Persecution News

“If one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

(Afghanistan)--An Afghan court hearing the trial of eight foreign Christian aid workers was expected to pass a short sentence on the basis of compassion. That's according to a report from Reuters. The report quotes the group's Pakistani lawyer. The group was arrested on August 3rd on charges of spreading Christianity, which violates Islamic law. Please continue to pray for the 16 Afghani nationals who were arrested at the same time. Faced with charges of proselytizing, they face the death penalty.

Christian sources in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, have informed International Christian Concern (ICC) that at least three expatriate Christians have been physically tortured in prison. The three men are part of a group of at least 15 Christians arrested during the months of July, August and September for conducting religious services in their homes.
Though this right is promised by the Saudi authorities in theory, it has not been upheld in practice. Ministry of Interior officials have time and again raided the homes of people suspected of leading Christian fellowships and have confiscated their personal possessions and dragged them off to prison.
The tortured men are from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Nigeria – countries Saudi Arabia obviously does not think will protest the treatment of their citizens - says ICC. Though the Saudi government has pledged to U.S. officials that they will release the Christian prisoners, they have not yet fulfilled their promise.
International Christian Concern continues to call for the immediate release of the Christian men, most of whose families have not been allowed visitation rights.

Assist News Service (ANS) reports that military intelligence "could not exactly pinpoint the whereabouts" of American Christian missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham of New Tribes Mission, held captive by the Abu Sayyaf for more than four months now.
According to ANS, when the Philippine government called for a news black out, journalists could not get any official statements of the latest information about the missionary couple. Top military officials will only say "no comment," especially when asked by reporters on the whereabouts of the couple. National Security Adviser Roilo Golez said that the news blackout was called so the military could operate effectively and efficiently for the safe release of the hostages.
The Burnham couple was abducted May 27 while celebrating their wedding anniversary at Dos Palmas Beach Resort in Puerto Princesa City. The missionary couple was last seen in an encounter between the Philippines marines and armed Abu Sayyaf members in Tuburan town.
ANS reports that the Abu Sayyaf is believed to be a terrorist arm of Osama bin Laden. Operating in the Southern Philippines, Abu Sayyaf has been moving from one place to another with their hostages to avoid gun clashes with military troops. The Philippine Star has reported that at least 50 Abu Sayyaf members will be sent to Afghanistan to reinforce Taliban fighters if the United States attacks that country.

Muslim militants attacked Christian churches and homes on Sept. 17 in Klaksanaan village, resulting in two church buildings and 23 Christian houses being burned, leaving 58 Christian families homeless.
No one was killed or seriously injured in the attack, according to The Voice of the Martyrs (Canada). But Muslim militants in Indonesia have killed 10,000 Christians in just the past two years, according to reports by The Persecution & Prayer Alert service of VOM.
One spokesman of VOM-USA said that "violence against Christians has not subsided since the impeachment of the former president this past summer. ... This recent incident proves that radical Muslims in Indonesia are motivated by more than just politics." VOM continues to provide reliefto the homeless Christians.

AUSTIN, Texas, September 21 (Compass) -- New Tribes Mission (NTM) has concluded, based on multiple guerrilla testimonies, that three American missionaries kidnapped eight years ago in Panama were shot by their captors three years later as Colombian troops closed in.
While the remains of Dave Mankins, Rick Tenenoff and Mark Rich may never be found, NTM has exhausted all leads in the case. Both the mission and the hostages' families are satisfied that the men are dead, said NTM spokesman Scott Ross.
NTM vice chairman Dan Germann said, "I sat in a Colombian prison in early September with a guerrilla who once guarded Rick, Mark and Dave. His words, 'They are dead,' were final and emphatic, confirming what we had heard from several other insurgents. The years of tears and anxiety for our dear brothers have ended."
The three were planting a church among the Kuna Indians. Mankins, then 43, Tenenoff, then 36, and Rich, then 23, and their families were in Púcuro when armed guerrillas burst into their homes. The rebels held the men at gunpoint while the wives packed a few belongings, including their Bibles. The men were later taken across the border into Colombia; their wives returned to the United States.
In the eight years since the kidnapping, NTM's crisis committee pursued leads, questioned suspects, launched a huge media campaign and pressured the Colombian and U.S. governments to find out what happened to the missionaries. The Colombian military mounted at least one expedition to search for their bodies, following leads that ultimately proved to be dead ends.
While NTM never found conclusive evidence about what happened to the three, similar testimony was given by jailed guerrillas interviewed since 1997 by Colombian, U.S. and mission officials. The three, NTM has concluded, were killed in 1996 in a military assault on the rebels near Acandí, a mountain village in northwest Colombia just 15 miles from Púcuro.
A memorial service for Mankins, Tenenoff and Rich will be at 10 a.m., October 6, at Northland Church, 530 Dog Track Road, Longwood, Florida.

(Pakistan)--Our newscast begins today in Pakistan where the Barnabas Fund is reporting that Muslim religious leaders have reportedly issued a fatwa, or religious edict. It states that two Pakistani Christians will be killed for every Muslim who dies during American strikes on Afghanistan. While Voice of the Martyrs' Gary Lane says while their sources in Pakistan wouldn't confirm that, there is a growing intolerance of Christians.
"I've talked to Christians all over the world that have been persecuted and are continuing to be persecuted in Islamic nations; mostly, under radical Islam. There are two types of persecution. One is institutionalized, where it is the policy of the government, and then there is other persecution, which is more societal or a cultural persecution." Lane says being a believer right now in certain Muslim countries will be a test of faith. "There are small pockets of Christians that quietly worship the Lord. They are persecuted if it is known that they are Christian. Many of them face possible death if it becomes known that they were Muslims who have converted to Christianity."

SPONSOR A REFUGEE FAMILY – Would you like to assist a persecuted family fleeing from a country where they have been tortured and threatened because of their faith in Jesus Christ? You can -- by becoming a pre-arranged sponsor. Sponsors help refugees receive a favorable decision from immigration offices and work with resettlement agencies to help refugees adjust to life in a new community. A sponsor can be an individual, church, or group. If you or your church would like more information about refugee sponsorship, contact Iranian Christians International at (719) 596-0010 or check out their Web site at

PERSECUTION NEWS is a non-regular periodic service of Foot of the Cross Publications. Articles are copied from various sources, including Newsweek, Australian Broadcasting Corp, Compass Direct, Religious News Today and FridayFax and others as noted with each article. Persecution News is published for the sole purpose of disseminating information about persecution of Christians around the world, and subscriptions are free.
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The INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH (IDOP) is coming up Sunday November 4, 2001. Thousands of churches throughout the world will be remembering, praying for and calling public attention to the persecuted Christians by participating in IDOP activities on that day, and for weeks beforehand.
With the many current news stories about Christians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China and other places, there has never been a better time to bring persecution to the attention of the world.
Read the book of Esther during the month of September in preparation for IDOP activities.
Write letters to the editor of your local paper, pass out copies of this newsletter to others in your community, contact Voice of the Martyrs for information about having a special presentation in your community, obtain a presentation packet from VOM and show the video to your church.
Even wearing a “Christians Still Die” t-shirt can have an impact in curbing persecution activities.
Last year, many Christians hung mini Christmas lights, made by imprisoned Christians in China, on their front window and lit them for the world to see as a show of support for the persecuted brethren. You might even write to your local paper saying that you are going to do this and why. Evil thrives on inaction. It’s time to become pro-active.