Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pastor freed from prison, not persecution

Shi Enhao (Photo courtesy of VCM)

China (MNN) ― After months of pressure from the international community, the Chinese government released Pastor Shi Enhao early from his two-year sentence of hard prison labor.

According to Voice of the Martyrs, Canada’s sourceChinaAid, there is still no explanation for Pastor Shi Enhao’s sudden release one year and six months early. The sentencing of Pastor Shi took place in July, 2011 when he was charged with “illegal meetings and illegal organizing of venues for religious meetings.”

Pastor Shi serves as Vice President of Chinese House Church Alliance, a group located along the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu. After his sentence in July, Chinese police confiscated church property including a church vehicle, choir robes, musical instruments, and 140,000 yuan (US$22,160).

Pastor Shi’s conviction and sentence isn’t the only example of persecution this Christian group has suffered. Four months after Pastor Shi’s arrest, various Chinese authorities including officials from the Three-Self Patriotic Church gathered the leaders of Chinese House Church Alliance.

At the gathering, officials told the church leaders that their organization was illegal. All members of Chinese House Church Alliance were ordered to begin attending the Three-Self Patriotic Church -- a church body established and controlled by the Chinese government -- or they would be arrested like their pastor.

ChinaAid publicly denounced the Chinese government, calling on them to “stop their persecution of Suqian Church and to uphold the rights of these citizens to religious freedom and to basic civil rights.” ChinaAid also listed Pastor Shi’s case as number 3 in their 2011 Top 10 Cases of Persecution of Churches and Christians.

The release of Pastor Shi was a tremendous relief, but the Chinese House Church Alliance is still being closely monitored by the Chinese government.

Please pray for strength among the believers as they seek freedom to worship the Lord. Praise God for Pastor Shi’s release and pray that those who are still suffering in prison for their faith may be granted justice.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Iran: Concern over health condition of Pastor Farhad Sabokroh in prison

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries


AHWAZ, IRAN (ANS) -- Concern is growing in Iran over health condition of Pastor Farhad Sabokroh who was arrested together with two other Christian converts. They have now been in custody for over 40 days.

Pastor Farhad Sabokroh (From Mohabat News)
According to the Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News (www.mohabatnews.com), family, relatives and a wide range of Iranian Christians within and outside Iran expressed their concern over the health condition of Pastor Farhad Sabokroh, who was arrested on December 23, 2011, with others in attendance at the Christmas service of the Assemblies of God (AOG) church of Ahwaz, where he was pastoring.

According to this report, sources affirmed that Pastor Sabokroh, Naser Zamen-Defzuli and Davoud (David) Alijani were transferred to Karoun prison of Ahwaz. They have now been held in prison for over 40 days. They were arrested by security authorities in Ahwaz, (543 miles south west of Tehran, the Capital), which is in Khuzestan province.

“Prior to his arrest, Pastor Sabokroh was under treatment for cataract disease and underwent surgery but now has no access to a doctor,” a spokesperson for Mohabat News told the ASSIST News Service.

“Knowledgeable sources define his situation concerning this because, after the surgery, he needed to visit his doctor on a regular basis for the required medications. Now, with this situation, he is still not allowed to leave the prison after over 40 days to continue his treatment.”

Christian Prisoners' Rights Advocacy Club sent a report to Mohabat News expressing their deep concern and objection to illegal and inhuman acts by the Iranian Security system towards Iranian Christians, especially Pastor Sabokroh and the two other Christian prisoners who are being held with him.
Illustration from www.freedomessenger.com  


They called on the Intelligence and Judicial systems of Iran to free them immediately and grant Christian prisoners their legal and human rights. This organization also considers the continuation of Pastor Sabokroh's medical treatment as his human right and adjudged the authorities as directly responsible for the health and welfare of Christian prisoners.

Pastor Sabokroh’s wife was allowed to visit him briefly on January 27, 2012, and expressed concern over his health condition.

"It's being said that he spends most of his time in prayer and fasting in his cell. His physical situation is extremely bad and he has lost weight. He also asked all Iranian Christians to pray for the release of Christian prisoners," added the Mohabat News spokesperson.

“It should be remembered that Mrs. Shanaz Jeizan, the wife of Pastor Sabokroh was also among those arrested at Christmas in the AOG church of Ahwaz. After 10 days, she was temporarily released from the Intelligence office of Ahwaz after submitting a house title deed as bail."

According to this report, no news is available regarding the condition of the two other prisoners, Davoud Alijani and Naser Zamen-Dezfuli. They're still being held in uncertainty and without being formally charged.”

The reports also indicate that Noorollah Qabitizade, another Christian convert who was arrested on December, 24, 2010, is still being held in Karoun prison of Ahwaz.

“He was subjected to severe interrogations by Intelligence officers from the time of his arrest,” added the spokesperson. “It is being reported that security authorities and interrogators have put him under different mental pressures including forcing him to sign commitments stating that he won't participate in any evangelical activities and to write repentance notes renouncing Christianity, in order to make him discontinue his faith in Christ.”


Dan Wooding, 71, 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 192 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, one of which is 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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Pakistani Christian leader addresses challenges that Christians in his country are facing

He blames the lack of political leadership

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries


RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Mr. Riaz Anjum, Chairman of the Pakistan Christian Movement and an advocate who is practicing as a private lawyer in Pakistan, has told a conference in Rawalpindi, about the many challenges facing Christians in his country.
Riaz Anjum


Speaking at a special event that took place on Thursday, January 26, 2012, and attended by Christian political parties, clergy and human rights activists, Anjum said, “There is no doubt that poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and lack of quality education, are challenges for Pakistani Christians, but our politicians have failed to address these issues.”

He went on to say, “We have gathered here to discuss challenges faced by Pakistani Christians and solution to secure religious freedom. I think it is very much necessary to discuss the reasons of these problems due to which Christians are facing these challenges.”

Riaz Anjum told the participants at the well-attended event organized by overseas Christian Pakistanis and held in a local hotel, that a "nation, country or community" makes progress, but credit goes to politicians and when a nation, country or community fails to achieve the destination or to make progress "discredit" also goes to politicians.

“I am of the opinion that we are facing these challenges due to our failure in politics. Our politicians have completely failed to lead Christians towards their destination: helping them to attain economic prosperity and getting quality and higher education," said Mr. Anjum.

“This is the reasons we are far behind than other communities in Pakistan in social, educational and economic fields.”

He stated that the “failure of Christian politicians” started before the existence of Pakistan.
Logo for Pakistan's Independence Day
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan gained its independence from Great Britain on August 14, 1947, when it was partitioned from India.

The partition was set forth in the Indian Independence Act 1947 and resulted in the dissolution of the British Raj. It resulted in a struggle between the new states of India and Pakistan and displaced up to 12.5 million people in the former British Indian Empire, with estimates of loss of life varying from several hundred thousand to a million. The violent nature of the partition created an atmosphere of mutual hostility and suspicion between India and Pakistan that plagues their relationship even to this day.

“There were many communities in the subcontinent, such as Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians,” Anjum went on to say. “During the partition, Hindus got India and Muslims succeeded in getting Pakistan and, to satisfy Sikh community, Punjab was divided and east Punjab was given to the mainly Sikh community because they refused to live under the domination of Muslims.

“I do not say that Christians should have struggled for separate state or province; I just say that Christian politicians of that era should have struggled for some districts to live together. If Christian politicians had struggled and taken some districts, the social, economic and political situation of Christians would have been completely different today.

“It is political failure of Christian politicians of that era that they could not visualize the future of Christians,” he added.

The lawyer said that after partition and the creation of their new country, Pakistan Christian politicians "could not set the destination" for their nation.
Grief-stricken Pakistani Christian women after another violent act in their community


“They did not have vision for social, political and economic progress of Christians," he said. "The Christian politicians, who came during the period of 1947 to 1990, did not have any vision or agenda except for development work of the streets and sewerage.”

He also stated that these politicians had been pursuing what he called a “one-point agenda” which is to repeal the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Anjum said that with such a "short-sighted" agenda, “how can such a nation make progress?”

He added, “It is the misfortune of Pakistani Christians that they have been facing a crises of leadership since the existence of Pakistan. A strong, major, organized and visionary political party is the solution of all these problems. Such a party should not be an ordinary party, but must work like a state.

“There should be some institutions or departments under the flag of a [Christian] party. There should be department of international affairs for lobbying for the interests of Christians and for gaining the sympathy of the international community.”

He also said, “There should be department of economic development for the economic prosperity of Christians and also a department of higher education for the educational development of our people.

“There was time when a number of people and sources were considered strong element for nations, but now the time has changed. Now it is war of brains and the quality of persons.

“You can take the example of Finland, whose total population is less than that of Karachi but, the exports of one company, Nokia of Finland, is more than total exports of Pakistan. I mean that now quality matters. We should emphasize on quality education.

“Although we are less in numbers, we can become a strong nation by getting quality education. All such institutions should be under one flag of that political party.”

Mr. Anjum was one of many speakers at the conference. 



Dan Wooding, 71, 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 192 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, one of which is 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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Pakistani Christian Youth began New Era of Sharing Love with Muslims

‘Peace, Love and Harmony’ stressed at historic event

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries


TOBA TEK SINGH, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Pakistani Christian youth in Toba Tek Singh, which is in Pakistan’s Western Punjab Province, have begun a new era of promoting “peace, love, and harmony” as well as understanding with Muslims.
Ashfaq Fateh addressing the event (Photo: Ahsan Sadaqat)


The young people decided to organize a program for this “Christian-Muslim Get Together” in connection with the birth celebrations for the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and it was attended by Muslim clerics, political leaders, traders, students, media representatives, Christian pastors and priests, as well as community leaders who had been invited to express solidarity and share the celebrations with each other.

The historic event took place on Thursday, February 2, 2012, in the Tehsil [Administrative Division] Municipal Hall, in Toba Tek Singh at which there was a recitation from the Holy Quran (Naat Shariefs) and songs were performed in respect of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).)

Muslim speakers highlighted a message of “Peace and Harmony” with Christians and local pastors and priests assured Muslims that they “respect” their religion.

Ashfaq Fateh, a Christian leader and organizer of the event, told the ASSIST News Service, “History is full of Christian-Muslim cooperation, as well as peace, love, and harmony between the two groups and Christians have been serving in education, health and social sector for a long time.
Sahibzada Abdul Munam Husnan Sadique, a Muslim scholar, speaking at the event (Photo: Ahsan Sadaqat)


“Millions of Christians in Pakistan are working with Muslims in both the government and private sectors and they have jointly contributed to the progress of the country. 

Christian ministries and churches have preached to respect and honor the Muslims and witness the values of responsible citizens.”

He went on to say, “There are different forums at at government and Church levels to strengthen inter-faith harmony. However, for the last three decades, incidents of violence at Shantinagar and Gojra, as well as the killings of Emmanuel brothers in a broad daylight as they were leaving a courtroom after being charged with blasphemy, and many others have widened the gaps between the two communities.

“The murder of Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, the Federal Minister for Minorities, and others, has created segregations and concerns among the weaker sections of the society. A common Christian feels hesitation to interact with a Muslims to avoid misunderstanding which causes tension between the two communities.”

Ashfaq Fateh went on to state, “Muslim brothers and sisters expressed great love with Christians during Christmas and other religious events. The Muslim-Christian friendship is an example here.

“In recent years, Muslims in Toba Tek Singh have set examples of love, tolerance and cooperation and so, therefore, our Christian youth decided to conduct a program in which a message could be given to the Muslim world that Christians have also expressed the same love and solidarity. The program planned to opened up new horizons of understanding and cooperation between the people of these two major religions.”

Mr. Johnson Gill, a youth leader, said, “The Christian youth feel that it is time to express to Muslims our love and respect for their Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Holy Book of the Quran. When the Christians celebrate Christmas, New Year and Easter, Muslim friends shared the gifts, sent Christmas cakes and organized Christmas parties to enjoy the celebrations. If a Christian expected to be wished and respected, he/she should also express the same feelings for his/her Muslim friends.

“Therefore, following the Gospel values, our youth decided to organize a program. It’s a great sign of change that the Muslim clerics of different sects, priests/pastors and people of various sections of life, welcomed the first ever program of celebration of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by Christians in Pakistan.”

Rasheed Jalal, district president the Pakistan Muslim League (N) for Minorities said, “The program is helping to break the cycle of segregation and it will open new horizons of dialogue and cooperation between the people of our two religions.

"Finally, this kind of a program, organized for the first time in the history of Pakistan, was with the intention to assure our Muslim brothers and sisters that Christians love and respect what they believe and are not against their prophet, but rather wish to share in their celebrations.”

Sahibzada Abdul Munam Husnan Sadique, a Muslim scholar, hailed the Christian youth for conducting such a gathering. He said, “This program is a message to the world that Christians and Muslims are united and share the celebration of birth of Hazart Muhammad (PBUH) with the same spirit.

“The program helps Muslim brethren feel the love and respect Christians have for our Holy Prophet in their hearts. Today, I assure the Christian community that we shall keep on working jointly for lasting peace and prosperity in the country.”
Mufti Abdul Mueed Asad, Leader of the Interfaith and Peace Council Pakistan, praying for
Christian-Muslim friendship 
(Photo: Ahsan Sadaqat)


Muslim leaders, such as Mufti Abdul Mueed Asad, Khatib, Jamia Usmania, welcomed the Christian community for organizing a public program for the two communities to promote a dialogue of life.

Syed Murad Ali Shah, an Advocate, said, “For lasting peace and harmony this platform should be strengthened. As religious scholars, it’s our responsibility to share the good gesture of the Christian community with Muslims at a mass level. It will help to bridge the gaps. The program by Christian youth has proved that they have high regards for our prophet (PBUH).”

Fr. Simon Khurshid, a parish priest at a local Catholic church, thanked the organizers for creating an opportunity for two communities for peace and harmony. He assured the Muslims that the Catholic church always pray for the Muslims whenever they have religious events or face difficulties or celebrations.

“Christian charities help everyone whenever there are disasters like floods and earthquakes,” he said. “Most of the beneficiaries of charity programs are Muslims.”

He then prayed for Muslim-Christian unity for “peace and development” in the country.

Ch. Amjid Ali Javed, District president Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pastor Victor, Ayub Anjum and Tehsil Municipal officer Tariq Mehmood Paroia, also spoke at the occasion.


Dan Wooding, 71, 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 192 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, one of which is 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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Pakistan: Row over demolition of historic Roman Catholic institution

By Rodrick Samson 
Special Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service in Pakistan


LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- The row has broken out in Pakistan after the Gosh-e-Aman Institute, an historic Roman Catholic institution, established in 1887, has been demolished on the orders of the Punjab provincial government
Zenobia Richards sitting amidst the rubble
It stood on a 2-acre area now worth billions of rupees and housed a senior citizens’ home, a girls’ school, a convent and a chapel and was demolished on January 10, 2012.

The legal arguments over who owned the building and the land has been going on for some time; at least since a woman convert to Islam had sought shelter in the facility.

The Catholic Church had filed a petition at the Lahore High Court (LHC) protesting at what he says is the illegal demolishing of the building.
Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace has been leading the case at the Lahore High Court.

The residents have since been trying to find shelter.

Zenobia Richards, 61, told ANS, “The Catholic Church has filed the petition only for the illegal demolishing, but not for the desecration of the church, which is unacceptable. I have filed a case at the LHC against the desecration of the Bible, Mary`s Statue and the rosary. I am surprised that the Church in spite of having the authority didn’t mention the desecration.

“I have also questioned them that why they had given the land to a Muslim inside the church premises. I will fight for my right. I saw everything happening in front of my eyes. God has given me the courage to file a case for blasphemy.”
Surveying what is left of the institution


Father Emmanuel Yousaf, after appearing in the LHC said, “The case is in the court and we have full confidence in our legal system. We have filed the case for illegal demolishing of Gosh-e-Aman. We are trying to do whatever we can for the displaced.”

A representative from the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) said that the land was government property, and it was in possession of a “land mafia.” The group was led by a woman, who was a Christian who had converted to Islam. She had deployed armed men around the property to resist demolition by the LDA officials. The church had not been able to oust her, but she left the place before it was demolished.

Pervaiz Rafique, a Member Provincial Assembly says that he will be raising the matter on the floor of the Punjab assembly and will demand the Government officials to answer why they had illegally demolished the Church property.
Discussing what can be done about the demolition
Zenobia Richards, 61, has been working for the Catholic Church for over 24 years,and she lived alone and had no connection with the Muslim convert.

The case is in the court, the Church leadership has refused to talk to anyone regarding the proceedings. The question about the Muslim convert being the legal or illegal occupant is being investigated as she claimed that she had the property documents and the church had transferred the land to her, but the LDA and other government officials say she was illegally living there.

Gosh-e-Aman (Corner of peace) was established by Catholic Church of Pakistan in 1887 and, after the creation of Pakistan, it was being administered jointly by the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and the Presbyterian Church. Later, in 1970’s, Caritas was looking after the property. Since 2001 a welfare trust had been taking care of the premises. There were around 5-6 families in the premises along with the women who later converted and became a Muslim.


Rodrick Samson is a freelance journalist based in Pakistan

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UK Christians told by advertising authority that they cannot say that people can be healed from physical illness

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries


BATH, UK (ANS) -- The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told a group of Christians in the city of Bath, located in Somerset, south west England, not to make any claims which state or imply that, by receiving their prayer, people could be physically healed.
The healing team outside Bath Abbey

A registered Christian trust, the “Healing on the Streets – Bath” (www.hotsbath.org) team, comprised of Christians from many different churches, have been praying for the public outside Bath Abbey for three years and regularly offer to pray for people who are sick to receive healing.

But atheist Hayley Stevens, a 24-year-old from Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, who is a regular blogger and speaker at skeptic conferences, took offence to the group’s adverts, complaining to the ASA that the claims by the Christians could “not be substantiated.”

On the www.thisissomerset.co.uk website, she is quoted as saying, “I have complained before to the ASA about claims to do with healing people, but they were against spiritual healers or people making false claims about treatments. I didn’t even realize the Healing on the Streets people were Christian until I got home and looked at their website.

“My issue isn’t with their Christian faith, it is with the potentially dangerous situation of vulnerable people who think they will be cured of something as serious as cancer.

Hayley Stevens' complaint against a Christian group was upheld (Photo: www.thisissomerset.co.uk)
“I don’t think it is appropriate for them to be out on the streets taking the chance that they could come across someone with, say, mental health issues who should be being treated properly."

Her complaint was upheld and the ASA have now ordered the group to stop stating on their website or in literature that God can heal.

The founder of the Christian group, Paul Skelton, said: “Other teams around the country have been targeted in similar ways.

“It seems very odd to us that the ASA wants to prevent us from stating on our website the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness.
“The ASA has even demanded that we sign a document agreeing not to say this, which is unacceptable to us - as it no doubt would be for anyone ordered not to make certain statements about their conventional religious or philosophical beliefs.

“The ASA has decided it is appropriate to insist that we cannot talk about a common and widely held belief that is an important aspect of conventional Christian faith. They would now like us to recant our Christian faith in the Bible.

“We tried to reach a compromise, recognizing some of the ASA’s concerns, but there are certain things that we cannot agree to - including a ban on expressing our beliefs.”

HOTs has said that it will now appeal the decision.
Membera of the healing team
praying for a woman
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said: “This decision strikes at the heart of freedom of belief in the UK. Will we be told that telling people their sins are forgiven, or that you can go to heaven, breaches advertising standards next?

“Will all Christian websites and leaflets now be liable to these types of complaints? Is all Christian doctrine now going to be ruled as misleading by the ASA?

“This decision reveals all too clearly how basic freedoms quickly begin to be lost in a nation that has increasingly chosen secularism over the Christian faith.”

The “Healing on the Streets – Bath” website says that it is a Christian trust and its vision is to: "Promote Christian Healing as a daily life style for every believer, though demonstration, training and equipping."

It adds that they are working in unity, from numerous churches outside the four walls of the building, in order to:

* Heal the sick
* Share God's love
* Equip the Church

The website -- http://www.hotsbath.org/stories.html -- also features stories of claimed healings which you can check out for yourself.


Dan Wooding, 71, 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 192 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, one of which is 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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Sudan: Samaritan’s Purse Bible College Bombed

At least eight bombs were dropped in the area Wednesday during the school’s first day of classes 

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries


SOUTH KORDOFAN, SUDAN (ANS) -- Samaritan’s Purse has announced that a Bible school that they support, was destroyed on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, in the latest bombing raid to hit South Kordofan, an oil-rich Sudanese province that borders the newly created independent country of South Sudan.
A man stands in front of one of the
bombed out buildings


At least eight bombs were dropped in the area of Heiban Bible College Wednesday during the school's first day of classes, according to a statement by Samaritan's Purse, Franklin Graham’s Christian humanitarian group, which supports the school.

Heiban Bible College operates out of a compound in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, which borders the new nation of South Sudan, and fortunately, no injuries were reported.

“We have been working for years in Sudan,” Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham said on Wednesday. “Today our Bible school in Heiban in the Nuba Mountains was bombed by the Sudanese Air Force. No one was killed or hurt, but buildings were destroyed. Please pray for the safety of believers, and that God would intervene.”

The son of evangelist Billy Graham went on to say, “My staff and I are deeply concerned for the welfare and lives of the people in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan who were terrorized by the bombings of the Heiban Bible College. This attack was carried out by Sudanese Air Force planes that dropped eight bombs on the school that Samaritan’s Purse, the international Christian relief organization I lead, constructed and dedicated in 2007 to train local pastors.

“It was the first day of class for the new school year and the campus was full of students, teachers and teachers’ families. It was a miracle that no one was injured or killed. The bombs ignited grass in and around the campus and we still do not know the full extent of the damage.
Devastation after the bombing of the Bible school


“We at Samaritan’s Purse condemn the repeated attacks on the innocent people who are being terrorized in the Nuba Mountains.

Many have been forced to flee their homes and we are committed to helping those in need. My prayer is that the world will not just sit by and watch and hope for the best, but make it clear to the government of Sudan that attacks like these will not be tolerated.”

Samaritan’s Purse has supported the Heiban Bible College since it was founded in 2007. The organization constructed classrooms, dormitories, kitchens, a dining room and housing for teachers and in 2010, Franklin Graham attended and spoke at the ceremony for the first graduating class of 36 students.

Samaritan's Purse and Franklin Graham have a long history in Sudan, having spent some $100 million to help the Sudanese people. The organization has been working throughout Sudan since 1993, providing hundreds of thousands of people with food, medical aid and vocational training.

Franklin Graham met with the students when he spoke at the first graduation ceremony at
Heiban Bible College
Graham, who has called on the international community to take out Sudan’s air assets and establish a no-fly zone in the region, said in a statement Thursday that he blamed Sudan's air force for the strike.

At least four churches have been destroyed since August, the group said.

CNN is reporting, “More than 78,000 people have fled South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since August of last year after an armed rebellion took root, the United Nations reported. The Sudanese government is thought to have responded to the rebellion by conducting sustained air raids with the use of Russian-made Antonov bombers, which have raised concerns over civilian casualties.

“Decades of civil war between the north and south, costing as many as 2 million lives, formally ended with a U.S.-brokered peace treaty in 2005.

But before South Sudan gained independence in July of last year, human rights monitors expressed concerns that longstanding grievances could again lead to violence consuming the region.

“In November, there were several days of bombings near an entry point for refugees at the border, the United Nations reported. It did not specify who launched the bombs.”
Now, the United States has accused Sudan of targeting civilians in recent airstrikes, including one that destroyed the Bible school.

“The United States strongly condemns the bombing by the Sudanese Armed Forces of civilian populations in Southern Kordofan,” a White House statement said. “Aerial attacks on civilian targets are unjustified and unacceptable. Such attacks are a violation of international law and compound the ongoing crisis in these areas.”

CNN added, “The Sudanese government could not be immediately reached for comment, but has said in the past that it is targeting rebels in the area.”

Decades of civil war between the north and south, costing as many as 2 million lives, formally ended with a U.S.-brokered peace treaty in 2005.

But before South Sudan gained independence in July of last year, human rights monitors expressed concerns that longstanding grievances could again lead to violence consuming the region.

In November, there were several days of bombings near an entry point for refugees at the border, the United Nations reported. It did not specify who launched the bombs.

The White House statement, released on Thursday, urged for officials to find others ways to settle the conflict.

“We believe that this conflict can only be resolved by dialogue, not through violence, and we encourage all parties to negotiate a peaceful settlement,” the statement said.


Dan Wooding, 71, 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 192 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, one of which is 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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EGYPT: the gross insecurity of the dhimmi

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 144 | Wed 01 Feb 2012

EGYPT: THE GROSS INSECURITY OF THE DHIMMI
By Elizabeth Kendal

In an Islamic State, a Jew or Christian may keep their religion as long as they live in total submission to the Islamic order. Known as 'dhimmis', these subjugated second-class citizens are without basic fundamental human rights. Any resistance, and their life and property are forfeit. In accordance with Islam, no Islamic State will ever prosecute Muslims for killing and/or looting Christians who demand their human rights. This impunity creates gross insecurity.

ESCALATING VIOLENCE, THEFT & EXTORTION

On 20 January a Muslim mob chanting Allahu Akbar went on a pogrom, attacking and torching properties belonging to Copts in the village of Rahmaniya-Kebly, Nag Hammadi, in Upper (southern) Egypt's volatile Qena Province. According to Mary Abdelmassih of the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), security forces were present but reportedly did not intervene and the fire brigade turned up 90 minutes late. Miraculously, nobody was killed or injured. It is understood the pogrom started with a Muslim suggesting that a Coptic-owned hut be torched to make way for a mosque. This was no joke nor idle threat, with the trend towards escalating incidents of Muslim appropriation of Coptic properties for the benefit of the Muslim community.

AINA also reports that some 4000 mostly Coptic residents from the village of Bahgourah, a suburb of Nag Hammadi, are presently staging a sit-in at the Nag Hammadi police headquarters to protest the lack of security arising from police laxity. This was triggered by the 26 January attempted kidnap and ultimate brutal slaying of Coptic building contractor Moawad Asaad Samaan and his son Asaad (26) by a Muslim criminal gang angered by Moawad's failure to pay protection money. According to Bishop Kyrollos, Bahgourah's Copts 'are continuously being subjected to terror and kidnapping'. (see also AhramOnline)

ESCALATING KIDNAP, RAPE & FORCED ISLAMISATION

Hundreds of Christian girls are forcibly Islamised every year in Egypt. As Coptic activist Mark Ebeid explains, the Salafi ultra-fundamentalist Muslims 'believe strongly that converting a Christian Infidel is in some ways like earning a ticket to paradise -- not to mention the earthly remuneration they get from the Saudis'. Generally, the Christian girls are kidnapped and pack raped over many days. During this time they are brainwashed to believe they could never return home because of the shame they would bring on their families. The girls are then married off to Islamists and accepted by the Muslim community. The Christian parents frantically searching for their abducted daughters are obstructed at every turn. Today, the Islamisation of Egypt is being facilitated post-Mubarak by the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and a massive influx of thousands of Salafis returning from exile and being released from prison. Along with this there has been a marked escalation in forced Islamisation of Coptic girls. It appears that organised Islamisation rings are consolidating due to the overt protection they are receiving from police and prosecutors.

In early December 2011 Coptic teenager Amira Gamal Saber (16) disappeared from Saft-el-Khamar village, Minya Province. The head of security in Minya confirmed her kidnapping but failed to act. On 15 January a man named Mohammad Ahmed Ibrahim phoned the family demanding a ransom. After Amira's mother was permitted to speak with her daughter on the phone, the family travelled to Giza with the ransom money. Once there they were directed to the police station where they were informed that government prosecutors were handling the case. In the court, a bearded prosecutor Boulaq El Dakrour, backed by 12 more bearded lawyers [Salafis do not shave], told Amira's parents that their daughter wanted to convert to Islam. He ruled therefore, that Amira be sent to a state-run care facility in Giza until she turns18 and may legally profess Islam for herself. Amira was subsequently sent to a home affiliated to the Sharia association in Giza. Her father is appealing to the Attorney General.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY THAT --

* the Holy Spirit will draw Egypt's wounded, anxious Christians ever closer to him. May they learn to look to and depend on the LORD; may he answer their cries and may the devil have no victory over them.

* God will reveal himself in Egypt as the One who judges, rules, compensates, loves and saves. (Isaiah 40:10,11 )

* the LORD will not only preserve but build his Church in Egypt (Matthew 16:18), ahead of the day when he will say, 'Blessed be Egypt my people.' (Isaiah 19:25b ESV)


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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GROSS INSECURITY INCREASES FOR CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT

Islamisation is advancing across Egypt post-Mubarak, facilitated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi ultra-fundamentalist Muslims. As the Islamic order is established, Christians are reduced to second-class citizens without fundamental human rights, their lives dependent on their total submission to the Islamic order. Any resistance and their lives and properties are forfeit in accordance with Islam. Murder, theft and extortion are becoming commonplace, as is the abduction, rape and forced Islamisation of young Coptic girls. These crimes are being committed with impunity, in accordance with Sharia. Thus Christians are finding their security is deteriorating dramatically and rapidly. The case of Coptic teenager Amira Gamal Saber (16), abducted and forcibly converted in early December 2011, is being appealed to the Attorney General. Please pray for Egypt and its Christians.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Missionary Couple Slain in Mexico; Peace Pact in Puebla

Drug traffickers suspected in robbery/murder.
By Elisabeth Isais

John and Wanda Casias
MEXICO CITY, February 3 (Compass Direct News) – A married couple who had served for 28 years as Baptist missionaries in Mexico were murdered on Tuesday (Jan. 31) at their home near Monterrey in El Cercado, Santiago, Nuevo Leon.

John Casias, 76, and Wanda Casias, 67, were strangled with electrical cords when intruders broke into their house and stole a safe, televisions and ministry vehicles, along with other items. The area has suffered heavily from attacks by drug cartels in recent weeks, including the murder of the mayor of El Cercado, leading to the tentative conclusion that the crime was committed by people serving narcotics traffickers.

Drug traffickers in Mexico oppose the message of Christ because it turns people away from their business, and thus Christians have been among the targets of the criminals. Christians noted that the assailants would not have needed to kill the missionary couple in order to rob them.

The killers left Wanda Casias dead inside the house, and the body of her husband was reportedly found in a storage room of a small building elsewhere on the property.

They were affiliated with the Global Independent Baptist Fellowship; the couple’s home church is located in Lewisville, Texas.

Their ministry included the founding of churches, beginning with the First Fundamentalist Independent Baptist Church in their locality, and they also did work in Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Coahuila, and other parts of the state of Nuevo Leon. Daily vacation Bible schools and youth camps were important aspects of their ministry, and they placed strong emphasis on Bible study and music.

They are survived by 10 children who have reportedly said they hope to continue their parents’ ministry.

Peace in Puebla
With intervention by Puebla state authorities after Protestants came under threats of expulsion and death, Catholics in San Rafael Tlanalapan, have agreed to allow evangelicals to construct a worship place in the town far from the Catholic church building.

Last fall Catholics threatened to crucify the Protestants if they didn’t leave town immediately. Parishioners later revealed that a local priest incited them to make this threat, and after this became public, Catholic authorities transferred the priest to another town.

State officials initiated negotiations to resolve the conflict, and an agreement was reached last October; officials will be responsible to ensure that terms of the agreement are kept.

Pastors Agustin Castillo Morales and Josue Ovando Jimenez accepted the pact, which calls for them to hold worship services far from the Catholic church site. Evangelical leaders from Mexico City celebrated the peaceful solution to the problem in an event that included musical groups.

Last September about 70 Protestants in San Rafael Tlanalapan had been given the ultimatum to leave immediately or be “crucified or lynched.” Catholics (not “traditionalist Catholics” that mix Catholicism with indigenous practices, as previously reported) in the town, near San Martín Texmelucan, about 60 miles from Mexico City, reportedly threatened to burn down or otherwise destroy their homes.

The conflict goes back several years; in 2006, the Protestants asked for government help after Catholics led village authorities to cut off their water supply.

Last year the evangelicals promised to leave town at a Sept. 7 meeting, though the 200 Catholics present sought to beat them and expel them at that time (seewww.compassdirect.org, “Christians in Mexico Forced from Village,” Sept. 16, 2011). The Protestants sought refuge in nearby towns, including the municipal center of San Martin Texmelucan, where their churches have become prominent. Othersreportedly fled to a church building in Alto Aposento.

END
**********
Copyright 2012 Compass Direct News

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fatwa proves costly for ministry in India's Kashmir region

India (MNN) ― A self-styled Sharia Court is doing its best to silence the Gospel in India. The panel of Muslim clerics expelled three pastors from Kashmir state over allegations of forcible conversions.

However, the row created by the situation has believers raising the alarm. In mid-January, Muslim clerics issued a fatwa against them for "luring the Valley's Muslims to Christianity."

David Bast with Words  of Hope says, first, "The Sharia court is not an official institution. It's not a government court. This is simply a group of Muslim clerics who set themselves up and say, 'We will dictate what happens because Kashmir is Muslim.'" 

Second, the current crisis was sparked by video, posted in October 2011, of a pastor baptizing Kashmiri Muslim youth. There were calls to kill the pastor and to burn down churches and schools in the Valley.

Within hours of the warning, the pastor was arrested. The panel also accused two other Christian workers of being accomplices. As a result, says Bast, "Active ministry has ceased for the moment, as far as we know, and the Christians who were involved in that have had to flee for their lives."

Specifically, the expulsion is costly in terms of outreach. "Our team has experienced directly the results of that ruling because one of those three was heading up the work that we're involved in. The report we're getting from the direct for South Asia where Words of Hope is involved is basically that Christian ministry has shut down in Kashmir."

Bast goes on to say that before this happened, there was one above-ground church in the capital city. Now, there are none. It's unlikely that the situation will improve much. The Sharia court has also called on the government to take over management of missionary schools. There are several media reports indicating the Sharia court wants to introduce Islamic prayer and to allot classes for Islamic studies at these schools.

Jammu/Kashmir is India's only Muslim-majority state; Muslims account for 67% of its population. In the Valley, Muslims are the overwhelming majority constituting 97% of the population.

Bast notes that although there is dispute with Pakistan over the region's identity, "Legally, it's part of India, so it should be governed by the constitution of the state of India which guarantees religious freedom, but that's not happening there right now."

Words of Hope's ministry includes Gospel broadcasts in eight languages to four countries. It is the only region where Words of Hope broadcasts to audiences which are predominantly Hindu (Hindi, Bhojpuri, Dogri, Garhwali, Nepali), Buddhist (Tibetan, Dzongkha) and Muslim (Kashmiri).

Please pray for Words of Hope's continued efforts in South Asia. Bast requests, "Pray for the believers that are still there. They are very much under pressure. They're probably mostly underground. They're being intimidated, so pray that they'll be strengthened, that they'll be courageous, that they'll be able to stand."

Ethiopian Convert from Islam Dodges Dangers in Kenya


Muslim extremists try to kill him; others threaten his life.
A Christian convert from Islam who fled hostilities in his native Ethiopia has faced attempted murder and ongoing death threats in Kenya.


Somali Muslim extremists in Kenya kidnapped and tried to kill Barack Hussein Kedir in July 2010, and most recently Kenyan-born Islamic extremists in contact with their co-religionists in Ethiopia sent a death threat to his cell phone on Dec. 3, the Christian told Compass. Since then, Hussein has reported the threatening text message to police, and his wife has fled the country with their two children.


“Although I have been experiencing all these countless problems, suffering persecution and merciless harassment both in my own country and outside of the country, I have never given up or lost my hope in serving the Lord,” Hussein said. “Muslims have tried to murder me several times, even here in Kenya.”


Born to Muslim community leaders in Arsi Negelle district in southern Ethiopia, Hussein had been a zealous Islamic youth coordinator who once harassed Christians before his conversion – a long process that led his father to shoot him in the leg for his commitment to Christ, he said.


Hussein had fled to Kenya in 2003 but secretly returned to his rural home in Ethiopia in June 2009 to help establish three new churches. When area Muslims discovered his work, they started looking for him with intent to kill him, forcing him to return to Kenya, he said.


Shortly after midnight on July 8, 2010, Muslim extremists in Nairobi slipped a CD under his door containing information on how they kill Christians and burn church buildings, along with a threatening letter in the Arabic and Somali languages, he said. The next evening at about 7:30 p.m., presumed Muslim extremists rammed their car into the driver’s side door of the car he was driving and told him they would kill him.


On July 27, 2010, four Somalis, presumed Muslim extremists, forced him into a car at about 9:30 p.m. in Nairobi and, at gunpoint, made him take a detergent (Jik) mixed with powdered soap (Omo), and he fell unconscious and was pushed out of the car, he said. Passers-by took him to a hospital, where staff determined that he must have been thrown out of the car at high speed.


The Somalis, whom he did not know, objected to his preaching Christianity, he said.


Hussein converted to Christianity in 1995 after a series of life threatening episodes that began in 1990. Previously he had traveled to various regions teaching about Islam and developed hostility toward other religions; he harassed many Christians, stealing their food and trying to burn some church buildings, he said.


“While I was practicing and spreading Islamic faith in the country like wildfire, something amazing happened to me,” Hussein said. “I converted to Christ in an unusual way, when Jesus revealed Himself to me through difficult circumstances in which I almost lost my life.”


In 1990 he was mysteriously blinded, he said. After hospital treatment and the prayers of Muslim leaders were of no avail, he said he heard the voice of Jesus saying He loved him.


“In response I said, ‘No, I do not need your help, go away,’” he said. “The voice then said to me, ‘Do you need to get back your health?’ I said, ‘Yes, but I do not need you.’”


Hussein told Compass he later became hopeless and heard the voice again bidding him to ask to be healed, but that again he declined.


“That very evening I saw a white image, and there came the sign of the cross, and I rebuked it,” he said. “The house shook like there was an earthquake. I then decided to cover myself inside the blanket. Everyone inside the house was frightened. Then came again the cross. This time I wanted to catch the cross. My eyes then got opened, though I could not see well. It was very red. Then another voice came to me saying, ‘I am Christ Jesus, follow Me. I am the one who made you blind. I now have healed you.’”


Still skeptical about the healing, he left for a predominantly Christian area to preach Islam, he said, but he lost all sight again and was also paralyzed for seven months.


“I was then taken to my rural village to die there,” Hussein said. “I used to lie on the floor, helping myself [to food or drink] right where I was lying. The place became filthy and smelly. Death dominated my thoughts. I questioned Allah, why he does not want to heal. I then contemplated committing suicide. At that point my eyes got opened and a voice called me again, ‘Barack, I love you. I caused you to be paralyzed. I love you. I am Jesus Christ. Follow Me.’”


The voice directed him to a location about 200 kilometers (124 miles) away in order to regain his health.


“I found this to be very difficult,” he said. “People said I was going crazy. I was then put on a horse and traveled for one hour to reach the bus station. Before reaching the destination, in a vision, I saw a narrow road and a white sword in front, and fire. I got afraid thinking that it wanted to kill me. That time I was barefoot. Then I was woken up, for I had reached the destination. There a cross sign was handed over to me and the message came, ‘Follow Me.’ I got healed miraculously, then returned back with the cross.”


When he arrived home with the cross sign, his father shot him in the leg, forcing him to try to take refuge in a church building – where he was initially rebuffed as an enemy of the faith.


“After a while I was accepted and was taken by the church to Jimma Bible College,” Hussein said. “There I had the seal to preach the gospel within the Jimma vicinity. Soon things turned bad. With my miraculous healing, especially carrying the cross sign around, I faced persecution from my own family as well as the community. It would have been safer for me to either kill myself or recant the Christian faith, but I endured it all, and finally I fled to Kenya in 2003.”


He was admitted to Pan Africa Christian University, and after earning his degree went on to obtain a Master of Leadership from the Nairobi International School of Theology. He is now pursuing another master’s degree, this one in peace and international relations, at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.


“God has called me to a precious life,” he said. “I have no regrets, and I thank God for delivering me from Islam. I know I have to pay the price, since those who wish to live a godly life must be ready to face persecution.”


Hussein submitted his application for asylum to a third country on July 19, 2010 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Officials there interviewed him on Nov. 4, 2010, and also last year, but to date he has not received a determination. A letter to the UNCHR requests that he not be returned to a country where he faces threats on his life or freedom.


A decision is expected at a scheduled May 17 appointment.


END

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

International Petition Drive to Help Pastor Persecuted For Conducting Baptisms

By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service


SRINIGAR, INDIA (ANS) -- The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians is trying to raise international awareness of the case of an Indian pastor arrested on charges 'disturbing communal peace.'

In a media update, Ann Buwalda, Executive Director of Jubilee Campaign, says that Sajan George is highlighting the case through a petition drive.

Jubilee Campaign says Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Church in Srinagar was on November 19th, 2011 arrested on charges 'disturbing communal peace.'

The arrests of Khanna and two others came after a local Muslim clerical association calling itself a 'Sharia court' accused Rev. Khanna of 'luring' Muslims into converting from Christianity. Their only evidence was a YouTube video of Rev. Khanna baptizing seven believers from a Muslim background.

Jubilee Campaign says that after 11 days in, jail Rev. Khanna was released on bail, but the so-called Sharia court issued a fatwa of expulsion, ordering him and two other Christian workers to leave the state.

In the media release, Buwalda says: “This case represents a worrying continuation of a dangerous trend Jubilee Campaign has seen in India for some time. Over the past several years radical Hindu leaders have reacted to the massive growth of Christianity with frequently accusations that Christians are 'luring' poor Hindus into converting by bribing them or lying to them. It was this sentiment which led to the passage of anti-conversion laws in several states of northern India and led to the 2008 violence against Christians in Orissa.”

Buwalda explained the causes of this sentiment are “complex and specific to the traditional Hindu society where political and economic power was based around the caste system.”

Buwalda said: “The Muslim view on conversions is more explicitly theological, as indicated by the term apostasy. Nevertheless the Hindu response to conversions, which involves baseless accusations of misconduct resulting in vigilante killings of religious minorities is very similar to the Muslim response that we have seen in Pakistan and elsewhere.”

Buwalda went on to state: “This attempt by the Kashmir Muslims to activate the radical Hindu lobbying in support of their actions has been at least partially successful judging by the response of a high-ranking Indian official.

“Of more immediate concern is to the local Christian community is the way that the Sharia court was able to enforce its fatwa of expulsion against Rev. Khanna and the two other Christian workers,” she said.

Buwalda added that, emboldened by their success, groups of local Muslims have been pressuring the families of converts, causing several other converts and Christians workers to flee.

In response, Sajan George, the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, is trying to raise international awareness through the petition.

Jubilee Campaign urges concerned believers to sign the petition calling for the government of India to respect its own laws and stop the unjust persecution of Rev. Khanna.

Support Rev. Khanna and the Christian Minority in Kashmir, by signing the Petition here:http://tinyurl.com/774gh3m  


** 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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