News from the Frontlines

Wednesday November 19, 2014

Police Say woman Slain in Pakistan Innocent of Blasphemy; Politicians 'Protecting Killers'

Shama Masih was illiterate.

 

By Our Pakistan Correspondent

LAHORE, Pakistan, November 19, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Police in Pakistan say a Christian couple tortured and slain this month over accusations that the wife desecrated the Koran were innocent, while relatives said politicians are trying to shield the killers from justice.

 

Urged to act from mosque loudspeakers, a frenzied mob on Nov. 4 tore the clothes off Shama and Shahzad Masih, struck them, broke their legs, dragged them behind a tractor and threw them into the burning furnace of a brick kiln – even though Shama was illiterate and could not have known even if koranic verses were among debris that she had burned.

 

Kasur District Police Capt. Jawad Qamar told Morning Star News that police had confirmed that Shama Masih was illiterate and had no idea of the contents of pages that she had burned. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Saturday November 15, 2014

Five Months of Attacks on Mennonite Church in Vietnam Prompt SOS

Christians harassed at center, homes and workplaces.

By Our Vietnam Correspondent

November 14, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Police in Vietnam on Wednesday (Nov. 12) employed thugs wielding hammers and metal cutters to ransack a church center and drag away nine Christians, who were then charged with not having proper papers – documents officials had confiscated from them in previous raids.

 

The toughs – accompanied this time, inexplicably, by provocatively attired prostitutes – arrived just before midnight, screaming and intimidating Christians staying at the center in Ben Cat, Binh Duong Province north of Ho Chi Minh City. An older woman of the congregation asked police if these women were their usual allies in carrying out their duties, leaders of the Mennonite church center said. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Friday November 14, 2014

Christians Beaten, Jailed in Hindu Extremist Attack in Maharashtra, India

70-year-old man among victims released on bail today.

By Our New Delhi Correspondent

NEW DELHI, November 13, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Four Christians in Maharashtra state, one 70 years old, were released on bail today after more than two weeks in jail, accused of “rioting” when Hindu extremists attacked them and damaged two of their homes.

 

The incident in Kamseth village, Nasik District in western India began on Oct. 28 when the Hindu extremists told Christians to remit 300 rupees (US$5) for the celebration of the Hindu festival of lights, or Diwali. The Christians submitted half the amount, which the Hindus later angrily returned to them, area church leader Prem Barnabas told Morning Star News. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Saturday November 8, 2014

Incessant Attacks on Jerusalem Church in Israel Meet with Police Indifference

Christians bloodied, bruised; car stolen

By Our Middle East Correspondent

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Nov. 7, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Police have refused to respond to a series of attacks on a church in East Jerusalem, including theft of a member’s car on Sunday (Nov. 2) and an assault in October that bloodied and bruised three Christians.

 

The attacks, driven by both intent to seize property and opposition to Christianity, have been mounted by young men with ties to Palestinian militants who for more than three months have been trying to force Living Bread Church from its rented building. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Saturday November 8, 2014

Baptist Pastor in Argentina Narrowly Escapes Assassination

Hit men with ties to drug traffickers, and possibly to police, suspected.

By Our Latin America Correspondent

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia, November 6, 2014 (Morning Star News) – A local church reaches out to victims of substance abuse, opens a shelter for battered women and works to rescue minors from prostitution and sex trafficking.

 

In most places in the Americas, such compassionate community service wins admiration and respect, sometimes even an award from the mayor’s office. In Rio Tercero, Argentina, this kind of activity just might get you killed. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Wednesday November 5, 2014

Islamist Mob in Pakistan Kills Christian Couple Accused of 'Blasphemy'

Pregnant mother of four young children was dead when thrown into kiln; husband burned alive.

By Our Pakistan Correspondent

 

CLARKABAD, Pakistan, November 4, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Commanded from mosque loudspeakers, a Muslim throng in Punjab Province killed a Christian couple today after a co-worker accused the pregnant wife of defiling the Koran, sources said.

 

Living on the premises of the brick kiln where she worked in Chak 59 village near Kot Radha Kishan, Karur District, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southwest of Lahore, Shama Bibi was beaten to death before the enraged mob threw her body into the kiln, a relative said. The 28-year-old mother of four children was five months pregnant. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Saturday November 1, 2014

Bans on Christian Activity in Chhattisgarh, India Escalate into Violence

Local officials appear to be collaborating with Hindu extremists, church leaders say.

 

By Our New Delhi Correspondent

NEW DELHI, October 31, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Attacks on Christians in Chhattisgarh state on Saturday (Oct. 25) and earlier this month have raised suspicion that local officials are collaborating with Hindu extremists, church leaders said.

 

Local officials on Saturday summoned area Christians to a meeting in Madota village, Bastar District, on the pretext of resolving conflict over bans in the district on missionaries and non-Hindu religious activity. Dozens of villages in the district passed such bans earlier this year. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Friday October 31, 2014

Human Rights Defender in Sudan without Home, Country after Muslim Extremist Attack

Convert from Islam flees Darfur after trying to exercise right to free speech.

By Our East Africa Correspondent

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 29, 2014 (Morning Star News) – A Sudanese father of two who once worked as a human rights defender now lives in a refugee camp after surviving an attempt on his life by Islamic extremists.

 

Before Ibrahim Ismaeil Ibrahim, 34, left Islam and dared to criticize the religion, he worked as a writer and human rights defender in Darfur Region’s state of West Darfur for the Sudan Contemporary Center for Studies and Development. As he chronicled human rights violations by Islamic extremists, he became disillusioned with the religion and put his faith in Jesus Christ, he said. [READ MORE]

Nigeria

Friday October 24, 2014

Muslim Extremists Kill 31 Christians in Taraba State, Nigeria

Boko Haram insurgents collaborate with Fulani herdsmen, church leader says.

 

By Our Nigeria Correspondent

JOS, Nigeria, October 24, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Armed Muslim extremists stormed two churches in Taraba state on Sunday (Oct. 19) and killed 31 people as they worshipped, a church leader said.

 

Two pastors, one pastor’s son, and 28 other Christians were slain in the attacks in the villages of Gindin Waya and Sondi, said the Rev. Caleb Ahema, president of the Christian Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria. Ahema said the onslaught was the seventh attack on Christian communities in Wukari Local Government Area since February. [READ MORE]

News from the Frontlines

Thursday October 23, 2014

Behnam Irani, Two Others Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Christian Activities in Iran

House-church leaders to serve sentences in remote, harsh prisons.

By Our Middle East Correspondent

ISTANBUL, Turkey, October 23, 2014 (Morning Star News) – In what was termed a “serious blow” to house-church leader Behnam Irani, Iran has sentenced him and two other Christian leaders to six years in prison for their involvement in house churches, human rights groups learned this week.

 

Irani, Abdolreza Ali-Haghnejad and Reza Rabbani, all leaders in the Church of Iran, were sentenced on Sunday (Oct. 19) for “action against national security” and “creating a network to overthrow the system,” catch-all terms the Islamist government uses to suppress Christians and political opponents it perceives as threats.

The sentence was “a serious blow” for the family of Irani, lead pastor of the group, said a pastor in direct contact with members of Irani’s family. When the verdict was handed down, Irani was already serving the remainder of a prior five-year sentence for his involvement with house churches.

 

Irani’s wife, Kristina, is resolute in her faith and in her devotion to her husband but needs prayer, said the pastor, who cannot be identified for security reasons. Irani won’t be eligible for release until 2023, according to Middle East Concern (MEC). [READ MORE]

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