Now write what you have seen, what is, and what is to take place after this. – Revelation 1:19
Clockwise from upper left: Church burning in Peshawar, Pakistan; feminists attack a cathedral in San Juan, Argentina; cross burning in Pakistan – courtesy Abiz Nawaz; massacre of Christian students at Garissa University College in Kenya; army tank sale to Nicaragua; young Christians pray in a burned-out church in Egypt; RSS Hindu paramilitary rally in India.
Weekly Commentary November 4-10, 2018
Nine named Christians have been reported as having died for their faith in this week’s report (please click here to read). Seven were Egyptians who had completed a retreat at a monastery and were on their way home: six were members of one family. A Nigerian tribal leader was found dead, days after his abduction following his meeting with his state governor to discuss anti-Christian violence. A Ugandan convert was poisoned, and his wife (who was not a Christian) then abandoned his young sons and married the suspected poisoner.
St. Samuel Monastery, Minya province, Egypt
Out of 14 pages on this week’s report, fully 10 pages concern the continent of Asia. Persecution is again increasing in India. Clergy are disappearing in China. Pakistan has sentenced another mentally challenged young adult to life imprisonment for blasphemy – in this case for singeing an Islamic mental health booklet with a cigarette. A Pakistani minister in the United Arab Emirates (the first time this country has appeared in our reports) has been threatened with death if she should return to her ‘homeland’. Another church has been closed in Myanmar by Chinese backed separatists.
St Paul’s Catholic Church, Mong Pawk, Shan state, Myanmar
While we have typically Western discrimination stories from Britain and Canada, there is another story from Britain regarding Pakistani blasphemy victim Asia Bibi that is not so Western. The British government has not extended an offer of asylum to her and her family. Christian activists in Britain questioned this, but then concluded that Asia Bibi would not be safe in Britain since 100,000 British Muslims have signed a petition against her.
In recent years British Muslims have committed a few acts of violence and persecution against Christians, but their leading role is that of political allies of the secularists who seek the suppression of the religion. Quite an alliance, each side seemingly blind to the goals of the other. It is an alliance that is developing in many places in the West, with an endgame that is at present unfathomable. Pray that at least some Christians will remain to testify to the truth, since that is becoming a rare species indeed.
Weekly Commentary October 28 – November 3, 2018
The major story in this week’s report (please click here to read in full) comes from Pakistan. The Supreme Court in Islamabad issued its ruling concerning the fate of Aasiya Noreen aka Asia Bibi, who has resided on death row after her 2009 conviction on blasphemy charges. The Court ruled that Asia had been denied the presumption of innocence that was her due under both civil and Islamic law, voided her conviction, and ordered her set free. As of this writing she is not free: she must reside in a secure location until she can leave the county with her family and legal guardian and his family, all of whom are facing death threats. No country has yet agreed to provide them asylum, and the government two days later reportedly caved into pressure from radicals and placed her on the no fly list. Her Muslim attorney, Saif Mulook, has already fled the country. Islamic radicals have mounted several demonstrations calling for Asia’s extrajudicial murder but the violence has been restrained by government troop movements and suspension of cell phone service. Only a handful of killings have occurred, mostly of radicals who appear to have not been radical enough. Still, the radicals have threatened to swarm the nation’s airports and disrupt service if they get wind of Asia’s imminent flight.
So, Asia Bibi has been saved from death under the law, but she is not safe yet. Please pray for her eventual safety.
In other news Christians has been killed in Cameroon and Kenya, beaten by paramilitaries in India and by thugs in Pakistan, intimidated by police in China, and continued to fight for Christian values in Belgium and Pakistan. Again, please pray for God’s protection for all of these people and their concerns.
Weekly Commentary October 21-27, 2018
This week’s report is an oddity. There are no good stories, and only two are horrifically bad.
Another missionary was arrested in Turkey, then released and told to leave the country.
A policeman was killed in an armed assault on the residence of the cardinal archbishop of Mexico City by suspected robbers.
A Christian singer in Malta (our first story ever from that small island nation) was verbally attacked for discussing his conversion story on a talent contest television show.
A convert from Islam in Kyrgyzstan was severely beaten.
Finally we have several stories from China, including an essay by Cardinal Emeritus Joseph Zen Ze-Kium in which he wrote “And yet, to the underground bishops and priests of China, I can only say this: Please don’t start a revolution. They take away your churches? You can no longer officiate? Go home, and pray with your family. Till the soil. Wait for better times. Go back to the catacombs. Communism isn’t eternal”.
No, Cardinal Zen is correct: communism and the other delusions of our times are not eternal. Please read our full report (click here to read – and consider following the included links to the original news sources). Please pray that people everywhere will come to follow the Eternal One who loves as a Father loves, and who grants us the power to be free from our false loves and delusions.
Weekly Commentary October 14-20, 2018
The good news on our report this week (click here to read in full) comes from Egypt, Norway, Syria, and the United Kingdom.
First, a Syrian journalist who disappeared after he reported on Kurdish closures of Christian schools was released.
Second, a Christian doctor in Norway who had been fired from her job for refusing to install contraceptive devices won her appeal at the Supreme Court and so will be reinstated.
In the third story an Egyptian Christian was acquitted on appeal of building a church without a permit.
The fourth case involved a British priest who had been wrongfully accused of sexual predation. He had been cleared two years ago of the charges by both church and civil authorities, but he was not reinstated to his previous positions of trust at his abbey and college. He was forced to sue in court, and this week he was reinstated.
Ampleforth Abbey, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
We have three deaths to report. Another priest has been killed in Mexico. A seminarian was shot dead by army soldiers while praying in a church in Cameroon. In Indonesia another Christian was reported as sacrificing her life during the massive September 28 earthquake: she was a young teacher who tried to hold up a collapsing wall to allow the children in her religious education class to escape.
Two young Christians disappeared in Egypt, and others were reported as still in captivity in Burkina Faso, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Thailand. Christians in the United States suffered discrimination, including one at the hands of her own church. There are also two ‘background’ stories from the Central African Republic and India.
Please read these stories and pray for deliverance, consolation, freedom, justice, and wisdom
Weekly Commentary October 7-13, 2018
As is our preference, we will begin with the good news from this week’s report – please click here to read
Pastor Andrew Brunson has been freed after two years’ imprisonment in Turkey (please click here for a Today’s Martyrs biography that explains the background of his arrest). The U.S. government finally gave up on a purely diplomatic approach to secure his release and imposed economic sanctions on Turkey and certain officials on August 1, 2018. The Turkish government came to its senses. Pastor Brunson was brought into court on October 12, 2018, convicted of aiding terrorism, sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment, and released with time served. He left the country later that day. Among his parting words were “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus, and I love Turkey”.
Two days earlier Daniel and Amy McArthur were found innocent of illegal discrimination by the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court. Such charges had been brought three years earlier after they had refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex wedding. Please be sure to read some of David McArthur’s comments in our report
Finally, surprisingly good news from the Sudan: shipments of Bibles which had been held for years by the government under numerous pretexts have been released.
On the side opposite of ‘good news’ a priest has been killed in Colombia and two teachers have been killed in Kenya. A young Christian air traffic controller gave his life when he elected to stay in a collapsing tower during an Indonesian earthquake to help a jetliner escape an approaching tsunami.
Christians were imprisoned, attacked or harassed in ten more countries.
The most frivolous example was the harassment of an American law school dean for having written years before in favor of a more traditional standard of dress for women. Think about this: if he were Muslim no such harassment would have occurred. His ideas were certainly eccentric in current Christian practice, and so we see that our tolerance for even harmless eccentricity is declining.
At the far extremes from frivolous we have continued war in Myanmar, repeated acts of injustice in Pakistan, and perhaps worst of all the mass incarceration of Pakistani refugees in Thailand. Seventy Christians of all ages and sexes have been detained in crowded and unsanitary conditions for having overstayed their visas; the ‘overstaying’ is due to inaction or outright misconduct on the part of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees and Pakistani diplomats, and also due to the refugees’ desire to not experience prosecution or death should they return ‘home’. Their plight tells us that for some Christians optimism is not an option, that there is no escape, and so our hope must ultimately lie in heaven.
Weekly Commentary September 30 – October 6, 2018
A small report this week (click here to read in full). We report on the killing of Christians in Nigeria and Kenya, persecution in China, Myanmar, and Syria, continuing risk of persecution in Nicaragua, and discrimination in the United Kingdom. Please continue your prayers.