Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pakistan third-time likely Prime Minister urged to 'protect minorities' rights'

By Rebecca Gebauer 
Special to ASSIST News Service

GLASGOW, UK (ANS) -- Sheraz Khan, the chief Executive of Global Minorities Alliance (GMA), a Glasgow based minority rights group, while congratulating Pakistan PML (N) party's victory in the general election 2013 has demanded the the party's chief, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, to "protect and safeguard the rights of all religious, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic minorities of Pakistan."

Former Pakistani PM Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is seen celebrating with his supporters, amid early signs that his party will be the largest after parliamentary elections (Photo: BBC)
The former two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Sharif is expected to become the Prime Minister of the country for the third time.

According to unofficial result at the time of writing, the Mr. Sharif led PML (N) grabbed 124 of total 272 seats (45.5%) of National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan parliament. Mr. Sharif needs 137 National Assembly seats to form a government on his own.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has emerged as the second biggest party in the elections securing 35 seats. The official results will be announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

In his victory speech from the balcony of his residence in Lahore, the eastern city of Pakistan, on Saturday evening although Mr. Sharif expressed his willingness to take all parties on board but stopped short from crediting minority voters' contribution towards his party's Muslim candidate success.
According to the official statistics, there are 2.77 million non-Muslim voters in the country, and 13 districts in Sindh and two in Punjab have significant presence of these voters.

In a predominantly Muslim Pakistan, minority candidates are elected under Proportional Representation System, but minority voters cast votes for Muslim candidates running for national as well as provincial constituencies.

Expressing his profound concern over growing religious intolerance in Pakistan, Mr. Khan said he hoped Mr. Sharif would take measures to "scale back" extremism if not "completely reverse the rise in fundamentalism."
The Pakistan province of Punjab is the stronghold of the Sharif-led PML-N.
Sheraz Khan

"In 2009/10 the province of Punjab saw a 34% of increase in terrorist attacks and a 26% increase in terrorist- related killings," said Mr. Khan, quoting statistics from the Pakistan Institute of Peace studies, based in Islamabad.

Mr. Khan, who was born in Pakistan and now lives in Glasgow, was critical of incidents of violence and terrorist attacks during the election campaign and the killing of 34 people on the Election Day.

The Pakistan Peoples' Party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party which are thought to be liberal [tolerant] and progressive parties, abstained from holding public meetings for the fear of being attacked by pro-Taliban elements.

Mr. Khan urged the successful minority candidates in the elections to actively advance minority's interest instead of towing their respective parties' line.

He demanded that Mr. Sharif restore the ministry of Minorities Affairs which was transformed into Ministry of National Harmony which was established on July 29, 2011.

Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Federal Minister for minorities' affairs, and the only Christian in the cabinet, was gunned down on March 2, 2011.

Khan said that in a complete and utter disregard for minorities' due representation in the ministry, the previous government of Pakistan People's Party installed Shahzada Jamal Nazir as Federal Minister, a Muslim and appointed Akram Masih Gill as a junior Minister.
Asia Bibi

The GMA chief Executive called upon Mr. Sharif to ensure equal opportunities for members of minority communities.
He stated: "We would like to see an end to discrimination against minorities in public and private sectors."

Mr. Khan said he hoped Mr. Sharif's new government would take steps aimed at stopping the "misuse" of Pakistan blasphemy laws.

"We are deeply concerned about the safety of Asia Bibi, a mother-of-five who is being kept in solitary confinement on death row for blasphemy," he said.


Christian Prisoner in Iran's Shiraz in Critical Condition

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

SHIRAZ, IRAN (ANS) -- One of the Christian prisoners in Adel-Abad prison in Shiraz is in critical condition, suffering from a lack of much needed medical care.

Shiraz is the fifth most populous city in Iran.

According to a story by Mohabat Christian News Service,  Vahid Hakkani is suffering from internal bleeding of the digestive system. Prison doctors say he is in urgent need of surgery.

According to Mohabat News, prison officials have not transferred him to a hospital. Hakkani's condition is reportedly critical.

Mohabat News said prisoners in the ward where Hakkani is being incarcerated are denied minimum care "and time to get fresh air."

Mohabat News said many of those imprisoned in this area (used especially for prisoners of conscience) are experiencing physical and mental difficulties.

In addition, Mohabat News commented, "Because these prisoners are taken to medical centers with their hands and feet chained and are humiliated, they do not readily express (a) personal interest (in being) transferred to hospital."

Mohabat News said Hakkani, together with Mojtaba Seyyed-Alaedin Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei (also known as Koroush), and Homayoun Shokouhi, were arrested as they gathered for worship in a house church on Feb. 8 2012.

Mohabat News said these individuals, as well as a number of other Christian believers there at the house church, were arrested for participating in house church services, evangelizing and promoting Christianity, having contact with foreign Christian ministries, propagating against the regime and disturbing national security.

According to the report, Mohabat News said, although it is one year since these four Christian converts were arrested, they are still facing an uncertain future, awaiting the decision of the court.

Mohabat News commented, "The Islamic regime of Iran has been restricting and pressuring political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, both mentally and physically, causing illness for them. They don't stop there, but make the situation even more difficult by delaying or denying medical care for them."

American Pastor Saeed Abedini Released from Solitary Confinement, Returned to General Prison Population

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

WASHINGTON D.C. (ANS) -- After more than a week, including his 33rd birthday, spent in the "small dark hole" of solitary confinement, Pastor Saeed Abedini has once again been returned to the main prison population in Ward 350 of Evin Prison.

Saeed Abedini
According to a story by Jordan Sekulow for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), its sources in Iran have confirmed that Iranian authorities returned Abedini to his cell in Ward 350 yesterday.

The ACLJ said this was a critical development, and raises hope after a very discouraging week.

The ACLJ said it was believed that Abedini may have faced 20 days or more in solitary confinement.

Abedini's wife Naghmeh said, "His release from solitary is a direct result of the multitudes praying. I am relieved my husband is out of solitary, but still am deeply concerned about Saeed's health. While this is a small victory, I am still demanding justice be done and that Saeed be released."

The ACLJ said, "We are hopeful that Pastor Saeed's early return to the general population of Ward 350 is a sign that international pressure on Iran is beginning to have an effect."

Abedini described the first time he spent in solitary confinement, some 200 days ago when he was first imprisoned for his Christian faith, as som e of the worst days he has ever faced. Days felt like years he said.

The ACLJ said the severity of Abedini's medical condition remains a concern. He began complaining of symptoms of kidney issues before he was placed in solitary confinement.

The ACLJ said Abedini, a U.S. citizen, had been confined to solitary since April 29 along with nine other prisoners. The confinement was apparently a retaliatory response to fellow prisoners' protest of Iran's lack of medical care for Abedini and others.

It is unknown how many of the 10 prisoners who were placed in solitary confinement have been returned to the political prisoner ward of Evin.

The ACLJ said more than 575,000 people worldwide have signed a petition for his release. International media, world leaders, and governments including the European Union and United Nations have raised his case. Now, over 50,000 people have written him letters..

The ACLJ said this has led to unparalleled pressure on the Iranian regime.

The ACLJ commented, "The more pre ssure is placed on Iran - the more Iran is put on notice that the world is watching its unconscionable human rights abuses - the regime is forced to take action."
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Indonesian clerics dispute president’s ‘world statesman’ award

Yudhoyono honored by Appeal of Conscience Foundation

According to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is a world statesman who promotes religious tolerance.

According to the Clergy Forum of Jakarta, Banten and West Java in Indonesia, Yudhoyono turns a blind eye to oppression of minority religions in his own country.

The forum on Monday led a small march of about 50 people to the U.S. embassy in Jakarta to deliver a letter protesting the foundation’s decision to give its 2013 World Statesman Award to Yudhoyono.

“He is the president of intolerance,” Rev. Palti Panjaitan, of Batak Christian Protestant Filadelfia church, told World Watch Monitor.

He and the group left without finding anyone at the embassy to take the letter.

The New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation, formed in 1965, calls itself an “interfaith coalition of business and religious leaders promotes peace, tolerance and ethnic conflict resolution.” It’s annual World Statesman Award has been bestowed upon the likes of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper; South Korean President Lee Myung-bak; French President Nicolas Sarkozy; and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Clergy Forum Coordinator, Rev. Erwin Marbun, said he wonders just what criteria the foundation used to select Yudhoyono, or “SBY,” as the president is widely called. Christian churches in Indonesia have been bulldozed, and minority Mulsims have been attacked by mobs – evidence of what the Agence France-Presse news service this week characterized as “religious intolerance sweeping the country.”

"In fact, President SBY did not obey the law,” Marbun told World Watch Monitor. “He missed in law enforcement in Indonesia. Look at the closure of places of worship in Indonesia as happened at GKI Yasmin, HKBP Filadelfia, the Shia in Sampang who can not return home till today, and the Ahmadiyah who are terrified by the violence of a group of people.”

In power since 2004, the Yudhoyono government in 2006 issued regulations requiring religious groups that want to build a worship building to obtain signatures from at least 60 neighboring people belonging to different religions. They also require the groups to obtain permission from the local religious-affairs office.

The GKI Yasmin church, in Bogor west of Jakarta, has waged a years-long battle with local officials who have closed the church, despite subsequent federal orders that it be reopened. TheHKBP Filadefia church, in nearby Bekasi, has been holding services in the street while going through a similar ordeal.

During Christmas Eve services at HKBP Filadefia, a crowd hurled eggs and cow dung at Panjaitan. On May 2, police questioned him a second time in connection with an assault case that arose when Palti confronted the leader of the crowd.

An HKBP-affiliated church in the suburbs of Jakarta was bulldozed in March by municipal crews under orders from local authorities. Across the Indonesian province of Aceh, 17 churches were closed in May 2012.

Christians represent at least 14 percent of the overwhelmingly Mulsim country, though the share may be higher because not all Christian churches affiliate with national organizations. Open Doors International, a worldwide ministry to Christians living under pressure for their beliefs, says the principal source of pressure upon Christians is not the government, but militant Islamic groups. And Christians are not the only ones to feel pressure from hardline elements of the Sunni majority.

In August, a mob of about 500 Sunnis drove minority Shia from their homes in near Sampang, on the eastern end of the island of Java. Two people were killed. On Monday on the western end of the island, hundreds of Islamic hardliners ransacked a community of minority Ahmadiyah Muslims.

"Therefore, we ask that the Appeal of Conscience Foundation to reconsider the plan for the sake of humanity, justice and peace in the world," Marbun said. The small protest march to the U.S. Embassy on Monday included representatives of GKI Yasmin, HKBP Filadelphia, and Shia and Ahmadiyah communities.

An Indonesian organization called the Human Rights Working Group also criticized the foundation’s selection of Yudhoyono for the award.

“The president has to date never called on his officials to take firm action against perpetrators of intolerance who have clearly violated the Constitution,” the group’s deputy director, Muhammad Choirul Anam, was quoted as saying in the Jakarta Globe.

In announcing the recipient of its 2013 World Statesman Award, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation did not specify its reasons for selecting Yudhoyono. In bestowing the award upon Harper in 2012, the foundation said the award goes to a “leader who has helped advance freedom, democracy, human rights and peace globally.”

The foundation, created in 1965 by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, “believes that freedom, democracy and human rights are the fundamental values that give nations of the world their best hope for peace, security and shared prosperity.”

A Yudhoyono spokesman issued a statement Monday that the episodes of sectarian conflict are only part of the story.

“The intolerance cases should not blind the eyes of the commentators from seeing the many progresses in building Indonesian values under President SBY,” Teuku Faizasyah is quoted as saying in the Globe.
The Foundation has scheduled a May 30 ceremony to formally present the award to Yudhoyono.

©2013 World Watch Monitor

Pakistani Pastor's Son Escapes after Reportedly Being Kidnapped by Terrorists

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- A Pakistani pastor says his son was kidnapped by terrorists, but he was able to escape and return to his family.

Naeem Javaid
That's the claim made by Pastor Javaid Austin in an email to the ASSIST News Service. Austin is chairman and a founding member of the Light of the City Church in Lahore. He has also been a member of the Pakistan Christian Welfare Council (PCWC) for the past 22 years.
This pastor was featured in an April 2011 story (

Austin asked ANS to report this latest situation. He claims that area police are corrupt and not taking any action against the "terrorists" who he says kidnapped his son.

Austin said the lack of action continues despite frequent requests to the police to do something. Austin said the "logic" behind this is that no officer wants to admit someone has been kidnapped from his district. He said that to do so would "directly hit the promotions and benefits of him which he expected to get in future."

Austin said his son Naeem Javaid, 25, was kidnapped on Feb. 25between 5 and 5.30 p.m. local time in Lahore, Pakistan. Austin said his son was walking on his own.

Austin said his son told him that a Suzuki stopped by him, and a man with a face obscured by a handkerchief asked him for directions. The address the men were trying to find was written on a small scrap of paper.

Austin said as his son tried to read the address, a gang member approached Naeem from behind and put a gun to his back. Naeem was ordered to g et in the car without making a sound. He did so, saying that if he had made any noise he would have been killed on the spot.

Naeem said there were four men, and he was flanked by one on each side. Everyone had guns. His eyes were covered, his hands were bound tightly, and he was ordered to bend down.

Austin said his son told him they traveled for a number of hours. Naeem said he was totally unable to move and he had no idea where they were headed. He prayed the entire time.

Suddenly, Naeem told his father, the vehicle stopped and one of his kidnappers got out to use the bathroom. However, he didn't close the door properly.

Naeem said he began thinking, "They are taking me to an unknown place and in the end they will kill me, so I should take a chance. I will not get the opportunity again."

Naeem told his father there was a small piece of pipe under the seat which he used to pry the rope off his hands. Then he removed the covering off his eyes.

Then, Naeem said, "I gripped the neck of that terro rist and punched him hard. He tumbled out of the car, and his gun ... dropped from his hands. I quickly jumped out from the car and did not (look) behind. I was sure that they (would) open gun fire, so I ran very fast . But I never heard the (sound) of gunfire."

Naeem said he ran around in confusion for about two hours. He spent the night hidden under a tree. The next morning, he walked to the main road where he saw a small cab. He said he asked to be taken to a public call center. The cab driver told him it would take about 15 minutes to get there.

Naeem said he told his father an abbreviated version of what had happened and asked him to take quick action. With help from the phone operator, Austin was able to learn his son's location. He was in Rawalpindi, about five or so hours from Lahore.
The operator told Austin that Naeem was safe and he would keep him hidden until someone would come for him. Austin said the operator told him, "Don't involve police in this matter. As you know, they are corrupt."

Aus tin said he agreed. Fortunately, his cousin lived in Rawalpindi and within about 40 minutes he came to get Naeem. He stayed there that night, and traveled home to Lahore with another relative the next day.
He said, "It's Jesus Christ's love that makes the miracles come to pass."

After Naeem told his family the whole story, Austin told him when he didn't come home they started looking for him and called his cell phone, but it was turned off. They also called his friends, and after a few hours informed the police who said they would put out the American equivalent of an attempt to locate.

Austin said he told his son, "Everyone in the family was worried and crying for you whether you are safe or not. Every second we were having bad thoughts like murder ... It was a very difficult time for us ... We did not sleep (the) whole night. (We were) just waiting for you. Every family member waited for your phone call. We were having (a) feeling of loss."

However, Austin told his son, there was something else going on. "We were also praying for you ... We prayed for several hours. We believe that the power of prayers have released you. It was impossible, but prayers made it possible."

Austin said while the family was praying, He believes God was at work. He told Naeem, "I believe that (the) rope which was wrapped around (your) hand opened through prayers. One terrorist went out and you got the opportunity to ran. It was under God's plan (that) you escaped and got back home just Jesus Christ was your Guard."

Austin concluded his email to ANS by saying his family is still unsafe. He said Islamic extremists are against because of his advocacy for "voiceless Christians" in Pakistan, as well as the prayer meetings he holds.
Austin said, "Most of the time Muslim people attend our ... prayer meetings. I do not force them to attend. Muslims ... are inspired by the teaching o Lord Jesus Christ; that is why they attend ... Islamic Islamic extremists and leader do not like (that").

Austin asked that the international Christian c ommunity pray for his family, as he doesn't want to see harm come to any of them.

Bangladesh Islamists push for blasphemy law

(Images courtesy Uncultured/Creative Commons/Flickr)

Bangladesh (MNN) ― At least 27 people died in clashes between police and Islamic hardliners in Bangladesh's capital city Monday. 

Demonstrators were demanding that the government enact an anti-blasphemy law. We spoke with the national co-director ofAsian Access(A2)/Bangladesh, Rev. Peter Mazumder, who also serves as director of IFES-Bangladesh (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). He explains, [sic] "Jamaat-e-Islami want to pressure that Bangladesh should have this blasphemy law, which is totally denied by the government of Bangladesh. And also, the concerned people from Bangladesh, they don't accept that one." 

Essentially, that means the government of the Muslim-majority nation has rejected the demand, insisting that Bangladesh is governed by secular law. 

However, Jamaat-e-Islami was joined by Hefajat-e-Islam, the islamist group behind the demand, and the main opposition party, the Bangladesh National Party (BNP). Hefajat-e-Islam attracted little public attention until recently. Mazumder says its mission is stated in its name: ‘Hefajat-e-Islam' translates to ‘protecting islam'. 

With the three groups together, that advanced the number of protestors exponentially. It was a tinder box situation. Mazumder says, [Sic] "We don't like the violence. The fundamental groups are so dangerous, that they are breaking all the cars and everything, and all of the sudden, lots of riots is coming up, and it's not safe."

The opposition has sponsored a series of recent general strikes demanding that the next general election due in early 2014 be supervised by a neutral caretaker administration.

Paying attention to the political makeup of the government is particularly important because for a ministry like Asian Access, Bangladesh is the first Muslim country where they've set up operations. 

In 2011, A2 launched its first leader development session in Bangladesh. Mazumder notes that Class 1 is in session this week, and only a few participants have been late or unable to come because of the protest strikes. It means that their work is largely undisrupted despite the upheaval. [Sic] "We are having our A2 seminars, and we are now completing the seventh seminar semester; in September, we're having our graduation."

Notably, the national strikes have impacted the last three previous sessions, (Sep, Nov, and Feb). A2 notes that sometimes the session needs to end early, in order to allow enough time for the pastors to make it back to their home churches in time to preach on Sunday.

The situation created a unique and unifying opportunity for Christians in Bangladesh, says Mazumder. [Sic]"The last few days many churches came together, and we prayed God may transform this situation and change the situation. We'd like to see a peaceful country like that, so you can pray for that."

The accord between these Christians is proof that A2's approach to church leadership training and discipleship training works. Essentially, it boils down to this idea: If you want to plant a church, you must first grow a leader. Careful selection of a select group of emerging leaders is key. The Asian Access leadership training has been recognized as one of the most creative and fruitful leadership training programs in Asia. 

Continue to pray for the safety of the students and leaders. Ask God to intervene on behalf of believers in Bangladesh. Pray for peace to be restored. If you want to see more about the leadership training model, click here. 

Explosion Kills, Injures Worshipers at Inaugural Mass in Tanzania

At least two dead, dozens wounded in blast

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

ARUSHA, TANZANIA (ANS) -- Fear and grief rocked a predominantly Christian area of northern Tanzania on Sunday, May 5, 2013, after an unidentified man reportedly hurled an explosive device at the inaugural Mass of a new church building, killing two worshipers.

Wounded churchgoers lie on the ground after an explosion at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania's northern city of Arusha, on May 5, 2013 (Photo:
The Vatican ambassador to Tanzania, Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, was in attendance as Mass was about to be celebrated at the new building on the outskirts of Arusha. Neither he nor Arusha Catholic Diocese Archbishop Josaphat Louis Lebulu were among the more than 40 people injured, a source in Tanzania told Morning Star News (

According to their East Africa Correspondent, a hospital confirmed two people were killed in the explosion at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, which occurred before 11 a.m. when an unidentified man on a motorcycle reportedly hurled an explosive device over the church fence. One of those killed was identified as Regina Loning'o Kuresoi, and among the injured were two 12-year-olds, according to press reports.

He went on to say, "Worshipers were packed into the new church building when the explosion went off, the source said."

"It was a colorful celebration with joyous mood when a frightening explosion took place, coupled with loud shouts and crying of the church members," one church member told the source.

Tanzania's Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal visits Mount Meru Hospital and consoles a man injured during an explosion at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Arusha, Tanzania (CNS photo/Reuters)
Police reportedly said four Saudi Arabian nationals and two Tanzanian citizens had been arrested, including the driver of the motorcycle. Officials urged calm in the face of furious residents. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.

"Terrorist groups have not been active in Tanzania since the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in 1998, but President Jakaya Kikwete termed Sunday's explosion a terrorist attack," said the story.

"Previously police had warned of possible violence by Al Qaeda that could include involvement of its Somalia-based partner, Al Shabaab, the source said. At the same time, some area residents believe elements bent on creating religious conflict were behind the explosion, he added.

"Tanzania and especially its Zanzibar archipelago have recently suffered attacks by the separatist group Uamsho (Re-awakening). Uamsho, the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation, has threatened Christians on Zanzibar Island since October 2012."
With a population that is 34.2 percent Muslim, Tanzania is 54 percent Christian; most of the rest of religious adherents hold ethnic tribal beliefs, according to Operation World.
A church on fire in Zanzibar

The East Africa correspondent stated that Tanzania Episcopal Conference Secretary General Anthony Makunde said the blast was part of ongoing, religiously motivated chaos that has left church buildings destroyed and Christian leaders dead. Suspected Islamic extremists on Feb. 17 shot and killed a Roman Catholic priest in Zanzibar; two assailants on a motorbike approached the Rev. Evaristus Mushi as he arrived in his car to the Mass he was about to officiate in the Mtoni area outside Zanzibar City.

Last Christmas Day, suspected Islamic extremists on a motorcycle shot the Rev. Ambrose Mkenda, a Roman Catholic priest, through his cheeks and in the shoulder as he arrived home in Tomondo, about four miles from Zanzibar City; he survived.

Islamists burned several church buildings in various parts of Tanzania last October after two children's argument about the Koran resulted in a Christian boy allegedly defiling Islam's sacred book (see Morning Star News, Oct. 19, 2012). In Kigoma, on the western border, two church buildings were set ablaze on Oct. 14, and the roof of another one was destroyed; on the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean some 25 kilometers (16 miles) off the Tanzanian coast, Muslim extremists on Oct. 13 demolished a building belonging to the Evangelical Assemblies of God-Tanzania (EAGT) in Fuoni, near Zanzibar City; and in Dar es Salaam, where two boys' argument over the Koran set off the violence, three church buildings were set on fire on Oct. 12, and another was destroyed on Oct. 18.

The story added, "The attacks on church buildings came after Muslims began falsely asserting that Christians had sent the Christian boy to the Muslim boy to urinate on the Koran in the Mbagala area of Dar es Salaam on Oct. 10, sources said.

"On Oct. 17, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania leaders released a statement saying churches had also been set ablaze in Mdaula, Mto wa Mbu, Tunduru and Rufiji. The Mbagala attacks, they stated, resulted from inflammatory statements by local religious leaders. They also blamed media outlets for instigating religious hatred."

Bibles for Persecuted Families in Lahore Pakistan

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- On March 8, more than 300 families in Lahore, Pakistan, saw their lives changed forever.

One of the Aim4Faith team gives a Bible
to a grateful recipient.
A number of radical Muslims attacked the Joseph colony, looted households and burned homes. Nine Christians were severely injured and hospitalized.

According to an email report from Aim4Faith Ministries, the group reached out door to door to these families and gave them Bibles.

Aim4Faith said those who were attacked are still living in fear because of on going threats from area Muslims. The situation is so bad that many people are not going to work or even shopping for basic needs.

Young people were also affected. Aim4Faith said, "Children are still in fear and they saw the homes burning horrendously in their dreams and still they are not back to schools. Mostly girls and women are still crying when they remember their lovely and beautiful homes which have they seen (burning up) in flames ... "
According to the email, the Aim4Faith ministry team encouraged people by opening up the Bible to them and reminding them that ultimately it is the word of God that satisfies.

Aim4Faith Ministries said the group also wants to help the school children trauma counseling, school supplies, school bags and uniforms.

The ministry added, "Please pray for us and pray for the needs of these school children ... and give them strength to face reality."

To learn more about Aim4Faith, go to