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Iraqi Christian Bishop Declares ‘The Persecution We Have Experienced With ISIS Is What We Have Been Living With For The Last 14 Centuries Under Islam, Anything Less Is Dishonest’

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Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil, Iraq recently spoke about the persecution of Christians in Iraq. He said that anybody who is honest with the situation of Christians in Iraq must admit that the persecution of Christians by ISIS is nothing new, and that it has been going on for 14 centuries since the inception of Islam:

If Christians in the Middle East are going to be “honest” with their Muslim dialogue partners, said Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil, Iraq, Muslims will have to acknowledge that the persecution of Christians in the region did not start with the Islamic State’s rise to power in 2014.
“We experienced this not for the last four years, but 1,400 years,” Archbishop Warda said during a Feb. 15 speech at Georgetown University in Washington, sponsored by the Religious Freedom Research Project of the university’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.

Christians are partly to blame, too, in the dialogue, according to Archbishop Warda. “We did not push back against the recurring periods of terrorism that inflicted cruel pain upon our ancestors,” he said. He added that Christianity also needs to return to a “pre-Constantine vision” of the church, recalling Jesus’ words shortly before his crucifixion: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

Given the scope of the Islamic State’s campaign to erase Christians and all non-Muslims from the territories it had controlled prior to a counteroffensive that decimated its ranks and holdings, “there is nothing left but to speak plainly,” he said. “When there is nothing left to lose, it is very liberating.”

Archbishop Warda added, “We object that one faith has now the right to kill another. There needs to be a change and a correction within Islam.”

He said the typical Muslim response to Islamic State’s atrocities — declared genocide by the U.S. Department of State in 2016 — falls along the line of “ISIS does not represent Islam,” but rarely goes further, with no acknowledgment of past mistreatment of Christians or an expression of remorse for them.

“Post-ISIS, when ISIS has shaken the conscience of the world, and shaken the conscience of the Muslim majority world as well,” Archbishop Warda said, much of Islam “defines you as infidels.”

“In the Middle East, we have moved from fear to terror to horror,” he said. “Where next? … Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died.”

He noted, “We have been hearing courageous words from some Islamic leaders. It should be encouraged,” although he cautioned, “we should not be passive, or simply pray for the best.”

With about $3 million donated by Italian Catholics, Archbishop Warda started the Catholic University of Irbil in 2015. It has 82 students, including four Muslims, in undergraduate degree programs in the arts and sciences. While there are other Catholic colleges in the Middle East, he said he thought it was important that this school have the name “Catholic” in its title.

The wait for reconstruction money continues. Archbishop Warda said the money is needed now, but governments just continue to “talk” rather than distribute funds. He took note of a March 14-15 conference in the region sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development. “They will probably just talk more” then, he added. “Maybe by late 2020” will the region finally see the promised funds, he guessed aloud.

“Your policy assessments have life-or-death consequences,” the archbishop said, asking for material support and not charitable aid. “Help us develop sustainable ways of life and income in Iraq,” he added, with the most critical needs being education and health.

For the estimated 200,000 or so Christians remaining in Iraq — down from about 1.5 million in 2003, when the United States launched the Iraq War — “ours is a missionary role, to give a witness to the truth of Christ,” Archbishop Warda said. “I am not speaking of conversion. I am speaking of the fundamental truth … that we can show in a moment of unique clarity.”

Archbishop Warda said, “So many of our people have fled, and so few of us are left,” but he added he does not begrudge families for making the decision to live elsewhere permanently for their safety or that of their children. “While it is true that our numbers are small, the number of Apostles were also small.” (source)

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Police Arrest Two Muslims For Spying On Converts From Islam To Christianity And Planning To Hunt Down And Murder Them

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Bengali police arrested two men after they discovered plans they were conducting reconnaissance on former Muslims who became Christians. According to the report, they were planning to hunt down and murder them:

Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested two members of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) from Dhaka, one of whom was planning to murder Muslims who converted to Christianity.

A RAB 2 team, acting on a tip-off, caught Nuruzzaman Labu, 39, of Jhenaidah, and Nazmul Islam Shaon, 26, from Tejgaon industrial zone on Monday night.

Two machetes, extremist literature and $724 (about Tk60,300) were also seized from them, said RAB 2 Commander Lt Col Anwar Uz Zaman.

“During preliminary questioning, both of them have admitted to being active JMB members. We are trying to catch their associates,” he said.

Sources from RAB said Labu also admitted that he was involved with Jamaat-e-Islami several years ago. He was a madrasa student, but did not finish his studies.

Until Monday, he drove an autorickshaw to run reconnaissance on people who converted from Islam to Christianity.

A RAB official said: “During interrogation, Labu said he already had targeted a man to murder. He has been following that man regularly.

“Labu is also a regional leader of JMB at Jhenaidah and an expert in making bombs.”

The official said Labu joined JMB in 2015 through two men named Saif and Sagar, both of whom also went by several aliases such as Rubel, Robin, Maruf and Sohag.

Saif had motivated him into attacking and killing “the infidels”. They also had held secret meetings with others at different places in Jhenaidah. Later, the local JMB unit had bought him the autorickshaw.

Another RAB official quoted second arrestee Shaon, a marine engineer, as saying that he also got involved with JMB in 2015 after he met one Abu Abdullah on Facebook.

Abdullah was the one who helped him join the militant group, while Shaon was already inspired after reading extremist literature online.

The official said Shaon and another youth named Sulaiman alias Azhar had been working to spread the extremist ideology and recruit new members. (source)

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Muslim Terrorist Who Attacked Christians In Church With A Sword In Indonesia Tried To Go To Syria

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Several days ago, a Muslim man attacked Christians during mass with a sword in Indonesia. He attacked the priest before attacking the building and was taken down and arrested by police:

In another development to the story, this same man had tried to go to Syria according to a report:

A Muslim extremist who attacked a Catholic church in Indonesia on Sunday (Feb. 11) had tried to go to Syria, according to reports.

The 23-year-old identified as Suliyono of Bayuwangi in East Java wounded a priest and three others during Mass at St. Lidwina Catholic Church in Central Java’s city of Yogyakarta. National Police Chief Tito Karnavian told Agence France-Presse that Suliyono’s application for a passport to go to Syria had failed due to ID problems, and that police were still trying to determine if he acted alone or as part of a group.

Suliyono reportedly stormed into the service brandishing a meter-long sword and began striking people. The Rev. Karl-Edmund Prier, an 81-year-old German-born priest, was reportedly standing at the altar when he was seriously wounded.

The university student from East Java was reported to have seriously injured three other people and decapitated statues of Jesus and Mary before police arrived after 15 minutes, fired a warning shot and shot him in the leg. Some 100 people were estimated to have been attending the service.

All four wounded worshipers received hospital treatment, and a police officer was also reportedly injured in the attack. Witnesses reportedly said Suliyono first struck a parish member before charging toward the altar in the middle of the Mass.

The Jakarta Post quoted National Police spokesman Setyo Wasisto as saying that the assault fit a pattern of recent attacks by terrorists in other countries, and that Suliyono had been radicalized after joining several religious organizations, which he declined to name, while a student in Sulawesi.

Setyo told the Post that Suliyono had searched the Internet for a weapon and the nearest church and while staying in a Muslim prayer room in Yogyakarta. He said Suliyono had exchanged his mobile phone for the sword used in the attack.

Naming Suliyono a terrorist suspect, police on Tuesday (Feb. 13) charged him with persecution, sharp-weapon ownership and terrorism, according to the Post. He could face the death penalty under Indonesia’s 2003 Terrorism Law, legislation that is under revision in the House of Representatives.

After being hospitalized, Suliyono was taken to Jakarta for further questioning on Wednesday (Feb. 14). (source)

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VICTORY: Pakistani Court Orders 12-Year-Old Christian Girl Kidnapped, Raped, And Forced To Convert To Islam And Marry Her Rapist To Return To Her Parents

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In a victory for Christians living in Pakistan, a 12-Year-Old Christian girl who was kidnapped by a Muslim man, raped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to him returned to her parents to the joy of the girl and her family according to a report:

Last week a landmark decision in a Lahore High Court hearing resulted in the emancipation of 12 year old Christian girl from her Muslim rapist despite her captor having an ‘official’ Islamic marriage certificate.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui accepted the petition made by the parents that the girl had been forcibly abducted and raped before being illegally married under duress to the Muslim man producing the document.

A reference was also made to the submitted National Identity Card (NIC) for the girl which illustrated that she was born on 15th December 2005. The details of the card were matched with records held by the National Databases and Registration Authority (NADRA) which confirmed that the child was below 13 years of age. Justice Siddiqqui then stipulated that as the child was under 14 years of age, she was below the legal consent for a marriage.

The evidence against the rapist became overwhelming when the terrified girl was brought to a witness stand during which she could be seen visibly weeping while she said that she had embraced Islam for the purposes of marriage and listed an Islamic name as her new name. However, during a cross examination the girl could not name any prophet but Isa (Islamic name for Jesus) and confirmed that she was illiterate. Her lack of knowledge of the Islamic faith and failure to name even one Islamic prophet barring Jesus who she said was her prophet failed to convince the court that she was a true convert

Under such compelling evidence Justice Siddiqui ordered police to investigate with great rigour the allegations made by the parents of the child. He wrote in his court order, “I am not convinced that the girl embraced Islam of her free will and in a secure environment; rather it appears to be the result of inducement and compulsion”.

“I am constrained to observe that this sort of act of abduction under the guise of Islam is totally uncalled for and unacceptable,” the judge wrote, adding that Muslims, Christians and all other citizens are equal when it comes to constitutional guarantees.

When the judge ruled that the girl return back home to her parents she rather unsurprisingly acceded to the wishes of the court without fuss and was visibly said to be overjoyed. (source)

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Man Attacks Christians In Indonesia With A Sword During Church, Starts Hacking At People At Parts Of The Church Before Being Shot And Taken Away

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A man ran into a church with a sword and started attacking Christians before attacking parts of the church itself. Thankfully nobody was killed and the man was stopped after an officer on duty saw the incident and shot the attacker according to a report:

A priest and several churchgoers have been injured during a machete attack on a church in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta.

A 22-year-old man armed with a sword or machete attacked members of the congregation at St Lidwina Church.

The priest was struck in the back of the head and several others were injured before the man started hacking at a statue of Jesus and Mary.

A patrolling police officer ran into the church and tried to negotiate with the attacker.

Police said the attacker charged at the officer, who shot and injured him. (source)

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Indian Woman Converts To Christianity And Then Dies Naturally, A Hindu Mob Steals Her Body, Dumps In Front Of Her Church, Then Sets Her Body And The Church On Fire And Tries To Throw The Pastor Into The Fire While Chanting “Hail Lord Ram”

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A young Indian woman died of illness several months after she put her faith in Jesus. After death a furious Hindu mob stole her body and dumped in front of her church. When the pastor came out the mob set her body and the church on fire and then tried to throw the pastor into the fire while chanting to the Hindu god Ram “Hail Lord Ram”:

Pastor Jeewer Joeswa wasn’t sure what to think when a massive, chanting Hindu throng in northern India brought the corpse of a Christian woman to his church site – then set the building on fire.

Seema Devi, 23, had put her faith in Christ several months before, after the pastor had offered up healing prayer for her. Now, on Jan. 16, Pastor Joeswa was surrounded by a Hindu mob administering last rites and burning her body on church premises in Sehal Village, in Jammu and Kashmir state.

“A mob of men and women, at least 1,000 in number shouting, ‘Jai Sri Ram, Jai Sri Ram [Hail Lord Ram],’ brought Seema’s body to the church,” Pastor Joeswa told Morning Star News.

The mob alleged that Pastor Joeswa had prayed for Devi and so was responsible for her death, Chittaranjan Tandy, secretary of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, Jammu Region, told Morning Star News. He said that her husband, Rinku Kumar, was kept in police custody for his own security after the mob tried to burn him alive alongside his deceased wife.

“The police from Nowshera police station tried to control the mob, but they put fire on the church building, vehicles of believers parked near the church, church equipment, furniture and every object in sight, including the food grains,” Tandy said.

In the violence at the village in Rajouri District, the mob alleged that Devi and her husband had been forcibly converted, he said.

“There was no forced conversion,” Tandy said. “The couple voluntarily attended the church and accepted Christ. In fact, they had experienced the healing and were strong in faith.”

Superintendent of Police Popsi Malik told Morning Star News that Devi and her husband had been attending church but were still practicing some Hindu rituals.

“They were in the rudimentary phase, thinking whether to continue as Hindu or Christian,” Malik said. “It was the assumption of the mob that the couple got converted by force. Before her death, the couple were attending their church in Punjab state. People have presumed that he was converted to Christianity forcefully. But that was not true.”

Malik said police brought the mob under control, though not before both Christians and Hindus were injured in the altercation.

Prayer and Witchcraft

Pastor Joeswa said his congregation had prayed for Devi long before she died on Jan. 15.

“It was months ago, when her mental health was degrading, the church prayed for her and she got healed completely,” he said. “She became an active believer who would never miss a prayer meeting, whether it be on Sunday or weekdays.”

When there was a need to pray for the sick, she would accompany the pastor, his wife and others to pay home visits, he said.

After attending the Christmas Day service, she had gone to her mother’s house, he said.

“After she went to her maternal house, we heard that they forced her to join them in idol worship,” Pastor Joeswa said. “Now I can recall Seema telling me often, ‘Pastor, I share the gospel with my parents. My mum shows little interest, but my papa never listens. Please pray for him. My family worships idols, I want them to know Jesus Christ.”’

Tandy said that during her previous illness, her husband refused to take her to a witchdoctor, known locally as a tantric. Her parents tied her hands and legs with ropes and took her to Pouni village, Reasi District, for treatment from the witchdoctor, he said.

“The driver of the auto rickshaw, a resident of Kangri village, stands as eyewitness to this,” Tandy told Morning Star News. “Our church members were moved hearing the news of Seema being taken to religious places and to a tantric for treatment; many of them tried to go to Pouni village to pray for her.”

Devi’s parents did not allow them in to pray for her, Pastor Joeswa said.

“The tantric had beaten her brutally,” the pastor said. “Ten days after realizing the witchdoctor’s treatment was not working, the parents gave up. They handed Seema to her husband Rinku. Finally, Rinku moved with his wife to Jalandhar [Punjab state] for treatment. She was already in the worst health condition.”

She and her husband had enjoyed fellowship with Pastor Joeswa’s church for nearly eight months, he said. They were visiting the church anew from Jalandhar when he last saw her on Christmas Day.

Quest for Justice

For four days after the Hindu mob descended on the church property, Christians in Sehal village stayed in relatives’ houses fearing for their lives, Tandy said.

“There was a threat to their lives also,” he told Morning Star News. “With the help of Christian advocacy groups, we joined together as 25 pastors from Jammu region and represented the matter before the chief minister of the state, Mehmooba Mufti. We are praying and hoping for funds to be released for the construction of the church.”

The total loss has been estimated as 2.5 million rupees (US$38,850), he said.

“As pastors in Jammu and Kashmir region, we go through many difficult situations, but God has always made a way,” Tandy said. “It is only by His grace that our people came out alive from the burning church building. We request for prayers. We are hoping our Lord will do a massive work, that He will shake Jammu and save the unbelieving.”

Kumar is safe but in hiding as his life is under threat, according to Police Superintendent Malik.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered at Nowshera Police Station against the assailants – who came from Kangri, Bhajwal, Sunderbani and Sehal villages – upon receiving a complaint from Pastor Joeswa.

“The police took into custody some eight assailants, but they were released on the same day,” Tandy told Morning Star News.

The cause of Devi’s death has not been revealed, as no one has yet received a post-mortem report, he said.

Area residents said that on Jan. 15 in Jalandhar, she woke up early and completed chores, then suddenly, at 7:30 a.m., she fainted and collapsed to the floor.

“Rinku and their neighbors in Jalandhar thought Seema might have slipped into coma, at first, but she passed away,” Pastor Joeswa said. “She was put through a lot.”

Tandy said local politicians are trying to politicize her death by announcing compensation of 200,000 rupees (US$3,108) to Girdhari Lal, Seema’s father, and a government job for Devi’s sister.

The assailants’ allegations were baseless, he said.

“We prayed as a church for Seema when she was sick, and we are still praying as a chain – hundreds of us have begun praying for the revival of the church, and for safety of Seema’s husband, Rinku, also,” he said.

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 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. (source)

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Hindu Saffron Terrorists Form A Mob And Tries To Attack Catholic Hospital With A Bulldozer And Rocks, Catholic Priests And Hospital Staff Form A Line And Stop The Mob, The Police Come And Charge The Priests With “Rioting” And “Criminal Intimidation”

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Hindu terrorists formed a mob and attacked a Catholic hospital in India, throwing rocks at it and attempting to ram a bulldozer into it. Priests and hospital staff came and formed a human shield and  protected the hospital. After, police came and charged the priests with “rioting” and “criminal intimidation” for standing up to the terrorists:

Four Catholic priests have been charged with rioting and criminal intimidation in India’s Madhya Pradesh state over a land dispute involving a hard-line Hindu group.

The priests of Ujjain Diocese resisted an attempt by a Hindu group to take over a piece of land in front of a Catholic Church-run hospital in Ujjain, a city with a Hindu temple and a site for pilgrims.

“No one has been arrested yet,” an official of Madhav Nagar police station, where the case has been registered, told ucanews.com on Feb. 1.

The dispute revolves around a plot of land adjacent to Pushpa Mission Hospital, a 44-year-old facility with 200 beds. Hospital authorities say the local civic body gave the public land to the hospital for use as a parking area and to maintain its greenery.

However, some members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the pro-Hindu party that runs the state government, attempted to take over the land on Jan. 27, accusing the church of illegally occupying the site. However, the church obtained a “stay order” to maintain the status quo from the Madhya Pradesh state High Court.

Gagan Singh, who led the crowd and claimed to be the owner of the public land, is the assistant to the local BJP parliamentarian for the area.

Church officials say charges against them were framed under political influence.

Tension intensified after revenue officials arrived to measure and demarcate the land. A crowd also claimed a portion of the land.

Attempts were made to demolish the boundary wall despite resistance from church officials, diocesan public relations officer Father Antony Nirappel told ucanews.com.

As priests and hospital staff created a human shield to block a bulldozer and called police, the crowd began to throw stones at the hospital. Police arrived and dispersed the crowd.

“But soon we were informed that police have charged four of us with rioting and criminal intimidation of people,” said Father Nirappel, one of the accused.

He said it was “just another instance of harassment” in the state, where Christians regularly face violence and harassment at the hands of Hindu groups who want to make India a Hindu-alone nation.

The accused include hospital director Anthony Pulickamandapam, who said the hospital has ownership documents for “every inch of land we possess” and a receipt from the civic body for paying mandatory fees to use the land, he said.

The hospital has been using the land for at least four decades. “We do not know how an owner has suddenly come to claim public land,” said Father Nirappel, adding that they “only want a competent authority to certify its rightful owner.”

Police are guarding the area to maintain the status quo after Singh threatened to organize a Hindu religious ritual to assert his ownership over the land.

The case has been posted for a hearing on Feb. 5 in the High Court.

Father Nirappel said the case is part of a well-organized plan by Hindu groups to tarnish the image of Christians by portraying them as law breakers.

The state of 72 million people, where Christians form less than one percent, has a history of anti-Christian violence.

It witnessed 21 violent attacks on Christians and hundreds of cases of harassment, threats and intimidation by Hindu groups from January to November 2017, according to data published by voluntary group Alliance Defending Freedom. (source)

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Christians In India Say They Are ‘In Fear For Their Lives Because What Was Once Extreme Persecution Is Now Normal’ As Hindu Terrorists Threaten And Attack Christians With Impunity

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Christians in India say they are in fear for their lives in light of growing Hindu nationalism. Saying that what once was considered extreme is now normal, Christians are under constant harassment and attack from Hindu terrorists who brag with impunity they want to force the Christians to convert to Hinduism or die:

IN the first week of January, a mob of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members tried to storm St. Mary’s College in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, to conduct an aarati (Hindu ritual) in praise of “Bharat Mata”. The mob clashed with the police and said that it wanted to promote patriotism among students. The college director, Father Shaju Devassy, reportedly said that it was a symbolic attempt to impose Hindu dominance over minorities under the garb of promoting patriotism. It challenged the constitutional right of religious and ethnic minorities to own and manage institutions to help their communities, he added.

According to Alliance Defending Freedom, a United States-based Christian non-profit organisation, there were 21 violent attacks on Christians and hundreds of cases of harassment, threats and intimidation at the hands of Hindu groups from January to November in 2017 in Madhya Pradesh. Christians constitute fewer than 1 per cent of the State’s 72 million people.

According to Open Doors USA, a “non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians worldwide”, in 2017 India jumped to the 11th position in the 50 most dangerous countries for Christians; it was at the 15th position in the previous year “amid the continued rise of Hindu nationalism”. The first six months of 2017 witnessed 410 incidents of persecution against Christians, compared with 441 incidents for the entire previous year. Some 40 incidents were reported a month on average, according to Open Doors USA. These included pastors being beaten, churches being burnt and Christians being harassed. “While the source of persecution for Christians in India depends on their location within the country, most of it comes from Hindu radical groups. Because Hindu radicals view Christians as outsiders, they experience increased persecution. These radicals are intent on cleansing the nation of both Islam and Christianity, employing violence to this end. The government continues to look away when religious minorities are attacked, indicating violence may only increase,” Open Doors USA said.

M.S. Golwalkar, the second “Supreme Leader” of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), had famously said that “non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of the Hindu religion, that is they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ingratitude towards this land and its age-long tradition but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead; in one word they must cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment not even citizen’s rights.”

Hindus who converted to Christianity bore the brunt of most of the attacks and were constantly under pressure to return to the Hindu fold, Open Doors U.K. said. “Ghar wapsi”, or homecoming, was used as a tool to bring them back to Hinduism.

Coercive means, such as dragging them to a nearby temple, performing rituals and smearing them with cow dung or urine for purification, were also employed.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of India, but States such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Arunachal Pradesh passed their own anti-conversion laws.

In Jharkhand, Christian organisations under the banner of Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh (RIM) submitted a memorandum to the Governor against the government’s anti-conversion Bill, stating that the proposed Bill was “aimed at harassing the Church and missionaries”.

The RIM memorandum said that Section 5 of the Bill made it mandatory to get permission from the Deputy Commissioner in advance before performing any conversion. The Christian organisations said that this was against constitutional provisions of the right to privacy and the right to practise one’s religion. It was widely felt that the law was used to register cases against Christians. The RIM is often accused of large-scale evangelising and conversion of Hindus, especially tribal people. It asked the government its basis for such a claim, stating that it if it were indeed true, the number of Christians would have risen much above the current 2.3 per cent of the population.

According to Open Doors U.K., at least eight Christians were killed last year and nearly 24,000 physically assaulted. “As a result, the level of fear and uncertainty among the majority of Christians was increasing,” it said.

Sunday sermons in a church in central Delhi revolved around taking stock of the increasing violence against people of the faith. “On an average, 10 churches were burnt and one person of the Christian faith was killed in India over the past year,” said a pastor while addressing the congregation. Each person who was part of organising a public event recently was individually targeted, he added.

Soon after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power, two churches in the national capital were attacked—one was gutted in a fire while holy objects in another were desecrated. As Christians protested outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral and marched towards Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence, the police detained them. The police initially blamed the fire on faulty wiring, but after the protests they registered a first information report against unknown persons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not made any statement on the violence against Christians but has instead said that there is no persecution of minority communities, Muslim or Christian.

Open Doors USA has classified the persecution level in India as “extreme”. According to its profile of persecution, 86.5 per cent of the incidents involved direct violence, 77 per cent was around disruption of church life, 79 per cent community life, 76 per cent family life and 75 per cent private life. Apart from physical violence or beatings, other forms of persecution were also employed. Pastors were targeted and forced to move out of the community or village. Social boycotts were imposed where Christians were not allowed to draw water from wells, buy ration from local stores, or keep a job.

In September 2016, stones and countrymade bombs were thrown inside Christ Church in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh by men on motorbikes, damaging window panes and furniture. Last Christmas, carol singers were attacked and Christmas celebrations disrupted in many places.

According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India, a national alliance of evangelical Christians, 14 incidents of persecution were reported in November alone. On November 1, 2017, five Christian families of Mura village in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh were socially boycotted by the village council. They had earlier been threatened by the villagers to stop participating in Christian activities and renounce their Christian beliefs. As they did not pay heed to these warnings, the village council decided to deny them access to drinking water and essential commodities from the village market and blocked access to food rations. The growing tensions brought the Superintendent of Police to the village, who ordered the Christian families to immediately stop conducting all prayer services.

On November 4, in Haryana’s Faridabad district, RSS activists barged into a Christian meeting at the New Industrial Township and accused those present there of running a conversion racket. Before the incident, the pastors had requested for protection and permission from the local police but none had come. On the same day, in Sathyamangalam taluk of Erode district, Tamil Nadu, Pastor K.S. Jaisujanth of India Every Home Crusade was summoned to the Bangalaputhur police station on the basis of a complaint filed by some RSS activists against him. The police questioned him and ordered him to stop all Christian prayer services he had been conducting in the area.

Similarly, incidents of threats by Hindu groups to pastors and believers to stop worship, in connivance with the State administration and the police force, were reported from Morappur village of Dharmapuri district, Tamil Nadu; Gabitwada village of Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka; Ward 2 of Lanji town in Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh; Ahladpur village of Kaushambi, Uttar Pradesh; and Balod and Bhilai Charoda of Durg district, Chhattisgarh.

Unrelated incidents were also used to fan communal fires. On September 15, a mob attacked St. Anthony’s Convent School in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, after an 11-year-old boy committed suicide. Several schools and missionaries in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh recently came under attack. Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur told Union of Catholic Asian News that the attacks were part of an organised campaign by Hindu nationalist groups to tarnish the image of Christians and also involved false accusations against missionaries.

The National Christian Federation counted over 20 attacks on Christian schools across north India. Many incidents are not reported for fear of a backlash.

Nityanand Rai, president of the Bihar BJP unit, while speaking at a function in Patna on August 8 to honour Ministers of the coalition government, said that the “sound of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ should replace azaan from mosques and sounds of bells from churches”. After the statement became controversial, he backtracked and said: “I said that the sound of Bharat Mata ki Jai and Vande Mataram should come from mosque and church and did not mean in place of azaan and bell.”

The Christian leadership has been vocal against the persecution. In an open letter to Catholic and Protestant leaders, 101 Christian theologians, academics and members of different organisations expressed concern over Hindu nationalism and called upon the community to safeguard pluralism and fight fringe elements targeting Christians, Muslims and other minorities. “What used to be fringe has now become mainstream,” the letter said. “In unison with members of all faiths, ideologies, we should marshal India’s tremendous spiritual resources in consolidating peace, resolving conflicts and infusing a sense of values in the body politic,” it said.

India’s largest and oldest forum of lay Catholics, the All India Catholic Union (AICU), urged President Ram Nath Kovind to initiate action against “hate mongers” who polarise society against religious minorities. Responding to the June conclave of Hindu organisations in Goa, where sentiments of establishing a Hindu Rashtra were expressed, the union released a statement denouncing the “hate speeches that emanated” from the conclave and said that such talk further vitiated the already “surcharged atmosphere, and aggravated the communal polarisation in the country….The politics of the cow has targeted Muslims and other communities whose food habits and economy depended on the trade in bovines. Its ramifications have not been fully understood, and AICU fears they will irretrievably damage the economic health of the farmers and the poor”.

In June 2017, Christians in Surat, Gujarat, protested against a Class IX Hindi textbook published by the State Board that referred to Jesus Christ as a “hevaan” or demon. Chapter 16, titled “Bharatiya sanskriti mein guru-shishya sambandh” (teacher-student relationship in Indian culture), said, “Is sambandh me hevaan Isa ka ek kathan sada smaraniya hai (In this context, one statement of demon Jesus is always memorable). Jesus Christ was quoted as saying, ‘My followers are much greater than I am and I am not worthy enough to even untie their shoes’.”

After BJP leader Amit Shah met bishops in Kerala in June, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) expressed anguish over the Centre’s ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets and said that they would not accept a government that dictates what people should eat.

In Goa, Muslims and Christian groups came together to fight the anti-slaughter order. With influential Muslims and the Roman Catholic Church in the State backing a civil society collective called Goa for Beef-Beef for Goa, the Qureshi Meat Traders Association filed a writ petition on June 12 before the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court seeking a stay on the May 26 Central notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.

Even as Christians join hands with Muslims and other minority groups against the Hindu right wing in the political domain, they find recourse in their religious doctrine. “It is well known that Christianity thrives under persecution and that is what will happen here. The more the right wing attacks us, the more we will grow in strength,” a believer told Frontline. (source)

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University Shuts Down Amid Chaos After Muslim Student Government Candidate Loses Election And The Muslims Riot, Attacking Christians, Kill One Student And Injure Two, And Then Claim ‘It Was Because Of Blasphemy Against The Prophet Of Islam’

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Muslim students are rioting right now at the Federal University of Technology in Nigeria after a Muslim student government candidate lost to a Christian candidate. Almost immediately after it happened a rumor went around that somebody ‘blasphemed Mohammed’ on a Facebook page, and the Muslim students started rioting and the univeristy is working to regain order. So far at least one has been killed and two injured:

There is an ongoing pandemonium at the Federal University of Technology, Yola, FUTY over claim by Muslims students that, a fellow student made a blasphemous remark against Prophet Muhammed.

According to the students who are currently on the run following the unrest at the campus, few weeks to the Student Union Government, SUG election, there was a threat by a student on a Facebook page warning the school authority should take action against the alleged claim of blasphemy or the Muslim students would take all necessary action to stop academic activities in the institution.

However, other students who spoke to DAILY POST at the time of the incident said, the riot was not as a result of the alleged claim of blasphemy, but as a result of the election of the Student’s Union Government, where one Haliru Amos emerged the Union President, as against the expectation of the seeming majority Muslims students.

” The Fellowship of the Muslim Students, wanted one Hamza to be the SUG president, and they promised to give him all the backing. The Fellowship of Christian Students also brought in Haliru Amos, and gave him all the backing. Along the line ,the Muslims students could not reach an agreement, which made Haliru to have a smooth run to emerge the SUG President.

“This is what annoyed them and informed the unrest this evening. I believe some of the lecturers are backing them. The student who issued out a threat earlier was not called to order or arrested by the school authority. So, they always feel they can do anything and get away with,” a student told DAILY POST.

Our Correspondent also reportsthat, the students who are trooping out of the school said, they were asked to leave the school premises as at the time of this report. (source, source)

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Christians Flee For Their Lives As Muslim Raiders Burn 50 Homes, Destroy Churches And Slaughter Eight Christians

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Christians have been fleeing for their lives as they are being hunted by Muslim raiders throughout Nigeria. In the past two weeks 50 homes have been burned, churches destroyed and at least eight people killed in the raids:

Attacks on villages in north-central Nigeria that killed eight Christians in the past two weeks were carried out by Muslim Fulani herdsmen aided by terrorists from Islamic extremist groups, a local pastor said.

The Rev. Sunday Gado Biri told Morning Star News that the assailants also torched 50 houses belonging to Christians, including his own, and his church building was partially burned in the attacks on Zanwra, a suburb of Jebu-Miango near the city of Jos, Plateau state.

“A critical look at these attacks has revealed that it is not only the herdsmen who are attacking Christian communities, as there are terrorists collaborating with them to carry out these attacks,” said the 54-year-old pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Zanwra.

He appealed to the Nigerian government to bring to an end unabated attacks on Christian communities.

“It is unfortunate that the soldiers brought here are not taking decisive actions against the herdsmen,” he said. “When the herdsmen were burning down houses, the soldiers could not stop them. In spite of this, I still want to appeal to the Nigerian government that it should stop these killings.”

In attacks on Zanwra village between Jan. 22 and Jan. 25, the eight Christians were killed in four ambushes on different days, while the houses were destroyed in two separate attacks.

Pastor Biri said one of his church elders, 60-year-old James Nengwe, was slain the evening of Jan. 24 as he tried to escape.

“He was on his way to the military camp just about two kilometers from his house when he was ambushed, shot and killed by the herdsmen,” the pastor said. “In fact, he was just a few hundred meters from the military camp. He decided to take refuge at the military base camp when he saw the herdsmen attacking and burning houses close to his house.”

Zanwra resident Moses Chohu confirmed that armed herdsmen shot Nengwe to death as he fled for safety.

“A Christian community leader, the ward head of Zanwra, Nengwe, was ambushed and shot to death near a military base camp by armed herdsmen as he tried escaping to the military camp,” Chohu told Morning Star News. “Houses in Zanwra village were being burned by the herdsmen when they ambushed Nengwe and killed him.”

Pastor Biri said the attacks have reduced the number of people attending his church services.

“Some of our members have been displaced, and church attendance has drastically dropped,” he said. “Prior to these attacks, church attendance was at about 400 worshippers, but at the moment we hardly have about 200 worshippers during services on Sundays.”

The pastor said Nengwe had a family and was dedicated to the church.

“When the attack on our communities began we constituted a committee to cater for Internally Displaced Persons,” he said. “Baba James was a member of this committee. Recently, there was an attack on this community by herdsmen, and five houses belonging to some members of my church were burned down by the herdsmen. This is the reason we constituted the committee on the IDPs.”

Another Zanwra resident, Patience Moses, 30, told Morning Star News that on Jan. 25, a day after killing village head Nengwe, the assailants attacked again at about 7 p.m.

“All houses around the DTV area [near Zanwra] to the ECWA Church, Zanwra, were burned down,” she said. “The house of the pastor of ECWA church, Rev. Sunday Biri, was burned down, while the church itself was partially burned. Soldiers who were trying to repel the attackers ran out of bullets, and so the attackers succeeded in burning down houses.”

A mini-van carrying persons from Jos to Kwall was ambushed near the ECWA church, Zanwra, and “the driver, the conductor, and one other Christian” were killed and about 20 others injured, Moses said. Police identified two of the Christians killed in the ambush as Danlami of Kwal District and Emmanuel Audu of Jebbu-Miango.

Around 50 houses belonging to Christians were burned, Moses said, including those of Pastor Biri; Dauda Babuje; Jonathan Davou; John Huyep; Danladi Sunday; Sunday Ragwa; Yakubu A.A.; Morris Ragwa; Joro Sunday; Adamu Hunye; Timothy Audu; Audu Hunye; David Saku; Luka Adamu; Infor Aji; Demi Sunday; Damjuma Gah, and two identified only as Maley and Monday.

In the DTV area near Zanwra, the houses of the following Christians were burned down by the herdsmen, she said: Joshua Audu; Saku Leh; Musa Akwa; Paseh; Audu; Shehu Audu; Danlami Gyah; Monday Njwe; Friday Monday; Igya Danlami; Monday Gyah; Uwah Audu; Gbah Gyah; Kuku Gbah; Adeh Njweh; Jonathan Ndeh; Musa Njweh; Ishon Njwe; Yakubu Njweh; Ishaya Barry; Fidelis Barry; Monday Ishaya; Musa Dahro; Christopher Musa; Joshua Musa; Guba Bitrus; and Friday Saku.

Zanwra resident Chohu said attacks on Christian communities in the area began on Jan. 14, when three Christians from Kimakpa village went to Maiyanga village, and herdsmen attacked them as they were returning to Kimakpa at about 6 p.m.

“One of them was killed, the second was injured, while the third escaped unhurt,” Chohu said. Their names were not readily available.

On Jan. 22 three Christians from Kpachudu and Kwall villages who had gone to a mining camp at Telma village were returning at about 6 p.m. when Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed them at Chuvo-Kpara village, Chohu said. The three died in the attack, with the herdsmen chopping off the head of one of them and taking it with them.

“On Jan. 24, at about 7:50 p.m., just about an hour after the ward head was murdered by the herdsmen, they also set afire four houses in Alleh village near Zanwra,” he said. “The houses burnt were those of Christians Dauda Ahmadu, Musa Nengwe, Danjuma David and Sunday Nengwe.”

The ward head, Nengwe, was buried on Jan. 25 at about 10 a.m. in a funeral witnessed by a Morning Star News correspondent, and by evening of the same day, the herdsmen invaded Zanwra village anew, burning more houses of Christians and displacing many of them.

Zanwra residents identified two of the dead as Emmanuel Audu and Danlami.

Matthias Tyopev, spokesman for the Plateau State Police Command, said in a press statement that three people were killed in the Jan. 24 attack.

“Three people were killed and burned by the armed men,” he said. “Eight others sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries. About 20 housing units were also set ablaze. An investigation is ongoing to unravel the remote and immediate causes of these attacks.” (source)

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