Newsdesk - 30 November 2017
- LIBYA – Christian African migrants sold as slaves in Libyan slave markets
- MAURITANIA – Government strengthens “blasphemy” laws
- ALGERIA – Police shut down church over “illegal” Christian literature
- NIGERIA – Three years of Muslim Fulani attacks has displaced over 500,000 people in Benue State
- YEMEN – Christian cemetery desecrated
LIBYA – Christian African migrants sold as slaves in Libyan slave markets
Captured African migrants heading to Europe are being sold into slavery in modern-day slave markets in Libya, news footage aired on 15 November has revealed. Several more slave markets have been discovered around the country.
Among these refugees are Christians, including many Eritreans, fleeing religious persecution in their home countries. One migrant described Libya as a “hell,” where he lived in “permanent fear of being … picked up by a militia group and sold off as a slave.”
The UN Secretary-General condemned the latest revelations as “among the most egregious abuses of human rights and may amount to crimes against humanity,” and has called for an investigation.
A 2016 report showed that Christians attempting to travel to Europe from Libya face acute danger and are targeted by both people traffickers and Islamist groups in the country.
From All Africa here
MAURITANIA – Government strengthens “blasphemy” laws
The government of Mauritania has strengthened “blasphemy” laws, so that anyone found guilty faces the death penalty, even if they “repent.”
In an official statement released on 17 November, the Mauritanian Justice Minister said, “Every Muslim, man or woman, who mocks or insults Muhammed … is liable to face the death penalty, without being asked to repent. They will incur the death penalty even if they repent.”
No one has been executed for “blasphemy” in Mauritania since 1987 and the man most recently convicted – a Muslim blogger who was tried in 2014 – had his death sentence downgraded to two years in prison.
However, the changes to the ‘blasphemy’ law followed within days of protests against the announcement that the blogger would shortly be freed after serving his sentence.
The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is almost entirely Muslim, although there are a small number of predominantly expatriate Christians.
From News 24 here
ALGERIA – Police shut down church over “illegal” Christian literature
Police in the coastal city of Ain Turk, around 250 miles west of Algiers, shut down a church on 9 November, claiming a Christian bookshop located inside was illegally printing Bibles and evangelistic material.
Although the church is affiliated with the officially recognised L’Église Protestante d’Algérie denomination, authorities are now claiming it is illegal.
Christians in Muslim-majority Algeria, although technically free to worship, face tight restrictions. Christian literature has to be approved by the government and congregations can only worship in registered buildings.
From Middle East Concern here
NIGERIA – Three years of Muslim Fulani attacks has displaced over 500,000 people in Benue State
Over half a million people from the Christian majority Benue State have been displaced as a result of more than 40 different Muslim Fulani herder attacks on Christian communities between 2013 and 2016, newly released figures reveal.
A community leader said: “We paid dearly for the atrocities of the herdsmen with over 2,000 lives of our men, women and children. Till date, over five hundred persons are missing while … the future of almost a million youths are truncated.” He further explained that in 2014 alone, hundreds of millions of pounds worth of properties were destroyed.
On 21 March 2017, 30 people were killed when ethnic Fulani gunmen attacked Zaki Biam, a predominantly Christian village.
Neighbouring Plateau State, which is also predominantly Christian, has witnessed persistent Muslim Fulani attacks too. In October 2017 alone, over 55 people were killed in attacks on Christian communities.
From The Nigerian Tribune here
YEMEN – Christian cemetery desecrated
A Christian cemetery in Aden was desecrated on the night of 20 November. The graves damaged included those of Christians murdered in an attack on a Christian-run home for the elderly in 2016.
The vandalising of the Christian cemetery in the port city of Aden – a former British protectorate – appears to be an effort to eradicate the historical evidence of a Christian presence.
A church leader, who represents congregations in Yemen, the UAE and Oman, told reporters, “This is not the first time such a thing happens. Of course, such episodes of violence do not only affect Christians, but they confirm the ongoing difficult situation.”
Christians comprise less than 0.5% of Yemen’s population, although Christianity was well established in Yemen when Islam arose in early part of the seventh century. Most believers are expatriates, or Ethiopian Christian refugees who have fled to Yemen – although millions of Yemen’s population have themselves now been displaced by a conflict between Shia Houthi rebels and the Sunni government, which has escalated since 2015 to become a regional proxy war.
The government of the Muslim-majority country has pressured Christians for decades.
From Asia News here