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Evangelist Shot Dead in Pakistan

Christian who wanted to serve the poor had received threats from area Muslims.
By Murad Khan
KARACHIPakistan, November 18 (Compass Direct News) – An evangelist was shot dead here on Wednesday (Nov. 16) by an unidentified gunman in what his family believes was a radical Muslim group’s targeting of a Christian.
Zahid Jameel, 25, told Compass that his father, Jameel Saawan, and a helper were opening the doors of their cosmetics shop in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Pakistan’s commercial hub of Karachi on Wednesday morning when a young man appeared and shot his father, first in the neck and then in the face.
The assassin fled on a motorcycle on which two people were waiting, keeping watch for him, Jameel said.
“We firmly believe that my father was killed because of his preaching of the Bible, because there is no other reason,” Jameel said.
His father had not spoken of any threats on his life in recent weeks, though he had received threats after voicing his desire to start a welfare organization for poor Christians in the Essanagri area of Karachi two years ago, Jameel said.
“That could not materialize after he started receiving threats from some unknown forces,” Jameel said. “We do not know who threatened him, but my mother persuaded him not to put his life in danger, for our sake.”
Nevertheless, Jameel said that his father continued to preach and was widely respected for being a vocal supporter of the Christian community.
“We live in a rented apartment and our shops are also on lease – we don’t have any property, and no enemies, which is why we are shocked by our father’s killing,” he said. “It wasn’t a robbery, because the assassin only walked towards my father and shot at him.”
Zahid said that his mother was in a state of shock, as were his three sisters and older brother, Shahid.
“Our father has been gunned down for no reason at all,” Jameel said. “He used to share the Word with Muslims, but I have never heard that he entered into an argument with any person.”
Jameel said that the family had moved to Karachi from Quetta about 10 years ago, with his father starting the cosmetics business two years later.
“My father was a very religious man, and some years ago he decided that it was time for him to reach out to the people and share the Good News with them,” he said. “Every day he would visit several families to share the Word of God and was very content with his life.”
His father used to sit with him at his shop from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., then go off to visit Christian families to share the Bible, Jameel said. On the day of the murder, however, his father reached the shop 15 minutes ahead of him.
“The young boy who helps me in my shop told us that he was opening the locks of the other door when he heard a gunshot,” he said. “The boy then saw my father trying to grasp the assailant, but the man fired another bullet that hit my father in the cheek and exited from the back of his head, killing him instantly.”
Michael Javed, a former member of the Sindh provincial assembly, told Compass that he had known the victim for several years, as both of them are from Quetta.
“Saawan was a very good man and was always eager to help his community,” Javed said. “I also think that he was killed by some religious forces, because he had shared with me once that he was receiving threats from some quarters.”
The former legislator said that no one had come forward to record statements with the police because of fears for their security, and it was highly unlikely that Saawan’s killers would be caught.
“There used to be quite a few cases of such nature in Sindh, but now the situation for minorities is worsening,” he said. “The government needs to make efforts to provide security to our people.”
Napolean Qayyum of the Pakistan People’s Party Minorities Wing told Compass that the PPP-led Sindh government would make all possible efforts to apprehend Saawan’s killers.
“President Asif Zardari’s spokesman has told me that the president had tasked Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan to investigate the incident and report back to him,” he said, adding that Wassan was likely to visit the family today.
Sharing Life Ministry’s Sohail Johnson said he regretted that the killing of the evangelist would instill further fear in Christians in the city.
“Pastor Saawan’s brutal murder shows that the forces of extremism and intolerance will go to any extent to disrupt peace and harmony in Pakistan,” he said.
Although police registered the case on Wednesday (Nov. 16), they have yet to make any progress in the investigation, sources said.
Saawan’s family was preparing for his burial today, still holding onto some hope that one day his killers will be brought to justice.
Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

Friday, November 18, 2011

Somali Christians Find Danger Follows Them to Kenya

Hostility toward converts from Islam shadows refugees to neighboring country.
By Simba Tian

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 17 (Compass Direct News) – One Christian left his native Somalia 10 years ago and another fled as Muslim extremists were bombing his house earlier this year, but both Somali converts from Islam feel they are still in danger in Kenya.

In February, Islamic extremists from the al Shabaab militia fighting for control of Somalia reduced Mohammed Abdi Mose’s house in Mogadishu to ashes as he evacuated his family, the 54-year-old father of seven told Compass. His head bears a scar where shrapnel struck, and he requires medicine to limit the injury’s damage to his memory.

“It was midnight, and it was raining,” he said. “No moonlight; no light; I said, ‘We are moving.’ Amid the bullets and mortar shells, I had four kids on me, and my wife had three kids on her, with the older boy and girl walking – the smaller ones were on us.”

About 150 people died that night in military fighting, but Mose said it was no accident that his house was targeted. Earlier that month the Muslim extremists, who had suspected he was a convert to Christianity as he had worked for Christian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), confirmed that he had come to faith in Christ and was therefore worthy of death. They tied his hands behind him and began hitting him with sticks and metallic objects, he said.

He sustained a deep cut on his heel. They stomped on his stomach, damaging his urinary system, he said. Neighbors who heard his cries came out in large numbers, forcing the attackers to flee. Mose said he knew then it was time to relocate.

After spending a month with neighbors recovering from his injuries, he and his family fled to Lower Juba in March, then to Kismayo. Kismayo is al Shabaab’s economic lifeline, where the extremists receive goods by ship, as well as ransom money from piracy. The Kenyan military has besieged the port town in an effort to flush out the militants after they were blamed for a spate of kidnappings of foreigners inside Kenyan territory.

Closely monitored by al Shabaab in Kismayo, the family headed toward Kenya in April, renting a donkey to carry their luggage and youngest child, 4 (their oldest, a daughter, is 19). Mose said it took them 18 days to traverse the 370 kilometers (230 miles) to Liboi, the border town on the Kenyan side, where the donkey died of exhaustion. They still had 100 kilometers (62 miles) to go to reach refugee camps in Dadaab.

For the next six months, the family lived in the Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab, where people flow freely in and out of the camp, including al Shabaab members in civilian garb. In September, Mose said, some al Shabaab members in the camp threatened to kill him. Somali Christian contacts in Kenya helped Mose move his family away from the border last month.

Having worked for NGOs while in Somalia, Mose became a target as al Shabaab sees the organizations as either Christian or spies for the West, he said. That reputation has followed him, subjecting his family to discrimination not only from the militants but also from other Somali Muslims; the threat continues in his undisclosed location in Kenya, which is more than 82 percent Christian with a Muslim population of 8.32 percent, according to Operation World.

Mose’s wife bakes and sells bread to try to feed the family. She is due to give birth in January – to twins – and the family fears she may be unable to continue her micro-enterprise. Mose, meantime, said he is still in pain.

“At the moment, I cannot do heavy work,” he said. “I have a lot of pain in my lower abdomen which needs medical attention. My back is also not good. Indeed our situation is not promising, especially taking care of a family of nine as a refugee. If we get asylum, then it will save my family.”

Another Somali convert from Islam arrived in Kenya in 2001, but he and his family also are seeking a third country after Muslims in Nairobi recently posted his photo in a mosque, accusing him of being a threat to Islam.

The Muslims of Nairobi’s Somali enclave in Eastleigh found out that Adam Musse Othman, 60, had translated biblical portions into Maay, one of the Somali dialects, and they also got hold of a copy of the Jesus Film that Othman had translated into Maay; they were able to identify the voice-over in the film as his, he said.

Othman said he was not safe from Islamic extremists in Nairobi who told him by phone that they were aware of his involvement in the production of the Christian film and the translation of biblical passages into Maay.

“I cannot take such threats lightly, hence my request for resettlement on security grounds where we can live peacefully, decently and freely – also, to save ourselves from death and violence,” he said.

Othman, who walks with the aid of a cane and said he is suffering from various ailments, said he has made several applications to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for resettlement and is awaiting a reply.

“I feel that our case needs urgent attention, given the current situation surrounding our well-being,” he said. “With the increasing radicalization of Islam in Somalia, and the potential spillover effects into Kenya, I feel unsafe living in Kenya with my family.”

Othman said his absence from mosque prayers had led his Muslim friends and relatives to shun him and his family.

“There are no cordial relations between us, and I have received several threatening phone calls and short text messages in my phone by people who claim to know that I am a Christian,” he said. “I have reported this matter to Pangani police station. The threats to me and my family from Islamic radicals are still haunting me here in Nairobi. There are people who know me and my family and are suspicious of my faith. When my wife visits Eastleigh, she has to cover her face to avoid being identified.”

Othman left Somalia fearing either the civil war or those hostile to his Christian faith would kill him, he said.

“The current situation in Somalia, the emergence of al Shabaab and the introduction of sharia[Islamic law], makes it unthinkable that I can ever return to Somalia,” he said.
He worked as medical liaison officer with a Christian NGO based in Mogadishu between 1992 and 1995; later his family moved to Baidoa when the war intensified.

“That kind of work proved dangerous to me since I started getting threatening phone calls from Islamic extremists,” he said. “I also felt that some members of my sub-clan who knew about me were not happy, judging from the way they constantly challenged me to state my spiritual standing since I was working with a Christian NGO, and this made me feel highly insecure.”

At first he did not take the threats seriously, he said. But then Islamic extremists shot dead his cousin, Abdi Washed, a Christian, in Mogadishu in 1994, and shortly thereafter three friends were killed at Bakaro Market in Mogadishu.

“The killings were carefully planned assassinations,” he said. “I was then warned by my close friends and relatives that I was next in the list of Christians targeted for assassination.”

Heavy fighting in Baidoa made it difficult for Othman to cross into Kenya. He was able to leave Somalia by air in 2001, and the following year his family joined him after traveling on foot and by bus.

Previously he had worked in Yemen with a Christian group, he said, arriving there in 1986 after completing theological studies abroad. It would prove to be one of his first experiences with people hostile to Christianity.

“Some people unknown to me reported to the Yemeni authorities that I was a Christian,” he said. “I was arrested and imprisoned for nine months that year at Sana’a Central Prison.”


Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

House Church Leaders Attacked near Hanoi, Vietnam

Pastor Nguyen Duy Duong (Compass Direct News)

Gang presumably doing bidding of authorities seriously injures men, women, children.
Special to Compass Direct News
HANOI, Vietnam, November 16 (Compass Direct News) – A gang of men attacked leaders of a Baptist house church network near Hanoi on Sunday (Nov. 13), leaving one pastor unconscious and seriously injuring several others, including women and teenage children.
Leaders of the Agape Baptist Church were participating in a spiritual renewal meeting at the home of pastor Nguyen Danh Chau in Lai Tao village, Bot Xuyen commune, My Duc district, when the gang intruded at 9:30 a.m., sources said. Beating people and smashing property, the gang seriously injured more than a dozen participants and warned Nguyen Danh Chau that they would kill him if he continued gathering Christians, the sources in Vietnam said.
With the attack underway, the sources said, some gang members ran outside and announced to the neighborhood, “Oh heavens, the Christian pastors are savagely beating up people!” This attracted a large crowd, which the gang hoped would prevent any Christians from escaping.
The seriously injured Christians included five male pastors, four female pastors and other church leaders, and several of the leaders’ teenage children. The worst wounded, Nguyen Danh Chau, lay unconscious for many hours, and as of midnight Tuesday (Nov. 15), he was still suffering severe chest, stomach and head pain.
One pastor’s wife, Nguyen Thi Lan, was still unable to walk and function normally at press time after she was struck in the stomach and groin. Others remained weak from loss of blood. The Christians were punched in the mouth and face, the chest and the back. Some were savagely kicked as they lay on the floor.
The denomination’s top leader, Nguyen Cong Thanh, who rushed up from the south to visit the beleaguered leaders, reported that he planned to take the injured to a nearby hospital today; he feared, however, that he would encounter resistance. When doctors in Vietnam learn that religious motives play a role in violence, commonly they do not dare to treat or even examine the victims of persecution.
Attacking on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, observed worldwide by thousands of churches affiliated with the World Evangelical Alliance, the gang smashed a dozen plastic chairs, overturned a pulpit and tore a cross from the wall and threw it into a nearby pond, leaving no doubt as to their motivation. They also stole valuable parts from four motorcycles belonging to the pastors before smashing the remainder of the vehicles. Valued at more than US$1,000 each, the motorbikes represent a huge loss for the church leaders.
Before leaving, the gang stopped long enough to destroy the family’s kitchen garden and fruit trees, sources said.
The Agape Baptist Church is an unregistered house church organization of some 2,200 members who worship regularly in 38 congregations. It was established in 2007. Many of the congregations are located in or near Hanoi and nearby provinces.
Agape Baptist Church head Nguyen Cong Thanh said in a statement Tuesday morning (Nov. 15) that he had met with the injured.
“All they could do was weep, and I also could not prevent my tears from flowing,” he said. “Why do they gratuitously beat servants of the Lord like this – what crime have they committed, what enemies have they made? All we want to do is gather people to worship and serve God and our fellowman. And not only that – the gang destroyed four motorcycles and stole safety helmets, shoes and rain coats from people with very modest means. God have mercy!” 
In the past few years, official policy toward religion in Vietnam is ostensibly more tolerant than it was previously, so it has become a pattern for police and higher authorities to employ gangs for such anti-Christian attacks, according to Christian leaders in Vietnam. The gang members are rarely identified and never prosecuted.  
Vietnam’s ranking among countries with persecution of Christians slipped slightly on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2011 World Watch List. With No. 1 being the worst, Vietnam’s place on the list deteriorated from No. 21 to number No. 18 last year. 
*** A photo of one of the injured pastors, Pastor Nguyen Duy Duong, is attached for subscribers, to be used with credit to Compass Direct News. A high resolution photo is also available; contact Compass for transmittal.
Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

U.S. Refugee Clampdown Leaves Iraqi Christians in Limbo

By Julian Lukins 
Special to ASSIST News Service

SEQUIM, WA (ANS) -- Hundreds of Christians fleeing persecution in Iraq have had their bid to resettle in the United States dashed by new security measures.

Iraqi refugees arriving in the US
According to Baltimore-based refugee resettlement agency World Relief, 14,000 refugees have been placed “on hold” overseas since June, creating a “massive” backlog.

Most of them are Iraqis fleeing troubles in Iraq – and about 40 percent of them are persecuted Christians, said World Relief’s Jenny Yang.

Hundreds of refugees – unable to return home because of fears for their safety – have been denied entry to the U.S. as authorities seek to weed out potential terrorists, Yang said.

The clampdown began after two Iraqis were arrested in Kentucky in May and charged with aiding al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Beefed-up background checks have clogged the refugee pipeline, preventing Iraqi Christians and others from receiving clearance to come to the U.S., said Yang, the agency’s advocacy director.

Refugee admissions into the U.S. have nosedived in recent months since the enhanced U.S. Department of Homeland Security checks were introduced, according to David Mills, World Relief’s refugee program manager, who said the agency’s caseload was slashed by a third.
U.S. refugee admissions fell drastically following the 9/11 attacks, but picked up in recent years, approaching pre-9/11 levels.

Iraqi refugees escapting the violence, but still in the Middle East
Nearly half of all Iraqi refugees – 47 percent – were being denied entry to the U.S. because of the new security measures which block anyone with “irregularities” in their case review, Mills said. Irregularities – such as gaps in documentation – are common because many refugees flee their homes at a moment’s notice, often with no official papers. Many Middle Easterners, Iraqis in particular, have similar names and a refugee can be mistakenly confused with a name on a terror watchlist.

“We’ve heard of an 80-year-old grandmother being denied (entry),” Mills said.
The precise reason why individuals are refused refugee status in the U.S. is unclear, Yang said. “When we’ve raised these cases, we’ve not gotten any clear reasons yet,” she said. “It’s causing a lot of confusion.”

Julian Lukins on a reporting trip to Cambodia
Victims of persecution include those who are harassed or discriminated against and those threatened with physical violence or imprisonment because of their religious beliefs.

The clampdown is especially hurting Iraqi Chaldean Christians, according to Rafat Ita, a social worker in the Detroit area where 160,000 Chaldeans live – the largest settlement outside Iraq.

“These (Christian refugees) cannot go back to Iraq because they could be killed,” he said. “Now they are stuck in neighboring countries where they cannot work, cannot go to school and cannot worship freely. The only hope they have is to come to America and now that hope is in ruins.”

Ita, an Iraqi Chaldean immigrant who works with Lutheran Social Services, said refugee admissions had slowed to a trickle and he does not see the situation changing any time soon.
Iraqi Christians living in the Detroit area are desperate to be reunited with close family members stranded overseas.

“We’re not a violent group,” Ita said. “We’re Christians who believe in peace.”
Meanwhile, Christians and others fleeing religious persecution in Iran have hit a stumbling block to beginning a new life in America, traditionally a place of refuge for Iranian evangelicals fearful for their lives.

Hundreds of persecuted Iranian Christians are in limbo in Austria after the sudden halt of a U.S. program aimed at protecting religious minorities. Since 1989, the U.S. program has given asylum to 440,000 persecuted Christians and others from Iran, as well as Christians and Jews from the former Soviet Union.

More than a hundred members of the U.S. Congress are pushing for the program to be re-started, calling it “a critical safety valve.”

Julian Lukins, a former daily newspaper reporter in the UK, is a writer and journalist based in Washington State. He has reported extensively on Christian persecution and other issues affecting Christians worldwide. He can be contacted by e-mail at:

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Afghan Christians in Danger at Home and Abroad

By Aidan Clay
Special to ASSIST News Service

NEW DELHI, INDIA (ANS) -- The following urgent message from Obaid S. Christ, an Afghan Christian living in New Delhi, arrived in my inbox two weeks ago:
Screen capture taken from a video of four militants preparing to behead Afghan Christian, Abdul Latif
“I just received a warning call from a person who introduced himself as an [official at the Afghan embassy]… If I don't go to the embassy in two hours to meet him, he will arrest [me] and present me to the embassy through the Indian police… Please pray and be in contact, and if in case something happens, my wife will contact you. He was claiming that I convert people from Islam to Christianity.”

The calls continued throughout the day. “They were very angry and saying that they will hit me by knife and kill me,” the exile, who changed his name after fleeing Afghanistan in 2007 when an Islamic court issued an arrest warrant for his conversion, told me in reference to the third call he received late that night.

Threats against Afghan converts to Christianity should not be taken lightly. Conversion is viewed as a serious crime in Afghanistan and Christians are frequently targeted by both the government and extremists. Earlier this year, a video was released of the beheading of an Afghan man, Abdul Latif, by four Islamist militants near Herat. The militants, who claim to be the Taliban, read a passage from the Hadiths before executing the victim: “Mohammad (peace be upon him) says, ‘Whoever changes his religion should be executed.’”

Neither are Afghan Christians safe outside their homeland. In September, an Afghan convert was scalded with boiling water and acid at a refugee processing center in Norway. “If you do not return to Islam, we will kill you,” his attackers reportedly told him.

For Obaid, the menacing calls were not the first time he felt threatened since arriving in India. “Our community is a persecuted and rejected community,” he told me last April. “We left behind all our belongings in Afghanistan just to save our lives by leaving Afghanistan. Here in India, we are receiving no legal and physical protection from the UNHCR Office or Indian government. We are harassed, attacked, insulted and persecuted by Indian Muslims and Afghan Muslim refugees in this city.”

The persecution of Afghan Christian refugees is sometimes ignored by the very agencies that are mandated to protect them. Aman Ali and his family fled Afghanistan in June 2010 following a television broadcast showing footage of Afghans being baptized. Though Aman’s conversion was already known in his community, the broadcast stirred animosity towards Christians which led to nationwide protests and the arrests of several converts.

An Afghan Christian who was burned at a refugee processing center in Norway for refusing to comply with Ramadan fasting rules (Photo courtesy Mohabat News)
“Someone had reported my activities to the secret police of Afghanistan and they were looking for evidence to arrest me, but I was so careful and had to stop my work,” Aman told ICC. “After the television showed pictures from a baptism ceremony, the Afghan government started arresting believers from different parts of Kabul… Most Afghan believers were scared… and left the country. So did me and my family.”

Aman immediately applied for refugee status with the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) upon arrival in New Delhi, but was rejected and told that he failed to meet the criteria set forth in Article 6B of the UNHCR Statute which states that in order to receive refugee status, one must have a “well-founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion.” It was clear to Aman that the UNHCR did not consider his conversion as a legitimate threat to his life.

Ratimullah from Mazar-i-Sharif fled at the same time as Aman and for the same reasons. Like Aman, Ratimullah’s application for refugee status was also rejected along with seven other applicants. The applicants have spent months in hiding, fearful that if caught by the Indian police they will be deported back to Afghanistan. “I cannot return to my country because I will be arrested and executed by the Afghan government,” Ratimullah wrote in an appeal to the UNHCR. “A definite death is waiting for me in my homeland.”

Afghan Christian refugees in India are not alone. Similar requests have been denied by the UNHCR in other countries as well, including Britain. The Guardian reported an Afghan Christian asylum seeker, Ahmed Faizi, as saying, “If the Taliban don't execute me for being a Christian, my family will,” just before his deportation last April.

“They will kill me for being Christian,” Ali Hussani, another deportee, said. “There are only Muslims there.”

Their predictions are ringing true amidst renewed threats by the Taliban to purge Christians – both foreign and national – from the country. A statement posted on an official website on October 18 warned that “special plans” have been made to “destroy all (Christian) centers one by one.” A translation of the notice declares:

“Under the name of this shameful and corrupt democracy, there are all kinds of pagans entering into our country. Thousands of Christian missionaries have also entered our country under the name and cover of aid societies and NGOs (organizations). They are busy with their activities (evangelizing) and have the support of foreign and Afghan forces, claiming that they are giving humanitarian and social help to people…

“According to our reports, these Christian evangelists and social organizations are directly inviting Afghans to Christianity… These infidels, enemies of Islam under the name of corrupt democracy and their lords, need to know that the Afghan Islamic Emirate is seriously taking your activities into consideration… The Afghan Islamic Emirate will take practical measures and has already made special plans to destroy all [their] centers one by one; the centers where plans are made that destroy the holy religion of Islam and Afghan culture.”

The warning should not be ignored, Obaid told me. “The centers’ activities are being observed, Afghan converts are identified, and it is planned to destroy the centers. This is serious!” Some foreigners in the country, however, have heard similar declarations in the past and view the threat as merely Taliban propaganda.

Hundreds of Afghan Christians, like Obaid, remain on the run from religious-based persecution that targets them at home and abroad. “In the modern world, where we have NATO, the UN, human rights commissions, and governments which claim they fight for democracy and give protection for those who are persecuted, I cannot find a place in this world where I am protected,” Obaid lamented.

Aidan Clay is the Middle East Regional Manager for International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington, DC-based human rights organization that exists to support persecuted Christians worldwide by providing awareness, advocacy, and assistance ( Aidan is a graduate from Biola University. Prior to joining ICC, Aidan worked with Samaritan’s Purse in South Sudan and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He and his wife currently live in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact Aidan Clay at 

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

Pakistani Bishop and Pastor under threat of blasphemy law

By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Two Christian religious leaders, Bishop Pervaiz Joseph and Rev. Baber George, have become the target of a blasphemy law which forced them into hiding with their families in Pakistan.

According to Global Christian Voice, Bishop Pervaiz Joseph leads the Pastors Care Ministries and also serves as the Pastor of a Charismatic Gospel Church located in Lahore, Pakistan. Pastor Baber George is working with the Full Gospel Assemblies Church Pakistan (FGA), which is the oldest and ‘mother church’ of all Pentecostal church movements in Pakistan.
Pastor Baber George also works on a Church-planting project and for Christian minority rights. Bishop Pervaiz Joseph and Pastor Baber George have both been working on Interfaith Harmony and Peace promotion for the last seven years.

Global Christian Voice says that in order to promote religious harmony, Bishop Pervaiz Joseph and Pastor Baber George have been meeting frequently with Muslim religious and political leaders to discuss issues of common interests.

In a meeting on interfaith harmony with Sunni Tehreek in Lahore, in October 2011, the misuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy law was also discussed. Apparently, this was not appreciated by Islamic leaders Rana Tahir Advocate, Nasreen Akhtar Advocate, Mohammad Sher Afghan and Moulana Mukhtar Ahmad Qadri.

The Muslim religious leaders, who were also working with them while they were discussing the misuse of blasphemy laws, during an exchange of communications, claimed that Bishop Joseph used some derogatory remarks against the Muslim Holy Prophet Mohhamed.

Global Christian Voice says Bishop Joseph has left his house and is now is in a safe place with his family.

“However, the truth is that Bishop Joseph and Pastor George never made any derogatory remarks against their Prophet and did not make any such remarks or words against any Prophet,” Global Christian Voice stated in an e-mail to ASSIST News.

According to sources, the International Peace Council for Interfaith Harmony leader Rana Tahir Rahmat, who is the Chairman of IPCIH, and Mulana Mukhtar Ahmad Qadri Zei the Muslim leader of Ahlae Sunat wa Al Jamat( Suni Terreek) and other groups started blackmailing and harassing Pastor George for carrying out evangelism through Interfaith Harmony and Peace Promotion by uplifting the voice of the Christian community rights in Pakistan.

Bishop Joseph and Pastor George both were working with IPCIH when they decided to start a new organization for the Christian Rights and Peace Promoting. Rana Tahir Rahmat and his group then become angry and planned to destroy and kill both Christian leaders by accusing them of blasphemy.

Bishop Joseph and Pastor George have been reported to be in hiding with their families when Islamic leaders announced the blasphemy case would be filed against them.
Sources in the area say Christian clergymen have been receiving threatening phone calls from Islamic leaders.

“International Christian Voice would like to express its deep concern towards a Pakistani Bishop and Pastor who are under threat of the blasphemy law,” said Peter Bhatti, Chairman, International Christian Voice.

“These threats have caused both the bishop and the pastor to flee Pakistan. The misuse of the blasphemy law is getting worse day by day, several Christians and other religious minorities are being targeted in Pakistan,” Bhatti said.

He added: “Last week, three Hindu's were also killed in the midst of a dispute between the Hindu community and a Muslim tribe that took place a short time before mediation attempts were due to begin.

“The minorities of Pakistan are equal citizens of Pakistan and they have equal constitutional rights that must be protected.”

** Michael Ireland is the Senior International Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior International Reporter

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Iranian Pastor on Death Row Under Pressure

Ruling awaited from supreme leader on Christian sentenced to death for leaving Islam.
By Damaris Kremida

Youcef Nadarkhani
ISTANBUL, November 15 (Compass Direct News) – The mistreatment of a pastor in Iran awaiting a decision on his death sentence for refusing to recant his faith amounts to physical and psychological torture, a source close to the pastor’s family said.

Yousef (also spelled Youcef) Nadarkhani, sentenced to death a year ago after a court of appeals in Rasht, Iran, found him guilty of leaving Islam in September 2010, is in deteriorating health, according to a member of Nadarkhani’s denomination, the Church of Iran, who requested anonymity.

He said that communication with Nadarkhani is limited, but that sources close to the imprisoned Christian indicated that he has undergone physical and psychological torture. 

“Certainly he was hit, but his [telephone] conversations are heard [by authorities],” the source said. “We know that he has been in extreme situations, and we consider that torture. When you have spent time in a solitary cell unable to talk to others for a long time, or you are told you will be killed, this is also torture.”

The court in Rasht, 243 kilometers (151 miles) northwest of Tehran, was expected to pronounce a verdict on Nadarkhani’s appeal last month, and sources said the court’s long silence bodes ill. Instead of pronouncing a verdict, the court sent the Christian’s case to the nation’s Islamic authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, to make a ruling.

Authorities have also continued to pressure Nadarkhani to recant his faith while in prison. Last month they gave him Islamic literature aimed at discrediting the Bible, according to sources, and instructed him to read it.

Some sources indicate a ruling could come the second half of December. One said some Iranian Christians believe that, in the face of international outrage over the case, the government would announce a verdict near the Christmas holidays so that it would receive less notice. On Nov. 10, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) reported that a verdict on Nadarkhani’s case was expected in mid-December, regardless of whether there is a ruling by Khamenei.

Authorities arrested Nadarkhani in his home city of Rasht in Oct. 2009 on charges that he questioned obligatory religion classes in Iranian schools. After finding him guilty of apostasy, the court of appeals in Rasht in November 2010 issued a written confirmation of his charges and death sentence.

At an appeal hearing in June, the Supreme Court of Iran upheld Nadarkhani’s sentence but asked the court in Rasht to determine if he was a practicing Muslim before his conversion. The court declared that Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim before his conversion, but that he was still guilty of apostasy due to his Muslim ancestry.

The Supreme Court had also determined that his death sentence could be annulled if he recanted his faith. The Rasht court gave Nadarkhani three chances to recant Christianity in accordance with sharia (Islamic law), but Nadarkhani refused to do so. His final appeal hearings ended on Sept. 28, and the court was expected to make its final decision two weeks from the final hearing.

“For the moment, we are waiting,” said the Church of Iran source. “We have no response for now. The only thing his lawyer told me is that the file went to the Supreme Court, but normally we should have had a response by now.”

There are two more Christians from the Church of Iran, a denomination that Iranian Christians accuse of being “non-Trinitarian,” who are also serving prison sentences. Behnam Irani has been in prison since he was arrested on April 14 in Karaj, charged with “propaganda against the system.”Authorities were due to release him on Oct. 20, but instead they handed him a letter just days before informing him that a five-year prison sentence from 2008 for “action against national security,” which had been suspended, was effective immediately due to the second conviction on a similar charge, according to Mohabat News.

The other incarcerated Christian, Mehdi Foroutan (also known as Petros), has been in prison in Shiraz for two months, serving a one-year sentence for propaganda against the state and “action against national security,” according to sources.

As Christians in Iran are held hostage to the government’s political whims, the source said, the key to their freedom is continued pressure from the international community.

“The pressure is the most important thing,” he said. “When the Iranian state sees pressure, they will understand the world hasn’t forgotten Yousef, Behnam and Petros.”

Nadarkhani’s lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, also faces charges for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime,” due to his human rights activities.

In the past week U.S. State Department Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook called for the release of Pastor Nadarkhani, according to CBN.

“I want to echo President Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s – and repeat my own – condemnation of his conviction and our calls on Iranian authorities to release Pastor Nadarkhani immediately,” Cook said, according to CBN. “I urge all of you to do the same.”

Arrests of Christians
Another wave of arrests is expected this December and January, a favorite time for Iranian authorities to make the rounds at Christian house group meetings, according to the Church of Iran source. He said the best Christmas gift for Iranian Christians this year would be for Western powers and Christians to continue to lobby for their freedoms.

Historically, the Iranian government has cracked down on Christians during the Christmas season, when house group members gather in larger numbers. Last year in a two-month period over the holidays, authorities arrested more than 120 Christians belonging to Iran’s underground church.

All have been released, with a few known exceptions. One of those arrested, Farshid Fathi, 32, has been in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran since Dec. 26, 2010.  He has spent much of that time in solitary confinement and has been mistreated, according to Mohabat News. He is married and has two young children.

Noorollah Ghabitizadeh (also spelled Qabitizade) has been in prison since Dec. 24, 2010. Authorities originally held him in Dezful and later transferred him to Ahwaz as punishment for starting a Bible study at the Dezful prison, Mohabat News reported.

Authorities have reportedly put Ghabitizadeh under intense pressure to renounce Christianity and return to Islam. In his first trial hearing two months ago, a judge pressured him by telling him his death penalty for apostasy would be decided in that court hearing, according to Mohabat News.

On Oct. 17 authorities arrested another Christian convert, Fariborz Arazm, 44, in Robat Karim, according to Mohabat News. His whereabouts and condition are unknown.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International issued a statement denouncing the continual degradation of human rights in Iran and the unwillingness of the government to espouse international human rights practices.

The official religion of Iran is Shiite Muslim, and the country’s laws and regulations are based on sharia.


Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jordan’s king calls on Syria’s President Assad to step down

King Abdullah’s comments came in an exclusive BBC interview

By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

BEIRUT, LEBANON (ANS) -- Jordan's King Abdullah II has become the first Arab leader to openly say Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stand down in the interest of his country.
King Abdullah of Jordan addresses the general debate at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York on September 21, 2011. (Photo credit: Jason Szenes / EPA
via msnbc website).
King Abdullah told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that if he were in Assad's position, he would make sure "whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo."

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, King Abdullah urged President Assad to begin talks on an orderly transition of power.

The BBC reports that many Arab leaders have condemned the crackdown on months of protests in Syria. Dozens of deaths are reported in the latest unrest on Monday.

The BBC said both the Saudi and Qatari ambassadors left Damascus in protest at the repression. The Arab League voted on Saturday to suspend Syria's membership.

However, King Abdullah went further than other Arab leaders in his exclusive interview with BBC World News television.

"If Bashar has the interest of his country [at heart] he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life," he said.

"That's the only way I would see it work and I don't think people are asking that question," he added.
King Abdullah warned there would be "more of the same" if whoever replaced President Assad did not change the status quo.

The BBC says Jordan, which borders Syria, has been increasingly critical of the crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The BBC stated that many Western powers have urged President Assad to stand down. Both the European Union (EU) and the US have said he has lost legitimacy but have ruled out military intervention.

The EU on Monday tightened sanctions on Syria, the BBC said, reporting that EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels added 18 Syrian officials to a list of people affected by a travel ban and asset freeze.

The BBC said the ministers also approved moves to prevent Syria getting funds from the European Investment Bank.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he hoped the UN would finally impose its own sanctions on Syria. Russia and China last month vetoed a Western-sponsored resolution condemning Damascus. The BBC also reported that earlier on Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem reacted defiantly to the Arab League's suspension. He said the decision was illegal, and vowed to overcome "conspiracies" against Damascus.

The Arab League is set to hold another meeting to discuss Syria on Wednesday.

The BBC said Russia on Monday condemned the suspension. "Someone really does not want the Syrians to agree among themselves," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow.

In the latest Syrian violence, the Local Co-ordination Committees -- a network of opponents to President Assad's rule -- said 40 people had been killed on Monday, including 20 in the restive southern province of Deraa.

There are also reports that about 20 members of the security forces were killed in a clash with defectors from the Syrian army, the BBC said.

The BBC reported that such claims are impossible to verify as the Syrian government has severely restricted access for foreign journalists.

The BBC also explained that the UN says more than 3,500 people have died since the start of the protests in March while the Syrian authorities blame the violence on terrorists.

Key Quotes from King Abdullah’s BBC Interview

On Assad stepping down:

"If I were in his shoes, I would step down. If it was me, I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we're seeing. Again, I don't think the system allows for that, so if Bashar has the interests of his country, he would step down but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life."

On a successor:

"This is the first time where I think most leaders in the Middle East don't have a clear answer on Syria. If Bashar was to step down, he needs to step down with changing the way the system deals with its people, so if he was to say 'I'm going to step down but let's have new elections, let's reach out to the people, let's get this as a national dialogue', then it would work. But if you're just going to remove one person and put another person in, I think that you'll continue to see more of the same."

On who's in charge:

"If you understand Syrian politics, he's in front, and the image of Syria is President Bashar. Having said that, both his brother and brother-in-law are very active on military side. So at the end of the day, like all leaders in Middle East, we're in the driving seat, we have to shoulder the responsibility for what happens in that country. But I don't think it is a one-man show, I think there is a team there, and again there is a system that has expectations of whoever is in the driver seat unfortunately."

On violence:

"Whenever you exert violence on your own people it is never going to end well, and so as far as I am concerned, yes there will be an expiration date, but again it is almost impossible for anybody to predict if it would be six weeks, six months or six years."

On reform:

"I honestly believe that he has reform in his blood. The vision that he had for Syria the times that I met him was very encouraging. I think the challenge is does the system allow for reform? So even, as you said, if Bashar was not on the scene, if the regime brings in someone else, does that person get it and realise the world has changed? And that is where I have my doubts."

On attempts at dialogue:

"Well I have spoken to him [Bashar al-Assad] twice earlier this year expressing our frustration and concerns about what was going on in Syria... I even sent the chief of the Royal Court in the late spring to see him again to see if we can't work together in bringing the violence down in Syria. And it became very clear to me that they were not interested in dialogue with Jordan or a lot of other countries unfortunately."

On Middle East politics:

"If Syria is kept in isolation, you are going to continue to see what is going on pretty much the same. However there are other forces at play, there is still the Arab peace proposal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. You have the Arab Spring in general. Recently we have maybe some hype moved on the Iranian portfolio because of the nuclear issue. The Turks are taking more aggressive stands in the north. What's going to happen in Lebanon? As you well know the Middle East is a mosaic of things and I think the problems that are challenging leaders in the Middle East is if there is life after Bashar what is that? And I think a lot of people are concerned because the unknown is scaring them more than the known."

In analysis of the Syrian conflict on the BBC website, Lyse Doucet of BBC News says that King Abdullah's remarks, coupled with the Arab League's decision to suspend Damascus, mark a turning point in the Arab world's approach to Syria.

Doucet writes: “But Jordan's monarch was emphatic that President Assad stepping down was not enough. His call to the Syrian leader was about changing a ‘system.’ He admitted that no-one was clear how to do that, and the Syrian regime still believed it was ‘in a fairly comfortable position.’

"King Abdullah, like many others, also emphasized there was great concern about ‘life after Bashar.’ He warned that any outside intervention in Syria would open ‘Pandora's box.’
“The relationship between two Arab leaders, seen as a new generation when they took over from their fathers, has been under growing strain.

"But King Abdullah said he still believed the Syrian leader had ‘reform in his blood.’ He had reached out to him earlier this year, even if, as he admitted, Jordan was not ‘by any means... a perfect story.’"

Timeline of Growing Foreign Pressure on Syria:

June 10: Turkish PM condemns the "savagery" of the response to the unrest
July 19: Qatar closes its embassy in Damascus after an attack by Assad loyalists
August 8: Saudi Arabia condemns crackdown and recalls its envoy in Damascus
August 10: US imposes new sanctions on Syrian telecom companies and banks
August 18: US, UK, Germany and France call on President Assad to step down; US imposes full ban on oil imports
November 12: Arab League suspends Syria from the organization
November 14: Jordanian king openly urges Assad to go; EU tightens sanctions

** Michael Ireland is the Senior International Correspondent for ANS. He is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can make a donation online under 'Donate' tab, then look for 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' under 'Donation Category' to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' Michael is a member in good standing of the National Writers Union, Society of Professional Journalists, Religion Newswriters Association, Evangelical Press Association and International Press Association. If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Senior International Reporter

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The Muslim daughter who found her Father’s blessing

By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- After she came to Christ, her Muslim father told her she was ‘dead’ from that moment and she was never to grace the doorway of his home. But despite her father’s rejection, she found a new and living way to blessing from the Father of Lights.
Sophia Marsh-Ochsner

Sophia Marsh-Ochsner, the daughter of a Muslim Pakistani father and a Roman Catholic mother grew up in the industrial heartland of West Yorkshire, England. Before her parents married, Sophia’s mother accepted her fiancee’s strict requirement that their children be raised under Islam.

“She assumed that some faith is better than no faith,” Sophia recalls. “She assumed we all believe in the same God.” 
Sophia’s mother was not allowed to mention Jesus or practice her faith inside the home.

Sophia did her best to straddle two cultures. Raised under the tenets and pillars of Islam, she also wanted to adapt and fit in with friends at school. But from an early age, she sensed something missing in her visits to the mosque. “There was a vacuum of God’s presence,” she thought. She struggled to understand the recitations uttered in Arabic and relied on her father for interpretation.

One day a friend in high school invited Sophia to a Christian church. She went without telling her father, and experienced something completely new. “I felt the Spirit of God for the first time,” she says. She left the church wanting to know more about Jesus.

About this time, Sophia’s father was getting more serious about Islam. “It became his only focus, to some degree,” she notes. He went on several pilgrimages to Mecca and spent more and more time in the mosque. “It alienated my mom and caused a lot of friction.”

When Sophia visited the home of the Christian friends’ who invited her to church, she saw an environment within their home that was strikingly different. “I saw grace, peace, and mercy lived-out,” she says.

One day Sophia asked her father about the claims of Jesus Christ. His face darkened, as if she had uttered a curse. “If you ever question Islam – if you think Jesus is the Savior, you will be out on the street,” he warned her.

“I got the message that Islam must be surrendered to, in blind obedience to everything,” Sophia notes. “There was no freedom to wrestle with my faith. I was forced to own it.”

Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and the founder  He is available to speak to groups about the plight of the church in restricted countries, to share stories and testimonies from the mission field, and to preach the gospel.

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‘Cuban Christians Taking Back What the devil Has Stolen’

The Little Old Man Who Cried In Cuba 

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

HAVANA, CUBA (ANS) -- For many, Cuba is an island of mystery and for some Christians, a place of persecution.
A Cuban worshipper

The island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and soon became a territory of Spain. In 1898, the U.S. claimed Cuba during the Spanish-American War. However, in 1902, Cuba gained its independence. The Cuban Revolution occurred between 1953 and 1959, which removed Fulgenicio Batista and installed a government run by Fidel Castro, who declared Cuba a socialist state in 1961. Castro remained in power until falling ill in 2008, at which time he relinquished control of Cuba to his brother, Raul Castro.

Back in April of 2009, President Barack Obama said that the United States wanted a “new beginning” with communist Cuba and was willing to work with its government on issues ranging from human rights to migration and the economy, and lately I have had memories flooding back about the first time I visited the island some years ago.

It took place when I was still living in the UK, and I had taken Bibles into Havana along with a team of Christians.

After a night’s rest in a government hotel, we set off to take our “precious cargo” to a downtown Havana church to hand over to the pastor so he could distribute them across the island.
My parents, Alfred and Ann Wooding pictured by their beloved River Mersey
As we were doing this, a little old Cuban man came running towards me. I was startled as he was the image of my father, the Rev. Alfred Wooding, back in England; small and wiry.

“You’re the one,” he said rapidly. “I knew you would come and pray for me!”

My father’s gray-haired double, his eyes moist with tears, continued, “Yes, I had a dream that some visitors would come from abroad and that one of them — you— would pray for me so that I would receive a special blessing. It was your face I saw in the dream.
I put my arm around his frail shoulders and began praying for him. As I did, I spared a thought for my father, who was some 4,000 miles away. At the time, he was retired and living outside of Liverpool with my mother, Ann. Sadly, since that time, they have both passed away.

A packed Cuban Church
Now here I was in Cuba, at the beginning of a new chapter in my life after many years in journalism in London. It was 1981 and I had walked out on my career with Britain’s tabloids, to begin to serve the Lord through my writing.

Suddenly the old man was sobbing deeply. Several other believers joined with our team of Bible couriers for a time of prayer. Soon another Cuban began weeping and for thirty minutes the two cried like babies.

At the end of this moving prayer time, the elderly man wiped his tears and then thrust his arms around me and hugged me tight. I don’t usually make people cry, and I was quite taken aback by what had just happened.

“Why are you so unhappy?” I asked him as he continued to hold me tight.

“I’m not unhappy,” he said as he loosened his grip, “These are tears of joy. You are the first believer from England to come here in the past twenty years to encourage us. You don’t know what it means to us to realize that we are not forgotten!”

It was at that moment, that I realized that God had put a new call on my life – to help persecuted Christians, like those living in Cuba.
Dan and Norma Wooding with Cuba believers

When Norma, my wife, and myself, started ASSIST some 25 years ago, the first country we visited was Cuba and we began a sister church program where we started linking Cuban churches with those in the United States. (Unfortunately, we no longer have this program.)
I fell in love with the Christians of Cuba and I went back two more times to bring more encouragement and Bibles.

But after I returned to my new home in Southern California after my third trip, I received a huge shock that I had been banned by the government to ever visit the island again.

A friend of mine had been arrested during a trip to the island and was eerily shown my business card by a member of the secret police who asked him if he knew “this person.” My friend didn’t answer the question, but was then told, “If you ever meet him, tell him that if he tries to come back to Cuba, he will be immediately arrested because of the bad stories he has been writing about us.” I guess in some ways that was a badge of honor as it seemed my stories had got under their skin.

Still, I am comforted with the news that the church there is still growing.

The headline of a fascinating story written by Nick Miroff for National Public Radio (NPR), was “Cuban Christians Taking Back What the devil Has Stolen.”

In the story, Miroff wrote: “At the height of Cuba's militant atheism in the late 1960s and early '70s, religious believers were fired from their jobs and sent to labor camps for ‘re-education.’ That kind of discrimination officially ended more than 20 years ago.

“Since then, the number of evangelicals in Cuba has grown from roughly 70,000 to more than 800,000 today, out of a population of 11 million, according to the Rev. Marcial Hernandez, president of Cuba's Council of Churches.”

“‘We're taking back everything that was given away to the devil,’ Hernandez says, explaining the appeal of modern evangelical Christianity, with its rollicking music and passionate sermons, in contrast to the more staid practices of the Catholic Church and traditional Protestant denominations. ‘Televisions used to be considered devil boxes,’ he says. ‘Telephones were the Antichrist. Universities were the devil's lair, even beaches.’”

Miroff added, “On Sunday afternoons at one church in Havana's Marianao neighborhood, hundreds of university students sing and sway at a special youth service. Jorge Ortega, a pastor at the church, explains the restrictions that churches still face. ‘We can't have services in public stadiums or invite foreign preachers to give sermons. We can't have Christian schools. But we can minister in hospitals, and spread the word of God in public places,’ such as parks and buses, Ortega says.”

Now that I can’t go back there, I am hoping and praying that as things begin to open up there, more and more Christians from America and other countries will visit the Cuban believers to not only help them, but to learn vital lessons from them on how they have been able to stand so strong despite so many years of persecution. They can teach us in the West so much! 

Dan Wooding, 70, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 48 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He now hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on KWVE in Southern California which is also carried throughout the United States. The program is also aired in Great Britain on Calvary Chapel Radio UK and also in Belize and South Africa. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 200 countries and also provides a regular commentary for Worship Life Radio on KWVE. You can follow Dan Wooding on Facebook under his name there or at ASSIST News Service. He is the author of some 44 books. Two of the latest include his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, press this link. Wooding, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, has also recently released his first novel “Red Dagger” which is available this link.

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