Persecution of Christians – week 9

On February 9 ten churches in a village in southern Ethiopia were attacked by local Muslims. One church was destroyed and the property of all ten of them was burned (it’s believed that the other buildings were spared because of the risk that they would harm houses owned by Muslims close by). Some Christians got minor injuries, but two persons were severly hurt. The Muslims chanted “Allahu akbar [God is greater]” and though the police were present they didn’t act. The state police arrived after 5 hours, restored order and arrested attackers. The reason for the attack was fake news that a mosque in the countryside had been fire-bombed. One church has been vandalized again after this incident.

There was graffiti sprayed on the door of an Armenian church in Turkey on February 23. There was rasict and threatening (“You are finished”) messages written in English and Arabic.

Pastor Aung Tun Oo from Myanmar and his congregation gave gifts to an orphanage at christmas and asked the children to recite a prayer during their visit. A video of that spread on social media and stirred up anger among Buddhists. The Pastor apologised, but the radicals wouldn’t accept it so they filed charges for insulting others religion, which is a crime in Myanmar. No lawyers wanted to take on his case as many are afraid of the Buddhist radicals who have killed before.

In China the mother of imprisoned pastor Wang Yi, 74-year-old Chen Yaxue, was beaten up by Chengdu police, who were following and monitoring her. The reason was that she refused to let them peek at her ATM password. The police has threatened to sue her for attacking the police and has sued her friend who spread information about what had happened.

Leo Cornelio is the Archbishop of Bhopal, India, and he has spoken out about the increasing number of mob lynchings of Christians. Sometimes the reason of the lynching is that radical Hindus accuse them for harming cows. The vigilantes are often protected by society making it hard or even impossible for the victim to get justice.

Four Pakistani Christian women, between the ages 14-30, from Karachi were falsely accused of blasphemy on February 19. It caused a mob of Muslims to attack the neighborhood, which mostly is populated by Christians. They killed pets, livestock and damaged several homes by stoning them. 200 Christian families had to flee. The police have regained control, but the mob still refuse to let the Christians open their churches.

S:t Maximilian Kolbe, the saint of Auschwitz who sacrificed his life to save a stranger.

The new amendments to Tajikistan’s Religious Law, which were implemented in January 2018, are being used to control the small group of Christians in the country. For example, the government must be notified if children under ten attend religious services and the laws have stopped the import of religious literature. An example: when a SCRA official attended a Christian meeting in December 2018 several children under the age of 10 briefly came in to see their parents, as kids do. But the official used that “incident” to fine the community close to eight months’ wages.

At least 32 people were killed on February 26 in Maro, Nigeria, by Fulani Militia. One person who managed to escape think it was around 400 attackers. They shot at everyone and put the houses on fire.

There has been a sharp increase in persecution against Iranian Christians living in the city of Rasht. They have been persecuted before and get the hardest sentences in the country (one Christian got 80 lashes and a pastor was sentenced to death, but it got overturned so he has now served 10 years in prison). In the last month nine men have been arrested. Dr. Hormoz Shariat, president and founder of Iran Alive Ministries, said:

It is the policy of the Islamic government not to put thousands of Christians in jail [even though they easily can]. Their policy is to arrest a few and put maximum sentence on minor offenses [like just gathering in a home]. They then publicize it in order to put fear in the hearts of Christians. Their strategy is causing fear and isolation.

Christians fleeing Pakistan, which is the 5th worst country for Christians, and seeking asylum in Thailand are subjected to unfair treatment by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The burden of proof is higher on the Christians than others. Due to this many are denied asylum and are forced to return to Pakistan.

The Philippine government has accused several church organizations of having links to the communist underground movement. Missionaries who work and live in poor villages have been accused of trafficking tribal children to the rebels, when the truth is that they are setting up schools. A nun say that this is a well-known method to silence those who dare to stand alongside the indigenous people.

Further reading:

Lord, like David, I need your encouragement in a time of trial and anguish.

Thank you that you are always on the throne, always my God, ready to save.

Thank you for being the same God to me that you were to David.

Thank you for always being near and always rescuing me from my fears and hurts.

Lord, help me remember that daybreak might be just ahead, that this trial will not last forever.

Fill me with hope that daybreak is coming and that your love will always prevail!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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