Persecution of Christians – week 5

Kuwaiti Islamic cleric Othman al-Khamis has issued another statement in his weekly fatwa session by encouraging his followers to kill apostates. He has a long history of inciting hate towards Christians. The law in Kuwait technically prohibits defamation of the Abrahamic faiths, but as Islam is the state religion and there are only 267 Christian citizens they are at a disadvantage. And they are afraid of using the courts as the law is based on sharia.

Asia Bibis laywer told the press that she had traveled to Canada and were with her family. But Catholic charity Aid to the Church denied that Bibi had left Pakistan in a message on Twitter.

At least seven churches and their communities, who aren’t approved by the state, have been suppressed in recent months in the diocese of Qiqihar, China. Members of the Religious Affairs Bureau have interrupted masses, chased away and threatened Christians. The priests were asked to leave the territory and threatened with closure of the communities. This started after the provisional agreement between China and the Vatican was signed September 22 2018.

A month after the December 9 crackdown of the Autumn Rain Covenant Church in Sichuan, China, 8 have been released on bail, 14 are still arrested and the pastor and his wife are disappeared. Members are being harassed, followed, have their homes raided or are visited by the authorities at their work.

In northern Myanmar girls and women from the Kachin people, an ethnic group which is majority Christian, are being sold into marriages in China. This is because of the surplus of men there. 7 500 have been trafficked and after having born a child the woman is sold on to another man to bear his child.

The Church of Azagher in Algeria was sealed up in October and since then the 300 members have met in a tent on the churchs land. In December a “building safety committee” visited and they informed the congregation that the tent was unsafe. They fixed it, but then the committee claimed this type of tent was intended for poultry production so now they have to remove it.

On Januray 19 several Christians in Nigeria were ambushed by Fulani militants as they were travelling from a friend’s home in Bell Community back to their home in Sho community. One was killed and one was injured.

Ebtehaj Alsanosi Altejani Mostafa fled Sudan in 2005 after being thrown in jail five times for being Christian. She went to Egypt where she met a pastor, who also came from Sudan, and they married. They had to move often because of threats and attacks. In 2017 Ebtehaj was kidnapped, raped, tortured and beaten by Sudanese Islamic Extremists who wanted her to recant her faith. They threatened to kill her husband and young daughter if she didn’t. After a few days they knocked her unconscious and threw her on the street. The men haven’t been arrested and in November her brother, who is a Muslim, asked people in her congregation where he could find her husband.

On January 29, about 3 500 Christians in Kolhapur, India, held a silent protest against an attack on a Christian school that took place on January 22. The youth wing of the Hindu radical group Shiv Sena broke into the school to rannsack the office, destroy Christian symbols and break windows.

Sorces say that 98 people in India’s Jharkhand state were forcefully converted from Christianity to Hinduism during January. They were threatened with jail and say that they had been very pleased with their faith before.

On Sunday, January 27, a mob of 40 radical Hindus stormed a church in Sarut, India. They demanded that the Christians leave the building and spewed abusive language while declaring the greatness of their gods and goddesses. A third of the congregation were injured with stones and clubs. Bibles, instruments and a motorcycle were destroyed. Pastor Ajay Ravi said:

It was very difficult and painful as several new believers were beaten up so badly. But I consider this a privilege to suffer for Jesus and believe God will turn this into a testimony of endurance and His faithfulness. (…) I am not going to stop the worship in this village because of this attack on our church. With God’s help, I will continue God’s work no matter what may come.

Five Christian women who converted from Islam have been arrested in Iran. One of them is 65-year old Ruhsari Kamberi who was arrested and interrogated for ten days. Several of her belongings were confiscated. Ruhsari was temporarily released on bail, but was later charged with acting against national security.

Sina Moloudian and Ismaeil Maghrabinejad are converts to Christianity from Islam and they were recently arrested by Iranian intelligence authorities. Both had their homes raided. Ismael has been released on bail.

Further reading:

God,

you are my help and comfort;

you shelter and surround me in love so tender

that I may know your presence with me,

now and always.

Amen

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