CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Pakistan: Authorities Detain Christian Teenager on Charges of ‘Insulting Muhammad’
July 19, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “Police officers in Muslim-majority Pakistan have accused a Christian teenager of committing blasphemy, saying he used derogatory comments against Islam’s Muhammad.
‘Umair Ahmed, a police officer in the town of Kharian in eastern Punjab province, said Saturday that the teenager, 16, was booked a day earlier and relocated for his safety,’ reports the Associated Press (AP). ‘Ahmed said the youth was working at a local hospital.’
The strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan are primarily used to target Christians across the country, where dozens of people are detained on blasphemy charges every year.
Pakistani law enforcement officials have arrested Christian children as young as eight years old on allegations of insulting Islam or Mohammed, a crime that is punishable by death in Pakistan.
While the Pakistani government has not carried out a blasphemy-related death sentence, numerous Islamic extremists in the country have taken their version of justice into their hands…” (Great persecution will soon overtake most Christians in a majority of the world. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matthew 5:10 – 12; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” – John 15:18 – 21; “…When he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” — Revelation 6:9; “…I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:4; and “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10. See the next six reports.)
‘No security, no protection’ for Mosul’s Christians after Islamic State
July 21, 2017 — The Times of Israel reports: “The jihadists may have been ousted from their Iraqi hometown of Mosul but many Christians like Haitham Behnam refuse to go back and trade in the stability of their new lives.
‘There’s no security, no protection for Christians back there,’ said the former resident of the largest city in northern Iraq.
‘It’s better for us to stay here and keep our mouths shut,’ said the man in his forties who resettled in the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Arbil in 2014 after the Islamic State jihadist group seized control of Mosul.
‘They came to see us in our shops. They told us: ‘We have nothing against you. If we’re bothering you, tell us.’ A week later, it was ‘Christians out!’‘ recalled Behnam, who used to deal in ready-to-wear clothing.
Under the brutal rule of IS, Mosul’s Christian community of around 35,000 was handed an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a special tax imposed on non-Muslims, or risk being executed unless they leave town…”
Caste Aside: India’s New President Has ‘No Room for Christians’
July 28, 2017 — ChristianityToday.com reports: “Ram Nath Kovind, India’s new president who took office today, represents an unusual case of a little-known politician from the country’s lowest caste, the Dalits, rising to power.
However, as others champion his victory, India’s Christian minority—the majority of whom are Dalits themselves—know that a Hindu nationalist politician from the Dalit caste is still a Hindu nationalist politician.
Like the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that nominated him, Kovind represents a continued threat to non-Hindus in India, including its estimated 25 million to 60 million Christians…”
Buddhists in Burma Attack, Injure Newly Converted Christians
August 7, 2017 — MorningStarNews.com reports: “About 150 angry Buddhists and monks this month attacked newly converted Christians in Burma (Myanmar), destroying their homes and property and injuring seven people.
In Thi Taw village in northwest Burma’s Sagaing Region, the mob threw stones and broke into houses on July 6, two days after two families put their trust in Christ and left Buddhism, a local official told Morning Star News. Four women and three men who were hit with stones and sticks and suffered injuries on their heads, faces and backs. Three motorbikes were destroyed.
The Buddhists told local press that the Christian villagers sang and preached late into the night to celebrate and welcome the new Christians. The local Buddhists told Morning Star News that the Assembly of God Church members, visiting from neighboring Chin state, held services for three days, prompting them to attack on the third day…”
11 Killed in Attack at Nigerian Church
August 7, 2017 — Voice of America News reports: “Authorities in Nigeria said 11 people were killed and 18 others critically wounded in an attack on a church in the southeastern part of the country.
Initially witnesses said the attack was carried out by at least two gunmen, but Garba Umar, police commissioner of Anambra state, said one gunman attacked St. Philip Catholic Church early Sunday.
Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano said the attack stemmed from a feud between members of the local community who were living outside Nigeria.
‘We are not going to relent until we bring those that perpetrated this heinous crime to book,’ he said.
Nigeria’s southeast is predominantly Christian and the attack is a rare act of violence at a church…”
Egypt’s Coptic Christians to Halt Activities After Security Threat, Sources Say
July 14, 2017 — Voice of America News reports: “Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians have been told by church leaders to cancel all events and activities outside churches in July because of a security threat, church sources said Thursday.
The warning followed an attack in May by Islamic State on Copts traveling to a monastery in central Egypt that killed 29 people. A month earlier, 44 people were killed in bomb attacks at a cathedral and another church on Palm Sunday.
Sources said the warning was given to individual church leaders by a representative of the Coptic Orthodox Pope. Copts on trips or youth camps had been told to cut short their activities and return home early.
The Egyptian Catholic church said it got the same instructions. The church ‘complied with the interior minister’s decision to cancel church trips and camps until further notice,’ Father Rafik Greish, a spokesman for the Coptic Catholic Church, told Reuters late Thursday.
A Coptic Church official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, told Reuters that his church received ‘oral instructions this week, nothing written, to prevent panic,’ he said…”
Hundreds of Muslims converting to Christianity in Finland, churches say
July 28, 2017 — ChristianToday.com reports: “Finland has reportedly seen a flood of conversions from Islam to Christianity, with hundreds of asylum seekers from the Middle East turning to the Christian faith, officials in the Evangelical Lutheran community said.
Evangelical Lutheran parishes have begun establishing confirmation classes for Muslim immigrants who want to become Christians. Exact figures on the number of recent Muslim converts aren’t available since such records aren’t kept – but conservative estimates on the number suggest several hundred in recent years within the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, according to the Finnish news source Yle Uutiset.
Converts hail from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. As many as 20 Afghani men are enrolled in ‘pre-confirmation’ teaching on the Christian faith at the Tainionkoski parish centre in Imatra, Eastern Finland. Students are assisted by a New Testament in the Dari language, the variety of Persian spoken in Afghanistan. A Dari interpreter is also on hand via Skype to support the teaching given in English.
‘I haven’t been baptised yet, but I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure I will be a good Christian,’ said one convert, Aliraza Hussaini.
Conversion from Islam is a divisive move however, one not readily accepted by many traditional Muslim families; some say that after conversion they are seen as ‘infidels’ in ‘exile’ by family in their home countries…”