Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Priests attacked by mob in Pakistan

A Catholic priest and six Church employees were beaten by a mob on Catholic property in Karachi that has been seized illegally:
The Church is seeking help from the authorities after “land mafia” attacked two priests and several parishioners at a Catholic school in Karachi on Monday. 
Father Pervez Khalid, one other senior priest and six Church workers were assaulted by a group 70 people on April 16 after entering the playground of Cardinal Cordeiro High School which has been seized by land grabbers. 
One parishioner in his forties was taken to hospital after receiving several heavy blows.
The trouble began on Sunday when local residents informed Church authorities that people were demolishing a wall at the school which is situated in Karachi’s Korangi town. 
Other men were seen marking out a piece of ground measuring about 2,000 sq m. 
“We went to see where they made the illegal plot markings next day when about 70 men arrived and ordered us to leave. They even damaged the car of a priest who had land documents,” said Fr Khalid of Karachi’s Good Shepherd Parish [more].

Vietnamese priest in coma after beating

On April 14, 2012, Father Nguyen Van Binh was beaten by a mob sent by police in the town of Thuy Tien Xuan.
According to reports, shortly after midnight the thugs cut the electricity of the center, then they started throwing stones and objects to scare the children. A neighbor, on condition of anonymity, said that "they hit the altar of the Madonna. A child was carried away" and when he tried to rebel "they took him repeatedly slapping him in the face". Later "at least 200 policemen arrived" to help the mob destroy the Agape Family centre.

After learning of the attack, Fr. Nguyen Van Binh immediately ran to the orphanage but was struck several times by police with batons. He suffered severe head injuries (pictured) and fell into a coma. At first he was transported to hospital in Chuong My, then transferred to a hospital Vietnamese-German structure in Đức Viet, in a life-threatening condition. Faithful were also wounded in the attack. In the early afternoon of April 14, the priest returned to the Hanoi Archbishop's Curia, to be treated "strictly in private" [more].

Catholic radio broadcasts blocked in Guinea Bassau

Following a military coup on April 13, 2012 in Guinea Bassau, Catholic radio broadcasts have been blcoked.

Christians beaten mocked by Muslims in India

On March 30, 2012, seven Muslims forced their way into the home of Gaffar Shaike in the Indian town of Nutangram where eleven Christians were gathered for prayer.
Gaffar Shaike said the extremists called them pagans as they kicked, slapped and pushed the Christians, adding that they reprimanded him and his wife for dismissing several warnings from them to stop leading prayer meetings in their house. A year ago, the extremists had burned Shaike’s crops for his faith in Christ, he said.

“I asked the radicals why they barged into my house and why they were not allowing us to pray in my own home,” Shaike said, adding that the extremists were so blinded by fury that they only continued beating them, calling them pagans and threatening to continue doing so until they returned to Islam.

“We want freedom to worship Jesus in our home,” he said.

As the extremists mocked and otherwise verbally abused the Christians, a mob of about 100 Islamists gathered and charged into the house entryway, which is 72 feet long and eight feet wide, shouting anti-Christian slogans and threatening to murder them as they pushed, kicked and slapped them.

When the Christians tried to flee, the extremists blocked their way. The son of Muslim extremist Ahammed Shaike, Mohammed Kuran, beat 65-year-old widow Moyazan Bewa, Christians present said [more].

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Iranian Christians charged with apostasy

Twelve Christians in Iran have been tried for apostasy of Islam and now await the verdict.
Twelve Christians stood trial Easter Sunday in Iran, where they were called “apostates” in a courtroom and tried on multiple charges, according to sources close to Iran’s Christian community.   
The Christians had been acquitted on the same charges, including “crimes against the order,” a year ago in Bandar Anzali, a city on the Caspian Sea. The group was first arrested when authorities found them drinking wine while taking communion, according to sources. 
“It ultimately illustrates that being a Christian is illegal in Iran. No matter how clear or how open a pastor and a church may be, Christians are being brought to trial just for being Christian,” said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries advocacy group who is in daily contact with the Evangelical Christian community in Iran.
No verdict has yet been issued in the case [more].

Pastor attacked in Turkey

Semih Serkek, a Protestant Pastor in the Turkish city of Istanbul, was attacked on Easter by Muslim youths.
immediately after an Easter service. “They were three people around the age of 18. They wore [prayer caps] on their heads. They forced the door open and said they were going to kill me unless I recited the ‘Kelime-i Şahadet’ [Islamic confession of faith]. I received a severe blow to my chest,” Serkek told the Daily News. The attacks were not coincidental, according to Serkek, who had also served as a mentor to the three victims slain in the Malatya Zirve Publishing House incident in eastern Turkey [more].  

Iranian officials destroy church and cemetery

In the Iranian province of Kerman, government officials have destroyed a Christian church and a 200-year old cemetery.
The news service of a cultural heritage organization quoted Mohammad Mehdi Afzali, head of public relations in the Cultural Heritage organization of Kerman as saying, "Destruction of this cemetery was conducted as part of a project by the municipality and Cultural Heritage organization, to release lands around Ghal'e-Dokhtar and Ghal'e Ardeshir". 
"After the reports and photos of this destruction were published by news services, a team of experts of the Cultural Heritage office of Kerman was sent out to the cemetery to prepare an expert report" he added. 
Of course, Mr. Afzali denied this report in an interview with the pro-regime news service, IRNA on Wednesday [more]!

Chapel confiscated in Laos

In February, officials in Laos confiscated a Catholic chapel in the Savannakhek province, forcing the faithful to worship outside on Holy Saturday and without a priest.
On Saturday, three local Catholics were arrested and questioned by security officials after they removed a closure notice which was posted on the main door of the chapel by government officials in February. 
The faithful had also gathered outside the chapel to celebrate Palm Sunday.
Sister Seusy said priests from elsewhere are still being prevented from providing pastoral services for local Catholics [more].

38 killed by car bomb in Nigeria

On Easter Sunday, a suicide car bomber killed 38 people in the Nigerian city of Kaduna and damaged two local churches.
The explosion damaged the nearby All Nations Christian Assembly Church and the ECWA Good News Church as churchgoers worshipped at an Easter service, the possible target of the bomber. Witnesses said it appeared the explosive-laden car attempted to go into the compound of the churches before it detonated, but was blocked by barriers in the street and was turned away by a security guard as police approached. 
"We were in the holy communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors, destroyed our fans and some of our equipment in the church," Pastor Joshua Raji said [more].
Boko Haram is suspected in the attack.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tunisian given 7 years in prison for posting pictures of Muhammed on Facebook

Egypt isn't the only place where people are jailed for posting pictures of Muhammed on Facebook.

Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji, both from Tunisia, have been sentenced to seven years in prison
for posting cartoons of the prophet Mohammad on Facebook, in a case that has fueled allegations the country’s new Islamist leaders are gagging free speech.
The two men had posted depictions of the prophet naked on the social networking site, the justice ministry said, inflaming sensitivities in a country where Muslim values have taken on a bigger role since a revolution last year [more].

Egyptian teen given 3 years in jail for posting pictures of Muhammed on Facebook

Back in January I shared with you the story of 17-year old Gamal Abdou Massoud, who was sentenced to 15 days in jail for posting images of Muhammed on Facebook.

He has now been sentenced to 3 years in jail:
An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced a 17-year-old Christian boy to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammad, actions that sparked sectarian violence. 
Gamal Abdou Massoud was also accused of distributing some of his cartoons to his school friends in a village in the southern city of Assiut, home to a large Christian population and the hometown of the late Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda. 
“Assiut child’s court ordered the jailing of Gamal Abdou Massoud … for three years after he insulted Islam and published and distributed pictures that insulted Islam and its Prophet,” the court said in a statement seen by Reuters. 
The cartoons, published by Massoud in December, prompted some Muslims to attack Christians. Several Christian houses were burned and several Christians were injured in the violence [more].

Hindus attack Christians in Karnataka

On March 28, 2012, Mallikarjun Sangalada, a Protestant pastor in the Mundargi Gadag region of the Indian state of Karnataka, and four others, were beaten by a group of Hindu extremists:
On Wednesday, March 28, the Pastor went to a prayer meeting at the house of a believer in Dhoni, about 15 kilometers from his village. After the prayer meeting, the Pastor, along with four other believers, began distributing some leaflets inviting locals to a Christian community festival. This made some Hindu fundamentalists very angry and attacked and beat them without mercy. Then they dragged the five to the police station in Mundargi, denouncing them for "forced conversions from Hindus to Christianity" [more].

Hindu woman forced to convert to Islam

Rinkel Kumari, a 19-yeard old Hindu woman from Mirpur Mathelo in the Pakistani province of Sindh, has appealed to the supreme court in Islamabad.
The drama of Rinkel Kumari, a student of Mirpur Mathelo, a small village in the province of Sindh, began the evening of February 24: A handful of men seized her and delivered her a few hours later into the hands of a wealthy Muslim scholar, the man then called her parents, warning them that their daughter "wants to convert to Islam."

Nand Lal, the girl's father, a teacher of an elementary school, accused Naveed Shah, an influential Muslim, of kidnapping his daughter. The man has the "political cover" provided by Mian Mittho, an elected National Assembly Member, suspected of aiding and abetting. After identifying the perpetrators of the kidnapping of his daughter, he was forced to leave the area of origin to escape the threats of people affiliated with the local mafia. The father found refuge and welcome in Gurdwara in Lahore, in Punjab province, with the rest of his family.

As often happens in these cases, even the judiciary is complicit: a local judge ordered that the girl should be given to the Muslims, because her conversion is "the result of a spontaneous decision" and also stated the marriage was above board. A claim that was repeated on February 27, at the hearing before the court, after which the girl was "renamed" Faryal Shah.
This claim of her "spontaneous" conversion from Hinduism to Islam Kumari vigorously denies.  Addressing the supreme court, she said, "In Pakistan there is justice only for Muslims, justice is denied Hindus. Kill me here, now, in court. But do not send me back to the Darul-Aman [Koranic school] ... kill me."

Kuwaiti man arrested for blaspemy on Twitter

An unidentified man in Kuwait has been arrested on the charge of blasphemy for tweets he published on his Twitter account:
The man, whose name was not disclosed, defamed the Islamic faith and slandered the Prophet Mohammad, his companions and his wife, the ministry said in a statement issued on state-run news agency KUNA. He is being interrogated ahead of court proceedings. 
The ministry "regretted the abusing of social networks by some individuals to offend basic Islamic and spiritual values, vowing to show zero tolerance in combating such serious offences," it said in the statement [more].

Burmese army ransacks church

From Christian Solidarity Worldwide:
On 13 March the Burma Army ransacked Sin Lum Pang Mu Baptist Church in Pang Mu village, located in Bhamo district.  
According to Reverend Jangmaw Gam Maw, pastor of Pang Mu Church, soldiers from the 33rd battalion of the Burma Army’s 88th Infantry Division burned bibles, destroyed church property, and stole a video player, loudspeakers and villagers’ belongings. The soldiers claimed that the property belonged to a Kachin Independence Army outpost. They also took money from the church donation boxes [more].