Morningstar News http://morningstarnews.org First Light Before the Dawn Thu, 14 May 2015 21:22:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pastor, More than 70 Christians Killed in Plateau State, Nigeria http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/pastor-more-than-70-christians-killed-in-plateau-state-nigeria/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/pastor-more-than-70-christians-killed-in-plateau-state-nigeria/#respond Thu, 14 May 2015 21:22:07 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4391 Ethnic Fulani Muslim herdsman. (Wikipedia)

Ethnic Fulani Muslim herdsman. (Wikipedia)

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Gunmen killed a church pastor and more than 70 other Christians in Plateau state in the past month, sources said.

Setting fire to church buildings and houses in attacks that continued this week, Fulani Muslim herdsmen on May 2 killed the Rev. Luka Gwom of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in the town of Foron, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area (LGA).

A member of the slain pastor’s congregation identified only as Paulina was also killed. A Christian community leader in Foron, Ishaku Pam, confirmed the killing of pastor Gwom, whom he said was his pastor, and said Paulina had gotten married in the church two weeks before.

Muslim herdsmen also launched attacks on Monday (May 11) in Plateau state’s Riyom LGA, a source told Morning Star News in a text message.

“The jihadists, in their quest to eliminate Christians in Plateau state and their thirst for blood, have succeeded in killing Christians and burning their houses,” wrote Gyang, whose full name is withheld for his protection, on Monday. “They are right now attacking Rim, Bangai, Gwon, Wereng, Ringya and Sopp.”

Those attacks left seven Christians dead, he said on Thursday (May 14).

In the Barkin Ladi LGA, he said a “mass burial” took place in Foron on May 4 for 27 Christians killed on May 2. Another area source confirmed the deaths.

“I was at the burial of the Christians killed in the Foron attack, and we counted 27 corpses,” he told Morning Star News.

In two other attacks in the area that day, 17 Christians were killed in Vat village, and 13 other Christians were slain in Zakupang, sources said. The victims included women and children.

Gyang said on May 7 that Fulani Muslims attacked Rim, in Riyom LGA.

“I was at Rim yesterday for a burial when a large number well-armed Fulanis came to attack the village,” he said. “This led to the killing of two of our community members on the farm. You’re aware that we in Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGAs have been under siege and invasion. Lives have been lost almost every day, and [there is] no serious action from any quarter by the government. But we are still faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The attacks in Riyom and Barkin Ladi appeared to have no connection with Fulani accusations of cattle-rustling by youths from predominantly Christian tribes in Wase LGA, more than 160 miles away, in the past few weeks. A spokesman for the Special Task Force established to check attacks in Plateau State, however, made vague reference to cattle-rustling as the cause of violence in Barkin Ladi, according to Nigerian news reports.

Gyang said on April 30 that two Christians who were returning from a burial were killed in an ambush in Barkin Ladi the previous day, and “four other Christians have just been killed in Kwi, in the Riyom Local Government Area.”

On April 25, he reported a prior attack.

“Fulani Herdsmen have continued with their invasion of Christian communities here,” he said in a text message. “The village of Shonong is under attack. Six Christians have also been killed in Kwi, Torok, and Rim, all in Riyom.”

Five Christians were killed in the attack on Shonong village; one was killed in Torok; two were killed in Kapwen; and two were killed in Rim village, he said.

Christians in Barkin Ladi and Riyom have faced increasing attacks from Muslim militants and Muslim Fulani herdsmen in the past decade.

Emmanuel Loman, chairman of the Barkin Ladi Local Government Council, confirmed the killings in Barkin Ladi. He called on the Nigerian government to take urgent security measures to curtail attacks by the herdsmen.

Muslim herdsmen have long attacked settled Christian farmers in Plateau, Bauchi, Kaduna, Taraba and Adamawa states, but in the past year analysts have begun to see some ties between the assailants and Islamic extremist groups keen to exploit longstanding ethnic, property and religious conflicts.

Church leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria. Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.

Ethnic Fulani gunmen shouting the jihadist chant “Allahu Akbar” attacked three villages in Nigeria’s Plateau state in September, burning down a church building and killing at least 10 Christians.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.   

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 Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

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South Sudanese Church Leaders Jailed in Sudan Charged, Could Face Death Penalty http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/south-sudanese-church-leaders-jailed-in-sudan-charged-could-face-death-penalty/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/south-sudanese-church-leaders-jailed-in-sudan-charged-could-face-death-penalty/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 11:00:32 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4380 The Rev. Peter Yein Reith. (Morning Star News)

The Rev. Peter Yein Reith. (Morning Star News)

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – Sudanese authorities have charged two South Sudanese pastors under laws that call for the death penalty, their attorney said.

National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) officials have charged the Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith (also transliterated as Peter Yen Reith) with undermining the constitutional system (Article 50 of the Sudan Penal Code) and spying (Article 53) – offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment – and waging war against the state (Article 51), which calls for the death sentence, said the pastors’ attorney.

They are also charged with inciting organized forces to complain and assaulting religious beliefs, which call for prison sentences, the attorney said.

“The charges are serious,” the attorney, a Muslim, told Morning Star News. “However, we are doing everything possible to ensure their release. We hope to hear good news about their release in coming days.”

NISS is manned by hard-line Islamists who are given broad powers to arrest Christians, black Africans, South Sudanese and other people lowly regarded in the country that President Omar al-Bashir has pledged will be fully Arabic and Islamic. The charges appear to be based solely on the two pastors’ nationality, race and faith, sources said.

Sudan fought a civil war with south Sudanese from 1983 to 2005, and since June 2011 has been fighting a rebel group in the Nuba Mountains that has its roots in South Sudan, which became a separate country in 2011.

Michael was arrested on Dec. 21, 2014 after visiting a church service in Khartoum, and Reith was arrested on Jan. 11 after submitting a letter from leaders of their denomination, the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SSPEC), inquiring about the whereabouts of Michael.

Their location was unknown for months, violating international human rights agreements, but on April 30 they were transferred from Khartoum’s downtown police station to a NISS detention center on Street 51 in Khartoum, Michael’s wife told Morning Star News. On Monday (May 4) they were transferred to Omdurman Prison, she said.

Morning Star News managed to speak with Michael on Thursday (May 7).

“God will intervene and protect us even in prison despite the serious charges brought against us,” the pastor said. “Thank you all for your prayers and concerns for us over this long period of imprisonment.”

NISS officials have demanded $12,000 from the SSPEC secretary general, the Rev. Philip Akway Obang, for the release of the pastors, sources said. Local church leaders expressed their outrage at the attempt to buy the pastors’ freedom, saying they fear NISS would arrest other Christians and make the same demand in exchange for dropping charges.

A NISS officer who identified himself only as Jamal confirmed that the agency had demanded that the pastors pay $6,000 each for the charges to be dropped.

The church that Michael had visited and encouraged in December, Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, was the subject of government harassment, arrests and demolition of part of its worship center as Muslim investors took it over. NISS officials appear to be determined to punish the pastors for their support of the embattled congregation, sources said.

The two pastors began a hunger strike on April 28 to protest their incarceration. The attorney said the charges against them were quietly filed in March, and that they are awaiting a hearing on Thursday (May 14) in Khartoum North.

The pastors’ families have waited in agony, not knowing how they have been treated.

“We are still worried about their detention,” Michael’s wife said. “Let us continue to pray for them so that God can help them to be released.”

Amnesty International has said holding the pastors incommunicado violates the Interim Constitution of Sudan, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all of which legally bind the Sudanese Government and all its agents.

“Holding the detainees incommunicado increases their risk of being subjected to torture or ill treatment and/or enforced disappearance,” Amnesty reported in February.

Other Christians in the Bahri congregation have also been arrested. Police in North Khartoum on Dec. 2 beat and arrested 38 Christians from the church that Michael encouraged and fined most of them. They were released later that night.

On Oct. 5, 2013, Sudan’s police and security forces broke through the church fence, beat and arrested Christians in the compound and asserted parts of the property belonged to a Muslim investor accompanying them. As Muslims nearby shouted, “Allahu Akbar [God is greater],” plainclothes police and personnel from NISS broke onto the property aboard a truck and two Land Cruisers. After beating several Christians who were in the compound, they arrested some of them; they were all released later that day.

Harassment, arrests and persecution of Christians have intensified since the secession of South Sudan in July 2011, when Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language. The Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowments announced in April 2013 that no new licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population.

Sudan since 2012 has expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese. Besides raiding Christian bookstores and arresting Christians, authorities threatened to kill South Sudanese Christians who do not leave or cooperate with them in their effort to find other Christians (see Morning Star News).

Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999, and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2015 report.

Sudan ranked sixth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face most persecution, moving up from 11th place the previous year.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.   

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Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

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Young Sudanese Refugee Cast Out of Home for Leaving Islam http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/young-sudanese-refugee-cast-out-of-home-for-leaving-islam/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/young-sudanese-refugee-cast-out-of-home-for-leaving-islam/#respond Mon, 04 May 2015 15:02:39 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4372 Unity state, where Yida is located in South Sudan. (Wikipedia)

Unity state, where Yida is located in South Sudan. (Wikipedia)

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – First an 18-year-old Sudanese Muslim became a refugee from Sudan’s war-torn South Kordofan state; then he received Christ and became a refugee from his family.

Kuku (full name withheld) and his family, ethnic Nuba from the Kauda area, arrived at Yida refugee camp in South Sudan in 2011, shortly after military conflict broke out in South Kordofan. The Sudanese Air Force has routinely bombed civilian targets in its battle with area rebels.

About seven miles from the Sudanese border at the Yida settlement, where tens of thousands of refugees have set up homes, an evangelist going door-to-door managed to gain an audience with Kuku’s family in December 2014. He obtained permission to speak of Jesus with the family in their home.

“What I heard was all new to me – I could feel the power of the words of the gospel I was hearing,” Kuku said. “It was as if a new thing had come into my life.”

He kept quiet. Shortly thereafter, however, he met with the evangelist’s church and put his trust in Christ. At home, he remained quiet.

In February, after two months of sneaking away to worship with the church, he revealed his faith to his family.

His father told him he would never forgive him for leaving Islam. Warning that he should leave before they did “something bad” to him, his father said, “You cannot stay with us anymore, because you have become an infidel.”

Kuku told his angry family that he was truly convinced he had found “the true way and true life,” he said.

“You should consider denouncing your Christian faith and come back to Islam so that you are not hurt,” his father told him. Kuku replied, “I am leaving this house totally convinced that I have become a Christian, and there is no turning back. But God will provide me with a place to stay.”

His resolute faith, however, did not mean he was without fear.

“When they asked me to leave the house, I was terribly afraid,” he said. “I did not expect my family to treat me in such a harsh way.”

Yida community leaders tried to persuade the family to allow Kuku to remain with them even though he had left Islam. The family rejected all such attempts, a church leader said.

“Kuku had faced growing threats from his family, who told him to come back to Islam if he wanted to spare his life,” the church leader said.

The evangelist who proclaimed Christ to Kuku and his family encouraged him in his new faith and helped arrange for him to go into hiding on Feb. 15.

Another evangelist told Morning Star News that Kuku’s faith remains strong.

“Kuku is stable in his new faith in Christ to the point that he witnesses to his Muslim friends about Jesus,” he said.

With refugee life cutting short his education – he studied only up to the eighth grade before his family fled Sudan – Kuku is uncertain about his future. A Christian family is giving him shelter and food. Amid uncertainty, his faith is steadfast.

“It is difficult to be abandoned by your family, especially parents, but God will one day bring my family to Christian faith,” he said.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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© 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News. 

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

 

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Authorities in Iran Increase Pressure on U.S-Iranian Pastor Saeed Abedini, Advocate Says http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/authorities-in-iran-increase-pressure-on-u-s-iranian-pastor-saeed-abedini-advocate-says/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/05/authorities-in-iran-increase-pressure-on-u-s-iranian-pastor-saeed-abedini-advocate-says/#respond Fri, 01 May 2015 16:12:14 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4366 Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 2012 military parade in Tehran. (Wikipedia)

Iranian Revolutionary Guard in 2012 military parade in Tehran. (Wikipedia)

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Morning Star News) – Iranian authorities over the past month have increased pressure on imprisoned U.S.-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini by threatening to keep him in prison indefinitely, a legal advocate said.

Authorities seem to be taking a “carrot-and-stick” approach to Abedini – burying him under a mountain of new, petty charges while promising him freedom if he abandons his faith in Christ and converts back to Islam, said Tiffany Barrans, international director at the American Center for Law and Justice.

“They have said, ‘Don’t think you’ll get out after eight years. We’ll add additional reasons to keep you,’” she said. “That’s the kind of threat, in conjunction with an uptick of, ‘If you recant, if you return to Islam, we will let you go.’ That’s not anything new, but it’s a very concentrated, intense time in the prison at present.”

The threat is not an idle one. In Gohardasht Prison, also known as Rajai-Shahr, pastor Farshid Fathi could face an additional two-year sentence after the imam of ward 10 accused him of insulting him. The imam filed the complaint after Fathi, along with other prisoners, defied his order for all Christian books in the ward to be inspected, according to Mohabat News.

The imam did not have the legal authority to order the confiscation.

On Dec. 29, 2014, Fathi was sentenced to an additional year in prison after authorities accused him of having alcohol – Communion wine – in prison. He has appealed the decision.

“The psychological weight of [new charges against other Christians] certainly has been taking its toll, because Saeed has seen it come to reality for so many others,” Barrans said.

In October 2014, Iranian authorities sentenced three pastors, Behnam Irani, Abdolreza Ali-Haghnejad and Reza Rabbani, all leaders in the Church of Iran, to six years in prison for “actions against national security” and “creating a network to overthrow the system,” catch-all terms the Islamist government uses to suppress Christians and political opponents it perceives as threats. Originally authorities charged the men with Mofsed-fel-arz” or “spreading corruption on Earth,” a charge that can carry the death penalty.

In July 2012, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard briefly arrested Abedini during his visit to set up an orphanage he was building. After interrogation, authorities placed Abedini under house arrest and told him to wait for a court summons to face criminal charges for his Christian faith.

Two months later, in September, he was arrested at his parents’ home and taken to prison.

On Jan. 27, 2013, Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly threatening “national security” by planting house churches years ago. Abedini, whose 35th birthday is Thursday (May 7), became a U.S. citizen in 2010 and has a wife and two children in the United States. The Iranian government does not recognize his U.S. citizenship.

Barrans said pressure on Abedini comes and goes in waves, but that the current round of ill treatment may be related to international efforts to limit Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran has long been at the receiving end of a variety of devastating economic sanctions from the U.S. government, the United Nations and others in an effort to stop its nuclear program. Iran wants to end the sanctions while maintaining as much of its program as possible.

“I can’t say there’s an actual causation, but certainly a possible correlation between the framework that was reached with the P5+1 countries,” Barrans said, referring to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany addressing Iran’s nuclear program. “There’s just been an increased amount of activity and tension and threats and singling out of Saeed as an American in the prison since the framework agreement was reached between the countries. These nuclear negotiations have dramatically complicated the situation – as much as our government insists that he is not a political pawn, and that they will not allow him to be used as a political pawn.”

Barrans said that if the U.S. government “leaves the table without getting Abedini’s freedom, it makes things much more difficult to get his release.”

September marks Abedini’s third year in prison. According to Iranian law, most criminal offenders can apply for clemency or parole when they have served one-third of their sentences. Barrans said Abedini’s family is in the process of applying for that.

So far, their efforts for clemency have met with no results.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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 © 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News. 

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

 

 

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Hindu Extremist Attack in Assam State, India Depletes Village of Christians http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/hindu-extremist-attack-in-assam-state-india-depletes-village-of-christians/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/hindu-extremist-attack-in-assam-state-india-depletes-village-of-christians/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 10:00:11 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4357 Nimai Rabha, beaten in attack in Assam state, India. (Morning Star News)

Nimai Rabha, beaten in attack in Assam state, India. (Morning Star News)

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Church members have fled a village in northeast India after a vicious attack this month that seriously injured at least three Christians, including a 7-year-old girl.

A mob of about 100 Hindu extremists armed with swords, bamboo sticks and stones attacked Christians who were eating after a service at 8 p.m. on April 17 in Amtola village, Golpara District, Assam state, church leaders said. At least 15 Christians were injured, many of them wounded on their heads and upper bodies.

“Right now there are no Christians in the village – all have fled,” said the Rev. David Boro of Guwahati. “The Christian families who were the main target of the attack are now in a safe-house after they were released from the hospital. The more critically injured are still in the hospital, and when they will be released, they too will join the others in the safe-house.”

The village is no longer safe, and in any event the families have no homes to go back to, church leaders said.

Unidentified victim of attack in Assam, India. (Morning Star News)

Unidentified victim of attack in Assam, India. (Morning Star News)

“Not satisfied with merely beating the Christians, the mob led by Hindu extremists broke and destroyed the homes of these Christian families,” said another Christian leader, Kamleshwar Baglary. “All together, five houses have been completely destroyed along with household items.”

The 7-year-old girl, Pranita Rabha, suffered serious chest injuries and clots in her brain due to the beating, church leaders said. She and two other Christians were rushed to Guwahati, the state capital, for medical treatment at Guwahati Medical College.

“The attackers did not even spare women and children but beat them mercilessly with the intention to kill,” Boro said.

Less seriously injured Christians received treatment at the district hospital in Golpara, church leaders said. Only three to four church members were unhurt as they ran away when the attack began.

Hostilities against the church began last year after Christian prayer healed a villager of cancer, leading five families from the Rabha clan to begin attending worship services, Baglary said. Since December 2014, there have been five attacks on the new Christians in the village, he said.

“Out of the five families who had declared themselves as Christians, two have gone back because of the constant attacks and social pressure against them,” Baglary said. “Members of the Hindu extremist groups earlier also had physically attacked these families during the time of the Bihu [Assam’s cultural] festival.”

In January Christians filed a First Information Report on the attacks, but police took no action, he said.

“The village elders are against the Christians and under the influence of Hindu extremist groups,” Baglary added. “This time, the Hindu extremists used the extended Rabha family against the Christians. They instigated the rest of the clan against them, so the Rabha family led the attack with the Hindu extremists and villagers following them.”

Children were among those attacked in Assam, India. (Morning Star News)

Children were among those attacked in Assam, India. (Morning Star News)

Police arrived well after the mob had beaten the Christians and had burned their homes, Boro said.

“They simply arrested two Christians who had been beaten a lot and taken to prison, while they took no action against the attackers or their leaders,” Boro said.

The two Christians were arrested in connection with the death of one of the assailants, though no charges have been filed, church leaders said.

“During the attack, as a result of the pandemonium, one of the attackers, fell head first on the stony surface and later died,” Boro said.

The Rev. Vijayesh Lal of the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s (EFI) Religious Liberty Commission said the brutality of the incident was shocking.

“The way children have been beaten up mercilessly shows the extent of hate created by external elements,” he said. “We have written to the chief minister of Assam, appealing to him for intervention in the case.”

The EFI documented four incidents of persecution against the Christian community in 2014, “but this latest incident surpasses them all in terms of the magnitude of the violence,” Lal said.

Those injured were identified as: Harin Rabha, male, 45; Nimai Rabha, female, 40; Parbati Rabha, female, 17; Sandani Rabha, female, 22; Pranita Rabha, female, 7; Purnima Rabha, female, 3; Umed Rabha, male, 32; Sefali Rabha, female, 30; Sanda Rabha, 21; Nipon Rabha, male, 27; Gita Rabha, female, 22; Sanakya Rabha, male, 20; Mahendra Rabha, male, 24; Bonis Rabha, female, 10; and Nripol Rabha, male, 26.

Christians number 986,589 and constitute 3.7 percent of the population of Assam, according to the last census.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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© 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News.  

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

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Islamic State Warns Those Who Refuse Islam Will Die like Ethiopians in Libya Video http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/islamic-state-warns-those-who-refuse-islam-will-die-like-ethiopians-in-libya-video/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/islamic-state-warns-those-who-refuse-islam-will-die-like-ethiopians-in-libya-video/#respond Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:01:11 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4345 Islamic State representative in Libya addresses viewers in video. (Screen-save Morning Star News)

Islamic State representative in Libya addresses viewers in video. (Screen-save Morning Star News)

ISTANBUL, Turkey (Morning Star News) – In a video showing the cruel execution of 28 Ethiopian Christians, the militant Sunni terrorist group Islamic State (IS) says persecution of Christians is fundamental to Islam.

In the video released late Sunday night (April 19), IS (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) warns that if Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere refuse Islam, they also will be slain. An IS spokesman gives Christians three options – convert to Islam, submit to the rule of Islam and pay the Jizya (tribute) or be killed.

“We say to Christians everywhere, the Islamic State will expand, with Allah’s permission,” a spokesman identified as Sheik Abu Malik Anas An-Nashwan says. “And it will reach you even if you are in fortified strongholds. So whoever enters Islam will have security, and whoever accepts the Dhimmah contract will have security. But whoever refuses will see nothing from us but the edge of a spear. The men will be killed and the children will be enslaved, and their wealth will be taken as booty. This is the judgment of Allah and His Messenger.”

The statement comes after the execution of 28 men identified by IS as, “The worshipers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church.” IS shows the 28 Christians divided into two groups of men being marched to their place of execution with their arms bound behind their backs. One group is held at a coastal area identified as “Wilayat Barqa” (Barqa State) in Libya, and the other is located inland in the desert scrub brush of “Wilayat Fazzan” (Fazzan State), also in Libya.

The men in both groups are lined up and then forced to kneel in the sand. After a man who appears in at least one other IS video gives a statement, the men in the desert are shot in the back of their heads. The video switches seaside, where the men there are pushed down into the sand and their throats are slit. Then all the men are beheaded.

The segment ends with close-ups of the heads of several victims being stacked onto their bodies as blood flows into the sea. Then the screen goes blank, and An-Nashwan appears.

On Tuesday (April 21) the Ethiopian Ministry of Information confirmed the men were Ethiopian migrant workers who were living in Libya. Their identities, if privately known, have not been released. The government ordered a three-day official mourning period, set to conclude today.

The video comes more than two months after IS released a video of the execution of 21 Christians, all but one of them Egyptian, on Feb. 15. The Ethiopians and the Egyptians who were executed on the beach appear to be executed in the same general area.

The latest recording issues what could be termed a treatise on persecuting Christians. Using numerous citations from the two primary sources of Islamic authority, the Koran and the Sunnah (the sayings and actions of Muhammad), along with quotes from a consensus of Islamic scholars, IS labels Christianity a false religion and calls persecution of Christians a “fundamental” aspect of Islam that has fallen out of use in the modern era.

“In the recent past, these rites were absent from the condition of the Muslim Nation. Rather, these rites were the hostages of jurisprudence books and theoretical legal discussions,” An-Nashwan says. Quoting the Koran, he adds, “Allah said, ‘Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day, and those who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful, and those who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Book. Fight [them] until they give the Jizyah willingly while they are humbled.’”

Going further, An-Nashwan quotes numerous religious edicts issued in consensus by Islamic scholars regarding the treatment of Christians and Jews.

“Whoever does not consider the Jews and Christians to be disbelievers and does not hate them is not a Muslim,” An-Nashwan says, quoting Islamic scholar Al Islam Ibn-Taymiyyah. Citing a Hadith (saying or action of Muhammad), An-Nashwan says Muhammad told his followers to be aggressive toward Christians and Jews, declaring, “If you meet Jews or Christians, do not great them in peace.”

The video is similar to previous IS execution videos with one major difference: In a recording that lasts just over 29 minutes, 24 minutes are spent explaining the Islamic version of the life of Jesus Christ, giving an equally inaccurate account of the history of Christianity and justifying persecution of Christians.

In a possible attempt to give credibility to IS claims that “Dhimmi” (non-Muslims living under protected but second-class status) are treated well in Islamic society, several people who identify themselves as Christians in Raqqah, the de facto capital of IS in Syria, are interviewed. All claim they were well treated under IS rule.

“The one who comes to Raqqah (after paying Jizya) does not have to worry, whether he is Christian or even Jewish,” says one man. Another assures his fellow Christians that life is safe for Christians in Dhimmi status, saying, “By Allah, we are happy. We’ve seen security under the Islamic State.”

It is unclear what type of duress, if any, was used against the speakers during the filming of the video in Raqqah.

Islamic State, in the wake of its 2014 push through Syrian and Iraqi, expelled the entire Christian population from several villages and cities in the region. In Iraq’s Nineveh Valley alone, IS threw out more than 15,000 Christian families, according to aid workers in the area. Those expelled reported forced conversions for those who couldn’t escape their respective communities, mostly the sick and elderly.

In addition to forced conversions, those fleeing reported IS fighters seized their property and destroyed or occupied church buildings and monasteries, some of them several hundreds of years old.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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© 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News. 

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

 

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Religious Persecution in China Dramatically Worsened in 2014, Group Says http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/religious-persecution-in-chinal-dramatically-worsened-in-2014-group-says/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/religious-persecution-in-chinal-dramatically-worsened-in-2014-group-says/#respond Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:15:49 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4331 Outdoor site where Shouwang Church met in Beijing. (Morning Star News)

Outdoor site where Shouwang Church met in Beijing. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Persecution of Christians in China reached its highest level in more than a decade last year as the government cracked down on church growth perceived as a threat to Communist Party power, according to a U.S.-based advocacy group.

Texas-based China Aid Association (CAA) this week reported 572 cases of religious – mainly Christian – persecution last year, a 300 percent increase over the previous year’s 143 cases. The number of people affected in those cases jumped from 7,424 to 17,884 people. More than 1,592 were church leaders, compared with 800 the previous year, CAA reported.

“In 2014, the scope, depth, and intensity of persecution against religious practitioners far surpassed that of 2013,” China Aid reported. “The increase in government-sanctioned persecution against religious practitioners and human rights lawyers and advocates reflects the overall political transformation that is occurring within the Communist Party in China (CPC), namely an orchestrated effort to consolidate power and suppress dissent and any perceived threats to the Chinese government, including the growth of religion in China.”

Among church leaders persecuted, 449 were detained, compared with 54 the previous year, according to the report. In 2014, the number of people sentenced for activity related to their faith reached 1,274, compared with just 12 the previous year.

Authorities last year engaged in 71 cases of verbal, mental or physical abuse of believers, an increase of 343.75 percent over the previous year’s figure of 16, CAA reported. In those instances, 242 people were abused, an increase of 384 percent compared with 2013’s figure of 140.

Overall, in six categories combined – numbers of religious persecution cases, people persecuted for their religion, people detained, people sentenced, severe abuse cases and individuals severely abused – persecution last year increased 152.74 percent compared with 2013, CAA reported. Statistics indicated a crack-down growing over the last several years, as the overall figure was 250.85 percent worse than in 2012, 296.64 percent worse than in 2011, 465.19 percent worse than in 2010, 549.48 percent worse than in 2009, 673.31 percent worse than in 2008 and 1,331.76 percent worse than in 2007, according to CAA.

A government campaign to eradicate church buildings exceeding size limits in Zhejiang Province accounted for some of the increase in cases of persecution. The campaign included actions against church buildings belonging to the government-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

“In reality, the campaign indiscriminately removed and demolished crosses on church buildings and, in many cases, demolished the entire church building, regardless of whether the building had been previously approved by the Chinese government,” the CAA reported.

Besides the campaign against oversized church buildings and crosses in Zhejiang Province, CAA said a number of factors led to the increases in persecution in 2014. A wide-spread crackdown on “cult activities” played a large role, affecting 1,000 religious adherents, it reported.

Communist authorities consistently cited “attacking cults” as a pretext for launching large-scale campaigns against Christians and house churches, the report said. Cases in Shandong, Sichuan, and Hunan provinces show that authorities regularly cited Clause 300 of the Criminal Law, defined as “organizing cults and sects and using superstition to undermine law enforcement,” in an attempt to harass and persecute house church pastors, elders, and church members, it said.

“The CPC’s handling of the majority of cases has disregarded the rule of law and standard legal procedures,” the report noted. “A large number of ‘anti-cult’ trials were conducted in secret, and many of those accused were not permitted to hire legal counsel and were forced to accept government-appointed lawyers. The Chinese government has also intimidated and pressured family members of those accused of so-called ‘cult activities’ to not raise their legal cases and incidents of persecution publicly; thus many remain unknown.”

Christian support organization Open Door’s annual ranking of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian placed China 29th last year, a deterioration from 2013, when it landed at 37th place.

CAA reported the government forcibly collected and documented information about house churches and church members and forced house church members to join the government- sanctioned TSPM.

A Chinese government campaign begun in 2011 that aimed to eradicate house churches within 10 years escalated in 2014, the CAA report said.

“The overall number of house church leaders and members who were administratively detained, arrested and sentenced or summoned to court, the number of forcibly demolished churches and prohibited church gatherings, and the total number of church members who experienced physical or verbal abuse or threats all demonstrated a dramatic increase in comparison to China Aid statistics from 2013,” the report said.

Shouwang Church in Beijing continued to be harassed, house churches in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were persecuted for teaching religion to minors, and a house church in Cao County was persecuted under the guise of “engaging in cult activities,” the report said.

2014 marked the fourth year Shouwang Church was forced to hold outdoor worship services after it was deprived of its building. Pressure escalated in May 2014, with authorities subjecting members to administrative detention, typically five to seven days for first-time attenders and 10 days for regular members.

Nearly 100 members of Shouwang Church received administrative detention notices, and some were held multiple times, the report said.

“In addition, police physically injured more than 10 church members, including Jin Shaohua,” CAA reported. “Senior Pastor Jin Tianming and other pastors and elders from the church have been under house arrest for the past four years with limited personal freedom, bringing church operations nearly to a halt.”

The Cao County Public Security Bureau in Heze, Shandong Province, in June dispatched forces to apprehend Zhao Weiliang, Cheng Hongpeng and 20 other house-church members for allegedly “engaging in cult activities,” CAA reported. In the aftermath, 18 of the church’s 22 members were charged, nine criminally.

“The only alleged offense the church members committed was gathering to practice worship songs,” CAA reported. “As a result of the public attention given to their case and the intervention of human rights lawyers, a majority of the detained church members were released on probation and are awaiting trial.”

While urban churches such as Shouwang in Beijing and Wanbang Church in Shanghai continued to meet in spite of ongoing persecution, large house churches in mid- to large-size cities remained subject to strict control and harassment by local public security and religious affairs bureaus; examples were Chengdu’s Xiuyuzhifu Church, Guangzhou’s Liangren Church and Guiyang’s Huoshi Church, according to the report.

House churches in rural areas also saw increased levels of violence and persecution, the report said.

“In reviewing statistics, it appears that the Chinese government’s persecution of the house churches was most severe in north, northwest, south, and southwest regions of China,” CAA reported.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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 © 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News. 

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

 

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Bones Broken in Attack on Evangelistic Gathering in Telangana State, India http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/bones-broken-in-attack-on-evangelistic-gathering-in-telangana-state-india/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/bones-broken-in-attack-on-evangelistic-gathering-in-telangana-state-india/#respond Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:06:45 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4322 Sangameshwar Temple at Alampur, Mahabubnagar District, Telangana state. (Suman Amarnath, Wikipedia)

Sangameshwar Temple at Alampur, Mahabubnagar District, Telangana state. (Suman Amarnath, Wikipedia)

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Christians sustained broken bones and wounds when Hindu extremists on April 8 attacked an open-air gospel event in Telangana state, India, sources said.

Police initially refused to help church members after the mob of about 100 Hindu extremists seriously injured four Christians in the attack in Pebbair, Mahabubnagar District, they said. Area church leaders submitted a complaint citing inaction by police.

“We are deeply disappointed that police in charge of Pebbair initially refused to help the Christians who were bleeding when they approached him for help, and we wrote to the National Human Rights Commission to intervene,” the Rev. Sunder Paul told Morning Star News.

Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal charged into the evangelistic meeting on the final day of the three-day event at about 9:30 p.m. Shouting “Jai Shri Ram [Praise Lord Ram],” the Hindu extremists led by local leaders of the RSS and Bajrang Dal attacked the Kristhu Suvartha Ujiva congregation, beating pastors, women, children and the aged while insulting their faith.

“The extremists with knives and clubs stormed the prayer meeting and randomly beat up the Christians, including one pregnant woman and children, and threatened to stab the Christians with their knives,” said Y. Prathap, an area pastor who was attacked. “Gouni Verma Reddy was the first to punch the pastors and threatened to stab us with his knife.”

The Hindu extremists clubbed Christians trying to run away, said Pastor Paul.

“Many of them were bleeding from the beating,” he said.

The assailants broke the left leg of one of the organizers, a pastor identified only as Sudhakar, as they continuously beat him while he lay on the ground, church leaders said.

“Besides a broken leg, Pastor Sudhakar sustained wounds and abrasions all over his body, and he remains in a hospital,” Pastor Paul said.

Similarly, Pastor Prathap received a deep cut on his upper lip, and the hands of a pastor identified only as Timothy were fractured, as were those of pastor Yesu Tidam, church leaders said. All of them were beaten black and blue, sustaining contusions and abrasions.

The assailants also damaged furniture, electrical lights and the windows of Christians’ vehicles.

Pebbair Station House Officer (SHO) Jeetendra Reddy initially refused to file a First Information Report (FIR) against the assailants when the attacked Christians approached him, church leaders said.

“It was only after four days that an FIR was registered against the attackers following the state home minister’s instruction to make the arrests,” Pastor Prathap said.

Police filed only minor charges, Pastor Paul said.

“The SHO booked the attackers under petty sections, while they should be booked under more serious sections of the Indian Penal Code as they hurt our religious sentiments by hurling verbal abuse against our faith, and our friend Pastor Sudharkar is still battling for life in the hospital,” said Pastor Paul.

SHO Reddy told Morning Star News only that an investigation was underway.

Three days earlier, on Easter Sunday in the same district in Makthal Mandhal village, extremists hoisted two flags, each the Hindu nationalist color of saffron, on one of the poles of Bethel Church and harassed a pastor. A subsequent police-mandated “compromise” resulted in the pastor having to acquiesce to the extremists’ demands.

“When we returned back from the sunrise service at about 8 a.m., we saw two saffron flags hoisted up inside the church premises,” the Rev. Christopher Meesaul told Morning Star News.

Church members took down the flags, but at about 9:30 a.m. Hindu extremists turned up at the church premises and questioned Pastor Meesaul about the removal, insulted him and his faith and put another saffron flag on the pole, he said.

“They found the other flags we took down on the ground, threw them in the drain before my eyes, took a picture and then falsely accused me of hurting their religious sentiments by throwing their flags in the drain,” Pastor Meesaul said.

More Hindu nationalists gathered about 90 minutes later at the church premises, yelling at the pastor to stop the service and telling him to go to a Hindu temple to meet with Hindu leaders.

The church meeting came to a halt, he said, and the extremists took the pastor to the temple.

“The extremists mob were walking both on my left and right sides, and some were walking behind me while they all mocked me, abused my faith in Christ, pushed and slapped me from both sides, and they kicked me from behind as well,” Pastor Meesaul said.

The Hindu leaders were sitting in circle when the pastor reached the temple, and they told him to sit in the middle of the ring as the Hindu nationalists continued to verbally abuse him and his faith.

Police arrived, reprimanded the attackers for putting up the flags on the property and told the pastor to resume his church service. But officers later summoned Pastor Meesaul.

“Under the extremists’ pressure, the police officials told me to move back the front side of the church from the road by three feet, and they told me to oblige and not to file any police complaint on the matter,” Pastor Meesaul said. “I was compelled to do it.”

Bethel Church has existed in the area for 28 years and has 1,000 members.

Telangana, created out of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, had the fourth-highest rate of attacks against Christians last year with 15 violent incidents, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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 © 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News.  

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

 

 

 

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Police in Pakistan Deny Christian Youth’s Statement on Who Attacked, Killed Him http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/police-in-pakistan-deny-christian-youths-statement-on-who-set-him-on-fire-killed-him/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/police-in-pakistan-deny-christian-youths-statement-on-who-set-him-on-fire-killed-him/#respond Thu, 16 Apr 2015 21:33:31 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4317 The body of Nauman Masih, 14, at his funeral. (The Voice Society)

The body of Nauman Masih, 14, at his funeral. (The Voice Society)

LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A Christian boy in Pakistan told police two Muslims set him on fire because of his faith before he died from his burns Wednesday (April 15), according to a human rights advocate, but police denied taking the statement.

Nauman Masih, 14, told police in Lahore that two masked men on a motorbike who had just left a mosque after Friday prayers engaged him in conversation on April 10. The boy said that when they found out that he was Christian, they assaulted him, doused him with kerosene and set him on fire.

Attorney Aneeqa Maria Akhtar of The Voice Society said she was present when Nauman told police two Muslims had set him on fire because he was a Christian. A pastor using his cell phone recorded Nauman giving the same details of the assault; the video recording, a copy of which Morning Star News has obtained, shows Nauman giving details that are substantially no different than the boy’s initial statement to police, Akhtar said.

Nauman said that after he was set on fire, he ran to a pile of sand and rolled in it. Bystanders poured more sand on him to help put out the flames, and he was rushed to Lahore’s Mayo Hospital. Doctors said he had burns over more than half of his body.

The boy said he did not know the assailants but would be able to identify them if he saw them again.

A senior police official denied police recorded the boy’s statement, however, and doubted religious motives for the assault – even as questions arose about the sudden and mysterious manner in which Nauman died. Acting Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Rana Ayaz Saleem, head of the Lahore Police Investigations Wing, told Dawn newspaper that repeated attempts by police to record Nauman’s statement were unsuccessful due to “the life-threatening condition of the boy,” but Akhtar said there was no indication that Nauman’s burns were life-threatening.

“On the day he got operated on, the doctors told us that Nauman had not suffered any serious internal injuries, and all his organs were working in order,” she said. “He had suffered superficial burn wounds on 55 per cent of his body, which the doctors said were treatable. Nauman was active, he conversed with everyone who visited him, and had also started taking his meals normally. Just when we had started hoping for his recovery, the news came that he had expired.”

Furthermore, Akhtar said, she was surprised that security personnel repeatedly barred her from asking Nauman certain questions.

“This is the first time I have seen secret agencies ‘guarding’ a burn victim,” she said. “They were keeping record of all people who were coming to visit the child. Whenever I tried approaching him, a person in civilian dress would stand next to the bed. They said they were just doing their job.”

The security agents did not allow her to ask him who set him on fire, she said.

Saleem, the acting deputy inspector general, reportedly said police had filed a First Information Report (FIR) on the complaint of Nauman’s uncle, Nadeem Masih, who along with his wife raised Nauman and his older sister. Nauman was 4 years old when his father died, and his mother, Shazia Bibi, renounced Christianity after marrying a Muslim.

Nadeem Masih, the boy’s paternal uncle, said in his complaint that two unidentified men had set Nauman on fire after pouring kerosene on him. The deputy inspector said Nauman’s uncle did not mention the assailants were Muslims.

Police were also hesitant to assign a religious motive to the murder after Nauman’s maternal grandfather, Heera Masih, accused Nadeeem Masih – the uncle who raised the two children – of setting the boy on fire. The maternal grandfather, along with the boy’s Muslim mother, have been vying for the rights to the pension and property of Nauman’s deceased father, Rafaqat Masih, which the boy’s uncle has said belonged to Nauman and his sister; the allegation that Nadeem Masih set his nephew on fire alleged the uncle sought to obtain rights to the pension and property.

Nauman’s sister, 22-year-old Saba Masih, said the allegations against her uncle were baseless.

“Uncle Nadeem and his wife raised us just like their own children,” she said. “It was only after this incident that most of our neighbors had come to know that they weren’t our real parents.”

Saba Masih said her mother and maternal grandfather were accusing Nadeem Masih of the assault as part of their attempt to seize the pension and property of her deceased father.

With officials denying Nauman’s statement and a conflicting murder accusation from relatives seeking to seize the children’s inheritance, police said they have not yet ascertained the motive of the assault. But police say neither Nadeem Masih’s statement nor that of his accuser indicates the boy was attacked for reasons of faith, and that investigators have found no witnesses to the assault.

Attorney Akhtar said she believed Nauman knew who his attackers were but feared identifying them; likewise, there is speculation that his uncle feared identifying the assailants as Muslims in his complaint out of fear of reprisals.

The boy’s video-recorded statement should be considered his dying declaration in any court proceedings, Akhtar said. A dying declaration in Pakistan is testimony that is normally barred as hearsay but may still be admitted as evidence in some cases.

The incident comes less than a month after Christians upset over Taliban suicide attacks on two churches in Lahore on March 15 took revenge by killing and burning two Muslims, and Akhtar said this incident had left Nauman frightened.

“Workers at the tailor shop where Nauman worked as an apprentice said that the boy had on more than one occasion expressed fears that he would be burned to death the same way two Muslim youths were lynched, and their bodies burned, by a charged Christian mob in Lahore’s Youhanabad Christian colony,” she said. “However, the boy did not share any details with them.”

A supervisor at the tailor shop where Nauman worked told police that three days before the attack, the boy said he had a feeling he might be set ablaze.

“When I asked him who would do that, he said it was just his sixth sense,” the supervisor told police, according to the deputy inspector general.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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 © 2014 Morning Star News. Articles/photos may be reprinted with credit to Morning Star News.  

Morning Star News is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies solely on contributions to offer original news reports of persecuted Christians. By providing reliable news on the suffering church, Morning Star News’ mission is to empower those in the free world to help and to encourage persecuted Christians that they are not forgotten or alone. For free subscription or to make tax-deductible donations, contact editor@morningstarnews.org, or send check to Morning Star News, 34281 Doheny Park Rd., # 7022, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624, USA.

 

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Christian Girl in Uganda Seriously Injured, Traumatized after Gang-Rape, Father Says http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/christian-girl-in-uganda-seriously-injured-traumatized-after-gang-rape-father-says/ http://morningstarnews.org/2015/04/christian-girl-in-uganda-seriously-injured-traumatized-after-gang-rape-father-says/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:26:22 +0000 http://morningstarnews.org/?p=4311 Rural Mbala, Uganda. (Michael Shade)

Rural Mbala, Uganda. (Michael Shade)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Five Muslims in eastern Uganda gang-raped the 17-year-old daughter of a pastor because the church leader ignored their warnings that he stop worship services, she said.

The daughter (name withheld) of the pastor of New Hope Church was approaching the church building at Kiryolo, Kaderuna Sub-County, Budaka District, at about 7:30 p.m. on March 28 when the men took her into bushes and assaulted her, an area church leader told Morning Star News. The site is about 300 yards from her home.

“The five Muslims took hold of me, and they raped me there,” she told the Morning Star News source. “I tried to scream, but they threatened to kill me. One of them said, ‘Your father should stop this prayer meeting of trying to change Muslims to become Christians and close the church building – we have warned him several times.’”

The suspects, whom she did not recognize, fled when church members arrived at the building for an all-night prayer vigil. They rushed her to a local medical clinic, and she later transferred to Mbale General Hospital.

Her father (name withheld) said her injuries are so serious that he would like to send her for specialized treatment at Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala. He said she continues to be traumatized.

“The girl still has problems communicating,” he said. “She just says a few words and then keeps quiet. She needs trauma counseling.”

The pastor said he had received several threatening text messages.

“One of the short messages in my phone read, ‘Be you informed that we do not want your church in this area. If you continue worship here, then you will live to regret it,’” he said.

Budaka District is about 65 percent Muslim and has been the site of other attacks against Christians. Muslims make up only 11.5 percent of the total population Uganda, which is 85 percent Christian.

The pastor reported the case to police. Officers were investigating but there have been no arrests.

In the same district, Muslim schools recently declined to write letters of recommendation to students who have left Islam and wish to register at a Christian school, effectively blocking them from enrolling.

Hope of Glory Nursery and Primary School in Budaka District has received applications for enrollment from five Christians who left Islam so they can take primary seven exams, but the students require the letters of recommendation from the three Muslims schools they came from to enroll, said school director Hassan Muwanguzi.

“These schools rejected the registration of our students because they had left Islam and embraced the Christian faith,” Muwanguzi told Morning Star News.

Of the school’s 107 pupils, 58 are converts from Islam and 23 are Muslims, he said. The student population includes 10 orphans.

“Our school is like a safe haven for children who have been ostracized for choosing the Christian faith,” he said.

The private school is registered with the government but seeks funds in order to become accredited as a center where students can take high school entrance exams, he added.

“Our prayer is to get support so that our students will be able to be registered for exams in the future,” Muwanguzi said. “Our students can be registered in other private schools, but we do not have money to send them to such schools.”

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that that can orient you on how to get involved.  

If you or your organization would like to help enable Morning Star News to continue raising awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide with original-content reporting, please consider collaborating at http://morningstarnews.org/donate/?   

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