Maharashtra: Backward Muslims seek reservations

November 27, 2013 by  
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Maharashtra MuslimsMumbai, November 27, 2013: Thousands of backward class Muslims staged a dharna in the Maharashtra capital Wednesday, seeking reservations as available to other backward classes in the country for jobs, housing and in education.

Organised by various Muslim groups, the protest drew support from various political parties including the Awami Vikas Party (AVP), the Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party.

Several speakers pointed out that Muslims comprise 14 percent of India’s population but their representation in various elected and statutory bodies was insignificant.

AVP chief Shamsher Khan Pathan said in 2009 only 28 Muslims were elected to parliament; barely five percent of parliament’s strength comprised Muslims, he added.

“We are not asking reservations for all Muslims but the government must at least give reservation in all spheres, education, jobs and housing, for the backward class Muslims on the lines given to other backward classes in the country,” Pathan said.

The sit-in demonstration was held after the recent report of a seven-member commission headed by retired IAS officer Mehmood ur-Rehman recommended reservations for the community.

Former MP Aijaz Ali demanded a quota system to rectify the low representation of Muslims in various elected bodies in the country like state legislatures and parliament.

Ali said that barring a provision for Anglo-Indian representation, there is no constitutional provision for quotas for minorities or backward castes in the legislatures or parliament.

Demanding suitable legislative amendments, the speakers said that if the Muslim backward classes were not given reservation by Aug 10 next year they would intensify their agitation.

State teachers’ leader and legislator Kapil Patil, Nationalist Congress Party state working president Jitendra Awhad and other leaders also addressed the gathering which had a significant presence of Muslim women.

– ians

Where did the Church of England go wrong?

November 27, 2013 by  
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Archbishop of Canterbury Lord CareyUnited Kingdom, November 24, 2013: A senior figure predicts imminent extinction. How did it get so bad?

Christianity is dead in England – or at least it could be in a generation, says former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey.

“In many parts of Britain churches are struggling, some priests are diffident and lack confidence; a feeling of defeat is around… The burden seems heavy and joy in ministry has been replaced by a feeling of heaviness.”

His comments come in response to a report given at the Anglican Church’s recent General Synod which warned that shrinking congregations are an existential threat to the centuries-old national institution. According to the report, only 807,000 Englishmen attend Anglican services on a typical Sunday. That number represents just 1.5% of England’s population of 53 million.

In the land that built the beautiful Westminster Abbey, helpedevangelize Europe, and inspired the Inklings, what went wrong?

The Irrelevance of Relevance

“Church of England is dying because it has opted for the course taken by liberal Protestantism,” says Paul Gondreau, Professor of Theology at Providence College, “which is to say a course that conforms itself more and more to the modern secular world.”

“Rather than acting as an agent of evangelization, the Church of England, no doubt eager to demonstrate its modern ‘relevance’, has gone too far to the other extreme and has compromised its Christian identity (the ordination of openly homosexual ministers and the ordination of women provide two obvious examples). It is well known, for example, that the principle draw and defining element of Anglican liturgy is nothing at bottom theological, but aesthetic only.

“That the new Archbishop of Canterbury seems extremely favorably disposed to Catholicism, and even willing to take the Church of England in a more ‘Catholic’ direction, indicates that he sees the trend to secularism in the Church of England as spelling its doom.”

Academic Dean of Evangelization for the Diocese of Paterson Allan Wright also puts the blame for the decline of Christianity on Christians not staying true to the faith. “We can point to cultural changes and attitudes, an increased secular culture but more pointedly Christians themselves share in the downfall of Christianity through poor catechists, lack of family involvement in faith formation in the home and through Church leaders who seek the approval of the current social leadership rather than being disciples and witnesses to Christ.”

– aleteia org

Saudi and Kuwait get tough on outspoken clerics

November 27, 2013 by  
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Saudi Arabia, November 27, 2013: Fears of political rabble rousing lead to sackings and suspensions.

Saudi and KuwaitSaudi Arabia and Kuwait have been quietly reining in their clerics on concerns that preachers could use their influence to stir up trouble and inflame sectarian divisions at a time of high tension over the crises in Syria and Egypt.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to a powerful conservative clergy, have declined to respond to local media reports in recent months which said nearly 20 clerics had been sacked or suspended.

In Kuwait, which has a relatively open political system compared to other Gulf Arab states, the authorities have resumed the monitoring of sermons, pulled a television preacher off the air and deported a foreign imam.

The developments in the two monarchies follow the dramatic rise and fall in Egypt of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which offers a populist religious alternative to dynastic rule and has supporters in the Gulf.

The Egyptian army angered some influential clerics and ordinary citizens in the region in July and August when it overthrew the then president, Mohammad Mursi, a Brotherhood member who remains in prison, and clamped down on his supporters, killing hundreds of people. Both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have pledged to support the new Egyptian government.

“There is a more heightened sensitivity to the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and of political activity in general,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, a Middle East research group.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will continue to be “fairly uncompromising of perceived Muslim Brotherhood activities and anyone perceived to be supporting them”.

– reuters faith world


Nigeria: Children killed in almost daily attacks on Christians

November 27, 2013 by  
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Luka Yohanna Kpagyang (35) was killed along with his wife, two daughters and parents

Luka Yohanna Kpagyang (35) was killed along with his wife, two daughters and parents

Nigeria, November 27, 2013: Attacks on Christians by ethnic Fulani Muslims in Northern and Middle Belt Nigeria are being carried “almost on a daily basis”; four children have been killed in recent incidents.

On the evening of 4 November, four members of one family were murdered by suspected Fulani Muslims in Rantis village, Plateau state. The gunmen killed Joel Pam (50), his wife Jemimah Pam (40), and two of their children, Joseph (4) and Jephtah (2), in a raid on their home. Their two other children, Alfa (15) and Susannah (10), were injured in the attack.

Their pastor, the Rev. Dacholom Datiri of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), said:

These attacks are on the increase as they are being carried out against our church members almost on a daily basis, and the security personnel seem helpless in checking them.

Last month, Fulani Muslim herdsmen killed ten Christians in three villages in Plateau state; eight of them were members of the same family.

The Muslims first attacked Zatsitsa-Kudeson village on the night of 9 October, killing Sati Yaro (55) and injuring two others.

They then moved on to Kukyek village, around three miles away, where they targeted the home of a large Christian family. Luka Yohanna Kpagyang (35), his wife, Laraba Luka Kpagyang (30), two of their children, Dorothy (10) and Hope (6), his parents, Yohanna Kpagyang (80) and Vou Yohanna Kpagyang (70), his nephew Shadrach Daniel Kpagyang (21) and Shadrach’s wife Joyce (20) were all shot dead.

Two youngsters survived the assault but suffered injuries: Luka and Laraba’s other daughter, Lovina (8), and Shadrach and Joyce’s seven-month-old baby, Jaconiah.

A tenth Christian, Nuhu Pam Hwyere (60), was killed as the gunmen moved on to Chehwyanang village.

The rampage went unchecked from 11pm to 8am the next morning. The Fulani Muslims had already retreated when the security forces finally arrived.

The authorities have been trying to dismiss a sectarian motive for the violence, saying that the murders were related to cattle-rustling. There was, however, no evidence of cattle ownership at the home in Kukyek village, where eight members of the Kpagyang family were killed.

According to Morning Star News:

Christians believe Islamic extremist groups have increasingly incited Fulani Muslims to attack them in Plateau state as well as in Kaduna, Bauchi, Nasarawa and Benue states. They fear that Fulani herdsmen, with backing from Islamic extremist groups, want to take over the predominantly Christian areas in order to acquire land for grazing, stockpile arms and expand Islamic territory.

– barnabas team

Winds of Forgiveness

November 27, 2013 by  
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Winds of ForgivenessTwo friends were walking through the desert. During some point of the journey, they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: “Today my best friend slapped me in the face.” They kept on walking, until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: “Today my best friend saved my life.”

Winds of ForgivenessThe friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The friend replied, when someone hurts us we should write it down in sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

Winds of ForgivenessAwesome! Without forgiveness, there is no future. We could add to the statement in several ways without changing its basic meaning:  Without forgiveness, there is no freedom. Without forgiveness, there is no recovery. Without forgiveness, there is no healing. This joy is as abundant, as rich and as unlimited as the Lord’s abundant forgiveness of us. It is my prayer that you would experience this forgiveness, practice this forgiveness and, in so doing, receive this joy.

– fwd: divya kaushalya


Take time to show that you Care

November 26, 2013 by  
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Divorce after 35 years !!

SonAn elderly man in Mumbai calls his son in New York and says, ‘I hate to ruin your day son,

but I have to tell you that your mother and I are getting a divorce; 35 years of marriage… and that much misery is enough!’

‘Dad, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.

‘We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,’ the old man says.

daughter‘We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Hong Kong and tell her!’

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.

‘Like heck they’re getting divorced,’ she shouts, ‘I’ll take care of this.’

She calls Mumbai immediately, and screams at the old man, ‘You are not getting divorced.

ParentsDon’t do a single thing until I get there.

I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow.

Until then , don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR??’ and she hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife.

‘Okay’, he says, ‘It’s all set.

They’re both coming for our anniversary and paying their own airfare!!’


No man / woman is busy in this world all 365 days.

The sky is not going to fall down if you take few days LEAVE and meet your dear ones.

OFFICE WORK or MONEY MAKING is not everything in life !!!!

– fwd: vc mathews


Reject all parties, Muslims told. Should Christians do the same?

November 26, 2013 by  
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Reject all parties, Muslims told Should Christians do the same?New Delhi, November 25, 2013: Muslim religious leaders Monday told Muslim voters to reject all political parties in the ongoing assembly elections, accusing politicians of using the community as a vote bank.

“We appeal to Muslims not to vote for the so-called secular parties and exercise the ‘NOTA’ option to express their anger and anguish against all political groups,” Mufti Ishtiaq Hussain Qadri told a gathering of over 1,000 religious heads of Islamic institutions here.

He was addressing a meeting held under the banner of the All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islami of Baralive sect.

Manan Raza Khan, Shah Farhat Ahmed Jamali of Rampur, Darul Uloom rector Raipur Maulana Akhbar Ali Farooq and a large number of religious scholars from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal attended it.

Mufti Istiaq said Muslims remained socially, economically and educationally backward despite decades of Congress rule.

The Bharatiya Janata Party too pursued a policy of alienating Muslims, he said.

So there was no other choice for Muslims — India’s largest minority — but to opt for NOTA (None of the Above) in the electronic voting machines or ballot papers, rejecting all candidates in the fray.

According to the Mufti, this would send out a message that no one can take minorities for granted.

He said NOTA was the “best weapon” in the hands of minorities. “We must utilise it.”

Maulana Mazhar Ali Qadri said minorities had suffered enormously even under Congress rule.

“Muslims are not going to lose anything by exercising the NOTA option. It will be a loss to the so-called secular parties who always exploit Muslims for their political objectives.

“Minorities are remembered only at the time of elections.”

The meeting criticized the Uttar Pradesh government for allegedly doing nothing to extend relief to Muslim victims of the Muzaffarnagar communal riots of September.

More than 50,000 people were still in relief camps, the participants at the meeting said.

Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party, which claimed to be a protector of minorities, had “miserably failed to curb communal forces” in the state, the speakers said.

– ians

GFA: Anti-Christians are coming down hard

November 26, 2013 by  
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Anti-Christians are coming down hardIndia, November 22, 2013: One Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center was closed November 17 after extremists forced the landlord to stop renting space to the program. They also threatened to kill staff members if they stay in the area.

On November 16, the center’s staff held a medical camp for the students, followed by other activities. At around 4:30 p.m., a group of more than 300 people from a nearby village came to the Bridge of Hope center and told the staff to leave the cluster of local villages as soon as possible.

“We will not allow any Christian activity in our village, even if it is social work,” they said, while others shouted anti-Christian slogans and verbally abused the staff.

The staff talked with the protestors for nearly an hour, explaining the activities of the center and how they help impoverished children, but the crowd was unmoved. They called the landlord of the house and threatened to banish him from the village if he continued to allow the program to operate in his building.

At the homeowner’s request, the staff brought all the center’s supplies to a local believer’s house. The following afternoon, however, more anti-Christian groups arrived in the village, many bearing weapons.

They told the staff to leave the area, saying, “We will not allow any work of Christians in this area. If you do not obey, we will take your lives.”

Upper caste groups, who are a minority in India, often oppose the education of lower caste and Dalit (“Untouchable”) children. However, this is the first time such a severe campaign has been mounted against a Bridge of Hope center, marking an increase in persecution.

The center’s closing means a loss of free education, food, and medical care to more than 100 local children, many of whom come from Dalit backgrounds and will be unable to receive an education apart from the Bridge of Hope program.

“It breaks our heart to see adults who should be the protectors of these children become the roadblocks to their future and hope of a better life,” said K.P. Yohannan, the founder and international director of Gospel for Asia.

The Bridge of Hope staff and local church ask for the prayers of fellow believers as they determine how to serve the community at this time.

“We will do all we can to ensure that these children will continue to have the future they deserve,” Yohannan said.

Pray for the protection of the Bridge of Hope staff, local believers, and everyone in the area who stands in support of the Bridge of Hope. Pray for wisdom as GFA staff determines its response to the anti-Christians’ demands. Pray for open eyes and softened hearts in the people who are making threats against believers.

– mnnonline

Rajasthan: BJP manifesto has offers for Muslims too. What about Christians?

November 26, 2013 by  
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BJP manifesto in RajasthanRajasthan, November 20, 2013: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday released its populist manifesto that include many freebies for minorities as well. However, there is nothing extraordinary in the manifesto for minorities.

The government plans to encourage education and vocational courses for girls in minority concentrated regions and to grant special loans for women engaged in traditional craft industries like kite making, stitching, dying, etc.

BJP has also assured systematic recording and management of Wakf properties. Wakf properties confiscated by government or semi government bodies would be freed and all court judgments pertaining to Wakf disputes would be implemented, if BJP comes to power the manifesto says. Rents due against Wakf properties by various government departments would be released within six months, it says.

If BJP comes to power it promises to modernize and computerize madrssas and as a pilot project madrassas would be linked with vocational education.

The party has promised scholarships and arrangement of hostel facilities for meritorious minority students for meritorious minority students in hostels. It promises to grant special attention towards education and employment opportunities of minority youth.

Further BJP has assured special schemes for fencing and erecting boundary walls around burial grounds.

However, the manifesto is silent on the critical issue of reservation and communal riots.

BJP has fielded four Muslim candidates in the state in the coming elections.

– twocircles

Barnabas Briefs 20 November 2013

November 26, 2013 by  
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People caught with bibles among 80 killed in public executionsPeople caught in possession of a Bible were among 80 killed in public executions in seven North Korean cities on 3 November.

Witnesses of one of the executions, in Wonsan, said that eight people were tied to stakes at a local stadium, had their heads covered with sacks and were then killed by machine-gun fire. Around 10,000 people, including children, were forced to watch.

Those executed were mostly accused of minor “offences” such as watching or illegally trafficking South Korean films. “Accomplices” or relatives who were implicated in the “crimes” were sent to prison camps.


Al-Shabaab militantsA Christian father of five, whose wife is pregnant with their sixth child, was shot dead by suspected al-Shabaab militants as he was coming home from work.

Abdikhani Hassan was killed by two gunmen on 20 October after closing his pharmacy in the Dharkenley district of the capital, Mogadishu.

Before the shooting, one of the attackers told Abdikhani’s Muslim neighbour, “We have information that Hassan is spreading wrong religion to our people, and we are looking for him.”

Al-Shabaab, which has vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, is believed to be behind the murders of numerous converts from Islam in the country.


Christian PrisonerA Christian prisoner in Iran who is in critical ill-health has finally been allowed to undergo urgently needed surgery – but has been ordered to make up the time away from prison.

Vahid Hakkani, whose sentence of three years and eight months was upheld by an appeal court last month, was suffering internal bleeding that had progressively deteriorated during his time in detention. At times he was losing 300cc of blood in a single day.

He was told months ago by prison doctors that he urgently needed surgery, but officials refused to arrange a transfer to hospital. A two-month leave permit was eventually granted by a judge on the condition that Vahid post bail of around US$70,000 and make up the time he spends in hospital.

– morning star news / barnabas team

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