Egyptian Christian held in mental hospital
Egyptian Christian held in mental hospital
Doctors say he'll stay there until he recants conversion from Islam
Posted: May 24, 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
Doctors in a Cairo mental hospital are holding an Egyptian Christian against his will, telling the man he'll be a permanent resident there until he recants his faith and returns to Islam, reports a leading monitor of Christian persecution. Reminiscent of the tactics of Communists in the USSR who put dissidents in mental hospitals, the forced stay, according to Voice of the Martyrs, has been in effect since January. At that time, the adoptive parents of Gaser Mohammed Mahmoud, 30, committed him to the El-Khanka Hospital after learning he had converted from Islam to Christianity two years earlier. Reports Voice of the Martyrs:
"The hospital medical committee placed Mahmoud under the care of a female physician identified only as Dr. Nevine, whom sources describe as a 'fanatic Muslim.' Since his forced confinement, Mahmoud has reportedly endured beatings, whippings and potentially fatal injections." Visiting Cairo yesterday, first lady Laura Bush praised Egypt for making political reforms and agreed those changes were being implemented at the proper pace – slowly. "You have to be slow as you do each of these steps," she told reporters. "You know that each step is a small step, that you can't be quick. ... I think [President Hosni Mubarak has] been very bold and wise to take the first step."
Egyptian opposition groups, however, say the step has not been bold enough and that change is too slow. Tomorrow, Egyptians are scheduled to vote on a constitutional amendment establishing the country's first direct presidential elections with more than one candidate. Persecution of Christians has been a way of life in Egypt, consisting of routine harassment of members of the Coptic Church and other believers there.
Saudis Do Destroy Bibles, Think Tank Affirms
By Patrick Goodenough
CNSNews.com International Editor
May 23, 2005
(CNSNews.com) - A U.S.-based think tank critical of the Saudi government has added its voice to allegations that authorities in the kingdom routinely destroy Bibles.
"As a matter of official policy, the government either incinerates or dumps Bibles, crosses and other Christian paraphernalia," the Saudi Institute said in an article posted on its website.
"Although considered as holy in Islam and mentioned in the Koran dozens of times, the Bible is banned in Saudi Arabia, and is confiscated and destroyed by government officials," it said.
Last week a Christian pastor who worked in Saudi Arabia during the 1990s told Cybercast News Service it was widely known among underground Christians there that Bibles were confiscated -- and sometimes shredded -- by Saudi customs officials at ports of entry.
The Saudi Embassy in Washington has yet to respond to emailed queries about its policies regarding the Bibles and the shredding allegations.
Saudi Arabia was one of the first governments to protest after Newsweek reported earlier this month that U.S. troops had thrown a Koran into a toilet to fluster Muslim terror suspects being detained by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
A statement issued on May 12 said the Saudi government was "following with great concern and apprehension reports that the sanctity of the Holy Koran has been violated on several occasions at Guantanamo Bay."
Following rioting in Afghanistan and protests elsewhere in the Muslim world, Newsweek retracted the report. It said its unnamed government source was no longer certain about his original claim that he saw the Koran flushing mentioned in a military report of abuse at the base.
Home to Islam's two most revered sites, in Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia views itself as guardian of the religion. The kingdom is committed to the fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology, and non-Wahhabi Muslim traditions are frowned upon.
Human rights campaigners name Saudi Arabia as one of the world's most egregious violators of religious freedom.
In another article posted on its site -- and published as an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Friday -- Saudi Institute director Ali Al-Ahmed wrote of his fellow Saudis: "As Muslims, we have not been as generous as our Christian and Jewish counterparts in respecting others' holy books and religious symbols.
"Saudi Arabia bans the importation or the display of crosses, Stars of David or any other religious symbols not approved by the Wahhabi establishment," he continued. "TV programs that show Christian clergymen, crosses or Stars of David are censored."
Based in Washington, the Saudi Institute describes itself as an independent organization that provides information relating to "terrorism, democracy, human rights, charitable organizations, religious freedom and the House of Saud."
Wire services reported Saturday that 18 Saudi Muslim scholars have demanded that "those involved in the alleged desecration of the Koran at the U.S. detention facility of Guantanamo Bay be tried by an Islamic court."
Christians jailed amid Saudi denial of persecution
5 released but others still held despite official's claim of religious tolerance
June 10, 2005 © 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
Saudi Arabian officials, after denying allegations that the Kingdom arrests and tortures religious believers, released five Christians arrested in connection to a house church while three remain in custody.
The men released Wednesday, all citizens of India, are Nediyakalayil Daniel Samuel, Koilpillai Vijayakumar, Moothenpackal Mathai Thomas, George Mathew and Biju Thomas, according to International Christian Concern, a Washington, D.C.-based monitor of persecution.
Still in custody are Chittirickal John Thomas, Saji Varghese, Pallivadakkethil James George and Samkutty Varghese.
All of the men, except for Samkutty Varghese, were arrested in a raid May 28 in Riyadh by the Muttawa, or religious police.
The raid is believed to be the result of Samkutty Varghese's detention Jan. 24, when authorities found in his possession names and numbers of people in his Assembly of God group.
According to ICC sources, at least one of the prisoners was abused -- forced to continuously stand -- and was beaten with his hands bound behind his back.
In a separate case, authorities still are holding Georgekutty Thomas, who was arrested two months ago in the northwestern town of Al-Wajh for having a laptop computer with disks containing the Bible in various languages.
In Saudi Arabia, public expression of any faith other than the Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam is illegal.
The believers arrested in May were caught with Bibles, crosses and Christian teaching materials.
According to sources with AsiaNews, the men were released after signing a document in which they renounced the prayer sessions and religious practices conducted privately in their homes.
But a Saudi official, speaking in Cairo Tuesday on condition of anonymity, denied allegations that the Kingdom arrests and tortures Christians.
The official told the Saudi Press Agency that such allegations run counter to Islamic policies of tolerance.
The charges, he said, "don't go with the principles and values of the Kingdom and above all our tolerant Islamic belief which guarantees the rights of Muslims and residents of different religions and ethnicities alike."
Responding to the statement, Joseph Grieboski, president of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., said "Saudi Arabia not only unashamedly suppresses fundamental rights of individuals living within the Kingdom and disregards international covenants on religious freedom, but also by these incidents, openly contradicts itself."
The U.S. State Department, in its annual reports on human rights worldwide, consistently has stated "religious freedom does not exist" in Saudi Arabia, and non-Muslim "worshippers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation and sometimes torture for engaging in religious activity that attracts official attention."
Grieboski noted that the Saudi royal family has stated it permits non-Muslims to practice their own religion in the privacy of their homes.
"The time has come for Saudi Arabia to uphold fundamental rights and to conduct the reciprocity of free exercise of faith that Muslims enjoy throughout the world," Grieboski said. "The Saudi record is one of direct violations of religious rights, and no matter the rhetoric, their actions speak louder than any words."
Last September, for the first time, the State Department named Saudi Arabia a "country of particular concern," subjecting it to possible sanctions for egregious and ongoing violations of religious freedom.
But the State Department has extended the deadline for deciding on an appropriate penalty more than two months.
war on Christians - Islamic law brings death, suffering to non-Muslims
Posted: June 11, 2005
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
More than 10,000 Christians have been killed since 1999, the year Islamic "Sharia law" was introduced in Nigeria, according to Voice of the Martyrs, a group that aids the persecuted church around the world. Nearly 1,000 homes and churches have been burned down by Muslim radicals – with a wink and a nod from a government that doesn't recognize the rights of non-Muslims.
The war on Christians began in 1999 when Alhaji Ahmed Sani assumed the office of governor in Nigeria's Zamfara state. Just five months later, he introduced Sharia law. Soon 11 other northern Nigerian states, all with Muslim majorities, followed Zamfara's lead and implemented some form of the harsh Islamic legal code.
Sharia is based on the Quran and Hadith, the Islamic sacred book and teachings. It imposes a strict code of conduct on the population. For example, if an individual is convicted of stealing, the punishment is amputation of his hand. In the case of adultery, the punishment is death by stoning.
"If you go around villages, you will see people missing one hand or one foot," explained Rev. Obiora Ike. "Do you think that’s the result of an illness? That is the result of Sharia Law." Christians in the country say the imposition of Sharia law has resulted in a wave of violence and attacks against them, their homes, churches and villages as the militants wage jihad, or holy war, against them. Sharia law permits violent attacks against non-Muslims and the killing of former Muslims who have converted to Christianity or other faiths. The destruction of churches and the prohibition of new church constructions are considered legitimate actions.
Recently, before a large crowd, the Zamfara state government recently held a five-year anniversary to celebrate the implementation of Sharia. Governor Ahmad Sani recalled why Sharia was introduced into the state: to satisfy the desire of the people for governance by the "laws of Allah … to cleanse society of social and moral vices like alcoholism, gambling, theft, armed robbery, prostitution, bribery, corruption and deceit." Muslim zealots are being financed by Saudis who want to Islamicize the entire African continent.
The implementation of Sharia has been blamed for the vast violence and deaths occurring not just in Zamfara state, where it was first implemented, but in other states as well.
Earlier this year Muslim militants announced a death sentence on five Christian students expelled from Abubaker Tafawa Balewa University and the Federal Polytechnic in state of Bauchi, in November 2004, for sharing the gospel with Muslim students. Muslims in the schools complained that the Christian students blasphemed the prophet Mohammed.
The families of two of the students, Hanatu Haruna Alkali and Abraham Adamu Misal, were attacked Jan. 26, when militants went to their family homes located in the state of Gombe, in northern Nigeria, with the intent to kill them. Reportedly, Muslim militants have attacked Hanatu's family's house several times, and the family fears for their lives.
Rev. Oludare Aliu, national coordinator of the students' ministry of the Evangelical Church of West Africa, said: "Muslim militants went to Gombe to … kill Hanatu, but fortunately, she was not at home at the time. The family was held at gunpoint. Hanatu's father happens to be a former military officer. He wrestled with the militants and was able to disarm one of them who had a gun. While he was fighting them, one of the militants stabbed Hanatu's mother with a knife. She has been treated for the wounds." Hanatu is now in hiding. Militants also attacked Abraham Adamu Misal’s family. He escaped and is in hiding.
On March 17, in the Nigerian state of Benue, a Christian student, Ngumalen Atser, was raped and poisoned to death by two Muslim men. This incident escalated tension between Muslims and Christians, which led to Muslim militants attacking the villages of Chilakera and Imbufu April 10. Seventeen people, mostly Christians, died. According to a Compass Direct report on this situation, "Community leaders in Nigeria – both Muslim and Christian – blame the escalating violence on social tensions produced by the implementation of Islamic law in a dozen northern states of Nigeria." The meeting place of Word of Faith Ministries in the state of Kaduna was burned to the ground that same day – April 10, for the fourth time in five years. However, members of the church have rebuilt every time. No arrests have been made in connection to the arson.
Persecution of Kosovo
Christians Said to Reveal Larger Threat
Group Wants Christian Leader Barred from Canada
By Alison Espach
July 17, 2006
(CNSNews.com) - An Islamic advocacy group wants Rev. Franklin Graham barred from entering Canada because of allegedly hateful statements made towards Islam. Graham's spokesman says the Evangelical minister's comments have been "misconstrued" by some Muslims.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations of Canada (CAIR-CAN) claims allowing Graham into Canada would be evidence of a "double standard." British Muslim Riyad ul-Haq was denied entry into Canada in June after being accused of inciting hatred towards Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims - a violation of Canada's so-called "hate propaganda laws."
"We do not welcome hate-mongers," said Leslie Harmer, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Monte Solberg, the official who ordered that Canadian authorities block ul-Haq from entering the country.
CAIR-CAN noted that shortly after the 9/11 attacks Graham called Islam "a very evil and a very wicked religion." The group argues that, like ul-Haq, Graham should be forbidden to come to Canada for a scheduled visit later this year.
"The comments they have made are very widely available, and there isn't a great deal of difference between the two individuals," CAIR-CAN Communications Director Halima Mautbur told Cybercast News Service. The group is further dismayed with the government's decision, because ul-Haq promised he would not speak about anything controversial while he was in Canada. CAIR-CAN Executive Director Karl Nickner said in a news release Thursday that "some Canadian Muslims are wondering whether a double standard is being applied." "As Muslims and as Canadians," Nickner added, "we stand firmly against any hateful religious speech by representatives of all faiths."
But Graham, who is president of his father's Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), previously explained that he does not hate Muslim people and only wants to speak out about crimes committed in the name of Islam. Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the association, said Graham would not comment further on the matter because he already responded in an opinion-editorial piece for the Wall Street Journal, clarifying statements he said the Muslim community misconstrued.
"It is not what he is about. He is about relief work, about spreading hope of Jesus Christ," Blume said. "People misconstrue when he talks about it. They think he is against Islam and people of Islam. That is why he wrote this, so people could refer to it and just be done with it so he can get back to relief work.""
In his essay, Graham said that he does not believe Muslims are evil people because of their faith, adding that he has many Muslim friends. "While as Christians we disagree with Islamic teachings, if we obey the teachings of Jesus, we will love all Muslims," Graham wrote. "But I decry the evil that has been done in the name of Islam, or any other faith - including Christianity," Graham continued. "I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching." Despite Graham's explanation, CAIR-CAN is demanding that the Canadian government clarify its position on freedom of speech.
"We have sort of entered into an area which is creating a lot of confusion for our community given the differential treatment of these two clerics," said Mautbur. "It is incumbent on the government to provide some information to Canadians about how exactly this sort of policy of censorship is going to be used, and when it is going to be used."
Canadian officials have not responded to CAIR-CAN's complaints. Graham is still scheduled to visit Winnipeg in October.
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