October 29, 2001
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).
"...the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me." John 16:2-3
The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is Sunday. This year, more than ever, your prayers are needed for those who suffer for their faith in Jesus Christ. Do your part in the spiritual battle against persecution.
SLAIN CHRISTIANS MOURNED IN PAKISTAN
The killings have stunned the local community Several thousand mourners have been attending a funeral service for 16 Christians who were killed on Sunday when gunmen burst into a church and opened fire on worshippers. The attack, in which a police guard was also shot dead, happened in the eastern town of Bahawalpur where police and army reinforcements are now patrolling the streets. Crying and denouncing violence, a huge crowd of Christians and Muslims crowded into the church compound where the killings took place, with many blaming pro-Taleban hardliners for the attack. The Pakistani Government has announced a thorough investigation and security has been stepped up at Christian churches across the country. More than 100 activists from militant Islamic groups were detained in overnight raids in southern districts of Punjab after the church attack, Reuters news agency reported. At the service, Reverend Andrew Frances, the Catholic bishop of Punjab, told people to remain peaceful, and follow the Christian principle of turning the other cheek. But many of the angry mourners chanted slogans calling for revenge and demanding protection. There was heavy police security as 13 of the bodies were taken in a procession of vehicles to a nearby Christian graveyard for burial.
KABUL TRIAL STALLED BY WARTIME CHAOS
Taliban Transfer Jailed Aid Workers to Night-Time Bunker by Barbara G. Baker
ISTANBUL, October 24 (Compass) - As U.S.-led bombing raids over Afghanistan intensified into the third week, anxious families of eight Western aid workers jailed in Kabul learned that Taliban guards have begun transferring the six women and two men to other quarters every night.
The eight foreign Christians are being moved at nightfall from their daytime detention facilities into what was described as a "bunker-like hideout," reliable sources reported.
The new arrangement is reportedly less comfortable, requiring them to sit "at close quarters" from six o'clock every evening until late morning the next day. However, the presumably more secure location fulfills a Taliban promise made on September 14, when spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen declared: "We will try to protect them if America attacks."
But according to their Pakistani defense lawyer Atif Ali Khan, who returned home from Kabul yesterday, trial proceedings against the German, Australian and American Christians are now at a standstill before the Taliban Supreme Court.
According to one source in Islamabad who was allowed to read a rough English translation of the written charges, the eight Christians are apparently to be judged individually, rather than as a group. Three of the women, as well as Taubmann, appeared to be implicated for the most serious charges, the source said.
"Some of the charges involve things like not having the correct permission for the children's project," the source said, "and not properly registering their personal computers."
Regarding Taliban claims of proof to convict the Shelter Now relief workers of attempted evangelism, Khan commented, "The evidence is there." But, he continued, "There are two ways of looking at the evidence. Yes, these things [a video cassette, a Christian CD, Bibles] were taken from them, but that does not mean that they are guilty. There is a valid explanation to that, and we are sticking to this."
Yesterday (Sunday, October 28th), workers from one relief agency were allowed to deliver food and hygiene supplies to the eight western workers, and the relief agency has been told that someone will be allowed to visit with them on Tuesday. There is no word of the condition or whereabouts of the Afghan detainees or when their trials will be held.
MORE THAN 100 KILLED AS ANTI-U.S. PROTESTERS TURN ON CHRISTIANS IN NIGERIA
Between 100 and 200 people are reported to have been killed in Muslim/Christian riots in Kano, northern Nigeria, Oct. 12-14, as anti-U.S. protesters turned on Kano's Christian minority during demonstrations. According to the Barnabas Fund, the protest began peacefully after Friday prayers. However, soon Muslim youths were throwing stones at police, shouting, "God is Great" and setting fire to cars and churches. The citizens of the majority-Christian suburb of Sabon Gari erected barricades of burning tires in an attempt to keep the rioters out.
Two days of riots between Muslim and Christian youths ensued, in which hundreds were injured, and some 18,000, mainly Christians, fled to military and police buildings frantically seeking protection from the violent mobs. The death toll is probably much higher than the reported figure of 100 - 200, reports the Barnabas Fund. Houses, shops, vehicles, businesses and at least four churches and four mosques were all gutted by flames. Over 16,000 have been made homeless.
According to the Barnabas Fund, tensions between Muslims and Christians in northern Nigeria have been particularly high since 1999 when the first of a dozen Muslim-majority states in the North announced plans to implement full Islamic Shari'ah law. Christian minorities remain bitterly opposed. In February and May last year over 1,200 were killed in Kaduna as tensions led to savage riots. Another 500 were killed in further clashes in Jos last month.
SUDANESE CHRISTIANS MAY BE TARGETED NEXT FOR REPRISALS
The Barnabas Fund has forwarded a report from Mideast Newswire with the following message from a Sudanese Islamic extremist: "The Kifr [infidel] airplanes are bombing the Emirate of Afghanistan, and our Islamic air force is retaliating against the black kifr in Sudan. The south Sudanese rebels have received assistance from America, therefore they will suffer."
According to the Barnabas Fund, while the government of Sudan has been "welcomed" into America's international coalition against terrorism, it continues to practice state-sponsored terrorism against its own population in the south of the country. The civil war, which began in 1983, when the government tried to impose Islamic law and Arab culture on the mainly Christian African population of the south, has repeatedly been described by the authorities as a jihad (Islamic holy war).
The report goes on to describe the Sudanese government's ruthless tactics, such as deliberately bombing civilian villages, schools, hospitals and churches to demoralize the local population. On Oct. 7, 15 children reportedly were killed and eight injured, the youngest only 3 years old, when a government of Sudan plane bombed their villages.
Such measures may increase as Islamic extremists retaliate against the raids in Afghanistan, which the Sudanese reportedly see as a war on Islam.
16 CATHOLIC CHILDREN KIDNAPPED IN ANGOLA
The Catholic Church in Angola has denounced the kidnapping of 16 children and their relatives during a religious service in the village of Kiluange, Kwansa Norte.
According to the local bishop, the children were ages 7 to 14. They were attending an ecumenical service with their families when the church was attacked by a group of armed men, who took most of the congregation with them.
UNICEF and the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Angola strongly condemned the violations of children's rights and called for their immediate release. This is not the first time that children have been abducted. Similar abductions have occurred throughout Angola's prolonged conflict, and most of the children have not been heard from since, according to EWTN News and Zenit.org.
According to UNICEF, "children abducted in conflict countries are often used by armed groups to carry goods and ammunition, and to cook and clean ... In the worst cases, children - particularly young girls may be sexually abused, and both girls and boys may be used in combat or as a defensive shield."
TAJIKISTANI CHURCH REFUSED OFFICIAL REGISTRATION
(Tajikistan)--A mayor is making church registration difficult in Tajikistan. According to Keston News, Kurgan-Tyube's (keur-guhn tie-yoob) Mayor has categorically refused to register an Evangelical Christian church there. Privately the mayor says he has been on a pilgrimage to Mecca and didn't intend to defile himself by registering the church. City officials are refusing to allow the unregistered church to meet on the grounds while 38 unregistered mosques continue functioning. Many believe the registration was denied out of fear many will turn to Christ.
BELARUS: PASTOR'S JOY AT COURT RULING.
Veniamin Brukh, pastor of the Church of Christ Full Gospel Pentecostal church in Minsk, told Keston News Service of his joy at his church's court victory last month overturning a ban on renting a House of Culture to hold services. The 12 September court ruling is a precedent for the whole country, he declared. People now understand we can insist on our rights, which no-one can take away from us. However, the church's request to the local executive committee to be able to rent the House of Culture again remains unanswered and Alla Ryabitseva, the religious affairs official at the city executive committee, told Keston that the church will not be allowed to use a House of Culture. Let them find other premises, she declared.
STUBBORN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL FINDS CHRIST
"Each week, Gorete and I visited Canabrava, an Indian village," reports Germany missionary Renate Lindner from Brazil. "The children ran out to meet us, followed by their parents, greeted us and participated in the services. A government official employed to look after the Indians eyed us
suspiciously, mumbling 'I would ban these visits. When they come, everyone runs, but when I come, nobody even stands up?'
Antonio, a colleague of the official, attended the services and finally came to believe in Christ. He now even plays the violin in the services. 'I used to play at dances, now I play for Jesus,' he says. The change in Antonio didn't please his colleague at all, and through lies and slander, he managed to have Antonio fired. Antonio is now a faithful member of staff in the church. Later, a commission visited the village to discover the truth in the matter; they uncovered the other official's lies. Months later, Antonio received a letter from the other official: 'I was evil, blind and lost, and did you wrong. I could not forget your words. Please forgive me - I am now a brother in faith?"
ACLJ SECURES EQUAL ACCESS FOR RELIGIOUS SPEECH IN ARIZONA CITY
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has reached an agreement with the City of Scottsdale, Ariz. - clearing the way for the display and distribution of religious materials at its city-owned and operated buildings and facilities. The settlement agreement guarantees that religious speakers and organizations will be treated the same as other members of the public by the City of Scottsdale.
In May 2001, ACLJ filed suit in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix on behalf of Constance Tuchman, who operates a Bible study group in Scottsdale called "Heart to Heart Fellowship." The group is a Bible study for women that addresses topics from a religious perspective - including families, relationships, health and fitness, finances and spirituality.
The suit contended that Tuchman was permitted to display literature and advertise meetings at one of the city-owned and managed Citizen Service Centers for three years. But that permission was revoked in October 2000 when Tuchman was told that she would no longer be able to display her organization's materials because of its religious content and specifically because the materials contained the word "Christian." The complaint contended that the city permitted other organizations to continue to display materials in the service centers.
In a settlement agreement signed by both parties and accepted by the court, the city agreed that Tuchman and all other religious speakers and organizations "will be treated the same as other members of the public in all respects."
FROM VOICE OF THE MARTYRS:
The tragic events of September 11th not only shocked all of America, but also demonstrated how true the prophecy of Jesus is that killing in the name of God would be a reality. Jesus said, "...the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service..." (John 16:2).
While this is new to America, the jihad in Sudan has claimed over 2,000,000 lives over the past 18 years and in the last two years in Indonesia over 10,000 Christians have been killed, mostly in the Muluku islands.
As we continue to pray for our country, pray also for the many displaced people and fragmented families resulting from jihad in Sudan and Indonesia.
Pray for Muslims and leaders in Muslim nations that they will come face to face with Christ's love.
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, BBC, CNN, 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 for the purpose of prayer, and subscriptions are free.