Bangla Constitutionalist: Christians are vital

August 29, 2013 by  
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Bangladeshi ChristiansBangladesh, August 28, 2013: Kamal Hossain, a prominent lawyer and one of the authors of the country’s constitution, spoke at the launch of a book written by Fr Albert Rozario, secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace. Although a minority, the contribution of Christians to the country’s education and health systems “is outstanding.”

Christians are minority in Bangladesh but they are number one in quality, this according to Kamal Hossian, a leading legal and constitutional expert who is credited as one of the main authors of the Constitution of Bangladesh.

Dr Hossain, who is a Muslim, spoke at the presentation of ‘A useful law book for Christians” by Fr Albert Rozario, secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace.

The event was held yesterday at the Press Club in Dhaka and was attended by more than 300 Christian leaders, lawyers, two archbishops and government officials.

Dr Hossain is a prominent figure in the political and cultural landscape of Bangladesh. During the War of Liberation (1971), he was arrested by the Pakistani government.

After the declaration of independence, he served the country in the first government of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

As Minister for Justice (1972-1973), he was one of drafters of the Constitution of Bangladesh, which was completed in 1972.

A long-standing member of the secular-oriented Awami League until 1990, he left the party over differences with its leader, Sheikh Hasina, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s daughter, and founded his own organisation, the Gano Forum, of which he is still president.

Dr Hossain studied at Notre Dame College, a Catholic school.

“My hope,” he said speaking about the book, “is that Christian lawyers can give a great contribution to the country.”

For Shafique Ahmed, a Muslim and current Minister for Justice, the book “is meant to help not only Christians, but people of all faiths, to bring peace and harmony to the country. Everybody should read it.”

– asianews

Democracy through peace. US attack is a criminal

August 29, 2013 by  
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Syria, August 28, 2013: The Catholic Patriarch of Antioch calls on Western countries to listen to the Pope’s appeal. Armed action will destroy any possibility of future dialogue and reconciliation. The Christians will be ghettoized. Without them, there can be no moderate Islam. The disappearance of Christians is a threat for the West and the Arab world.

U.S. attack is a criminal act“We must listen to the Pope’s appeal for peace in Syria. If western countries want to create true democracy then they must build it on reconciliation, through dialogue between Christians and Muslims, not with weapons. This attacked being planned by the United States is a criminal act, which will only reap more victims, in addition to the tens of thousands of these two years of war. This will destroy the Arab world’s trust in the West”, says Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkites. His appeal entrusted to AsiaNews comes just a few hours after rumors of an imminent United States attack against Damascus. The intervention is supported by other countries: France, Great Britain, Turkey and the Arab League. The religious leader has sent out Pope Francis’ August 25 appeal to all of Syria’s parishes.

“The voice of Christians – said the Patriarch – is that of the Holy Father. At this time we must be pragmatic. Syria needs stability and an armed attack against the government really has no sense at all”.

Gregory III asks, “What or who have led Syria to this thin red line, this point of no return? Who created this hell in which our people have been living for months?”. “Every day – he explains – Islamic extremists from all over the world are pouring into Syria with the sole intent to kill and not one country has done anything to stop them, even the U.S. has decided to send in more weapons.” The prelate stresses that the planned U.S. attack will affect the Syrian population above all and is no less serious than the use of chemical weapons.

According to the Patriarch, Western countries continue to support a non existent opposition, which has no authority on the ground in Syria. “All preparation for the Geneva 2 Conference  – he said – has been stopped. The word dialogue is now forgotten. For months the Western countries have wasted time in discussions, while people were dying under Assad’s bombs and attacks by Islamic al-Qaeda extremists. ”

Gregory III warns that a possible victory of the Islamists will give birth to a country divided into small enclaves, which will force Christians into a ghetto. “Our community dwindles every day. Young people are fleeing, families leave their homes and villages.” For the prelate, “the disappearance of the Christians is a danger not only for Syria, but for all of Europe.” “Our presence – he says – is the essential condition for a moderate Islam, which exists thanks to the Christians. If we leave, there can be no democracy in Syria. This is supported also by the Muslims themselves, who fear the Islamist’s madness . Many say that they cannot live where there are no Christians”. (S.C.)

– asianews

Questions From Jesus Christ

August 29, 2013 by  
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Important Questions

Lets take a look at some of the important questions asked by our Lord Jesus Christ. These are the questions that HE wants answers to.

Bread of life1. How many loaves do you have? (Matthew 15:34)

Loaf or bread represents my Word. You cannot survive with the earthly bread alone, you need ME, the bread that came down to give you eternal life. I am the Word made flesh. MY WORD is eternal. Strive therefore to LEARN MY WORD. How many scriptures do you know by-heart? Can you call to mind and recite at least a couple of them in a crisis? Do you practice living by MY WORD? Just as you satisfy your hunger better by having more loaves, the more the number of scriptures in your heart, the better your life.

Who do people say the Son of Man is?2. Who do people say the Son of Man is? (Matthew 16:13)

At Baptism you were given a responsibility and that was to bear witness to me. If today your friends and those close to you don’t experience my love through you, there is something seriously wrong with you and your life. What you show them is what they think I am. Your life as a Christian is so very ordinary that people around you don’t see the need for change. Sometimes the kind of witness you bear, gives them the feeling that they are better off being what they are. Isn’t it time your life became a testimony?

But who do you say that I am?3. But who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:15)

Am I a doctor who cures you, or a policeman who ensures law and order in your life, or a Judge who grants you justice? Am I a miracle man who works miracles? Seriously what is your answer? Who am I to you and what is the place that you have given me in your life? If you have grown in your relationship with me, you will declare what my disciple Thomas once declared – My Lord and My God.

 

Has no one condemned you? 4. Woman where are they, has no one condemned you? (John 8:10)

After all your sins and the damage that you have done to your chance of spending eternity with me, in my infinite mercy I am giving you another opportunity to start life afresh. I forgive you and urge you to set things right because I may not give you another chance.

Do you want to be well?

 

5. Do you want to be well? (John 5:6)

You are physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually ill. While a doctor may be able to heal you physically and a counselor or psychologist may heal you emotionally or intellectually, only my Word can heal you completely. Yes only my Word can heal you physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Establish a relationship with me and witness the change in your life.

Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?

6. Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God? (Luke 17:18)

When I work a miracle for non-Christians they respond by thanking me and dedicating their life to me. As a Catholic how have you responded to the many graces and blessings that I have showered on you? I am pained to see you living a life of ingratitude and recklessness.

why are you anxious?

7. If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest (Luke 12:26)

If you have no control over as small a thing as the hair on your head, why worry about your business, career, finances and relationships? Entrust them to me because I made them for you. Remember they were made for you. You are not made for them. Work for the spread of my Gospel and the glory of my Kingdom and watch how everything else in your life falls in line one by one. When you start working for me, I will start working over your business, career, finances and relationships.

So, could you not watch with me one hour?8. So, could you not watch with me one hour? (Matthew 26:40)

Until and unless you knowingly and willingly spend at least an hour in prayer with me how can you expect our relationship to grow stronger and better. I am not referring to your family prayers but to your personal prayer.

Do you believe I can do this9. Do you believe I can do this? (Matthew 9:28)

When you pray to me, do you believe in your heart of hearts that I am in control of your life and that I do everything for your good? Do you believe that you will receive that which you are praying for? What will be the status of your faith if I choose to give you an answer (to your prayer) that is different from what you anticipate. Will you still have faith in me and put your trust in me.

10. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life and what can one give in exchange for his life ? (Matthew 16:26)

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life and what can one give in exchange for his life ?You are a soul that has been granted a body for a specific mission. Know that your Soul is very precious and that it has been designed for eternity. I give you the option to choose where you want to spend eternity. Aim for heaven so that even if you are not able to make it, you will have a chance of entering it someday through what ever purification you undergo in purgatory. Do not aim for purgatory, because if you miss purgatory, then the place that you would go to is hell.

– laajan miranda / rufina d’souza

Archbishop Girelli to Vietnamese: Religious freedom, a right that every nation must respect

August 28, 2013 by  
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Vietnam, August 16, 2013: The non-resident representative of the Holy See has recently visited the Asian country, encountering different communities. He stressed the courage of the faithful, urging them to follow the example of Abraham “who believed in the love of God.” The enthusiasm of Catholics in meeting Pope Francis’s envoy.

Vietnamese Catholics Vietnamese Catholics “are a minority” of the population, but they can make a decisive contribution to the development of the nation by promoting “a true freedom of religion and conscience” as well as “basic Human Rights”, which every nation in the world “has the duty to respect.” This was the appeal made to the faithful by Msgr. Leopoldo Girelli, non-resident representative of the Holy See, in the course of a three-day visit Aug. 10 to 12. The Vatican diplomat visited the diocese of Vinh Long (for the second time, after the first trip in October 2011), Long Xueyn and other areas of the Mekong Delta, meeting tens of thousands of Catholics in celebrations for their meeting “with Pope Francis’s envoy”.

In Vinh Long, about 180 km from Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, Msgr. Girelli visited the parish of My Thanh. The second leg of the journey was a visit to the parish of Bo Ot in the neighboring Diocese of Long Xuyen, where he concelebrated a Mass with the local bishop, Msgr. Joseph Tan Xuan Tieu and 30 other priests, in the presence of more than 5 thousand faithful of the area and other neighboring parishes.

The enthusiasm of the Catholic community was great.  They viewed the papal representative’s visit as a sign that “the love of Jesus in our midst.” In his homily, Msgr. Girelli invited the faithful to pray and carry out charitable works following the example of Abraham “who obeyed the call of God.”

The Holy See’s non-resident representative’s visit also touched on the community of Cu Lao Gieng in the town of Gieng Isle, An Giang province, cradle of the local Catholic community, a land of missionaries and martyrs, including St. Peter Đoàn Công and St. Emmanuel Lê Văn Phụng. It is from these lands that the work of evangelization of Vietnam began, a country where Catholics represent 10% of the population and are often victims of persecution, abuses or violations of religious freedom by the communist authorities (local or central government).

In this vein Msgr. Girelli underlined the commitment to “the promotion of a true freedom of religion and conscience” because they are “the fundamental rights of every human being, with which every nation in the world has a duty to comply.” The prelate also expressed admiration and pride for the development of the Vietnamese Church and Catholic community, which has been able to “live with courage, faith, following the example of Abraham who always believed in the love of God.”

– asianews

Odisha: Anti-Christian pogroms strengthen faith & unity

August 28, 2013 by  
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Orissa, August 23, 2013: The Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar recalls the destruction of the violence of 2008 and speaks of how the Christians have been able to pick themselves up again. August 25 will mark five years since the beginning of pogroms. Today, Msgr. Barwa decribes his “pride” in the population of Kandhamal, for their efforts to rebuild homes, churches and the souls of those who survived.

People’s faith and unityThe pogroms in Kandhamal destroyed the lives, homes and holy places of the Christian community, but they have also given rise to a blossoming of the community’s faith and sense of fraternity, without distinction of caste or creed. This is the heart of the reflections made by Msgr. John Barwa SVD, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, to AsiaNews. August 25 will mark the fifth anniversary of the violent pogroms perpetrated by militant Hindu ultra-nationalists, that devastated the Christian community. The prelate speaks of his pride in his community “for our faith” and “the constant and serious effort to translate words into action.” Below we publish the reflection of Msgr. Barwa given exclusively to AsiaNews.

The famous observation of Church father Tertullian (160-220 AD), “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” has become a reality, in the growing church of Kandhamal, Odisha, eastern India.

The Mission in Kandhamal (a part of then known as Cuttack Mission) was started by the MSFS missionaries, followed by CM Priests. On June 1, 1947 this Mission was elevated to Mission Sui Juries of Cuttack by Pope Pius XI. With the commitment and dedication of the pioneering missionaries facing every hurdle with courage and confidence, the mission grew in leaps and bounds. On January 24, 1974 Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar was created. The Archdiocese has an area of 12,529 square miles, with a total population of 11,554,700. About 160,000 are Christians, and about 64,000 of who are Catholics.

Any growth is a process, which demands pruning, testing and sufferings. Within a span of 70 years, Kandhamal, where majority of Catholics of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar live, faced untold persecution for their faith in August 2008.

During the persecutions some 400 villages had been purged of all Christians, more than 6000 houses, 340 Churches, village chapels, dispensaries, and schools were burnt and destroyed, thousands were injured, several women and young girls including a nun, gang raped, and around 60,000 men, women and children rendered homeless. Total number of 75 persons (22 Catholics, 28 Baptists, 12 Pentecostals, 4 CNI, 1 Independent Church and 8 non-Christian tribals) including the financial in-charge of the Archdiocese were brutally murdered.

But after five years of the persecutions, I feel proud of my people of the Archdiocese. Today when I visit the corners of my Archdiocese, to bless and inaugurate the churches, village chapels, and to visit their villages, large numbers of people not only the Christians, but also others gather and participate in the celebrations with the words, “Persecutors destroyed and burnt our houses, property and massacred our beloved ones, but they could not destroy our faith and could not separate us from Jesus. We are proud to be Christians and proud of our faith.”Today this voice is becoming louder and clearer day by day. It is the words that are heard, but there is constant and serious effort to translate it in actions and relationships. These sincere efforts of my people are clear sign of their growing in faith. Though they are poor and illiterates, rich in faith and I am proud of my people.

As shepherd of this persecuted land, I am invited to many countries around the globe to share “the growing faith of the persecuted people of Kandhamal”. And during my visits, many do ask me the challenging question “you rebuilt houses and institutions… but there is rumor that persecutions will be repeated?” And my answer to this query is, “trusting in God we live, and make every effort as individual and community, through the socio-pastoral wings of the archdiocese with inclusive in words, actions and undertakings and build up ‘a peaceful Kandhamal’. Yes, after all our efforts, if there is again persecution!!! We only surrender ourselves to God and say, ‘Let Thy will be done, O God’!!!

Besides, today this mission that faced the violent persecutions has become the hub of Religious-Priestly Vocations and has become a Missionary Sending Region.

In line with the observation of Tertullian, faith in Odisha is growing precisely because of its violent persecution. Whatever may be the relative of such a discussion there can be no disagreement that Christians in Odisha have suffered painfully. And yet this persecution has made the faith stronger and has helped young and old people realize the value of faith, commitment and dedication.

The growing distinctions and divisions among Christian denominations in Odisha, in Kandhamal in particular, were evident. In the aftermath of persecutions, there have been strong bonds of unity, communion and fellow feeling. One single voice is heard from everyone today irrespective of caste and creed, “We need peace and harmony-not violence. Anyone promoting or perpetuating violence is against peace.”

Within the span of five years, we have received support (both financial and spiritual) from far and wide in our efforts in rebuilding Kandhamal. With your generosity, we have built up most of the destroyed houses and churches, and we thank everyone wholeheartedly. However, our endeavors of rebuilding   institutions, village chapels along with livelihood and the future of our people, women, youth and children have to continue. We are committed to empower people of all sections, especially the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged groups in their struggles for justice and peace.

The anti-Christian persecutions took place five years ago. As we mark the painful events, we remember and pray for those brave souls, and those who stand by us. Thus, let our pledge today and always be of promoting peace, justice and hope to all at all cost.

– asianews

TN: Protestant, Catholic Church divided over sand mining

August 28, 2013 by  
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sand miningTamil Nadu, August 22, 2013: The Tamil Nadu govt. had clamped a ban on sand mining to crack down on illegal mining.

The protestant and Catholic Church in Tamil Nadu seems to be divided over the state government’s ban on mining of beach sand.

Days after a former bishop of the Church of South India for Tuticorin-Tirunelveli diocese, Jayapaul David urged the government to lift the ban on sand mining, the Roman Catholic bishop Yvonne Ambrose of Tuticorin has declared support for the ban.

Addressing the media in Tuticorin yesterday, bishop Ambrose said sand mining companies were illegally quarrying the mineral rich sand, which has deeply impacted the lives of fishing communities.

It destroys the environment as well social peace in coastal villages, he claimed.

“The special committee should seek the opinion of fishing community and fisheries officials about the environmental degradation to marine life due to sand mining. The probe should also be extended to coastal region of Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari where sand mining continues,” he said.

“We place this demand on behalf of the clergy, religious communities and laity as well as all fishermen federations of Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts,” he said. Currently, beach sand mining is banned only in Tuticorin district.

The bishop said many people living in the coastal region were afflicted by diseases caused due to processing of the mineral sand.

He demanded the arrest of sand miners who have been involved in illegal mining in the region for more than 15 to 20 years and demanded a total ban on mining as ordered by the National Green Tribunal.

He also urged the government to seize minerals hoarded by mining companies in warehouses and attach properties that were acquired through illegal mining.

The bishop added that fishermen have been protesting for the past 15 years.

Bishop Ambrose’s public endorsement of the government action has come just two days after bishop David submitted a petition to the special committee seeking removal of the ban on sand mining.

In his petition, he reasoned that the mineral sand is available in the Indian peninsula and the state and central government have allowed it to be mined.

Sand mining has been a source of livelihood for people in the region for the past 40 years, especially in areas which receive scanty rain, he argued.

– times of india

Jharkand: Adivasis agitate for removal of ‘tribal’ Mary statue

August 28, 2013 by  
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The Mary statue dressed in a traditional tribal attireRanchi, August 27, 2013: Religious leaders of the Sarna tribe have announced an agitation this December demanding that a statue of Virgin Mary be removed from a Catholic parish church in Singpur.

The religious leaders described the statue Virgin Mary, hair tied in a bun, dressed as a tribal woman in a traditional red and white sari, wearing bangles and depicted holding an infant in a sling as a proselytising ploy. Sarna religious leaders announced the agitation after the police imposed IPC Section 144 and stopped them from marching to the church in question on Sunday.

“We met the church representatives in May and had offered them three months to remove the statue. But the talks broke down because they ignored our request. They have dressed the statue in our traditional clothes so that over time the nature-worshipping tribals here start associating Mother with a tribal woman. This is a strategy for conversion and to attack our distinct culture,” said Sarna dharamguru Bandhan Tigga.

“We have announced our agitation to oppose not just this but other attacks on our faith in Bible Society publications which give false accounts of our religious practices describing them as uncivilised,” he alleged.

Sarna tribals protesting against Mary statueMore than 27 Sarna religious groups have publicly demanded the removal of the statue, unveiled by the Archbishop of Ranchi Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, since May.Earlier in July, in villages near Ormanjhi, 20 km from Ranchi, members of the Protestant Assembly of God church had reported that some Sarna Adivasi leaders had threatened them with violence if their families did not convert back to the Sarna faith — a threat they said had occurred a few days after the statue controversy erupted.

“Three days after the statue was unveiled by Catholic priests, the Sarna society leaders called some families who had converted to Christianity several years ago in Ormanjhi and gave them a week to convert back to the Sarna faith. A week later, some men from the same group arrived in the village and broke the gate of one of our community member’s house,” said the pastor of a church in Ormanjhi who did not wish to be identified. A First Information Report was registered in the Ormanjhi police station.

The Catholic church has so far refrained from commenting on the controversy. “We wish to remain silent and have had no discussions amongst ourselves on this subject,” said Father Theodore Toppo.

“This is not a constructive approach by leaders of the Sarna faith and takes the focus away from more serious issues that affect tribals of all faiths, such as tribals’ rights to resources and land and their other constitutional rights. At the same time, the church representatives should come out of their shell, be gracious and offer to remove the statue and make a clear statement that we do not wish to offend anyone’s sentiments,” said Father Stan Swamy, a social activist.

– the hindu

Orissa riot victims demand terror probe

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Orissa riot victims New Delhi, August 26, 2013: Five years on and justice remains elusive, they say.

Victims of the 2008 anti-Christian violence in eastern India have demanded an investigation by the country’s top anti-terror agency into the riots that killed scores of people and displaced thousands.

The Christians made the demand on Sunday as they observed the fifth anniversary of the riots in Orissa’s Kandhamal district.

In a seven-week rampage beginning on August 25, groups of fanatic Hindus burned Christian homes, churches and convents, killing some 100 people and displacing at least 50,000.

To mark the anniversary, at least 300 people, including members of civil society groups and church leaders, staged a rally in Bhubaneswar, the state capital, on Sunday and submitted a list of demands for the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, and state governor SC Jamir.

One of the demands was an in-depth investigation by the National Investigating Agency (NIA).

Father Ajay Singh, who is fighting for justice for the Kandhamal victims, told ucanews.com that there has been no action from the state government in the last five years to provide justice for victims. He added that many believe the violence was part of an organized terror campaign.

Other demands from the victims include a special rehabilitation program, restoration of their livelihoods and better security. They also asked for the repeal of a state law that they say limits religious freedom for Christians.

Jugal Ranjit, convener of an Orissa minority forum, accused the state government of being non-committal on the issues stemming from the violence.

“There are several government officials who have communal mindsets and put up barriers that hinder the delivery of justice to victims,” he said.

– ucanews

“Remember the Promises in His Word”

August 28, 2013 by  
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God gives hope“Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.“  Psalm 119:49

Whatever your specific need is, you will likely find a promise about it in the Bible.
Are you feeling wearied and weak because your life has been troubling and tiring?

Here is the promise: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)

When you read such a promise, take it back to our great God who promised it, and ask Him to fulfill His own word.
Are you seeking after Christ, and yearning for closer relationship with Him?

blessed are those who hungerThis promise shines like a star upon you: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

Take that promise to God’s throne continually.

Do not plead anything else, but go to God over and over again, praying

“Lord, You have said it, I humbly ask that You do as You have said.”
Are you distressed because of sin, and burdened with the heavy load of your wrongdoings?

Listen to these words: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25)

MountainsYou have no worth of your own to deserve God’s pardon, but plead His written promises and He will perform them.
Are you afraid that you won’t be able to persevere to the end?

Do you fear that, after having thought yourself to be a child of God, you might instead be a ‘castaway’?

Take this word of grace to God’s throne and plead it:

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.” (Isaiah 54:10)

If you have lost the sweet sense of the Savior’s presence, and are seeking Him with a sorrowful heart, remember these promises: “Return to me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7)

God's Compassionand “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.” (Isaiah 54:7)

Rest your faith upon God’s own word, and whatever your fears or desires, look to God’s

“Bank of Faith” in your Father’s written word, saying,

“Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.”

Question: Which of God’s promises that you just read resonated most powerfully with you, and why?

Psalms 119

– fwd: vcmathews

 

Iranian sent into exile for evangelistic activities

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Iran, August 27, 2013: An Iranian convert from Islam to Christianity has been sentenced to serve a year in jail followed by two years in exile in a remote border town for his evangelistic activities.

Ebrahim Firouzi was said to be “propagating against the Islamic regime”

Ebrahim Firouzi was said to be “propagating against the Islamic regime”

Ebrahim Firouzi of Robat-Karim was accused of starting and directing an evangelism group, launching a Christian website, distributing Bibles and Christian literature and attending house churches. The judge described such activities as “propagating against the Islamic regime” and said that Ebrahim was “an anti-Islamic Revolution agent inside the country”.

He was tried in July, and the court’s verdict was delivered to him last week. It said:

According to the court’s decision, evangelism activities of the accused, Ebrahim Firouzi, are considered to be in opposition to the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and thus the court condemns him to one year of imprisonment.

After Ebrahim has completed his jail term, he will then be exiled to a remote town near theIran-Pakistan border for two years.

He was arrested on 7 March when four plainclothes security officers raided his workplace. Ebrahim was subjected to intense interrogation for ten consecutive days and held for nearly two months before being temporarily released on bail.

He had previously been in trouble with the authorities because of his Christian activities; Ebrahim spent 154 days in custody following his first arrest in January 2011.

PRISONER UPDATES

Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year jail term for planting house churches, has been suffering internal bleeding as a result of beatings in prison. The pain has intensified to such a level that, at one point, it caused him to faint.

Having previously been denied medical treatment, Saeed has now been allowed to receive treatment from a hospital doctor.

Another Christian prisoner, Farshid Fathi, who was jailed for six years in March 2012, has told in a letter how he has been subjected to severe mental torture by interrogators and prison guards. The father of two wrote:

I was told falsely that my wife had been arrested as well and that I needed to give my children’s custody to someone for a temporary period of time. I was also informed falsely that my dad had a heart attack and was hospitalised. Then they wouldn’t give me any follow-up news on whether he was dead or alive, while it was all intended to put me under mental pressure.

His wife and children have actually left Iran because of the pressure they were under from the Iranian authorities. They fled to Turkey in August 2011, then successfully applied for refugee status in Canada, where they moved in February.

– barnabas team

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