Young Christian girls gang raped, boys tortured in ‘Ethnic cleansing’ in Nigeria: Report

November 17, 2017 by  
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Nigeria, November 16, 2017: The ongoing killings and rape of Christian men, women and children in Nigeria at the hands of Fulani herdsmen deserve to be called “ethnic cleansing,” two prominent persecution watchdog groups argue.

The report, compiled by Open Doors International and Voice of the Martyrs Canada and released earlier in November, listed the increasingly violent crimes against Christians by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s central state of Benue, including gang rapes of girls and torture of boys.

One table in the report detailed the extremely disturbing attacks carried out specifically against Christian children in the past few years. In one instance in August 2015, a 13-year-old girl is said to have been gang raped and abandoned in the bush for hours before a local vigilante group rescued her.

Another account states that a 10-year-old boy was captured and tortured in September 2016, where he was “whipped severely with different sizes of cane and was abandoned in a shallow pit,” before being discovered and rushed to a clinic.

Witnesses to the violence have revealed that the Muslim herdsmen have abducted, raped, and carried out other forms of assault on women and children. Other eyewitnesses claimed that the herdsmen once disemboweled a pregnant woman to make sure that both she and her baby were killed.

“On the few occasions, when men are captured, it has been reported that their limbs are cut off and they are then shot in the presence of their family. Sometimes, the family members are made to run and are then shot at; those lucky enough to escape the bullets are pursued,” the report explained.

The authors of the report insisted that the data gathered “gives clear indications of ethnic cleansing based on religious affiliation.”

“That this should be taken seriously can be seen in the threats made public in October 2017,” they added, pointing to Fulani promises to “defend their rights and lifestyle” after Nigeria recently passed an anti-grazing law.

The report continued, “The current atmosphere suggests that the indications of ethnic cleansing based on religious affiliation are likely to become increasingly evident through further attacks targeting Christian communities.”

There have been several violent waves against believers carried out by the Islamic herdsmen this past year, including one nine-day period in October where 48 Christians were massacred.

The herdsmen reportedly broke through doors and destroyed churches and houses as they sought to kill more believers.

“These attacks are being carried out daily. Every blessed day we witness the invasion, killing of our people, and the destruction of their houses,” said Moses Tsohu, a Zanwrua village leader and member of the Evangelical Church Winning All, at the time.

The report explained that Benue is largely a Christian state and serves as a buffer between the Muslim majority north and Christian majority south.

Christians have found themselves targeted because they are in the way of Fulani grazing routes. The watchdog groups noted that the Muslim herdsmen have a specific desire to dominate Christian territories.

While the report pointed out that there are complex socio-political factors also behind the conflict, the persecution of Christians at the hands of the herdsmen cannot be ignored.

“This position is substantiated by different sets of data collected, namely on the killing of Christians, on the destruction of their properties, on the burning of churches, and on gender-based atrocities against Christian women and children that has left so many traumatized,” it described.

The watchdog groups called on both state and the federal governments to recognize that “the Islamic agenda” is at the root of the violence, and said that strategies to counter extremism need to be set in motion.

“The governments should promote the principle of unity of the Nigerian Republic and avoid promoting the supremacy of one religion (i.e. Islam) over and above other religions. Again, the relevant institutions must promote the rule of law,” the groups declared in their conclusion.

“All incidents where Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen have carried out atrocities against indigenous Christian communities must be investigated and prosecutions made. The culture of impunity must be brought to an end.”

– christian post

UN gives Egypt 1 week to re-open closed coptic churches as christians cry out

November 16, 2017 by  
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Egypt, November 15, 2017: A top U.N. lawyer has given the Egyptian government one week to stop the closing of Coptic churches and begin re-opening the ones that have already been closed, as Christian leaders continue crying out against persecution.

Joseph Malak, fellow of U.N. high commissioner for Minority Affairs, sent an official warning to Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, as well as the ministries of interior, local development, parliamentarian affairs, and the governor of Alexandria, calling for an end to the crackdown on churches, Egypt Independent reported.

“Malak…resorted to Egypt’s 2013 Constitution and Law 80 of 2016 pertaining to building churches as well as ministerial decree no 199 of 2017 on the formation of a commission for regulating the statues of existing churches, which says that all existing churches in Egypt are licensed,” read the translation from al-Masry al-Youm newspaper.

“According to Malak’s demands, governors will be committed to reopen all churches across Egypt that have been closed, including in Minya, Sohag and Alexandria,” it continued.

The government in the southern province of Minya has closed down four churches this past month.

The Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Minya said in October that he at first tried to be silent over the issue, but then realized such a stance is not helping.

“We stayed silent for two weeks after the closure of a church hoping that the officials would do the job they were assigned to do by the state. However, this silence has led to something worse, as if prayer is a crime the Copts should be punished for. The Coptic Christians go to the neighboring villages to perform their prayers,” Bishop Macarius said in a statement then.

“What happened within two weeks, hasn’t happen over years; churches are closed, the Coptic Christians are being attacked and their property destroyed, and there is no deterrent. The bargaining and the balance are usually used under the name of peaceful coexistence. The Copts always pay the price of this coexistence, not the aggressors.”

The government had in the past vowed to protect Christians from extremist Islamic attacks, but believers have been complaining for months now that not enough is being done to ensure their safety.

Christian families have also said that they are “suffering” due to neglect.

Naguib Gobrial, attorney for the Orthodox Church and Coptic Christian activist, told Egyptian Streets that another church was closed down last week in Shubra district, with worshipers prevented from praying.

“El-Minya governorate has an abundance of extremists, and the security bodies fail to curb them. These extremists almost control the church building law,” Gobrial said.

Gobrial also accused the governor of el-Minya of delaying the renewal of a church in Al-Galaa village, after extremists approached him with a list of demands, such as preventing a cross from being placed at the top of the church, and preventing the church bell from ringing.

– christian post

Christianity ‘Still Alive’ in Sudan despite killings, jailing of Pastors for sharing the gospel

November 15, 2017 by  
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Christianity 'Still Alive' in Sudan Despite Killings, Jailing of Pastors for Sharing the GospelSudan, November 14, 2017: A Christian pastor in Sudan has said that despite the escalating severe persecution in the Islamic-majority country, including the killing and jailing of church leaders, the faith is “still alive” and strong there.

“I want to say, as a ministry in Sudan, we want people to know that in spite of the situations that we are going through, that Christianity and the Church in Sudan I think is still strong. What has happened has astonished us,” one Baptist pastor identified only as James said in a Mission Network News article on Friday.

“But the simple Christians or simple Church or simple people who believe that God is involved in this situation, they encourage us and give us the hope that Christianity will not finish in Sudan,” he added.

“We continue and I want people to know that Christianity in Sudan is still alive.”

MNN noted that pastors have been killed, suffered imprisonment, or forced to flee the country over the years, causing a depleting pool of clergy.

“Some foreigners were deported from Khartoum. And pastors from South Sudan, they went to South Sudan. Those who remain in Sudan are few. The pastors who shared the Bible and teach the Bible, they are few,” James added.

Just recently authorities arrested five pastors from the Sudanese Church of Christ in an attempt to gain control over the ministry, as International Christian Concern reported.

“It is very disturbing to see the government that we obey, pray for, and pay taxes to harass members of the society just because they belong to a different faith,” Rev. Ayoub Tiliyan, chairman of the SCOC, said in October.

“This has become the norm over the years, with threats heightening in the past three years. Several churches have been demolished, pastors arrested, and evangelists warned against preaching the Gospel to Muslims.”

Evangelical leaders in America have also spoken out against the plight of Christians in the African country.

The Rev. Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse relief organization, and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, of which Russell Moore is president, were among several notable groups who in June signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaking out against the treatment of believers.

The groups noted that government officials have been destroying churches and restricting freedom of worship all over Sudan.

“There is no possibility of the demolished churches being replaced since in July 2014, Sudan’s Minister for Religious Guidance and Endowments announced that the government would no longer issue permits for the building of new churches, stating that existing churches were sufficient for the Christian population living in Sudan following the secession of South Sudan in 2011,” the groups pointed out at the time.

James said that the government’s agenda is to make Sudan a one-religion nation under Islam, and said that big challenges await pastors such as himself who refuse to back down from preaching the Gospel.

“Those who face the persecution are the pastors who are active — those who have relationships with missionaries or organizations, they’re able to go out and travel here and there and have activities inside as preaching — they’re the ones who face the persecution,” James said, adding: “I’m in the Church, I serve the Church, I do my duty.”

The pastor urged Christians around to world not to forget and to pray for the believers in Sudan, asking God to strengthen and encourage them. He also called for prayers for unbelievers in the country to turn to Jesus.

– christian post

Only 1.5 Percent of Syrian Christians fleeing ISIS given refugee status in US, UK

November 3, 2017 by  
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Syria, November 2, 2017: The United Nations has “failed miserably” when it comes to protecting Christians from genocide, a charity has said, noting that a mere 1.5 percent of Syrian refugees accepted by Western nations in 2016 were followers of Christ.

“This is shocking behavior by the U.N. and U.K. officials,” said Barnabas Fund’s Martin Parsons in an interview with Express published Tuesday.

“In 2005 the U.N. adopted the responsibility of states to protect citizens from genocide and crimes against humanity. These statistics show that it has failed miserably in this. Christians and other minorities have been treated shamefully by the U.N. And the U.K. has outsourced its own responsibilities in spite of repeated representations.”

The intentional aid agency has released a number of figures recently highlighting the problem, and last week pointed out that although Christians make up roughly 10 percent of Syria’s population, only 1.5 percent of Syrian refugees accepted in New Zealand, the U.K. and the United States [under the Obama administration] last year were Christians.

Breaking down the U.K. figures, it found that the government sheltered 8,136 refugees in 2015 and 2016, but only 70 of them were Christians.

The Yazidis, another religious minority that has faced genocide at the hands of the Islamic State terror group, were also underrepresented, with only 22 refugees from the group taken in.

Barnabas Fund added that of the 10,801 resettled by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees between October 2015 and September 2016, only 56 were Christians.

The U.S. figures were not any more encouraging, with only 125 of the 15,479 Syrian refugees admitted in 2016 having a Christian identity.

The charity said the only Western government to have resettled a significant numbers of Middle Eastern Christians was Australia.

“It should not be assumed that the threat to Christians has ended with the fall of Raqqa. Western governments need to take urgent action to address this issue,” read a letter to The Times last week, referring to the recent recapture of the key Syrian city that served as IS’ de facto capital.

The U.K.’s Home Office responded to the claims that it is failing Christian refugees by issuing a statement on Tuesday, saying, “We are clear that our scheme will prioritize the most vulnerable refugees, and that is why under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees  identifies people using established vulnerability criteria.”

It added, “We are working with the UNHCR and other partners to reach groups that might be reluctant to register for the scheme for fear of discrimination and unaware of the options available to them. These groups include all religious minorities.”

The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative law group fighting to get the U.N. to recognize the genocide of Christians, said in September that there have been some positive developments in that regard.

The ACLJ said that it received a letter from Adama Dieng, special adviser to the secretary-general on the Prevention of Genocide, who spoke of his shared passion in holding IS responsible for its crimes.

The law group described Dieng’s letter as a “profound and unprecedented acknowledgment by the U.N.” of the plight faced by Christians.

Still, Christians have for years been saying that despite Western promises, aid is not reaching suffering believers on the ground in Iraq and Syria.

“We don’t see anything. It’s not happening,” William Hollander, who partners with persecution watchdog Open Doors in Iraq, told The Christian Post in October.

“The big frustration for the Christians and everybody at the moment is that [they] are being betrayed by the political powers,” and again are in a situation where they have to run to refugee camps, he added.

Last week The Christian Post reported that Vice President Mike Pence promised Christian leaders from the Middle East that their days of receiving little to no help from the U.S. government to rebuild their ancient communities “are over.”

“While giving the keynote address at an annual solidarity dinner sponsored by the international advocacy organization In Defense of Christians, Pence announced that President Donald Trump has ordered the State Department to enable U.S. aid funding to go directly to faith-based organizations actively supporting Christians and other religious minorities displaced by the Islamic State.

The announcement comes as human rights advocates have urged the administration to make a change to a previous policy that required all U.S. humanitarian and reconstruction aid funding for Iraq to be funnelled through the United Nations. Displaced Christians and other religious minorities, however, have not received much help to rebuild their destroyed ancient communities even though the U.S. has given more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid and hundreds of millions in reconstruction aid.

During his speech, Pence slammed the U.N. for too often failing “to help the most vulnerable communities” and leaving “countless people [to] continue to suffer and struggle needlessly.”

“Here is the sad reality,” Pence explained. “The United Nations claims that more than 160 projects are in Christian areas. But for a third of those projects, there are no Christians to help. The believers in Nineveh Iraq have had less than 2 percent of their housing needs addressed and the majority of Christians and Yazidis remain in shelters. Projects that are supposedly marked finished have little more than a U.N. flag hung outside an unusable building, in many cases a school.”

Frank Wolf, distinguished senior fellow at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative who recently returned from Iraq and has since testified before both the House and the Senate about the dire situation, said the Trump administration’s policy change “should impact humanitarian aid for those living as Internally Displaced Persons and refugees and stabilization assistance for the Christians and Yezidis returning to areas seized from them by ISIS.”

– christian post

Christian mother, 2 Children murdered by Muslim radicals in Nigeria after priest killed in kidnapping

November 2, 2017 by  
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Nigeria, November 1, 2017: A Christian mother and her two children were killed by Islamic radicals in Nigeria just days after a priest was murdered in a kidnapping, as the widespread slaughter of believers continues.

Morning Star News reported on Monday that the radical Fulani herdsmen shot and killed Rebecca Daniel Choji, her 16-year-old daughter, Suzanna Daniel Choji, and her 29-year-old son, Joel Choji, in an ambush in Jol village, Plateau state, last week.

While the brother and sister died on the spot, the mother died of her wounds two days later at Plateau State Specialist Hospital in Jos.

In a separate attack in southwest Nigeria, the Rev. David Ayeola of the African Church in Akure, Ondo state, was shot dead on Oct. 21, days after he was kidnapped on Oct. 17.

Ayeola was reportedly taken by the Fulani while traveling to a burial for an in-law of the bishop in Ayegbaju.

The Rev. Samuel Ojo, bishop of the African Church who survived the incident, said that masked gunmen emerged from the bush and blocked the road during the attack.

“Our driver attempted to turn back, but he discovered that members of the gang were also coming from the back,” Ojo said. “He suddenly drove into the forest. Myself, my wife, the priest and the driver ran into the bush. I told them to run for their lives, and we fled in different directions. I crawled in the forest like a snake for hours.”

The bishop said he later received a phone call from the attackers who demanded $275,368 for the priest’s release.

“The kidnappers started calling me from the priest’s phone number,” Ojo said. “From their accents, they sounded like Fulani. They were threatening to kill him if we didn’t pay the money. When I offered them $1,375 (500,000 naira) they insulted me and the church.”

Adeyemi Ademola, a police spokesman for the Ekiti State Command, confirmed that Ayeola was killed despite attempts by officials to save him.

“When the kidnappers noticed that the police and the hunters were coming, they shot the priest and escaped,” Ademola said.

“We went after them for a while, but the team had to turn back when it was getting dark. This was to avoid endangering the lives of members of the team in a terrain that the kidnappers may be more familiar with. We took the priest to a general hospital, but sadly, we lost him.”

Gyang Dahoro, a local Christian from Plateau state, expressed that believers have been constantly under attack by the Fulani in the past few months.

“Our villages have been ravaged, and our houses and churches destroyed, and in most cases these herdsmen have taken over the villages where Christians have been displaced,” Dahoro said.

He added that Choji and her two children were some of the “Christians killed in recent times as the herdsmen in collaboration with Boko Haram continue to invade our communities.”

Several deadly raids by the Fulani have led to the destruction of churches and scores of casualties, including one period in Plateau between Oct. 8 and Oct. 17 where as many as 48 Christians were killed.

International Christian Concern said last week that although such raids are not new, the “ferocity and number of attacks in this short period have caused major problems for the beleaguered citizens.”

“Also, the fact that there is a military force stationed in the area, that has been completely ineffective, raises even more cause for concern,” ICC added.

– christian post

Sudan arrests 5 Pastors for preaching the gospel in crackdown on christians

October 31, 2017 by  
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Sudan, October 31, 2017: Pastors in Sudan are speaking out against the arrests of five church leaders last week for allegedly “disturbing the peace,” and said that Christians are being punished by the government for preaching to Muslims and living out the New Testament.

“The government is using the court of law to persecute Christians who are peaceful in carrying out their mandate as commissioned in the New Testament. After spending 14 months in a jail in Khartoum, I was released this year in January due to lack of evidence. I was again arrested this Sunday for unfounded reasons,” Pastor Kuwa Shamal, who has been arrested on a number of occasions without charge, told International Christian Concern in a statement released on Monday.

ICC, a persecution watchdog group that reports on attacks against Christians worldwide, said that the five church leaders are all from the Sudanese Church of Christ, and includes the Rev. Ayoub Matin, evangelist Habail Abraham, the Rev. Ali Haakim, Pastor Ambrat Hammad, and elder Abdo Elbaya.

“Why is the government coercing us to surrender the leadership of the church to a select committee? What crime have we done?” Shamal asked.

The Rev. Ayoub Tiliyan, chairman of the SCOC, explained that the persecution of Christians has been rising this year in the African country.

“It is very disturbing to see the government that we obey, pray for, and pay taxes to harass members of the society just because they belong to a different faith,” Tiliyan said.

“This has become the norm over the years, with threats heightening in the past three years. Several churches have been demolished, pastors arrested, and evangelists warned against preaching the Gospel to Muslims.”

The Islamic-majority nation has seen at least four Christian churches closed in Khartoum so far this year, with the government planning to demolish another 20 houses of worship.

SCOC, which is part of a reformed denomination, has been targeted on a number of occasions, with another seven Christian leaders arrested in another incident in August.

The pastors were reportedly held for refusing to comply with an order from a government agency demanding they give up leadership of the church.

The pastors were later released on bail, with Shamal telling Morning Star News at the time that Christians will continue opposing government efforts to impose committees on the church.

Other charities, such as Aid to the Church in Need, have reported that Christian children from South Sudan who are in Sudanese refugee camps are being forced to recite Islamic prayers in exchange for food.

“We have heard stories where children are conditioned to say Islamic prayers before [being] given food. This is not right. These children are Christian. They should be respected for that,” the ACN source said in September.

– christian post

Coptic Christians pelted with rocks, Four Churches closed as government treats prayer ‘as a crime’

October 30, 2017 by  
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Egypt, October 30, 2017: Coptic Christians in Egypt have said that they have been pelted by rocks while the government in the southern province of Minya has closed down four churches this past month, much to the protest of the believers.

“We stayed silent for two weeks after the closure of a church hoping that the officials would do the job they were assigned to do by the state. However, this silence has led to something worse, as if prayer is a crime the Copts should be punished for. The Coptic Christians go to the neighboring villages to perform their prayers,” the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Minya said in a statement, as reported on Sunday.

“What happened within two weeks, hasn’t happen over years; churches are closed, the Coptic Christians are being attacked and their property destroyed, and there is no deterrent. The bargaining and the balance are usually used under the name of peaceful coexistence. The Copts always pay the price of this coexistence, not the aggressors,” the statement continued.

It further called the reaction from Egyptian authorities “disappointing,” and argued that whenever there is an attack on Copts, aggressors are treated with impunity.

Coptic Christians have complained that they have been harassed and pelted with rocks at churches, Reuters noted.

The Minya security directorate has not yet commented on the statement from the Minya diocese. The government has vowed to protect Christians from violent Islamic attacks on a number of occasions, though Christians have complained that not enough is being done to secure their safety.

A number of families who have been forced to flee North Sinai said in a statement in May that they are “suffering” due to neglect.

“We are the families displaced from al-Arish to Port Said in February. We are living inside small rooms inside the youth camps and the aid building. We are suffering and none of the officials or the Port Said governor will listen to us,” the statement read at the time.

“As time passed, 28 families remained in the camps and aid buildings. Three months passed without any attention from the government or officials in Port Said. The governor then declared that there was a lack of residential houses to transfer the families to, in addition to a lack to jobs, which forced the martyr Nabil Saber to return to Arish, where he was killed — a message to every Copt thinking about returning.”

The statement came following a deadly attack by IS gunmen on a group of Copts traveling to a monastery in Minya, which left 29 believers dead and 24 others wounded.

Bishop Anba Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the U.K. also recently condemned the killing of priests in Egypt, such as the fate of Samaan Shehta, who was murdered in Cairo by a suspected IS radical.

“While recognizing that anger may often open a path to hatred or resentment, there are times at which it is a natural expression of a human emotion, and reaction to a sense of deep injustice. I am sure that I am not alone in my anger, but that it is shared by every law-abiding person of any belief and indeed of none, who has witnessed this vicious and inhumane attack,” Angaelos wrote about the killing.

– christian post

48 Christians massacred in Nigeria; Terrorists break through doors, burn houses, destroy churches

October 27, 2017 by  
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Nigeria, October 27, 2017: Forty-eight Christians were massacred in nine days of violent attacks in Nigeria, with some of the survivors describing the terror they felt at the hands of Islamic Fulani herdsmen who broke through their doors and destroyed houses and churches.

“Every one of us ran to save his life,” church elder Dauda Samuel Kadiya of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Zanwrua, told Morning Star News. “I was shot at, but the bullet only bruised my hand. You can see the wound yourself.”

The herdsmen slaughtered a total of 48 Christians in several attacks carried out in Plateau state between Oct. 8 and Oct. 17, survivors said, with believers fleeing villages and abandoning worship buildings.

“Some of the church buildings were destroyed by the attackers,” Kadiya added.

Agado Aura, 62, said he and his wife barely escaped after the herdsmen came one night from the eastern part of their Zanwrua village.

“They broke the doors to our rooms and then set fire on my house,” said Aura, a Roman Catholic.

“Having set fire on my house, they went to the next house and did the same. They continued burning houses until they were done, before they left. I was watching all they were doing from my hidden spot behind those rocks you see over there.”

International Christian Concern, which reports on the persecution of believers around the world, pointed out that although such raids are not new for the area, the “ferocity and number of attacks in this short period have caused major problems for the beleaguered citizens.”

“Also, the fact that there is a military force stationed in the area, that has been completely ineffective, raises even more cause for concern,” ICC stated.

Moses Tsohu, a Zanwrua village leader and ECWA member, also asked how is it that the Fulani are carrying out their attacks despite the presence of army soldiers at check points in the area.

“These attacks are being carried out daily. Every blessed day we witness the invasion, killing of our people, and the destruction of their houses,” Tsohu said.

Sunday Abdu, president of the Community Development Association of the predominantly Christian Irigwe ethnic group, noted at a press conference:

“It is painful to note that all these happened despite useful, timely information provided to security personnel, regarding movement and mode of operation of the assailants.”

The Fulani raids in Plateau State have sparked outrage from Christian leaders, who have accused the army of failing to defend villagers on a number of occasions.

“The soldiers had told the women and children to go and hide in the primary (elementary) school class at night while the men in the village constituted a vigilante group and join[ed] the soldiers in patrolling the area. Sadly, the militia descended and the soldiers fled, leaving the defenseless villagers to be massacred by the terrorists,” the Rev. Andrew Okebe, the Zonal Coordinator of Christian Association of Nigeria, Miango District, said after one of the major attacks earlier this month.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari himself has lamented the growing number of casualties.

“President Buhari believes that this madness has gone too far. He has instructed the military and the police to not only bring the violence to an instant end, but to draw up a plan to ensure that there are no further attacks and reprisal attacks by one group against the other,” said Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, in a statement earlier this month.

Reuters reported that Christians and other Nigerian civilians continue being terrorized not only by the Fulani but also by the Boko Haram terror group, whose eight-year insurgency has made it very difficult for hundreds of thousands of uprooted people to return home.

– christian post

Iranian Christian convert arrested, Believers told they’ll be beaten to death for faith in Jesus

October 25, 2017 by  
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Iran, October 25, 2017: A growing number of Christian converts have been arrested by the Iranian government and warned that they’ll either be forced to leave the country or be beaten to death for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Mohabat News reported on Monday that Abdol-Ali Pourmand, a member of the Payam-e Aramesh (Message of Peace) house church in Dezful, was arrested last week after security officials raided his house and found Bibles and Christian CDs.

The Christian convert, who has been transferred to the city of Ahwaz, has been allowed to make a short phone call to his family, sharing that he has been told that he will not be held long.

Concern for Christians in Iran continues to grow after recent arrests of three other believers in Dezful.

“Mohabat News has obtained confirmed reports of them being beaten in prison and threatened that if they don’t renounce their faith in Christ and turn away from their Christian faith they will be forced to leave the country or be beaten to death,” the article noted.

Mohammad Ali Torabi, also a member of the Message of Peace church, was arrested at his work place on Oct. 10. Like Pourmand, he has also been told that he will be released soon, but still remains in custody.

The Iranian regime has denied it’s persecuting Christians despite numerous reports of arrests, harassment and heavy sentences in the past few years and decades, targeting Farsi-speaking believers in particular.

The Iranian government does not allow for house churches to operate, and continues to carry out home invasions, accusing members of inciting anti-government and “national security” activities.

In August, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom named Iran among the five worst-scoring countries when it comes to blasphemy laws that protect the state religion of Islam but discriminate against minorities.

“Advocates for blasphemy laws may argue that they are needed in order to protect religious freedom, but these laws do no such thing. Blasphemy laws are wrong in principle, and they often invite abuse and lead to assaults, murders, and mob attacks. Wherever they exist, they should be repealed,” USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark said at the time.

Some leading Islamic seminary officials, such as Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, have pointed to “accurate reports indicating that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches.”

Clerics have raised the alarm over the number of Iranian youths becoming Christians, and have blamed “foreign influence” for the conversions.

“The Islamic government of Iran dedicates massive budgets to the support of Islamic organizations that promote Islam among the youth within and without Iran’s borders. Such efforts to attract Iranian youth is much more noticeable in Islamic cities such as Mashhad and Qom,” Mohabat News said in a previous report.

“Regardless of such efforts, Iranian youth seem to become increasingly distant from Islam, which is a cause of great concern for the Iranian Islamic government.”

– christian post

Islamic Fulani herdsmen terrorize Christian communities in Nigeria

October 24, 2017 by  
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Nigeria, October 14, 2017: Fulani Islamic cattle herdsmen have attacked Mai Farin Mota, a predominantly Christian community, west of Jos, Plateau state, and destroyed the village killing four people.

Eye witness accounts said the attack, which started at about 9 pm lasted till about 3 amwithout any response from the army or police despite frantic phone calls for help.

This attack follows a wave of deadly attacks by the Islamic terror group which has killed over 30 people in four weeks, local reports said.

On Wednesday, the Fulani Islamists attacked Jebu Miango, a village, about 10 kilometres from Jos, destroyed several houses and killed three people.

Speaking to Global Christian News, Victoria Ayuba, 20, who lost three members of her family, said, “My cousin, Jerry, who was just 17, went to visit his girlfriend in the next village, a walking distance from our house on Tuesday evening. He was on his way back when four men, two were wearing military uniform, attacked them. His girlfriend ran into the bush and the men attacked her, beating her up with a stick. My cousin was shot and then butchered with a machete.”

Jerry’s girlfriend was able to run back to Jebu Miango, to report the. The villagers went to a military outpost to report to the soldiers what happened and asked for help.

“One of the soldiers took the villagers to the exact spot where Jerry’s butchered body laid. The villager got suspicious and started asking questions how the soldier at the military check point knew where to find the body.” Victoria said. The villager, who had since suspected that the soldiers have, at some point been conniving with the Fulani to attack communities, then started a protest.

By afternoon on Wednesday, women, dressed in black and carrying leaves, in the village, mobilised and staged a protest. “The women accused the soldiers of complacency in the attacks in the communities in the villages in Miango in recent weeks,” Victoria said.

“The women asked for Jerry’s body for burial but the soldiers insisted on taking the body to Jos for examination to determine if he was killed by a military type weapon.”

This decision heightened the tension and broke out into a physical confrontation between the soldiers and the women. The angry women tore down the military check point and demanded the soldiers must leave.

Gindau James, a resident in Miango said the women “insisted they didn’t need the soldiers who never protected any village from an attack but will always appear hours later.” The soldiers were forced to abandoned their outpost and they all left. James said.

The departure of the soldiers in the villages seemed to have triggered a series of attacks by Fulani herdsmen.

“On Wednesday, after the soldiers left, there was information that the village, Jebu Miango, was going to be attacked by Fulani herdsmen. Nobody seemed to know the source of the information, but it threw the village into a panic,” said Victoria.

“Late Wednesday evening, there were sounds of heavy gunshots everywhere. Our parents sent us all out of the village. Women and children were sent out to Josh.

“Men sent their wives and children from Kwachidu, Tafigana and Lakke to Jebu Miango, while they stayed to protect their villages.”

The soldier would always tell us, “we are not your angels to guard you. You just sleep like dead bodies and expect us, human beings to guard you. Why don’t you ask your God to guard you.’ The soldiers would usually taunt us in the village.

“On my father’s orders, I, and many women fled to Jebu Miango, where we stayed on Wednesday. At night We could not sleep as we kept hearing gunshots in the distance. By morning, Tachidu, Tafi Gana and Nzhwierevhi, were attacked and many houses burnt.”

Victoria continued: “I called my father and he told me that two members of my family were killed, in Ariri. My uncle, Chohu, who lived in Kwachidu, was burnt in his room.

“When the Fulani attacked the village, he was told to run but he refused and said he has buried many of his children and grandchildren and to burying people and would not leave. He preferred to be killed. Jerry my cousin was his son,” said Victoria. These attacks come about a week after similar attack in Wereh village, Barkin Ladi LGA, South of Jos, which killed a former Head of Service in the State, Moses Gwom, prompting a call by the national assemblyfor an investigation into the upsurge in Fulani Terrorist attacks in Plateau state.

The House said Plateau State was “under grave threat following violent attacks capable of precipitating another round of crisis, the most recent being the attack on Ancha village of Miango District in Bassa Local Government, which claimed 22 lives on 7th September. This is in addition to cases of isolated attacks, ambush and raping of unsuspecting women as well as malicious destruction of farm crops to deprive the farmers of their hard-earned harvest.” The house mandated “the House Committees on Human Rights and National Security and Intelligence to investigate the attack and report back to the House in 21 days.”

Senator Jonah David Jang, former governor of plateau state advice the current governor “to do more in the area of security, in order to safeguard the lives and properties of all people who live in the State. For it is instructive noting that there is no peace to celebrate when innocent people are killed indiscriminately and chased away from their ancestral lands and homes.”

Hassan John Is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of Anglican Diocese of Jos.

– global christian news

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