Newsdesk - 16 Mar 2017

Egypt, India, Sri Lanka

 

INDIA – Christians the targets of a hate crime every other day so far in 2017

At least 15 believers assaulted – including two women beaten by their husbands; two church meetings and two marriage services disrupted; several church buildings vandalised and looted; a Christian orphanage shut down by police for “child trafficking”; pastors threated; a peace gathering attacked by a mob. Such is the litany of frequently violent persecution experienced by Indian Christians at the hands of Hindus in a single month: February 2017.

Christian prayer meetings (pictured) and services have been repeatedly targeted by Hindu extremists
Christian prayer meetings (pictured) and services have been repeatedly targeted by Hindu extremists

The Evangelical Fellowship of India recorded 20 verified hate crimes against Christians in February alone, taking the total for the first two months of 2017 to 38, more than one every other day. Indian believers are living on the persecution front line in a country where they are supposed to be protected.

From Evangelical Fellowship of India

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EGYPT – Local officials refuse Christians permission to meet; fundamentalist Muslims “wielding their power and imposing their will”

There will be no public celebration of Easter in the village of Kom Al Lufi, as the village’s Christians are still being refused permission to meet by authorities, nine months after Muslim rioters destroyed several Christian homes after falsely claiming one would be used as a church. Following the violence, a building in which believers had gathered to pray was closed, although local officials later pledged to re-open it to allow Christians to meet.

“We [still] have to travel to other nearby villages [to hold services],” explains one Christian resident. “Means of transport are not easy here, meaning that the aged and weak can never manage to go.” Even though the Egyptian government has passed new legislation to replace stringent Ottoman-era restrictions on churches, the Christians of Kom Al Lufi still have nowhere to gather. “Even though there is no killing … fundamentalist Muslims are wielding their power and imposing their will against our need to pray.”

From Wataninet here

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SRI LANKA – Police and Buddhist mob invade prayer meeting and shut down church, claiming it needs to “register”

A mob of around 30 Buddhists, accompanied by a police officer, invaded a youth prayer meeting in Morawaka village in southern Sri Lanka on 10 February and halted the meeting. They attempted to take the believers’ Bibles and told them to stop worship activities. Later that day, the police ordered the church pastor to suspend all meetings until he could provide proof the church had been “registered”; majority Buddhists frequently claim that churches should be registered, despite the fact there is no legal requirement for them to do so.

From National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, January - February 2017 report

Christians comprise around 8% of the population of Sri Lanka; the country’s constitution states that Buddhism shall have “the foremost place”
Christians comprise around 8% of the population of Sri Lanka; the country’s constitution states that Buddhism shall have “the foremost place”

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EGYPT – Court hands down strongest possible sentence to Muslim who slaughtered Christian shopkeeper

A Muslim man who murdered a Christian shopkeeper in an Islamic State style execution in January has been found guilty and sentenced to death by a court in Alexandria. The court’s decision to hand down the strongest possible sentence for the murder sends a clear message that Christians cannot be killed with impunity. Youssef Lamei, the 45-year-old shopkeeper who was killed on 3 January, was one of four Egyptian Christians murdered in the first two weeks of 2017.

Christian minorities are especially vulnerable to miscarriages of justice, particularly in cases where the victim is a Christian and the perpetrator and police are Muslim. However, the Egyptian courts’ swift prosecution of Youssef Lamei‘s murderer and the recent decision to reopen the case of a 70-year-old Christian grandmother beaten by a Muslim mob in May 2016 are positive steps for justice.

From Egypt Independent here

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