- PAKISTAN – Seven-year-old child killed in grenade attack on Christian colony
- EGYPT – Minya governor approves renovation, expansion or rebuilding of 21 churches
- IRAQ – Iraqi Christians “persecuted and left behind”
- KAZAKHSTAN – Restrictions on Christians set to become tighter
PAKISTAN – Seven-year-old child killed in grenade attack on Christian colony
A seven-year-old Christian boy was killed in a grenade attack on the gates of a Christian community in Chaman, Balochistan, on Friday 1 December. Two other people were injured in the explosion, which shattered the windows of nearby homes.
The apparently deliberate targeting of the Christian colony in Chamal took place on the final day of Mawlid – the annual observance of the birthday of Muhammad. The attack raises concerns for the safety of Christian communities and churches over Christmas.
EGYPT – Minya governor approves renovation, expansion or rebuilding of 21 churches
Twenty-one churches in Egypt’s Minya province have been granted permission from the region’s governor to renovate, expand or rebuild their places of worship.
Churches in the region have been repeatedly attacked by Islamists. In response, authorities have shut down churches citing “security concerns.”
The granting of approval by the governor is a surprising and welcome change of policy. It finally sees the landmark church building law introduced by the Egyptian Parliament in 2016 being implemented on the ground.
However, if the approvals are to take effect, then the Minya authorities must be willing to uphold Christians’ right to meet freely and openly in the face of Islamist pressure.
From Wataninet here
IRAQ – Iraqi Christians “persecuted and left behind”
A Christian woman who was kidnapped, enslaved, beaten, raped and held by Islamic State (IS) for three years was rescued in November 2017.
Originally from Qaraqosh in the historically Christian Nineveh Plains, northern Iraq, one of her jihadi captors tormented her by forcing her to watch videos of non-Muslims being beheaded. “They made me read the Quran and threatened to kill me if I did not convert to Islam,” she added.
She still does not know the fate of her father, also kidnapped. In areas of Iraq and Syria occupied by IS, Christians and other minorities like Yazidis have been kidnapped and enslaved. Girls as young as one-year-old were “peddled like barrels of oil,” said a UN Special Representative.
Iraq has one of the oldest Christian communities in the world (around 1.5 million believers in 1990), but more than 75% of them have left the country.
KAZAKHSTAN – Restrictions on Christians set to become tighter
Authorities raided a Christian Sunday service in Ekibastuz, north-eastern Kazakhstan, and arrested over 20 Christians on 29 October. They were made to sign police statements, fined, and warned not to “meet for worship until they register.”
Kazakhstan’s secular constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but the government places tight restrictions on Christian groups via a 2010 law to prevent terrorism and extremism.
Church congregations must be registered. The 2011 Religion Law requires them to have a minimum of 50 adult members to register.
An amendment proposed this year would require churches to re-register and limit their meetings only to registered “religious” buildings. Sharing one’s faith will be made harder, and it will be tougher for parents to take their children to Christian services. The amendment is likely to become law in the new year.
From Forum 18 News Service here