Care for orphans and hurting childrenread more
Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive pageMap reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE for the Map Legend.
The Department of State releases an International Religious Freedom Report each year. This is their report for 2011 which indicates which countries they believe are of high concern for violating religious freedom. This report is of great interest to ICC. In this section we’ve highlighted just a few countries, but click the link at the bottom to see the entire report. Take a moment to see what the United States Government and the State Department has to say regarding the violation of Religious Freedom.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
In yet another case of the Vietnamese government actively working to shut down Christianity across the country, a Mennonite Pastor has had his sentence of 11 years in prison upheld for "undermining the government policy of unity".
Read our latest blog post about a night of violence in Nigeria, and the lasting impression it has had on the community.
The mother of a prominent Christian blogger has died after setting herself on fire in protest over the arrest of her daughter. This is the first known self-immolation by fire in Vietnam since the 1970's, and it tragically highlights the plight of the countries Christians, who face brutal harassment at the hands of the communist government. Her daughter, Marie Ta Phong Tan, a Catholic, is set to go on trial next week for allegedly spreading anti-government propaganda.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and an increasingly important diplomatic partner for Washington in Southeast Asia, was chided by a recent State Department report over detentions and imprisonment of individuals under its blasphemy law.
The State Department is required by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) to review every country to “determine whether the government of that country has engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” In this article, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) applauds them for their designations and asks the State Department to take action to “encourage improvements” in countries that do not promote religious freedom. USCIRF makes policy recommendations regarding religious freedom (or lack thereof) to the President, Secretary of State and Congress.
One South Korean pastor who organized underground churches in North Korea allegedly suffered waterboarding and electrical torture when he was arrested in China in 1991, they said.
Nigeria’s Islamic group, Boko Haram, has been killing Christians and members of Nigeria’s security officials. Two of former Nigerian presidents are urging for dialogue to end the violence in the country.
Britain’s only Green Party council has been accused of “violent prejudice” against Christians as it considers expelling a member who spoke out against same-sex marriage.
Another Christian is detained for allegedly “insulting Islam” in Egypt and breaking the country’s blasphemy laws. The case follows previous charges filed against Christians and moderates for blasphemy in 2012—including a Christian boy who was sentenced to three years in jail by an Egyptian court in April—adding to concerns that Islamists are using their newly gained political power to stifle freedom of expression.
In the State Department’s annual report on religious freedom, the U.S. accused Pakistan for using blasphemy laws to “restrict religious liberty”. The resurgence of blasphemy laws—which criminalize Christians and sometimes even Muslims for insulting Islam—are spreading like a wild fire throughout the Islamic world and are perhaps the greatest threat against Christianity in the Middle East today. Christians and Muslims are imprisoned in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, and Tunisia for allegedly ‘offending Islam’.
A U.S. State Department report on religious freedom expresses concern over whether or not the newly elected Islamist government in Egypt will respect the freedoms of religious minorities. The report also criticizes Afghanistan for trying non-Muslims in Islamic courts and Pakistan for issuing death sentences for blasphemy.
“Syria’s Christian minorities are facing increasing dangers, especially in the city of Aleppo. The country’s estimated 1.5 million Christians are being targeted for attack and blamed for assisting a brutal regime,” PRI’s The World reports.
Hundreds of Christians will protest outside Egypt’s constitutional court today, demanding the dissolution of an Islamist-dominated assembly tasked with writing the country’s new constitution. The assembly, appointed by a parliament that was dissolved by the military on June 14, has proposed a constitution that will adhere to the “principles of Islamic Sharia [as] the main source for legislation.”
In yet another attack against Christians in India, twenty armed radicals stormed into a prayer meeting and “tormented” fifty believers. Before they left they, “threatened the women that they will not hesitate to violate them if they continue to follow Jesus Christ.”
Claiming numbers as high as 40 million Christians martyred in the 20th century a “Save the Christians” rally was held in Rome to raise awareness. “De Mattei said the event was of ‘symbolic importance.’ If there were no such protests, he said ‘it would be a scandal.’”
Pastor Ponnachan, a missionary with Gospel for Asia was kidnapped at gunpoint by terrorists. Through cooperation of the local police force of Assam, army personnel and high-level officials, the Pastor was released yesterday. It is still unclear why this terrorist group, known for killing and not for leaving people unharmed, freed the Pastor.
ICC has learned that hundreds of Christians will protest outside Egypt’s constitutional court today demanding the dissolution of an Islamist-dominated assembly tasked with writing the country’s new constitution.
Nigerian Islamic group, Boko Haram, is responsible for killing of hundreds of Christians in northern Nigeria. Muslim leaders are now asking the group to end its violence.
Murder of Christian senator, physician leaves big plans unfinished.
The Religious Silence on Christian Persecution; Has anyone heard of imprisoned Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani?Monday, July 30th, 2012
“This month the Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani marked his 1,000th day of incarceration in Lakan, a notorious prison in northern Iran. Charged with the crime of apostasy, Mr. Nadarkhani faces a death sentence for refusing to recant the Christian faith he embraced as a child. He embodies piety and represents millions more suffering from repression—but his story is barely known,” Ben Cohen and Keith Roderick write in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.
The right to choose one’s own religion is a foreign concept in Saudi Arabia. Girls and women can be killed by their own families or imprisoned and even executed under Saudi law for converting from Islam to Christianity. In this story, the Saudi Gazette (note – this is a Saudi newspaper) reports on the story of a girl who embraced Christianity and fled to Lebanon for refuge. The girl came to Christ as a result of a dream where she heard God telling her that Jesus is His son.
Two days after a Christian laundry worker burned the shirt of a Muslim, a group of Muslims started “burning and plundering Christian homes, and wounding several people,” Right Side News reports.
Occasionally Christians in China facing persecution have the courage to try and take action through China's notoriously opaque and corrupt legal system. For these believers in the remote Northwest province of Xinjiang, this has resulted in even greater harassment by local authorities, who only remained in check until the Christian lawyer hired by the church had left the area. ICC stands by these believers and supports them in their attempts to seek restitution.
Jail officials on one occasion last week dispersed a gathering of almost 20 inmates that Salman had together for a bible study. Officials threatened to put him “in the hole” if he didn’t cooperate. On another such occasion he was forced to work on Sunday instead of honoring the Sabbath.
This article is a round-up of all persecution of Christians, specifically at the hands of Muslims that happened around the world in June, 2012. Posted is mainly Central Asia. Click through to the original article to read them all.
Islamic radicalism in the reason for the growing persecution of Christians around the world. The influence of Muslim radicals is also growing in the West.
“Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo SJ of Aleppo said the Church was frightened of a repeat of the catastrophe in Homs in the spring when the Christian quarter came under fire, forcing a mass exodus of almost all of the faithful,” Aid to the Church in Need reports.
Congressman Chris Smith, the chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, writes an op-ed for the Washington Times on the abduction, coerced conversion, and forced marriage of Coptic Christian women and girls in Egypt. Despite this escalating problem, Secretary Clinton released $1.3 billion in annual aid to Egypt, waiving legislative conditions that require Egypt to protect freedom of religion. “This is a terrible mistake. Until the Egyptian government protects Coptic women and girls… we should use every tool in our policy kit, including our massive aid program, to encourage it to do so,” Rep. Smith writes.
Support wives and children of imprisoned or martyed pastorsread more
Spread the gospel by supporting underground pastorsread more
Save women from abduction and sexual exploitationread more
Help rebuild communities devastated by persecutionread more
Other Projectsother projects
ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.