Saturday, September 24, 2011

California homeowner fined for hosting Bible study in his house

California homeowner fined for hosting Bible study in his house: "SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA (ANS) -- A Christian husband and wife from California have been fined by their City Council for lacking a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) while holding Bible studies and prayer meetings in their home, according to an article by Peter Baklinski, writing for ."


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Christian Mother of Five in Pakistan Alleges Rape

Islamists threaten family, police offer money to drop charges, she says.
By Murad Khan

LAHORE, Pakistan, September 21 (Compass Direct News) – A Christian mother of five was allegedly raped by two Muslim men last week, and area Islamists are threatening to harm her family if charges against the suspects are not dropped, the woman and her husband told Compass.

On Thursday (Sept. 15), the 32-year-old woman said, she was returning home to Mustafabad, in Punjab Province’s Kasur district, from a garment factory where she works. Two Muslims, identified only as 23-year-old Bhallu and 27-year-old Shera, along with an unidentified accomplice, allegedly abducted her at gunpoint, took her to an abandoned house in the area and raped her, she said.
Working late, she had reached the Mustafabad bus stop at 11:45 p.m. and had begun walking to her home five minutes away; the street was deserted, said the alleged victim, whose name is withheld.

“As soon as I entered our street, Bhallu appeared from the shadows and put his hand on my mouth,” she told Compass by phone. “A second person, who I later recognized as Bhallu’s friend Shera, came from behind and put a pistol on my temple. A third person also appeared on the scene, and together they first gagged me and then forcibly took me to an abandoned house. I tried my best to get free from their hold and save myself, but they were too powerful for me.”

Once inside, she said, they took off her gag, and she pleaded with them to leave her alone.

“I tried screaming, but they hit me,” she said, sobbing. “Not for a minute did they acknowledge that I was a mother to five children. Then they raped me, one after the other. Their third accomplice stood guard as they tore in on me like animals.”
She said that her tormentors let her go after more than an hour.

“They had torn my clothes, and I could barely step outside the house,” she said. “I don’t know how I managed to reach my home … Words fail me even now.”

Muslim criminals in Pakistan, where the population is more than 95 percent Muslim according to Operation World, tend to assume they will not be prosecuted if their victims are Christians. The accuser said Muslim men in the area have been harassing Christian women for some time.

“There are around 500 Christian houses in this area, which is predominantly inhabited by Muslims,” she said. “There have been several instances when they have publicly harassed us but have gotten away with it, because we keep silent to avoid a clash.”

A month ago, as she was returning home from work, she was near her house when she suddenly felt someone pulling her head scarf, she said. She turned and found one of Bhallu’s friends holding the head scarf.

“I started screaming, and my husband and a neighbor rushed out, but the boy walked away as if nothing had happened,” she said. “We did not say a word about this to anyone out of shame and fear of the Muslims.”

She said that after that incident, her husband, who works as a sweeper, began accompanying her to and from the bus stop.

“But there were days when he could not accompany me to the bus stop, and I used to walk alone,” she said.

Her husband, Mushtaq Masih, said that he was speechless after she told him about the ordeal.

“We have five children – three boys and two girls – with the oldest daughter studying in sixth grade – I cannot express the thoughts that filled my mind at that time,” Masih said. “The Muslims had ruined us completely, and I did not know what would happen to us if we reported the crime, but seeing my wife devastated, I decided to face the rapists.”

He called police, who visited the crime scene and took the woman to the hospital for a medical examination that proved she had been gang-raped, he said. Police filed a First Information Report (FIR No. 491/11) against Bhallu and his accomplices.

The woman said that she knew Bhallu only because he lived in her neighborhood, and that although she recognized Shera, she did not know his name until the FIR was filed.

Masih said that Shera’s name came up during the initial police investigation, and he was in custody when the investigating officer asked Masih to bring his wife to the police station to identify the suspects. Bhallu had fled the area.

His wife said that as they reached the police station, Muslims warned the family against pointing out Shera.

“They told us that they will kill my children and husband if I identify Shera,” she said. “They said that we should not forget that we are chooras [sweepers, a derogatory word for Christians] and can bring no harm to them. They also warned that our daughters would face a similar fate if we did not listen to them.”

She refused to identify Shera and returned home, she said.

“What happened to me should not happen to any of them,” she said. “My children are my world, how could I put their lives in danger? … Please pray that no woman suffers what I have been through.”

Pressure to Drop Charges
Area Christians were shocked. The family continues to receive threats to withdraw the case against the primary suspect, Bhallu, who has been seen in the area several times though police have yet to arrest him, Masih said.

“Our Muslim neighbors are pressuring us to withdraw the case,” he said. “They want us to reach an agreement with Bhallu and his friends. They want us to ‘pardon’ the criminals who have dishonored us.”

Police are using delay tactics in the pursuit of Bhallu, Masih said.

“We told the Mustafabad police in-charge that the Muslims are forcing us to withdraw the case, but he is not bothered,” Masih said. He added that some policemen had also asked him to withdraw the case, saying there was little chance his wife would get justice.

“They asked me to take money in return for withdrawing the case,” Masih said. “They want that I should sell my wife’s honor for money.”

Investigating Officer Muhammad Sharif dismissed the Christians’ accusations that police had sought money in exchange for dropping the case, and he refused to acknowledge that Muslims were threatening the woman’s family and needed police protection.

Sharif told Compass that police were trying to arrest Bhallu.

“We took his father into custody but released him after interrogation,” he said. “I will soon catch hold of Bhallu.”

Sharif said the investigation would accelerate after the primary suspect is arrested.

As Masih and the few Christians daring to support him ponder their next step, the woman maintains a faint hope of getting justice in a country where Christians have little legal or societal standing. Mukhtar Masih, an elder of the area Presbyterian church, said the Christians were helpless as the Muslims held sway over local police.

“Several Christian women have complained that the Muslims have harassed them, but this is something that we have to live with every day,” he said, adding that even though the community was shocked, no one was coming forward to help the family because “they are afraid of the Muslims.”

Area resident Arif Masih told Compass that the Christians’ fears were understandable.

“We don’t have anyone who can face the police and the Muslims,” he said. “What happened to Masih’s wife is very tragic and can happen to any one of us, but is there really anything we can do about it?”


Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

Officials Ban House Church in Sichuan; Believers Petition Government - Christian Newswire

Officials Ban House Church in Sichuan; Believers Petition Government - Christian Newswire:

GUANGYUAN, Sichuan, China, Sept. 21, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Responding to a ban closing down their church, Christians belonging to the Shangxi House Church in the city of Guangyuan, in southwest China's Sichuan province, have petitioned the government arguing that it is in compliance with the law, ChinaAid has learned.

Overflow Cafe Raises Giving Target to $1.2M Per Year - Christian Newswire

Overflow Cafe Raises Giving Target to $1.2M Per Year - Christian Newswire:

TORONTO, Ontario, Sept. 21, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Overflow Cafe, a website promotion company, is raising it's giving target to $1.2 Million per year. The focus of the giving will mostly be life saving and life improving work in Canada and the USA with a few smaller projects earmarked for overseas. The Christian owned company believes in regularly giving a percentage of their income to charities.

Hal Lindsey says ‘Last Days’ are here as Israel is surrounded by enemies

Hal Lindsey says ‘Last Days’ are here as Israel is surrounded by enemies:

By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

LOS ANGELES (ANS) -- Noted Christian author and speaker Hal Lindsey says the ‘Last Days’ are here, as Bible prophecies made thousands of years ago seem close to fulfillment.

Miracles of Leadership

Miracles of Leadership:

By Riaz Anjum
Special to ASSIST News Service

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Since the birth of the universe, problems and challenges has always been part of life. Although the nature of difficulties have always been different, but life and problems have been inseparable. It is true that the nature of problems of one nation, country or community is different than others therefore they adopt different ways of struggle and strategy to solve their problems.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

China's Forced Abortion Policy Turns 31 -- Congressional Hearing September 22 - Christian Newswire

China's Forced Abortion Policy Turns 31 -- Congressional Hearing September 22 - Christian Newswire:

'via Blog this'

Christians in Somalia Bear the Brunt of al-Qaeda-Linked Terror Group

Christians in Somalia Bear the Brunt of al-Qaeda-Linked Terror Group: SOMALIA (ANS) -- The decapitated body of a Christian man, Juma Nuradin Kamil, was found in Bakool region of Southwestern Somalia on Sept. 2. Read more...

Militant Islam

Militant Islam:
Militant Islam has become a widely discussed topic in today’s society, as Christians, Americans, and the world as a whole debate whether or not Islam is a peaceful religion with a few subverted radicals, or if Islam as a whole is pervaded by violence and terror.
In 10 Minutes, author Jeremy Reynalds provides insight into this debate through the actions of two young Muslims, Ahmed and Ayman, who murder innocent citizens in a video store in order to bring glory to Allah by sending a message condemning the sin of Western civilization through the store, which refused to remove its “Adults Only” section. Read more...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Somali Christian confirmed dead, decapitated

Mission Network News: Somalia (MNN) ― Juma Nuradin Kamil, a Christian convert from Islam, was kidnapped and found in early September decapitated on the outskirts of Hudur City in southwestern Somalia. A contact of Compass Direct News was recently able to confirm the murder. Read more...

Missionary's Wife Dies in Earthquake - Christian Newswire

Missionary's Wife Dies in Earthquake - Christian Newswire:

CARROLLTON, Texas, Sept. 19, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- A Gospel for Asia-supported missionary's wife died Sunday when an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck Sikkim, India.

Monday, September 19, 2011

India Briefs: Recent Incidents of Persecution

By Mahruaii Sailo
Chhattisgarh, India, September 19 (Compass Direct News) – On Aug. 27 in Jashpur, police arrested eight Christians after Hindu extremists filed a police complaint against them of forceful conversion. A source reported that Nevanti Bhagat, a widow, invited pastor Jaikant Badiak from Jhardkhand and other local pastors and Christians to her house for supper and a prayer meeting. At about 9 p.m., when the Christians were about to leave, the extremists suddenly stormed the house, along with media representatives, and forcibly took Pastor Badiak and seven Christians to the police station. Officers registered a case against the Christians based on the extremists’ complaint for criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and forcible conversion. Of the Christians, six men went to Jashpur jail, and two women to Raigarh jail. The men were released on bail on Aug. 30, and the two women the next day. Two local dailies published stories on the incident.
Karnataka – Police on Aug. 21 arrested a pastor after Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal beat him in Mudhol, Bagalkot. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that pastor Sangappa Hosamani Shadrak was conducting a prayer meeting when about 20 Bajrang Dal (Youth Wing of the World Hindu Council) stormed the gathering and beat the pastor and desecrated the bread and wine used for Holy Communion. The extremists punched the pastor on his face several times – resulting in the loss of his front teeth – dragged him out to the street, tied him to a tree and called police. Officers from Lokapura, including one identified only as Inspector Choudhary, arrived and took Pastor Shadrak and other Christians to the police station for questioning. The pastor was charged with injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class under various parts of Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code. The pastor was sent to Jamkotai jail and was released on bail the next day after area Christian leaders intervened, reported the GCIC.
Andhra Pradesh – On Aug. 16 in Amistapur, Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh attacked pastor Vandala John and accused him of forceful conversion. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that at about 9 a.m. the extremists vandalized a Christian hostel for girls and accused the warden, identified only as Pastor Sudhakar, of trying to convert the residents to Christianity. The extremists destroyed all Christian literature, according to the AICC. As Pastor John arrived at the hostel premises to help the Christians, the extremists beat him up and accused him of forceful conversion.
Karnataka – Hindu extremists attacked church members in Narshipura, Hassan on Aug. 15 at a national Independence Day celebration and broke the arm of one of the Christians. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that the extremists threatened to murder a church leader identified only as Pastor Annaya and other church members for their faith in Christ. The AICC reported the pastor as saying, “This is just the beginning of a series of violence against our church,” as the Christians had been threatened by anti-Christian elements for more than a week. Pastor Annaya said he fears for his life and those of other Christians as the extremists have repeatedly threatened to kill them. A police complaint has been filed against the attackers.
Andhra Pradesh – Hindu extremists on Aug. 14 attacked a prayer meeting and injured three Christian converts in Basavanagudi, Narasipura, Arasikere, Hassan district. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that the mob, led by area Hindu extremists leaders identified only as Venkatesh and Annappa, attacked the Christians with clubs and sticks after spreading false rumors that they were involved in forceful conversions. Christians identified only as Raju, Chandru and Venkatamma were injured, with Raju receiving hospital treatment for a serious hand wound. Both parties filed police complaints at Halebeedu police station. In response to the complaints, area police Inspector B. K. Manjaiah, accompanied by the local block development officer on a visit to the site, and officials held a peace committee meeting to try to resolve the differences. The GCIC also reported that officials assured Christians that expenses incurred for the treatment of Raju and others would be reimbursed, and that they may also continue with their prayers inside their own houses.
Andhra Pradesh – Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal on Aug. 12 forced 150 Dalit Christians to “reconvert” to Hinduism in Perampeta, West Godavari district. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that the Christians were taken in the early morning to Ramalayam Temple in Perampeta village and were forced to recite mantras. After the intervention of GCIC, the area deputy inspector general promised to send police officers to investigate. At press time the area Christians were living in fear, as one who was distributing Bibles in Jangareddygudem was later beaten and harassed, reported the GCIC.                           
Andhra Pradesh – A pastor was severely beaten and pushed off a running train on Aug. 10 by a group of Hindus on a pilgrimage in Adilabad district after he tried to share his faith with them. Returning from Warrangal after visiting a student in a seminary, Pastor Swamidas Jula boarded a train in Kazipet at around 1:30 pm to return to Manchiyal, the All India Christian Council (AICC) reported. On seeing some people returning from a Hindu pilgrimage, he began distributing some tracts and later began to proclaim Christ to them. Taunting him, a group of pilgrims beat the pastor and prevented him from getting off the train at his designated stop, according to the AICC. The extremists continued to verbally and physically abuse the pastor, robbed him of 3,000 rupees (US$60) and his cell phone, and then pushed him off the train. The pastor was admitted to a hospital for five days for treatment of fractures on both his arms, injuries to his head and back and the loss of a tooth, AICC reported. He identified the group as speaking in the Oriya language, and area Christian leaders assisted him in filing a case against the assailants.
Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

Catholic Priest in War-Torn Sudanese State Repeatedly Detained

Previously tortured clergyman threatened with death if he returns to area of South Kordofan.
Special to Compass Direct News
KHARTOUM, Sudan, September 19 (Compass Direct News) – A Roman Catholic priest of Kadugli parish in Sudan’s embattled South Kordofan is in hiding after being detained three times in the past three months.
Authorities tortured the Rev. Abraham Lual on two of those occasions with accusations that as a Christian he opposes northern forces’ military campaign in the disputed region, he told Compass by phone.
Detained at 10:20 a.m. on Sept. 6 and interrogated for five hours at the security unit’s head office in El-Obied, Lual told Compass that authorities are monitoring his movements and those of other church leaders on the assumption that they are supported by Western Christians opposed to Islam and the north’s military push for territory in South Kordofan.
He was also detained for two days in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, on Aug. 28, and the torture he suffered left him with injuries to his left leg, he said. Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) agents had also arrested him on June 8, accusing him of preaching that people should oppose the Islamic government, he said; authorities tortured him for two days at that time as well.
Lual’s church building had been gutted by fire in the fighting, and during the Aug.28 interrogation authorities threatened to kill him if he returned to visit the burned structure in the war-torn town, he said.
“You are preaching against Islamic government and opposing its teaching and rules,” they said as they beat him, he said.
Lual said it will take him a long time to recover from the trauma of the Aug. 28 mistreatment.
“I am totally traumatized as a result of what they did to me and members of my congregation,” he said. “They have badly mistreated me. I ask God to help me remain strong in faith as well as my displaced members and all Christian communities who are facing persecution.”
Armed conflict in Kadugli broke out between southern and northern militaries on June 6 after northern forces seized Abyei in May.
Christian sources said Sudanese authorities in the Muslim-majority north are targeting Christians in the battle for South Kordofan because officials seek to rid Sudan of Christianity, which they perceive as anti-Islam and pro-West, Christian sources said. Lual said he has become the target of security forces because he is a church leader.
“On my arrival there, they were already monitoring my movements without my knowledge,” he said. “They also asked about who the church is getting money from and who are supporting the missionary activities.”
Lual said he went to Kadugli to see the remnants of the church buildings that were destroyed three months ago, when forces loyal to the Sudan government and supported by Islamic militias “killed Christians and destroyed churches.”
“Most of the congregation members have been displaced, and some of them were even shot dead,” he told Compass by phone. “They are now like sheep without a shepherd.”
Christian sources in South Kordofan have confirmed that SAF and Islamic militias in Kadugli burned church schools and church buildings, he said.
“They burned the Catholic church and looted everything, as well as other churches in Kadugli such as the Sudanese Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Sudan Presbyterian Church of Sudan,” Lual said.
The military forces burned a Catholic guest house in Kadugli and the church’s Comboni School, he added.
“My main concern is my scattered congregation, most of whom have become displaced in their own home land,” he said, “and the Islamic government continues to refuse aid agencies seeking to provide assistance to the stricken displaced, saying that this will give room to Christian organizations to step in and Christianize the region.”
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir told media on Aug. 23 that the government did not want any relief assistance unless humanitarian organizations first handed it over to officials to distribute. Al-Bashir, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity in Darfur, asserted last year that after the July 9 separation from South Sudan, (north) Sudan would be based on sharia (Islamic law) and Islamic culture, with Arabic as the official language.
Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

Praying in Paris streets outlawed - Telegraph

Praying in Paris streets outlawed - Telegraph:

Praying in the streets of Paris is now against the law, after Interior Minister Claude Guéant warned that police would use force if Muslims, and those of any other religion, disobeyed the new rule to keep Paris' public spaces secular, the Religion News Service reports. After a controversy arose in December when a French politician brought to national attention "more than a thousand" Muslims blocking streets every Friday to pray, and likened them to a "Nazi occupation," President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a debate on Islam and secularism and went on to say that multiculturalism had failed in France. "The street is for driving in, not praying," Guéant said, adding that the ban could be extended to the rest of France. France has Europe's largest Muslim population, an estimated total of five million.

Press releases - Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Press releases - Christian Solidarity Worldwide:

Traditionalist Catholics in the state of Puebla recently threatened to “lynch and crucify” about 70 evangelical Protestants, and Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling on the Mexican government to protect the religious minorities, who sought refuge in a church and expressed fear for their lives. CSW has also asked the government to intervene in another town in Puebla, where local authorities cut off water supply to Baptists who refused to give money to a Catholic religious festival. Mervyn Thomas, CSW’s chief executive, said: “While we agree that the Mexican government should remain neutral in religious matters, this does not mean that it can stand by while the most basic rights of its people are violated. The Mexican government must uphold religious freedom for all.” Conflicts between Catholics and Protestants are common in Mexican states like Puebla where there are large indigenous populations.

Pre-Born to 'Speak' Through Live Ultrasounds on Capitol Hill, Christian News

Pre-Born to 'Speak' Through Live Ultrasounds on Capitol Hill, Christian News:

Members of Congress will be able to hear for themselves on October 13 what the beginning of life sounds like, straight from the womb, through the use of “real time” ultrasounds performed on women in the first through third trimesters of pregnancy. The Christian Post reports that all 535 members of Congress are invited to the "Voices of the Womb" event in the Congressional Auditorium, which is also open to the public. Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said, "For the first time in history, the preborn children of America are coming to Capitol Hill to have their voices 'heard' in our nation's capital." The event will kick off the "Voices of the Womb" national campaign, which will include a tour throughout the nation performing ultrasounds in schools, churches, state Capitols, parks and legislative hearings.

FBI halts training lecture critical of Muslims

FBI halts training lecture critical of Muslims:

The FBI has dropped a training lecture that had come under criticism for its portrayal of Muslims, according to USA Today. The lecture, which was presented at the FBI's training ground to counterterrorism-designated agents, included the statements that devout Muslims were more likely to be violent, that Muslims’ destructive tendencies could not be reversed, that Muslim law justified any war against non-believers and that “a moderating process [could not] happen if the Koran continued to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.” FBI spokesman Christopher Allen said the training was derived from a variety of open-source publications that included opinions of analysts, but Robert McFadden of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service contended that the lecture was “no way to stop actual terrorists.”

Mission Network News

Mission Network News:

Religious rights watchdog group notes the glaring omissions from Religious Freedom Commission

Mission Network News

Mission Network News:

Orphans threatened for faith in Laos