Madhya Pradesh continues Christian Persecution *Kerala Church award in honor of bishop

March 29, 2012 by  
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Madhya Pradesh, March 27, 2012: Over the weekend two incidents of Christian persecution have taken place Barwani and Chindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh. In a shocking incident in Chindwara district of Madhya Pradesh under the Bichua police station three Christians are arrested from the prayer service held in a house in the village. The incident took place during the Sunday worship time. The area where incident took place is very remote and news reached to the outside world only a day after when the police had already completed all legal formalities.

Vijay Mohar, head of the Bharatiya Sevak Sangathi, who resides in Nagpur said, “They are members of my Church, they have been falsely accused of forced conversion. Police arrested them on Sunday but did not allow them to use any means of communication.”

Bichua police station in-charge Gangaram Kasera says, “We have arrested three persons namely Harichan Varti, Mayaram Padame and Santaram Parteti on a complaint by Sirpath Pawar and a few villagers. They have given us a complaint that these people were trying to convert them through illegal means. And it also created tension between communities in the locality.”

They have been charged with IPC 153 and 3-4 of Freedom of Religion Act 1968 of Madhya Pradesh. Pastor Devasish Mohar said, “The accused persons were produced in the Court and they are sent for 12 days remand.”

Shankar, one who is coordinating with the people, said, “Police have acted under pressure from the RSS and allied organizations. We were in prayer and we have not done any illegal religious conversion.”

In another incident in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh under the Chainpur police station police attempted to disrupt a three days Gospel convention. On the second day evening fundamental organizations along with police reached the venue.

Pastor Kiran said, “We had taken permission from the administration for three days, our people too have made strong objection to the police. We have told the fundamentalists too that we are not cowardice and we have followed the legal system.” He said, “We are number around fifteen hundred people, police told us to vacate the place but after tension police is providing protection.”

Barwani Christian community have declared a protest march to the collectorate on 14 April, 2012. Isai Mahasangh have declared their support to the protest march. Communist Party of India, Barwani unit too have declared support to the proposed rally. It is to be noted that in the last Assembly Election Mr. Pascal, a Christian fought election from the CPI. He had obtained over five thousand votes.

Isai Mahasangh State General Secretary said, “we will take up the matter with higher officials in State. We are also planning to take up the matter with Governor of Madhya Pradesh.”

– sanjay ekka, csf correspondent

Kerala Church award in honor of bishop


Kerala, March 28, 2012: The award would be presented in May at the death anniversary function of Bishop Vazhapilly.

Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours in Thrissur, billed as the tallest church in Asia, has constituted an all-India award for outstanding contribution in the field of the history of Christianity in India.

The award comprises 25,000 rupees (US$ 500) and a citation.

The candidate for the award would be selected by an experts’ panel.

It would be presented at the commemorative function on the 70th death anniversary of Bishop Francil Vazhappilly in May this year.

Bishop Vazhappilly was the first Bishop of Thrissur Diocese and also the founder of the Basilica, which is famous for its Gothic style architecture.

– ucan

Headmaster gets life term for Kandhamal violence *TN Budget: Nothing much for Minorities

March 29, 2012 by  
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Orissa, March 27, 2012: An Odisha (formerly Orissa) court has sentenced a school headmaster to life imprisonment for murdering a cook during the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district of the state.

Additional Sessions Judge Sobhan Kumar Das of a fast-track court in Phulbani in the district on March 24 also sentenced Kartik Parmanika for 5 more years for burning the deceased’s house and arson.

He was also slapped a fine of 5,000 rupees (US$100).

This verdict comes against the backdrop of UN Special Rapporteur’s visit to India to prepare a report on extrajudicial or summary killings.

Paramanika, a headmaster of a primary government school, led a mob of fanatics on August 25, 2008 in Petapanga village in the district, the epicenter of the 2008 anti-Christian violence that killed more than 100 community members and left thousands homeless.

He killed Ramesh Digal, a Christian while he was fleeing with his family after his house was set on fire.

The deceased used to work in Paramanika’s school as a cook.

Digal’s brother had lodged a complaint against 45 people for their involvement in the murder but police charge sheeted only 36, said Manas Ranjan Singh, an advocate affiliated to Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) who is handling the case told

He said there are still 34 people awaiting trial. Another accused Abhinav Pradhan has been convicted for house burning and arson in the case.

It may be noted that trial in the case is taking place in a phased manner as most of the accused are absconding.

“This is first time a person from outside Kandhamal district and an upper caste person has been convicted for murder in the anti-Christian violence,” Singh added.

He said that this verdict gives hope for those awaiting justice in other 30 cases.

Fr. Dibyasingh Parichha, head of the legal cell of Catholic Church in Kandhamal said, “We do appreciate the efforts of HRLN for securing life sentence for the accused. This is a heinous act as the murderer and victim worked in the same school.”

– ucan

TN Budget: Nothing much for minorities, say Muslim groups


Prof. M.H. Jawahirullah, MLA, and president of Manidha neya Makkal Katchi (MMK)

Tamil Nadu, March 28, 2012: It was the first full budget by the Jayalalitha government after she became chief minister in May 2011 after defeating DMK of Karunanidhi. She had returned to power with clear majority as Muslims too had voted her in huge numbers. However, there is no big announcement for the welfare of the community in the state budget 2012-13 presented on Monday, say Muslim organizations.

State Finance Minister Mr O. Panneerselvam presented the budget which talks high about Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s ambitious vision 2023. The budget promised to turn the state into India’s most prosperous and progressive state and therefore the government fixed a target of Rs 2 lakh crores for plan schemes during the Twelfth Five Year Plan period. Annual plan for 2012-2013 has been increased to Rs.28,000 crores as against the Annual Plan size of Rs.23,535 crores in 2011-2012. The year 2012-2013 is the first year of the Twelfth Plan.

While the Scheduled Castes will get a sub-plan of Rs 6108 Cr and Tribal communities a sub-plan of Rs 349 Cr the minorities which include Muslims will get just Rs 57 Cr in the year 2012-13.

For the welfare of minorities, the Jayalalitha government will continue the scholarship schemes for which the funds will be increased to Rs 55 crores from the Rs 39 crores in the year 2011-12. Besides, a sum of Rs.1 crore has been provided as assistance to the Ulema Welfare Board in the Budget for 2012-2013. Similarly, as was done this year, a sum of Rs.1 crore will be provided during 2012-2013 for assisting Christians to undertake pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Budget has nothing concrete for Muslims, say Muslim groups

Prof. M.H. Jawahirullah, MLA, and president of Manidha neya Makkal Katchi (MMK) which had contested the 2011 assembly poll in alliance with AIADMK of Jayalalitha, said he is not satisfied with the announcements for minorities.

“I am not satisfied. There is no big announcement for Muslims. There is just marginal increase in fund for minority scholarship,” says Jawahirullah who is also president of Tamil Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK).

He criticized the government for not taking any step to hike minority quota which she had promised during the election campaign last year.

“We have been demanding increase in minority quota from current 3.5% to 5%. She had also promised hike during the election campaign, but she has not taken any step in this regard, said Jawahirullah while talking to TCN over phone.

He points out two other issues on which Jayalalitha has maintained silence. Minority schools set up after 1991 have not got govt grants, the government is silent on it. DMK had brought change in education policy affecting Urdu and Arabic. After much pressure the DMK government made some changes and brought Urdu and Arabic for exam for kept out of grade system. We have been demanding that students of these languages should be given chance. These papers should be included not only in exam but also marks should be added in the grade. But the new government has not touched the issue.

Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has not welcomed the budget. The party in a statement said the budget has disappointed all weaker sections including Muslims.

“The budget did not include any concrete plans for the advancement of Muslims,” said SDPI adding that the budget has over all disappointed all be it farmers, businesspeople or Muslims.

What is for backward communities in TN Budget?


The minorities will get a total of Rs 57 crores, out of which Rs 55 crores will be for scholarship schemes. Last year the annual grant for Haj Committee was increased to Rs 20 lakh. The increase will continue this year.

Scholarships – Rs 55 Cr
Haj Committee – Rs 20 lakh
Ulema Welfare Board – Rs 1 Cr
Christians’ pilgrimage to Jerusalem – Rs 1 Cr

Adi Dravidar (Scheduled Castes) and Tribal communities

For the first time in the history of Tamil Nadu, the Scheduled Castes will get around 22% of the annual plan funds. “Our Government gives special priority to the welfare of the Adi-Dravidar and Tribal communities. This Government’s commitment to their welfare is evident from the fact that the allocation under the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan for 2012-2013 will be increased to an all time high amount of Rs.6,108.60 crores, constituting 21.82% of the Annual Plan outlay,” said the finance minister in his budget speech on 26th March 2012.

Scheduled Caste sub-plan – Rs 6108 Cr
Food for hostel students – Rs 76 Cr
Pre- & Post-matric scholarships – Rs 331 Cr
Facilities in hostels – Rs 83 Cr
TAHDCO – Rs 13 Cr
Economic Development – Rs 82 Cr
Tribal sub-plan – Rs 349 Cr
Tribal welfare – Rs 50 Cr

Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes & Denotified Communities

These communities will get Rs 325 crores, the major chunk of which will be spent on pre- and post-matric scholarship schemes. Besides, Rs 115 crores have been allocated for construction of hostels for the students of these communities.

Food for hostel students – Rs 61 Cr
Construction of Hostels – 115 Cr
Pre- & Post-matric scholarship – 149 Cr

– tcn

Pak Hindu girl states in supreme court abduction and forced conversion to Islam *Europe bishops slam Saudi fatwa against Gulf churches

March 29, 2012 by  
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Pakistan, March 27 2012: The Hindu community in Pakistan’s Sindh province have expressed happiness that their claims about a teenaged Hindu girl, Rinkle Kumari had been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam, gained credence during a Supreme Court hearing into the case on Monday.”The fact that she told the judge that she wanted to go with her parents has vindicated our stance,” Ramesh Kumar the chief patron of the Pakistan Hindu Council said.The kidnapping and forced conversion case of Rinkle Kumari has served as a catylst to unite the Hindu community in Pakistan with the loudest protests coming from Sindh and its capital city, Karachi which have the largest Hindu population in Pakistan.

The court after the hearing was adjourned ordered that Rinkle be sent to the Darul Aman (women shelter) and announced April 18 as the next date of hearing.

Rinkle was allegedly kidnapped from the small town of Mirpur Mathelo in Ghotki district a month ago by a Muslim landlord’s son backed by a group of religious leaders.

The statement Rinkle registered in front of the court has brought the exchange of salvos between the Hindu community and what one Hindu leader called “society at large” to an end.

Rinkle’s maternal uncle Raj Kumar said even the girl was first afraid she would not get justice in a Muslim country.

Amarnath Motumal of the Pakistan Hindu Panchiyat said the Rinkle case was a very important one as cases of kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu girls was common in the Sindh province.

He said Rinkle had shown courage in telling the truth and exposing those behind the whole episode.

“She was crying when she was being taken away to the Darul Aman in the police van and kept on repeating she wanted to go with her parents. But we undertstand that the court has sent her to the Darul Aman for security reasons,” he said.


Europe bishops slam Saudi fatwa against Gulf churches


March 26 2012: Christian bishops in Germany, Austria and Russia have sharply criticized Saudi Arabia’s top religious official after reports that he issued a fatwa saying all churches on the Arabian Peninsula should be destroyed.

In separate statements on Friday, the Roman Catholic bishops in Germany and Austria slammed the ruling by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh as an unacceptable denial of human rights to millions of foreign workers in the Gulf region.

Archbishop Mark of Yegoryevsk, head of the Russian Orthodox department for churches abroad, called the fatwa “alarming” in a statement on Tuesday. Such blunt criticism from mainstream Christian leaders of their Muslim counterparts is very rare.

Christian websites have reported Sheikh Abdulaziz, one of the most influential religious leaders in the Muslim world, issued the fatwa last week in response to a Kuwaiti lawmaker who asked if Kuwait could ban church construction in Kuwait.

Citing Arab-language media reports, they say the sheikh ruled that further church building should be banned and existing Christian houses of worship should be destroyed.

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, chairman of the German Bishops Conference, said the mufti “shows no respect for the religious freedom and free co-existence of religions”, especially all the foreign laborers who made its economy work.

“It would be a slap in the face to these people if the few churches available to them were to be taken away,” he said.

Sheikh V/s King?

At least 3.5 million Christians live in the Gulf Arab region. They are mostly Catholic workers from India and the Philippines, but also Western expatriates of all denominations.

Saudi Arabia bans all non-Muslim houses of prayer, forcing Christians there to risk arrest by praying in private homes. There are churches for Christian minorities in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.

The bishops conference in Austria, where Saudi King Abdullah plans to open a controversial centre for interfaith dialogue, demanded an official explanation from Riyadh.

“How could the grand mufti issue a fatwa of such importance behind the back of his king?” they asked. “We see a contradiction between the dialogue being practiced, the efforts of the king and those of his top mufti.”

In Moscow, Archbishop Mark told the Interfax news agency he hoped that Saudi Arabia’s neighbors “will be surprised by the calls made by this sheikh and ignore them”.

The Catholic Church has urged Muslim states in recent years to give Christian minorities in their countries the same freedom of religion that Muslims enjoy in Western countries.

There are few Orthodox Christians in the Gulf region, but the Moscow Patriarchate – which was mostly silent during the decades of Soviet communism that ended in 1991 – has become increasingly vocal in defending the rights of Christians around the world.

Bishop Paul Hinder, who oversees Catholic churches in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yeman, told Catholic news agency KNA that the fatwa had not been widely publicized in Saudi Arabia. “What is worrying is that such statements have influence in part of the population,” he said.

– reuters

Pope’s message for 27th World Youth Day *Holy Father asks Cuban president for Good Friday holiday

March 29, 2012 by  
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Vatican City, March 27, 2012: “Rejoice in the Lord always”, a verse from St. Paul’s Letter the Philippians, is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for twenty-seventh World Youth Day, which is to be celebrated in dioceses throughout the world on Palm Sunday. Extracts from the English-language version of the message are given below.

“This year’s World Youth Day theme comes from St. Paul’s exhortation in his Letter to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always”. Joy is at the heart of Christian experience. At each World Youth Day we experience immense joy, the joy of communion, the joy of being Christian, the joy of faith. This is one of the marks of these gatherings. We can see the great attraction that joy exercises. In a world of sorrow and anxiety, joy is an important witness to the beauty and reliability of the Christian faith. The Church’s vocation is to bring joy to the world. … In these difficult times, so many young people all around you need to hear that the Christian message is a message of joy and hope!”

1. Our hearts are made for joy

“A yearning for joy lurks within the heart of every man and woman. … This is particularly true for you, because youth is … a time of openness to the future and of great longing for happiness, friendship, sharing and truth, a time when we are moved by high ideals and make great plans. … Yet each day we also face any number of difficulties. Deep down we also worry about the future; we begin to wonder if the full and lasting joy for which we long might be an illusion and an escape from reality. … How can we distinguish things that give real and lasting joy from immediate and illusory pleasures? How can we find true joy in life, a joy that endures and does not forsake us at moments of difficulty?”

2. God is the source of true joy

“Whatever brings us true joy, whether the small joys of each day or the greatest joys in life, has its source in God, even if this does not seem immediately obvious. This is because God is a communion of eternal love, He is infinite joy that does not remain closed in on itself, but expands to embrace all whom God loves and who love Him. … God wants us to share in His own divine and eternal joy, and He helps us to see that the deepest meaning and value of our lives lie in being accepted, welcomed and loved by Him. Whereas we sometimes find it hard to accept others, God offers us an unconditional acceptance which enables us to say: “I am loved; I have a place in the world and in history; I am personally loved by God”.

“God’s infinite love for each of us is fully seen in Jesus Christ. The joy we are searching for is to be found in Him. … The cause of all this joy is the closeness of God Who became one of us. … Christ is the One Who lives and Who overcame evil, sin and death. He is present among us as the Risen One and He will remain with us until the end of the world. Evil does not have the last word in our lives; rather, faith in Christ the Saviour tells us that God’s love is victorious”.

3. Preserving Christian joy in our hearts

“The discovery and preservation of spiritual joy is the fruit of an encounter with the Lord. Jesus asks us to follow Him and to stake our whole life on Him. … Joy is the fruit of faith. … Learn to see how God is working in your lives. … Turn your eyes to Him often. He gave His life for you on the cross because He loves you. Contemplation of this great love brings a hope and joy to our hearts that nothing can destroy”.

“To seek the Lord and find Him in our lives also means accepting His word. … God’s word reveals the wonders that He has accomplished throughout human history. … The liturgy is a special place where the Church expresses the joy which she receives from the Lord and transmits it to the world. Each Sunday at Mass the Christian community celebrates the central mystery of salvation, which is the death and resurrection of Christ”.

4. The joy of love

“Joy is intimately linked to love. They are inseparable gifts of the Holy Spirit. Love gives rise to joy, and joy is a form of love. … To love means to be steadfast, reliable and faithful to commitments. … If we are to experience the joy of love, we must also be generous. We cannot be content to give the minimum. We need to be fully committed in life and to pay particular attention to those in need. The world needs men and women who are competent and generous, willing to be at the service of the common good. … Find ways to help make society more just and humane wherever you happen to be. … I would like to mention one particular joy. It is the joy we feel when we respond to the vocation to give our whole life to the Lord. … Do not be afraid if Christ is calling you to the religious, monastic or missionary life or to the priesthood. Be assured that He fills with joy all those who respond to His invitation. … In the same way, God gives great joy to men and women who give themselves totally to one another in marriage in order to build a family. … A third element that will lead you to the joy of love … is allowing fraternal love to grow in your lives and in those of your communities”.

5. The joy of conversion

“Experiencing real joy also means recognising the temptations that lead us away from it. Our present-day culture often pressures us to seek immediate goals, achievements and pleasures. It fosters fickleness more than perseverance, hard work and fidelity to commitments. … Experience teaches us that possessions do not ensure happiness”.

“God wants us to be happy. That is why He gave us specific directions for the journey of life: the Commandments. If we observe them, we will find the path to life and happiness. At first glance, they might seem to be a list of prohibitions and an obstacle to our freedom. But if we study them more closely, we see in the light of Christ’s message that the Commandments are a set of essential and valuable rules leading to a happy life in accordance with God’s plan. … At times the path of the Christian life is not easy, and being faithful to the Lord’s love presents obstacles; occasionally we fall. Yet God in His mercy never abandons us; He always offers us the possibility of returning to him. … Have frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation! It is the Sacrament of joy rediscovered”.

6. Joy at times of trial

“In the end, though, we might still wonder in our hearts whether it is really possible to live joyfully amid all life’s trials, especially those which are most tragic and mysterious. … We can find an answer in some of the experiences of young people like yourselves who have found in Christ the light that can give strength and hope even in difficult situations.

“Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati experienced many trials during his short life. … When Blessed John Paul II presented Blessed Pier Giorgio as a model for young people, he described him as “a young person with infectious joy, the joy that overcame many difficulties in his life”. Closer to us in time is Chiara Badano, who was recently beatified. She experienced how pain could be transfigured by love and mysteriously steeped in joy. … Authentic Christians are never despairing or sad, not even when faced with difficult trials. They show that Christian joy is not a flight from reality, but a supernatural power that helps us to deal with the challenges of daily life”.

7. Witnesses of joy

“To conclude I would encourage you to be missionaries of joy. We cannot be happy if others are not. … Go and tell other young people about your joy at finding the precious treasure which is Jesus Himself. We cannot keep the joy of faith to ourselves. If we are to keep it, we must give it away”.

“Christianity is sometimes depicted as a way of life that stifles our freedom and goes against our desires for happiness and joy. But this is far from the truth. Christians are men and women who are truly happy because they know that they are not alone. They know that God is always holding them in His hands. It is up to you, young followers of Christ, to show the world that faith brings happiness and a joy which is true, full and enduring. If the way Christians live at times appears dull and boring, you should be the first to show the joyful and happy side of faith. The Gospel is the “good news” that God loves us and that each of us is important to Him. Show the world that this is true!”

– vis

Holy Father asks Cuban president for Good Friday holiday


Vatican City, March 27, 2012: Having completed his visit to the Shrine of “Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre”, the Holy Father was taken to the airport of Santiago de Cuba where he boarded a flight for the nation’s capital city Havana.

The Pope arrived at Jose Marti airport at midday local time (7 p.m. in Rome), where he was welcomed by Raul Castro, president of Cuba, who had not been scheduled to be present; by Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of San Cristobal de La Habana, by the local authorities and by hundreds of children holding white and yellow flowers.

After having had lunch at the apostolic nunciature, Benedict XVI travelled by car to the Palacio de la Revolucion where he paid a courtesy visit to President Raul Castro. Since 1965 the building complex known as Palacio de la Revolucion has been home to the Council of State, the Office of the President, the Council of Ministers and the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.

Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. described the meeting between the two men as “long, cordial and serene”. Their discussions, he said, had focused on the condition of the Cuban people, including humanitarian issues and the Church’s expectations in her service of the common good. The Pope also made a specific request for Good Friday to be re-established as a holiday.

At the end of their meeting the Pope and President Castro exchanged gifts. Benedict XVI gave the Cuban leader a facsimile of Ptolemy’s “Geography”, and the president gave him a bronze reproduction of “Nuestra Senora de la Caridad del Cobre”. The Holy Father then returned to the apostolic nunciature where he dined with Cuban bishops.

– vis

27 Reasons for Unanswered Prayer

March 29, 2012 by  
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“The man who turns away from the truth lest he should get to know it, will not receive answers to prayer.” (Proverbs 28:9)

1. Refusing to hear the truth (Prov. 28:9)

2. Tempting or provoking God (Dt. 3:26)

3. Lack of charity or love to others (Prov. 21:13)

4. Lack of humility (2 Chron. 7:14)

5. A hardened heart (Zech. 7:12, 13)

6. Forsaking God (2 Chron.15:2)

7. Praying amiss (wrong motives) (James 4:3)

8. Regarding iniquity (Ps. 66:18)

9. Unbelief (Mt. 17:20,21; Mt. 21:22)

10. Marital strife (I Pet.3:7)

11. Parading your prayer-life (Mt. 5:6)

12. Sin (Ja. 4:1-5; Is. 59:2; John 9:31)

13. Vain (useless) repetitions. (Mt. 6:7)

14. Being discouraged (Lk. 18:1-8)

15. Doubt and double-mindedness (Ja. 1:5-8)

16. Anxiety and worry (Phil. 4:6)

17. Hypocrisy (Lk. 18:9-14)

18. Unforgiveness (Mt. 6:14, 15; Mk. 11:25, 26)

19. Not tithing (Mal. 3:8,9,10)

20. Rebellion against God’s Word (Prov. 1:24-28; Zech. 7:11-14)

21. Presumption and pride (Luke 18:10-14)

22. Unconfessed sin (Ps. 66:18)

23. Demonic attack (Daniel 10: 10)

24. Lack of sincerity (Mt. 6:5)

25. Being unsaved (an unbeliever) (John 17)

26. Curses (Deut. 28)

27. Willful stubbornness (Jer. 16:12,13)

– fwd: holy trinity palace

The Ant

March 28, 2012 by  
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“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
– Proverbs 6:6-8

Many sermons have been preached from Proverbs Chapter 6 verses 6 to 8. Just 3 verses but there is a wealth of knowledge in these 3 verses. Recently in the Adult Sunday School at the Centenary Methodist Church Hyderabad , the leader Mrs. Lynda had shared tons of thoughts – I will just share some for our meditation-

1. Just like us there are many varieties. It is said that there are more than 150 species/ varieties of Ants. But unlike us they have uniform characters.

2. They are faithful to do their work without any supervision and without looking out for appreciation. What about us?

3. They do not procrastinate – work continuously.

4. Once the Anthill is damaged –All join together and immediate repair work starts. Are we ready to help when someone known to us needs house repairs to be done?

5. Their team work is awesome – what about us? —  most of us are highly competitive and want to Out shine another – individually we want to take the credit.

6. They are not Quitters. However the difficult the task may, be they keep at it. No arguments – no difference of opinions – no jumping from one job to another.

7. They never seem to sleep – they are working when we are sleeping – OK – God made us different – Yes we do need sleep but how many hours per day?

8. They seem to follow in unison. No side tracking.

9. They move on in life – For example if sugar is removed they move on to get something else. What about us?

10. They always store for the future. They are always gathering food. It is said  that an ant lives only for 45 to 65 days – Wow! How much they achieve in their very short life span – How much do we achieve for Jesus in 65 days –?

11. When water comes their way they all roll into a ball and float away.  What do we do when adversity comes? Do we team up and help each other to a safer place?

12. I think they do not have the word “Can’t” in their dictionary.

I have not exhausted all that I had in mind because I would love to hear from you more on the “Ant”.

– fwd: dr. iris paul

On the Watch for Religious Persecutors

March 28, 2012 by  
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World, March 23, 2012: Open Doors has released its World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians worldwide.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, said Thomas Jefferson, and that includes religious freedom. Religious persecution is tragically common abroad.

While members of all faiths are sometimes at risk somewhere, Christians are constantly victimized almost everywhere. And in many of these cases the threat is violence, imprisonment, and even death. Martyrdom apparently is more common today than during Roman times.

The California-based group Open Doors has released its latest World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians around the globe. A Baker’s Dozen are communist or former communist states, led by North Korea. An incredible 38 are Muslim, including several of Washington’s allies. (Seven are both communist/former communist and Islamic, truly a toxic combination.) The other six are a potpourri — Hindu India, Buddhist Burma and Bhutan, conflict-ridden Colombia, and Eritrea and Ethiopia, which are both repressive and religiously divided.

Topping the World Watch List is the so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which leads any parade of the world’s repressive, impoverished, or just plain awful places. Explains Open Doors: “Defiantly Communist in the Stalinist style, a bizarre quasi-religion was built around the founder of the country, Kim Il Sung. Anyone with ‘another god’ is automatically persecuted, which is why the 200,000-400,000 Christians in this country must remain deeply underground.” At least a quarter of them may be confined to labor camps.

Number two is Afghanistan, where Americans and Europeans continue to die trying to create a Western-style liberal democracy. The status of Christians continues to decline. Reports Open Doors: “Despite having signed all international agreements designed to protect the freedom of religion, the government in the current setting is not even able to guarantee the most basic tenants of this right.” To the contrary, mobs cheerfully murder Americans and other non-Muslims when copies of the Koran are accidentally burned.

Another “friend” of Washington, Saudi Arabia, is number three. “Religious freedom does not exist in this heartland of Islam where citizens are only allowed to adhere to one religion,” notes Open Doors: “Apostasy — conversion to another religion — is punishable by death if the accused does not recant.” Of course, the Saudi royals live licentiously when abroad while posing as defenders of Islam at home.

Fourth is Somalia, another Muslim land. This area no longer constitutes a traditional nation. Alas, says Open Doors, “The overall persecution situation in Somalia tightened a bit more in the country. The main persecution engine is Islamic extremism.”

Iran, most in the news over fears that it might be developing nuclear weapons, ranks number five. “Religious persecution of certain minorities has intensified in Iran since 2005,” concludes Open Doors, including of Baha’is, Sufi Muslims, and Christians. Indeed, the group adds, “almost all Christian activity is illegal, especially when it occurs in Persian languages.” The regime has publicly denounced the expansion of Christianity, which it blamed on “the enemies of Islam.”

The Maldives comes next at six, a small island nation which simply bans other faiths. States Open Doors: “As every Maldivian citizen has to be Muslim, all deviant religious convictions are strictly forbidden.” Believers must “practice their faith in utmost secrecy, always in fear of being discovered.”

Number seven is Uzbekistan, where “All activities of unregistered churches are strictly forbidden, both inside and outside the churches. Youth activities are forbidden, outreaches are forbidden, seminars and training are forbidden.” Uzbekistan is a Muslim state that spent seven decades under Communism, a tragic mix almost guaranteeing religious persecution.

Also in the news is Yemen, which falls to eight on the World Watch List. Reports Open Doors: “Islam is the state religion and sharia is the source of all legislation. There is some religious freedom for foreigners, but evangelism is prohibited; several expatriate workers were deported in the past for Christian activities. Yemenis who leave Islam may face the death penalty as a result.”

Persecutor number nine is Iraq, a nation nominally liberated with American blood. Unfortunately, the U.S. invasion unleashed civil chaos and conflict which may have consumed 200,000 lives. The Christian community ended up as collateral damage. Explains Open Doors: “A true exodus of Christians is going on in Iraq. Christians are fleeing the country.” And for good reason: “Christian individuals are still being threatened, robbed, raped, or kidnapped and churches attacked.” Moreover, the situation is deteriorating even in Kurdistan, which until recently had been relatively safe for Christians.

Another not-so-loyal ally, Pakistan, rounds out the negative top ten. “Christians are a beleaguered minority… caught between Islamic militant organizations that routinely target Christians for violence, and an Islamizing culture that makes Christians feel less and less a part of Pakistan,” says Open Doors.

In eleventh place is Eritrea, a religiously mixed state ruled by one of the most viciously repressive governments in the world. Reports Open Doors: “Christians from the evangelical minority are pressurized to change or renounced their religion. They are tortured and forced to revert to the registered denominations. While no Christian has been killed in the last year, five Christians died in prison due to illness.”

Next at twelve comes backward Laos, still ruled by communists in a world in which communism has been largely relegated to academia, requires registration of religious groups, which are then controlled. Open Doors explains that “Other small independent Protestant congregations are under pressure and have been refused recognition. The activities of unrecognized churches are considered illegal by authorities, who detain and arrest their members and leaders under various pretexts.”

–  american spectator

Christian Ethnic groups abused by Burmese army

March 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Asia, Burma, newsletter-asia, Persecution

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Burma, March 26, 2012: A conference of over 1,000 Chin Christians was disrupted by Burmese soldiers, while a brutal military offensive against another predominantly Christian ethnic group continues.

Several soldiers interrupted the gathering of delegates from 80 local branches of the Chin Evangelical Church at Sabawngte village in Matupi Township, southern Chin state, on 10 March.

They rebuked the village headman for not informing them about the event, although permission had been obtained, as required for Christian gatherings, from the township general administrative office.

Pu Van Cin, a Chin MP from the Ethnic National Development Party, had a gun pointed at his stomach by an army captain when he tried to intervene.

The soldiers continued to disrupt the conference for the rest of the day, and at night, as the worship service was about to begin, a captain carrying a gun entered the makeshift church while ten soldiers stood guard around it. They returned to their camp the next day.

The conference, which ran from 8-13 March, then continued without further disruption.

The Chin are estimated to be 90% Christian. Most Christians in Burma are from non-Burman ethnic minorities; they are frequently targeted by the military because of both their faith and their ethnicity.

Salai Za Uk Ling, program director for the Chin Human Rights Organisation, said, “It is very difficult for Chin Christians to hold large gatherings without harassment and disruption.”

Brutal offensive continues

Elsewhere, in Kachin – another predominantly Christian state – the Burmese military is continuing its brutal offensive; this has led to the displacement of some 75,000 people, who are in desperate need of food, medicine and shelter.

Human Rights Watch said that the Burmese army has attacked Kachin villages, razed homes, pillaged properties, threatened and tortured civilians during interrogations and raped women. Children as young as 14 have been conscripted as forced labourers.

The military launched its offensive in Kachin State in June; it broke a 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Organisation, which controls the territory, by attacking ethnic forces.

Soldiers have seized churches, fired at worshippers and imposed severe restrictions on Christian activities.

Reforms commended

Burma has been commended by the international community for the recent human rights and pro-democracy reforms it has made, but continuing abuses against the predominantly Christian ethnic-minority groups show that the country still has a long way to go.

There is hope of further improvement, as by-elections on 1 April have been opened up to the opposition. The greatly respected pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is running for a seat in the national parliament.

– barnabas team

Marxists flay pope’s comments on communism

March 28, 2012 by  
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Kerala, March 27, 2012: The CPI-M dismissed it as the Pope’s personal observation that “held no weight”.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Kerala has dismissed Pope Benedict XVI’s view that communism is no longer relevant for the world.

S. Ramachandran Pillai, CPI-M polit bureau member and ideologue, said the Pope’s comment was his personal observation that didn’t carry much weight in the Indian context.

The senior party leader said in Kozhikode in the southern Indian state that the “pope is at liberty to make his opinions. We don’t take it seriously.”

The pontiff had during his five-day visit to Mexico and Cuba on March 23 said, “communism no longer works in Cuba and the Roman Catholic Church was ready to help the island nation find new ways of moving forward without ‘trauma’”.

He said that it is evident that the Marxist ideology, in the way it was conceived, no longer corresponds to reality today.

Pillai said that pope’s statement was incapable of driving Christians away from the communist party.

The 74-year-old suggested that the Catholic Church should collaborate with the party to better the lives of poor as “we share some common concern.”

“We can still collaborate without compromising on ideological stand,” he said.

Meanwhile, Catholic Church leaders in the state criticized the communist leader’s remarks against Pope.

“Pope’s comments on Marxism are rooted in reality. But the communists have failed to understand this social reality and are imprisoned in their vanity,” said Archbishop Joseph Powathil, archbishop emeritus of Changanassery.

He said that the communists will never understand their mistakes and continue to live with their failed dogmas.

The Communist Party of India was founded in the 1920s to create an alternative mass movement to the existing Congress anti-imperialist movement. It came into existence in Kerala in 1939.

The communists were the first elected party to rule Kerala state in 1957 ever since the Church and the party have been at loggerheads with each other.

In 1964, a large leftist faction of the CPI leadership, based predominantly in Kerala and West Bengal, split from the party to form the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

– ucan

26 from Maulana Mujaddidi’s Institute clear IAS *WB Budget: Rs 570 Cr for minorities

March 28, 2012 by  
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Maulana Mohammed Fazlur Rahim Mujaddidi

Madhya Pradesh, March 24, 2012: Twenty-six students of the Jaipur-based Crescent Academy have successfully cleared the Mains Exam of the IAS Examination, 2011, the results of which were declared on 1st March 2012.

These aspirants who have passed the examination are now a step away from their cherished goal of becoming topmost bureaucrats of the country if they are lucky enough to overcome the hurdle of the final stage of Interview. The personality test/interview has started from 19th March 2012.

Till date the Crescent Academy, in spite of limited infrastructure and resources, has been able to produce more than 62 IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, Judges and State Civil Servants throughout the country. Out of this 41 were selected in the IAS cadre while 21 in the State Civil Services Examination.

In the IAS cadre in the year 2010 ten candidates were selected from the Crescent Academy of which one was a Muslim. In 2009 nine were selected of which three were Muslims. In 2008 nine Muslims out of ten were selected to be IAS officers. In 2007, 2006 and 2005 six (four Muslims), three (two Muslims) & three (two Muslims) were selected.

Meanwhile, in the State Civil Services Examination out of 21 selected candidates so there have been 15 Muslims.

It may be mentioned here that Crescent Academy is run by an educational welfare trust registered under the Society Registration Act of 1860. Crescent Academy is a division of M. A. R. Educational Trust, established with a vision of providing proper guidance and training to the Civil Services aspirants with special emphasis on creating a sound academic environment. It was started, over a decade ago, by Maulana Mohammed Fazlur Rahim Mujaddidi, a great spiritual personality, academician and social activist of north India.

According to Maulana Mujaddidi, who is also a member of the Consultative Group for Empowerment of Minorities, Planning Commission of India, the new aspirants who want to appear in the examination of the elite services can visit the Crescent Academy’s website for details.

It may be pointed out here that Prof. Ziaul Hasan, retired Principle of Aligarh Muslim University Polytechnic, Aligarh and Mr. Mohammad Iqbal Khan, Director of Crescent Academy, Delhi, are the pathfinders of establishing, guiding and training the aspirants of various competitive examinations countrywide. They have lent their long academic and administrative experience of producing various Civil and Judicial servants for the services of the nation, And, it is a matter of pride that the Academy has succeeded in achieving its objective in such a short span of time.

– tcn

West Bengal budget: Rs 570 Cr for minority welfare


West Bengal, March 24, 2012: “Before presenting the full budget of this new Government, I would like to express my appreciation, gratitude and salaam to all the Ma-Mati-Manush of West Bengal. With the blessings, best wishes and dua of the people of Bengal, I am about to present this full budget.” This opening line of West Bengal Finance Minister Dr. Amit Mitra while presenting the first full budget of Mamata Banerjee government on Friday had words to please Muslims, but what the community got at the end of the budget speech was far below the expectations.

Dr. Mitra on 23rd March presented the Rs 3,28,468 crore Budget for West Bengal for the financial year of 2012-13. The budget has a total Plan outlay of Rs 23,371.44 crore while the estimated total deficit has been put at Rs 9 crore.

In this 3 lakh-plus crore budget the Department of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education, the nodal department of the state government for minority welfare schemes, will get Rs 570 crore. Though it is a 70% increase in the funds allocated to the department in the 2011-12 budget — last year the department had got Rs 330 crore – the amount of Rs 570 crore is not even 1% of the total budget amount. The Muslims constitute about 25% of the state population.

“The social and economic development of the weaker sections of society, the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and Women occupy the centre-stage in the proposed plan outlay of 2012-13,” said Dr. Mitra in his budget speech but did not make any announcement for actual schemes and plans for minorities.

The government has not announced any new scheme or fund for the community. Beyond the Rs 570 crore for minority department no other fund has been announced for any other scheme for minority. The minority community was hoping separate allocation for Alia University and share in the housing projects, but they have got disappointment.

Regarding Alia University, Dr. Mitra said the government has created a large number of teaching and nonteaching posts for Madrasahs and Aliah University. “During 2012-13, this Government proposes to provide sufficient funds for early construction of Aliah University campus and Haj Tower-Complex at Rajarhat,” said Dr. Mitra but did not announce any fund.

The Mamata government has also proposed to start an Employment Bank with skill development programme under the Aliah University to impart vocational skills to the minority youth for facilitating their placement in public and private sectors. Dr. Mitra also announced to enhance pre-matric and postmatric scholarships so that around 10 lakh students studying in different schools and madrasahs are brought under the scheme.

While Muslims were demanding share in housing projects underway in large number in the state, Dr. Mitra said construction of houses for poor persons belonging to minority community under the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and Geetanjali Scheme have been undertaken.

In his speech, Dr. Mitra mentioned Sachar Report. “The neglect of the minority community of the State has best been described in the Sachar Committee Report. Therefore there is nothing new to add to it,” he said.

– tcn

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