• Blog – 2015 2nd Quarter


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    Weekly Commentary   June 21-27, 2015

    This week’s report covers a number of incidents.  A pastor in Nigeria was shot dead in a robbery, a convert in Uganda has died after being poisoned by her sister-in law, and perhaps the most heinous non-fatality was the drugging and rape of a nun in India, which could have easily ended with her death.  The local police then attempted to use her drugged incoherent statements as evidence that no rape had happened, in spite of the forensic evidence, and then attempted to deny her corrections.  Denial of persecution – or any truth – always leads to the growth of corruption.

    Another young woman has been abducted in Egypt.  A few years ago then-President Morsi complained that the Coptic Church was not telling the truth when it said one female Christian disappeared each day in Egypt.  It turned out he was right, one female Christian disappears each third day in Egypt

    The Islamic State – ISIL – has begun another offensive against Hassake in Syria: hundreds of civilians have fled the city.  Boko Haram has mounted more suicide bombing in Maiduguri in Nigeria, killing dozens and wounding more.  Please pray for them all.

    There are more details on the arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication in Galilee in Israel.

    Church of the Multiplication Tabgha israel

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Church of the Multiplication, Tabgha, Israel

    The rest of the cases are the usual misuse of law to harass and imprison the innocent.

    Thank you for your continued prayers for the world.


     

    Weekly Commentary   June 14-20, 2015

    This week’s report covers sixteen countries and is as many pages long. Several pages are due to a newly discovered list of 207 Christians who were abducted by ISIL – the Islamic State – in northern Syria on February 23, 2015. As a group these people have been mentioned in prior emails, but this report describes exactly who they are, as best as we know. Please pray for them all.

    According to a report published this week, the number of people who are refugees (including internally displaced persons and asylum seekers) now exceeds 60 million. That means that almost more people have been driven from their homes in today’s world than those who comprised the entire 1890 population of the United States. Several accounts on this report cover such people. Any awareness of public health has to lead to the conclusion that such populations confined and compressed into camps and slums is simply a breeding ground for the next possible pandemic – recall that the 1918 influenza pandemic was bred in the trenches in World War One Europe. We who have resources and power to alleviate such suffering ignore it at our own peril.

    We have a prayer request from India. One of our foreign correspondents, Dr. John Dayal, has requested that we remember in our prayers the many non-Christians who are working to preserve a secular and pluralistic society in India. While the format of Today’s Martyrs was not initially set up for this purpose, this intention is critical. This week we can mention four individuals who were involved in the release of the report 365 Days: Democracy and Secularism Under the Modi Regime.

    • Shabnam Hashmi said “This report is a public document. As activists we have presented before the nation what is happening. If things continue in the direction they are going, then there would be a big attack on our democracy. It is a dangerous signal”.
    • Harsh Mander said “You may not see blood spilled on the streets; still, the minority community gets affected at large”
    • Professor Apoorvanand said “The [anti-Muslim] incident [in Atali, Haryana state] is an example of how segregation of minority communities has started happening in the country. The victims were brought in to the village after promises of protection for them, and now they are not allowed to meet any community leaders. A different kind of violence, more psychological, is happening. There is a re-ordering of social relations in the country”
    • Vidya Bhushan Rawat said that the threat is “with the extra-constitutional forces which think that it is their country and they can get away with anything they do”

    A more complete account can be found here

    Of course, for us in the United States the major event was the church attack in Charleston, South Carolina in which nine Christians were killed by a white supremacist. One cannot recall seeing so much anger expressed by so many reporters in any previous story of similar horror.  More importantly, one cannot recall a story in this country where so many, both living and dead, gave such clear witness to the Gospel.  This is a story that has moved hearts of stone.  Please pray that it will continue to do so: God knows that we surely need to mind Him better.

    Emanuel AME Church Charleston South Carolina - moltlymoose net

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, South Carolina, USA – courtesy moltlymoose.net


     

    Weekly Commentary   June 7-13, 2015

    This week’s report is eleven pages long.

    Almost two pages are very good news. Syncretic Christians in Chiapas state in Mexico have agreed to stop persecuting Evangelical Christians and allow them to return home and live in peace.   Thank you God!

    There is a slightly amusing story from China. The congregation of Pastor Mark Ma Chao was again targeted for warrantless harassment on June 4 by DSPS and Religious Affairs Bureau agents. He went to the door (which was in a commercial building and apparently made of glass) and told them that he wouldn’t open the door because “I don’t have time right now” and went back to the service.  The agents eventually left.

    One unusual story from Iraq: Tarik Aziz, the Chaldean Catholic mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein and a well-known television personality from the Gulf Wars, died in prison last week. His family wanted to bury him in Jordan.  Someone then stole his body from Bagdad International Airport!  So, Tarik Aziz, who never in his life apparently did anything to justify his inclusion with Today’s Martyrs, managed to achieve that inclusion by being denied a Christian burial.

    Most of the stories, however, are the usual collection of the disturbing, the painful, and the sickening.

    Nashat Filmon, East Jerusalem’s Bible Society general director said “The dark ideology of ISIL is spreading all over the region like cancer” after a mob attack on an Ethiopian Orthodox monastery in Jerusalem used the same slogans that ISIL used when beheading Ethiopian refugees in Libya.

    The worst came from Fr. Andrzej Halemba, the Middle East director of Aid to the Church in Need, after he visited several Syrian ‘project sites’ supported by his charity. He said “…the worst thing for me was to hear that more children than women have been killed in the conflict. This is often done deliberately to take the last hope away from the parents. This shows just how demonic this conflict really is”.

    If you choose to read this report you will also find many prayer requests, some general, some very specific. Let us all join these people in prayer, especially in opposition to the demonic.


     

    Weekly Commentary   May 31-June 6, 2015

    Remember this from last week’s commentary:

    Pakistan saw yet another major riot over blasphemy allegations. A mentally ill drug-addicted illiterate Christian street sweeper was accused of Quran desecration because witnesses claimed he mistreated trash that contained Quranic quotes.  Over and over we see how mentally vulnerable people of all faiths, including Muslims, are accused of a crime that they could not have foreseen and for which they lack mental culpability.  One can only conclude that there is a small substratum in Pakistani society – the phrase ‘callow youth’ (of any age) comes to mind – that enjoys inciting passions against the weak when they run out of stray animals to torment.  Just watch the Christians run from the rioters!  What a hoot!  The one positive note from this story was the young Muslim who saw what was coming and got the police to take the accused into custody before he could be killed.

    Well, it happened again! In this week’s report (click here to read) a Muslim cleric – no callow youth – gave a brochure on mental health with Quranic quotes to a mentally disabled Christian, then raised the alarm when he singed it with a cigarette.  A rational society would see the webs of deceit and entrapment that are woven around these mentally disadvantaged people, but alas such insight would prevent the entrapments in the first place.

    A second article on Pakistan tells of the increased efforts of the government to prevent Christians from fleeing the country. Well, is anyone surprised?

    The trials of Pastors David Yein Reith and Yat Michael in Sudan have been repeatedly postponed. Please keep them in your prayers – they are facing possible death sentences.

    The Islamic State appears poised to overrun some major cities in Syria. Pray, pray, that this does not happen!

    This week’s report covers this and much more.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


     

    Weekly Commentary   May 24-30, 2015

    A few points on this week’s report.

    Pakistan saw yet another major riot over blasphemy allegations. A mentally ill drug-addicted illiterate Christian street sweeper was accused of Quran desecration because witnesses claimed he mistreated trash that contained Quranic quotes.  Over and over we see how mentally vulnerable people of all faiths, including Muslims, are accused of a crime that they could not have foreseen and for which they lack mental culpability.  One can only conclude that there is a small substratum in Pakistani society – the phrase ‘callow youth’ (of any age) comes to mind – that enjoys inciting passions against the weak when they run out of stray animals to torment.  Just watch the Christians run from the rioters!  What a hoot!  The one positive note from this story was the young Muslim who saw what was coming and got the police to take the accused into custody before he could be killed.

    In Egypt Bishoy Armiya Boulous still rots in prison. His sentence on fraudulent charges ended a half-year ago, and yet he remains there.  Prison officials prevent him from appearing in court, and the judges respond by blaming him for his non-appearance.  Why? Simply because he left Islam for Christianity, and because he demands that his government ID card state so.

    The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria held a conference in early May that is the subject of one part of today’s report. Please read it and just imagine that you were in attendance and heard what was said, both the horror and the hope.

    So much to pray for this week. Please continue your prayers for Christians around the world.


     

    Weekly Commentary   May 17-23, 2015

    Perhaps the majority theme for this week’s report is abduction.

    Christians abducted in two separate cases in Egypt were freed by police. This is very good news, especially considering that police are often complicit in crimes against Christians.  On the negative side,  another abduction victim received no police aid and was later found dead after the family paid the ransom.

    A Catholic Jesuit priest and possibly a Deacon were abducted in Syria. Other reports not listed here show that the Islamic State (ISIL) now controls 50% of Syria and the entire border with Iraq.

    In an older story from late 2014, a Nigerian refugee in Libya was abducted because he possessed a Bible.

    The second theme is unjust arrest and incarceration, which could be considered to be abduction for state purposes. We have reports of such events in Egypt, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.

    This week’s report is only half the size of a bad week, but still, events reported from India, Syria, and Ukraine hint of more to come. Please keep up your prayers!


     

    Weekly Commentary   May 10-16, 2015

    This week’s report has accounts from a few countries we have not seen reports from recently, such as Azerbaijan and Eritrea. As is often the case, many of the stories are from South Asia – but first, a good story from Iraq.

    Sr. Diana Momeka was finally given a visa to visit the U.S. It took over a week of protests against the original decision to obtain a reversal.  Sr. Diana then appeared before a Congressional committee and spoke on the cultural and physical genocide being perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere in the Mideast.

    In Pakistan, gunmen attacked a bus and killed 47 Ismaili Shia Muslims. A local Christian minister said “We stand with the Ismaili community”.  The Pakistani Christian community in Britain is soliciting donations for a family devastated by the March 15, 2015 church attacks.

    In India’s Madhya Pradesh state Hindu radicals attacked 3 churches, a center for disabled children, and threatened an orphanage all in one day. The threats against the orphanage are particularly noteworthy because it was to be opened by Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the opposition Congress Party and one of India’s leading Christians, and the widow of assassinated Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. These Hindu radicals threatened ‘direct action’ against her; given India’s recent history, this can only be seen as a veiled death threat.

    Nigeria is back in the news now that the elections are over, with multiple recent attacks against Christians.

    Finally, consider this quote from the Anglican Archbishop in Nairobi: he condemned “the culture of short memory, where noise is made after every attack only to be followed by studious silence, we hear of arrests and people being taken to court but never the conclusion of the cases”. How true this is of most of the world.


     

    Weekly Commentary   May 3-9, 2015

    This week’s report has many of the usual stories. What a shame that so much suffering is now ‘usual’.  A few exceptions:

    The Sudanese government appears to have decided to kill off two Christian pastors who have been trouble for it for several years, since they have been charged with crimes that mandate the death penalty.

    People in Aleppo, Syria, continue to go to school while bombs are dropped amongst them.

    In perhaps the ‘biggest’ story, the Tanzanian government appears to be serious about its threat to close all of the churches in the country that opposed the constitutional amendment to impose Islamic courts on them – namely, to close ALL the churches.

    Finally, consider this: Pastor Saeed Abedini wrote a letter from his cell in Rajai Shahr Prison in Iran in which he stated that he is praying for a religious revival in the United States, his adopted home. Before the reader takes this as flattery, consider also the Nigerian bishop, Emmanuel Badejo, who criticized a U.S. candidate for president who stated that religions have to change on the matter of reproductive health services (code talk for abortion). No, Pastor Saeed’s prayers are not meant to make us feel better, they are literally meant to make us better. Shall we?


     

    Weekly Commentary   April 26-May 2, 2015

    This week’s report has several updates on stories that have been underway for some time.

    The Christian kindergarten operators in China have finally been convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

    Two Iranian Christians have been given five more years in prison basically for meeting with each other to say goodbye.

    The U.S. government has apparently decided to abandon Saeed Abedini to his fate in Iran. It has also prevented an Iraqi nun, Sr. Diana Momeka, from coming to the U.S. to testify about conditions there, while approving all of her non-Christian fellow delegates.

    Finally, the situation in India continues to deteriorate. The head of the ruling party’s youth wing declared that it should not be considered illegal to assault churches and that people who do should be given medals by the government.  Days before this utterance  an attack took place in which it appeared the intent was not only to intimidate and maim but to kill: an extended family was driven from their village with many hospitalized, including a seven year old girl named Pranita Rabha who now has blood clots in her brain. Someone felt a need to deliberately hit a seven year old girl in the head.  But then, such could be considered a small price for the building of the Hindu Rashtra, the Land of the Hindus.  We need to pray so much, because it is not inconceivable that the day may come when “Hindu Rashtra” might carry the same connotations as “Peoples’ Republic” or even “Third Reich”. There is that much at stake.


     

    Weekly Commentary   April 19-25, 2015

    This week’s report is the largest yet.

    There has never been a report with as much red ink on it as this.

    In the face of such destruction and evil it is probably best to write nothing at all.

    You will see, again, why your prayers are so needed.

    God bless you.


     

    Weekly Commentary   April 12-18, 2015

    This week’s report contains some unusual stories:

    In another sign of India’s lurching toward fascism, a Hindu nationalist leader has openly called for a state of emergency and for the forcible sterilization of all Christians and Muslims. One question: just when are Western news agencies going to open their eyes and report honestly on what is transpiring in India?

    There have been more horrible attacks in Pakistan.

    In Nigeria we get word that Boko Haram militants are shooting their own wives rather than allow them to be captured by the army. It would seem they are applying their own motives to their opponents.  This is especially troubling due to the fact that they have captured over 2,000 women in the last year.

    Finally, a disturbing story from Australia: people seem to be queuing up to cheer the arson of churches which were the location of pedophile attacks many years ago. This is a very disturbing turn of events which certainly does not bode well for Christianity in the West.

    Your prayers are so needed.

    St James church Brighton Australia - onmydoorstep com au

     

     

     

     

     

     

    St. James Church, Brighton, Victoria, Australia


     

    Weekly Commentary   April 5-11, 2015

    This week’s report contains many news items:

    The refugee situation in the Mideast has worsened again, if such a thing were possible.

    Violence in India continues. One observer commented on the efforts of Hindu nationalists to obtain control of another state government.  It appears that if they can do this then they will be in a position to rewrite the constitution.

    Finally we have more news from Kenya on the Garissa University College massacre. One can only conclude that this killing of so many talented young people is another sign of the desire of evil to eliminate the future of humanity.  We see this is so many philosophies and events around the world today.

    Please pray for young people everywhere, for their salvation and for them to work to save the rest of us.


     

    Weekly Commentary   March 29-April 4, 2015

    There is so much to pray for this very difficult week. Here are some quotes from this week’s report:

    From a persecutor, before he killed:

    “We are not bad guys, we are just here to make your Easter Holiday better”

    From Christians:

    “Attacks on Christians are growing on an increased scale”

    “We woke up with the noise of helicopters flying low over the town and ambulance and police sirens blaring”

    “Faith is the only thing we have left”

    “What do you say about civilization looking at all of that, and keeping quiet and ignoring it?”

    “If this…government falls, it will be a kind of hecatomb – that means a horrible catastrophe – on the whole region”

    “Faith is really stronger than fear”

    “Let us think instead of the suffering of individuals, people with names and specific identities, of the tortures that are decided upon in cold blood and voluntarily inflicted at this very moment by human beings on other human beings, even on babies…How many instances of ‘Ecce homo’ [‘Behold the man!’] there are in the world! How many prisoners who find themselves in the same situation as Jesus in Pilate’s praetorium: alone, hand-cuffed, tortured, at the mercy of rough soldiers full of hate who engage in every kind of physical and psychological cruelty and who enjoy watching people suffer”

    “The message of Christ is touching hearts through television, the Internet and radio, and people are coming to Christ. This is our hope!”

    Now pause, close your eyes, take a breath, and think of the glory of the Resurrection. All this evil is nothing in comparison to such love.  It is nothing!  Hold on to that hope!  Faith may keep us strong and give us purpose and direction, but it is hope that gives us clarity and solace.

     

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