Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Iranian Conservative Media Mocks God in Caricature Photo

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

IRAN (ANS) -- The Iranian Revolutionary Guard backed news agency, Fars, has published a caricature of the concept of God!

Satellite controlled assassination of commander of Al-Qassam militants.
According to a story by Mohabat Iranian News, this caricature is called "Satellite controlled assassination of commander of Al-Qassam militants."

The caricature, published on Nov. 19, illustrates the recent Gaza conflicts.

Mohabat News said the basis for the caricature is the "Creation of Man" painting by Michelangelo.

Mohabat News commented, "It seems the caricaturist had either not seen the Michelangelo painting or not fully comprehended its true meaning. (That's) ... because in the caricature, Israel is given a position equal to God, speaking of the Michelangelo painting."

Michelangelo's Creation of Man.
Mohabat News continued to say that the "Creation of Man" is all about giving life, while the image put in the place of God in the caricature is basically taking lives."

Mohabat News further commented, "When someone decides to use the idea of another artist in their work, they are expected to study its meaning before applying the idea. If such a caricature had been published in a pro-reformists' media, everyone would have gone against them saying they had insulted God. But since this is published in a conservative media, no one dares to say anything."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

International Criminal Court (ICC) Determines that Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria Constitute 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Boko Haram is sometimes described as the 'Nigerian Taliban'

By Dan Wooding, who was born in Nigeria
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA (ANS) -- Jubilee Campaign and the Christian Association of Nigerian Americans (CANAN) - has told the ASSIST News Service ( that it welcomes the status report just released by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor on their preliminary investigation on Nigeria.
Boko Haram members
"We especially applaud the clear recognition of the pernicious role the 'Salafi-jihadist' group Boko Haram has played in the violence, which has wracked Nigeria over the past few years," said a spokesperson for Jubilee Campaign (
"The report should be an encouragement to the thousands of families traumatized by Boko Haram's activities, which have claimed an estimated 3,000 lives in the last three years and imperiled the hopes of Africa's largest country."
The ICC's Prosecutor clearly found that Boko Haram has "attacked religious clerics, Christians, political leaders, Muslims opposing the group, members of the police and security forces, "westerners", journalists, as well as UN personnel. The group has also been accused of committing several large- scale bombing attacks against civilian objects, including deliberate attacks against Christian churches and primary schools."
The ICC's Prosecutor concluded that these attacks, along with Boko Haram's calls for genocide, amount to crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute, i.e. "(i) murder under article 7(1)(a) and (ii) persecution under article 7(1)(h) of the Statute."
"As we approach the 9th year of Boko Haram's violent attacks, which began on Christmas Eve 2003, we hope that this report will galvanize the global community to work together to bring a speedy end to the violence," added the Jubilee Campaign spokesperson.
Jubilee Campaign and Representatives from the Nigerian Christian Community; Presenting Information to the ICC Earlier This Year
"We commend the current Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, for personally traveling to Nigeria and making a strenuous effort to bring clarity to the situation. We appreciate the efforts to more robustly engage with human rights groups, fact finders, and members of civil society.
"We call on all people of good will in Nigeria to set aside their differences, including the past grievances stemming from sectarian violence, and rally around the common threat of terrorism.
"We call on the relevant state and federal actors to fully investigate and effectively prosecute all acts of terror and sectarian violence, as such prosecutions are a necessary part of building true peace between communities.
"We call on the international community, including the United States, to formally designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization and implement necessary sanctions and protocols to bring a swift end to the murder and persecution on this massive scale, which the ICC now recognizes as amounting to crimes against humanity.
"We call on the ICC to move promptly to the 3rd phase of its preliminary examination. As the phase 3 process evaluates the viability of national attempts to prosecute Boko Haram, Nigerian authorities should fully cooperate and make all reports and past investigations available to the ICC.
"Finally we remember the victims of Boko Haram from Nigeria, Norway, Kenya, India, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, China, Cameroon, and Mali and assure them that humanity will hold their killers accountable -- they are not forgotten."
Jubilee Campaign USA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, Virginia, and their phone number is:703-503-0791 and e-mail:
Note: According to an Irish group, Church in Chains (, Boko Haram was formed in 2002 by Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf in Maiduguri, capital of the north-eastern Nigerian state of Borno. Originally formed to fight against government corruption and economic disparities between the north and the richer south, its aim now is to overthrow the government, create an Islamic state and impose strict sharia law. Borno, where Boko Haram has its base, is one of twelve northern states in which sharia is already in force. Christians are supposed to be exempt, but are often forced to comply.
After Mohammed Yusuf died in police custody on July 31, 2009, allegedly in an extra-judicial execution, Boko Haram declared jihad on the government, and they reportedly formalized links with Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb in June 2010. Since then, Boko Haram has been sending militants to Somalia for military training under al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Queda.
Victims of Boko Haram
Boko Haram is sometimes described as the "Nigerian Taliban". It promotes a version of Islam that forbids Muslims from taking part in any political or social activity associated with Western society, including voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers or receiving a secular education. Loosely translated from the Hausa language, Boko Haram means "western education is forbidden".
Its official name is Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad, Arabic for "people committed to the propagation of the Prophet's teachings and jihad". It targets not just Christians but also non-fundamentalist and non-jihadist institutions including universities, the police, secular courts and even liberal mosques. The secretary-general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Dr Abdulateef Adegbite, has said that Muslim leaders do not support the activities of Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has been responsible for most of the recent attacks on Christians in Nigeria, although some violent attacks in remote rural areas have involved other Islamists, such as Fulani Muslim herdsmen. Boko Haram was responsible for Nigeria's first suicide bombing, on June 16, 2011, when eight people were killed and dozens wounded at Police Headquarters in the federal capital, Abuja. On August 26, 2011, another Boko Haram suicide bombing in Abuja, at the UN headquarters, killed 25 people. While some attacks such as these have been on government institutions, many more have been on churches, and Christians are suffering so much persecution at the hands of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria (which is predominantly Muslim) that thousands have fled to the Christian-majority south.
On March 4, 2012, Boko Haram announced a "war" on Christians and said it would launch a series of coordinated attacks in order to annihilate the entire Christian community in northern Nigeria. A spokesman said, "We are going to put into action new efforts to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women."
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, himself a Christian, has admitted that there are Boko Haram sympathizers in the government, security agencies and judiciary. (BBC, Compass Direct News, Guardian, Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin).

Hate preacher issues Fatwa against brave Malala Yousafzai

Shot Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai should be sentenced to death says Muslim extremist 

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND (ANS) -- She has won millions of supporters across the world for her brave fight for girls to be educated in Pakistan.
Malala Yousufzai at Birmingham's QE Hospital (Photo: Birmingham Mail)
But Malala Yousafzai's campaign has caused her to become a target for twisted Muslim extremists.
"She was shot in the head by the Taliban as she sat on a bus in the Swat Valley, in northern Pakistan, following her lessons on October 9," wrote investigative journalist, Amardeep Bassey, in a story run on the Birmingham Mail website (
"Now banned hate preacher Sheikh Omar Bakri is set to issue a fatwa against her at a conference at the Lal Masjid (red mosque) in Islamabad on Friday."
The writer said that The Taliban claimed that her "crime" was to call for girls to have a right to attend school, added, "Security around the brave teenager is expected to be tightened even further as a result of the fatwa."
Malala is currently recovering at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, where she is receiving specialist care after a bullet was removed from her spine. She is currently in a stable condition.
Sheikh Omar Bakri (Photo: Birmingham Mail)
Bakri, dubbed the "Tottenham Ayatollah" is set to officially issue the fatwa against her in front of British extremists via videolink from Lebanon.
Speaking to the Sunday Mercury newspaper in Birmingham from the Lebanese capital Beirut, Bakri said: "Malala is a traitor to Islam because of her attitude and failure to behave like a good Muslim.
"The Taliban were right to try to punish her because death is the ultimate punishment for apostasy, for regressing from Islam, and that applies to males or females."
"Malala is mature Islamically, she is not immature, she has reached that period we say is adulthood so she is responsible for her actions and any consequences.
"Ideally she should face an Islamic court which would most likely sentence her to death under Sharia law which is the only law a Muslim should recognize."
The Islamabad conference billed as "Sharia4Pakistan".
Posters for the event feature pictures of Bakri under the title "Declaration of Fatwa on Malala Yousafzai".
Bakri continued: "The fatwa against Malala is an edict which should be adhered to by every Muslim who becomes aware of it. It is their duty to follow the instructions wherever they may be in the world.
"These are not my personal views. I am only applying Allah's law which calls for death to apostates. If you want to accuse Allah of incitement then that is out of my hands."
Malala Yousufzai with her father, Ziauddin, at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Photo: Birmingham Mail)
The writer said that Bakri's London-based side-kick Anjem Choudary, who is also speaking at the conference, added: "There is no covenant of security in Pakistan for non-Muslims. If someone apostasises (renounces) Islam they become like the non-Muslims.
"They no longer have any form of protection."
Celebrities including Madonna and Angelina Jolie have joined millions of people across the world to support Malala.
There are growing calls for her to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"And the president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari has been presented with a petition with more than one million signatories urging him to make education available to all children irrespective of gender," wrote Amardeep Bassey.
"The huge document was delivered by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in his role as UN Special Envoy for Global Education."
The Taliban attack on Malala Yousafzai has highlighted the issue of education for girls around the world (Photo: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)
Malala was only 11 when she started documenting how difficult it was to get an education in the Swat Valley: "I dreamt of a country where education would prevail," she wrote.
Her anonymous blog, first published by BBC Urdu, documented Taliban atrocities committed in Pakistan's Swat Valley and saw the schoolgirl receive international praise.
"Last week it emerged she may make the UK her permanent home after her father Ziauddin Yousafzai was offered a job in Birmingham by the Pakistani government," the story continued.
Syrian-born Bakri, aged 52, was banned from Britain in 2005 after he caused outrage by blaming the 7/7 bombings on the public and Government. He fled to Lebanon and was refused entry back into the UK where he lived for 20 years.

Nigeria Blasts: Eleven Dead at Kaduna Barracks Church

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

NIGERIA (ANS) -- Suicide bombers have attacked a church inside a military barracks in Kaduna state in northern Nigeria, killing 11 people and injuring 30, officials say.
According to a story by the BBC, a military spokesman said two vehicles were driven into the barracks in Jaji in what he described as "surprising and an embarrassment."
It is not clear who was responsible for the attack. However, the BBC said, the army suspects the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has recently targeted churches in the state.
The group is fighting to overthrow the government and impose an extreme form of Sharia, or Islamic law.
The BBC's Will Ross in Lagos said that while Christians and churches are frequently targeted, this incident looks more like a direct attack on the military.
On Friday, Nigeria's military offered a reward of 50m naira ($317,000) for help in tracking down suspected Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, and 10m each for other suspected leaders of the group.

"Curious worshipers"

The military said a bus entered the barracks and was driven into the wall of the church where it exploded.
The BBC reported that ten minutes later, a car blew up outside the church.
"The first blast caused no casualties and curious worshipers gathered around the scene looking at the debris... and that was when the second blast happened," the military spokesman said.
According to the BBC, eyewitnesses reported seeing bodies at the scene, and people being carried away on stretchers.
At least 50 people were killed in bombings in Kaduna in June and the reprisals that followed.
Almost a month ago, the BBC reported, seven people died in a suicide bombing at a Roman Catholic church in the state.
Kaduna is on the dividing line between Nigeria's mainly Christian south and the north, which has a large Muslim majority.

Attackers in India's Most Violent State Follow Christians to Hospitals

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

NEW DELHI, INDIA (ANS) -- Christians in India's most religiously intolerant state have witnessed heightened violence in the past several weeks, including Hindu extremists attempting to slit the throat of a pastor as he lay hospitalized from a previous attack, sources said.

Hindu extremists threatened Pastor Samuel Kim of Jerusalem Prayer House in Kannur village, Karnataka.
According to a story by Morning Star News, ruled by the Hindu extremist-backed Bharatiya Janata Party in a country that grants states wide powers to local officials, Karnataka led India in attacks against Christians from 2009 through 2011, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).

Christians or their property are attacked an average of three times per week in Karnataka, Christian Legal Association Senior Advocate S. Nova Bethania told Morning Star News.

"Such instances are not being investigated properly, and offenders are neither traced nor brought to book," said Bethania, who is based in the state capital, Bangalore."
He added, "This has emboldened perpetrators of such crime to extend their anti-Christian agenda."

Morning Star News reported that on Nov. 2, Hindu extremists in Nagarajpura village, near Narisipura, forced four Christians from Zion Prayer Hall church to undergo a Hindu "ritual cleansing" and threatened to kill their pastor, the church leader said.
Furious, the extremists had ordered the Christians to publicly renounce Christ and embrace Hinduism or else be ostracized and lose government benefits as members of the ethnic Bhovi community.

"When the Christians refused, they forcefully performed a Hindu "ceremonial cleansing" on them," said a pastor who goes by a single name, Annaiah.

Morning Star News said the extremists took the four Christians to a Hindu temple, where they forcibly bathed them in water and told them to eat sacrificial meat. Area Christian leaders with the help of Moses Muragavel of the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell reported the incident to police, but officers refused to take action, sources said.

Later in the afternoon, Morning Star News reported, the Hindu extremists marched toward the district collector's office shouting anti-Christian slogans, demanded Pastor Annaiah's arrest on accusations of forceful conversion and burned a likeness of him in effigy.

On Nov. 3, the extremists summoned Bhovi community leaders and decided to kill Pastor Annaiah, he said.

"I came to know from some relatives who attended the meeting that the Hindu extremists have resolved to kill me and attack all the Christians in the village," he told Morning Star News.

About 200 extremists came to the village the following day and verbally abused the Christians. Pastor Annaiah and other Christians ran to a police station and filed a police complaint, and District Superintendent of Police Amit Singh gave them police protection.

Previously, on Nov. 1, the Hindu nationalists had beaten the Christians for refusing to renounce Christ, the pastor said. Five Christians received hospital treatment. That night the extremists went to the hospital and threatened to kill the Christians if they refused to renounce Christ, Pastor Annaiah said. Area Christian leaders called police, who arrived and filed a case against seven Hindu extremists.

Morning Star News said hostilities against the pastor began last month. The extremists summoned him to a public meeting of the Bhovi community in Narisipura village on Oct. 28 and beat him.

"The extremists accused me of forceful conversion and told me that there is no other religion than Hinduism for the Bhovi community," Morning Star News reported he said. "They also said they want to wipe out Christianity from the village, and that I should 'reconvert' to Hinduism as person coming from the Bhovi tribe."

The pastor received hospital treatment for refusing to renounce Christ, area Christian leaders reported.
Threatened in Hospital Bed
The Nagarajpura village attacks marked the second time within a month of Hindu extremists in Karnataka threatening to kill Christians while hospitalized from prior assault.

In Kannur village, near Kolar, Pastor Samuel Kim of Jerusalem Prayer House told Morning Star News that Hindu extremists beat him unconscious on a road on Oct 11. He was admitted to R.L. Jallappa Hospital with a broken rib, severe injuries to his head and neck, and bruises on the rest of his body.

At 4:30 a.m. the next day, the assailants came to Pastor Kim's private ward and tried to kill him, he said.

"Five extremists came near my bed, started to strangle me and brought a razor to slit my throat," Morning Star News reported he said.

The attackers fled when they heard people approaching, he said.

Ram Niwas Seeat, superintendent of police in Kolar (Rural), gave him police protection for the next seven days that he was in the hospital, Pastor Kim said. Police registered a case against the extremists, but no arrests have been made as the attackers absconded. Rather, on Oct. 20 Circle Inspector Davendra Prasad warned him not to lead worship again or else be subject to "dire consequences," Pastor Kim said.

Morning Star News said The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that Pastor Kim also had been attacked three months earlier, in Bangarapet town in the same district, by the same group. The pastor reported that the extremists caught him on his motorbike, accused him of forceful conversion and beat him.

"The extremists asked me whether I was converting people to Christianity and told me never to preach about Jesus Christ again," Morning Star News reported he said.

Arresting the Victims
Hindu extremist groups feel that Christianity is a "foreign" faith that will endanger their caste-based religion, church leaders said.

Morning Star News said Christians account for about 4 percent of Karnataka's population of 61.1 million people, according to Operation World. However, officially the government puts the Christian population at 1.9 percent; Hindus make up 83.9 percent of the state's population, and Muslims 12.2 percent.

India's constitution provides for freedom of religion, and conversion is legal. Laws against forcible conversion in Karnataka and other states, however, provide the pretext for Hindu extremists backed by political power to attack; police commonly arrest the victims rather than the assailants, though to date not a single case of "forced conversion" has resulted in a guilty verdict, attorney Bethania said.

Morning Star News said forcible conversion was the pretext for an attack on Nov. 11 against Pastor Abraham Koshy of the Indian Pentecostal Church in Kulshalanagar Town, Kodagu. That after the same group attacked him on Oct. 28, resulting in the closure of the church for two consecutive Sundays.

"They slapped me with their hands several times and accused me of forceful conversion," Pastor Koshy told Morning Star News, adding that they also tore a Bible and broke windows and roof tiles.

Morning Star News said he submitted a complaint to police and asked for protection, without success. Police did file a First Information Report on the Nov. 11 incident against five extremists, but no arrests were made.

In Chikkamatti, near Shimoga, Hindu extremists on Oct. 29 injured nine Christians with beatings by clubs and sticks, sending two to the hospital - but state police arrested two Christians. EFI reported that the arrests came after the extremists opposed the baptism of 40 tribal people on a Sunday morning at the Indian Apostolic Church.
Morning Star News said the extremists warned the Christians they would attack if they did not "return" to Hinduism. Hindu nationalists believe that all people are Hindu by virtue of being born in India, though many tribal people are raised in tribal religions.
The Christians said they would never give up their newfound faith in Christ. In the subsequent beating, two Christians identified only as Chinnawadu, 50, and Raggesh, 45, were admitted to Bhadravathi Government Hospital with serious wounds.

Later the same day, Morning Star News reported, the extremists filed a police complaint against a pastor identified only as Prashanth and three church members for allegedly "forcefully converting" tribal people to Christianity.
Police charged the Christians under Sections 295-A of the Indian Penal Code for "deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs."

Two Christians identified only as Santosh and Naveen were sent to Shimoga jail. Pastor Prashanth and another Christian went into hiding.

Morning Star News said "forcible conversion" was also among the factors cited for an attack in Davanagere District that put five Christians in the hospital on Oct. 27. Police detained six Christians from Divine Healing Ministry Church after the assault by armed Hindu extremists led by Ramesh Kanade.
Police filed a case against a pastor identified only as Rajasekar and his daughter Daisy, who went into hiding. When officers were unable to find them, they took the six church members into custody for three hours. The Christians were released without charges.

Attorney Moses Muragavel of the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell told Morning Star News that Pastor Rajasekar and his daughter had applied for anticipatory bail and had relocated as a security precaution.

Morning Star News said such disruptions in everyday Christian life in Karnataka have increased since the BJP, parent organization of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, came into power in May 2008.

Karnataka led the nation in cases of violence and harassment against Christians last year with 49, according to EFI; with 56 cases in 2010, and 48 in 2009.

Rash of Assyrian Kidnappings in Syria

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
HASAKE, SYRIA (ANS) -- At least three Assyrians have been kidnapped recently from their villages in Hasake, Syria. Two of the victims are young men and the kidnappers have asked for at least $100,000 USD in ransom for each.
St. Mary's Church was destroyed
The third victim is a 17 year-old girl that was snatched from her street after four men, believed to be Kurds, assaulted her 16-year-old brother, knocked him out, and drove off with her.
According to the Assyrian International News Agency (, violence against Assyrians has sharply risen in the last 12 months; much of it perpetrated by the rebel militia, especially by the Jihadist elements of the rebels, this despite the fact that Assyrians have officially supported the rebel militia.
The New Assyrian Quarter in Aleppo has been attacked three times in the last four weeks. On November 15, four missiles struck the village of Tel Nasra, and according to the residents, St. Mary's church was destroyed and every house was damaged.
"A 14 year old child was killed and many were wounded. It is not known who launched the missiles, though it appears that they originated from government forces," said a spokesperson for the Assyrian Internatioanl News Agency.