October 2 - October 28, 2011
October 2, 2011
The village chief in Mekargalih, along with members of the Islamic Defender Front, expeled Christians from their place of worship for allegedly engaging in "proselytizing" in a predominantly Muslim area. A Christian woman complains, "Police have no guts against this radical group."
October 6, 2011
Pakistan (Hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
Last night, Safdar Masih was shot to death; others, including children, were injured. The local Church had bought some land to build an orphanage, but the local land mafia laid claim to it. Police refuses to open an investigation into the affair.
October 7, 2011
Pakistan (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
A Christian Pakistani politician accused security forces on Friday, October 7, of refusing to detain Muslim fighters who allegedly shot dead one Christian and injured over 20 others in Pakistan's Punjab province.
The murdered Christian, identified as Sabir Masih, was gunned down and "two dozen Christians including children, men and women were seriously injured" when Muslims attacked Christians "to grab a piece of land bought for a social project."
Shijo Kokkattu, an Indian Catholic from Kerala, has been languishing in a Maldives prison for more than a week because he had a Bible and a rosary at his home. Both items are banned on the archipelago.
Islam is state religion in the Maldives. There is no freedom of worship. In 2008, a constitutional amendment denied non-Muslims the right to obtain Maldivian citizenship.
Shijo, 30, has taught at Raafainu School on Raa Atoll for the past two years. Recently, whilst transferring some data from his pen drive to the school laptop, he accidentally copied Marian songs and a picture of Mother Mary into the system. Some teachers reported the matter to the police who raided his home and found a Bible and a rosary in his possession.
October 8, 2011
Egypt (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Christians fear pressure from Muslims to obey Islamic law. On her first day to school, 15-year-old Christian student Ferial Habib was stopped at the doorstep of her new high school with clear instructions: either put on a headscarf or no school this year. Habib refused. While most Muslim women in Egypt wear the headscarf, Christians do not, and the move by administrators to force a Christian student to don it was unprecedented.
Recent attacks on churches in southern Egypt also illustrate the heat Christians are under. Under Mubarak-era rules, the building of a church or repairs for an existing one required permission from local authorities and the state security agency - a rule not applied to mosques. The rules sought to avoid outbursts of violence from Muslim hard-liners. Since permission was rarely given, Christians at times resorted to building churches in secret, often in parish guesthouses.
October 9, 2011
Massive clashes that drew in Christians angry over a recent church attack, Muslims, and Egyptian security forces raged over a large section of downtown Cairo Sunday night, leaving at least 19 people dead and more than 150 injured. It was the worst violence since the 18-day uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February.
The ongoing clashes lasted late into the night, bringing out a deployment of more than 1,000 security forces and armored vehicles to defend the state television building along the Nile, where the trouble began. The clashes spread to nearby Tahrir Square and the area around it, drawing in thousands of people. They battled each other with rocks and firebombs, some tearing up pavement for ammunition and others collecting stones in boxes.
Christians blame Egypt's ruling military council for being too lenient on those behind a spate of anti-Christian attacks since the ouster of Mubarak. The Coptic Christian minority makes up about 10 percent of the country of more than 80 million people. As Egypt undergoes a chaotic power transition and security vacuum in the wake of this year's uprising, Christians are particularly worried about the increasing show of force by the ultraconservative Islamists. More HERE. Video HERE.
October 10, 2011
Beni Asri, one of the country's best-known Islamic extremists, arrested after the attack on the Christian church of Solo (Java) last September, has admitted strong links with the leading Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Baasyr. (09/25/2011 At least three killed in a suicide attack on church in Indonesia).
Beni Asri has been accused of planning several suicide bombings in Indonesia, and in particular of being the organizer of the attack against the Solo church. Beni Asri was arrested Sept. 30 in his parents' house in Solok, West Sumatra province.
Malaysia (hat tip to the ReligionofPeace)
Islamic authorities will provide counselling to a dozen Malaysian Muslims to "restore their belief and faith" after they attended a community dinner at a church hall, a royal sultan said on Monday.
The case has triggered worries among officials in Muslim-majority Malaysia that some non-Muslims were trying to convert Muslims. Proselytising of Muslims is punishable by prison terms of various lengths in most Malaysian states.
Church officials had repeatedly denied any proselytisation occurred at the dinner, which they described as a multiethnic gathering to celebrate the work of a community organization that worked with women, children and HIV patients. Update HERE.
From Raymond Ibrahim: Egypt, destroying churches one at a time. What clearer sign that Egypt is turning rabidly Islamist than the fact that hardly a few weeks go by without a church being destroyed, or without protesting Christians being attacked and slaughtered by the military?
Egypt (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Egypt's state television announced on Monday that there are no deaths among the military forces after previously reporting there were during the bloody Sunday clashes between the military and Coptic protesters, saying that it was the fault of the news presenter.
State TV, also known as Maspero, is under fire from rights activists for falsely reporting that the Coptic protesters attacked the military forces with weapons, which resulted in the death of at least three soldiers and the called on the Egyptian people to take to the street to help protect the armed forces.
The news, when reported on Sunday evening, agitated many Muslims, who took up arms and went to the streets of downtown, clashing with protesters, both Muslims and Coptic Christians, injuring dozens in the worst sectarian violence since the fall of ousted President Hosni Muabrak's regime. State TV also reported that the protesters were armed and initiated the violence that killed the soldiers, which escalated the bloodshed late on Sunday.
October 12, 2011
Local authorities have threatened to demolish three church buildings in Omdurman as part of a long-standing bid to rid Sudan of Christianity, Christian sources told Compass.
Officials from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Public Utilities-Khartoum State appeared at the three church sites in Omdurman, on the Nile River opposite Khartoum, the afternoon of Sept. 11, threatening to demolish the structures if the churches continued to conduct worship services, church leaders said.
Church leaders from the three churches in the Madinat al Fath area of Omdurman - the Sudanese Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Roman Catholic Church - said they were surprised to see government officials come to their church premises and accuse them of operating churches on government land without permission. The church leaders told Compass the buildings were not located on government land and required no permission.
There aren't any public churchs left standing in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department. So much for religious freedom one decade after the United States first invaded and then overthrew its Taliban regime, costing taxpayers $440 billion and incurring more than 1,700 U.S. military deaths to date.
The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed back in March 2010, according to the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report, which also states that there are no Christian schools left in the country.
October 13, 2011
A 12-year-old Christian girl was kidnapped and repeatedly raped for eight months in Pakistan by a man who then falsified marriage documents with her, it was claimed today.
The girl was lured on a shopping trip in Lahore by a friend, before she was driven 120 miles to Tandianwalla and raped by the friend's uncle in January this year.Two days later, she was forced to sign papers consenting to marriage with the man and beaten for refusing to convert from Christianity to Islam. She was then held against her will for eight months, before managing to escape and contact her family.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has said the rapists have not been arrested because of their affiliation with a militant Muslim organisation - the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. It claims the police have refused to order a medical check-up on the girl, and have warned her parents that it would be better for them to hand over the girl to her 'legal' husband or a criminal case would be filed against them. An investigation into the kidnapping found the girl's father reported her disappearance in January and made complaints against her abductors, but police took no action for eight months.
October 15, 2011
An army crackdown on a protest that killed more than 20 Christians has not only stunned Egyptians, it has left them with deeply torn feelings toward the force seen as the protector of the nation. Even supporters of the ruling military are grappling with the question of how the bloodshed could have happened.
Many Egyptians view the military as the last bastion of stability - a force "made up of our own sons," as many often say - and tend to trust it to handle the transition toward a democratic system. So images of army troops wildly running over protesters with armored vehicles have jolted them. Some try to find excuses for the ruling junta or nervously defend it. Intertwined in the reaction are the religious tensions between Egypt's Muslim majority and Christian minority. The fact that victims were Christians has made some less sympathetic or more willing to forgive the army's actions.
The violence was the deadliest since the military took over Egypt following the Feb. 11 fall of President Hosni Mubarak - and was a stark contrast to the idealistic sense of Muslim-Christian unity that flourished during the anti-Mubarak uprising.
It began Sunday night when thousands of Christians demonstrated outside the state television building, protesting an attack on a church in southern Egypt. Army troops waded in, and armored personnel carriers barreled through the crowds. The violence killed 26 people, including at least 21 Christians, some crushed by vehicles or shot to death. State media said three soldiers were among the dead.
In the first official press conference after the violence, the military tried to exonerate itself, blaming the Christians and "hidden hands" for starting the violence, denying its troops shot any protesters or intentionally ran them over. Witnesses said soldiers started the melee. Videos showing soldiers beating and shooting into crowds and armored vehicles seeming to chase protesters cast doubt on the military's account.
October 17, 2011
Egypt (hat tip to JihadWatch)
A week after a Maspero protest turned deadly when the army crushed a Coptic demonstration, local papers are taking a tone that suggests the nation's military rulers are not to blame.
Most of Monday's papers accuse various actors for the bloodshed that left at least 27 civilians dead and hundreds injured on 9 October. Surprisingly, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's cabinet doesn't get the biggest share for blame although he was a primary target for criticism following the events. State-sponsored media was also heavily criticized, but now local media is finding another scapegoat. Coptic religious leaders, clergy and intellectuals are responsible not only for the Maspero violence but also for threatening national unity, according to several papers.
Violence-weary Christians in Borno state have been further upset to learn of the murder of a Nigerian evangelist by Boko Haram less than three months after the Islamic extremist group killed a Maiduguri pastor.
Already shell-shocked from attacks by Boko Haram, which was originally based in Borno state, Christians again took cover after the Aug. 27 shooting of Mark Ojunta, a 36-year-old evangelist from southern Nigeria who was ministering amid the Kotoko people of Nigeria's northeastern state with Calvary Ministries (CAPRO). He was killed in Maiduguri.
October 19, 2011
Militants from the Islamic extremist al Shabaab beheaded a 17-year-old Somali Christian near Mogadishu last month, a journalist in the Somali capital told Compass.
The militants, who have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, killed Guled Jama Muktar on Sept. 25 in his home near Deynile, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Mogadishu. The Islamic extremist group had been monitoring his family since the Christians arrived in Somalia from Kenya in 2008, said the source in Mogadishu, who requested anonymity.
The Islamic militants, who are fighting the transitional government for control of the country, knew from their observations of the family that they were Christians, the source said.
Update on Asia Bibi. . . A female prison officer assigned to provide security for a Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death on "blasphemy" charges beat her earlier this month, sources said.
Sources in Pakistan's Sheikhupura District Jail said Asia Noreen, also known as Asia Bibi, was beaten on Oct. 5 by a prison officer identified only as Khadeeja, allegedly because of the Muslim officer's anti-Christian bias, while other staff members deployed for her security looked on in silence.
Noreen, mother of two children and stepmother to three others, was sentenced to death last November after her conviction for blaspheming Islam's prophet, Muhammad, after a verbal disagreement with some women in the village of Ittanwali, near Lahore.
October 23, 2011
Malaysia (hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
Right-wing Malaysian activists on Saturday staged a rally against Christians who 'challenge the sovereignty of Islam', amid fears of growing Islamisation in the multicultural nation.
The gathering of about 2,000 people in Selangor state follows allegations of Christian proselytisation in the Muslim-majority country after religious police raided a Methodist church event in August fearing Muslims were being converted.
Newspapers linked to the ruling coalition have also alleged that Christian groups are secretly trying to convert poor Muslims by using welfare such as housing, food and cash.
'Apostasy violates the wishes of Allah, there is no bigger sin,' Yusri Mohamad, the event's chief organiser, told the crowd in Shah Alam, the state capital.
October 24, 2011
Nigerian soldiers summoned to stop inter-religious fighting between Muslim and Christian youths last week shot and killed a Christian mother of five in the Yelwa area of Bauchi city, according to family and church sources.
Soldiers were called in to restore calm following fighting that broke out at a high school soccer match on Thursday (Oct. 20), and later three Muslim soldiers shot and killed Charity Augustine Agbo and a Christian boy. The circumstances leading to the shooting of the boy, who is unrelated to Agbo, were not immediately known, and his name was not disclosed.
Emboldened by government calls for a Sudan based on Islamic law since the secession of South Sudan, Muslims long opposed to a church near Khartoum have attacked Christians trying to finish constructing their building, sources said.
The Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) congregation in Omdurman West, across the Nile River from Khartoum, has continued to meet for Sunday worship in a building without a roof in spite of opposition from area Muslims and local authorities, the sources told Compass. Claiming that Christianity was no longer an accepted religion in the country, Muslims in the Hay al Sawra, Block 29 area of Omdurman West on Aug. 5 attacked SCOC members who were constructing the church building, the sources said.
October 25, 2011
Sudanese leader Omer Hassan Al-Bashir is rewriting his country's constitution in order to implement shar'ia (Islamic) law.
"This new law is going to affect a significant number of Christians who live in places like Khartoum," said Jonathan Rach, International Christian Concern's North Africa specialist. "There are still a significant number of Christians in Sudan … If Al-Bashir introduces this shar'ia law and if he's going to go ahead and adopt an entirely Islamic constitution, Christians and other non-Muslims who live in Sudan will be treated like second-class citizens; they will be dhimmis and they will not have full rights in the freedom of religion."
West Java, Indonesia
Members of a church in Bogor, West Java, are determined to continue meeting outside their sealed building each Sunday until they are granted freedom to worship inside it, despite a ban on street meetings issued by the local mayor.
An Egyptian Military Court ordered that an imprisoned Christian activist be admitted to a mental health hospital to determine whether he's responsible for his actions.
Michael Nabil Sanad was sent to Abbasiya Hospital in Cairo, a facility that specializes in treating seriously ill psychiatric patients.
Writer William Weesa said this was very dangerous because "there are many people who were admitted to these hospitals by the security services, who were quite healthy when they went in, but came out as a devastated human beings." Weesa asked that this "farce perpetrated against a prisoner of conscience" be stopped.
October 26, 2011
The Egyptian military's intent to investigate its own use of force against unarmed Coptic Christians demonstrating on Oct. 9, 2011, raises concerns of a cover-up, according to Human Rights Watch.
The military arrested at least 28 people, mostly Copts, and brought them all before military prosecutors who ordered their detention for 15 days pending an investigation.
However, Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 demonstrators who all testified that at least two armored personnel carriers drove recklessly through crowds of Christians; autopsies showed that the massive, metal APCs killed at least 10 demonstrators.
"The military cannot investigate itself with any credibility," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "This had been an essentially peaceful protest until the military used excessive force and military vehicles ran over protesters. The only hope for justice for the victims is an independent civilian-led investigation that the army fully cooperates with and cannot control and that leads to the prosecution of those responsible."
October 27, 2011
A petition circling around Canada is calling for Pakistan to drop its blasphemy laws. The Islamic republic's law has grave consequences for the nation's Christians, including some who are facing death for their beliefs.
October 28, 2011
A Muslim convert to Christianity has gone missing since his arrest last week by plain clothes security officer
According to Mohabat News, on October 17, 2011, a group of four officers engaged in a commando-style raid on the house of Mr. Arazm, arresting him, then transferring him to an unknown location. The raid took place around 7:30 in the morning local time, just before he left for work.
The officers apparently searched the house upside-down and left a mess in their wake. The plainclothes officers confiscated Mr. Arazm's computer hard disk, CDs, pictures, and a number of Bibles. His family was also threatened to remain silent and not to talk about this incident to anyone.