-- Saudi anti-Christian sweep prompts calls for US involvement - 9/10/14
-- This link leads to infomation on a number of attacks on Christianity - posted 8/14/14
-- Teacher Tells Student He Can't Read the Bible in Classroom - 5/5/14
-- Boko Haram’s New War Song - 3/31/14
-- U.S. blocks Christian governor from Nigeria peace talks - 3/28/14
-- List of Countries Prosecuting Christians - posted 1/10/14
-- Teacher Tells 6-year-old: Jesus Not Allowed in School - 1/09/14
anti-Christian sweep prompts calls for US involvement
September 10, 2014 By Benjamin Weinthal FoxNews.com
"Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy," Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told FoxNews.com. "It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced even though there are over 2 million Christian foreign workers in that country. Those victimized are typically poor, from Asian and African countries with weak governments."
Dozens of Christians arrested at a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia need America's help, according to a key lawmaker who is pressing the State Department on their behalf.
Some 28 people were rounded up Friday by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the home of an Indian national in the eastern Saudi city of Khafji, and their current situation is unknown, according to human rights advocates.
In Friday's crackdown, several Bibles were confiscated, according to reports from the Kingdom.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va, told FoxNews.com he will press the U.S. ambassador in Riyadh and the State Department to assist the arrested Christians.
“I hope our government will speak up,” said Wolf, adding that the anti-Christian raid was not surprising given that the Saudi regime “did not want our soldiers to wear crosses during the Desert Storm” operation in 1991 to stop Iraqi jingoism.
A spokeswoman for Saudi Arabia’s embassy press officer, Nail Al-Jubeir, in Washington, told FoxNews.com that “Mr. Jubeir has nothing on that [arrests of Christians].” She suggested calling the Saudi Gazette newspaper.
The English-language paper Saudi Gazette, along with Saudi Arabic-language news outlets, published a news item about the mass arrests.
An article posted on the Arabic-language news website Akhbar 24 said the arrests came after the Kingdom's religious police got a tip about a home-based church. The report further noted that “distorted writings of the Bible were found and musical instruments, noting their referral to the jurisdictional institutions.”
The Saudi media reported different compositions of the arrested Christians. Some reports said the Christians were men and women, while the Saudi Gazette wrote that children, as well as men and women, were detained. It was unclear if a court date has been set in the notoriously opaque [Muslim] fundamentalist court system [AKA shira].
Saudi Arabia has gone to great lengths over the years to re-brand its image as a tolerant advocate of multi-religious dialogue. The arch-conservative monarchy funded the Vienna-based King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue. Nevertheless, critics argue, Saudi Arabia’s Islamist religious police continue to expunge any trace of Christianity within its territory.
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah appears to be tied up in knots because of his conflicting messages to the international community about religious diversity.
"Such actions are especially dangerous in the current situation, where the world is seeing the rise of extreme Islamist groups in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia and elsewhere," Shea said. "The West should demand that its strategic ally, Saudi Arabia, release the Christians at once and allow them to pray according to their own faith traditions. Otherwise, Riyadh will appear to be validating the practices of the Islamic State in northern Iraq and Syria.”
Secretary of State John Kerry is slated to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to marshal support to combat the radical Islamic State terror organization. It was unclear if Kerry plans to raise the arrests of the Christians. On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Pskai said she was not aware of the arrests, but pledged to look into the reports.
Benjamin Weinthal reports on persecuted minorities in the Middle East. Weinthal is a fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal
Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter@BenWeinthal.
This page leads to infomation on a number of attacks on Christianity
Todd Starnes writing in Townhall Daily. Even I was supprised at where these attacks originated -- right here in the US.
Todd Starnes is the host of Fox News & Commentary – heard daily on 250+ radio stations. He’s also the author of “Dispatches From Bitter America.” To check out all of his work you can visit his @toddstarnes. In his spare time, Todd is active in his church, plays golf, follows SEC football, and eats barbecue. He lives in New York City.
Georgia Town to Atheists: Stop Bullying our Kids Posted August 13, 2014
The American Humanist Association (AHA) is about to learn a very important lesson -- folks around Gainesville, Georgia don’t take kindly to out-of-town atheists trying to bully their children.
Navy Removes Bibles From Guest Rooms Posted August 11, 2014
There is growing outrage among sailors and religious liberty advocates over adirective that calls for the removal of Bibles from lodges and hotels run on U.S. Navy bases. The directive comes after an atheist group filed a formal complaint earlier this year over the placement of Bibles in the rooms.
Lawsuit: Soldier Forced out of Army for Serving Chick-fil-A, Reading Hannity Book Posted August 06, 2014 A member of the U.S. Army Band said he was forced out of the U.S. Army for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car, serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors like Sean Hannity, a federal lawsuit a lleges.
Women Ordered to Stop Praying Inside Mall Posted August 05, 2014
It’s not uncommon for shopping malls to have rules of conduct. Some places ban saggy pants. Others won’t let you ask people for money. But a mall in Georgia may have one of the most unusual rules -- they won’t let shoppers pray – not even over their meals.
Troops Told to Refrain from Eating, Drinking in Front of Muslims Posted July 30, 2014 Do not eat or drink in front of Muslims, and learn more about their religion.
Does the Obama Admin Stand with Israel or the Terrorists? Posted July 24, 2014
The Obama Administration’s air embargo of Israel has ended.
Lawsuit: Newspaper Fires Editor for Criticizing Gay Bible Posted July 23, 2014
Bob Eschliman is a Christian. He’s also a veteran news editor. And when he decided to write a column on his personal blog objecting to a gay-friendly version of the Bible, Bob was unceremoniously marched out of the Newton Daily News and shoved out the front door.
Posted July 22, 2014
The Transportation Security Administration is strongly denying accusations that it has been allowing illegal immigrants to board American jetliners without proper identification.
Obama's LGBT Executive Order Endangers Religious Liberty Posted July 21, 2014
President Obama signed an executive order Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – ignoring the pleas of Christian and other faith leaders to include an exemption for religious organizations.
Mrs. Obama Declares War on Chick-fil-A Posted July 15, 2014
The [POTUS wife, moochelle Obama, AKA] First Lady of these United States, has declared war on Chick-fil-A.
Feds: Pastors Not Welcome at Immigration Camps Posted July 09, 2014
Pastors and churches have been banned from helping the thousands of illegal immigrant children housed in border detention facilities run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, clergy in Texas and Arizona tell me.
Immigration Crisis: Tuberculosis Spreading at Camps Posted July 07, 2014
Are the thousands of illegal immigrant kids housed in detention facilities happy and well fed -- or are they living in disease-infested compounds shrouded in secrecy?
Medical Staff Warned: Keep Your Mouths Shut About Illegal Immigrants or Face Arrest Posted July 02, 2014
Jesus, Republicans and NRA Banned on School Website Posted June 19, 2014
One of the lessons that Andrew Lampart learned from being on his school’s debate team was to gather facts for both sides of an argument. So last month when his law class was instructed to prepare for a debate on gun control, Andrew went online using the school’s Internet service.
God Redacted from High School Graduation Speech Posted June 16, 2014
Brooks Hamby never wanted to be a rabble-rouser. He just wanted to thank Jesus in his high school graduation speech.
Govt. Union Wants Duck Dynasty Fans Fired Posted June 12, 2014
A union representing federal employees at Eglin Air Force base in Florida is demanding that two senior management officials be removed from their posts because they put decals on their personal trucks supporting Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.
Ex-HGTV Hosts: 'If Our Faith Costs Us a TV Show, So Be It' Posted May 08, 2014
The Home & Garden Television (aka HGTV) network announced Wednesday it has decided to pull the plug on an upcoming real estate reality show amid a firestorm of controversy from gay rights activists who accused the evangelical Christian hosts of being anti-gay and pro-life.
New Hampshire School Defends Sexually Graphic Novel Posted May 07, 2014
That’s an excerpt from “Nineteen Minutes,” a novel that 14-year-old English students have been assigned to read at the local high school.
Tells Student He Can't Read the Bible in Classroom
5/5/2014 Todd Starnes Townhall.com
A Florida school teacher humiliated a 12-year-old boy in front of an entire class after she caught him reading the Bible during free reading time.
The teacher, at Park Lakes Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, ordered Giovanni Rubeo to pick up the telephone on her desk and call his parents.
As the other students watched, the teacher left a terse message on the family’s answering machine.
“I noticed that he has a book – a religious book – in the classroom,” she said on the recording. “He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.”
The Liberty Institute, a legal firm that specializes in religious liberty issues, is now representing the Rubeo family. They are demanding that Giovanni be allowed to read his Bible during free reading time. They also want the school to issue a written apology to the boy.
“This is the most shocking piece of evidence I’ve seen in the 12 years of religious liberty work that I’ve been doing,” said Hiram Sasser, the Liberty Institute’s director of litigation.
I reached out to the superintendent of Broward County Schools as well as the chairman of the school board. Neither returned my messages.
Last Christmas Giovanni received a Bible from his local church. It quickly became a prized possession and one of his favorite books to read.
“I love reading my Bible any time that I’m allowed to read it,” the boy told me in a telephone conservation.
So that’s why Giovanni brought his Bible to school -- to read his Bible during a 90-minute session designated for free reading.
In February and March, the boy’s teacher ordered him to stop reading his Bible. During those instances, the child complied with his teacher’s demands. But, when his father discovered what happened, he began investigating and determined the school was violating his son’s Constitutional rights.
From that point on, Rubeo told his son that if his teacher or anyone else at the school told him he could not read his Bible during free reading time, he was to politely ask the teacher to call home.
And that’s what happened on April 8. When the children pulled out their books, the teacher immediately targeted Giovanni.
“When I was reading my Bible, she said, ‘Giovanni, what book is that?’ I was a little afraid,” he told me. “She told me to put it on her desk and I said no.”
When Giovanni conveyed his father’s instructions, she ordered him to walk to the front of the class and call home – in front of the entire class. Rubeo was not at home, so the teacher left a message – of which I have a copy.
“I don’t understand why a school would want to keep a child from reading his Bible during free reading time,” he told me. “And I’ve never gotten an answer to that question.”
After he received the teacher’s message, Rubeo contacted the school. He said the principal said she would have to turn the matter over to their legal department. Rubeo then wrote a letter to the school ordering them to cease and desist the harassment of his son.
“This it to give you written notice to stop breaking the law & violating my son Giovanni Rubeo’s constitution first amendment right of free speech and religious expression,” the letter states. “Do NOT tell my son he cannot read his Bible during free reading hours during class or any time when students are allowed to read books of their choice.”
Liberty Institute provided me with a response from Cynthia Dias, the principal of the school.
“You child is permitted to read the Bible before school, after school and during lunch, in accordance to the law,” the letter states.
This, friends, is what we call parsing words. Notice that the principal avoided the issue. This is about letting a child read a Bible during free reading time.
Sasser said the school violated the boy’s constitutional rights. He also accused them of viewpoint discrimination, restricting the free exercise of religion and engaging in hostility towards religion.
He cited U.S. Department of Education guidance that allows for students to read their Bibles during non-instructional time. It reads in part, "...students students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray or study religious materials with fellow students during recess, the lunch hour, or other noninstructional time to the same extent that they may engage in nonreligious activities."
“This is a pretty serious situation,” Sasser said. As that audio recording indicates"there’s a big problem in our public schools."
So this is what it’s come to, folks. School teachers are now publicly shaming boys and girls who read the Bible. Had the kid the kid been reading "Fifty Shades of Gray," he probably would’ve been given a gold star.
Haram’s New War Song: “We Will Enter Churches and Slaughter
3/31/2014 Leah Barkoukis in Townhall Daily
In a video explaining how they attacked Giwa Barracks earlier this month, the Nigeria-based Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, also sang songs about how they plan to continue targeting Christians, churches, and the country at large.
Sahara Reporters brings you the latest from the Religion of Peace (emphasis mine):
The 24-minute video appears to confirm the sect's sophistication as well as its access to modern weaponry.
The video shows the sect exhibiting their warfare techniques, shooting targets from specialized armed vans, as well as holding and firing grenades from the ground. It also shows the sect's commanders coordinating operations by giving orders.
The footage contains details of how the sect launched attacks from several directions in and around the military barracks. It also shows hundreds of people the sect claimed to have freed from detention by the Nigerian military.
Warning Nigerian police officers to stay off their path, the sect sang, “Police give us way, you are too weak and small to stop us. You are all women and we understand you.”
The sect sang that their demand for Sharia cannot be compromised. They restated that their targets remained churches, Christians and the Nigerian state. Part of the song stated, "We are working for Allah and must bring Shariah to existence; we are committed to protecting Muslims from being annihilated by infidels. We are going to kill them. We will enter Churches and slaughter Christians and barracks. We are calling on all Muslims to come out and fight Jihad. If you joke, these infidels will annihilate Muslims. You see how they are killing our women and children.”
The group boasted that it had demonstrated its prowess in Borno, Bauchi and Abuja, and the infidels of Plateau, Kaduna, Adamawa and Gombe.
They vowed to fight for Shariah will all their might until success was achieved.
Designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department, Boko Haram has been violently attacking churches, schools, markets, and government forces since 2009.
As a result of attacks by Boko Haram and “uncontrolled reprisals” by Nigeria’s security forces, there have been more than 1,500 deaths in the country in 2014 so far, according to Amnesty International. Boko Haram is responsible for more than half of the killings, however, which includes “scores of schoolchildren who have been the victims of deliberate attacks.”
According to the United States Institute of Peace, Boko Haram believes "the politics in northern Nigeria has been seized by a group of corrupt, false Muslims" and therefore wants to wage a war against them, the Nigerian government, military, and civilians in order to "create a "pure" Islamic state ruled by sharia law."
U.S. blocks Christian governor from Nigeria peace talks
State Department demanding 'security background checks'
Mar 28, 2014 by Michael Carl For WND
Michael Carl is a veteran journalist with overseas military experience and experience as a political consultant. He also has two Master's Degrees, is a bi-vocational pastor and lives with his family in the Northeast United States.
The United States Institute for Peace recently brought together the governors of Nigeria’s mostly Muslim northern states for a conference in the U.S., but the State Department blocked the visa of the region’s only Christian governor, an ordained minister, citing “administrative” problems.
The visa of Plateau State Gov. Jonah David Jang, has been held up by the Obama administration for more than a year, according to Ann Buwalda of the Jubilee Project, which focuses on Nigerian human rights.
Of the 19 states northern states, 12 have implemented Islamic law, or Shariah, noted Buwalda.
Jang’s visa has been tied up in security background checks described as “administrative processing” since July 2012,” she said.
“This is despite the fact that he has never violated the terms of his visa,” Buwalda said.
The USIP confirmed that all 19 northern governors were invited, but the organization did not respond to requests for comments on holding the talks without the region’s only Christian governor.
Emmanuel Ogebe, a human rights lawyer and counsel for the U.S. Nigeria law group, said the Christian governor’s “visa problems” are because of bias in the U.S. government.
“The U.S. insists that Muslims are the primary victims of Boko Haram. It also claims that Christians discriminate against Muslims in Plateau, which is one of the few Christian majority states in the north. After the [governor] told them that they were ignoring the 12 Shariah states who institutionalized persecution … he suddenly developed visa problems,” he said.
While the State Department confirmed that the USIP conference took place, the federal bureaucracy there had no comment regarding Jang’s visa issues, citing confidentiality rules.
Buwalda said it’s not unusual for the U.S. government to exclude Christians in Nigeria discussions and meetings.
“My personal observation and view is that some staff within the [State Department] have an unbalanced perception that somehow raising the persecution of Christians minimizes the persecution of Muslims or even favors Christians over Muslims,” she said.
Buwalda said that in the State Department’s “current mandate to limit reporting to ‘trends,’ a distortion results in that the ongoing violence against Christians is underreported or not reported because it is not a new trend.”
“Another contributing factor is the reporting efforts by some groups, including Western human rights reporting groups, to report only on acts of violence against Muslim communities often based on anecdotal information while whitewashing or ignoring the acts of violence perpetrated on the Christian minority community,” she said.
She said she’s found “in meetings that there is often a shallow or a distorted understanding of the dynamics on the ground relying on sources of information which are dubious and unreliable.”
“It is our goal to provide accurate and factual reporting which truthfully describes acts of violence, the religious identity of the victims, and root causes which does not shy away from referencing the declarations of the persecutors as to why they are carrying out the acts of violence.”
Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow Clare Lopez said that based on the administration’s actions regarding Islamic issues, exclusion of the Christian governor is not a surprise.
“Remember how long it took for the State Department to add Boko Haram to the Foreign Terrorism Organizations list? This is despite evidence of its relationships with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Shabaab,” Lopez said.
She said the State Department “is steadfastly refusing to admit, even now, that Boko Haram’s rampages against Christian communities in Nigeria have anything whatsoever to do with Islam.”
Lopez said the Obama administration effectively is complicit with Islamic law.
“This [administration] knowingly and deliberately has subordinated its decision-making to the Islamic jihad and Shariah narrative,” she said. “We know that all training that would educate DoS (DHS, DoD, DoJ, etc.) officials and employees on down to local law enforcement about the threat from Islamic jihad and Shariah systematically has been purged from the … curriculum. Trainers and instructors who formerly taught such subjects are blacklisted,” Lopez said.
Lopez emphasized that the administration’s actions are deliberate and an abrogation of members’ oaths of office, adding: “It may well be prosecutable – material support to terrorism as well as aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war.”
The White House has not responded to WND’s request for comment.
Buwalda said the U.S. government blames the Christians for the violence.
“In fact, unrelated to the governor’s visa issue, three of our Nigerian colleagues including a former congresswoman from Plateau State and I participated in a Department of State meeting with high level officials last year in May or June [who] very bluntly declared how the governor of Plateau State was to blame for unrest in his state,” Buwalda said.
“I was shocked at the hostility.”
Ogebe wrote in his blog, “Justice for Jos,” that Boko Haram has made clear that it will not attack mosques.
“Boko Haram has gone out of its way to emphasize that it does not attack Islamic places of worship. However it does assassinate Muslim critics after worship when they are vulnerable. Boko Haram’s first attack inside a mosque in the five-year insurgency occurred in 2013. Their targets were Muslims who had cooperated with the authorities against the terrorists. It was not a random attack on Christians as has been the case,” Ogebe wrote.
Ogebe said there are specific circumstances for Boko Haram to attack a Muslim.
“Recently, Boko Haram acknowledged killing a Muslim cleric who had been critical of them. It is likely the terrorists’ first claim of responsibility for the killing of a fellow Muslim,” Ogebe said. “The question remains – why is the U.S. downplaying or denying the attacks against Christians?”
To support the claim, Ogebe cites the executive summary of the State Department Human Rights report, which referenced Boko Haram violence but neglected to mention the victims’ religious identity, except for the reference to a mosque attack.
“Throughout much of the country, Boko Haram perpetrated numerous killings and attacks, often directly targeting civilians,” the summary said.
“During the year, the sect, which recruited child soldiers, claimed responsibility for coordinated assaults on social and transportation hubs in Kano; an attack on the town of Baga; multiple attacks on schools and mosques; an attack on the town of Benesheik; and the killing of government, religious, and traditional figures,” the summary also said.
On Feb. 17, the terrorist group Ansaru, believed to be a Boko Haram faction, kidnapped seven foreigners in Bauchi State, he pointed out.
Ogebe noted the other attacks listed were all against Christian targets.
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Tells 6-year-old: Jesus Not Allowed in School
Todd Starnes 1/9/2014
A California elementary school is facing a possible lawsuit after a teacher allegedly confiscated a six-year-old child’s Christmas candy canes and told him “Jesus is not allowed in school.”
Last December, Isaiah Martinez brought his first grade classmates at Merced Elementary School candy canes. Attached to each treat was a message explaining the religious legend surround the candies. The legend references a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Christ.
When the six-year-old boy arrived at school, his teacher noticed the religious message and immediately confiscated the gifts, according to Robert Tyler, the general counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom.
The teacher, identified by the AFF as Valerie Lu, then consulted with the supervising principal who instructed her to prevent Isaiah from distributing the candy canes.
“Ms. Lu then spoke to Isaiah and told him that ‘Jesus is not allowed at school,’” Tyler wrote in a letter to the West Covina Unified School District. “In fear that he was in some sort of trouble, Isaiah then watched as Ms. Lu proceeded to rip the candy cane legend off of each candy cane and then throw the Christian messages back in to the box.”
Tyler said the little boy watched as his teacher threw the box and the messages into the trash.
“She then told Isaiah that he could distribute the candy canes now that the Christian messages were eliminated,” Tyler wrote, noting that the teacher was following the “explicit instructions” of her supervisor, Gordon Pfitzer.
Isaiah was later allowed to distribute candy canes with a Christian message but he was forced to do so off-campus, outside the schoolhouse gate at the conclusion of the school day, according to his attorney
“Meanwhile, other students in Isaiah’s class handed out Christmas gifts to their fellow classmates,” Tyler wrote. “Some of these gifts expressed secular messages concerning Christmas and were packaged with images of Santa Claus, penguins with Santa hats, Christmas trees and other secular messages.”
The Advocates for Faith & Freedom sent a letter to the district demanding they apologize to Isaiah and adopt a new policy “to prohibit school officials from bullying and intimidating Christian students and religiously affiliated students.”
Tyler said it has been well established by the U.S. Supreme Court that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
Citing the court case Morse v. Frederick, he warned that “any policy that suppresses a student’s free speech, in this case the censorship of the candy cane legend violated Isaiah’s constitutional rights unless the school district reasonably concluded that there would be material and substantial disruption of the school’s work or discipline because of the candy cane message.”
Perhaps the teacher and principal feared the sounds of students slurping their candy canes might disrupt the school’s learning environment.
Superintendent Debra Kaplan released a statement to Los Angeles-area news outlets defending the teacher’s actions.
“At the present time, we do not have any reason to believe that the teacher or any other district employee had any intention other than to maintain an appropriate degree of religious neutrality in the classroom and to communicate this to the child in an age-appropriate manner,” Kaplan stated.
It takes a special kind of evil to confiscate a six-year-old child’s Christmas gifts. In this age of tolerance and diversity, public school educators seem to be under the impression that they can bully and intimidate Christian boys and girls.
They are sorely mistaken and I’m glad the Advocates for Faith and Freedom has exposed the West Covina Unified School District’s repugnant treatment of Isaiah Martinez.
It’s a good thing he didn’t give the kids Hershey’s Kisses. The teacher would’ve probably hauled him to the office on sexual harassment charges.
of Countries Prosecuting Christians
Decrease in rank ; V
COUNTRY RANK 2013 - 2014
The World Watch List (WWL) is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians for their religion.
+ For the 50,000-70,000 Christians imprisoned in labor camps. Ask God to sustain them.
+ That God would change the heart of Kim Jong-Un, and use
him to reform the country.
+ For protection for Open Doors workers and contacts bringing practical and spiritual support to believers.
AN ESTIMATED 50,000 TO 70,000 CHRISTIANS SUFFER DAILY IN NORTH KOREA’S PRISON CAMPS
A Deeper Look Into The Top 3 Countries On The World Watch List
NORTH KOREA #1 90/100 score
Leader: Kim Jong-Un Population: 24.5 million (300,000 Christians) Main Religion: Atheism/traditional beliefs Government: Communist dictatorship Source of persecution: Communist oppression/Dictatorial paranoia
North Korea ranks first on the 2014 World Watch List for the 12th consecutive year. It is safe to say that nothing has improved for Christians since Kim Jong Un took over power. Pressure remains extremely high and there is virtually no way to escape for those who don’t live near the Chinese border.
In most countries, there is a mixture of different persecution engines, though regularly one can be identified as the main one. In North Korea, there is one all-encompassing persecution engine, excluding all other possible engines: Communist oppression.
The God-like worship of the rulers leaves no room for any other religion. Any reverence not concentrated on the Kim dynasty will be seen as dangerous and state-threatening.
|Not only will the believers themselves be
punished if they are discovered, but likely also their families. Immediate
family members, even if they aren’t Christians themselves, will serve a
sentence in a re-education camp. Christians are sent to political labor
camps, from which there is no release possible.
According to recent reports about the labor camp systems, it is estimated that political prison camps house approximately 150,000 to 200,000 inmates, not including all those in the other types of prisons in the country. One report suggests the number of political prisoners dropped to between 80,000 and 120,000 people, due to the high death rate. In prison No. 15 alone (Yodok Prison Camp), experts estimate there could be up to 6.000 Christians incarcerated.
The World Watch List is a product of Open Doors -www.OpenDoorsUSA.org 80/100 score
+ Praise God that, despite the pressures, He has preserved a Christian witness in Somalia.
+ For the very few, often isolated believers. Ask God to provide ways for them to mature in Christ .
+ That Christians would have more freedom to worship Jesus.
IF CHRISTIANS FROM A MUSLIM BACKGROUND ARE DISCOVERED IN SOMALIA, THEY ARE THREATENED WITH IMMEDIATE EXECUTION.
Leader: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Government: Federal republic
Population: 10.3 million (A few hundred Christians) Source of persecution: Islamic extremism
Main Religion: Islam
Behind North Korea, Somalia ranks as the second most difficult place to be a Christian in the world. The main types of Christians in Somalia are Christian converts from a Muslim Background, also known as Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) and there is a tiny population of expatriate aid workers. The position of Christians in Somalia has deteriorated and most face extreme persecution.
The majority of people within Somalia are Muslim, and no one is expected to be a Christian.
Moreover, Islamic religious leaders publicly maintain that there is no room for Christianity, Christians and churches in Somalia. This view is upheld and reinforced on different levels by government officials of the various administrations (including the Somalia Federal Government, located in Mogadishu), political parties and ordinary people.
Additionally, the violent, militant Islamist terrorist group, al-Shabaab, subscribes to the Wahhabist doctrine and advocates for Sharia law as basis to regulate all aspects of life in Somalia (i.e. legal, political, social and economic). Al-Shabaab’s implementation of its Wahhabist worldview is so extreme that, according to an Open Doors field researcher, even Sufi-Muslims moved underground to avoid persecution by al-Shabaab. The social structure underpinning the way in which Somalia is governed is tribal. Clans within this tribal system maintain their own militias. This tribal system allows Islamic extremism, via groups like al-Shabaab, to flourish in Somalia. In 2012, Transparency International’s Corruption Index indicated that Somalia was the worst country in terms of corruption. Subsequently, this contributes to the existing levels of violence and impunity in the country and compounds to Somalia’s already intensive levels of persecution.
In the country’s very recent history, MBBs - or those accused of being MBBs - have often been killed on the spot when discovered. Over the reporting period, the situation appears to have worsened. The government intensified investigations into people who are Christians and in a position of leadership. Subsequently, there have been attempts to arrest Christians. Surveillance of (alleged) ‘tentmakers’ has increased as well. An Open Doors field researcher indicated that ordinary citizens - in collaboration with al-Shabaab - have been involved in the killing of Christians.
The researcher stated that: “Believers have been betrayed into the hands of al-Shabaab by their neighbors...” Open Doors field reports indicate that Somali Christians have to hide their belief to get access to basic necessities, such as basic social services, education or justice. Church life is constrained and has to remain underground. Believers are organized in small community groups and meet in secret across the country.
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism
Leader: President Bashar al-Assad
Population: 21.8 million (1.3 million Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
SYRIA #3 79 /100 score
+ For protection for the many believers who have chosen to stay in Syria to serve their communities.
+ For Open Doors workers and partners bring relief to thousands of displaced Christian families.
+ For a peaceful end to the conflict that has torn this country apart.
IN SYRIA, TOWNS THAT USED TO HAVE A LARGE CHRISTIAN POPULATION HAVE BECOME
For the first time in the history of the World Watch List, Syria enters the top ten. Before this, the
country rose considerably from ranking 36th in 2012 to 11th in 2013.
The face of persecution in Syria has changed. The main persecution engine in pre-civil war Syria was totalitarian paranoia. Today, the current predominant engine has become Islamic extremism. A recent study by renowned defense consultancy, IHS Jane’s, estimates that nearly half of rebels fighting in Syria have a jihadist or hardline Islamist background. The influence of these groups that are linked to Al Qaeda and other extremist factions has risen considerably in the past year. As indeed the conflict is becoming more and more sectarian, targeted violence against Christians has increased. The sectarian dimension of the conflict is indeed a factor that has made Christians, as a religious/ethnic minority, more vulnerable. The USCIRF, in a special report entitled Protecting and Promoting Religious Freedom in Syria points out: ‘Due to the intensifying conflict between government forces and affiliates supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and anti-government elements seeking his overthrow, the Syrian people have experienced egregious violations of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief.’ Before the civil war four main groups of Christians were present in Syria. Today, practically the entire community of expatriate Christians has left, because of the dangerous situation in the country.
The civil war has caused large numbers of the remaining three types to flee the country. There are Christians from the historical churches, (mostly Syrian Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church), Christian converts from a Muslim background (MBBs) and a small number of Protestants. Additionally, there are several Christian refugees from Iraq. In total there are 1.3 million Christians in Syria, compared to 1.7 million Christians last year. Open Doors has received reports of many Christians being abducted, physically harmed and killed.
Within the context of the civil war, many churches have been damaged or destroyed, in many cases deliberately. On October 21st, Sadad, a predominantly Christian town, was invaded by Islamist militias, before being re-taken by the Syrian army on October 31. Stories were told of 45 civilians being murdered and dumped into mass graves. “What happened in Sadad is the most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two years and a half,” says to Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama. “It is the largest massacre of Christians in Syria and the second in the Middle East after the one in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq in 2010. We have shouted out to the world, but no-one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers?” At the end of October, over in Raqqah, there were reports of Bibles and other Christian literature being burned in front of the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation and a cross ripped off the top of the Armenian Church in Tal Abyad and set alight by militants from ISIS.
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