#AceNewsReport – July.11: Shahid Gill, the Catholic father of the girl, Nayab Gill, pleaded that his daughter was underage and could not legally marry or change her religion on her own, but the Lahore High Court upheld a ruling of a lower court, giving custody to the Muslim man, identified as 30-year-old Saddam Hayat, Morning Star News reported.
#AceDailyNews says that Pakistan high court forces 13-yr-old-Christian girl to return to captor’s home as his ‘wife’ and convert to Islam according to Morning Star News report
Justice Shahram Sarwar Chaudhry last week rejected the girl’s official birth documents showing she was 13, while siding with Hayat who claimed she had converted to Islam of her own free will on May 20.
#AceNewsReport – July.09: ICN reports that the children who were kidnapped were Christians. For over a decade, Boko Haram has “ravaged the northeastern part of Nigeria and around Lake Chad.” Last year, Boko Haram kidnapped over 300 boys in Western Nigeria. So far this year, Boko Haram has committed seven mass kidnappings in Nigeria.
#AceDailyNews reports that in NIGERIA: 140 more Christian children kidnapped from ‘Bethel Baptist Boarding School’ and last year alone Boko #Haram kidnapped over 300-boys and committed 7-mass-killings with recruitment of children as soldiers and suicide bombers as aidorganisationscomplain about not allowing amnesty in the west for unaccompanied children according to an ICN report
“Nigerian gunmen kidnap 150 children from boarding school in Kaduna state,” ITV News, July 5, 2021:
Gunmen have kidnapped around 150 schoolchildren from a boarding school in north-west Nigeria.
The gunmen stormed Bethel Baptist High School in the early hours of Monday, shooting sporadically as they kidnapped the students, police spokesperson Mohammed Jalije has said.
Heavily armed criminal gangs in the country often attack villages to loot, steal cattle and abduct people for ransom – but since the start of the year they have increasingly targeted schools.
John Hayab, whose son narrowly escaped the abduction, said about 180 students attend the high school.
“We cannot give the exact figure of those abducted for now, until those who ran into hiding for safety are back and a census of the students is taken, but we know they took a lot of students,” he said.
Mr Hayab added: “I am just speechless, I don’t know what to say. My son was among the students who narrowly escaped.”
“I am part of this unfortunate incident because it is my church,” he said, before adding: “This is a very, very sad situation for us.”
Mr Hayab, who is the chair of Christian Association of Nigeria, told The Associated Press that so far, 26 students had returned and he was hopeful more would escape from their kidnappers.
This is the fourth abduction of students in Kaduna state in the past six months and there have been seven mass kidnappings of students in Nigeria so far this year.
The abductions are being carried out by armed groups who want ransoms. Many schools have been forced to close as authorities are unable to adequately protect them….
#AceNewsReport – June.26: Now they are refusing to allow her to return home to her parents unless they pay a ransom, according to a report:
The Muslim man, identified only as a medical doctor named Altaf, recently told the parents of Neha, the Christian teenager, that she had embraced Islam and he and his wife were keeping her as their servant, the U.K.-based nonprofit Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement said in a statement Thursday about the abduction: By Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post Contributor
Pakistani Christians in prayer in Karachi on November 15, 2015. | ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images: Christian Post:
Neha’s father, Munawar Masih, and his wife, Mehtan Bibi, who live in Muzaffargarh district, are economically poor and had hoped that their daughter would earn a little money by working in Altaf’s house.
The young Christian teen has seven siblings and their parents earn only about $50 a month.
Altaf was introduced to Masih as someone who was looking to employ two girls to work in his house. Initially, Masih sent Neha and her sister, Sneha, to work in Altaf’s house, and the two worked there for four years despite being treated as slaves, CLAAS said.
The sisters “complained about mistreatment by the family, who would swear at them and even physically assault them. … They told the family that they wanted to go back home and live with their family, but Dr. Altaf did not allow them to leave.”
The girls were promised $65 a month but were only paid $20.
Due to her deteriorating health, Altaf allowed Neha’s sister to return to her parents. But when Masih requested Altaf to return also, he was told that Neha had embraced Islam and therefore could not live with her parents any longer.
Altaf told Masih that it was not possible for them to allow any non-Muslim to enter the kitchen and touch their food items and kitchen utensils so she had to convert.
He also claimed that he had mistakenly overpaid Masih $1,750 and told him he must pay him that amount if he wants to get his daughter back.
“Perhaps Pakistan is the only country where such crimes are happening on a daily basis under the cover of Islam,” CLAAS-UK Director Nasir Saeed said. “It cannot be justified at any cost that a young girl was converted to Islam against her will and without her parents’ knowledge and now she cannot be returned to her parents because her parents are Christians, and she cannot be allowed to live them.”
A 2014 study by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan estimated that about 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian communities were abducted, forcibly married to their captor, and forcibly converted to Islam every year.
International persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA ranks Pakistan No. 5 on its 2021 World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution due to an “extreme” level of Islamic oppression. Pakistan is also listed by the U.S. State Department as a “country of particular concern” for tolerating in or engaging in egregious violations of religious freedom.
#AceNewsReport – June.20: Local human rights activist “Lala Robin Daniel expressed his disappointment at the police’s attitude: ‘As Christians we are a minority and we are alone. For us there is no justice and no equal rights.’”
PAKISTAN: Christian man abducted and raped by a group of attackers in Faisalabad,” by Shafique Khokhar, Asia News, June 14, 2021:
Even though his father reported his son’s disappearance, the police did not act. The victim was eventually able to make it home alone after five days in captivity.
The story began on 6 June when the young man went missing; two days later, his father Daniyal alerted the police about his disappearance, but nothing was done.
At that point the father decided to turn to human rights activist Lala Robin Daniel, who spoke to AsiaNews about the case.
According to what is known so far, Danish was drugged and rendered unconscious before he was kidnapped by a Muslim named Ali Raza and his gang. They held him captive in an unknown place and raped him, then dumped him at a place near Faisalabad, from where the young man was able to go home and inform his family.
Lala Robin Daniel expressed his disappointment at the police’s attitude: “As Christians we are a minority and we are alone. For us there is no justice and no equal rights.”
Although the authorities are now looking for the culprits, no one has been arrested. For their part, Danish’s family are demanding justice.
“We are committed and will not spare any of them,” said Lala Robin Daniel. “We shall try our best to bring them to court and see them punished according to the law. We call upon high police officers to cooperate and arrest these monsters as soon as possible,” he added.
Danish’s is not an isolated case. Violence against Christians in Pakistan is commonplace. Amid the rising number of abductions, child sexual abuses, forced conversions and forced marriages, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) organised a seminar at the Sacred Heart parish in Sahiwal to ask the federal and provincial parliaments to adopt new legislation to put an end to such practices…..
#AceNewsReport – June.06: JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen in Niger state, Nigeria have shot to death a missionary and pastor and his 3-year-old son, sources said.
NIGERIA: Fulani Herdsmen Kill Pastor, 3-Year-Old Son in Nigeria,” Morning Star News, May 30, 2021: Islamophobia: it’s an international scourge.
“Our missionary brother, Pastor Leviticus Makpa, was shot dead with his son by Fulani bandits,” area resident Deborah Omeiza told Morning Star News in a text message. “His wife escaped with their daughter.”
A close associate of Pastor Makpa, Folashade Obidiya Obadan, said the pastor had texted her as herdsmen surrounded his house.
“Pastor Leviticus Makpa advised that I should not phone, as the herdsmen have surrounded his house and are attacking his mission base,” Obadan told Morning Star News. “I quickly sent airtime to him to enable him keep communicating with me. While I was waiting to hear from him, we began to pray for their protection.”
She and her husband learned of the deaths of the pastor and his son the next morning, she said.
“Soldier of Christ, Leviticus Makpa, one of my greatest 2021 blessings is to have met you,” she said in a tribute to the slain pastor. “Thank you for giving me the privilege to serve in my little way. What a life you lived, sir!”
Another close associate, Samuel Solomon, said in a tribute that herdsmen had attacked Pastor Makpa previously.
“Fulani bandits came against them, they hid in the cave to save their lives, and after they left, he went back to the field with his family; how many of us can do this?” Solomon said. “He eventually lost his life and that of his son; the wife and daughter escaped. He knew his life was at stake, but burden for souls won’t let him run away from the field.”
Pastor Makpa was serving in a remote village where education was lacking, he said.
“He established the only Christian school in the village and raised many souls,” Solomon said. “He came and attended the last Christian conference with us, and we had planned on how to adopt him as our missionary, but painfully he has joined the league of martyrs in Heaven. His blood will testify over the land and also against the insecurity of a corrupt Islamist government in Nigeria.”
Appealing for aid for the pastor’s widow and daughter, Solomon said the attack was part of an attempt to wipe out Christianity in the region.
“Pastor Makpa had no money, in fact, the community he is serving has no basic social services provided by the government. So, what were the herdsmen looking for?” he said. “Definitely it couldn’t have been money, their mission was to obliterate the church.”…
The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.
In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”
On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.
EGYPT: UN experts condemn the execution of Coptic Christian monk: In a press release published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the experts confirmed that Mikhil was reportedly arbitrarily detained, tried, convicted and sentenced to death on 22 April, 2019, for allegedly killing an abbot at a monastery.
March 18, 2021
“The execution was conducted in secrecy, which is a serious violation of the inherent dignity of the human person and, specifically, violates the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” the experts expressed.
According to the experts, Mikhil was subjected to discriminatory treatment in prison prior to his execution. He was prevented from practicing religious rituals, prohibited from attending the weekly mass service and meeting the priest in charge of the prison service, despite this right being guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and law.
“The death penalty in retentionist states should be reserved for the most serious crimes and should be imposed only with extreme exception. However, the prevalence with which the death penalty is being executed in Egypt does not demonstrate that it meets the most stringent requirements or moving towards its abolition,” the experts stressed.
According to information received by the experts, over 50 executions have already taken place this year: 17 people were executed in April, 30 in March, six in February and one in January.
The UN experts called on the Egyptian authorities to end their systematic use of the death penalty, including against religious minorities
#AceNewsReport – May.27: 05/22/2021 Nagorno-Karabakh (International Christian Concern) – according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Artsakh, David Babayan. Azerbaijan continues to deface and destroy Armenian Christian heritage sites, including cemeteries and churches, as they seek to eradicate evidence of their culture and identity.
Azerbaijan Uses Armenian Gravestones To Build Roads,” International Christian Concern, May 22, 2021: Azerbaijan destroying all traces of Christian heritage, using Armenian gravestones to build roads:
Cemeteries in Hadrut have been destroyed, as seen by satellite images. Reports now indicate that those gravestones are being used as building material in areas of Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh) and particularly for the building of new roads.
Babayan commented saying, “This is another manifestation of cultural genocide; barbarism with a political purpose…
#AceNewsReport – May.07: Salama was ambushed, then abducted at gunpoint in a hijacked vehicle on the eve of 7 Nov, 2020 as he was on the street for a local errand in his village Bir-al-Abd. In the scuffle, as Nabil tried to fight off his three armed, unmasked attackers, he dropped his mobile phone. It was later retrieved by passers-by and returned to his family. This small detail has some significance, as reported below.
Nabil Habashi Salama, taken by unseen watchers; he was ‘executed’ by ISIS, March 2021
Nabil had been splitting his time between the village and El-Arish, a city about 68 miles east along the Mediterranean coast towards the border with the Gaza strip.
Five days after his abduction, on 12 Nov, his son Peter received a call from those holding his father. They allowed him to speak to Nabil, but said they needed 2 million Egyptian pounds (US $127,550 or GBP 91,2000) – not as hostage ransom but as a ‘jizya’ tax from the remaining Copts in the village – if they wanted to see Nabil return.
The kidnappers gave Peter 48 hours to collect the money. However, it then increased to 5 million Egyptian pounds (approximately US $321,000 or GBP 230,000) with an order that the Coptic Bishop, Cosman, would be given time to gather the money from all the local Christian families.
When, after some time, the kidnappers called him again, Peter said they had not been able to collect the amount of ‘jizya’ demanded. At this, the caller threatened that the group would kill Peter and his brother Fady, as well as their hostage father. Hearing this, the police asked the brothers to leave the local area, as they could not guarantee their safety.
On 1 January, shortly before Orthodox Christmas, under the stressful anxiety of fearing every day for their father’s life, the brothers now felt forced to leave everything behind and uproot their families to move.
Even then, there was another call: “We know where you are; we know everything about you”.
The last call came at the end of February “That was the last time I was able to speak to my Dad; we didn’t hear anymore after that” Peter told World Watch Monitor.
On Sunday 18 April , the day that Islamic State in Sinai posted the video – in which Habashy and two other Sinai tribesmen are killed – to its Telegram channel, the video was sent ‘at the first hour of dawn’ to the family, to their utter shock and horror. Again, threats against the two brothers’ lives accompanied it.
And those death threats have not stopped coming, even into this past week as the family grieved. (Habashy also left a daughter Marina).
But one of the most disturbing aspects of the ‘announcement’ of the death of Nabil Habashy Salama is that it was often accompanied by a picture of him, apparently repairing the wall of his church building, a smile on his face. He looks pleased and content as he writes. At least one media outlet credits Nabil himself for the photo. But Peter had never seen it before – it did not belong to the family’s now-treasured collection of photos of their father. Peter told World Watch Monitor he believes the photo was taken by someone who’d been watching their Dad’s movements, perhaps even one of his kidnappers, if not killers. And for that reason, the family is acutely on edge, aware that the extremist militia who killed their dad have their phone number and continue to issue death threats.
‘Jizya’ tax on non-Muslims as protection money
Under traditional Islamic law, jizya(h) is a tax per head paid by non-Muslimsonly to the authorities. According to Definition.net “From the point of view of Muslim rulers, jizya was…proof of the non-Muslims’ acceptance of subjection to the state and its laws. In return, non-Muslims were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to the Muslim state’s protection from outside aggression, and to be exempt from military service and the zakat taxes obligatory upon Muslims”.
In 2012, Bishop Cosman said that, of about 4-500,000 people in his diocese of North Sinai – an area 200km long and 127km – there were only about 740 Christian families (c.3,000 individuals) so they were pretty scattered. To compare, over 2,000 Christian families then lived in the urban Cairo district of Hadayak al-Maadi.
Father Youssef Sobhy, a priest at Saint Mary and St. Michael Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (the Archbishopric of North Sinai), told World Watch Monitor:
“The majority of the Christian families fled El-Arish, after they felt they were targeted by those militants, their lives were in danger, and there wasn’t any protection for them. Police were focusing efforts on protecting the entry points to the city and police presence inside El-Arish is not as dense as it is around it.”
In addition to targeting Christians and state security forces, the insurgents in November 2017 opened fire on Sufi Muslims (who Islamic State believe to be heretical) be praying in a Bir al-Abd mosque, killing over 300.
A Copt activist told WWM: “Accountability about the failure of security plans is an urgent necessity, and the protection of Copts is a social, moral and humanitarian responsibility. What Copts need today are actions without words and not promises without action.
“These murders of Christians nowadays are an ongoing scheme amidst a media blackout and that is not separated from the previous murderous crimes against Copts for years. The deadly hands are one and the same.
“Those perpetrators haven’t been punished for their previous crimes.Leaving with impunity Islamic extremists who target and kill Copts for their religious identification drives them and others to increase targeting of Copts and killing them for their faith in Jesus Christ.
“This continued failure to protect the Copts is not justified, especially after the imposition of the state of emergency, amendments to the laws of terrorist entities and criminal penalties and procedures.”
Previous incidents when Christians were targeted in N. Sinai
3 March 2021: ISIS members stopped the car of Sobhy Samy Abdul Nour, 40, (from Jazeerat Masoud village, El Husseiniya, Sharqia Governorate), 500m from the police checkpoint in Balouza village at the entrance to the North Sinai Governorate. The extremists shot him dead as soon as they found out that he was a Christian, then seized his car, ID card and mobile and threw his body onto the road before fleeing. His funeral was held at Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in El Husseiniya city on 4 March 2021; he was buried in the family cemetery in Jazeerat Masoud village.
18 Jan, 2019: Armed militants kidnapped a 55 year old single man, Adeeb Nakhla Yassa, who was on a microbus on the coastal road to Arish city. Some 50 km west of the city, it was stopped by a group of armed men who boarded it and began checking the identity of the passengers, looking for police and military recruits or Christians. When they found out that Yassa was Christian, they ordered him to disembark and carried him off in a four-wheel drive vehicle. They let the bus continue its journey. Once the passengers reached their destination, they informed the police who in turn told Adeeb’s relatives.
May 2016. An employee in the Directorate of Health in North Sinai, Misak Nasrallah, was returning home on the workbus with colleagues. Masked men stopped the bus at gunpoint and asked if there was a Christian among the passengers. His Muslim colleagues asked the only Christian not to speak. They said ‘No, all of us are Muslims’. But Misak refused to deny Christ and said ‘Yes I’m a Christian’ showing them the cross on his right wrist. They took him out of the bus, said ‘You don’t deserve to live because you are Kaffir’ and shot him with 14 bullets, killing him instantly.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.25: The chief culprits in the dastardly act, according to the rights group, are the Emir of Katsina and the Islamic District Head of Kafur in Kafur Local Government Area of the State, noting that this is according a statement issued on April 15, 2021 by the Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO):
Nigeria: The Federal Government must sanction Katsina Islamic leaders for indiscriminate abduction and forceful conversion of scores of Hausa Christians, especially girls of underage, to Islam, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has said: “Emir of Katsina, others ‘abducting, forcefully converting Hausa Christian girls to Islam,’” News Express, April 19, 2021:
According to Intersociety in a statement by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Obianuju Igboeli, and Chidimma Evan Udegbunam, there has been indiscriminate abduction of scores of Hausa Christian girls and their forceful conversion to Islam. The abducted Hausa Christian girls, who are under the school age of 16, are also forced into early marriage done outside the consent of their parents, Intersociety said.
The statement also disclosed that the indigenous Hausa Christians and their communities in Katsina State “are made to go through hell by Islamic authorities and supposedly secular security agencies in the State just because they are Christians.” It named the affected Hausa Christian areas in Katsina State to include a mixed Christian-Muslim Community of Rafin Iyaka Sabuwar Kasa in Kafur Local Government Area and Christian Community of Gidan Dandadada Rafin Iyaka, among others.
The Hausa Christians Foundation had in a recent statement mentioned names of nine Hausa Christian girls and young women as having in recent times been abducted and forcefully converted to Islam and forced into early marriage by the named Islamic leaders.
Principally fingered are the duo of the District Head of Kafur (Alhaji Abdulrahman Rabe) and the Emir of Katsina (Abdulmumini Kabir Usman). The nine victims were named as Jamima Solomon, Christiana Mamman, Deborah Habila, Phoebe Dankano, Rifkatu Markus (rescued), Saratu Isah (was returned when she went mad after two years), Dije Yakubu Nalami (abducted as a married woman, and returned when she died), Rebeccah Ado (returned pregnant), and Aisha Mani (the latest abducted and converted and currently in captivity).
The statement also lamented that any time the Christian Community agitates against the injustice done to same, the Muslim youths will violently go after them, threatening to burn down their churches and houses….
#AceNewsReport – Apr.18: Buhari has failed miserably and astronomically. And he’s busy spending billions of naira (Nigerian currency) on senseless deradicalization programs that don’t work, while Christians continue to be murdered in a country that has been described as a “massive killing field.”
Nigeria: Government outraged as bishop criticizes its response to jihad terror: ‘Christians are undergoing a genocide in Nigeria, and it is Nigeria’s Muslim President Muhammadu Buhari who is playing politics. Christianity Today wrote with high hopes about him in 2015’
“Nigeria presidency accuses priest of partisan politics after criticism,” translated from “Nigéria : la présidence accuse un prêtre de faire de la politique partisane après des critiques,” by Rodrigue Gozoa, La Nouvelle Tribune, April 8, 2021:
Matthew Hassan Kukah is the current bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto in northwestern Nigeria. He was ordained on December 19, 1976. He was previously Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kaduna until he was ordained bishop on September 8, 2011. A priest and political scientist, the prelate is regularly requested by the government authorities in place for numerous mediation and diplomacy missions. But this Sunday, on the occasion of the Christian Feast of Easter, Bishop Kukah gave a sermon that Mr. Buhari very much disliked.
Bishop Kukah has participated in many presidential initiatives, such as the Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations, the Electoral Reform Committee and the National Political Reform Conference. He was also the presidential facilitator who negotiated an end to hostilities between the Nigerian oil company Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria and the Ogoni people in the Delta region.
But also and because, according to the Nigerian press, the prelate’s qualities as mediator had been remarkable, Bishop Kukah was also asked to join a committee set up by the governors of the North to jointly examine the Boko Haram crisis, and consider appropriate solutions to apply. From this point of view, the prelate was therefore one of those in Nigeria who had a good knowledge of the “Boko Haram” problem and the corollary of insecurity that the terrorist threat had left in its wake.
But this Sunday, when the bishop in his homily for the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ said that “insecurity, in particular terrorism, had increased since President Buhari came to power in 2015,” the reaction of the Buhari administration was immediate. It was Mallam Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant for media and publicity, who in a statement issued in Abuja accused the cleric on behalf of the presidency of engaging in partisan politics.
According to Mr. Shehu, the prelate’s words were all the more out of place as they lacked the impartiality required by the cassock he wore. “If you claim to be a man of God, as Father Mathew Hassan Kukah does, ideology should not stand in the way of facts and fairness. (…) He (Msgr Kukah — editor’s note) practices partisan politics by lecturing the president. (…) We urge well-meaning citizens to continue supporting the administration’s ongoing efforts to secure the country and move it forward,” the presidential statement added in substance….
Christian Mother Expelled from Village, Threatened with Death: HYDERABAD, India ‘Morning Star News reports that when villagers kept her from harvesting her fields because she had invited a Christian pastor to pray for the harvest, a tribal Adivasi mother in central India went to police thinking officers might help her’
Tribal woman kept from harvesting annual food supply: Instead, the police inspector at the Polampalli police station in Chhattisgarh state showed Kanni Barse a section of the Indian constitution, read a few lines from it and asked her if she understood it, she said.
“I replied, ‘No,’” Barse told Morning Star News. “Then he told me that the text from the constitution says that Adivasis cannot convert to Christianity, and that I have committed a huge mistake by adopting a foreign faith. He said that he should book cases against me.”
The Indian constitution guarantees religious freedom, and Barse said she told the officer that she had some education, her husband was a teacher and that she had never heard the text he cited.
“I asked him, ‘What about my life? There is a threat to my life,’” she said. “He said, ‘We can’t take the responsibility of protecting anybody’s life.’”
Three days later, she said, the inspector summoned Barse back to the police station, but when she arrived, she found the village elders and tribal animists surrounding it and did not dare try to enter.
“Afraid of what was happening, I called the inspector on the phone and told him that I will take the complaint back – it is enough if they would allow me to harvest the crop and work at the childcare center,” she said. “But the officer told me that the village elders said they want to fight this case.”
The tribal animist relatives who had expelled the Christian mother of four from her native Palamadugu village, in Sukma District, threatened to kill her if she returned, she said. The harvest was to feed the family for a year.
“It has been over two months now,” Barse said, tears in her eyes. “The oxen and birds have eaten the grain, and the crop has all got wasted.”
The attempt to obtain police help occurred in early January. Officers at Polampalli police station remained unavailable for comment despite several attempts to reach them.
“Since my husband and I had put faith in Christ because of health issues, we have been shunned by the villagers, who are our own kinsmen,” Barse said. “I worked very hard during the coronavirus lockdown to raise the crop. This field has been a primary source of income to feed my family of six.”
After inviting the pastor to bless the harvest fields, she said, her relatives reviled her in extremely derogatory language.
“They told me that they had been kind enough only to let me work in the fields to feed our stomachs, but they can’t tolerate Christian worship,” she said, “They made accusations that I had defiled the Adivasi land by bringing a pastor to conduct Christian prayer.”
Barse has worked at the rural childcare center teaching and caring for pre-school children for 20 years. She worked and lived in Palamadugu village, returning to her family in Dornapal village on weekends, until her relatives expelled her from the village in late December.
“They told me that they would chop me into bits and pieces if they see me again at the childcare center,” Barse told Morning Star News. “My sister’s family did not allow me to stay in Palamadugu and were forcing me to leave for Dornapal, where my husband and children reside.”
She asked her nieces to allow her to stay, as she desperately needed the income from her job in the village, she said. She used that income to pay for medical care of her husband, whose seizures have kept him mostly unemployed since 2007, and the needs of her children, ages 3, 6, 13 and 15.
“To our shock, we heard a knock in the middle of the night yelling my name,” Barse told Morning Star News. “Afraid that I will be killed if I stayed there any longer, my mother and sister insisted that I must leave the village.”
Kinsmen in Palamadugu arranged for Maoists known as Naxalites to kill an uncle and a brother for reasons unrelated to faith, and in February two other relatives were found murdered, she said.
“If they vow to kill, they will surely kill the person,” Barse said. “They are staunch, stone-hearted Adivasis.”
Struggling to Survive
When Barse delivered a hand-written complaint to police, she notified them that she and her husband had accepted Christianity in 2016, and that since then her husband’s health had steadily improved, she said.
“I requested the officers in Polampalli police station to not book any cases and only make my relatives understand that I have accepted Christian faith for my own personal reasons, and that I have nothing against their practices, but I should only be allowed to work and practice my faith,” Barse said.
A Chhattisgarh attorney allied with legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom India advised her to apply with the district child development officer for a transfer to a post with the childcare center in another village since there is a threat to her life in Palamadugu, Barse said.
She submitted the request on Feb. 8, and on March 1 she inquired whether there was any decision.
“I was told that the officer was on vacation and would only go through my application after he assumes his duties,” she said.
Barse, 35, requested prayer for her family and job. A nearby school has allowed her husband to teach a few subjects that, because of the coronavirus pandemic, are carried out online.
“But the school management told us that they can’t continue it for very long because of his health issues, and that they do not want him to teach in a physical set-up, where children can get intimidated watching him suffer seizure attacks,” she said.
The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.
India ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, as it was in 2020. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position worsened after Modi came to power.
#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES (New York) – October 16 – A New York high school has lifted its ban on a Christian student organization after first rejecting the students’ request for renewal.
Ward Melville High School of East Setauket decided late last week to renew the group Students United in Faith after receiving a letter from the Liberty Institute, a conservative law firm.
Last year, administrators at the school denied SUIF recognition under the charge that the student organization lacked sufficient numbers of interested persons to garner recognition.
“We are hoping that the school doesn’t make this an annual tradition of violating the Equal Access Act,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s director of strategic litigation, in a statement to The Christian Post.
“Congress can pass laws and the courts can issue opinions, but if great Americans like John Raney and Jeremy Johnson don’t take a bold stand for freedom, we will all lose our liberty.”
Students wanted to start a SUIF chapter at the Long Island-area high school last year, but their request was denied.
#AceWorldNews (Exclusive) – Opinion – South East Asia News – September 18
For long, Malaysia has been a multi-religious country where most people can adhere to their own religion even though Islam is the official religion. A state with a history of its diverse faith followers that lived in peace with each other. However, recent years have seen a drastic rise in growing intolerance towards the religious and ethnic minorities.
In recent developments, are the infamous Malay Court Ban limiting the use of the Arabic word Allah for Muslims “ONLY.”
The country has come under fire for its systematic evidence of targeting Christian community; the church burnings, grave desecration and the seizure of 300 Bibles. This Bible raid was justified under the Court ruling as it contained the word Allah. Come again.
When one thinks that the word Allah has been used by Malaysians for over 600 years and the name Allah was used in the Gospel printed in Malaysian 400 years ago, we can better comprehend the senselessness and impropriety of this prohibition. Ridiculous:.
The followers of Christ in the Arabian Peninsula, including some 12 million followers of Christianity are using the word Allah without any qualms or statutory rulings.
So why and what is wrong in Malaysian Christians using the word Allah?
The Koran itself is very clear on this subject, by affirming that Muslims should say to Jews and Christians that “our God and your God is one”.
However, many Malay Muslims have a rigid and schematic view of Islam. The challenge is to “educate the masses” and to promote religious freedom. Moreover, the government says Allah should be reserved exclusively for Muslims — who make up nearly two-thirds of the country’s 29 million people — because if other religions use it that could confuse Muslims and lead them to convert.
For crying out loud, is this really happening?
“The Allah ban is a direct result of our failure in Nation Building as a peoples. Everyone is responsible for it and everyone should play a role in the reconciliation process. We will have to look back as a nation and ask where did we go wrong. Then from there, we will need to find new creative ways to bridge the cross cultural gaps that led to this point,” says Malaysian human rights defender and Director, Dignity International (an international human rights based organization) Adrian Periera.
On-ground human rights groups have joined hands with Malaysian Catholics in campaigning against this ruling. One good that came out of this inanity, is the renewal of the Malaysians spirit that is seen into coming together as a united force. Needless, the Malays Catholics don’t find themselves alone in this battle and can count on the support of Muslim groups.
Organizations like Sisters in Islam (SIS) and the Front for Islamic revival (IRF) have launched initiatives on social networks to promote accurate information removed from the ideology and propaganda of the government and extremist movements.
“God, what is your religion?” This cryptic question, spotted on a T-shirt worn by a Malay Muslim woman demonstrator in a public protest for expressing solidarity with minority Christians over who can use the term ‘Allah’.
This debate has crossed national borders and sparked a debate among Muslims around the world.
In Pakistan, the English daily newspaper Daily Times questioned the ruling, asking why Malaysia would deny people of other faiths to “own God in all His attributes”. Similarly a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates called the court ruling “wrong”, and said the word Allah was never exclusive to Islam but used by both Christians and Jews to refer to God even before the advent of Islam.
“So. My God is not your God. And your God is not mine”
Is this making sense to any sane person within Malaysia and elsewhere? I guess not.
Reza Aslam, Muslim Academic writer said that the world was “laughing” at Malaysia over the court ruling that he described as a political decision more than anything else. “That you can control people’s ideas, their behavior, their faith and their minds simply by trying to control the words that they use, is absurd. It is an embarrassment to a modern, constitutional, democratic and deeply Muslim state like Malaysia,” said the religious scholar.
Indeed, congratulations to Malaysia being the first country to ban God’s name and to limit God to themselves.
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – September 15 – Washington has asked North Korea to pardon two Americans sentenced to prison terms, VOA said.
U.S. citizen Matthew Todd Miller (2nd R) sits in a witness box during his trial at the North Korean Supreme Court in Pyongyang, September 14, 2014.
On Sunday, Matthew Todd Miller, 24 was convicted of espionage.
Kenneth Bae Pleads for Release
The US has requested Pyongyang to pardon both Miller, who was sentenced to six years hard labour by the Supreme Court, and Kenneth Bae, 46, a Korean-American Christian missionary who has been held since November 2012 and is serving a 15-year sentence.
Jeffrey Fowle Pleads his Innocence
Also, Jeffrey Fowle, 56, is awaiting trial for “hostile acts” against the state.
Both Miller and Fowle were detained in April.
The US wants Pyongyang to grant amnesty to all three.
#AceWorldNews – SYRIA (Hama) – September 12 – Syrian government troops have captured the town of Halfaya in central Hama province that has changed hands several times during the war, AP said, citing the military and activists.
By retaking the key town, troops will be better positioned to defend nearby Christian and Allawite communities that support President Bashar Assad.
The army command said that the current offensive aims “to wipe out terrorists in northern parts of Hama.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Halfaya was captured by the army on Thursday.
#AceNewsServices – SUDAN – May 27 – A Sudanese woman awaiting the death penalty for abandoning her religious faith has given birth in jail near the capital, Khartoum, her lawyer has said.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag married a Christian man and was sentenced to hang for apostasy earlier this month after refusing to renounce Christianity.
She is allowed to nurse her baby girl for two years before the sentence is carried out.
Born to a Muslim father, she was convicted by a Sharia court.
Sudan has a majority Muslim population, which is governed by Islamic law.
Ms Ibrahim was also convicted of adultery on the grounds that her marriage to a Christian man from South Sudan was void under Sudan’s version of Islamic law, which says Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslims.
For this the judge sentenced her to 100 lashes, which will reportedly be carried out when she has recovered from giving birth.
Ms Ibrahim was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her father, a Muslim, was reportedly absent during her childhood.
Amnesty International Reported:
That she was arrested and charged with adultery in August 2013, and the court added the charge of apostasy in February 2014 when she said she was a Christian and not a Muslim.
Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a 27-year- old Christian Sudanese woman, eight months pregnant with her second child, was convicted of ‘adultery’ and ‘apostasy’ by a court in Khartoum on 11 May. Meriam has been given three days by the court to recant her faith.
Her next hearing will be held on 15 May, when she is likely to be sentenced to flogging and death.
Treating adultery and apostasy as criminal offences is not consistent with international human rights law – including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which Sudan is a state party. The criminalization of adultery violates the rights to freedom of expression and association and invariably discriminates against women in its enforcement.
The criminalization of apostasy is incompatible with the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Meriam Ibrahim is a prisoner of conscience, convicted solely because of her religious beliefs and identity, and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Meriam was arrested and charged with adultery in August 2013 after a family member reportedly claimed that she was committing adultery because of her marriage to a Christian South Sudanese man.
Under Shari’a law as practised in Sudan, a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim man, and any such marriage is considered adultery.
The court added the charge of apostasy in February 2014 when Meriam asserted that she was a Christian and not a Muslim. According to Meriam, she was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her father, a Muslim, was absent during her childhood.
Meriam risks being sentenced to up to 100 lashes for adultery under Article 146.
If she refuses to recant her Christian faith, she risks the death penalty for apostasy under Article 126 of the Sudan Criminal Code.
The punishment of flogging violates the absolute prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment in international human rights law.
Amnesty International considers the death penalty to be the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life and opposes its use in all cases and without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime.
#AceNewsServices – NIGERIA – May 06 – A Report on the abduction of the 276 girls from the school in Chibok and one girls account as it happened.
The girls in the school dorm heard the sound of gunshots from a nearby town. So when armed men in uniforms burst in and promised to rescue them, at first they were relieved.
“Don’t worry, we’re soldiers,” one 16-year-old girl recalls them saying. “Nothing is going to happen to you.”
The gunmen commanded the hundreds of students at the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School to gather outside.
The men went into a storeroom and removed all the food.
Then they set fire to the room.
“They … started shouting, ‘Allahu Akhbar,’ (God is great),” the 16-year-old student said. “And we knew.”
What they knew was chilling: The men were not government soldiers at all. They were members of the ruthless Islamic extremist group called Boko Haram.
They kidnapped the entire group of girls and drove them away in pick-up trucks into the dense forest.
The 16-year-old was among about 50 students who escaped on that fateful day, and she spoke for the first time in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
The AP also interviewed about 30 others, including Nigerian government and Borno state officials, school officials, six relatives of the missing girls, civil society leaders and politicians in north-east Nigeria and soldiers in the war zone.
Many spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing that giving their names would also reveal the girls’ identities and subject them to possible stigmatization in this conservative society.
Like all schools in Borno state, Chibok, an elite academy of both Muslim and Christian girls, had been closed because of increasingly deadly attacks by Boko Haram.
But it had reopened to allow final-year students to take exams.
Ace Related News :
1. AL-Arabiya – May 06 – http://tinyurl.com/k7jhh2g
#AceWorldNews – May 02 – JERUSALEM – A visit to Israeli-occupied Jerusalem by the patriarch of the Lebanon-based Maronite church to greet Pope Francis would be a “historic sin,” a leading secular newspaper said Saturday.
Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, whose church is the largest Christian denomination in Lebanon, told AFP on Friday he would travel to the Holy Land to welcome the pontiff during his brief May 24-26 visit.
In doing so, he would be the first patriarch to do so since the 1948 Nakba.
In response, the leading Arab nationalist daily As-Safir ran a critical piece headlined “Historic sin: Rai goes to Israel.”
#AceNewsServices – BRITAIN – April – Britain is now a “post-Christian” country, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has said.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Lord Williams said Britain was not a nation of believers and that the era of widespread worship was over.
It comes after Prime Minister David Cameron said people in Britain should be confident of its status as “a Christian country”.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg said the Church and state should be separated.
Writing in the Church Times, Mr Cameron said Christians made a difference to people’s lives and should be more evangelical about it.
This prompted a group of 50 public figures to write a letter insisting that the UK was “a non-religious” and “plural” society and that to claim otherwise fostered “alienation and division”.
(Telegraph) April 26 – Britain is now a “post-Christian” country, the former archbishop of Canterbury has declared, as research suggests that the majority of Anglicans and Roman Catholics now feel afraid to express their beliefs.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Williams of Oystermouth says Britain is no longer “a nation of believers” and that a further decline in the sway of the Church is likely in the years ahead.
While the country is not populated exclusively by atheists, the former archbishop warns that the era of regular and widespread worship is over.
In writing in the (Telegraph) on April 20 – SIR – We respect the Prime Minister’s right to his religious beliefs and the fact that they necessarily affect his own life as a politician. However, we object to his characterisation of Britain as a “Christian country” and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders.
Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a “Christian country”.
Repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities.
Ace Related News:
1. April 27 – BBC News – http://tinyurl.com/kqkjhp3
2. April 26 – Telegraph – http://tinyurl.com/k9llrgg
3 April 20 – Telegraph – http://tinyurl.com/mustt8g
#AceWorldNews – MOSCOW – April 20 – Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has urged all Christians of the Russian Orthodox Church to pray hard for peace in Ukraine in these Easter days.
“Today, we should pray for the people of Russia and Ukraine in particular; let’s pray that peace be restored in the minds and hearts of our brothers and sisters in blood and faith and that the lost ties and cooperation which we all need so much also be restored,” the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said in his Easter message.
The patriarch said that the Russian Orthodox Church like all Christianity in general united people irrespective of national, cultural and state borders because the light of Christ’s teaching enlightened everybody.