Persecution of Christians – week 7

Asia Bibi hasn’t been able to leave Pakistan after all and a friend say that she is becoming increasingly frightened and frustrated with her uncertain future. Asia has been moved with her husband to a secret place in Karachi and is locked in a room all the time. The door only opens at meal time, but she has a phone to use whenever she wants. Diplomats are working to get the couple out of the country.

An 18-year old Coptic girl in Egypt has been reported missing as she was on her way to visit relatives. Her family claim that a Muslim man from the village abducted her. Young Christian women are often targeted for kidnapping and forced to convert to Islam. Sometimes it’s done through smuggling rings which may have close connections with the police or who may be involved in them. Unmarried older women, which includes widows, are often pressured to marry Muslim men in order to alleviate the resulting socio-economic pressures faced.

Coptics in Kom Al-Raheb, Egypt, held a funeral in the streets for the third time since their church was closed by police in December 2018. The church didn’t have a license, but are seeking official recognition now. It has been targeted by hardline Islamists who do not want to see an official church in the village.

The oppression of Christians in China continue and a number of churches have been closed during the last year. That effects North Korean defectors who live in the northeast of the country and the missionaries who help them. The Christians, often from South Korea, are their only hope as China are bound by an agreement to send all defectors back to North Korea. Also foreign missionaries are now getting deported in groups, one included up to thirty persons.

Sister Gloria Argoti, a Colombian nun, was kidnapped two years ago in Mali by the Nusrat al-Islam wal Mulimeen group. A new hostage video has surfaced where she mentions the Popes visit to Peru and Chile which indicats that Sister Gloria is still alive.

On February 10 Iranian authorities raided a house church in Rasht and the pastor was arrested. Earlier this year two Christian converts, Kalil Dehkanpour and Hossein Kadivar, from this church were also arrested and are detained in Lakan Prison. Their charges is unknown.

Simon Soheili a Muslim who converted to Christianity in Iran has been imprisoned in Evin Prison since January 30th. She has been informed that she will face charges of “disturbing public order, propagating Christianity, and connecting with foreign entities.” If Simon is convicted her detainment might be up to 10 years. Yaser is another convert who was arrested the same day and are being held in Evin Prison too. No details are known about his case. He has a severely disabled teenage son at home.

On February 7 about 40 Christians had gathered at their pastors home in Chapar, India, to pray. 25 Hindu radicals attacked them and six Christians were severely injured.

Pastor Molina, 24, was shot as he left his church in northwest Colombia on 9 February. Armed groups have been very active and violent in the area for the last four months as they fight for control of drug trafficking routes and the ownership of illicit crops. And as the church work to prevent the young from drugs and crime they are seen as an enemy. Two other pastors in the area were killed last September and some Christians have fled while others wait for government intervention.

Further reading:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

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