32 have been heard as of 30 November 30, resulting in 48 convictions and more than 164 acquittals. The number of cases registered total 787. Among those exonerated “for lack of evidence” was Manoj Pradhan, a legislator from the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who was acquitted of murder on 24 November. [more...]

10 Dec 2009

SRI LANKA: Mob Attacks Church

Approximately 200 suspected Buddhists armed with weapons stormed the Our Lady Rosa Mystica Church building in Croos Watta, Sri Lanka on 6 December. The assailants destroyed construction materials and the interior of the building. They also attempted to attack the priest. He was able to escape the scene unharmed, but his vehicle was torched in the violence. As word spread of the attack, approximately 500 local believers blocked the nearby main road in protest, demanding that police arrest the culprits. [more...]

3 Dec 2009

VIETNAM: Christian Denomination Awarded Official Recognition

The Vietnamese government has awarded official recognition to the Assemblies of God, which, for the past 20 years, was an illegal Christian denomination. The director of Ho Chi Minh City's Committee for Religious and Ethnic Affairs said, "Before the recognition it was an illegal religious organisation and we had warned them for their violations." However, the church had never been punished because Vietnamese laws were unclear on how they should be treated. It is expected that it could take up to a year before the organisation's status becomes fully legal. [more...]

3 Dec 2009

NORTH KOREA: Trying to Expose Underground Church

According to a recent report, the North Korean government is reportedly setting up fake underground churches and disguising national security agents as defectors to expose Christians. Voice of the Martyrs Canada's Glenn Penner says, "Apparently, they're going into China, infiltrating the Korean churches that assist North Korean defectors, and then coming back into North Korea with money and Bibles, with the idea of unmasking Christians and giving the funds to the Government." [more...]

3 Dec 2009

IRAQ: Christians Return Cautiously to Baghdad

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, thousands of Iraqis fled Baghdad, including many Christians who had lived with their Muslim neighbours for centuries. Now, with the security situation improving, some of Iraq's Christians are returning home, just in time for Christmas. Returnees are encouraged by the improved security. But they're also broke. For example, many are living in a three-bedroom home with two other families, and hoping to return to a standard of living they haven't known since the fall of Hussein in 2003. "Baghdad is like our mother," Reema Rafael said, while weeping. She prays to God that improved security here will let Iraqi Christians return home. [more...]

3 Dec 2009

VENEZUELA: Trouble Mounts for the Church

The World Bible Translation Centre is urging prayer for the Church in Venezuela along the Colombian border. There are reports that believers there are starting to experience unrest and persecution. According to Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs, "There are some cases of Venezuela providing sanctuary for FARC guerrillas from Colombia, and instances of persecution against the church in that particular area." The Centre distributes literature to people searching for God who need a Bible that is easy to read and understand. [more...]

3 Dec 2009

TAJIKISTAN: Court Bans Baptist Church

Members of a Baptist congregation in the capital Dushanbe have appealed to the City Court against a ban on their activity imposed because they meet for worship in a private home without state registration. But Judge Soliya Ismailova of Somoni District Court, who handed down the ban, defended her decision and denied that this violated the Baptists' freedom of worship. "The Law demands that all non-government organisations register," she told Forum 18 News Service. [more...]

3 Dec 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian on Run from Taliban Death Threat

A young Christian man is in hiding in Pakistan from Taliban militants who seek to kill him for “blasphemy” because he defended his faith. In February Jehanzaib Asher, 22, was working in a barbershop his family jointly owns with his cousin in Wana, South Waziristan – a Taliban stronghold in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan’s northwest – when the Islamic militants showed up to try to convert him to Islam. It was not the first time the Taliban’s Noor Hassan had delivered strident sermons to him and his relatives, and this time Asher decided not to listen silently. [more...]

3 Dec 2009

INDONESIA: Theology Students Withstand Threats, Illness

Some 1,000 seminary students are resisting efforts to evict them from the former municipal building of West Jakarta where they have taken refuge after Muslim protestors drove them from their campus last year. On 27 October officials began evicting about 300 students of Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary (SETIA) from blocks I and II of the former mayoral building, but those in blocks III, IV, and V chose to remain. The students, some of whom had sown their mouths shut as part of a hunger strike, asserted that new quarters offered by the Jakarta Provincial Government are not yet fit for occupancy – dirty and unkempt with broken windows and doors. [more...]

1 Dec 2009

BIBLES = PRISON

BIBLES = PRISON

As a disciple of Marx and Lenin, Communist China's founder Chairman Mao forced all churches into his own 'communist church' in 1951. His communist soldiers murdered, or tortured and imprisoned all Christian leaders. Foreign missionaries who did not flee were imprisoned. It is not surprising that today most Christians in China do not want to belong to a state founded church, protected and enforced by disciples of Marxism. [more...]

26 Nov 2009

RUSSIA: Courageous Missionary Priest Martyred in Church

A masked intruder entered the Church of St Thomas in southern Moscow on the evening of 19 November and assassinated Russian Orthodox priest Rev Daniil Sysoyev (34, married with three children) after asking for him by name. Choirmaster Vladimir Strelbinsky was shot and is in hospital, seriously wounded. Father Daniil was an experienced theologian and specialist on Islam who had been actively engaged in missionary work amongst Russia's Muslims for at least eight years. He also regularly debated Islam's representatives in public and had received many death threats. [more...]

26 Nov 2009

VIETNAM: Father Van Ly in Poor Health

Father Nguyen Van Ly, a 63-year old Catholic Priest and human rights advocate has experienced a serious stroke while in prison. Father Van Ly was arrested in March 2007 for his religious freedom and pro-democracy work under the guise of "disseminating anti-government propaganda" and was gagged and sentenced to 8 years in prison and 5 years house arrest without a chance to defend himself. Father Van Ly suffered the stroke on 14 November 2009, as he was kneeling to pray and as a result he is now paralysed on the right side of his body. He is currently undergoing tests and treatment at a hospital in Hanoi where doctors believe he may have a blockage in his brain. [more...]

26 Nov 2009

SOMALIA: Islamic Extremists Execute Young Convert

Islamic extremists controlling part of the Somali capital of Mogadishu this month executed a young Christian they accused of trying to convert a 15-year-old Muslim to Christianity. Members of the Islamic extremist group al Shabaab had taken 23-year-old Mumin Abdikarim Yusuf into custody on 28 October after the 15-year-old boy reported him to the militants, an area source told Compass. Yusuf’s body was found on 14 November on an empty residential street in Mogadishu, with sources saying the convert from Islam was shot to death, probably some hours before dawn. [more...]

26 Nov 2009

CHINA: Uyghur Church Leader Released from Prison

A Uyghur Christian in China’s troubled Xinjiang region was released last week after serving two years in a labour camp for alleged “illegal proselytising” and “leaking state secrets,” according to Compass sources. House church leader Osman Imin (Wusiman Yaming in Chinese) was freed on Wednesday 18 November, sources said. Authorities had called for a 10-15 year prison sentence for Osman but significantly reduced the term following international media attention. [more...]

26 Nov 2009

EGYPT: Violence against Christians Increasing

On 18 November a 12-year-old Muslim girl in the Upper Egyptian town of Farshoot reported that she had been raped by an unknown man in a black jacket. Police arrested Girgis Baroumi (21), a Copt, on suspicion. On 21 November a massive Islamic pogrom erupted with widespread seizing, looting and torching of Coptic property, homes and businesses in Farshoot, spreading to several neighbouring villages. A mob ambushed Coptic priest Rev Benjamin Noshi and assaulted him, fracturing his skull. [more...]

19 Nov 2009

IRAN: Two Christian Women Released from Evin Prison

Two Christian Iranian women, Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, were released from prison yesterday with no bail amid an international campaign calling for their freedom since their arrest on 5 March. They still could face charges of proselytising and 'apostasy', or leaving Islam. [more...]

19 Nov 2009

INDIA: Hindutva Plus Impunity Equals Persecution

Violent persecution continues to plague India. It is fuelled by the unchecked propagation of Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) ideology and by the impunity of persecutors. Not only are Christians suffering escalating violence -- beatings, stabbings, burnings, killings, pogroms -- but Christian pastors and evangelists are now routinely being dragged before the police and courts falsely accused of 'forced conversions'. This accusation is wielded as an instrument of persecution, much like an accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan. [more...]

19 Nov 2009

ITALY: Modern Day Persecution

Persecution today takes different forms depending on country to country and region to region. The form of persecution in Europe in the days we live in could me most broadly described as aggressive attempts to silence Christianity and delete it from the public arena on the basis of humanistic human rights interpretation. Last evidence for that is the most recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in which the Court has issued an order finding that the mere presence of the crucifix in Italian public school classrooms constitutes a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights. [more...]

19 Nov 2009

COLOMBIA: Kogui Christians taken prisoner

Sixteen members of the indigenous people group, Kogui, in Colombia are being held prisoner in an effort to force them to renounce Christianity. The group includes men, women and three babies. Christians in the indigenous Kogui community have faced escalating tension in recent years - Kogui governors have repeatedly threatened to expel them from Kogui land, and some  years ago a group of Kogui Christians were forced to leave the reserve. But last month things took a dramatic turn for the worse. [more...]

19 Nov 2009

ERITREA: Church Members Arrested

Pastor Tewelde Hailom, founding elder of Asmara Full Gospel Church (FGC), is facing deteriorating conditions under house arrest. Sources say that Pastor Hailom’s sister, who has been taking care of him at home, have been ordered to leave. He is now provided the same food as those who find themselves in prison, i.e. a piece of bread and a cup of tea in the morning and in the evening. This is insufficient food and it is aggravating his stomach ulcer. [more...]

19 Nov 2009

PHILIPPINES: Priest Kidnapped Freed After a Month

The Irish priest kidnapped a month ago in Pagadian (Mindanao) was released last week in the coastal village of Sangalo. The Philippines and Ireland said they had not paid any ransom. The kidnappers had demanded the payment of 2 million U.S. dollars. Delivered by a group of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) to a military base in Zamboanga, Fr. Michael Sinnot said he was treated well by his captors, though he had to endure many difficulties when moving by sea and walking in the jungle that the rebels used as cover to escape army troops. [more...]

12 Nov 2009

IRAN: Church Closed

The Central Assemblies of God Church has been forced to close down its regular Friday afternoon services and can only hold two services on Sundays, Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN) reported. After the 30 October service, Assemblies of God leaders announced that Friday worship services would no longer take place and that only Sunday services, in two separate shifts, would be conducted. The church, which is the largest public and formal gathering of Iranian Christians in Iran, was forced to close by the Iranian Ministry of Information. [more...]

12 Nov 2009

KAZAKHSTAN: "They Can Meet and Pray To God, But The Law Says They Have To Register"

Two brothers from Kazakhstan, both Baptists, have been prosecuted for religious worship without state registration. Both were prosecuted under articles of the Administrative Code which violate international human rights commitments, and which the government is set to retains almost intact in a revision of the Code. An Internal Policy Department official defended the fine, telling Forum 18 that "they can meet and pray to God, but the Law says they have to register." In a case from another region, a member of New Life Church also convicted under one of the Administrative Code articles set to be retained, has lost her appeal against deportation and a fine, and has been deported to Uzbekistan. Her "offence" was giving a 12-year-old girl a Christian children's magazine. The deportation cuts her off from her four grown-up children. [more...]

12 Nov 2009

IRAN: Pastor Gaoled for protesting Islamic Teaching of Children

The Voice of the Martyrs recently learned of the arrest of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Guilan, Iran on 12 October after he protested against the decision of local authorities to impose the reading of the Koran on Christian children. This requirement, Pastor Nadarkhani insisted, violates the Declaration of Universal Human Rights (which Iran has signed) that states: "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children" (Article 26). [more...]

12 Nov 2009

CHINA: Expelled Chinese student invited back to school

According to an 29 October report from ChinaAid, a 17-year-old high school student who was expelled on 20 October after he signed a document confirming his Christian faith was able to return to class on 29 October. On 29 October, the Party Secretary of the High School Division and several other party members and instructors from the Huashan Middle School visited Chen Le at his home and politely invited him to return to his studies. The Party Secretary was reportedly deeply concerned with the international pressure caused by the expulsion. [more...]

12 Nov 2009

PHILIPPINES: Kidnappers Demand Ransom for Priest

On 10 October, Michael Sinnott, a 79-year-old priest from Ireland, was abducted by six armed men in the city of Pagadian near Zamboanga (Mindanao), Philippines as he was conducting evening prayers in his home. Last week we reported that he was able to receive medication for his heart problems. This week, his kidnappers, who many believe are members of a rogue element of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, released video footage of the priest and demanded a $2 million (USD) ransom. [more...]

12 Nov 2009

MEXICO: High Court Frees Nine Men Accused in Acteal Massacre

More than 35 mainly evangelical Christian prisoners unjustly accused in the December 1997 massacre in Acteal, Chiapas had hoped they would be released from gaol this week, but after long deliberations the Supreme Court of Mexico on Wednesday 4 November ruled only nine should be freed and ordered new trials for 16 others. The high court thus ended its involvement in the controversy over the ordeal of the peasant labourers, ordering the release of the nine men – without declaring them innocent – and retrials for the 16 others, this time without “invented” evidence and testimony. Those 16 men, plus several others sentenced in the Acteal case, remain in prison. [more...]

12 Nov 2009

BANGLADESH: Court Impedes Effort to Rescue Kidnapped Girl

A bail order in Bangladesh has impeded police from rescuing a young Christian girl who was abducted and forced to convert to Islam and marry one of her kidnappers, according to police. Four Muslim men abducted eighth-grade student Silvia Merry Sarker on 30 July as she made her way home from school in west Sujankathi village, under Agoiljhara police jurisdiction, in Barisal district in southern Bangladesh, according to her father, Julian Sarker. Filing a case under the Women and Children Repression Act against Al-Amin Faria, 24, Shamim Faria, 22, Sahadat Faria, 20, and Sattar Faria, 50, Sarker charges that the men abducted his daughter initially to “indulge Al-Amin Faria’s evil desire.” Later she was forced to convert to Islam and marry Al-Amin Faria, which Sarker said was part of an attempt to take over his land and property. [more...]

12 Nov 2009

UGANDA: Muslims Attack Worship Service

About 40 Muslim extremists with machetes and clubs tried to break into a Sunday worship service outside Uganda’s capital city of Kampala on 1 November, leaving a member of the congregation with several injuries and damaging the church building. Eyewitnesses said the extremist mob tried to storm into World Possessor’s Church International in Namasuba at 11 am as the church worshipped. A member of the congregation who was taking photos of the worship service – and then the attack – was beaten, sustaining several injuries. [more...]

10 Nov 2009

IRAQ: Bombing Leaves Baghdad Church Nearly Ruined

Canon Andrew White, the Anglican leader of St. George's church in Baghdad, said the twin truck bombing Sunday "almost totally ruined" the church compound, which includes a medical clinic, bookstore and school. "Everything is destroyed," he wrote Sunday in an e-mail update. More than 150 people were killed Sunday and another 600 injured when two suicide car bombs blew up almost simultaneously outside the Justice Ministry and city government offices in downtown Baghdad. [more...]

10 Nov 2009

INDIA: Christians Harassed in Jharkhand

The believers of a village have been harassed and are under pressure to return to their religion in West Singhbhun of Jharkhand. Around 25 believers residing at Khunta village of West Singhbhum in Jharkhand, who had earlier converted to the Christian faith from their original Sarna faith, have been under pressure to go to go back to their original faith. The representatives of Adivasi Maha Sabha, along with some village leaders, including the village pradhan, visited the church where the believers gathered for their prayer on 27 October and asked them to return to their faith. Besides threatening them with boycott, they took away the handle of the hand pump, the only source of water for the believers. The following day the believers went to the local police station in Chaibasa and briefed them about what had happened. But the police failed to take the matter seriously. [more...]

10 Nov 2009

INDONESIA: Seminary Students Evicted from Two Locations

In the past week hundreds of students from Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary (SETIA) were evicted from two sites where they had taken refuge after Muslim protestors drove them from their campus last year. With about 700 students earlier evicted from Bumi Perkemahan Cibubur campground, officers appointed by the West Jakarta District Court on Monday 26 October began evacuating more than 300 other students from a former West Jakarta municipal building. [more...]

10 Nov 2009

EGYPT: Coptic Blogger Pressured to Convert in Prison

A Coptic Christian blogger in Egypt entering his second year of prison without charge is being pressured to convert to Islam in exchange for his freedom, his attorneys said. On 3 October, 2008, Hani Nazeer, a 28-year-old high school social worker from Qena, Egypt and author of the blog “Karz El Hob” (“Love Cherries”), was arrested by Egypt’s State Security Investigations and sent to Burj Al-Arab prison. Gamel Eid, executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, said Nazeer upset Islamic authorities by criticising the increasing Islamisation of Egyptian civil society and irked church leaders by lamenting political involvement of the Coptic Orthodox Church. [more...]

10 Nov 2009

UZBEKISTAN: Fined 260 Times Monthly Minimum Wage Each - and Banned From Leading Religious Communities?

Uzbekistan has fined three Baptists a total equivalent to 260 times the monthly minimum wage each, allegedly for tax evasion and teaching children religion illegally. The three have consistently insisted that the charges are fabricated, and one suggested to Forum 18 that the real reason for the charges was to remove the Baptist Union's leadership. This is supported by the three having also been banned from all administrative and financial activity for three years - which may stop them playing any organisational role in any religious community. [more...]

2 Nov 2009

WE ARE HERE TO STAY

WE ARE HERE TO STAY

Mustafa, 39, came to know the Lord when he was 19 years old. His decision to follow Jesus has had difficult consequences.

Only four months later, security officials discovered his involvement with a group of approximately 50 other converts. Hoping to use him to speak out against his friend who taught him about Christ and baptised him, they kept Mustafa in prison for eight months. Four years later, Mustafa was again arrested and accused of evangelising and trying to baptise converts from Islam. He spent two weeks in prison where he endured great suffering. “I was raped four times,” he said. “I couldn’t talk about what happened for 10 years until after I was healed inside.” [more...]

29 Oct 2009

INDIA: Two Pastors attacked in Karnataka

Two Pastors have been attacked in the northern part of Karnataka, alleging forcible conversion activities in the area. Two evangelists - Ganesh and Chandru - went to share at Lakshmeshwar in the northern part of Karnataka. While they were preaching, a group of anti-Christian activists arrived on the scene and started to harass them. The culprits physically pushed them down and then beat them up. They also destroyed all the Christian literature the Pastors had carried along with them. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

PAKISTAN: Taliban Threatens Christian Leaders

The Taliban is directly threatening believers in north-eastern Pakistan's Punjab province. Jonathon Racho with International Christian Concern (ICC) says they've learned that on 6 October, members of the Taliban sent threatening letters in Sargodha, Pakistan, warning Christian leaders to convert to Islam or face dire consequences. A copy of the letter obtained by ICC warns Christians to convert to Islam, pay Jizya tax (an Islamic tax imposed on religious minorities), or leave the country. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

CHINA: Christian Minor Expelled from Xinjiang High School for His Faith

Second-year high school student Chen Le stated emphatically, "I would rather be forced out of school, than deny my faith." On 20 October, 2009, the High School Division of the Huashan Middle School officially expelled Chen for signing a document confirming his identity as a Christian. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

INDIA: Pastor in India Lured into Violent Trap

A group of Hindu extremists in Madhya Pradesh earlier this month beat a pastor unconscious and chewed off part of his ear, pelting him with stones after he fainted from the pain. Paasu Ninama told Compass that the six attackers first lured him into a house in Malphalia village, Jhabua district with an offer of water on 4 October. The 35-year-old resident of Pipal Kutta village said he was on his way back from his regular Sunday service in Malphalia at 4 pm when six men sitting outside a house invited him in for a glass of water. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

ETHIOPIA: Two Evangelists Released from Prison

The latest in a series of false charges against two Ethiopian evangelists was put to rest on Friday 23 October, and they were released. A court in Debiretabor, Ethiopia acquitted the two evangelists of insulting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) in prison, an accusation made by fellow inmates after the two were gaoled on false charges of offering money for people to convert. The charge that the two Christians insulted the EOC was orchestrated by EOC members both inside and outside the prison, according to area church leaders. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

SOMALIA: Christian Who Refused to Wear Veil is Killed

Three masked members of a militant Islamist group in Somalia last week shot and killed a Somali Christian who declined to wear a veil as prescribed by Muslim custom, according to a Christian source in Somalia. Members of the comparatively “moderate” Suna Waljameca group killed Amina Muse Ali, 45, on 19 October at 9:30 pm in her home in Galkayo, in Somalia’s autonomous Puntland region, said the source. Ali had told Christian leaders that she had received several threats from members of Suna Waljameca for not wearing a veil, symbolic of adherence to Islam. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

INDONESIA: Islamists Bully Villagers into Revoking Church Permit

The regent of Purwakarta regency, West Java has revoked his decision to permit construction of a Catholic worship building in Cinanka village after Islamists threatened residents into withdrawing their approval. Dedi Mulyadi on 16 October revoked the permit for construction of Catholic Church of Saint Mary after Islamists intimidated some of the local residents whose approval is required by Indonesian law, the priest of the church told Compass. “Those who had signed were continually terrorised by the FPI [Front Pembela Islam, or Islamic Defenders Front],” the Rev. Agustinus Made said. “They became so frightened that when they were called to a meeting by the Interfaith Communications Forum, many did not attend. Also, the members of the Interfaith Communications Forum and the Department of Religion were also terrorized by the FPI so that they were afraid to say that they agree to the church building.” [more...]

29 Oct 2009

TURKEY: Police Official Axed amid Allegations in Murders

The head of Turkey’s police intelligence department was removed on Friday 16 October amid allegations that he failed to prevent the murder of the Christian editor of an Armenian weekly and the slayings of three Christians in this city in southeastern Turkey. Ramazan Akyurek is also accused of withholding evidence in those cases and improperly investigating the murder of a Catholic priest in 2006. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

VIETNAM: Church Registration Inches Along

The Assemblies of God (AoG) in Vietnam on Monday 19 October received an “operating license,” which the government described as “the first step . . .before becoming officially legal.” This operating license gives permission for all of the congregations of the Vietnam AoG to “carry on religious activity” anywhere in the country for the next year. During this time the church body must prepare a doctrinal statement, a constitution and bylaws and a four-year working plan to be approved by the government before being allowed to hold an organising assembly. [more...]

29 Oct 2009

PAKISTAN: Police Torture Christians Arrested in Islamic Attack

Two Christians in Gojra, Pakistan who allegedly fired warning shots as an Islamist mob approached that burned seven Christians to death on 1 August told Compass they were tortured after police arrested them. Only one of the hundreds of Muslim assailants responsible for burning at least 50 homes is in gaol for the fire assault on Gojra’s Christian Town, but sources said Islamists have provided police a pretence for arresting the two Christian brothers who gave shelter to 300 people. [more...]

22 Oct 2009

INDONESIA: Theology Students to be Evicted from Campground

Approximately 700 students from Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary (SETIA) are facing eviction at the end of the month from a campground where Muslim protestors drove them last year. Education will end for students who have been living in 11 large tents and studying in the open air at Bumi Perkemahan Cibubur (BUPERTA) campground, many of them for more than a year. Hundreds of protestors shouting “Allahu-Akbar [“God is greater]” and brandishing machetes forced the evacuation of staff and students from the SETIA campus in Kampung Pulo village on 26-27 July, 2008. [more...]

22 Oct 2009

UZBEKISTAN: Did Investigator Fabricate Evidence Against Baptists?

Several parents - named as victims in the indictment against three Baptist Union leaders now on trial in Tashkent - have told the court that statements that their children were taught the Baptist faith against their wishes were fabricated or dictated by Investigator Anatoli Tadjibayev. The head of Uzbekistan's Baptist Union Pavel Peichev and two colleagues went on trial on 24 September accused of teaching religion illegally to children at church-run summer camps and evading tax on profits from the camp. [more...]

22 Oct 2009

PAKISTAN: Christians Dismayed By Courts' Leniency Towards Gojra Suspects

Churches in Punjab are dismayed by court decisions to release on bail 19 people accused of involvement in the attack on Gojra in which 11 Christians died.
On 12 October, the district and sessions court of Toba Tek Singh granted bail to six people accused of inciting and perpetrating violence during the raid in August. [more...]

22 Oct 2009

PAKISTAN: Asia Bibi in Court

On 14 October, Asia Bibi appeared in court, in Sheikhupura, Pakistan and spent some time with her family before the court appearance. Asia’s husband, Ashiq Masih, her daughters and VOM contacts met her for 15 minutes before the court appearance. “Asia is in strong faith. Her eyes were hopeful. Praise God,” VOM contacts said. Asia told VOM contacts she prays everyday at 3 am “I thank God that the gaol administration has good behaviour with me,” she said. “I don’t have trouble from them, but I miss my daughters and family. Please arrange my soon release from this gaol,” Asia told VOM contacts. [more...]

22 Oct 2009

TURKEY: Lawyer Calls Turkish Christians’ Trial a ‘Scandal’

After three prosecution witnesses testified yesterday that they didn’t even know two Christians on trial for “insulting Turkishness and Islam,” a defence lawyer called the trial a “scandal.” Speaking after yesterday’s hearing in the drawn-out trial, defence attorney Haydar Polat said the case’s initial acceptance by a state prosecutor in north-western Turkey was based only on a written accusation from the local gendarmerie headquarters unaccompanied by any documentation. “It’s a scandal,” Polat said. “It was a plot, a planned one, but a very unsuccessful plot, as there is no evidence.” Turkish Christians Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal were arrested in October 2006; after a two-day investigation they were charged with allegedly slandering Turkishness and Islam while talking about their faith with three young men in Silivri, an hour’s drive west of Istanbul. [more...]

22 Oct 2009

PAKISTAN: Taliban Insurgency Escalates

Since declaring war on the Pakistan government in July 2007, the Pakistani Taliban has made great gains. After Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a US missile strike on 5 August 2009, the new Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud vowed revenge. Four recent major terrorist attacks within the period of a week killed around 100 and wounded many more. [more...]

15 Oct 2009

INDIA: Hostilities Flare in BJP-Run Madhya Pradesh

Since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in Madhya Pradesh in December 2003, Christians in the state have suffered increased attacks and concerted efforts to tarnish their image, church leaders said. Before the BJP took office the state recorded two or three attacks against Christians per year, they said, whereas Jabalpur Archbishop Gerald Almeida said that in the past five years 65 baseless charges of forceful conversion – commonly accompanied by mob violence – have been registered in his diocese alone. [more...]

15 Oct 2009

GAZA: Islamisation Continues As Schoolgirls Told To Cover Up

Gaza has taken another step towards strict Islamic law with the imposition of new dress codes on schoolgirls. Girls and young women are being told that they must wear jilbab, traditional Islamic sleeved robes, and cover their hair, or they would not be allowed to attend classes. [more...]

15 Oct 2009

PHILIPPINES: Elderly Priest Kidnapped

Michael Sinnott, a 79-year-old priest from Ireland, was abducted by six armed men on 10 October in the city of Pagadian near Zamboanga (Mindanao), Philippines as he was conducting evening prayers in his home. Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for his kidnapping, an Islamist group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, is the main suspect. There is great concern over the condition of Father Sinnott, who is known to be in frail health. According to reports, Filipino military informants spotted him and his captors on 12 October in Lanao del Sur province, some 70 kilometers from where he was abducted and then again in another location the following day. Father Sinnott has been serving in the Philippines for the past 40 years. [more...]

15 Oct 2009

IRAN: Update- Further Charges Brought against Iranian Prisoners

There have been significant developments in the past week regarding Maryam Rustampoor (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh (30), who have been imprisoned in Tehran, Iran for their Christian faith since March. When the women were brought before the Revolutionary Court in early August and ordered to recant their faith, they refused and were sent back to prison. On 7 October, Maryam and Marzieh were unexpectedly taken back to the Revolutionary Court and three charges were brought against them: anti-state activity, propagation of Christianity, and apostasy (i.e. leaving Islam). The judge then acquitted them of the charge of anti-state activity. Because this charge has been dropped, their case will now be transferred to a general court where the other charges will be considered. [more...]

15 Oct 2009

COLOMBIA: Pastor Martyred

On 21 September, Pastor Manuel was shot and killed by The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. FARC guerrillas made an appointment with Pastor Manuel and his family. “He thought they were going to authorise him to have a church officially, which he had discuss[ed] and asked [for] before,” said VOM contacts. “One of them came in [the house] with the pastor’s wife, Gloria, and his daughter while the pastor was outside. He was shot five times.” [more...]

15 Oct 2009

EGYPT: Coptic Family Forced to Surrender Woman Rescued

State Security Investigations (SSI) forces in Egypt arrested, abused and then extorted money from a Coptic Christian for rescuing his daughter from her Muslim husband, who was holding her against her will in Alexandria, according to sources in Egypt. Security forces also arrested 10 people in Alexandria and tortured them in an attempt to find all those involved in the rescue. Authorities are preparing to make a new wave of arrests, the sources said. On 30 September, they said, the only daughter of Gamal Labib Hanna called home and asked her family to save her from her Muslim husband. How Hanna’s daughter, Myrna Gamal Hanna, came to marry Mohamad Osama Hefnawy is disputed, but sources said the now-20-year-old woman was 19 and under the age of marital consent when she and Hefnawy were wed 10 months ago. [more...]

15 Oct 2009

ETHIOPIA: Gaoled Evangelists Win Appeal but Remain in Prison

Two Christian men in Ethiopia who had been sentenced to six months of prison on false charges of offering money and gifts to people to change their religion, had successfully appealed their sentence on 21 September, only to be kept in prison on a new charge. The State Supreme Court in Bahir Dar had ordered Temesgen Alemayehu and Tigist Welde Amanuel to be released after paying a 500 birr (A$45) fine each, Christian sources said. However the two Ethiopian evangelists are still in prison awaiting the result of a new charge that fellow inmates filed for allegedly insulting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) while in prison. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

INDIA: Christian attacked in Maheswaram

A Christian has been attacked while organising a Bible study programme for children at Maheswaram in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh on 25 September. Abishek, a member of Hebron Church, Santoshnagar, was taking children for a vocational Bible school programme organised at Hamamguda, Maheswaram in Ranga Reddy district when he was attacked by some activists belonging to Hindutva outfits. The culprits - Venkat Reddy, Balaraju, Ramesh, Danamjaya and others – manhandled Abishek, alleging that he was forcibly converting the children to Christianity. They later went to the local police station and filed a complaint against Abishek alleging that he was indulging in forcible conversions. Abishek has been admitted in Apollo Hospital at Santoshnagar in Hyderabad.  [more...]

8 Oct 2009

SUDAN: Abductions Spread Fear Among Christians

In September, 20,000 Christians walked bare foot for two miles in sacrificial prayer as a sign of protest of the government's inability to protect the region, following a month of abductions and bloodshed. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

INDONESIA: Islamic Groups Shut Down Worship of Church

Several Islamic organisations have pressed officials in a sub-district near Indonesia’s capital city to forbid Jakarta Christian Baptist Church to worship in a house, resulting in an order to cease worship. The Islamic Defenders Front, the Betawi Forum Group, and political party Hizbut Tahrir have told officials in Sepatan sub-district, Tangerang district, near Jakarta that worship activities cannot be conducted in a residence. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

INDIA: Christians Concerned over Acquittals in Orissa, Violence

Only 24 people have been convicted a year after anti-Christian mayhem took place in India’s Orissa state, while the number of acquittals has risen to 95, compounding the sense of helplessness and frustration among surviving Christians. Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, called the trials “a travesty of justice.” Last month a non-profit group, the Peoples Initiative for Justice and Peace (PIJP), reportedly found that as many as 2,500 complaints were filed with police following the violence in August-September 2008 in the eastern state’s Kandhamal district. Police registered only 827 complaints and arrested fewer than 700 people, even though 11,000 people were named as attackers in these complaints, according to a PIJP survey. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

AZERBAIJAN: Police Chief Deports Local-Born Baptist - With No Documentation

Local Baptist Javid Shingarov was cut off from his wife, father and children in his native village near Yalama in northern Azerbaijan when he was deported to Russia on 30 September. Yalama's police chief Gazanfar Huseinov - who punished him under the Administrative Code with a fine and deportation order for holding religious worship in his home - refused to tell Forum 18 News Service why he had refused to give his verdict in writing and why the Migration Service was apparently not involved. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

LEBANON: Christians Emigrating As Islamic Influence Grows

Christians are fleeing Lebanon as the country becomes increasingly “Islamised,” according to Father Samir Khalil, founder of the Centre for Arab Christian Research and Documentation. One-third of the nation’s Christian population has left since the beginning of the 1975-90 Civil War, and Christians now make up just 34 percent of Lebanon’s population. Christians in the Arab world are moving abroad to places with higher Christian populations, such as America, Europe and Australia, which is increasing the Muslim majority in countries like Lebanon. "The same is happening all over the Middle East, and this is certainly a very tragic situation, which will have great consequences in the future,” Father Khalil warned. "Christians must stay in the Middle East to keep numbers up. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

SOMALIA: Islamic Extremists Kill Another Church Leader

Islamic militants in Somalia this week killed a woman who led an underground Christian movement in the war-torn country. Sources told Compass that a leader of Islamic extremist al Shabaab militia in Lower Juba identified only as Sheikh Arbow shot to death 46-year-old Mariam Muhina Hussein at 2 pm on Monday 28 September in Marerey village after discovering she had six Bibles. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

EGYPT: Christian Arrested for Distributing Tracts

An Egyptian Christian arrested in Cairo for handing out Gospel leaflets and held in prison illegally for four days has been released, the freed Protestant Copt told Compass. Abdel Kamel, 61, was arrested on Sept. 23 in downtown Cairo for handing out copies of a Christian leaflet. As they arrested him, police told Kamel it was 'unlawful' to hand out religious information on public roads. When Kamel countered that Muslims commonly hand out Islamic literature, police told him it was 'more unlawful' for Christians. [more...]

8 Oct 2009

CHINA: Worship Site Demolished, Pastors Arrested

Following a mob attack on a church in northeastern China and the demolition of their worship site last month, the government put officials on alert to use military force against churches to quell potential “unrest,” according to a leading advocacy group.
Citing reliable government sources, China Aid Association (CAA) reported that the central government on 26 - 27 September ordered officials in “all relevant government agencies” to prepare to use military force against Christians who might react to the attack on the Fushan Church branch congregation in Linfen city, Shanxi Province. [more...]

1 Oct 2009

A Sacrifice of Praise

A Sacrifice of Praise


Pastor Justin faces the Sarkin Mangu COCIN Church. To the casual observer it looks like a broken dream. Soot stains the edges of the doors and windows. Inside, behind what is left of the altar, a silver cross is now blackened by the flames. Grime replaces paint on the cracked walls. Exposed rubble litters the church compound. Towering over the compound’s thick walls is one of the many mosque turrets in this neighbourhood of northern Nigeria. The eerie sounds of the Islamic call to prayer echoing from a mosque loudspeaker, reminds the pastor of the night Muslim fanatics tried to destroy his church. [more...]

1 Oct 2009

EGYPT: Mourners Protest Islamic Attacks on Copts in Egypt

A funeral for a Coptic Christian gruesomely killed on a village street north of Cairo by a Muslim assailant last week turned into a protest by hundreds of demonstrators in Egypt. Galal Nasr el-Dardiri, 35, attacked 63 year old Abdu Georgy in front of the victim’s shop in Behnay village the afternoon of 16 September, according to research by a local journalist. [more...]

1 Oct 2009

BANGLADESH: Motive Sought for Slaying of Church Worker

Authorities are investigating possible motives for the vicious killing of a church worker by students at Dhaka University. A management student at the university and his friends are accused of torturing and killing Swapan Mondol, 35, on 12 September in Suhrawardy Park, adjacent to the university. Mondol, a convert from Hinduism, was supervisor of youth mission for Free Christian Church of Bangladesh. [more...]

1 Oct 2009

ETHIOPIA: Prison Terms Upheld for Two Christians

An Ethiopian court on Monday 21 September threw out an appeal by two evangelists said to be falsely accused of offering money and gifts to people to convert to Christianity, thus upholding their six-month prison sentences. Christian sources said Temesgen Alemayehu and Tigist Welde Amanuel of Wengel Lealem church in Addis Ababa went to Debiretabor, Amhara state, to plant a church in July. [more...]

1 Oct 2009

ERITREA: Imprisoned Christian Dies of Meningitis

A Christian man detained in Eritrea's Wi'a Military Camp for the past year died of meningitis on 3 September following an outbreak of the illness at the prison, according to reports from Open Doors. Mesfin Gebrekristos, an evangelical Christian, is the fourth known believer to have died in detention this year. He is survived by a wife and two children. [more...]

24 Sep 2009

CHINA: Beijing Public Security Seizes House Church Pastor Hua Huiqi

Hua Huiqi, Pastor of the Tent-Making Ministry, was seized by Public Security and State Security agents from Fengtai District in Beijing. Pastor Hua was returning home from "forced vacation" in Shanxi, when five PSB officers immediately surrounded his apartment home. [more...]

24 Sep 2009

IRAQ: Kidnapped Christian Doctor Freed in Critical Condition

Islamic kidnappers in Kirkuk last week dumped a Christian doctor in critical condition in front of a mosque after 29 days of torture and threats to him and his family. Thanks to his 23-year-old daughter’s negotiations with the terrorists, 55-year-old Sameer Gorgees Youssif was freed but with wounds, haematomas and bruises covering his body. The doctor’s daughter, who requested her name be withheld, said that for two weeks the abductors insisted on $500,000, and then dropped the amount to $300,000. [more...]

24 Sep 2009

SOMALIA: Muslim Militants Slay Long-Time Christian

The faith journey of a long-time underground Christian in Somalia ended in tragedy when Islamic militants controlling a security checkpoint killed him after finding Bibles in his possession. Militants from the Muslim extremist al Shabaab killed 69-year-old Omar Khalafe on Tuesday 15 September at a check-point they controlled 10 kilometres from Merca, a Christian source told Compass. [more...]

24 Sep 2009

PAKISTAN: Police in Pakistan Shoot Mourners at Funeral of Christian

At a funeral for a Christian man allegedly tortured to death while in custody on a spurious charge of blaspheming the Koran, police in Sialkot, Pakistan fired on mourners trying to move the coffin to another site. Area Christians suspect police killed 22-year-old Robert Danish, nicknamed “Fanish” or “Falish” by friends, by torturing him to death on Tuesday 15 September after the mother of his Muslim girlfriend contrived a charge against him of desecrating Islam’s scripture. [more...]

24 Sep 2009

UK: Christian Hotel Owners Hauled Before Court after Defending Their Beliefs in Discussion with Muslim Guest

A Christian couple have been charged with a criminal offence after taking part in what they regarded as a reasonable discussion about religion with guests at their hotel. Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a Muslim woman complained to police that she had been offended by their comments. They have been charged under public order laws with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’. The couple, whose trial has been set for December, face a fine of up to Ł5,000 and a criminal record if they are convicted. [more...]

17 Sep 2009

LAOS: Authorities Gaol and Threaten to Kill Christians

Authorities in Laos last week gaoled a church leader in Liansai village, Savannakhet Province for embracing Christianity, and threatened to expel him unless he renounces his faith – and kill him if his arrest is made public, according to a human rights organisation. Local officials on 3 September arrested Thao Oun, an elder at Boukham Church, according to Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). [more...]

17 Sep 2009

ETHIOPIA: Convert Gaoled for Handing out Bibles

A convert from Islam who has led a push for Muslim-Christian understanding in Ethiopia has been in gaol for nearly four months since his arrest for “malicious” distribution of Bibles. [more...]

17 Sep 2009

CHINA: Violent Attack on House Church

At 3:00am the morning of Sunday 13 September, a mass of 400 deviants in police suits and red armbands broke into the "Good News Cloth Shoes Factory", on the site of Fushan Church's new building in Linfin City, Shanxi province. Two shovel loaders tore at the building foundations, while the mob, with bricks and other blunt instruments in hand, beat Fushan church members who were sleeping at the church construction site. Within the hour, more than ten church members lay bleeding heavily; some were severely injured and sent to the emergency room. Several people lost consciousness and were subsequently hospitalised. [more...]

10 Sep 2009

NEPAL: Mastermind of Church Bombing Arrested

Ram Prasad Mainali, head of the terrorist organisation that bombed one of Nepal’s oldest churches in May, has been arrested along with three accomplices. [more...]

10 Sep 2009

INDIA: Prayer Team Beaten Mercilessly - Then Arrested

The Christian community of Chhattisgarh state is rattled after a gruesome mob attack and torture. Hindu nationalists broke open the door of a house where a three-day prayer meeting was taking place and attacked participants as they slept – ultimately forcing two Christians to beat one of their own prayer partners unconscious under threat of death. The mob beat the participants, including women, and dragged three of them from the house. It was thought they were taken to the police station, but instead they were taken to a secluded place where the beatings continued. [more...]

10 Sep 2009

SUDAN: Violence Spreads Fear Among Christians

Thousands of civilians have fled after fresh attacks by the rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Sudan's remote western Equatoria region. Two people died and three others were injured when the LRA carried out a series of attacks in Ezo district, near the Sudanese border with the DRC, on 12 August. It has also been reported that the rebel group abducted ten girls from a local church, ransacked and torched homes and stole food. They also struck in Bereamburu village, burning a local church and health centre and raiding medical supplies. [more...]

10 Sep 2009

PAKISTAN: Seven Members of One Family Killed in Anti-Christian Riots

The violence at a Christian colony in Gojra, Pakistan, on Saturday 1 August has left one man devastated after losing several members of his family. Minhas Hameed's 75-year old father was the first victim when he was shot in the head by a Muslim mob. [more...]

4 Sep 2009

INDIA: Christians Arrested for Operating Boys' Hostel

Karnataka police, accompanied by ten Hindu extremists, on Friday 28 August arrested a Christian operator of a boys' hostel, after accusing him and another Christian of offering food, shelter, education and future job prospects to the children as an 'allurement' to convert to Christianity. [more...]

4 Sep 2009

CHINA: Christian Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Aiding North Korean Refugees

Christians Li Mingshun and Zhang Yonghu were indicted by the Erlianhaote City People's Procuratorate on 31 July 2009, for aiding North Korean refugees fleeing to South Korea through China. Li and Zhang were among several Christians helping to provide food, shelter, and transportation for the 61 refugees crossing Northern Chinese provinces into Mongolia, where neutral state laws permit residents to seek asylum in South Korea. [more...]

4 Sep 2009

KAZAKHSTAN: "Such Preaching is Prohibited by our Law"

Within hours of arriving in the town of Uspen to visit a local Christian and set up a local congregation, police broke into the house where members of the Pavlodar Grace Church were staying, church members told Forum 18 News Service. One visitor was questioned and a local woman the visitors had prayed with was beaten by police until she signed a statement saying she had been forced to submit to a religious ritual. [more...]

26 Aug 2009

EGYPT: Two Copts Imprisoned after Reporting Attack

Two Coptic Christians in Egypt have been arrested and are being held without charge after reporting to police they had been beaten by a mob, an attorney for the men said yesterday. On the evening of 31 July, Reda Hnein, 35, his brother Nagi Hnein Fawzi, 27, and their uncle Youssef Fawzi Iskandar, 58, all Coptic farmers, were leading a cow down a road in the village of Al-Fashn when two Muslim men riding a motorbike crashed into the cow. [more...]

26 Aug 2009

SOMALIA: Christian Shot Dead near Kenya Border

Muslim extremists seeking evidence that a Somali man had converted from Islam to Christianity shot him dead on 18 August near the Somali border with Kenya, according to underground Christians in the war-torn nation. Al Shabaab rebels killed 41-year-old Ahmed Matan in Bulahawa, Somalia, according to Abdikadir Abdi Ismael, a former leader of a secret Christian fellowship in Somalia to which Matan belonged. [more...]

26 Aug 2009

INDIA: One Year Later, Christians in Orissa Pray for Peace

One year after India’s worst-ever attack on Christians, which began after Maoists killed a Hindu leader on 23 August in Orissa state last year, churches across the country will fast and pray for a peace that remains elusive. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has appealed to all the Catholic dioceses in the country to “pray for peace and harmony and a spirit of reconciliation” by fasting tomorrow, one year to the day that Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was killed by non-Christian Maoists last year. On Monday 24 August, an inter-denominational meeting to pray for peace, healing and reconciliation will be held at The Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi to mark “National Kandhamal Day.” [more...]

26 Aug 2009

BELARUS: Authorities Prepare Again to Expel New Life Church from its Own Building

Members of the New Life Full Gospel congregation in the capital Minsk refused to accept the latest official demands to give up the place of worship they bought back in 2002, the church's lawyer Sergei Lukanin told Forum 18 News Service. Court executors delivered an order to vacate the building by 20 August, but church members have held a series of prayer meetings to defend their building. [more...]

26 Aug 2009

BELARUS: Fines on Religious Activity Continue as Pastors Complain to President of Restrictions

The official in the western town of Baranovichi who arranged for two local Baptists to be fined about one month's average wages each for using their home for religious worship defends his action. "They violated the Religion Law," ideology official Sergei Puzikov insisted to Forum 18 News Service. Told that the two point to Belarus' Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, he responded: "In any country there is not only the Constitution, but individual laws." [more...]

20 Aug 2009

MEXICO: Justice Prevails for 20 Men in Chiapas

At least 20 men accused of participating in a massacre in Chiapas State in December 1997 left prison early on the morning of 13 August. The release of the 20 men, most of them evangelical Christians, came after Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in a 4-1 decision that they had been convicted in unfair trials in which prosecutors fabricated testimony and illegally obtained evidence.

The evangelical Christians convicted were serving 25 or 36 year sentences and had up till now exhausted all appeals. The court will review the cases of another 31 men convicted in connection with the killing, and 6 more will be given new trials, according to news reports. [more...]

20 Aug 2009

SRI LANKA: Rash of Attacks on Christians

Attacks on Christians in Sri Lanka have surged noticeably in recent weeks, following the government's defeat of Tamil separatists in May. Attacks were reported in Puttlam, Gampaha and Kurunegala districts in western Sri Lanka, central Polonnaruwa district, Mannar district in the north and Matara district in the south, according to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL). [more...]

20 Aug 2009

INDONESIA: Christians Call for Rejection of Sharia-Inspired Bills

The Indonesian Council of Churches (PGI) has called for the rejection of two bills inspired by sharia (Islamic law). The Halal Product Guarantee Bill and the Zakat Obligatory Alms Management Bill, both under consideration in the Indonesian parliament, cater to the needs of one religious group at the expense of others, thereby violating Indonesia's policy of pancasila or religious tolerance, said the Rev Dr A A Yewangoe, director of the PGI. "National laws must be impartial and inclusive," Yewangoe told Compass. "Since all laws are binding on all of the Indonesian people, they must be objective. Otherwise discrimination will result...The state has a duty to guard the rights of all its citizens, including freedom of religion." [more...]

20 Aug 2009

INDIA: Christians attacked throughout Karnataka

As the one year anniversary of the unprecedented violence against Christians in Orissa state looms closer, believers throughout India are concerned of further attacks. In recent days, for example, believers in Karnataka state have faced intimidation and arrests from Hindu militants and police.
 
Approximately 20 Hindu militants shouting anti-Christian slogans barged into a worship service in the village of Gabbur on 9 August Pastor James (46) was beaten and dragged out of the building. He was able to escape his assailants and registered a complaint against them with police. At approximately 9:30 pm, the militants attacked Pastor James at his home and chased him and his family out of the village. At last report, the family had not returned to their home. [more...]

13 Aug 2009

IRAN: Unrest Roils as Iran Tightens Grip on Christians

More than 30 Christians were arrested in the past two weeks near Tehran and in the northern city of Rasht. Two waves of arrests near Tehran happened within days of each other, and while most of those detained – all converts from Islam – were held just a day for questioning, a total of eight Christians still remain in prison. In Rasht, eight Christians belonging to the same network were arrested on 29 and 30 July in two separate rounds of arrest. Seven were released, while one, a male, remains in the city’s prison.

Source: Compass Direct
 [more...]

13 Aug 2009

VIETNAM: Authorities Raid and Threaten House Churches

Local authorities in Vietnam have balked at registering house churches, contributing to a recent increase in sometimes violent harassment of congregations. Four police officers and two government officials broke up the Sunday morning worship service of a house church in Tran Phu Commune in Hanoi on 26 July, announcing that it was illegal to worship and teach religion. The police chief of Tran Phu Commune in greater Hanoi, Dang Dinh Toi, had ordered the raid. [more...]

13 Aug 2009

TURKEY: Christian Held Hostage at Knife Point

In a bizarre show of Turkish nationalism, a young Muslim took a Christian Turk at knife point, draped his head with the national flag and threatened to slit the throat of the “missionary dog” in broad daylight earlier this week. Yasin Karasu, 24, held Ismail Aydın, 35, hostage for less than half an hour on Monday (3 August) in a busy district on the Asian side of Istanbul in front of passersby and police who promptly came to the scene. Karasu threatened to slit Aydin’s throat if anyone came near him and commanded those watching to give him a Turkish flag. Within minutes, Aydin told Compass, bystanders produced two flags. [more...]

13 Aug 2009

NIGERIA:  Death Toll Climbs in Attack by Islamic Sect

With 12 Christians, including three pastors, confirmed killed in rioting ignited by an Islamic sect opposed to Western education, the Christian community in northern Nigeria’s Borno state is still counting its losses. The rioting instigated by an Islamic extremist sect known as Boko Haram, which initially attacked police and government bases, left hundreds of people dead and large property losses. [more...]

13 Aug 2009

INDIA: Church Attacked in Kerala

Hindutva activists have attacked a church in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala alleging large-scale conversion activities in the area. The activists, numbering around 20, attacked the church at Kozhencherry Pulladu Junction in Pathanamthitta district on 2 August 2009. They came armed with lethal weapons and attacked Joe Kaithavana, the Pastor of the church, and Deepu, one of his believers late in the evening while they having their supper. [more...]

12 Aug 2009

IRAN: Women - We Love Christ!

IRAN: Women - We Love Christ!

UPDATE: On 8 August, Marzieh and Maryam were summoned to an Iranian court and ordered to deny their faith verbally and in a written statement, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.

Marzieh and Maryam were pressured to recant their faith after the chief interrogator recommended they be charged with apostasy. Praise God, they stood firm and replied, "We love Jesus. We will not deny our faith." [more...]

6 Aug 2009

NORTH KOREA: Executions of Christians by North Korea on the Rise

Human rights groups in South Korea have reported that North Korea has stepped up executions of Christians, some of them in public.

In June, Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was publicly executed after being charged with distributing the Bible, spying for South Korea and the United States, and organising dissidents. Ri was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon near the border with China. The following day her parents, husband and three children were all sent to a political prison camp in the northeastern city of Hoeryong. [more...]

6 Aug 2009

NEPAL: Christians Increasingly Vulnerable in ‘Secular’ Nepal

Three years after a pro-democracy movement led to the proclamation of Nepal as a secular state, some Christians say they are in greater peril than ever. They are now being targeted by militant Hindu organisations that blame the church for the abolition of Hinduism as the state religion and the end of monarchy. [more...]

6 Aug 2009

PAKISTAN: Christians Strive for Justice following Onslaught

A standoff here between Pakistani officials and Christians protesting the government’s reluctance to prosecute a murderous Islamic assault ended with officials finally consenting to file a complaint against key Muslim clerics and security officers. On Sunday 2 August hundreds of Christians demonstrated in Gojra, where the previous day rampaging Muslims – acting on an unsubstantiated rumour of “blasphemy” of the Koran and whipped into a frenzy by local imams and banned terrorist groups – killed at least seven Christians, looted more than 100 houses and set fire to 50 of them. At least 19 people were injured in the melee. [more...]

6 Aug 2009

EGYPT: Senior Egyptian Preacher Speaks Out For Christian Churches

Sheikh Khaled al-Gindi, a senior Islamic preacher in Egypt, has called on his government to allow Christians to build churches. Speaking in July he said, "As we demand that the West allows us to build mosques, we have to do the same here (in Egypt) with churches." He added that "all citizens have the right to practise their religious rights". Christians in Egypt struggle with an insufficient number of church buildings because it is very difficult to get permission to build new ones (or even repair the old ones).

Source: Barnabus Fund [more...]

6 Aug 2009

UZBEKISTAN: Disabled Man Not Allowed To Go To Church

Gafur Yusupov, who lives in a home for people with disabilities in Fergana, eastern Uzbekistan, has been banned by the director of the home from attending the local church of which he is a member. Gafur has no legs, so over the last few years, church members have taken him to Sunday services in a wheel-chair. The director of the home has confiscated Gafur's Christian books and audio tapes and forbidden him from having any contact with his fellow believers. [more...]

6 Aug 2009

SOMALIA: Church Grows Despite Turmoil

The country of Somalia is in a dire state. The terrorist group Al Shabaab, linked with al Qaeda, wants to overthrow the government there and become the most extreme version of Islam. “Politically, it’s still just an absolute vacuum. Anything that goes into Somalia, whether it’s human aid or relief supplies or some attempt to provoke stability, just seems to get sucked up in chaos. And in today’s reality, Christians are bearing the brunt of that,” said Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

NIGERIA: Churches Destroyed and Police Stations Attacked by Islamic Militants in Four States Over Two Days

Coordinated attacks by Islamic militants in four states of Northern Nigeria on Sunday and Monday left an estimated 80 people dead, including two pastors. At least seven churches are reported destroyed, with other targets including four police stations, a prison and a customs post. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

ERITREA: Third Christian this Year Dies in Eritrean Military Prison

Another Christian imprisoned for his faith in Eritrea has died from authorities denying him medical treatment, according to a Christian support organisation. Sources told Netherlands-based Open Doors that Yemane Kahasay Andom, 43, died Thursday (23 July) at Mitire Military Confinement Centre. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

BURMA: Government Troops Attack Displaced Karen Groups

The Burmese army and militia have attacked two displacement camps for the mainly Christian Karen people close to the Thai border. In one camp in Karen State, at least 90 children were forced to try to swim across a river into Thailand in the middle of the night to avoid being attacked. Their camp was ringed by landmines on the Burmese side. Many were very young and could not swim – but reports suggest that most of them survived. A recently built orphanage was also attacked by government troops and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

FIJI: Government Blocks Church Celebrations

Earlier this year Police banned the Annual Conference and Choir Festival of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma scheduled for August 2009. The Church engaged in unsuccessful discussions with the military regime to have the decision reversed. On 17 July 2009, the Church’s Standing Committee confirmed that both the Conference and Festival would nonetheless go ahead. On 20 July the General Secretary of the Methodist Church, the Rev Tuikilakila Waqairatu, was taken by police for questioning. He was returned that night but was taken again on Tuesday 21 July. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

UZBEKISTAN: "Joy" Children's Holiday Camp Attacked

Uzbekistan's Baptist Union is facing criminal charges for allegedly unlawfully teaching children religion, and for supposedly misusing their property as a summer camp. As a result, Baptist Union Chair Pavel Peichev faces huge fines, the confiscation of the property, imprisonment, or some combination of these penalties. Baptists have vehemently denied the allegations. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

CHINA: Youth Camp Raided in Henan; Two Christian Leaders Detained

A Christian youth camp was raided in Nanyang city, Henan on 23 July. More than 20 students were participating the summer youth camp were gathering at No. 23, Lizhuang, Pushan town, Wuolong district, Nanyang city, Henan when they were raided by a number of Public Security Bureau (PSB) and Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) officials. The raid took place at 12 noon, and all of the students were taken away for further interrogation. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

TURKEY: Christian Murdered on Busy Street in Istanbul

On a crowded street last week a German businessman died after a Turk with a history of mental problems stabbed him for being a Christian. Witnesses saw Ibrahim Akyol, 26; stab Gregor Kerkeling in the chest on 20 July at 10:50 am after following him out of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Istanbul's central district of Beyoglu. Church security cameras captured the attack on Kerkeling, who regularly visited the church when he was in town for business. [more...]

30 Jul 2009

VIETNAM: Pastor Escapes 'House Arrest' to Speak out About Police's Abuse

A well-known evangelical pastor has made a desperate cry for help for his family – because the police have made them prisoners in their own home. Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh, who oversees several Mennonite churches in the Central Highlands, says his family have been under siege in their home in Hoa Lu commune in Pleiku city, central Vietnam, for months. Police have been guarding his house around the clock. The pastor managed to escape in a bid to find 'help, food and medication' for his wife and three young children on 17 July. [more...]

22 Jul 2009

BURMA: Karen Christians Suffer at the Hands Of Burmese Military

Violence in rural Burma/Myanmar has resulted in a growing number of displaced Karen people, a tribal group that is 60 percent Christian. In the last month, more than 4,000 ethnic minority Karen have crossed the border into Thailand which now has a refugee population of more than 100,000. This influx was brought on by fighting between the Karen National Union and the Myanmar military. In addition to the refugees in Thailand, the fighting has created nearly 500,000 internally displaced people in eastern Myanmar and resulted in countless atrocities against civilians. [more...]

22 Jul 2009

EGYPT: Police Collusion Suspected in Attack on Church

Villagers in Ezbet Basillious, Minya suspect local police in Egypt of corruption and collusion after two Copts were arrested for an arson attack on their own house church on Saturday (11 July). Egyptian State Security Investigations officers later arrested three Muslim suspects in accordance with eyewitness testimony that local police had ignored. The Muslim suspects were seen entering the Church of St. Abaskharion Kellini with cans of kerosene and leaving it shortly after, shouting “Allahu Akbar [God is great].” [more...]

22 Jul 2009

SOMALIA: Convert from Islam Shot Dead in Somalia

Muslim extremists killed a Christian convert in Mahadday Weyne, Somalia, 100 kilometres north of Mogadishu. Al Shabaab Islamist militia shot Mohammed Sheikh Abdiraman to death at 7 am on Monday 20 July, eyewitnesses told Compass. [more...]

22 Jul 2009

UZBEKISTAN: Banned From Meeting Fellow-Believers

Gafur Yusupov, who lives in a home for people with disabilities in eastern Uzbekistan, has been banned from attending his Baptist Church. All his Christian books and audio tapes have also been taken from him, and he has been banned him from having any contact with his fellow believers. When Baptists complained, the home told them to talk to the NSS secret police. [more...]

22 Jul 2009

LAOS: Village Officials Announce Ban on Christianity

Following the confiscation of livestock from Christian families earlier this month, officials in a village in Laos on Saturday (11 July) called a special meeting for all residents and announced that they had “banned the Christian faith in our village.” The chief of Katin village, along with village security, social and religious affairs officials, warned all 53 Christian residents that they should revert to worshiping local spirits in accordance with Lao tradition or risk losing all village rights and privileges – including their livestock and homes, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). [more...]

22 Jul 2009

IRAQ: Churches Bombed as Sectarian Violence Escalates

There have been a number of bomb attacks against churches in Iraq in recent days. On Saturday 11 July a church in western Baghdad was bombed. On Sunday 12 July five further churches in Baghdad were bombed. On Monday 13 July a church in Mosul was also bombed. In the deadliest of these bombings, in Baghdad on Sunday evening, four have been confirmed dead including three Christians. One source in Baghdad mentioned as many as 14 may have been killed. There are reports of many injuries, and of damage to the church buildings. [more...]

15 Jul 2009

CHINA: Christian Woman Jailed For Smuggling in North Korean Refugees

Li Mingshun, a Chinese Korean from Heilongjiang province, north-east China, is in jail in neighbouring Inner Mongolia, charged with helping to smuggle 61 refugees into China. [more...]

15 Jul 2009

CHINA: Changchunli Church in Shandong Sends Plea for Prayer

ChinaAid received a letter from Changchunli Church asking Christians around the world to pray for them as the government has shut down their church gatherings and is attempting to demolish their church building. Even though Changchunli Church is a legally registered, government-sanctioned church, government officials, working together with government-sanctioned religious organisations, the China Christian Council (CCC) and the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM,) have made agreements with real estate developers to take over the church land to for financial profit. [more...]

15 Jul 2009

LAOS: Officials Seize, Slaughter Christians’ Livestock

Last Sunday (5 July) officials and residents of Katin village in Ta Oih district, Saravan province, Laos, confiscated and slaughtered livestock belonging to nine Christian families in an effort to force them to renounce their faith. [more...]

15 Jul 2009

PAKISTAN: Islamists Get Minority Rights Leader Jailed

Well-known Pakistani minority rights activist Joseph Francis and two others were jailed on Sunday (12 July) for forged documents in connection with false charges of assaulting a woman who visited his office in 2006, their lawyers said. Francis, national director of the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), which for more than two decades has defended Christians and others against spurious charges by Islamists, was arrested on Thursday (9 July) along with CLAAS official Ashar Sarfaraz and Sarfaraz’s brother-in-law, Zulfiqar Wilson. [more...]

9 Jul 2009

IRAN: Maryam and Marzieh - In danger of being forgotten

Arrested on 5 March, 2009, the two young women have now been in prison for four months. After being in solitary confinement for three weeks in May and early June, they were then put one small cell together for about two weeks. Then, following the arrests of thousands of protestors after the disputed presidential elections, Marzieh and Maryam were moved to a larger cell to make room for new prisoners. About 600 women were brought Evin prison during the days of the protests. [more...]

9 Jul 2009

PAKISTAN: Muslims attack Christians in Pakistan

Christians in the village of Bahmaniwala in Punjab province, Pakistan, were attacked by Muslims on 30 June after a believer allegedly committed blasphemy against Islam. When Sardar Masih (38) and his son were returning home on their tractor on 29 June, they asked a reportedly intoxicated Muslim man and his nephew to move their motorbikes which were blocking the road. Enraged that a Christian gave them an order, the two grabbed Masih and began to beat him. Later that evening, a group of 15-20 Muslims attacked Masih's family and damaged his home. His tractor was ruined and his brothers sustained serious hatchet wounds. The Muslim man filed a report with local police and told a Muslim religious leader that Masih had blasphemed. [more...]

9 Jul 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian Shopkeeper Beaten and Detained on Blasphemy Charges

Imran Masih (25) was arrested after Muslims accused him of burning pages of the Koran in the town of Hajwery, Faisalabad, Pakistan, according to reports from AsiaNews and Pakistan Christian Post. While Masih was cleaning up his fruit and vegetable shop, he set some paper and books on fire--a common practise for waste disposal in the area. The Muslim owner of a nearby shop then accused Masih of burning the Koran and called for Muslims to kill the "infidel." A group of Muslims gathered and beat Masih until police intervened and took him into custody. [more...]

9 Jul 2009

EGYPT: Two Clashes Shake Coptic Community

Separate cases of sectarian violence in two villages erupted in Egypt last week, shaking the country’s Coptic Christian community as Muslims attacked their homes and security forces imposed curfews in an effort to maintain peace. Last Wednesday 1 July in the village of Kafr El Barbari in Mit Ghamr, Dakahlia, north of Cairo, Muslim villagers mourning the death of 18-year-old Mohamed Ramadan Ezzat, a student stabbed to death in a dispute with a Coptic grocer, attacked Christian homes with stones, breaking their windows. Ezzat’s family members attacked and burned the Gerges’ store as well as two of the family apartments. During post-funeral violence, 25 people were injured as hundreds of angry Muslims attacked Coptic homes. [more...]

2 Jul 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian Stoned to Death for Ordering Tea from 'Muslim-Only' Stall

Recent reports from the Punjab have highlighted a grievous case of religious violence. On 9 May, Ishtiaq Masih had disembarked from a bus that had stopped in Machharkay village to give the passengers an opportunity for rest and refreshment. A sign hung on the roadside tea stall, which read, "All non-Muslims should introduce their faith prior to ordering tea. This stall serves Muslims only." Ishtiaq failed to see this and paid for the mistake with his life. [more...]

2 Jul 2009

EGYPT: Village Christians in Hiding after Clash

Nearly 1,000 Coptic Christians are hiding in their homes after clashes erupted Sunday 21 June between them and their village’s majority- Muslim population over the use of a three-story building belonging to the Coptic Church. When on Sunday at 11am. a group of 25 Christians from Cairo stopped in Ezbet Boshra-East, a village of about 3,000 people three hours south of Cairo by car, few villagers failed to take notice. [more...]

2 Jul 2009

IRAN: Scraps Mandatory Death Penalty for ‘Apostates’

A member of Iran’s Parliament reportedly revealed last week that the country’s Parliamentary Committee has stricken the mandatory death penalty for those who leave Islam from proposals for an amended penal code. [more...]

2 Jul 2009

MAURITANIA: Islamic Extremists Kill U.S. Aid Worker

Funeral services have been held for a U.S. teacher in Mauritania who was shot dead last week by Islamic extremists for spreading Christianity. Christopher Leggett, 39, was killed Tuesday 23 June in front of the language and computer school he operated in Nouakchott, the capital city. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, North African unit of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, claimed responsibility for the murder on an Internet site, accusing Leggett of “missionary activities.” [more...]

2 Jul 2009

SOMALIA: Islamists Behead Two Sons of Christian Leader

Islamic extremists have beheaded two young boys in Somalia because their Christian father refused to divulge information about a church leader, and the killers are searching Kenya’s refugee camps to do the same to the boys’ father. Before taking his Somali family to a Kenyan refugee camp in April, 55-year-old Musa Mohammed Yusuf was the leader of an underground church in Yonday village, 30 kilometres from Kismayo in Somalia. [more...]

1 Jul 2009

INDONESIA: Bold Witness for Christ

INDONESIA: Bold Witness for Christ

On the evening of 23 December 2004, after a worship service at the church, Santoso and his wife went to spend the night at his parents' house. He decided it wasn't safe to stay overnight in the church. "The following morning as I was praying with my wife, I didn't feel afraid. Instead I was filled with peace unlike anything I had ever felt before. "Later that morning, Santoso borrowed a friend's motorbike because he wanted to return to the church. After completing his work he asked if someone from the congregation would follow him back to his parents' house. They were only one kilometre from the church when some men came out of the bushes. "At that moment, I didn't feel afraid at all even though I saw one of them holding a machete. I thought he was a nice guy who just worked with his machete at the plantation nearby," Santoso said. [more...]

25 Jun 2009

INDONESIA: Underground Church Growing In Muslim Dominated Area

Churches on the tsunami-ravaged coast of Indonesia are experiencing a wave of conversions and healings. In the strongly Muslim Aceh province of northern Sumatra where 167,000 people died in the 2004 tsunami, the underground church movement is growing.  Indonesia has an official policy of religious tolerance, but in Muslim-dominated areas Christians face open hostility and persecution. In Aceh province, churches must register with the authorities and are not permitted to evangelise. Many Christians choose to meet in unregistered, or underground, churches. [more...]

25 Jun 2009

IRAN: Unrest May Signal Good News for Christians

Defying a government ban to hold a rally, an estimated 100,000 Iranians flooded the streets of Tehran supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi. He's the moderate presidential candidate who says he is the rightful winner in Iran's hotly-contested presidential elections last week. In the wake of these protests, Iran's supreme leader ordered the Guardian Council to investigate presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi's claims of electoral fraud. [more...]

25 Jun 2009

YEMEN: Christian Relief Workers Abducted and Killed In Yemen

On 12 June, nine Christian foreigners were abducted and three of them killed in Yemen. Reports indicate that they were targeted because they were Christian relief workers suspected of being involved in evangelistic work. According to officials, the Christians left the city of Sa'ada without an armed escort to visit a doctor who lives nearby. The believers left the doctor's home after two hours. Eyewitnesses saw a group of armed men stop the Christians. [more...]

25 Jun 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Facing Blasphemy Charges

Thirty-seven-year-old Asia Bibi was recently arrested by police on allegations of blasphemy in the village of Ittanwali, Punjab province, Pakistan. On 19 June, some of the Muslim women who work with Bibi on a farm owned by a local Muslim engaged in a heated discussion with Bibi about Islam. Bibi told them that Christ died on the cross for their sins and asked them what Mohammed had done for them. "Our Christ is the true prophet of God and yours is not true," Bibi said. The Muslim women became angry and began to beat her. [more...]

25 Jun 2009

VIETNAM: Police Attack House Church, Jail Leaders

Police invaded the Sunday service of the Agape Baptist congregation in Vietnam’s Hung Yen Province on 7 June and beat worshippers, including women, and arrested a pastor and an elder. Christian sources said police put the two church leaders into separate cells, and each man was beaten by a gang of five policemen. Pastor Duong Van Tuan of the house church in Hamlet 3, Ong Dinh Commune, Khoai Chau district said that officers beat them in a way that did not leave marks: hard blows to the stomach. [more...]

25 Jun 2009

COLOMBIA: Family of Kidnapped Pastor Flee Home

The wife and children of Pastor William Reyes, who was kidnapped last September in Colombia and is still missing, have moved from their home to another city due to threatening strangers presumably linked to his kidnappers. Compass learned that Idia Miranda Reyes, her son William, 19, and daughters Luz Nelly, 17, and Estefania, 9, suddenly left their home in Maicao in the department (state) of La Guajira two months ago and moved to an undisclosed location in the country. [more...]

22 Jun 2009

North Korean Fax threatens Voice of the Martyrs Project

An anonymous fax believed to have been sent from the North Korean embassy for Finland promises workers affiliated with Voice of the Martyrs that "something very bad will happen to you" if Voice of the Martyrs continues a special project to share the Gospel via weekly fax transmissions to government and business representatives of the restricted Asian nation.
During the past year Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has made an effort to collect as many fax numbers as possible inside North Korea, one of the world's most isolated nations. VOM sends weekly faxes containing Christian messages and Scripture passages on love and forgiveness to each of the fax numbers. [more...]

18 Jun 2009

BELARUS: Largest Fine yet For Unregistered Religious Activity

Belarus has imposed its largest fine yet for unregistered religious activity. A court in the eastern town of Osipovichi fined local Baptist Nikolai Poleshchuk the equivalent of almost three months' average salary in the town and another Baptist received a warning for running a Christian street library. However, Belarus' Supreme Court changed an earlier court order to destroy Bibles and New Testaments confiscated from Poleshchuk - they have been handed to the state instead. [more...]

18 Jun 2009

LAOS: Thirteen Christians Arrested

On 12 June, thirteen Christians were arrested by plain clothes police, after visiting Christian villages in Laos, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.
The visiting believers met the police when they were in the village for their routine daily work. The police questioned them about what they were doing in the village. The police have not disclosed why they arrested the believers and at last report the Christians are still being held at a provincial police station. [more...]

18 Jun 2009

EGYPT: Rescue of Coptic Girl Prompts Muslim Attack

Egyptian news sources report security forces have wrongly detained two Christians for nearly a month as part of a ruse to cast a Muslim attack on Copts as “sectarian violence.” Violence broke out last month in the village of Toma, near El-Mahalla El-Kubra in the middle of the Nile Delta, when local Muslims attacked Copts who had rescued Nermeen Mitry, 16; Muslims had kidnapped the Coptic girl and tried to convert her to Islam, according to Assyrian International News Agency. [more...]

18 Jun 2009

EGYPT: Right to Convert to Second Christian Denied

A Cairo judge on Saturday (13 June) rejected an Egyptian convert’s attempt to change his identification card’s religious status from Muslim to Christian, the second failed attempt to exercise constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom by a Muslim-born convert to Christianity. For Maher El-Gohary, who has been attacked on the street, subjected to death threats and driven into hiding as a result of opening his case 10 months ago, Saturday’s outcome provided nothing in the way of consolation. [more...]

18 Jun 2009

TURKEY: Iranian Refugee Beaten for His Faith

Since Iranian native Nasser Ghorbani fled to Turkey seven years ago, he has been unable to keep a job for more than a year – eventually his co-workers would ask why he didn’t come to the mosque on Fridays, and one way or another they’d learn that he was a convert to Christianity. Soon thereafter he would be gone. Never had anyone gotten violent with him, however, until three weeks ago, when someone at his workplace in Istanbul hit him on the temple so hard he knocked him out. When he came back to his senses, Ghorbani was covered in dirt, and his left eye was swollen shut. It hurt to breathe; his whole body was in pain. He had no idea what had happened. “I’ve always had problems at work in Turkey because I’m a Christian, but never anything like this,” Ghorbani told Compass. [more...]

18 Jun 2009

PAKISTAN: Muslims Attack Pastor’s Home

In a growing culture of violence, a traffic incident in Punjab Province this month led to Muslim assailants later mounting an attack on the home of a Christian pastor they have increasingly resented for his evangelism and justice ministries. The attackers threatened more violence if the pastor does not drop assault charges. A few of the 17 assailants struck the mother and sister-in-law of pastor Riaz Masih with rifle butts after the pastor’s brother, who lives at the same multi-housing complex as Masih in Kila Sardar Shah, Sheikhupura district, on 1 June complained to a local councillor about the official nearly driving into his sons. [more...]

18 Jun 2009

CHINA: Renewal of Licenses for Human Rights Lawyers Refused

Li Dunyong, one of several lawyers involved in the defence of Uyghur house church Christian Alimjan Yimit (Alimujiang Yimiti in Chinese), was effectively disbarred at the end of May when Chinese authorities turned down an annual application to renew his law license. Zhang Kai, another Beijing lawyer who had defended Alimjan, suffered the same fate. Authorities failed to renew licenses for at least 15 other lawyers who had defended civil rights cases, religious and ethnic minorities and political dissidents, according to watch group Human Rights in China (HRIC). [more...]

18 Jun 2009

NORTH KOREA: Christians Standing Steadfastly In Prayer

In light of the recent defiant missile launches by Kim Jong-ll and his regime in North Korea, the eyes of the world are nervously watching the impoverished country. Christian Believers and the underground Church in North Korea are stepping up their intercession and have launched an evangelistic prayer campaign amid the darkness of their oppression. Carl Moeller, President of Open Doors USA noted, "Christians in North Korea are suffering terribly for their faith. An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 are Christians are suffering for their faith in prison."    [more...]

18 Jun 2009

NEPAL: Hindu Group Demand All Christians Leave

A Hindu extremist group calling itself the Nepal Defence Army (NDA) has demanded that all Christians leave the country. A statement released by the group said, "We want all the 1 million Christians out of the country, if not we will plant 1 million bombs in all the houses where Christians live and detonate them." NDA is believed to comprise former soldiers, former policemen and victims of Maoist guerrillas. It claims to have trained suicide bombers to fight communists, Christians and Muslims. The shadowy group's main objective is to restore Nepal as a Hindu nation.   [more...]

11 Jun 2009

IRAQ: Five-Year-Old Christian Boy Kidnapped and Killed

A five-year-old boy has become the latest casualty of what appears to be a concerted campaign to attack Iraqi Christians. The body of Tony Adwar Shaweel was found in the Roofya area of Akra, two months after an unknown group abducted the child and demanded a $50,000 ransom. He had been shot several times. [more...]

11 Jun 2009

CHINA: Pastor Hua Huiqi Beaten by Authorities

On the morning of 5 June, Pastor Hua Huiqi was arrested by police officers from Shanxi province and Beijing when he was transferring trains at the Taiyuan Railroad Station in Shanxi, according to a report from ChinaAid. Hua was taken to a hotel and severely beaten by officials. One of the officials reportedly said to him: "I'm going to strangle you and I'd like to see whether you can still preach the Gospel.... Our Domestic Security Protection Squad is specially set up here to suppress you Jesus believers." [more...]

11 Jun 2009

INDIA: Church Closed Down; Pastor Beaten

On 7 June, a group of police officers and Hindu militants disrupted a worship service being held in the newly built Indian Apostolic church building in Chennagiri village, Davanagere district in Karnataka state. The police claimed that the church was opened with an illegal license. The pastor explained that he had already obtained the necessary permission from authorities but was told that no churches were allowed in the village since they were engaged in "conversion activities." All of the church members were sent away and the building was locked up. [more...]

11 Jun 2009

KAZAKHSTAN: Five Days Jail for Unregistered Worship

Kazakhstan has given Baptist Pastor Vasily Kliver a five day jail term because he refused to pay fines for leading unregistered worship. Judge Zhanar Zhubatova of the Administrative Court in Aktobe told Forum 18 that the sentence is "not persecution." Asked why he Kliver is being punished for unregistered worship, Judge Zhubatova replied "it's not for that" before putting down the telephone. Prior to Pastor Kliver's jail term, three Council of Churches pastors have been sentenced since 2007 to three-day prison terms, Forum 18 notes. [more...]

11 Jun 2009

CHINA: Bookstore Owner Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

A Beijing court has found Christian bookstore owner Shi Weihan guilty of “illegal business operation” and sentenced him to three years in prison and a 150,000 yuan ($A 27,340) fine. Sources said Shi’s store operated legally, sold only books for which he had obtained government permission, and that his Holy Spirit Trading Co. printed Bibles and Christian literature without authorisation but only for free distribution to local house churches. The 38-year-old Shi had been released on 4 January, 2008 due to insufficient evidence for the same vague charge of “illegal business operation,” but he was arrested again two month later, on 19 March, and held virtually incommunicado. [more...]

11 Jun 2009

PAKISTAN: Muslim Forces 12-year-old Girl to Convert, Marry Him

The Christian mother of a 12-year-old girl in Punjab Province who was kidnapped, coerced into converting to Islam and forcibly married to a 37-year-old Muslim hopes to recover her daughter at a court hearing today. The reaction of Pakistani law enforcement authorities to Sajida Masih’s complaint so far – ridiculing her and asserting that there is nothing she can do because her daughter is now a Muslim – does not encourage her hopes of recovering her daughter Huma at the 11 June hearing. [more...]

4 Jun 2009

EGYPT: Enforced Slaughter of Pigs Damages Livelihoods of Local Christians

At the height of the swine flu outbreak in April, local Christians in Egypt and Jordan were deprived of a major source of income. In Egypt, the Health Minister ordered the slaughter of all pigs, approximately 300,000 animals. The rate of compensation was around 25 Egyptian pounds per pig ($A6). [more...]

4 Jun 2009

INDIA: Pastor Brutally Attacked

In May 2009, Pastor Ramesh Mandevey was brutally attacked by 10 Hindu extremists, while he was returning from visiting a believer’s home in Tundavata, Madhya Pradesh, India, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. [more...]

4 Jun 2009

NEPAL: Christians Little Consoled by Arrest in Church Bombing

Vikash and Deepa Patrick had been married for nearly four months before the young couple living in Patna in eastern India managed to go on their honeymoon. The decision to come to Nepal would be a choice the groom will rue the rest of his life. Vikash Patrick’s 19-year-old bride died while praying at the Assumption Church in Kathmandu valley’s Lalitpur district, the largest Catholic church in Nepal, in an anti-Christian bombing on 23 May, the day the couple was to return home. [more...]

4 Jun 2009

INDIA: Homes burned, paramilitary forces withdrawn in Orissa

On 30 May, Hindu militants set fire to six Christian homes in Kisapanga village in Kandhamal district, Orissa, according to a report from All India Christian Council. Approximately 2,500 of the tens of thousands of people displaced by the August 2008 mob violence remain in relief camps and are fearful to return to their villages. The central government in India recently decided to withdraw paramilitary forces from the district within a month, triggering concern among Christians of further violence.
Source: VOM Canada
 [more...]

4 Jun 2009

BANGLADESH: Muslim Villagers Beat Evangelists

Nearly four months after Muslim villagers in this southeastern Bangladesh sub-district furiously beat two evangelists for showing the “Jesus Film,” one of the Christians is still receiving treatment for nerve damage to his hip. Christian Life Bangladesh worker Edward Biswas, 32, was admitted to Alabakth Physiotherapy Centre on 5 May. Dr. Mohammad Saifuddin Julfikar told Compass that injuries Biswas sustained from the February attack in Feni district, some 150 kilometres southeast of Dhaka, had led to neurological complications in his hip. “His hip joint was displaced, and one bone in the hip was fractured,” Julfikar said. [more...]

4 Jun 2009

EGYPT: Two Copts Re-Arrested in Abu Fana Murder

Police this month released two Copts wrongfully arrested for killing a Muslim during an attack on Abu Fana monastery in Egypt in May 2008, but then re-arrested them as part of an intimidation campaign against Christians, their lawyer said. More worrisome to the Christians in custody is that their fate most likely will be decided outside of the justice system, in “reconciliation meetings.” The state prosecutor investigating the case has not announced the results of his findings on the true identity of the murderer, as he is awaiting the outcome of the out-of-court talks between Copts and local Muslims. [more...]

4 Jun 2009

PAKISTAN: Islamic Radicals Storm Pakistani ‘Blasphemy’ Hearing

Radical Pakistani Muslims in a town outside of Lahore overran a courtroom in hopes of swaying a judge in a “blasphemy” case against a Christian couple, and a member of the prosecution later threatened to kill the wife. Some 50 molvis (Muslim clergy) on 14 May burst into the courtroom in Mustafabad, where a bail hearing was taking place in the case against Munir Masih and his wife Ruqiya Bibi, according to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS). [more...]

1 Jun 2009

THE GOSPEL INVADES ENEMY TERRITORY

THE GOSPEL INVADES ENEMY TERRITORY

"Jesus told me to go. He never said I would come back. Isn't this the life of a Christian?" At nearly 70 years of age, Celso is full of life and actively evangelises in dangerous areas of Colombia. His smile is contagious and his testimony is amazing. [more...]

27 May 2009

EGYPT: Threat of Swine Flu Used to Persecute Copts

In Egypt, a largely Muslim country, pigs are farmed in small quantities by poor Coptic Christians (Copts). In Cairo there is an area known as "Garbage City" where those Copts known as "zabaleen" (Arabic for garbage man) are living together with the garbage that they collect from the city and recycle for a living. In order for the "zabaleen" to generate extra income, they began to raise pigs. Pork is consumed only by Christians in Egypt. In spite of the fact that there was no case of influenza among Egyptians, the ruling regime made the decision to conduct a mass killing of all the local pigs. [more...]

27 May 2009

CHINA: All 16 Christians Released From Prison in Henan

On the afternoon of 9 May, the remaining 16 Christians from China Gospel Fellowship (CGF) house church group who were imprisoned by the Security Bureau (PSB) in Xinye, Henan province were released early from administrative detention. Even though the prisoners had not completed their sentences of 10-14 days in detention or paid their fines of 1,000 Yuan ($A185), the officials did not require any other terms for their release. ChinaAid sources said the early release of the prisoners was due to pressure from the international community and meant that, “the government admits what they did was wrong.” [more...]

27 May 2009

UZBEKISTAN: Bible and Mel Gibson Film Banned in Karakalpakstan

Nurulla Zhamolov, the senior religious affairs official in Karakalpakstan Region in north-western Uzbekistan has banned the Bible, the Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ", and other religious literature. The bans state that the material - which also includes a hymn book, a Bible Encyclopaedia, a Bible dictionary, and a children's Bible - is "banned for import, distribution or use in teaching." [more...]

27 May 2009

ZANZIBAR: Radical Muslims Drive Church from Worship Place

Worship in a house church near Zanzibar City, on a Tanzanian island off the coast of East Africa, did not take place for the third week running on Sunday 24 May after Muslim extremists expelled worshippers from their rented property. Radical Muslims on 9 May drove members of Zanzibar Pentecostal Church from worship premises in a rented house at Ungunja Ukuu, on the outskirts of Zanzibar City. [more...]

27 May 2009

SOLOMON ISLANDS: Facing Threat From Militant Islam

According to the Anglican Bishop of Malaita Sam Sahu, militant Islam poses a threat to social stability in the Solomon Islands Muslim missionaries funded by Malaysian and Saudi Islamist groups have led to heightened tensions in the South Pacific nation, which erupted in violence in December after a Muslim leader attacked an Anglican priest. The attack was allegedly in retaliation for Anglican youths having throne stones at a Muslim League truck, police said. [more...]

27 May 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian Families Flee Violence

Aid groups estimate that nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced by fighting between the Taliban and the Pakistani military in Swat, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Pakistan. Most of the displaced people who have fled Swat are in temporary shelter and the numbers of families arriving at the makeshift camps are increasing with each passing day. Swat Valley Christians are amongst the displaced people and are in particular need of assistance because of the discrimination they suffer in daily life and even now as refugees. Some families have had to flee the valley on foot as they had no money for transport, and they were unable to stock up on resources before escaping the war-ravaged area. Pakistani Christians, who are often poor day labourers, are particularly vulnerable in the mass exodus as prices of transport and products rise sharply. [more...]

27 May 2009

EGYPT: Stabbing, Bombing Attacks Strike near Two Churches

In separate attacks in Egypt earlier this month, a Coptic Christian suffered severe stab wounds as he left a worship service in Minya, and a car-bombing outside a venerable church in Cairo disrupted a wedding. Without provocation, three Muslims repeatedly stabbed Coptic Christian Girgis Yousry, 21, as the army conscript was leaving the gates of the church of Saint Mary in Minya, Upper Egypt on 2 May, according to Copts United. The assault left him with severe injuries to internal organs, and he was taken to the district hospital, where he was still receiving treatment at press time. Three men were arrested on 5 May and were given a 16-day initial incarceration while the case was investigated. [more...]

27 May 2009

EGYPT: Christian Man Kidnapped by Muslims

Twenty one year old Mina Basily was abducted from his home in Alexandria by four Muslim men on 6 May, according to Middle East Christian Association. Muslims armed with swords, sticks and knives broke into the Basily family's home, assaulted Mina and forced him into a car parked outside. Neighbours who witnessed the kidnapping were too fearful to intervene. The police initially refused to file an official report of kidnapping, even though officers questioned witnesses and visited the Basily's home, which was still spattered with blood from the attack. The report was only issued after the family appealed to the Chief Prosecutor of the Montaza district. [more...]

21 May 2009

INDIA: Churches Attacked, Believers Beaten

On 5 May, Hindu militants attacked approximately 200 Christians gathered together for a meeting in Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra state, according to a 6 May report from the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The militants forcefully entered the building, blocked the exits and ordered the believers to chant "Jai Shri Ram" (Praise Lord Ram). Those who refused were beaten. Several were injured, including a 5-year-old girl and a pastor who required five stitches in his head. [more...]

21 May 2009

ERITREA: Three Christians Released

Three Christian women were released from an Eritrean military camp on 8 May, according to the Dutch branch of Open Doors. All three were originally detained for being members of a "banned" Christian movement after openly expressing their faith in a predominately Muslim village. A friend of one of the women arranged to have her arrested after she shared with him that she had converted from Islam to Christianity. [more...]

21 May 2009

VIETNAM: Hmong Church Threatened with Demolition Yet Again

A group of Christians fled persecution in north-west Vietnam only to have their new church in the Central Highlands demolished – and they may soon face the same trauma again. Last December, local officials and police destroyed the Cu Hat church in the Central Highlands on the ground that it was ‘illegally constructed’. [more...]

21 May 2009

PAKISTAN: Christians Pressed as Military Battles Taliban

Pakistani Christians in Swat Valley are caught between the Taliban and the Pakistani military as it assaults the stronghold where sharia (Islamic law) rules. Nearly 15,000 troops have been deployed in the picturesque Swat Valley in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province and neighbouring Afghanistan. [more...]

21 May 2009

INDONESIA: Muslim Group Threatens Newly Elected Christian

An Islamic group in West Sumatra province, Indonesia, has issued threats against Dominikus Supriyanto, the only Catholic to win a seat in the district legislature in recent general elections, warning him that he should convert to Islam if he wants to retain the seat. [more...]

14 May 2009

INDONESIA: Protestant Clergyman and Wife Killed with Machetes

Police found Rev Frans Koagow, 64, and his wife Femy Kumendong, 73, at their home, dead, killed with machetes. The couple lived in Manado, capital of North Sulawesi province, where a majority of Sulawesi Island Christians live. Most local Christians are Protestant. [more...]

14 May 2009

VIETNAM: Alleged Murderer of Christian Strikes Again

A Hmong man in Vietnam's Northwest Mountainous Region who murdered his mother in February because she had become a Christian has assaulted another Christian, leaving him critically wounded, according to area Christian sources. Lao Lia Po on 25 April viciously beat Koua Lo of Meo Vac district, Ha Giang Province, because he had become a Christian, according to a local church leader. [more...]

14 May 2009

PAKISTAN: Muslims Attack Christians Following Blasphemy Accusations

On 1 May, a mob of approximately 500 armed Muslims launched attacks on Christians in the village of Chak, Punjab province, after five local believers were arrested for blasphemy. [more...]

14 May 2009

LIBYA: Christian Released from Prison

Daniel Baidoo, a Ghanaian Christian who was convicted of attempting to convert Libyans to Christianity and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2001, was released from Libya's Jedidah Prison on 29 April. Baidoo was arrested at a post office where he had gone to collect a parcel of Arabic Christian literature mailed to him from a ministry in the United States. [more...]

14 May 2009

PAKISTAN: Violence Erupts as Government Seeks to Control Taliban

Helicopter gunships and artillery have swung into action against the Taliban in Pakistan. An estimated 800,000 people are on the run as the government tries to pound the Taliban back into line. While many of the refugees are heading for relatives' homes, humanitarian agencies are struggling to accommodate the thousands pouring into refugee camps. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs notes that the stakes are high for believers. "The Taliban do not want a Christian presence in the area that they control. They do not really want a Christian presence in Pakistan, at all." [more...]

8 May 2009

VIETNAM: Woman Imprisoned for Praying

Concern is growing for a Vietnamese Christian who has not been seen since officials seized her a year ago. Puih H’Bat, an ethnic minority Montagnard and mother of four children, ran into trouble by leading prayer meetings in her home in Ploi Bang village. Police raided one such meeting at Puih’s home on 9 April last year. Officers tried to force all 20 Christians present to sign documents agreeing to join the government-sanctioned Evangelical Church of Vietnam. They all refused. Two days later, at 4am, the police arrested Puih and took her into custody. [more...]

8 May 2009

INDIA: Christian Pastors Attacked

On 20 April a group of Sikhs in Dalli Rajhara, Durg district, attacked Christian pastors who had converted from the Sikh religion. A source told Compass the pastors were guest speakers from New Delhi at a Christian event organised by Christian Community Church, where about 200 people were in attendance. [more...]

8 May 2009

INDONESIA: Church’s Permit Revoked

Church members in Depok city, West Java, are unable to use their church building after the mayor, citing protests from area Muslims, revoked a permit issued in 1998. Under a Joint Ministerial Decree (SKB) issued in 1969 and revised in 2006, all religious groups in Indonesia must apply for permits to establish and operate places of worship. [more...]

1 May 2009

Burma: The Land of Soft Whispers

Burma: The Land of Soft Whispers

Lydia's Testimony

In 1999, a Baptist church where my father used to be a minister decided to petition the Japanese Embassy for assistance in supplying electricity to every home in the village. They asked me to help prepare the application. The Japanese accepted the application I prepared and in 2000, the electricity project was completed.

A government official had a misunderstanding with the church about the project and wrote letters to the government complaining about the people who had been involved with the project. In 2002, intelligence officers came to my apartment demanding I go to the capital city of my state to answer questions. They said that I must sign a paper promising never to help with anything like this without government permission. [more...]

30 Apr 2009

VIETNAM: Massive Christian Celebration Allowed

In what religious freedom advocates regarded as a breakthrough in Vietnam, authorities granted rare permission to unregistered house church groups to hold a large, public Easter-related service in Ho Chi Minh City on 21 April. More than 15,000 people gathered at Tao Dan Stadium to worship God, proclaim Christ and experience a rare sense of large-scale Christian unity, especially house church members accustomed to meeting in small groups. The only other such event granted to unregistered groups was an open-air meeting during Christmas of 2007, sponsored by the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship (VEF, a house church umbrella group). At the Easter event, the VEF endeavored to include all house churches, not just its own members, sources said. [more...]

30 Apr 2009

NORTH KOREA: Christians Question Regime's Claims

Even as the North Korean government this month allowed two high-profile, US Christian bands to perform at a music festival in Pyongyang, the fear of punishment which authorities have instilled in North Korean Christians keeps most of them from publicly revealing their faith. As many as 400,000 Christians are estimated to worship secretly in the country, and Suzanne Scholte, head of the North Korean Freedom Coalition (NKFC), estimates that more than 200,000 North Koreans are held in political prison camps for various perceived ‘disloyalties’ to the regime, including adherence to Christianity. Christian support group Open Doors estimates that of the 200,000 people incarcerated in political prison camps, at least 40,000 are Christians. [more...]

30 Apr 2009

PAKISTAN: Taliban-Inspired Attacks Hit Christians

As Taliban control hits pockets of Pakistan and threatens the nation’s stability, Christians worry their province could be the next to fall under Islamic law. Violence on Tuesday night and Wednesday (21-22 April) near the port city of Karachi – some 1,000 kilometers from the Swat valley, where the government officially allowed the Taliban to establish Islamic law this month – heightened fears. [more...]

23 Apr 2009

SAUDI ARABIA: Christian Blogger Released

In a surprise move, a Saudi Christian arrested in January for describing his conversion from Islam and criticizing the kingdom’s judiciary on his blog site was released on 28 March with the stipulation that he not travel outside of Saudi Arabia or appear on media. Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri , 28, reportedly attributed his release to advocacy efforts by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). [more...]

23 Apr 2009

SRI LANKA: Buddhist Mobs Attack Churches

Buddhist mobs attacked several churches in Sri Lanka last week, threatening to kill a pastor in the southern province of Hambanthota and ransacking a 150-year-old Methodist church building in the capital. On 8 April, four Buddhist extremists approached the home of Pastor Pradeep Kumara in Weeraketiya, Hambanthota district, calling for him to come out and threatening to kill him. [more...]

23 Apr 2009

CHINA: Detained Uyghur Christian Taken to Hospital

Family members of detained Uyghur Christian Alimjan Yimit are increasingly concerned for his safety following reports that police and a prison doctor escorted him in handcuffs to a hospital in Kashgar two weeks ago. Alimjan (Alimujiang Yimiti in Chinese) called out to onlookers, “I’m sick. Tell my lawyer to come quickly to see me,” according to a China Aid Association (CAA) report. Sources told Compass that Alimjan had been beaten in prison. [more...]

23 Apr 2009

PAKISTAN: Two Christians Acquitted of ‘Blasphemy’

After more than two years in a Pakistani jail, two elderly Christian men convicted of “blasphemy” against the Quran were acquitted on Thursday 16 April when a high court in Lahore overturned their 10-year sentence. [more...]

23 Apr 2009

CHINA: PSB Officers Return 150,000 Yuan to Pastor Bike

On 17 April Pastor 'Bike' Zhang Mingxuan was summoned to the Nanyang Public Security Bureau (PSB) office where authorities returned the 150,000 yuan that officials had confiscated from him on 21 March by the Beijing PSB. This action came as a direct result of international pressure after ChinaAid sent out a press release on the story. Pastor Bike told ChinaAid sources, "The authorities gave the money back, because of the pressure. Hallelujah! We will continue the ministry and fight for religious freedom." [more...]

23 Apr 2009

IRAQ: Four Christians killed in two days

Four Christians have been murdered in Iraq in the space of two days - confirming the church's fears that persecution is far from over.
Three Christians - Nimrud Khuder Moshi, Glawiz Nissan and Hanaa Issaq were murdered in Dora, a Christian neighbourhood of Baghdad, on 2 April. The previous day, Sabah Aziz Suliman, 60, was killed in Kirkuk, in the north of the country.
 [more...]

16 Apr 2009

SUDAN: Support for Sudan’s President Leads to Attacks on Churches

Support for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in the wake of an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant is fast turning into orchestrated attacks on Christians. A thatched-grass building in the Nuba Mountains village of Chat, used by the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Sudanese Church of Christ, is one of the latest targets of such attacks. [more...]

16 Apr 2009

SUDAN: Converts from Islam Struggle to Survive

When Halima Bubkier of Sinar town converted from Islam to Christianity last year, initially her husband accepted it without qualms. News of her conversion spread quickly, the 35-year-old mother of three said, and last 14 September she came face to face with Islamic hardliners who felt her conversion to Christianity was an act of betrayal. A few weeks later, during the daily fasts and nightly feasts of Ramadan, the Islamists blocked her husband from the communal meals because of her change in faith; he subsequently attacked her and threw her out of their home. [more...]

16 Apr 2009

PAKISTAN: Suspects in Rape of Christian Girl Cleared

Police have declared three Pakistani men innocent of raping a 13-year-old Christian girl despite eye witness accounts and medical evidence indicating their guilt. At a hearing in Nankana Sahib district court on 3 April, police from the Pakistani town of Sangla Hill, cleared 40-year-old Mohammed Shahbaz, 30-year-old Waqas Sadiq and 25-year-old Yousaf Sadiq of accusations of raping and threatening Ambreen Masih. [more...]

16 Apr 2009

EGYPT: Coptic Church Issues First Conversion Certificate

In a bold move, Egypt’s Coptic Church has issued its first-ever certificate of conversion to a former Muslim, supporting his petition to have his national identification card denote his Christian faith. Maher Ahmad El-Mo’otahssem Bellah El-Gohary’s request to legally convert is only the second case in Egypt of a Muslim-born citizen trying to change his religious affiliation to Christianity on identification documents. [more...]

16 Apr 2009

UZBEKISTAN: 15-Day Jail Term For Teaching Baptist Beliefs

A court in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent has given a 15-day prison term to Pavel Nenno, a deacon of a registered Baptist Church, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Nenno was prosecuted after a raid involving the NSS secret police on his home, where he was "feeding neglected children from poor families" Protestants told Forum 18. In a separate case, 17 people associated with a registered Bukhara Full Gospel church were each fined 100 times the minimum monthly salary, following a raid on a birthday party for a church member. [more...]

16 Apr 2009

INDIA: General Elections Start 16 April

India has a long election season as more than 700 million votes need to be collected. Voting starts on 16 April and goes through until 13 May, with the results due to be announced on 16 May.  Displaced Christians in Orissa living under constant threat of Hindutva violence wonder if they will even get to vote, let alone be able to vote freely. [more...]

16 Apr 2009

LAOS: Khmu Christians Stand Firm Despite Intense Persecution

Fourteen Khmu Christian families in Laos are standing strong in their faith, despite the Communist government forcing them to relocate to another village and their homes and church building being destroyed, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. [more...]

16 Apr 2009

INDIA: Murderer of Missionary Graham Staines Runs for Election

Dara Singh, responsible for the murder of the Australian Protestant missionary Graham Stewart Staines, is a candidate for the upcoming provincial elections in Orissa, in the district of Keonjhar.

The supporters of Dara, whose real name is Rabindra Kumar Pal, have presented him as an independent candidate for the legislative assembly of Ghasipura. Dara was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of leading the group that in the village of Manoharpur, on the night of 22 June, 1999, set fire to the station wagon of Graham Staines, killing the Australian lay missionary and his two sons, Philip, 7, and Timothy, 9.
 [more...]

9 Apr 2009

AZERBAIJAN: "We Have Long Been After You and Now We've Caught You!"

Police, the NSM secret police and the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations in Azerbaijan have all refused to explain why they raided a peaceful religious meeting. "We never engage in such acts," the NSM secret police told Forum 18 News Service. [more...]

9 Apr 2009

IRAN: Two Iranian Women Arrested and Held in “Notorious” Prison

On 5 March, Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor were arrested by Iranian security forces and labeled “anti-government activists,” according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN). [more...]

9 Apr 2009

UZBEKISTAN: "We Just Need To Make Sure What They Teach In Their Homes"

Uzbekistan continues to penalise people who distribute religious literature. In two separate cases, Baptists from registered and unregistered churches are facing prosecution, fines and literature confiscations for distributing and possessing religious literature. In the case involving members of a registered church, a local official told Forum 18 that "we just need to make sure what they teach in their homes, and they need to get special permission to have religious activity in a private home." [more...]

2 Apr 2009

MOROCO: Five Foreign Christians Deported

The Moroccan government announced on Sunday (29 March) it had expelled five female Christians for attempting to “proselytise” in the Islamic country, although sources said they were foreign visitors merely attending a Bible study with fellow Christians. [more...]

2 Apr 2009

PAKISTAN: Christians Brace for Sharia in Pakistan’s Swat Valley

Just over two months since Pakistan’s Swat Valley turned into a Taliban stronghold where sharia (Islamic law) rules, the fate of the remaining Christians in the area is uncertain. In an effort to end a bloody two-year battle, the Islamabad administration struck a deal with Taliban forces surrendering all governance of Swat Valley in the North West Frontier Province. Sources told Compass that in the violence that has killed and displaced hundreds, an estimated 500 Christians remain in the region. [more...]

2 Apr 2009

INDIA: Gospel for Asia missionaries Beaten by Mob

Two Indian missionaries have been beaten by an anti-Christian mob in the state of Himacha Pradesh. Danny Yohannan, of Gospel For Asia (GFA), said a group of 30 extremists attacked the GFA missionaries. “[They] took them to the local temple and stripped them naked and made fun of them, took all their Gospel tracts and Bibles and burned them. Then they beat up the missionaries really bad. Then, they took them to the police station and had them arrested," he was quoted as saying by Mission Network News. [more...]

26 Mar 2009

Sharia Law Tearing the West in Two

Sharia, or Islamic law, is gradually working its way into public life in Islamic and non-Islamic nations around the world. "Sharia law is a legal system on the teachings of the Qur'an, the Sunna and the Hadith of Mohammed applied into the community as the legal basis for life," said Jeff Hammond, a Christian who has lived and worked in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, for 35 years. "Christians are very concerned" Hammond explained. [more...]

26 Mar 2009

ERITREA: Persecution Rages On

Persecution of Christians in Eritrea continues to be overlooked by many western nations despite the arrests of over 2000 believers. The Eritrean government claims no persons have been arrested based on their religious practises and in fact denies that any amount of religious disunity exists in the country. However, there has recently been reason to believe otherwise. [more...]

26 Mar 2009

COLOMBIA: Six Months Later, Pastor Still Missing

Six months after the disappearance in Colombia of the Rev William Reyes of Maicao, La Guajira, no one knows what happened to him. This week marks six months of agonising uncertainty for the family of Rev Reyes. On 25 September 2008, the pastor of Light and Truth Inter-American Church disappeared en route home from a ministers’ meeting in Valledupar, a city in the neighbouring department (state) of Cesar. Family members and friends fear that guerrilla fighters kidnapped the veteran minister; they have not seen or heard from him since his disappearance. [more...]

26 Mar 2009

ARMENIA: A "Serious Setback to the Development of a Modern, Progressive and Liberal Armenia"

Armenian human rights defenders and religious communities remain deeply concerned by many parts of the draft Religion Law. Serious concern has also been expressed about the proposed new Article 162 in the Criminal Code, which would punish the sharing of beliefs. Both drafts were approved by Parliament in their first readings. [more...]

26 Mar 2009

CHINA: Gao Zhisheng Held Hostage

Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng, has now been missing 50 days, and there is increasing concern for his life. He was last seen being hauled away from his home by more than a dozen police officers on 4 February. Reports from inside China indicate he is undergoing brutal torture.

The situation is critical, and with each day that passes, Gao Zhisheng's life hangs in the balance. [more...]

19 Mar 2009

SOMALIA: Islamist Violence Resurging

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have died in famine and conflict over recent decades as the country has suffered under a belligerent Soviet-backed dictatorship, poverty, famine, clan-based warlordism and now militant Islam. It is very easy to despair over Somalia as being no more than a land of war, chaos, lawlessness, hopelessness, tribalism, barbarism and Islam. The international community and the mainstream media seem to have largely abandoned Somalia, not least because it is simply too dangerous to visit. [more...]

19 Mar 2009

PAKISTAN: Islamist Insurgency Threatens Christian Community

The Christians of Pakistan, already vulnerable and beleaguered, are now in serious danger from a rising tide of radical and violent Islamism. A Christian leader from Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province told Barnabas Fund last week how the Taliban are trying to enforce their interpretation of Islam on the whole nation. “That is why the religious minorities fear for their safety and their future,” he said. He described how Christians, desperate to blend in for safety’s sake, are beginning to dress like Muslims and the Christian men to grow beards so that they look like Muslims.
 [more...]

19 Mar 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian Faces ‘Blasphemy’ Abetting Charge

A Pakistani investigator has ruled out a charge against a Christian for “blaspheming Islam” but retained another for abetting blasphemy, and advocates worry the stigma of the charges could make him a target for local Islamists. Hector Aleem, 51, remains in Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi, near Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad. His lawyer said he believes law enforcement officers and community members framed Aleem for his social activism on behalf of Christians so that the stigma of the charges would subject him to the danger of violence.
 [more...]

19 Mar 2009

BRITAIN: Minister beaten after clashing with Muslims on his TV show

A Christian minister who has had heated arguments with Muslims on his TV Gospel show has been brutally attacked by three men who ripped off his cross and warned: "If you go back to the studio, we'll break your legs." [more...]

19 Mar 2009

COLOMBIA: Leftist Guerrillas Threaten, Kill

Having been sentenced to die by leftist rebels for holding Christian worship services in 2006, a pastor in Colombia’s northern department of Arauca took seriously the death threats that guerrillas issued on Friday (13 March), according to Christian support organisation Open Doors.
 [more...]

19 Mar 2009

UZBEKISTAN: Four Protestants Jailed, Three More Detained In Homelessness Centre

Uzbekistan has imposed short jail terms on four Protestants, as well as detaining three more in a centre for the homeless. Three Protestants were each jailed for 15 days, after police raided a meal in a private home where the three were present, and three more were held in a homelessness centre for between four and eleven days. Asked why individuals must ask for permission to gather for a religious purpose, the judge told Forum 18 that "I am not a law-maker, and I don't want to discuss the law."

 [more...]

13 Mar 2009

IRAQ: Secular Parties Make Gains in Regional Elections

In what is potentially a good outcome for Christians in Iraq, the regional elections of 31 January produced significant gains for secular parties, and especially for religious parties that had adopted a more secular stance.
 [more...]

13 Mar 2009

TURKEY: School Textbook Encourages Prejudice and Discrimination

The Ministry of Education in Turkey has introduced a new textbook into its schools that encourages discrimination against the country's small Christian community. The book is aimed at 13-year-olds, and is published by Devlet [State] Books. [more...]

13 Mar 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian Girl Gang-Raped At Gunpoint

On 7 February an impoverished 13-year-old Christian girl in the Punjab province of Pakistan was gang-raped at gunpoint by five Islamic extremists. [more...]

13 Mar 2009

CHINA: Court Says "Insufficient Evidence" for Pastor Lou Yuanqi's Case, yet Continues to Keep Him in Prison

Pastor Lou Yuanqi of Uygur Autonomous Region received a verdict of 'insufficient evidence' and his case was sent back to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) by the prosecutor. The court said ''the facts used in the case are not clear, the evidence is insufficient.' Despite this ruling, Pastor Lou continues to be imprisoned. [more...]

13 Mar 2009

KENYA: Church Struggling after Islamists Destroy Building

Six months after a gang of Muslim youths ruined a church building in a town in northern Kenya, Christians still worshipping in the sweltering heat of the open air say they feel disillusioned that officials have done nothing to punish the culprits or restore their structure. [more...]

5 Mar 2009

INDIA: Persecution Persists, Prayer a Priority

A Christian in the state of Karnataka was recently the victim of a direct attack as his house was burned to the ground. Extremists threatened the believer to relinquish his home to their control. They wanted the property as a choice spot to build a Hindu Temple and verbally abused the man. He would not give in, explaining that the property belonged to his son by law. After several attempts to sway the believer, extremists returned with a final demand for the land, and he refused again. Two days later, extremists returned, drenched the house in petrol and set fire to it. [more...]

5 Mar 2009

VIETNAM: Church Grows, Despite Opposition

While Vietnam has been dropped from the United States’ list of countries of particular concern, Christians are still reporting difficulties. Reports indicate churches have been destroyed by the government and believers have been forced to recant their faith. [more...]

5 Mar 2009

NIGERIA: New attacks on Christians in Bauchi State

In spite of the fact that the government has declared a comprehensive curfew in the state capital, violent attacks against Christians continue in Bauchi State.
The violence began early on 21 February. In the latest figures, at least eleven people have been killed and over 1,500 displaced, and fourteen churches, eight vicarages, one mosque and around 150 homes and businesses have been destroyed. [more...]

5 Mar 2009

INDIA: Christian Father of Two Murdered in Orissa

Family members of a Christian found murdered last week in the Pandagadu area of Orissa state’s Kandhamal district said they believe the killers were Hindu nationalists such as those responsible for more than two months of violent anti-Christian rioting last year.
 [more...]

5 Mar 2009

EGYPT: Islamic Lawyers Urge Death Sentence for Convert

In the latest hearing of a Muslim-born Egyptian’s effort to officially convert to Christianity, opposing lawyers advocated he be convicted of “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, and sentenced to death. More than 20 Islamic lawyers attended the hearing on Sunday 22 February in Maher Ahmad El-Mo’otahssem Bellah El-Gohary’s case to obtain identification papers with Christianity designated as his religious affiliation. [more...]

5 Mar 2009

PAKISTAN: Charges Filed against Kidnappers of Young Sisters

After months of legal deadlock, lawyers in Pakistan said they have new hope they can restore to her family a 13-year-old Christian girl who was kidnapped and forced to marry a Muslim. Saba Masih might be returned to her family, the lawyers said, if they can legally maneuver around Pakistani policemen who have stonewalled their attempts to pursue a kidnapping case against the captors. On Saturday (21 February) a Pakistani judge charged the suspects with kidnapping for the first time in the seven-month legal ordeal. [more...]

3 Mar 2009

Iran's War on Christianity

Iran's War on Christianity

There is a war raging in Iran and Christians like Rachel and Ali live on the brink of eternity. Beatings, kidnapping, rape, arrests and death all once considered unthinkable have become punishment for Iranian Muslims willing to take the Christian walk. Rachel and Ali had their first run-in with the secret police in 2005 when they were attending a house church meeting. Police, armed with automatic weapons, stormed into the prayer meeting and arrested the group of Christians. The police confiscated their Bibles and wrote down family names, phone numbers and addresses.

 [more...]

26 Feb 2009

BANGLADESH: Pastor Threatened for Rape Accusations

Christian and human rights advocates said doctors likely fabricated a medical report that falsely concluded there were no signs of rape in the wife of a Bangladeshi pastor whom village Muslims have now threatened for pressing charges. The Rev Shankar Hazra of Chaksing Baptist church in Gopalganj district, 100 kilometres south of Dhaka, said influential area Muslims have used threats to try to force him and his wife to withdraw charges of robbery and rape; he declined to name them out of fear of reprisals. 'If I do not withdraw the case, they said they will make a 'Ganges (river) of blood' here,' Rev Hazra said. [more...]

26 Feb 2009

BURMA: Report Documents Abuse of Chin Christians

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released in January details serious and ongoing abuses against the Chin people, a minority group in Burma's northwest who claim to be 90 percent Christian. HRW's research echoes a 2004 report by the Chin Human Rights Organisation that described targeted abuse of Christians in Chin state, with the Burmese army subjecting pastors and church members to forced labour, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and sometimes death. [more...]

26 Feb 2009

MALDIVES: Reform Excludes Freedom of Religion or Belief

Mohamed Nasheed's election as President of the Maldives was hailed as the dawn of a new era of democracy and freedom in the Indian Ocean country. Under former President Gayoom, the once religiously tolerant Maldives - which tended towards folk Islam - was changed into a society intolerant of all beliefs except state-approved Sunni Islam. [more...]

26 Feb 2009

KENYA: Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Released

Two nuns working in northeast Kenya who were kidnapped last November have been freed and arrived here from Mogadishu, Somalia on Thursday 19 February, but they are still traumatised, sources told Compass. Caterina Giraudo, 67, and Maria Teresa Oliviero, 61, both of Italy, are receiving medical care, and top leaders of the Roman Catholic Church are providing them spiritual counselling. Pastor Alois Maina of Mandera, a close friend of the nuns, told Compass that a representative of the pope and the Cardinal of Kenya are among those counselling the nuns, who on 10 November were abducted at gunpoint by suspected Islamic militants from Elwak, near Mandera, and taken across the nearby border into Somalia. [more...]

26 Feb 2009

CHINA: 2008 Persecution Report Released

The 2008 Persecution Report has been released documenting significant increase of persecution of house church Christians in China, during the past year. The report will now be reviewed by the UN. The 2008 Persecution Report, whilst not comprehensive of all the abuses of human rights and religious freedom in China, covers the majority of provinces and municipalities in China and involves many types of persecution and indicates a trend towards targeting Christians in urban areas with tougher tactics. [more...]

26 Feb 2009

NIGERIA: Nine Christians Killed As Violence Erupts In Northern Nigeria

An outbreak of violence between Muslims and Christians in the capital of Bauchi province in Northern Nigeria has left at least eleven people dead. Nine of the victims are said to be Christians, six of whom were shot and three killed with machetes. At least six churches, perhaps as many as 13, have been destroyed by fire, as well as three mosques and over 200 houses. Around a hundred people have been injured. About 4,500 people were displaced from their homes, and many of them have taken refuge in military barracks. [more...]

23 Feb 2009

PAKISTAN: Update on Sandal

PAKISTAN: Update on Sandal

For months now, we've been following the case of a young woman named Ashiyana (alias 'Sandal') who is imprisoned for her faith in Pakistan. She and her father were arrested on 9 October after a mob from the local mosque surrounded their house. As the loudspeakers from the mosque called out accusations, the angry crowd hurled stones and bottles of kerosene at the family's house, intending to set it on fire. [more...]

19 Feb 2009

BURMA: Chin Christian Minority Persecuted by Dictatorship

Myanmar's military regime is committing widespread abuses against the mainly Christian Chin ethnic group, who face forced labour, torture and religiously-motivated persecution, The Human Rights Watch report also features interviews conducted between 2005 and 2008 with about 140 Chin; some living in exile abroad, others in their traditional homeland. Ethnic Chin are subject to intimidation and threats by the junta, with violations such as restrictions on freedom of movement and extorting of money, food, and property regularly reported. [more...]

19 Feb 2009

CHINA: More Than 60 House Church Leaders Arrested in Henan; 4 Still in Custody

On 11 February, 2009, more than 60 house church leaders, along with two South Korean pastors, were arrested by local police in Wolong district, Nanyang city in Henan province. At present, at least four leaders are still in custody. [more...]

19 Feb 2009

INDIA: Hard-line Hindus Still Forcing Conversions in Orissa

In the wake of anti-Christian violence in Orissa state last year, hard-line Hindus in Kandhamal district have forced nearly half of 40 Christian families in one village to convert under threat of death, area Christians said. [more...]

19 Feb 2009

CHINA: Elderly House Church Leader Arrested in Henan

A coal miner in his 70's, was arrested on the afternoon of 31 December, 2008 when he went to pick up books and CDs at a storage centre. He was placed in criminal detention until 20 January, 2009 when he was formally arrested, accused of 'using an evil cult organisation to obstruct justice.' [more...]

19 Feb 2009

DRC: Congolese Pastor Imprisoned for Ten Years

Evangelical church leader Fernando Kutino was arrested in May 2006, charged with illegal possession of firearms, criminal conspiracy and attempted murder, and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. The charges were introduced after the trial was underway, and the trial itself lasted only nine sittings despite the complexity and gravity of these charges. [more...]

19 Feb 2009

TURKEY: Christian Bookshop Vandalised

Following threats from Muslim nationalists, a Turkish Bible Society bookshop in the southern city of Adana was vandalised for the second time in a week on Thursday 12 February Security camera footage shows two youths attacking the storefront of the Soz Kitapevi bookshop, kicking and smashing glass in both the window and the door. The door frame was also damaged.
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19 Feb 2009

NIGERIA: Sani Kibili Released From Prison

Praise God! Sani Kibili, the 55-year-old Christian from Kano State Nigeria who was sentenced to three years in prison for alleged blasphemy against Islam in October 2007, has been released. He has a wife and six children. Sani's release on 15 January came as a result of the efforts of the Christian lawyer appointed by Open Doors. [more...]

19 Feb 2009

IRAN: Christian Arrested at Home

Hossein Karimi, a 27 year old Christian convert from Islam, was arrested the morning of Friday 30th January, 2009. The Secret Agents raided his home without any legal jurisdiction and he has been detained to an unknown location. After a thorough search and inspection the agents also detained all Christian resources, literatures, along with any computer devices. [more...]

12 Feb 2009

SRI LANKA: Parliament to Vote on Anti-Conversion Laws

The Sri Lankan Parliament may soon enact laws to restrict religious conversions. A final vote on a draft 'Bill for the Prohibition of Forcible Conversions' is expected this month. The provisions of the bill criminalise any act to convert or attempt to convert a person from one religion to another by the use of force, fraud or allurement. Those found guilty of breaking the law could be imprisoned for up to seven years and/or fined up to 500,000 rupees ($6544 AUD). [more...]

12 Feb 2009

CHINA: Officials Grapple with Spread of Christianity

Concerned by the growth of unregistered house church groups in an uncertain political and social climate, the Chinese government has ramped up efforts both to identify Christians and to portray Christianity as a subversive foreign force. Sources told Compass that authorities in recent months have been quietly gathering data on church growth, with surveys at universities and workplaces pointedly asking whether respondents were Christians. At the same time, Communist Party officials have called meetings at various institutions in the capital to discuss supposed dangers of foreign religious influence. [more...]

12 Feb 2009

BANGLADESH: Muslim Pilgrims Beat Bible Student

Pilgrims to a massive Islamic conference near this capital city on Sunday (1 February) beat and threatened to kill a Bible school student as he distributed Christian literature. Rajen Murmo, 20, a student at Believers' Church Bible College, was distributing the 32-page books among Muslims near the school along with 25 other students in Uttara town in northern Dhaka, just a few kilometres from the banks of a river in Tongi, where the government claimed 4 million Muslim pilgrims had gathered. [more...]

12 Feb 2009

PAKISTAN: Christian Charged with 'Blasphemy' for Text Message

More than 100 protestors last week surrounded a Pakistani courthouse and chanted death threats against a Punjabi Christian said to be framed for sending a 'blasphemous' text message on his cell phone. At 51-year-old Hector Aleem's hearing at the Rawalpindi Sessions Court on 27 January, crowds gathered and began shouting death threats. His attorney, Malik Tafik, told Compass that a local man allegedly framed Aleem for the charges because Aleem has made legal challenges on behalf of Christians involved in a land dispute.

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12 Feb 2009

ARMENIA: Two Years' Imprisonment for Organising Sharing of Faith?

If two draft laws which began passage through Armenia's Parliament on 5 February are adopted, spreading one's faith would be banned. Those who organise campaigns to spread their faith would face up to two years' imprisonment, while those who engage in spreading their faith would face up to one year's imprisonment or a fine of more than eight years' minimum wages. Gaining legal status would require 1,000 adult members. "These proposed Laws contain violations of all human rights." Russian Orthodox priest Fr David Abrahamyan told Forum 18.
 [more...]

12 Feb 2009

CHINA: Tortured Christian Lawyer Arrested as China Denies Abuses

A Christian defender of human rights in China ' whom authorities detained last week ' detailed state-sponsored torture he suffered in 2007 in an open letter released on Monday (9 February), the same day advocacy groups criticized a UN review of China's treatment of Christians and other minorities for omitting serious abuses. [more...]

5 Feb 2009

EGYPT: Christians Sent to Prison after Brutal Police Raid

Following a brutal raid on six Christian brothers and their cafe because they had opened for business during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, a judge on 22 January sentenced them to three years in prison with hard labour for resisting arrest and assaulting authorities. [more...]

5 Feb 2009

SAUDI ARABIA: Pastor Flees Death Threats

A prominent foreign pastor in Saudi Arabia has fled Riyadh after a member of the mutawwa'in, or religious police, and others threatened him three times in one week. Two of the incidents included threats to kill house church pastor Yemane Gebriel of Eritrea. On Wednesday (28 January), Gebriel escaped to an undisclosed city in Saudi Arabia. A father of eight who has lived and worked as a private driver in Saudi Arabia for 25 years, Gebriel told Compass that on 10 January he found an unsigned note on his vehicle threatening to kill him if he did not leave the country. [more...]

5 Feb 2009

INDONESIA: Sharia-Based Laws Creep into Half of Indonesia's Provinces

As candidates hit the campaign trail in preparation for Indonesia's presidential election in July, rights groups have voiced strong opposition to an increasing number of sharia-inspired laws introduced by local governments. Opponents say the laws discriminate against religious minorities and violate Indonesia's policy of Pancasila, or 'unity in diversity.' With legislative elections coming in April and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono likely to form a coalition with several Islamic parties for the July presidential election, such laws could become a key campaign issue. Although Aceh is the only province completely governed by sharia (Islamic law), more than 50 regencies in 16 of 32 provinces throughout Indonesia have passed laws influenced by sharia. These laws became possible following the enactment of the Regional Autonomy Law in 2000. [more...]

5 Feb 2009

INDIA: Charges Filed in Rape of Nun in Orissa

Orissa police on Thursday (29 January) filed preliminary charges against 10 men in the rape of a nun during anti-Christian violence in Orissa last August. A native of Dhama area in Sambalpur district of Orissa, the nun said she was raped in K. Nuagaon village on 25 August, 2008, during large-scale violence against Christians that broke out in Kandhamal and surrounding districts of Orissa. [more...]

5 Feb 2009

VOM Assists Former Islamic Apologist

The Voice of the Martyrs has provided encouragement and financial help to 'Mohammad' an Islamic apologist who converted to Christianity.
Before becoming a Christian, Mohammad wrote articles attempting to prove Islam was the only way to God. After they were written, however, Mohammad began to have doubts about Islam. He saw violence in Islam and heard his colleagues say that one day those who follow Islam will invade Europe and take their women. After hearing this, Mohammad was very disgusted.
Later, Mohammad met a Christian who invited him to his house. 'He gave [Mohammad] a Bible and asked him to read. When he opened the Bible, the first verse he read was 'And all who accepted Him, He gave them authority to be the sons of God,'' VOM contacts said. 'Mohammad said it was like an electrical current went through his body when he read those words,' VOM contacts added.
'The word of God is powerful,' Mohammad added.
 [more...]

3 Feb 2009

'Orissa is the Newest and the Worst Example of Ongoing Persecution against Christians in India.'

'Orissa is the Newest and the Worst Example of Ongoing Persecution against Christians in India.'

Since August 2008, it is estimated that Hindu extremists have displaced over 70,000 Christians, destroyed 4,000 homes, burned 450 churches and killed at least 87 Christians.

Christians make up only two percent of the population in India. In a small section of Orissa where the violence began, nearly 30 percent of the population is Christian. The growth of Christianity in this region angered Hindu radicals who follow Hinduvta, an extreme nationalist ideology that believes no other religion should exist in India. VOM contacts report that the Hindu radicals organised the anti-Christian attacks in an effort to stop the spread of the Gospel and claimed that Christians were bribing or forcing people to convert. The violent attacks in Orissa have slowed but they have not disappeared. "This violence is part of a movement that is not going away," said a VOM staff member. "Orissa is the newest and the worst example of ongoing persecution against Christians in India."
 [more...]

29 Jan 2009

INDIA: Relief Camps Closed in Orissa

Government authorities in Orissa state have shut down relief camps forcing thousands of Christians displaced by the wave of violence that began last August to flee, according to VOM contacts. [more...]

29 Jan 2009

PAKISTAN: Christians Acquitted in 'Blasphemy' Case

Five Christians charged with 'blasphemy' against Islam during April 2007 religious holidays were released on Monday (19 January) after reconciliation meetings between Christian and Islamic leaders - the first verdict to have resulted from such efforts in Pakistan. [more...]

29 Jan 2009

IRAN: Three Christians Arrested from Homes in Tehran

Three Christians from two different families were arrested from their homes Wednesday morning (21 January) and are being held without charges, s