News from the Frontlines

Tuesday August 25, 2015

Christian in Egypt Kept in Prison on False Charge of 'Blasphemy,' Attorney Says

Second arrest in one month of a Christian for 'evangelism.'By Our Middle East Correspondent
ISTANBUL, Turkey, August 25, 2015 (Morning Star News) – An Egyptian Christian who was arrested earlier this month for alleged evangelizing of Muslims in suburban Cairo could be held indefinitely in prison on a false accusation of blasphemy, his lawyer said.
Medhat Ishak, a 35-year-old Christian from Ebid village in Minya Governorate, was arrested on Aug. 7 while handing out Bibles to Muslims outside El-Arab Mall in Sixth of October City. Mall security guards took Ishak into custody and then turned him over to national police, who accused him of evangelism.

The day after his arrest, a judge amended the charge against Ishak to “defamation of a revealed religion” and ordered him held for 15 days. On Monday (Aug. 24) the judge extended Ishak’s detention for another 15 days, said Ishak’s attorney, Rafik Rafaat. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Monday August 24, 2015

Syria: Destruction Of Monastery, Update On Abducted Christians

According to reports issued on 20th August, Daesh militants(so-called "Islamic State" or ISIS) proceeded to demolish the Syrian Catholic monastery of Saint Elian in al-Qaryatain, built on the site of the 1,500-year-old tomb of Saint Elian. Reports also claim that Daesh has moved more than 100 abductees to its heartland in Raqqa province, including Christians who have been forced either to convert to Islam or be subjugated under the 'jizya' tax. It remains unclear whether those moved to Raqqa include the priest Father Jacques Mourad and deacon Boutros Hanna, who were abducted in al-Qaryatain on 21st May.

Syrian Flag

In a separate development 22 elderly Assyrian Christians (14 women and 8 men) were released by Daesh on 11th August. These Christians were among the group of more than 230 Christians abducted from villages in al-Hassaka governorate on 23rd February. More than 180 of these abductees are understood to remain in captivity. Ransom demands have previously been made for the release of these abductees, though church sources deny that payments were made to Daesh for the 22 recently released.

Elsewhere, Father Antoine Boutros, a Greek Catholic priest of Saint Philip's church in Shahba in Suweida governorate, was released on 15th August following a month of captivity and after intervention by local dignitaries. Father Antoine and his driver Said al-Abdoun were abducted on 12th July as they travelled to a nearby village to celebrate mass. It is not yet confirmed whether Said has also been released. Nor is it known which group was responsible for their abduction.


Syrian Christians request prayer that:

a. all those who are still abducted will find refuge in God in their distress, and that He will strengthen and protect them

b. the abductors will treat their victims with compassion and set them free

c. the Christians among those abducted will be faithful witnesses to their captors and fellow captives

d. those who have recently been released will know the Lord's comfort, healing and provision

e. violence will cease, peace will be restored and the clear rule of law will be applied equally for all in Syria


News from the Frontlines

Monday August 24, 2015

Muslim Herdsmen Attacks in Nigeria's Middle Belt Show Jihadist Aims, Sources Say

In 2014 alone, 23,890 people displaced from Christian areas in southern Kaduna state, agency reports.By Our Nigeria Correspondent
KADUNA, Nigeria, August 24, 2015 (Morning Star News) – The killing of Christians by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s middle belt, including two slayings on Saturday (Aug. 22) in Taraba state, is part of a jihadist drive to take over resources and displace the historically Christian population, sources said. [READ MORE]

The killing of brothers Ushahemba Kumashenge and Sughter Kumashenge in Kortse village, Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba state on Saturday was the latest of numerous attacks in the state and in Kaduna, Nasarawa and Benue states. Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed the brothers on their farm a few kilometers from the village, a church leader from the area told Morning Star News by telephone.

The Rev. Caleb Ahema, president of the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria (CRCN), said the slain Christians were members of the Universal Reformed Church (NKST). In the same state on Dec. 17, 2014, a throng of Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed five Christians, including an infant boy, and on Oct. 19, 2014 armed Muslim extremists killed 31 Christians in attacks on two Taraba villages.

News from the Frontlines

Thursday August 20, 2015

Freed Pastors Arrive Home from Sudan after Ordeal of False Charges, Travel Ban

NISS prevented them from leaving country.By Our Sudan Correspondent
JUBA, South Sudan, August 19, 2015 (Morning Star News) – Two South Sudanese pastors arrived home in Juba from Khartoum, Sudan today after an eight-month ordeal of imprisonment, fabricated charges of capital crimes and a ban on leaving the country.
The Rev. Peter Yein Reith and the Rev. Yat Michael were acquitted of the crimes calling for the death penalty on Aug. 5 but were prevented from boarding a plane out of the country the next day. Sudan’s notorious National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) had ordered the travel ban when they were initially detained – Michael on Dec. 14 and Reith on Jan. 11 – and gave the orders to the airport personnel.

Attorneys for the two pastors have been working for their release since then, but it was not immediately clear why they were released today. Michael and Reith were transported from Juba International Airport to a church in Hai Jebel in Juba, where they attended a thanksgiving service.

“Thank God for their arrival home,” the wife of Michael told Morning Star News after the service. [READ MORE]

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