Newsdesk - 28 September 2017

India, Iraq, Malaysia, Sudan

 

INDIA – Hindu mob try and use children to incriminate pastor

A mob of about 30 Hindu extremists armed with sticks invaded a church service in Faridabad, a city south-east of New Delhi, on Sunday 3 September. Members of the mob handed children a leaflet and forced them to be photographed holding it, before they dragged the pastor, Abraham Thomas, to a police station. The mob accused Thomas of forcibly converting children and showed police the images they had taken – the leaflet the children were holding incited communal violence and included the line, “Let us use guns to shoot all the Hindus.”

Thankfully, Thomas was able to convince police to dismiss the allegations, as he is from a different region and did not even understand the whole contents of the leaflet the Hindus claimed he had given out.

The Hindu mob have nevertheless succeeded in stopping Christians meeting at the church, Pastor Abraham Thomas told Global Christian News, “My church is shut down and I have not conducted any service since then. Do we as Christians ever enter a Hindu temple … levying allegations on the priest and demanding explanations from them? If not, then who gives them the right to treat us this way?”

From Global Christian News here

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INDIA – Church and Bibles torched in night attack

On the night of 17 September, a church in Chitradurga in the southern state of Karnataka was broken into and items inside, including Bibles, were set on fire.  “By the time I reached [the church], everything had turned to ashes,” said Pastor Vaddar Nagaraja. As well as Bibles and Christian literature, the furniture and the church’s P.A. system were set ablaze.

Burnt Bibles and literature

From Global Christian News here

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MALAYSIA – Launderette bans non-Muslim customers

A launderette in Muar, in southern Malaysia close to Singapore, has put up a sign banning non-Muslim customers. The owner of the shop told reporters he was “just carrying out his duty as a Muslim,” but refused to confirm or deny suggestions he had imposed the ban because non-Muslims’ clothes might carry “unclean” items such as dog hair. A regional Muslim leader supported the ban, stating that cleanliness was important to Muslims and it was “a good move as Muslims will no longer be doubtful when using the self-service launderette.”

Malaysia is approximately 61% Muslim, but one of its 11 states (Sarawak) is majority Christian. In June, a group of Islamic organisations called for evangelical Christianity to be effectively outlawed because it was a “dangerous movement.”

From The Star here

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SUDAN – Human Rights Watch highlights ongoing plight of Sudanese Christians

In an open letter to the United Nations dated 21 September, the international organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) has highlighted the ongoing persecution and suffering of Christians in (north) Sudan.

The letter stated:

“The [Sudanese] government continues to restrict freedom of religion and belief. In early 2017, officials in Khartoum announced they would demolish at least 27 churches within Khartoum. In May the Sudanese Church of Christ building in Soba Aradi was demolished without notice by security officials. Two church members were also arrested and witnesses were instructed not to photograph or record the demolition. The church was the sole remaining Christian place of worship in the Soda Aradi district. Officials have also prohibited construction of new churches under the rationale that no new churches are needed due to the secession of South Sudan and the presumed exodus of ethnic Southerners, who were predominantly Christian.”

In 2011, South Sudan gained independence from (north) Sudan following years of conflict, in which the north tried to impose sharia law on the mainly-Christian south. Since 2011, the Sudanese government has continued to target historically Christian regions in the south of the country, such as Southern Kordofan.

HRW state that aerial attacks carried out on the Southern Kordofan region, supposedly targeting anti-government rebels, appear to have been paused since November 2016; Christians in Southern Kordofan had been forced to meet together in forested areas to avoid being targeted by the Sudanese air force. Although Christians no longer face regular attacks from the military, the government’s continued blockade of the region, “has deprived civilians of basic goods necessary for their survival, including access to life-saving medical assistance.”

From Human Rights Watch here

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IRAQ – UN Security Council finally agrees to investigate genocide of Christians

The United Nations’ Security Council has at last agreed to formally investigate crimes against humanity committed by Islamic State (IS) in Iraq “motivated by religious or ethnic grounds.” Whilst the resolution – which was unanimously passed by the Security Council on Thursday 21 September – does not specifically name any ethnic religious group, it has been widely recognised that Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims have been specifically targeted.

Barnabas Aid has publicly welcomed the resolution, but we will continue to highlight the fact that it is not just in Iraq but also in Syria and the broader region where IS have specifically targeted Christians. Nor is it just IS’s victims, but also victims of other jihadists that we must continue to seek justice for.

From Barnabas Aid researchers here

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