• Blog – 2016 3rd Quarter


    Blog  –  2016 4th Quarter =>

    Announcement   September 25, 2016

    athraa-cropped

    We are happy to announce the addition of a new two page ‘biography’ to our People page.  Thanks to Open Doors UK we now know the story of Athraa, an Iraqi refugee (technically an Internally Displaced Person) from the Islamic State.  Her simple testimony tells of gifts from God that all Christians would want to be given, even if to obtain these gifts we would not want to walk the hard road that she has travelled.  What she tells us is that the gifts are always there to be received, we only need to be open to them.  Yes, easier said than done, but Athree has shown it can be done, as have many before her.

    Athraa’s biography may be read by clicking here.  Alternatively it can be seen by accessing this URL: http://todaysmartyrs.org/pdf/By%20Person/Athraa.pdf .  Please read it over and consider sharing it with all those you love.

     

     


     

    Weekly Commentary   September 18-24, 2016

    Eighteen countries are covered in this week’s report (click here to read). We can celebrate the freedom of a Canadian Christian in China, the freedom of a Christian family from slavery in Pakistan, and the decision of the United States Veteran’s Administration to allow the celebration of Christmas in its hospitals, including the singing of carols and the exchange of cards with religious themes. That’s the extent of the good news.

    Named Christians were murdered in Cameroon and Mexico, and unnamed Christians were killed in Nigeria. One Nigerian story contained the sobering line “In parts of north-east Nigeria, the under-5 mortality rate is quite low because all the young children have already died”, a statement that is true of Muslims also. A Syrian archbishop narrowly escaped death, though it is not certain how deliberate was the intent of his attackers.

    Christians were arrested, abducted, or attacked in China, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and the United States. A Christian blogger’s sentence of 4 years’ imprisonment was upheld in Vietnam.  An Indonesian church has attracted Islamic demonstrators who falsely claimed that it lacks the proper building permits for new construction.

    There are also several cases of Western style persecution:

    • The recent movie Ben-Hur was released in Malaysia with every scene of Jesus removed.
    • An Argentine archbishop has been threatened with criminal prosecution for having written an article condemning the outcomes of the sexual revolution: “trivial, common, unsubstantial”.
    • In Canada two church affiliated schools are threatened with closure for lack of adherence to the sexual revolution.
    • We have a recap of a story we originally covered in November 2015. In Germany a theatrical play called Fear has been depicting five female pro-life leaders as zombies who should be killed; two of them suffered arson attacks on their properties shortly after the show premiered. A third, Gabriele Kuby, has now sued the theater and director; presumably the reason she is in their sights is that she is the author of a book entitled The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom. Now, is that a surprise?

    Not only do we need to pray for the persecuted and the persecutors, but we need to pray for all of us who are or will be enticed into accepting the world views of the potential persecutors. Please note that the word ‘enticed’ is the correct one: in the West the intent is to not make martyrs, but rather converts to a new religion that is still evolving and emerging from the shadows.  At least for now: these accounts show that real martyrdom is a possibility, and unless we advance the love and truth of the Gospels as counterpoint all we will do is slow that emergence.  Without God surely it will not be slowed at all.


     

    Weekly Commentary   September 11-17, 2016

    This week’s report (click here to read) is, among other things, about war and rumor of war. War in Iraq, war in Syria, civil war in all of Europe, even North Korea’s “war against the world”. War between neighbors in a traffic altercation.  War inside our churches and in our hearts.

    Christians were killed in India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. They were arrested in China, Egypt, and Sudan, and discriminated against in many places including Cuba, Syria, Thailand, and the United States.

    The news from Europe has been especially worrisome. A cathedral under construction in Kosovo was burnt and then used as a toilet.  A priest of the Church of Sweden resigned from the church in protest after she was attacked by her colleagues as intolerant for having attempted to raise the visibility of persecuted Christians.  Finally, the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna raised a controversy after stating in a homily that Europe could be facing a third Islamic conquest, a statement he later backpedaled by saying he was criticizing prodigal Christians and not Muslims (which was largely obvious in a fair reading of the homily).

    cathedral-of-christ-the-savior-pristina-serbia

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Pristina, Kosovo – courtesy Orthodoxy Cognate Page

    Our last stories concern Iraq.

    A young woman named Athree gave an interview on her experiences of becoming a refugee two years ago. Please read our report and see why she says she is now glad that she is a refugee.  Her reasons should be our reasons for what we do with our lives.

    Finally, Christina Khidr Ebada, who was abducted by the Islamic State just prior to her third birthday two years ago, has appeared on Facebook alive and apparently well. Please pray for her continued protection, especially now that an Iraqi military offensive is about to begin against the city of her residence.


     

    Call to Action – September 14, 2016

    As mentioned last month, it has been announced that the Anglican cathedral of Westminster Abbey and the Catholic Westminster Cathedral will be bathed in red light during the upcoming month of November 2016. This decision has been made by both churches in London so that the spilling of the blood of Christians in many places around the world today can be seen with the use of the metaphor of red light.

    Westminster_Abbey_Red -_20th_Century_Martyrs - Montrealais - Copy

     

     

     

     

     

    Would it not be wonderful if all churches were to do the same?

    Would it not be a good thing for everyone who passes a church to see a public display of solidarity with suffering Christians, and to have heard a public pronouncement as to why this has been done?

    Would it not be a great thing for Christians – regardless of their denomination – to join together in a simple way for their common good?

    Of course it would be.

    If you are a pastor, consider illuminating your church in red this November, and consider advocating this act of evangelization among your fellow pastors.

    If you are a bishop or other leader, consider encouraging the pastors in your diocese or eparchy or presbytery to follow the example of these two churches in London, and consider asking your fellow bishops and leaders to do the same.

    If you are an associate pastor, deacon, lay minister, or simple congregant or parishioner, consider sharing this with everyone you know and working to see it adopted in as many churches as possible.

    This action would show that we care.

    This action would show that we will not be silent.

    This action would show that we are not going to disappear.

    Thank you.


     

    Weekly Commentary   September 4-10, 2016

    This week’s report (click here to read) thankfully has several good stories. Four Egyptian teens who had been accused of insulting Islam managed to flee the country to Switzerland. An imprisoned Christian in Algeria has had his sentence reduced. In Iran Maryam Naghash-Zargaran has been released from prison on medical leave – please continue to pray for her health. A pastor has been released from jail in China, but is now under home confinement.

    However, this report also lists the killing of Christians in Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Uganda, and the United States, the last a bizarre story of murder in a retirement home. Other attempted killings happened in Nigerian and Uganda. Desecrations of churches and religious artwork occurred in Indonesia, India, the United States, and in Pakistan – in the last case parishioners were also evicted from their homes and robbed. Persecution continued in Egypt.

    st-peter-purwosari-surakata-java

     

     

     

     

     

     

    St. Peter Purwosari church, Surakata, Central Java, Indonesia – courtesy AsiaNews

    In China an elderly bishop has died of cancer. He was a member of the official Patriotic church, but was reconciled with the underground Catholic Church. During that reconciliation the bishop of the underground church was appointed his assistant. Days before the bishop’s death government agents abducted the assistant bishop and two priests who had leadership roles in their diocese. All three men were spirited to distant parts of the country in an apparent attempt to give the government a free hand in the appointment of a successor.

    One final story shows the uncertainty that Christians live under in this world. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the leading bishop of Eastern Orthodoxy, was accused of involvement in the recent failed military coup by Turkish media. This total fabrication will almost certainly not result in his arrest in the current crackdown against regime opponents, but it may inspire a lone wolf attack of some kind. Let us pray for him, and for all who place their faith in true Certainty.


     

    Weekly Commentary   August 28 – September 3, 2016

    This week’s report lists five Christians who were killed for their faith, and five who died in an accident while involved in missionary work. The Pakistani Christian was a security guard who died while preventing suicide bombers from gaining to a Christian ghetto that housed 30 families. The other four were Nigerians, and a pastor there gave a long list of recent – but undated – acts of death and destruction by Fulani herdsmen.

    A young jihadi attacked a church service in Indonesia; fortunately his homemade suicide backpack exploded with the force of a firecracker.

    In China, a Christian civil rights attorney logged into the internet and posted a retraction of his February 2016 “confession”, then fled his parents’ home before police surrounded it. He went on the run but was arrested within two days. The wife of a detained pastor reported that she is under 24 hour surveillance, but the police spend the night sleeping in their automobile.

    Five Christians have been arrested in Iran during a picnic.

    The RSS paramilitaries have been accused by a Kerala state official of stockpiling weapons in Hindu temples, the only problem being that the official is a Communist. Who to believe, eh?  Seriously, if true this is very bad news.  The political wing of the RSS, the BJP, failed in this year’s state election to break the longtime duopoly of the Congress and Communist parties in Kerala, so the stockpiling of weapons may be a sign that the RSS is contemplating a purge, a putsch, or a pogrom in the heart of Christian India.

    On the good side five Chinese Christians were released from jail. Also, an attempt to negotiate an end to a riotous confrontation in Pakistan ended with a surprise: the 60 Muslim perpetrators made a heartfelt public apology! They were visibly taken aback when a Christian negotiator said that thanks to the internet the whole world knew within minutes what they had done! Think about that: just being able to read this story helped to resolve it. Thanks be to God! We should remember that when we lose heart.


     

    Announcement   August 29, 2016

    Jacques Hamel 2

    After a hiatus of almost a year, a new biography has been published on the Today’s Martyrs web site. It commemorates the life and death of Father Jacques Hamel, who was beheaded while presiding at Mass on July 26, 2016.  The biography may be read by clicking here or may be accessed via the URL http://todaysmartyrs.org/pdf/By%20Person/Jacques%20Hamel.pdf .  As always with any of our biographies, please consider printing copies for your educational or evangelical work.

    Several other biographies of Christians in Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Thailand, and the United States have been under development and hopefully will be published in the coming weeks. Thank you.


     

    Weekly Commentary   August 21-27, 2016

    Fifty Christians are listed on this week’s report (click here to read). Fortunately only two were killed, and these murders were perpetrated in Mississippi in the United States.

    Christians were reported arrested in China, Iran, and Russia. The Russian arrests and indictments were the first under the new anti-evangelization laws; fortunately the government has only fined the accused Christians.

    A church in China fought the local Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) to a standstill – for now – by threatening to travel to Beijing to appeal their actions.

    A young mother was likely abducted in Egypt after dropping her child off at her church’s nursery. The police as usual did nothing.

    In India a Hindu mob of 200 erected a concrete wall around a church construction site to prevent its completion! They also made thinly-veiled death threats against the Christians.

    Believers Church, Chaitama village, Korba district, Chhattisgarh state, India - UCA News

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Believers Church, Chaitama village, Korba district, Chhattisgarh state, India – courtesy UCA News

    A Christian college student in Nigeria was accused of blasphemy by a Muslim student. He was beaten and hospitalized after a Muslim saved him from the rioting students. The rioters proceeded to leave their campus and attack a number of churches. They also burned down the Muslim rescuer’s home, killing eight occupants (he and his wife were not killed, but it can be surmised that other family members died). If people wonder why more Muslims don’t speak or act against the violence perpetrated by their co-religious, well, this is another example of why they don’t. Many Muslims would, but few dare. Please pray for this man and for all people of goodwill.

    Christians in Iraq and Syria have continued to work to aid the victims of religious war.

    A well-known civil rights attorney has fled Pakistan after years of death threats.

    The march of Western anti-Christian sentiments continued in Mexico and the United Kingdom. Another incident demonstrated the myopia of Westerners to world events: a Pakistani political party ordered its members to riot and attack Karachi media outlets – and the order came from their headquarters in London!  Sometimes less-developed countries try to stop extremism, only to find their efforts thwarted by Westerners who allow their pluralistic traditions to be exploited by the extremists.

    Please read this week’s report.  Please pray for the Christians on it and for those who are not on it because they are unknown to us.  Please pray that everything currently hidden from us may be made known, especially before more harm is done due to our ignorance.


     

    Weekly Commentary   August 13-20, 2016

    On this week’s report (click here to read) we have a brief story of the continuing persecution in Eritrea: Patriarch Abune Antonios of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church has reportedly signed a letter of ‘apology’ which if true was likely coerced, possibly by torture. He has not been seen since he was placed under house arrest a decade ago and has resisted such pressure up until now.

    A province in China has now officially prohibited people from praying in hospitals.

    The massacre of the innocents continued in Syria

    Identified Christians were killed in Egypt and Nigeria, and unidentified Christians were killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Christians have been under threat of death in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sudan. A murder attempt happened in a church in the United States.

    Please read the 26 stories on our report this week and pray for our fellow Christians.  Please.


     

    Weekly Commentary   August 7-13, 2016

    This week’s report (click here to read) covers 36 stories from 23 countries, in which 78 Christians witnessed to the Gospel in some way. Ten of these Christians were killed.

    There were some good stories. Three refugees in Iraq were ordained to the priesthood in a refugee camp. One Christian in Kazakhstan saw the dismissal of charges against him (another also did, but this was from last year and only reported now).  Islamic radicals in Indonesia withdrew their opposition to the construction of a shrine modeled on the Lourdes grotto after discovering that many Muslims wanted the shrine to be built. Finally, Lord David Alton wrote that the charity Aid to the Church in Need has persuaded the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church in Britain to light Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, respectively, in red for the month of November to commemorate today’s Christian martyrs.  It would be comforting to know that other churches would be following Lord Alton’s advice and do the same for our suffering brothers and sisters.

    One last story: we have an account of a break-in at the Russian Orthodox cathedral in Vienna, Austria. The perpetrators were playing the Pokemon Go online game! This story appears trivial and laughable by comparison to our usual reports. In part we included it because Lord knows we do need to have a good laugh now and then. The church spokesman’s comments against the break-in are also of some interest, especially when compared to “The private life in Russia is dead” revolutionary sentiments of a century ago, which are now long dead. But this also shows once again the loss of reverence and respect for Christianity in the West. Let us pray that the Russian church spokesman’s views are validated and that this not remain so.

    St Nicholas Cathedral Vienna Austria

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    St. Nicholas Cathedral, Vienna, Austria – courtesy Orthodoxy Cognate Page


     

    Weekly Commentary   July 31 – August 6, 2016

    This week has been a difficult one.  The war surrounding the Syrian city of Aleppo has continued, and civilian casualties have increased.  An Austrian Christian who had been temporarily in the city said “Pickup trucks constantly drive past the Caritas office, and the loading surfaces in the back are packed with the injured or dead, most of them children”.

    A mob attacked the homes of Egyptian Christians because one was being renovated. The 11 year old daughter of the owner said “I was terrified. I saw men pour petrol on bundles of wood and throw them on our roof. When it began to fall on us, my father dragged us out”.

    In China the prosecution of Christian leaders has continued. Wang Qiaoling, the wife of an imprisoned civil rights attorney, gave an interview which is a beautiful and moving account of the importance of Christian marriage in a time of persecution.  An elderly bishop who had spent a total of 35 years in prison and house arrest has died of natural causes.

    A pastor was killed by Maoists in India. A priest has been stabbed in Belgium.  Christians were arrested, abducted, or assaulted in India, Iran, and Pakistan.  Cathedrals were attacked in Greece and India, by anarchists and a municipal demolition crew respectively.

    TThessaloniki_Saint_Gregory_Palamas

     

     

     

     

     

     

    St. Gregory Palamas Cathedral, Thessiloniki, Greece – courtesy Wikipedia

    Tarapet cathedral 2

      

     

     

     

     

    St. Peter Cathedral, Tarapet, India  – courtesy Anil Bandi

    Two other stories are of particular interest.

    A young Christian woman in Britain had attempted to force prosecutors to enforce the law prohibiting gender selection abortions. The prosecutors refused to release the video evidence, assumed jurisdiction over the case, and then quashed it ‘in the public interest’.  Now they have managed to assign all court costs to this woman.  This story has demonstrated once again the sacrosanct status of abortion within our new secular religion.

    Lastly a most distressing account from Egypt: after over two years of illegal incarceration, beatings, and torture, Bishoy Armiya Boulous has reverted to Islam and has been released from custody. He is now, once again, Mohammed Hegazy.  He apparently snapped when told he would be released only into the custody of his parents – the same parents who had sworn to kill him for converting to Christianity.  This week’s report contains the part of his statement in which he says he was not coerced, and our entire archival history of the attempts to coerce him.  We at Today’s Martyrs have felt a great sense of loss at this news, and we have been asking the question, Did we do enough for him?  Did we fail him?  Given the almost year-long absence of his story from the Christian media, it is hard to escape the feeling that we all did.  Perhaps we need to examine ourselves and ask if we can be better prepared for the next such case. Also, please remember to pray for him and his family: his statement was stilted and obviously scripted, and only God knows what is truly in his heart.


     

    Weekly Commentary   July 24-30, 2016

    The big story this week is the murder of 85 year old Fr. Jacques Hamel while saying Mass in the French Norman town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Accounts vary as to whether the two Islamic State (ISIL) members merely slit his throat or beheaded him. A nun and an elderly parishioner were also stabbed, and three others were threatened and witnessed the “horror”. The two terrorists were posthumously congratulated by the Islamic State, which then proceeded to incite its followers in Britain to do the same. What is most surprising is that anyone is surprised by this atrocity. Regular readers of these reports know that attacks like this are fairly common events in many places on this globe. Any expression of surprise and shock as to the location of the crime serves as a demonstration of how parochial and insular people in the West have become in recent decades.

    Another church minister was killed in Uganda. Did any major media outlet notice?

    St-Etienne

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    St. Etienne church, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France – courtesy Wikipedia

    The one good item this week concerns Noshad Young, the Pakistani refugee who was dying in an immigration detention center in Bangkok, Thailand. Thanks to your prayers and intervention he is now receiving proper medical care and is recovering, although he is still unlawfully in detention – he was on bail and an immigration officer seized and destroyed his release papers.

    The remainder of the stories on this week’s report range from a child soccer player in Egypt to a sacramental winery operator in India. Many of the stories are updates on Christians we have covered in the past. We also have three accounts of Christians voicing opposition to the persecution of Hindus and Muslims, which demonstrates that some of us really do love our neighbors no matter who they are.

    When we pray, let us think of love, and let of think about how love can allow us to see things as they truly are. Most of us are powerless in a worldly sense, we cannot free prisoners, repeal unjust laws, or easily counter falsehoods. What we can do is to choose to love, we can ask God for the best for others even if we cannot make the best happen, and we can hope that that is good enough.


     

    Weekly Commentary   July 17-23, 2016

    This week’s report (click here to read) lists some positive outcomes. An imprisoned pastor in Iran has been released. A female graduate student in Pakistan escaped from her abductor, but still faces threats due to his claims that she is his wife. A Pakistani sanitation worker was accused of Quran desecration but the police refused to arrest him and arrested his accuser instead. One Christian in Kazakhstan was fined by a police office – such extrajudicial fines are now legal there – but the fine was annulled by a court.

    It would be wonderful if the entire report was filled with such accounts. Sadly that is not the case.

    Three Christians were killed for the faith in Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria – the Kenyan pastor was killed while returning from a peacemaking seminar. A Nigerian pastor was maimed during an attempted murder. Seven Christians were arrested and one other fined. Eight were stabbed or beaten. One was driven from his home. Churches in Egypt, Nigeria, and Turkey were attacked. Churches in India were removed from legal protection in a municipal development plan. A shrine in Indonesia was threatened.

    In the West a leading candidate for Prime Minister in Britain was forced to withdraw after being attacked for her Christian views. In the U.S. two people were reported as losing or being threatened with loss of their employment thanks to the continuing sexual revolution quagmire.

    We also have eyewitness reports from several countries. An Egyptian bishop called his country “diseased” from discrimination. A Nigerian minister mentioned the use of “chemical weapons” – probably tear gas or acid – by Muslim attackers. A Russian church spokesman described the rise of neo-paganism in his country. Two Syrian bishops described the continued shelling of their city (“As I am writing this, deafened by the explosions of intense bombing raids, I raise my eyes on high, to ask God to shorten the duration of this long trial, which, for five years, has not stopped hurting his people”). A minister in Vietnam told details of the continuing persecution against tribal Christians.

    In reading this list, it seems hard to believe that anything can be done about these crimes, and in a worldly sense this is mostly true. What is not hard to believe in, for us, is the power of God. That power can change the hearts of persecutors, and if not that then it can cause Christians to “stand firm”, as the maimed Nigerian pastor called on us to do. Please pray for the continued gift of such power to the world.


     

    Weekly Commentary   July 10-16, 2016

    Four Christians have been reported this week as having lost their lives; one was a seminarian who saved another in a boating accident. A detained Christian refugee in Thailand is reportedly near death. Accounts from sixteen nations list abductions, arrests, and assaults.

    This week we will allow our brothers and sisters in Christ to speak on their own behalf:

    From Russia:

    [It’s] the most draconian anti-religion bill to be proposed in Russia since Nikita Khrushchev promised to eliminate Christianity in the Soviet Union. For years we have watched as huge changes take place in Russia under the increasingly dictatorial rule of President Putin and his administration. Freedom of religion represents a threat to the current political agenda in Russia.

    From Venezuela:

    The interests of the government are not the interests of the country…The ungovernability, aside from the brutal repression, the lack of serious and stabilizing responses that would be more than improvisational and provisional, create the widespread perception that the global crisis is getting more acute and is being prolonged with no end in sight

    From Pakistan:

    …several months after my daughter’s kidnapping, the police have not done anything because we have no money to defend our rights. We live in a hopeless situation, we need help. I pray that my daughter will continue to place hope and faith in Jesus Christ…I want my daughter back. I want the perpetrators brought to justice. I have no money to buy food or continue the legal battle. I ask help from God’s people

    From India:

    Dalits [‘those who are trampled upon’ – untouchables] and Tribals are being killed all the time. Our people are not Maoist. They are struggling to survive and lead a life of dignity despite veiled threats and the climate of insecurity

    It is a well-planned strategy to create terror among poor villages

    About 100 people from three neighboring villages were waiting when we reached the place and started to tell us that it is wrong for us to pray to Jesus …They shouted to each other to bring kerosene oil so that they could burn us all

    Do whatever you like, we are not going to leave Christ at any cost

    From Syria:

    …heavy shelling throughout the day…Unfortunately here we are not facing a clash between two armies, because the front is elsewhere. This is about attacks against civilians out of sheer vindictiveness, with increasingly sophisticated weapons

    We are again under bombs. We do not know what is about to happen. Even last night we could not sleep, and this morning an artillery shell also fell in the street of our cathedral, resulting in one death and three injuries…we are all heartbroken by what is happening, on the other side there are many that in this state meet to celebrate the sacraments, pray, share a spirit of hope and mercy… It is a mysterious and wonderful paradox: on one hand there is the desolation of war, and on the other there is the consolation of God

    From Nigeria:

    They just killed her like a chicken and left her there

    My desire is that our persecutors get to know God – our desire is to see God arresting them one by one to confess Jesus Christ. You know when Jesus Christ saves their souls, Satan and hell will lose. If we desire that those who persecute us should die, then we are increasing the population of hell. The Bible says there is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents. Our persecutors were also created in God’s image. It is because we are weak that we think people that are doing evil are stronger. But if we are committed, God knows how to handle our persecutors and increase people coming to His kingdom

    Our world is facing increasingly powerful forces of anarchy and dissolution. We need to pray that God help us, and that we not fall into the trap of thinking that we can merely hold onto what we have, as appears to be the case in Russia. We need to grow in the Spirit and to spread the Gospel as Jesus asked. Please read this week’s full report, pray over the news, and do whatever good things you may be moved to do. God bless.


     

    Weekly Commentary   July 3-9, 2016

    Five Christians were reported this week to have been killed, two have been sexually assaulted, several beaten, and many fined by oppressive governments, insurgents, and even street gangs. Russia is about to enact a law that will be the most restrictive on religious activity since time of Nikita Khrushchev.

    We have a rather upsetting story. Rev. Andrew White, for years the only Anglican clergyman in Iraq and a witness to much of the suffering there, has been accused of having paid money to the Islamic State to free sex slaves. He is now under investigation by the British government agency that regulates charities. It is hard to know what to be upset about, that he did pay money to the Islamic State (which will be used to further their evil agenda), or that people secure in a Western country would think that extreme methods to free sex slaves is something that can be criticized in a cavalier way.

    On the other hand we have another moving story. We have been following the events surrounding the Chinese church led by Pastor Li Guozhi, who also goes by the name Yang Hua. He has been held in prison since January 2016 on bogus charges. His wife Wang Hongwu has released the most recent letter from him, which is a blend of simple domestic topics and Christian comfort.  Please click here to read excerpts of the letter, and if you wish to read the full letter you may follow the link in the report to the original source at the ChinaAid web site.


     

    Weekly Commentary   June 26 – July 2, 2016

    Once again we have a short report this week (click here to read), with many stories to be posted on next week’s report. Radical Islam has increased in Bangladesh and Malaysia, with a Malaysian bishop denouncing a senior Muslim cleric who ruled that Christians and others who use their democratic rights to stop the march toward the adoption of sharia [Islamic] law may be killed. Also a Coptic priest has been killed in Egypt, though that is not a sign of increasing radicalism; radicalism is already at high levels there.

    The biggest stories are in Lebanon. Seven suicide bombers attacked one small Christian town near the border with Syria, killing five Christians. The motive appears to be a desire to push the Christians out of the area. In the capital a priest described how the refugee camps in the country are continuing to incubate religious extremism. Once again we see how the world’s passive response to the crisis in the Mideast only helps to grow the crisis.

    What a world! What prayers and sacrifice are needed for it!

     

    <= Blog 2016 – 2nd Quarter