Persecuted!

 

 

  • Isaiah 33:1, "Woe to thee that spoilest, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee."

 They attack.. yet we never attack them. When they're are done, we shall judge them.

Long ago, the only ones that persecuted the Christians were Catholic because of their inborn guilt and hatred of those that proved true Christianity was better than their version. Today however, all the churches follow Rome’s lead. Everyone embraces Catholic dogma now. When the remnant go forth and preach and display true Christianity, it won’t just be the Catholics persecuting us. ALL the churches will come against us for the same reasons Rome did long ago! The "three frogs" are joining forces as we speak!

For current information on persecutions and other topics important to Christians.


From: Dave Chupp <davec@gfa.org>
Date: Monday, November 02, 1998 11:16 PM
Subject: GFA Urgent Prayer Request

From:  K.P. Yohannan

Subject:
  Persecution of Christian Workers in Gujarat

A few hours ago a telephone call came from our field coordinator, Ebenezer
Samuel with an urgent prayer request.  He mentioned of his conversation
with our regional coordinator, Brother Mathew Thomas from the state of
Gujarat.

There was a violent incident, which happened in Baroda, which is the
nearest city to Gospel for Asia training center in that state.  A South
Indian who is doing cross-cultural evangelism was a holding a public gospel
meeting in Baroda.  Right in the middle of the meeting a large number of
Hindus came and started beating up the people who attended the meeting.
More than 200 people were wounded, and they are now being hospitalized.

This is the second incident of this nature, taking place in this same city.
Several months ago in another meeting workers were beaten up and much
persecution started for the work of the Lord in that state.

But since this incident took place just the other day, the rioting and
persecution is spreading throughout the city and now it is spreading to the
outskirts.  These fanatic, anti-Christian Hindus are targeting Christian
workers especially those who are from South India doing evangelism and
church-planting in this North Indian State.  They are out to find out who
these people are and punish them.

It looks like it will be a couple of days before these rioters will reach
the location of Gospel for Asia training center.  Since our Brother Mathew
Thomas is from South India, they felt it was wise for him to be in hide out
for the next few days.  Please pray for the safety and protection of our
leaders and students at the training center.

Then also this state of Gujarat seems to have become the forerunner with
the bold steps they have taken to persecute Christian workers and destroy
churches.  Please pray that this Hindu government that is now ruling India
will not continue to persecute the brothers and sisters that are sharing
the love of Christ especially in North Indian states.  In the recent months
persecution has increased tremendously and much prayer is needed for the
door of the gospel to be kept open in India where today we have over a
billion people.

Thank you for praying and may the Lord continue to burden our hearts to
stand in the gap for the lost world.

K.P. Yohannan
President

P.S. Please pass this prayer request on for others to pray. Thank you.

BACK TO TOP


We have been so blessed and others so tormented.  The least we can do is
pray as we believe God is in control.
Will you pray for these Christians in Laos?  Their crime was promoting
the cause of Christ. I believe we will all be facing this kind of
situation sooner than we realize.  Lets stand together in prayer with
these and for our own country.  For future updates, please go to
www.heartlight.org

Arrested January 30, 1998:
44 Laos, 1 Thai, 1 French, 3 Americans. All released except the 13 shown
above. #14, Phonsawan, the pregnant wife of Bounlerth was not arrested
and had a baby boy 2/15/98. #15, the paid police informer Saengwang was
released the night of the raid.

Government charges:

1."They were holding a religious meeting illegally to promote the worship
of Christ" --Bangkok Post 2."Meeting without permission of the cities
authorities" --Vientiane Times 3.Translating English Bible material into
foreign languages.
sources (six are employees of a Lao government approved humanitarian
organization) --police investigators 5.Teaching Lao people about the
Christian religion --police investigators 6.Hosting Bible classes in
their homes --police investigators

Private property seized in a private home:
150 Lao New Testaments, 20 Lao Bibles, 100 song books, 80 Bible
commentaries, 40 personal Bible notebooks, teaching stand, church
pictures, church records, 150 Bible lessons for children

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C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at
ReligionToday.com

November 5, 1998


Egyptian Christians suffer mass arrests, torture

More than 1,200 Christians in Southern Egypt reportedly have been
arrested and tortured in a police crackdown. Security forces in
Al-Kosheh targeted Christians after the murder of two people this
summer.

...
Police arrested 50 to 100 Christians at a time and held them
for days, torturing confessions and false statements from them,
Nagi Care of the American Coptic Association said. Witnesses
reported beatings, rapes, torture by electric shock, and being
nailed to crosses for short periods of time. Children and infants
were beaten and girls raped in front of their families, London's
Electronic Telegraph said.

...
"It was horrific -- entire families were severely beaten and
tortured
, and some of the children will be scarred for life. When
I protested to the regional police chief, he said, 'You haven't
seen anything yet,' " Coptic Bishop Anba Wissa said. After
several fruitless complaints to local and regional authorities,
Wissa notified Egyptian human rights agencies. International
human rights groups and members of the U.S. and British
government have called on Egypt's President Hosni Mubark to
investigate. ...
Wissa and two Coptic priests have been charged with
interfering in the investigation of the two men's murders,
Compass Direct News said. Charges include damaging national
security and peace, using religion to incite strife, criticizing
a government action at a religious gathering, hiding information,
and influencing witnesses. ...Radical Muslims in the security forces are responsible for the
abuses, Care told Religion Today. Police refused to consider
evidence suggesting that Muslims killed the two Christian men,
and blamed Christians for the murders to protect the killers, he
said. "The police department is becoming more infiltrated with
Muslim extremists. They have more loyalty to being Muslim than
being police," Care said.

...Islamic extremism is on the rise, Care said. Muslims and
Christians have traditionally gotten along well, but persecution
against Christians has increased in the past 15 years, Care said.
Groups such as the radical Gamat el-Islam are dedicated to
filling the ranks of government and police organizations with the
intent of enforcing Islamic law and destroying Christians, he
said.

...
Christians are not represented in government positions. They
make up 20% of the population but hold no elected posts in
parliament and are not appointed to governorships or mayoral
posts, Care said. Five Christians appointed to parliament are
"puppets" of the president, he said. Christians are denied
leadership posts at universities, in the army, and in police
forces. They are denied jobs and promotions, and are subject to
bureaucratic problems because a national identification card
lists their religion, Care said.

...
Muslim extremists in Upper Egypt extort money from Christians.
Groups of Muslims regularly demand "Jizya" -- a form of
protection money -- from Christians and will kill them if they
fail to pay, Care said.

...Care's organization seeks to raise international awareness
about the situation. It co-sponsored a recent series of ads in
The Washington Post addressed to President Mubarak. They
criticized a law forbidding proselytism and banning Muslims from
converting, a law restricting construction of churches but not
mosques, police disregard for crimes committed against
Christians, and a national school curriculum that denigrates
Christianity.

...
Violence against Christians is "tearing at the social fabric
of Egypt,
" said Care, who came to the United States 30 years ago.
Many Muslims are good people who oppose violence but are afraid
to speak against the extremists, he said. He urged Christians and
moderate Muslims to ask the Egyptian government to deal with the
problem.

...Mubarak should respond because Egypt's credibility is at
stake, Care said. "I love Egypt and I respect President Mubarak,
but he can't ignore this problem. He has a tremendous role to
play in the Palestinian-Israeli situation, but people can't pay
attention to him if they know there is persecution in his
country."

...
Egypt has more Christians than any country in the Middle East.
St. Mark is said to have brought the gospel to the country and
founded the Coptic Orthodox Church. Invading Muslims overtook the
country in the seventh century, and most of the population
converted to Islam. Egyptian church leaders estimate that there
are 10 million Christians, including 300,000 evangelicals.
-----------
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         C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

November 30, 1998

Christian suffering in India is the worst in 50 years

Persecution of Christians in India is reported to be at its
highest level in 50 years. Mobs of religious fanatics have
attacked churches and Christian schools, dispersed outdoor gospel
meetings, and beaten evangelists in dozens of incidents this
year.

...
Oppression is widespread, a person with contacts in the
country told Religion Today. There have been at least 33
incidents of violence in 11 of India's 25 states in 1998, much of
it in Gujarat, a predominantly Hindu state that lies in
west-central India, he said.

...
Churches have been burned in the villages of Bhapkal, Singana,
Lahan Kadmad, and Borkhal, the Los Angeles Times said. An
Orthodox school in Naroda was attacked for failing to teach
Sanskrit, the language of Hindu literature. A gang of Hindus
invaded a Christian girls' school in Rajkot and burned its
Bibles. In Naroda, 400 people used tractors and crowbars to
destroy a Catholic church.

...
Twenty-five men raped four Indian Catholic nuns in Navapada,
Mahydra Pradesh, in September, news reports said. The men
surrounded a convent and told the nuns to come out, promising not
to hurt them, then led them to a nearby field. "Tonight you are
our wives," the attackers reportedly said. Catholic leaders
believe high-ranking Hindus encouraged the mob.

...
The government's goal of making India a Hindu state is the
cause of increased persecution, many believe. Attacks on
Christians rose after the radical Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party
came to national power eight months ago. The BJP, whose slogan is
"one nation, one people, one culture," has called Christianity a
foreign religion and a holdover from the colonial era. The BJP
came to power with promises to make India a world power by
uniting its people under Hinduism and developing nuclear arms.
Prime Minister Shri Bajpayee is a member, as are several top
ministers in the ruling government.

...National opposition to Christianity has emboldened state
governments.
"They feel more comfortable persecuting Christians
on the local level because there is no fear of reprisals," the
person with contacts in the country told Religion Today. Some
states have passed anti-conversion laws, and violence against
Christians is seldom prosecuted. Attacks have been organized and
led by government leaders, witnesses say. "There is a pattern to
these attacks and I am convinced that they are being orchestrated
from above," said John Dayal of the All India Catholic Union.

...
Government leaders have denied that they support the attacks
and promised to investigate. Some Hindu organizations have
disavowed attacks while justifying them. The rape of the nuns was
wrong, but a "natural reaction" to years of forced conversions by
missionaries, said B.L. Sharma of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a
civic organization.

...Christians have declared Dec. 4 a day of prayer and fasting.
Christian schools and colleges will be closed and Christians have
been encouraged to stay home from work and attend a rally in New
Delhi. A delegation of Christian leaders will make a formal
protest to the president, prime minister, and home minister.

..
.Christianity is spreading into northern India. The apostle
Thomas is said to have brought Christianity to southern India
2,000 years ago, but the church's influence thins in the central
regions. In some northern states there may be "one Christian for
every 22 million people," the person with contacts in the country
said. Christian evangelists and others are bringing the gospel to
these areas for the first time. The areas are Hindu "political
and spiritual strongholds," so the persecution is greater, he
said. "Workers are constantly told to leave or be killed. Leaders
have a price on their heads from anti-Christian groups."

...
The workers trust God for their protection. They "take the
threats before the Lord in fasting and prayer and ask Him to
protect them." Christians have been beaten, tortured with razor
blades, and thrown from a speeding train, and six to 12 per year
are martyred, he said.

...
Hundreds of tribal people in a section of northern India are
becoming Christians
through the efforts of evangelists. The area
is known for violent tribal clashes. "It is the greatest revival
we know of at this time," he said. "You don't get this kind of
revival without persecution, and bloodshed, and martyrdom. One
comes with the other."
-----------
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C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

December 4, 1998


Christians help persecuted Jews who flee to Israel

Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians are establishing 15
warehouses full of supplies in Israel to assist an expected surge
of persecuted refugees fleeing from Russia to Israel in the next
few years. In addition to helping refugees, the ministry is a
powerful witness to unbelievers, its organizers say.

...
Anti-Semitism in Russia is causing more Jews to seek asylum in
Israel. Jews often have been a scapegoat for Russia's problems,
and the recent economic crisis has given rise to renewed
anti-Jewish sentiment. A Communist member of the Duma, or
legislature, caused a stir when he blamed the country's troubles
on Jews. President Boris Yeltsin condemned the remarks, but the
Duma refused to censure the lawmaker. Nazism also is on the
increase. The Russian National Unity party, an organization that
employs a swastika-like symbol and reportedly preaches Nazi
rhetoric, has 100,000 members in 64 regional organizations.

..."
There is a worsening condition for Jews in general," Paul
Samuels, executive director of the Joseph Project, told Religion
Today. "The situation is getting hotter and hotter and the time
to prepare is getting shorter and shorter." The Israeli
government is expecting a dramatic increase in immigration in
1999. "In 1998, 40,000 Jews immigrated to Israel from Russia and
Eastern Europe. They expect at least 150,000 in 1999," Samuels
said.

...
The scenario fits a prophetic message that Joel Chernoff,
general secretary of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America,
said he received from God in 1996. Hundreds of thousands of Jews
will begin leaving Russia and Eastern Europe by 2000 to settle in
Israel, and the government will be unprepared to handle the
massive influx, Chernoff said. He formed the Joseph Project
because he believes that Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians
must stock aid to help alleviate shortages. "It comes down to
practical issues, being a blessing in a time of crisis."

..."We are saying to our people, '
We are Jews and we believe
Jesus is the Messiah
and because of His love we want to meet your
practical needs,' " Samuels said. Messianic Jews hope to provide
housing and distribute humanitarian aid, and Gentile Christian
organizations are supplying financial resources and collecting
and sending the goods, he said.

...The Joseph Project, a ministry of Messianic Jewish Alliance of
America, involves 22 Christian ministries and businesses in the
United States and Israel. Christian ministries, such as Sanford,
Fla.-based Harvest Time, are responsible for gathering food,
medicine, clothes, tents, and blankets, and shipping them to
Israel. When the supplies reach Israel, Messianic Jewish
organizations are to ship them to various parts of the country
and distribute them to those in need.

...One such organization is Vision for Israel, a ministry to the
poor and needy. American-born Messianic Jew Barry Segal and his
Israeli wife, Batya, founded the ministry in 1993. It provides
food, clothes, and other articles to Jews, Christians, or Arabs
who are in need through its Joseph Storehouse in the hills of
Jerusalem, Segal said. About two-thirds of the goods the ministry
receives are distributed and the rest are stored for the expected
crisis, he said.

...Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians "are not called to
panic, but to prepare and provide," Segal said. God wants the
church and Messianic believers to provide for people when
disaster strikes so they can share the message of God's love, he
said. "This is not just a social issue or a justice issue. It's
that we are in the end times. God is up to something."

...
It is amazing "how quickly the hearts of our people will open
to the Messiah
when we follow the biblical injunction to 'do
good' in 1 Peter 2:15," Chernoff said. "We don't even have to
bring up spiritual issues -- they start asking us questions.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world are believing in
Y'shua because our people are so thirsty."

...The world has not seen the gospel's true power "because Jews
and Gentiles have been divided," Chernoff said. When they work
side-by-side, it will cause people to open up to the gospel, he
said. "The power of true biblical unity is irresistible."

...
Eight Muslims became followers of Jesus during the Joseph
Project's conference in Israel in September, he said. Joseph
Project leaders held a Sabbath dinner, then prayed for newly
appointed leaders. As Jewish and Gentile believers washed each
other's feet, the hotel staff became curious. "I see Jews and
Christians worshiping and praying together -- what is happening?"
an Arab waiter asked. When he was told that God unites people of
many races, he and a friend prayed, confessed their sins, and
gave thanks to God, Chernoff said. Six other members of the
staff, including the cook and the night manager, all Muslims,
also became believers. The last person to pray was named Joseph.
"We were so shocked I remember thinking, 'Lord, you're showing
off now,' " Chernoff said.

...The event is a foretaste of what will come when believers are
unified, Chernoff said. The Muslims were irresistibly drawn to
God because a display of the unity of believers "cut through the
fat of all the wars and history. They crossed all their barriers
in about 15 minutes because they saw the truth and they believed.
The Lord is saying that this is going to spill over to our Arab
brothers and the many others will see that this is the real
thing."

-----------
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C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

December 10, 1998


Despite U.N. accord, believers still suffer

Fifty years after the United Nation issued its Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, religious freedom is threatened or
non-existent in many nations.

...
Christians are persecuted and jailed for their beliefs by
religious majorities in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Governments in Europe are passing legislation to curb "sects" and
other nontraditional religious groups.

...The declaration was drafted in 1948 in an attempt to prevent
abuses by totalitarian governments such as Nazi Germany. It
contains 30 provisions for political, social, economic, and
religious rights; most signatory countries have adopted it as
part of their legal system. President Clinton and other national
leaders paid tribute to the declaration this week, celebrating
its principles and pledging to continue working toward
realization of its ideals.

...On the surface, the declaration has lived up to its name, but
the reality is much different, Rijik Van Dam, a Dutch member of
the European Parliament, told a human-rights conference in Paris
last month that was sponsored by the Charlottesville, Va.-based
Rutherford Institute. Many countries agree to the declaration but
practice "brutal deeds" against religious believers, he said.
"Persecution because of religious belief, torture and torment,
and unfair and dishonest trials are the order of the day."

...Van Dam is one of 103 people from 23 nations who attended the
institute's Megatrends in Human Rights Conference Nov. 13-14.
Speakers included a former ambassador to the United Nations,
members of the European Parliament, academics, and human rights
lawyers. Participants identified trends that could affect human
rights in the next millennium, including those in genetic
engineering, terrorism, the global economy, and religious
liberties in Europe.

...Europe is so secularized that it treats active minority
religious groups as threats, Pedro Moreno, Rutherford's
international director, told Religion Today. Groups that are
complacent are left alone, but those that win converts "make
people mad and are regarded as a nuisance," he said. Some
evangelicals in France, Spain, Belgium, and Austria have been
investigated, regulated, or dropped from legal registration.

...A French government agency, the Interministerial Mission for
the Fight Against Sects, conducts research on minority religious
groups, encourages the public to report their activities, and
establishes bureaucracies for dealing with and informing the
public about them, Moreno said. Evangelical Christian groups, a
minority in France, are often referred to as sects in comparison
with traditional branches of Christianity such as Eastern
Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

...Rutherford called on the French government to disband the
agency. "A group labeled as a 'sect' bears a grave stigma,"
Rutherford's John Whitehead said in a letter to French President
Jacques Chirac. "The term 'sect' is used too broadly in referring
to these minority religions, thus causing them to endure
persecution."

...Religious freedoms can be preserved in Europe if people will
fight for them, Moreno said. Christians must use legal and
political resources to contest the restrictions "while there is
still time and there are still democratic structures in place,"
he said. Lawsuits, legislative initiatives, and media campaigns
can help prevent government authoritarianism.

...
Europeans tend to put more faith in government than God,
seeing their rights as stemming from the government rather than
from the Creator, Moreno said. "They try to be happy with what
they have and don't protest because they don't want to have any
other rights taken away. If you realize you have the nature of
God, then you can re-create government and you can change
things."

...
Even a few active Christians can make a difference, Moreno
said. "It doesn't depend on your numbers but the strength of your
convictions." Christians who see themselves as feeble and
ineffective will not change their countries, he said. Those who
"keep their testimony" will have an impact in the spiritual
vacuum of Western Europe.

-----------
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C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

January 7, 1998


Churches and schools are burned, ransacked in India

Mobs of radical Hindus have burned or ransacked numerous
Christian churches, prayer halls, and schools
in western India
since Christmas Day. At least 15 attacks have been made against
Catholic and Protestant institutions in Gujarat and Maharashtra
states, a ministry in the country said.

..
.Tribal Christians in southern Gujarat have suffered the worst.
Several churches were burned and demolished, schools were
destroyed, and Christians were attacked and forbidden to draw
water from wells, said a report obtained by Kingdomquest, a
U.S.-based ministry with contacts in the country. The attacks
took place in the villages of Madalbari, Takhiamba Dadadi,
Besunia, Karrenkhed, Subir, Gadhvi, Divankhedi, Nadagkhadi,
Mulchand, Bartal, Baripara, and Tahar Khandvel villages.

...
Hindu leaders stirred up mobs at a Christmas Day rally, the
report says. The fundamentalist Hindu Dharmajagran Manch
organized the rally to object to a National Protest Day observed
by Christians on Dec. 4. On that day, Christians across the
country closed churches, schools, and businesses and marched in
several cities to bring attention to an increase in violence
against them. They say the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata
Party, the ruling party in the coalition government, is ignoring
the persecution.

...Hindu leaders say the claims are false and insulting to their
followers. "It is time that Hindus teach these Christian priests
a lesson," a flyer from the rally said. Two Catholic churches and
a prayer hall were attacked that day, and several Christians were
stoned as they left their church, the ministry said. Attacks
against Christian buildings continued from Dec. 25 to Jan. 4.
Despite the damage to property, no one has been killed; about 45
Hindus have been arrested.

...
The Gujarat state government blamed Christians for creating
trouble
. The BJP and other Hindu groups have a strong presence in
the region. State officials failed to protect churches from
violence, despite advance warnings, and accused Christians of
making false claims to obtain international funds, the report
said. The Rashtriya SwamyamSevak Sangh, a militant Hindu group,
has threatened English-language newspapers for publishing
accounts of the violence.

...
The governor of Gujarat reportedly sent a false report to the
federal government saying the situation was under control. A
delegation sent to investigate the report reprimanded the Gujarat
government for failing to protect Christians, and said that
allowing the Christmas Day rally was inappropriate. Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Congress, the president of
India, several opposition political parties, and a federal agency
have condemned the attacks and are conducting investigations.

...Hindu leaders said they did not orchestrate the attacks. The
BJP, RSS, and like-minded groups Vishwa Hindu Parishad and
Bajrang Dal have repudiated the violence while accusing
Christians of forcibly converting tribal people and conducting
anti-national activities. "The clashes in Gujarat have been
caused because of differences between those tribals who have been
converted and those who are Hindus," VHP leader Ashok Singhal
said.

...Christian missionaries bring food and medicine to the poor,
and share the gospel. Hindu activists are threatened by the
missionaries, and accuse them of taking advantage of the poor and
uneducated. "What do they know about conversion?" Catholic
Archbishop of Delhi Alan de Lastic said in a Reuters report.
"Conversion is a ready change of heart, turning away from an evil
life of sin. There are people who don't want others to be
liberated and want them to remain bonded."

...
Hindus are conducting a "reconversion campaign" to reclaim
those who have become Christians, Reuters said. A group dedicated
to protecting the Hindu religion has told Christian missionaries
in the Nashik region of Maharashtra state to leave by March 31.
Earlier this week, 37 tribal people attended an elaborate
ceremony to demonstrate their recommitment to Hinduism, drinking
holy water from a cleric and receiving a shawl and flower to mark
the occasion.

...Christians say they will remain in the area. The National
Council of Churches in India and the Bishop's Association of
India are asking Christians not to retaliate, but to continue
working through legal means for the right to worship and
evangelize. "We must not give in to hatred and revenge...it is
easy to love an enemy if he is far away, but when he is living
near it is hard," de Lastic said.

...Christians make up 2% of India's 960 million population. More
than 80% of the country practices Hinduism, which has about 33
million gods. The three main gods are Brahma, the creator;
Vishnu, the protector; and Shiva, the destroyer of evil. The
religion is a diverse collection of beliefs with different and
sometimes opposing streams. Believers worship animals,
vegetation, and planets in addition to the gods.

...Christianity arrived in India in the first century through the
apostle Thomas. It has a strong base in the south, but its
influence is weaker in the middle and northern states, where
Hinduism is predominant. India's constitution guarantees
religious freedom but the BJP wants to make Hinduism the official
religion. The rise of the BJP and the work of Christian
missionaries in the north has led to more persecution of
Christians throughout the country.

-----------
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C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

January 12, 1998


Courageous Christians proclaim their faith

Dinh Trung didn't want to leave his church. The Vietnamese
evangelist had made many converts to Christianity, but the
authorities wanted to take him away. Finally, they relented and
allowed him to stay -- in prison. There he continued to disciple
new believers and lead other inmates to Christ.

...
Trung is one of the millions of persecuted Christians who are
refusing to be intimidated into hiding their faith, Todd
Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs told Religion Today. In
countries where the government has set out to destroy
Christianity, "the church has only grown stronger," he said.

...
"Persecution is like vitamins for the church," a church leader
in Saudi Arabia told Nettleton. There are no hangers-on or
shallow Christians, because the price believers pay for their
faith is too high. "They don't go to church because their friends
are there or because they want to have fun. They are there
because they want to live their faith, and the church is
exploding because of it."

...Christians in persecuted countries are focused on living their
faith rather than changing their circumstances, Nettleton said.
VOM director Tom White recently asked a Vietnamese church leader
if he prays that the country will be open to religious freedom,
like America. "We are praying that heaven will open up to us,"
the leader replied.

...There are many ways Christians in the United States and other
free countries can support believers suffering for the faith. VOM
provides names and addresses of imprisoned Christians and
encourages people to write to them. Authorities take note of who
receives a lot of international mail and begin treating them
better. Prison and government officials "begin to see that there
are many people concerned for the Christian's well-being, so they
think 'we have to watch out for them,' " Nettleton said.

...For 50 cents or $1 in postage, a person can make a tremendous
difference in an imprisoned believer's life. Some have received
letters in reply, thanking them for their prayers and concern.
Christians also can write to government leaders, advocating on
behalf of imprisoned believers. "The main thing we can do for
them is pray," Nettleton said. "We can pray that their lives will
be a witness and that God will open doors for them to share their
faith directly."

...
Persecution of Christians increased in the last year,
Nettleton said. Christians in Muslim countries are in the
greatest danger. Christianity is outlawed altogether in Saudi
Arabia; other Muslim nations rely on Islamic Shari'a law to
restrict Christian worship and evangelism, and often ignore
incidents of violence against Christians. Communist nations such
has Vietnam, China, and Cuba continue to punish Christians, but
by and large "the face of persecution has changed from communism
to Islam," Nettleton said.

...Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
Sudan, and Vietnam are among the worst offenders, VOM said.

...
In Bangladesh, friends and family disown Christians who
convert from Islam
. A shopkeeper who displays Christian materials
has been robbed and threatened with beatings. When he distributed
the books in a nearby village, Muslims threatened to cut off his
feet so he could not travel, VOM said. Christians are banned from
public water wells because they might "contaminate" the water and
are forced to walk several miles for water. VOM has helped dig
new wells and train Christians who have lost their jobs to
develop other skills.

...
Authorities in China arrested more than 150 house church
Christians
, about 40 of them leaders, in November 1998, VOM said.
At least 11 leaders are still imprisoned. "Pray that they won't
be tortured," a Chinese Christian told VOM. Millions of
Christians who haven't joined the state-sanctioned church worship
in fields, on mountain tops, and in small houses. VOM sends
Bibles, study materials, preaching texts, and other Christian
literature into the country to help the house church.

...Egypt is regarded as the intellectual center of Islam, VOM
said. Higher education is heavily influenced by Islam, and some
Christians have been denied permission to attend college. In
Al-Kosheh, Upper Egypt, authorities reportedly detained and
tortured 1,200 Christians in an investigation of religiously
motivated killings last summer. Two Coptic priests and the local
bishop are facing criminal charges because they spoke out about
the brutality.

...
More than 500 churches have been burned or destroyed in
Indonesia in the last 10 years.
In 1998, mobs of Muslims targeted
Christian churches. At least two dozen churches were destroyed
and more than 150 Chinese women, many of them believers, were
raped in the riots, reportedly in a concentrated effort to
terrorize the Christian community.

...
Saudi Arabia seems intent on ridding the country of
Christians
. "We have been watching them very closely and it seems
there is a concentrated effort to get every Christian removed
from the country," Nettleton said. Authorities deported at least
25 Christians last year in a crackdown that began after believers
publicly distributed Christian materials in Riyadh, the capital.
Saudi police rounded up believers two and three at a time and
tortured the names of other believers from them, VOM said.

...
Sudan may be the worst country in which to be a Christian.
Soldiers of the Islamic National Front reportedly rape, kill, and
take into slavery Christians in the south. Soldiers locked about
100 people in a church and set it on fire. A man named Andre told
VOM, "We could not escape. I crawled under the bodies of my
brothers and sisters who had fallen to the floor in the smoke and
flames. The soldiers kept watching, then left us for dead. I was
the only one who survived." The ministry ships Bibles, food, and
other materials into the country and helps support a hospital.

-----------
RELATED LINKS:
   
http://www.persecution.com
   
http://www.persecution.com/Ministry/ministry.asp?f_ID=9
   
http://www.religiontoday.com/Archive/NewsSummary/view.cgi?file=19981110.brf.html
   
http://www.religiontoday.com/Archive/FeatureStory/view.cgi?file=19981105.s1.html
   
http://www.religiontoday.com/Archive/FeatureStory/view.cgi?file=19980518.s1.html
   
http://www.religiontoday.com/Archive/FeatureStory/view.cgi?file=19980626.s1.html
   
http://www.religiontoday.com/Archive/FeatureStory/view.cgi?file=19980608.s1.html


-----------
For today's complete News Summary from ReligionToday,
go to
http://www.ReligionToday.com/CurrentNewsSummary/

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Saleema, a young girl tortured for Jesus!

Hello my fellow prayer warriors, I felt this was urgent and got
it to you as soon as possible, let us all join in agreement that God's
will be done here. Let us together send up a multitude of prayers for
this child of God suffering persecution, Let us pray also that she does
not lose faith, Let the Lord stregthen her in her walk, and give her a
perfect peace, wisdom and courage.
My Love and prayers for you as well... Peggy
Blessed be the name of the Lord!!!!

This request was received in our office yesterday via email from =
Mr.David
Walter:

"I have received an urgent prayer request through someone in my church.
There is a beautiful 15 year old girl named Saleema in Pakistan who is a
Christian.  She converted her close friend, who was 14.  This youngster =
was so excited about Christianity that she told her parents and they killed
her! It looks like the 15 year old (Saleema) is to be publicly executed! We =
need to send up prayer for this child to give her strength and resolve to =
deal with whatever happens to her.  Please pass this information on to as =
many other Christians as you can."

That is the request exactly as we received it.  Please Pray

Jeff Futers
The Bible League

In Christ,
Your missionaries: Abel, Anna, Joy-Rachel and Joshua

http://rtmol.stt.it/users/mission/index.html

Jesus Is Lord

UPDATE!

Update on Saleema, Pakistan

Saleema was arrested in 1997 for converting her friend to Christianity. After conversion, her friend was killed by her own family for her faith in Jesus Christ. Because of this, Saleema was also originally charged with the death of her friend. Saleema is now 18 years old and has been passed from court to court - going higher each time in the Pakistani judicial system.

She has been in a care facility for some time, and a recent report said she is in great pain. Saleema as unable to attend court because of health problems due to police beating and torture in June, 1997. She is unable to stand and walk. Her back, hip and ankles are sore and full of pain.

I spoke with our (VOM) Communications Department today and they asked that this information not be shared with the media (it could put Saleema in danger), but rather be used to encourage prayer. Saleema is going to court today again, and we are praying for good results.

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Missionary Mourned in India
By Neelesh Misra
Sunday, January 24, 1999

DELHI, India (AP) --
The charred bodies of a missionary and his two sons
were laid out in wooden coffins Sunday amid a wave of outrage at their
killings, the first deaths in a string of attacks on Christians in
India.
Police arrested 49 Hindu radicals suspected of burning to death
Australian Graham Stewart Staines, 58, and his sons Philips, 10, and
Timothy, 8, Saturday as they slept in their jeep.
Security was increased in Christian areas Sunday as hundreds prepared to
attend the funeral Sunday for Staines and his sons in Baripada, 620
miles southeast of New Delhi.
"We want a private ceremony, but there are hundreds and hundreds of
people who are pouring in here from the town and from outside," said
Subhankar Ghosh, a friend who was with Staines when the attack took
place.
Sobs broke the silence Sunday at the Baptist Union Church in Baripada,
where friends and family members gathered for prayers.
Staines, who had lived in the area since 1965, was a secretary of the
New Delhi-based Evangelical Missionary Society and had run a home for
treating lepers.
"People are filled with sorrow. He was loved and liked by all, not just
Christians," Ghosh said.
A mob of 40 people, some armed with bows and arrows, attacked Staines’
jeep as he and his sons slept outside a village northeast of Baripada,
where they had attended a Bible study program. The attackers then doused
the vehicle with gasoline and set it ablaze, beating up any bystanders
who tried to rescue the family, police said.
The killings were in an area that had not experienced the
Hindu-Christian violence recently plaguing another region of India.
Most of the attacks on Christians have occurred in the western state of
Gujarat, where at least 12 Christian churches and 24 Hindu temples have
been damaged in the last month after radical Hindus protested that
Christian missionaries were converting tribespeople to their faith.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee promised to investigate whether
members of the Hindu nationalist Bajrang Dal were behind the attack and
to take stern action against all involved.
The Bajrang Dal is among radical Hindu groups that are ideological
affiliates of Vajpayee’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Many of the 49 people arrested in connection with the killings are from
the Bajrang Dal. Police also have announced a $600 award for help in
capturing Dara Singh, a Bajrang Dal figure believed to be behind the
attack. The group has in the past been blamed for Hindu-Muslim clashes.
The killings brought a wave of condemnation from Indian leaders.
President K.R. Narayanan said the "barbaric" killing of Staines and his
two sons belonged to "the world’s inventory of black deeds."
Other political and religious leaders, including Vajpayee’s political
allies, condemned the killings, saying the attacks on Christians gave
Hinduism a bad name.
Even the radical World Hindu Council condemned the killings Sunday and
claimed neither its members nor those of the Bajrang Dal were involved.
It repeated its opposition to missionaries involved in "fraudulently
converting" Indians but said it was against violence.
Most of India’s 23 million Christians, 2.3 percent of India’s nearly 1
billion population, live in the four southern states, where religious
riots are rare.
Missionaries have worked in India for nearly 200 years, mostly building
hospitals or schools in remote villages and in jungles. Hindus form 82
percent of the population, Muslims account for 12 percent and the rest
include Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains.
--------------------


Times of India: Monday, January 25, 1999
Missionary was only target: Eyewitnesses
By Rajaram Satapathy
The Times of India News Service

MANOHARPUR (Keonjhar): An atmosphere of gloom and shock hovered over
this tribal village on Sunday, where the Christian missionary and his
two sons were burnt to death by suspected religious fanatics early on
Saturday, even as the villagers watched helplessly.
The police have arrested 49 people, including seven villagers, but this
has hardly cooled the temper of the villagers. Of the 200 families in
the village, about 30 have embraced Christianity in the last two
decades. However, the brutal incident, the first of its kind in the
state, has sickened everyone, irrespective of religion.
"There was no trouble between the two communities. We have been living
in perfect amity. Though some people had reservations about conversion
activities in the area, no one really would resort to such a crime,"
remarked the local sarpanch Thakur Das Murmu.
The villagers were fast asleep after a day-long dance festival when
about 100
persons descended on Kachisahi hamlet and attacked the 58-year old
Staines, who was, as was his habit, sleeping inside his old station
wagon, outside the Baptist church. His two sons Phillip (9) and Timothy
(7) were in the vehicle also.
The assailants split up into groups. While some locked the doors of all
the houses and stood guard outside, others broke the station-wagon’s
windows and set the vehicle on fire."We wanted to come out and rescue
them, but the miscreants beat us back," said 35-year old Susna Marandi,
who lives next to the small church.
Similar views were also expressed by other neighbours who felt that the
three victims were "possibly killed before being set on fire, because no
screams were heard." No other person was attacked, local residents and
the authorities said.
The miscreants stayed at the scene for nearly one-and-a-half hours to
ensure that the three were dead, before walking off into the darkness.
The villagers could not  say whether they had come in a vehicle, only
that they shouted "Jai Bajrangbali" before leaving.
According to Mathai Marandi, Rev Staines’ group of about 14 persons had
come in two vehicles. Among them was another Australian. While the
priest chose to sleep in the vehicle, the others slept in small
makeshift shelters behind the church. The drivers of the two vehicles,
who tried to save the missionary, were brutally beatenand chased away,
Mr Marandi added.
The police and the district authorities said that according to available
evidence, the killings were the handiwork of the Bajrang Dal. They
identified the main culprit asone Dara Singh, a former employee of a
shoe factory in New Delhi, who has been "spreading hatred" in the area
against people of other religions.
They cited many cases against the main accused and said he was also
arrested a number of times. Collector Sourav Garg and DIG Binoy Behera
said they had made arrangements to ensure peace in the area. "Specific
Christian pockets" had been identified for the purpose, they said.
Residents of adjoining villages claimed "conversions" had created rifts
in the area. At Mulapal village, residents had threatened to evict all
converted families. Armed police had to be deployed there for several
months to restore peace.
Meanwhile, the state government has ordered an inquiry by the revenue
divisional commissioner, northern division. It has also announced a
reward of 25,000 rupees for information on Dara Singh’s whereabouts.
Several political leaders, including chief minister J B Patnaik,
Congress general  secretary Madhav Rao Scindia and functionaries of the
Biju Janata Dal, visited the area.
Mr Scindia blamed the Vajpayee-led government for not coming down
heavily on the BJP’s sister organisations instead of calling for a
national debate on conversion. BJD leader Bijay Mohapatra, however, held
the state government responsible for the killings.

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        C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

April 5, 1999


Militant Muslims target Egypt's Christian women for conversion

Radical Muslims in Egypt are forcing Christian women to convert
to Islam. A campaign that involves kidnapping, brainwashing, and
rape has intensified in the past two years, religious freedom
groups report.

...More than 600 Christian women reported attempts by Muslims to
convert them in 1997, said Freedom House International (see link
#1 below), a Washington, D.C.-based religious rights group. Some
were tempted with money and promises of marriage into wealthy
families, while others were abducted and held captive in Islamic
reeducation centers, where teams of professors and thugs tried to
coerce conversions, the agency said. ..."Forced conversion is
alive and doing well in Egypt, I hate to tell you," Nagi Kheir of
the American Coptic Association (see link #2 below) told Religion
Today. Teen-age and young women are the primary targets because
they have little legal protection in Egyptian society and are
easily scared, Kheir said.

...The women are taken to dormitory-like buildings and instructed
in the Muslim faith. Professors spend hours reading the Koran and
pressuring them to observe Islamic laws, Britain-based Jubilee
Campaign (see link #3 below) said. Teams of security guards
prevent them from escaping, and those who don't respond are
threatened with murder and sometimes are raped, it reported.

...Rape is used to force a woman to marry a Muslim man against
her will, Kheir said. "In the Middle East there is a tremendous
disgrace on the family if a woman loses her virginity, so they
are often forced to marry these men to keep their honor," he
said. A Christian woman who marries a Muslim must convert to
Islam. "So they are forced to become Muslims," Kheir said.

...A Christian girl in the city of Oina reportedly is being held
against her will. Witnesses said that Suhir Shihata Gouda, 16,
was kidnapped by her Muslim neighbor, Saed Sadek Mahmoud, and
several others. Police beat her father when he tried to report
the incident, Freedom House said, and a mob led by Mahmoud
threatened to burn Gouda's house and kill his family if he
attempted further legal action.

...Mahmoud claimed the girl voluntarily converted to Islam and
was to be married to his colleague. When the girl escaped and
returned home, 20 men came to take her back and beat her in front
of her family, Freedom House reported. The mob later prevented
police from entering the area and threatened to kill all
Christians in the neighborhood. Members of the U.S. Congress sent
a letter March 16, asking Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to
intervene.

...The conversion campaign is part of an extremist Muslim
strategy to rid Egypt of Christians, Kheir said. "The persecution
is subtle, but they are seeking total elimination step by step."
The majority of Muslims are against such tactics and it is only a
small radical faction that is pursuing the campaign, he said.
"Most Muslims would strongly disapprove of the use of force...to
convert Christians," Jubilee Campaign's Wilfred Wong said.

...The Egyptian government does not adequately protect Egyptian
Christians, an April 1 report released by Freedom House claims.
Police and security forces on the local level often ignore
warnings of violence against Christians and only sporadically
prosecute crimes committed against them. Police sometimes
cooperate with Islamic radicals in the persecution of Christians
because they are afraid of reprisals, the report said.

...A government security force deals exclusively with religious
matters, International Christian Concern (see link #4 below)
said. The government denies that the security force exists, but
many Christians believe that the special detail is designed to
track and persecute converts from Islam. Converts are arrested,
interrogated, and sometimes beaten. Often their families are
harassed and denied access to jobs and educational opportunities,
ICC said.

...Christians have few rights in Egyptian society. Parents who
convert to Christianity lose custody of their children to their
Muslim spouse. At least 20 new cities have no Christian church
because onerous government regulations block construction of
church buildings, Kheir said. As a result, believers in one city
arranged truck transports to take their almost 2,000 children to
the nearest church several miles away, he said.

...Egyptians who speak out on behalf of the Christians are
persecuted. Police arrested human rights advocate Hafez Abu
Si'ada for publishing an article defending the rights of
persecuted Christians in El-Kosheh (see link #5 below) last year,
ICC said. He was kept in an unventilated cell, denied food and
water, and threatened and humiliated for two days. He has been
charged with crimes against the government but has yet to be
tried.

...El Kosheh Coptic Bishop Wissa faces the same fate. The bishop
was arrested and tried for espionage when he alerted the outside
world to crimes against Christians. He probably will not be tried
so long as he does not make any more complaints, Kheir said.
"It's like putting a gun to somebody's head and telling them, 'If
you say anything else I will shoot you.' "

-----------
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C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

March 23, 1999


Christians in India expecting more attacks

Christians in India are preparing for more persecution as Easter
approaches. Leaders are "bracing for the worst" because attacks
often increase during Christian holidays, Freedom House, a
U.S.-based religious rights group, said.

...A mob of Hindus set fire to more than 150 Christian homes in
the eastern state of Orissa last week. About 500 Hindu tribal
people attacked Ranaloi village March 16, chanting "Victory to
Lord Ram," a Hindu god, as they burned homes, The New York Times
said. About 13 were wounded; 30 are in police custody.

...The violence began when Hindus desecrated a Christian symbol
on a hillside. The mob reportedly erased a Christian cross cut
into the grass, replacing it with the trident, a symbol of the
Hindu god Shiva. Members of both faiths have used the hill for
ceremonies, but tensions have led to disagreements over use of
the site.

...The mob attacked the village when Christians spoke out, news
reports said. A number of people were attacked with homemade
guns, sticks, and machetes. Police restored order, arresting 26
tribal people and two Christians who participated in a
counterattack. Most Christians have fled from the village, and
1,200 people are without homes.

..."We are disturbed that the level of violence is rising to
coincide with the Easter period," Freedom House (see link #1
below)'s Nina Shea said. "There seems to be a pattern emerging of
anti-Christian violence orchestrated by Hindu extremists around
the major Christian feast days." A wave of violence (see link #2
below) surrounding the Christmas season eased after the murder of
Australian missionary Graham Staines (see link #3 below) and his
two sons in January.

...Violence against Christians increased in 1998 with 86
registered attacks, up from seven the year before, the Times
said. Hindu leaders, concerned about the large number of
conversions among tribal and low-caste people, are undertaking
"reconversion campaigns" aimed at reclaiming followers. Some are
reportedly instigating violence, confident that the ruling
political power, the nationalist Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party,
will not protect Christians.

...Christian pastors and church leaders are preparing for more
trials, Sammy Tippit (see link #4 below) told Religion Today. The
international evangelist, who preached in communist countries in
Eastern Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, held a conference for
pastors in Andhra Pradesh in February. His experience working
with persecuted Christians helped him encourage the Indians.
"There is the sense that they will face difficulties, but that
God will take them through it," Tippit said.

...Pastors had become afraid after the murders of Staines and his
sons, Tippit said. Enthusiasm for evangelism and church-starting
programs diminished because of the ferocity of the attack. The
experience has caused them to examine their commitment to Christ
and admit areas of weakness, he said. "There was no swimming in
the shallow waters with these Christians."

...Tippit encouraged the Christians to stand in the face of
persecution. Churches that become fearful will compromise the
message of Christ, he said. He encouraged the leaders to develop
more dependence on God's love through prayer. "I talked to them
about drawing on the love of God, because His perfect love casts
out all fear." Prayer produces strength and confidence, he said.

...The Muslim governor of Andhra Pradesh vowed to protect
Christians. Tippit met with the vice governor of the state and
expressed his concerns. Two days later, the governor visited the
pastors' conference and promised to protect religious freedoms.
"We will not permit them to do this to you here," he told the
pastors.

...Christianity is growing in India like never before, the
evangelistic group AD 2000 and Beyond (see link #5 below) said.
At least 5,600 churches and preaching locations have been
established in North India in the past 25 years, with much of the
growth occurring among tribal people. About 34,000 from the
Maltos and Santhalis tribes in Bihar state have been baptized in
the last 10 years, AD 2000 said.

...In Madhya Pradesh state the number of churches has more than
doubled in four years. There are more than 1,000 churches and 14
Bible-training schools in the central state, AD 2000 said.
Christians are working together to evangelize the country. A
prayer network is recruiting 1,000 Indians and 1,000 foreigners
to pray for each of the country's districts. A network of
evangelistic ministries in Madhya Pradesh seeks to start a new
church in every village and town of the state's 45 districts.
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Fascists state machinery poses 13 questions about Christians

Below we reproduce a revealing report published in ‘The Asian Age’ dated 12 February 1999 which should make you sit up. The nice little experiment RSS and their saffron outfits are carrying out with state support in building a ‘Model Hindu Nation’ in Gujarat, has entered a new and critical stage. The stage is not far when all minorities will perhaps be asked to wear identification badges presumably ‘for the purpose of their own safety’. The complicity of state apparatus and thorough saffronisation of all its organs seem to have reached the ‘Reich level’, when an administrator or a police official puts the ideology of the ruling party ahead of his duty towards the constitution. It is also revealing that there has been no uproar on the circular mentioned in the report so far, and that the story has broken out only in one newspaper through the effort of one journalist (the ever-enterprising Seema Mustafa). Here are quite a few lessons to learn. Networking friend on site

The report: ‘What trickery is being used by missionaries?’ 13 Gujarat census questions show clear bias against Christians By Seema Mustafa

New Delhi, Feb. 11: Police chiefs of all districts in Gujarat have been asked to, find out what "type of trickery is being used by the Christian missionaries" in their areas. In a 13-point circular issued by the state director of police (intelligence), the police commissioners and DSPs in Gujarat have been asked: "In your districts what type of trickery is being used by the Christian missionaries defilement activities? How are they increasing it?" The circular, Reference No: D.2.Hindu-Christi/83/99, is dated February 2, 1999, and is signed by Mr. P.B. Upadhyaya. The English translation of the circular available with The Asian Age confirms beyond doubt earlier reports of a census being carried out by the Gujarat Government, which has created tremendous insecurity amongst the Christian community in Gujarat. A copy of the circular was also sent "for information" to "Police Ahmedahad; IGP of all Ranges (Thru DS pol Control)." It has asked for the information before February 12. The circular, which was faxed to the police officers from the Ahmedabad office of the director of police (intelligence), Gujarat state, gives a two-line introduction before going into the specifics. The introduction is: "Presently the incidents of class conflicts between Hindus and Christians are increasing very much. It is very necessary to stop these activities."

The 13 specific points seek in information from the police network asking the officers: "in your district:

1) What is the total population of Christians?

2) Which all places do they live in?

3) At which places are their missionaries located? (along with the number and name

4) They are encouraged by which foreign countries?

5) From which foreign countries and how much amount of grant do they get? How do they make use of it?

6) Population of Christians in your district, taluka-wise and village-wise. You are requested to give information about the name, address and telephone numbers of their main leaders.

7) In the last five years, how many cases of class-wars between Hindus and Christians have been registered in your district? What was their result in the court?

8) How many Christians are involved and in which all offenses? You are requested to certainly send the name, address and the case registration number of the offender along with their dossiers.

9) In your districts what type of trickery is being used by Christian Missionaries defilement activities? How are they increasing it?

10) How many and what type of vehicles do they possess? You are requested to inform the number of vehicles.

11) Amongst them, how many have got what all types of licenses for keeping weapons? When were these licenses issued to them?

12) What all arrangements have been made by you for their security? You are requested to inform the number and the approximate amount of expenses incurred after their security.

13) You are requested to send the dossiers of all such Christians who are involved in criminal activities and having criminal attitude." The circular ends with "NOTE: You are kindly requested to send the above information after completing the necessary procedures before 15.02.1999."

--------------

Give the king knowledge of Your way of judging, O God
and the spirit of your righteousness to the king’s son to control his
actions.
Psalms 72:1 Amplified version.

*******************************

PRIORITY NUMBER ONE:
PRAY FOR MEN IN AUTHORITY, 1 TIM 2:1-4

Lars Widerberg Intercessors Network
mailto:lw.pray@swipnet.se

ICQ: 21680399

http://home5.swipnet.se/~w-54890 

Snail to be directed to:
Storskiftesgatan 87
S-58334 Linkoping, Sweden
Phone + Fax: +46 13 213630

<############==|^|==############>

http://home.att.net/~peters-pages/index.html

Jesus is coming

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         C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
            by the Editors at ReligionToday.com

January 14, 1999


Russia harasses, threatens Christians

A growing Protestant congregation in Russia is feeling the icy
blast of persecution. Officials in the city of Magadan are
harassing and attempting to disband the Word of Life Church, a
congregation associated with the Pentecostal Union in Russia,
pastor Nickolay Voskoboynikov said.

...City authorities are working hard to close the church,
Voskoboynikov wrote in a letter to Bruce Morrison of Christian
Fellowship Church in Nova Scotia, Canada. "This persecution is no
different from those which were done under the communist regime."

...In September, a public prosecutor tried to declare the church
illegal under a 1997 law that denies registration to churches
that have not been legally established for at least 15 years. A
judge threw out the case because the congregation, after
operating underground during Soviet rule, had affiliated itself
with the government-approved Pentecostal Union. "Not having a
legal ground for this they now have started persecutions,"
Voskoboynikov said.

...Police and security agents have raided the church and the
homes of its leaders, he said. Tax officials backed by the local
prosecutor came into the church in December and confiscated its
funds and paperwork. Congregants were stripped of their jewelry
and threatened with the loss of their homes and other
possessions. He said police made midnight raids on his apartment
as well as those of the assistant pastor and bookkeeper, and have
taken them in for questioning in the middle of the night.

...A media campaign has been waged to sway public opinion against
the church, Morrison told Religion Today. Articles in a local
newspaper as well as TV and radio reports accuse the church of
hypnotizing believers and causing them mental damage. As a
result, members have been threatened on the street and some have
been told by their employers to leave the church or be fired.

...Voskoboynikov and his staff say they expect to face false
charges and imprisonment. "They are going to trump something up
and then charge them with it, that is the feeling," Morrison
said. During interrogations, he said, police slit the Christians'
fingernails and slashed the pockets of their coats, signs in
Russian society that a person is considered a criminal. The
church has appealed to the U.S. government for political
protection.

...The persecution is motivated by a resurgence of Russian
nationalism. When Morrison preached in the city last August, the
church was accused of being anti-Russian for bringing in a
Western-style religion. Nationalist groups such as the National
Bolshevik Party and the Russian National Unity organization are
criticizing the church because its practices differ vastly from
the traditional Russian Orthodox Church.

...Word of Life is a "dynamic, progressive" congregation of about
800 members, Morrison said. It meets in a rented hall that holds
about 500, and several services are held on Sundays. Services
feature dynamic worship and praise, and believers are committed
to evangelism and helping the poor. "There is a tremendous
quality of people in the church and they have integrity and zeal
for God," Morrison said.

...The ministry has planted eight churches in the Magadan region,
which has many towns with 5,000-15,000 people. It operates a
Bible school for about 100 children, and had a food ministry for
the poor and homeless before the government shut it down. "They
were having a tremendous impact. There were street people with no
food who were being kept alive by this church," Morrison said.
The government halted the ministry because it brought too much
attention to the church, he said.

...Magadan, a city of 150,000, is in far eastern Russian, near
Siberia. It was once known as the "City of Death" because there
were many Soviet concentration camps that housed political and
religious prisoners. Millions of people died by execution or
being worked and starved to death in the camps, Morrison said.
"This is where people from all over Russia were sent to die." A
monument to the victims has been erected in the city.

...Christian churches in the United States are helping Magadan
cope with the harsh winter. Food and fuel shortages threaten to
leave the population hungry and cold. Churches and secular
organizations in Anchorage, Alaska, are responding to the need.
Anchorage, Magadan's sister city, is about four hours away by
plane, said Abraham Jeter of the Anchor Church of God. About 70
churches have donated 30,000 pounds of clothes, and soon they
will make a food drive, he said. Christian pilots from Alaska
Airlines have volunteered to deliver the supplies in a private
plane.

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FRENCH PROPOSAL TARGETS 'PROSELYTIZING'

Larry Witham
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

-----------------------------------------------------------

     Religious liberty advocates on Capitol Hill are
concerned about a proposed French law to imprison religious
"proselytizers" for up to two years for "mental
manipulation" of the public.

     The bill aims to limit the spread of what French
officials have called 173 "dangerous sects" in France. These
include Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists and
Unificationists, among others, but also well-known
evangelistic denominations such as the Baptists.

     The proposed crime, which critics say could cover many
religious, advertising and interest groups, is to "exercise
serious and repeated pressure on a person in order to create
or exploit a state of dependence." The bill would allow the
French government to shut down a religious group when two
representatives are found guilty of at least one legal
infraction.

     The legislation must be reconciled with a less
stringent bill approved in the French Senate in December. It
then would go to President Jacques Chirac for approval.

     Once approved, French law could proscribe incidents of
evangelism even by the religious faith of President Clinton
and Vice President Al Gore, who are both Southern Baptists.

     "This is something that we are going to have to watch
closely," a senior State Department official said yesterday.
"In a worst-case scenario, it could turn out to be a nasty
piece of legislation."

     French Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou last week
called the bill "a significant advance giving a democratic
state the legal tool to efficiently fight groups abusing its
core values."

     However, she said, the new criminal code could conflict
with the European Convention on Human Rights, and she
recommended a "pause" before the French Senate votes so that
human rights and church groups can comment.

     T. Jeremy Gunn, who as a member of the U.S. Institute
of Peace had visited France on religious liberty matters,
said several French officials resorted to "ad hominem"
attacks on American officials by charging they belonged to
the "sects" in question.

     State Department officials who have spoken to French
lawmakers say that many of them describe the legislation -
drafted by members of the Socialist Party - as advocacy work
by a charismatic citizen named Jacques Guyard. Mr. Guyard
leads an anti-sect movement and was author of the
government's sect list.

     "There is a hope [among some French officials] that
this will rise above personality," the State Department
official said.

     "Overly aggressive evangelical preaching could be
interpreted by some as mental manipulation," the Rev. N.J.
L'Heureux, moderator of the religious liberty panel of the
National Council of Churches, said in an interview.

     Mr. L'Heureux, a Methodist, was one of eight witnesses
who testified before the House Committee on International
Relations June 14 regarding the French law and other efforts
in Western Europe to curtail new, minority religious
denominations.

     The push in Western Europe to form "sect commissions"
and legislate against sects began after the 1994 and 1995
suicides and murders by Solar Temple members in Canada,
Switzerland and France.

     Scholars say Western Europe is the most secular part of
the world and many young people are looking at
unconventional approaches to find a deeper meaning to life.
For example, in traditionally Catholic France only 8 percent
of the population attends Catholic services, according to a
Catholic bishop cited in the State Department report.

     France, Germany, Austria and Belgium set up commissions
to list sects, which in Belgium include even the YWCA. But
France is the first to make so-called religious "mind
control" a crime.

     The French sect list, published in 1996, was followed
by the establishment in 1998 of a government agency called
the Interministerial Mission to Battle Against Sects. "The
fact that it is called a 'battle against' assigns a
prejudice," the State Department official said.

     Testimony before the House committee suggested the
young democracies of Russia and Eastern Europe are working
out the relationship between majority and minority religions
and might be influenced by the proposed French law.

     The European Union so far has rejected the rush to
blacklist small religions. France's former foreign minister,
M. Alain Vivien, is chairman of the French anti-sect
commission. According to the House testimony, he was in
Germany, Russia and Poland this month promoting anti-sect
work.

     In Rome, Pope John Paul II welcomed France's new
ambassador to the Vatican on June 14 by saying "religious
liberty, in the full sense of the term, is the first human
right." He urged the French news media "to be vigilant and
to treat fairly and objectively the different religious
denominations."

     Sensational coverage of the French sect list had
stirred public fears and some harassment, the State
Department's 1999 report on religious liberty said.

     In response to the proposed law, Michel Bertrand,
president of the council of Protestant Churches, said, "We
will not move forward . . . by casting suspicion on all
forms of religious faith."

-----------------------------------------------------------
This article was mailed from The Washington Times
(
http://www.washtimes.com).
For more great articles, visit us at
http://www.washtimes.com

Copyright (c) 2000 News World Communications, Inc. All
rights reserved.

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CHINA STILL LOOKS TO STAMP OUT CHRISTIANITY

There have been more police raids on house churches in China's Guangdong province. Ten leaders and several members were arrested this week in Lixi, Tianwei, Fogang, Xiangshan, Huadu, Pingshan, and Xinhua, The Associated Press said.
...The heavy-handed tactics are part of a months-long campaign to intimidate house-church Christians and people in other banned spiritual movements, the AP said. Unauthorized religious activity thrives in the province and is hard to control since it is near Hong Kong, but will be punished, a provincial official said.
Authorities are afraid that foreign enemies will use religion to destabilize the country and weaken the government, AP said.
...The crackdown started with the closure of a Huadu house church in October. Popular Christian leader Li Dexian, the pastor, has been arrested 14 times since then and was once held in chains for two weeks. Li is under constant surveillance at his home, the AP said.
..."At a time when China is under close scrutiny, it is disturbing to see authorities embarking on an overt campaign of intimidation and persecution," said Mervyn Thomas of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a Surrey, England, religious rights group.

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CHRISTIAN JAILED IN PAKISTAN FOR BLASPHEMY
Converted to Islam to Marry and Then Reverted to Christian Faith

ISTANBUL, MAY 8 (ZENIT.org).- A young Christian who converted to Islam
to marry a Muslim girl was jailed last week in Pakistan and charged with
blasphemy for reverting to his Christian faith. This was the first
blasphemy case reported against a Christian since Pakistani President,
General Pervez Musharraf, announced a judicial curb two weeks ago
against "misuse" of the country's severe laws against blasphemy,
according to the Compass agency.

According to brief reports in the May 4 edition of local newspapers,
Kingri Masih of Sherabad was charged under Pakistan Penal Code Section
295-C. The law carries a mandatory death sentence for defiling the
Prophet Mohammed's name.

Police at Sherabad's Ghulam Mohammed Abad police station registered a
First Information Report (FIR) against Masih, based on a complaint filed
by Rana Mohammed Shahid, the media reports stated. Both the defendant
and his accuser are residents of Sherabad, near the Punjabi city of
Faisalabad. According to the Urdu language "Daily Jang," Masih was
charged with "blaspheming the Prophet Mohammed and his honor and
speaking against Islam."

Masih was described by his accuser as a Christian who converted to Islam
to marry a Muslim girl, but then reverted to his Christian faith. There
are no legal statutes in Pakistani law prohibiting citizens from
changing their religion, although under Islamic family law, a Muslim
woman is only permitted to marry a Muslim man.

"The police have arrested the accused and sent him to prison," the
"Daily Jang" reported. Christians accused of blasphemy in Pakistan are
rarely granted bail, although thus far all have been acquitted
eventually after years in jail. Newspapers said the allegations against
Masih were first filed with the local deputy commissioner, who in turn
authorized the police to register a formal FIR on the case. Under new
legal procedures instituted two weeks ago, deputy commissioners are now
required to carry out an initial investigation and "thorough scrutiny"
of any blasphemy accusations before allowing police to register a case.

On May 8, Federal Minister for Minorities Derick Cyprian told Compass
that he had requested exact details on the Sherabad case, after reading
about it in the newspapers over the weekend. In ordering the
administrative change on April 21, General Musharraf declared that his
government was determined to restrict "misuse" of the blasphemy law. For
the past 16 years, police have had wide-ranging authority to register
such cases simply on the basis of a person's complaint against the
accused.

However, an editorial in "The News" on April 23, noted that the
"presence of the blasphemy law on the statute book has not been
questioned. The source of the problem, therefore, has been left intact."
Although a part of Pakistan's legal code for a long time, the original
statutes were made draconian under the late president Zia ul-Haq in
1986. The amendments blurred the definition of blasphemy and made the
death penalty mandatory.

Extremist Muslim clerics in Pakistan have sharply criticized General
Musharraf's revision, which was announced as part of the government's
new policies on human rights. Declaring that "anyone who dared to make
any amendment in the blasphemy law" would be cursed by Allah, some
religious party leaders vowed openly to gather "on one platform" to
bring down Musharraf's military regime.

Representatives of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the
Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement told Compass on May 8
that, over the next 2 to 3 days, they would be sending a joint
fact-finding team to Sherabad to investigate Masih's case.
ZE00050905

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SIX CHRISTIANS CRUCIFIED IN ANGOLA

LUANDA, MAR 23 (ZENIT.org).- Sources of the Angolan Council of Christian
Churches disclosed that 6 faithful of the Baptist Church were stoned and
crucified by UNITA (National Union for Total Independence of Angola)
rebels, led by Jonas Savimbi.

The savage act happened during a UNITA attack on the village of Beu, in
Uige province, on the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic
of the Congo (former Zaire). The 6 victims were accused of complicity
with the Angolan government. According to the Baptist Church, since the
beginning of the year UNITA has killed some 100 persons in different
parts of Angola.

In spite of the November 1994 peace agreement, UNITA and the Luanda
government continue the war. Over the last few months, government
representatives stated that they are determined to end hostilities.
ZE00032308
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Filipinos freed after being jailed for Christian worship
 



 DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ Saudi authorities have freed  12 Filipinos who had been detained in the Saudi capital, Riyadh,  for attending a Bible-study session, a Filipino diplomat said  Wednesday.  

Four Filipinos remain in prison under investigation on the same  charge, said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.  

The 16 Filipinos _ including five children _ were detained  during a raid by Saudi religious police on Jan. 7 as they attended  a Bible study, the diplomat said. The 12 who have been released  were freed in two batches on Jan. 19 and Jan. 23, the diplomat  said.  

Saudi Arabia, a conservative Muslim nation, does not allow any  form of worship other than Islam, the country's official religion.  Preaching Christianity is punishable by up to a year in prison and  deportation.  

The Filipino diplomat said Saudi officials told him Christians  are allowed to worship in their homes, but that studying or  worshipping in a larger group is illegal.

   

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Green Light For Extradition Of Rwandan
Church leader wanted by war crimes tribunal

New York Times
  Tuesday, January 25, 2000

 

United Nations -- The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way yesterday for the deportation of a Rwandan church leader to a war crimes tribunal, where he is wanted on charges of abetting genocide in 1994 for allowing armed Hutus to enter his church and kill hundreds of terrified Tutsis who had sought refuge there.

If there are no further delays in his case, the Rwandan, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, a Hutu who was arrested in Texas, will soon become the first person turned over to a current international war crimes tribunal by the United States, an important precedent to U.S. officials.

The United States, which was instrumental in urging the Security Council to create the Rwanda tribunal, has been trying to send Ntakirutimana to Africa for trial since his first arrest in Texas in 1996. He successfully fought the deportation until August 1998, when a federal district judge ruled against him. Yesterday, the Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal.

Ntakirutimana, freed in 1997 by a Texas magistrate but arrested again the following year, is now in a federal prison in Laredo. He is the first and only person wanted by either the Balkans or Rwanda tribunals to be arrested in the United States.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said yesterday that the Rwandan cleric should be deported to face trial.

Ntakirutimana, 75, a Seventh Day Adventist church leader in Kibuye in western Rwanda, has been accused by the Rwanda war crimes tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, of encouraging ethnic Tutsis to seek refuge in his church and hospital compound in the town of Mugonero in April 1996 and then turning a Hutu death squad loose on them.

An indictment from the Rwanda war crimes tribunal says that he began welcoming frightened, unarmed Tutsis to his church on April 6, 1994, when Hutus began the slaughter of Tutsis and their moderate Hutu supporters. On about April 16, Ntakirutimana was reported to have allowed a well-armed convoy of Hutu officials and militia to carry out a daylong massacre.

The case is Ntakirutimana vs. Reno, No. 99-479.

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The lions are back
The torture and murder
of Christians worldwide



Editor's note: What follows is a much-abbreviated version of the upcoming February cover story in WorldNet magazine. Readers can subscribe to WorldNet at WND's online store.

By Greg Nyquist
© 2000, WorldNetDaily.com


The twentieth century will go down in history, not merely as the bloodiest and most genocidal of all centuries, but also as the century in which Western Civilization suffered its greatest setbacks since the rise of Islam in the seventh century.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the West more or less controlled the entire world. By the 1960s, most of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe had fallen out of the orbit of the West, devoured in large part by the two most formidable anti-Western creeds, Communism and Islam. One of the least appreciated consequences of this transformation is the resumption of a type of persecution that would have been unthinkable a hundred years ago: namely, the persecutions of Christians.
WorldNet magazine's February 2000 edition

Case in point: Mary, a young Egyptian girl who grew up as a Coptic Christian. When she was 18 years old, a group of radicals from the "Gamat Islamiya" kidnapped and raped Mary, forcing her to convert to Islam. Her captors poured sulfuric acid on her wrist in order to remove a tattooed cross, and threatened to throw the acid in her face if she didn't consent to wear the traditional Islamic veil. When Mary's father went to the Cairo police, he was told to forget his daughter and was ordered to sign a document pledging that he would cease all efforts to recover her.

Mary eventually escaped her captors and received assistance from the clandestine group "Servants of the Cross," which facilitated Mary's re-conversion to Christianity. According to one of the representatives of the organization, there have been in recent years anywhere between 7,000 and 10,000 forced conversions to Islam in Egypt.

By Muslim standards, Egypt is almost moderate. No place in the world are Christians more brutally persecuted than in Sudan, Africa's largest country. In 1989, militant Islamic military officers seized power over the democratically elected government and declared a virtual jihad against southern Sudanese "infidels" -- which is to say, against Christians and animists. A scorched-earth policy was adopted in southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains, scene of some the most horrifying religious persecution since the holocaust.

Whole villages have been bombed, burned and looted. Many inhabitants have been relocated into concentration camps where they have been starved until they agreed to convert to Islam. Christians have been subject to torture, imprisonment and assassination. Enslavement, rape, deprivation of water and systematic starvation are also commonplace. As a result of these policies, more people in Sudan have been murdered than in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda combined.

Or take the plight of Christians in China. In recent years, the Chinese government has made a special effort to crack down on house churches. According to the Far Eastern Economic Review, between February and June 1996, "police have destroyed at least fifteen thousand unregistered temples, churches and tombs."

Believers can be arrested and tortured merely for holding unauthorized prayer meetings or distributing Bibles without state approval. Reports have surfaced of Chinese women being hung by their thumbs with wires and beaten with heavy rods, denied food and water and shocked with electric probes. Religious leaders are fined, thrown into prison, tortured and sent to "education through labor" concentration camps.

It gets worse. Even in the ostensibly "democratic" Russia it appears that the persecution of non-Orthodox Christians may soon begin to parallel the persecution of Christians under the Soviet regime.

On Sept. 26, 1997, President Yeltsin signed a new anti-religious law, which, in effect, outlaws every religious organization that has appeared in Russia during the last 15 years and subjects them to surveillance by the secret police. Within weeks after Yeltsin signed the anti-religion law, police began breaking up Catholic and Protestant gatherings.

"Inquiries, interrogations, police raids and groundless church closures will likely once again become commonplace in Russia," warned Rev. Steven L. Snyder, president of International Christian Concern.

Last August, police and security agents raided the Word of Life Church in Magadan, a city in far Eastern Russia, near Siberia. Church members were taken away for interrogation in the middle of the night. They were stripped of their jewelry, their fingernails and pockets were slit, and they were threatened with the loss of their homes and possessions.

"This persecution is no different from those which were done under the Communist regime," stated Nickolay Voskoboynikov, the church's pastor.

Michael Horowitz, an activist on behalf of persecuted Christians around the world, has warned that unless a serious effort is made to confront the horrors of the persecution of Christians and put a stop to them, Christians are likely to become "the Jews of the twenty-first century, the scapegoats of choice of the world's thug regimes."


The preceding story is a brief synopsis of WorldNet Magazine's upcoming, in-depth, February cover story documenting the current persecution of Christians worldwide. Readers may subscribe to WorldNet by visiting WorldNetDaily's online store

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        C U R R E N T   F E A T U R E   S T O R Y
              by the Editors of ReligionToday

January 5, 2000


Rioters kill Christians in Egypt

Police stood by as Muslims beat and killed Coptic Christians and
looted their homes and stores in al-Kosheh, Egypt, last weekend,
Christians in the region said.

...Security forces have been patrolling the area since Jan. 1,
but more than 20 Christians have died, 10 are reported missing,
and scores of homes and shops have been destroyed in three
villages in Dar al-Salam municipality, Upper Egypt, news reports
say.

..."That is the disturbing fact. The violence continues - more
Christians were killed yesterday, despite heavy police presence
in those villages," Joseph Assad of the Center for Religious
Freedom (see link #1 below) at Freedom House told Religion Today.
Assad, an Egyptian, said he has been in daily contact with
sources in the area, including Coptic Bishop Wissa.

...Police watched as Muslims stormed two Christian homes in
al-Kosheh and killed the families, U.S. Copts, a human rights
groups, said. "We know exactly what is going on from the mouths
of people living there. We are speaking hourly with them," the
group's Michael Meunier said.

...Christians in al-Kosheh fear the police because of past
persecution, Assad said. More than 1,000 Christians were
arrested, interrogated, and tortured by police in a 1998 murder
investigation that some said was an attempt to frame Christians.
"The international media has neglected to mention that many of
the police dispatched to the area are the same ones who went
there and tortured many Christians in 1998," Assad said.

...It is the worst case of violence against Christians in Egypt
in 20 years, Assad said. Egypt's Interior Ministry confirms 20
dead, but Coptic-rights advocate Mamdouh Nakhla said the number
rose to 28 when five more died of wounds and three bodies were
found in a field, Reuters said. The government said 33 Christians
have been injured and 33 of their stores looted, but Meunier said
about 100 stores have been destroyed.

..."I was sitting in my field with eight relatives," Morqos
Rushdie al-Gindi, a Christian farmer, told Reuters. "Three Muslim
neighbors came and fired on us. They killed all of my relatives.
I thought I was dead. I only regained consciousness in hospital."
A Christian schoolteacher said she saw 50 men throwing gasoline
bombs at Christian houses between the village of al-Balabish and
al-Kosheh.

...Some Christians have retaliated, Reuters said. A group stopped
a school bus carrying Muslim and Christian children, ordered the
Muslims off, and beat them with pipes, Ahmed Ali Eid, 13, said.
About 40 people have been detained or arrested, Reuters said.

..."Extremist elements" on both sides are to blame for the
violence, officials said.

...Members of Egypt's Cabinet met to discuss how to prevent
further violence. About 75% of al-Kosheh's 23,000 residents are
Christian and it is the largest of several Christian villages in
the municipality of Dar al-Salam. Violence could spread to a
dozen nearby villages "in a matter of hours," Assad said.

...The Cabinet said Egypt "knows no discrimination between
Muslims and Christians," but Christians disagree. Islam is the
state religion and fundamentalists are forcing a greater
Islamization of society, Operation World said. Christians are
denied the same education and job opportunities as Muslims, and
religious police keep close watch on Christian activity, it said.
Christian churches can't build new buildings or repair the
outside of existing structures without a special decree from the
president, rights groups said.

...Converts from Islam to Christianity are persecuted. Parents
who become Christians can lose custody of their children and
their extended families may be discriminated against, the
American Coptic Association said. Christian women are targeted
for "forcible reconversion" which sometimes involves rape and
forced marriage, it said.

...Christians make up 10-15% of the population in the country of
64 million people. The Orthodox Coptic Church dates back to the
time when Egypt was a province of the Roman Empire. Tradition
holds that the Apostle Mark brought Christianity to the country,
which was overtaken by Arab Muslims in 641.
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CHINESE POLICE TORTURE RELIGIOUS MILITANT

BEIJING, JAN 2 (ZENIT).- Yesterday Chinese police arrested five people
while they were holding a religious meeting to celebrate the New Year.
Xu Yonghai, the Protestant doctor who organized the meeting, was abused
by the police after his arrest.

The police -- some dressed in uniforms and others in civilian clothes,
were waiting for Dr. Xu as he left the Beijing hospital where he works
and arrested all the others -- the majority of whom are Christians, as
they approached Xu's residence, according to relatives.

The police attacked Xu, threw him to the ground, and wounded his head,
He Depu, another person arrested, said. This witness then saw the police
drag Xu over the floor of the police station. "They pulled him from one
side to the other," he said. "We were really angry. It was a total
attack on human rights on the first day of the new century."

Some of the guests were political dissidents, and not all were
Christians. Depu and three other dissidents -- Liu Fenggang, Sha Yuguang
and Hou Jie, were released after being detained for three or four hours
at the station. At the close of this edition, there was no news on Xu
Yonghai's fate.
ZE00010209

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