Christian Martyrs by Gustave Dore

Christian Martyrs by Gustave Dore

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pakistan: Christian girls and women, some already married, abducted and forcibly converted to Islam

From Jihad Watch:

Pakistan: Christian girls and women, some already married, abducted and forcibly converted to Islam
The marriages of captives are abrogated, by order of the Qur'an: "And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you" (4:24).

"There is no compulsion in religion," according to Qur'an 2:256, but the nature of the "compulsion" is in the eye of the overlord/beholder. There is, in reality, plenty of coercion hardwired into Islamic law, even via Qur'an 9:29, which gives unbelievers the options of conversion, subjugation, or warfare. All options are intended to lead the way to conversion by making life so otherwise intolerable, humiliating, and terrifying as to wear down resistance. But hey, you know, no compulsion or anything. Just "an offer you can't refuse."

Often, just to keep things looking good on paper, these women and girls are made to sign under duress (if not while drugged) a document saying they converted of their own free will. Is there "no compulsion" in document signing?

"Choora," variously spelled "Chura," or "Choohra," is a derogatory term. Literally, it means "sweeper," referring to the menial jobs to which Christians are frequently relegated on account of their faith and the social barriers to their advancement.

Pakistan remains a major recipient of U.S. aid. We have leverage we are not using to help Pakistan's second class citizens realize their full rights in society, and liberate the abducted and wrongfully imprisoned. "Girls being raped and tortured," from The News, January 16 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

“I saw two of my daughters being raped in front of me,” an old lady from Essa Nagri told The News. “It is considered that Chooras have no integrity.” She says that around midnight, men from other areas start gathering in their neighbourhood. “They are usually drunk. They choose which home they will plunder.”
She adds that one night they stormed into her home and raped two of her girls, while she “was locked in another room hearing their cries for help”. “I am a widow without any financial prospects, but I did go to the MPA representing us. What good is he if he can’t do anything to protect us?” The fear to report these cases is such that at first, no one even admits that an incident of rape or torture has taken place.
Forcible conversions
Within the past three months, nine women have been abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. MPA Javed adds that the purpose is not to gain good deeds, but to sell them. A majority of the Christian girls converted are married, he says.
According to reports he received from different areas of the city, the abducted women are later sold to feudal lords in Sindh and Punjab. Citing a recent example, Javed says that in Essa Nagri, a 23-year-old married girl was forcibly remarried to a 60-year-old Muslim man, who was notorious for selling girls.
"Known to be pious, but had a side business of selling Christian girls":

Javed said that the man was known to be pious, but had a side business of selling Christian girls. He says many people apart from him knew the truth. The only information that the family received was by a phone call through which they were informed by somebody that their girl is in Punjab.
He points out that there is a judgment by the Lahore High Court which clearly states that a “married Christian woman cannot be remarried to a Muslim even if converted,” but these cases do not even go to the police to be challenged in the high courts.
The Qur'an trumps the court ruling.

Brothel beside a church
Ayub Goth, near the Meteorological Department, is another area known for ethnic and religious discord. The Christians living in the area complain that a brothel was recently established right beside a Catholic church in the area.
In the evening women from outside are brought by “some people.” Residents say that these people have enough political clout to ensure that no one dares raise a finger....
Posted by Marisol on January 16, 2012 9:47 AM

Christmas Under Islam Hardly a Season to be Jolly

From Middle East Forum:

Christmas Under Islam
Hardly a Season to be Jolly

by Raymond Ibrahim
PJ Media
January 17, 2012

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Earlier I discussed how mosques, some of which breed radicalization and serve as terrorist bases, flourish in America, while churches are increasingly targeted and destroyed in the Muslim world, especially the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity.

This pattern—religious appeasement of Muslim minorities in the West, religious hostility for Christian minorities under Islam—continues and manifests itself in other ways.

Consider Christmas. The same appeasement that allows a "victory mosque" to be erected near Ground Zero, where jihadists killed some 3,000 Americans, compromises one of Christianity's most important events.

For instance, a "Montreal suburb has decided to remove a nativity scene and menorah from town hall rather than acquiesce to demands from a Muslim group to erect Islamic religious symbols." Contrast this with Iran, where many churches were "ordered to cancel Christmas and New Year's celebrations as a show of their compliance and support" for "the two month-long mourning activities of the Shia' Moslems," a reference to the bloody flagellations and self mutilations Shias perform in memory of Imam Hussein during Ashura.

Likewise, the University of London held Christmas service featuring readings from the Quran—Islam's holy book that unequivocally condemns the Incarnation, which is precisely what Christmas celebrates. Meanwhile, Islam's clerics in the West proclaimed things like "saying Merry Christmas is worse than fornication or killing someone," since doing so is to "approve of the biggest crime ever committed by humanity": the belief that God became man on Christmas. As the cleric makes clear, these are not his words, but rather the words of Islam's most authoritative clerics.

Nor are these just words. Around the Muslim world, Christmas time for Christians is a time of threats, harassment, and fear. One can point to any number of Muslim attacks on Christians to prove this—whether churches attacked, burned, or forced into closure; whether Muslim converts to Christianity beat, killed, or imprisoned; whether Christians abused on "blasphemy" charges; or whether just sheer violence and killings of "infidel" Christians. (See "Muslim Persecution of Christians" for a list of December's abuses alone).

More telling, however, are the attacks that specifically targeted or revolved around Christmas:

December 25, 2011 was "Nigeria's blackest Christmas ever": in a number of coordinated jihadi attacks, several church were bombed, killing over 40 people, "the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church after celebrating Christmas Mass as blood pooled in dust from a massive explosion." As expected, the New York Times all but apologized for the terrorists.

Christmas Eve in Uganda saw Muslims throw acid on a church leader, leaving him with severe burns, blinding one eye and threatening sight in the other. The pastor was on his way to a church party when a man pretending to be a Christian approached him from behind, yelling, "Pastor, pastor." When he turned, the Muslim threw acid in his face while others poured it on his back, all running away while screaming Islam's victory cry, "Allahu Akbar!"

In Muslim-majority Tajikistan, "a young man dressed as Father Frost—the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas—was stabbed to death" while visiting relatives and bringing gifts. Considering that the crowd beating and stabbing him were shouting "you infidel!" police cited "religious hatred" as motivation.

These are among the more violent and illegal attacks on Christians around Christmas time, undertaken by Muslim mobs and terrorists. In their own way, however, Muslim governments—many deemed "friends" of America—also make Christmas a very "un-merry" time for celebrants.

For example, if "vandals" in Indonesia decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary in a small grotto days before Christmas, Indonesian officials have been shutting down churches; one "embattled church" fighting for survival was forced to move its Christmas prayers to a member's house.

This pattern of treating Christian minorities as dhimmis—Sharia's legal term for non-Muslims under Islam forced to live as despised, second-class citizens—is business as usual in the Muslim world. Some more Christmas-related examples follow, from a cursory Internet search:

Malaysia: Parish priests and church youth leaders had to get "caroling permits"—requiring them to submit their full names and ID numbers at police stations, an eerie practice for any non-Muslim under Islam—simply to "visit their fellow church members and belt out 'Joy to the World,' [or] 'Silent Night, Holy Night.'"
Iran: While celebrating Christmas, a church was raided by State Security. All those present, including Sunday school children, were arrested and interrogated. Hundreds of Christian books were seized. The detained Christians suffered "considerable verbal abuses."
Pakistan: Intelligence reports warned of threats of terrorist attacks on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christians also lamented that "extreme power outages have become routine during Christmas and Easter seasons."
In closing, if people in the West think Christmas is a time of "peace on earth, good will toward man"—to the point of compromising this Christian holiday to appease their "fellow [Muslim] man"—they should know that, increasingly, it is neither a time of "peace" nor "goodwill" for Christians under Islam.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Pakistan: Catholics go to court over demolition of church-owned center despite court-ordered stay, during which demolition workers destroyed Bibles

From Jihad Watch:

Pakistan: Catholics go to court over demolition of church-owned center despite court-ordered stay, during which demolition workers destroyed Bibles
They have owned the property for 125 years, but according to the prior report -- surprise! -- the local government decided it was government property.

The land is now worth a great deal. Local authorities have found that, as Hedy Hedley Lamarr declared in Blazing Saddles: "Unfortunately there is one thing standing between me and that property: the rightful owners."

"Lahore, Catholics go to court against the "blasphemous" demolition of their institute," by Jibran Khan for Asia News, January 21:

Lahore (AsiaNews) - The Catholic community of Lahore is up in arms against the illegal demolition of the "Gosha-e-Aman", a "place of peace" that welcomed Christians and Muslims, last January 10 by the provincial government of Punjab. One victim has decided to take the case to court by filing a written complaint against the Development Authority and other officials involved in the affair. Meanwhile, it appears that one of the police officers present during the demolition of the building (Malik Ahmed Raza Tahir), was in charge of security in Gojra in August 2009, when a Muslim mob attacked the local Christian minority, resulting in seven dead - burned alive – and the burning of several homes and properties.
Speaking to AsiaNews, the archbishop emeritus Mgr. Lawrence Saldanha condemned the demolition decided by the authorities, the prelate emphasizes that we are in the presence of "ancient institution, worthy of respect," owned "by the Church in peace for 125 years" and used "for charitable purposes."

The faithful have dubbed this past January 10 "Black Tuesday" and demand the restitution of property and compensation for damage, if not, they warn, protests will continue until the authorities meet their demands. The institute "Gosha-e-Aman", founded in 1887, is surrounded by two acres of land, worth a total of billions of rupees. Inside there was a home for the elderly, a girls' school, a convent and a chapel for prayer. The dispute relating to the possession of the building and surrounding area had long been the center of a lawsuit, it seems the demolition was triggered by a woman - converted to Islam - who in the past sought shelter in the center.

Catholic Christian leaders and government officials have expressed solidarity with the victims, in search of a makeshift shelter that can accommodate them in the coming weeks. In Lahore Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants and non-governmental organizations have strongly condemned the abuse by the local government. Zenobia Richards, 61, one of the victims of the demolition, has launched a lawsuit by filing a petition to the High Court, citing the authority for urban development, along with other officials. She worked 24 years for Caritas Pakistan and lived in "Gosha-e-Aman". "It was a center of peace - she says - a lot of memories bind me to that place. That's why I wanted to bring a case against those who demolished the building, which I call home. "

During demolition operations, the workers also destroyed a statue of the Our Lady and several copies of the Bible: "I used to pray in this place," adds Zenobia (pictured, on the rubble of the building) and that's why "I intend to cite the crime of blasphemy "because they" desecrated a church and religious material in my house". "This is not just a piece of land - she adds - but the emotions, feelings, rights of minorities in Pakistan." She says she is "not afraid" and points the finger at the Punjab Minister for Minorities: “I will fight for my rights, "she concludes, confirming today that she has filed an appeal in court.

Archbishop Saldanha, archbishop emeritus of Lahore, speaks of "clear violation of the rights of minorities." The prelate told AsiaNews that the government "is short of funds" and is looking for "easy targets to fill the budget deficit." He adds that Catholics can and should continue in the protest and "appeals to the international community: I myself have spoken to the Department for religious freedom in Canada." The Archbishop hopes that international pressure "will have a positive impact and that the land mafia will fail in their criminal intent."
Posted by Marisol on January 22, 2012 7:39 AM

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists reportedly collaborate in rampage against Christians

From Jihad Watch:

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists reportedly collaborate in rampage against Christians
The first incident described below was blamed on Salafists, who also just won 25% of parliament. The second was attributed both to members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists, who together will control 75% of parliament, and stand to control the drafting of the next constitution.

As one can see, they're already working together. More on this story. "Egyptian extremists against Copts, two wounded, houses burned and churches attacked," from Asia News, January 21:

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Anti-Christian violence continues in Egypt, according to local sources, the episodes are linked to the attempt of fundamentalist Islamic fringe - Salafis - to block the vote of the religious minority in the next election. On 19 January, a mob attacked the Coptic Christian community of the village of Kebly-Rahmaniya, near the town of Nag Hammadi, Qena governorate, Upper Egypt. The assailants, chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) attacked and burned down houses, huts, shops and businesses (click here to see the video). The raid was also caused two injuries: a 16 year old boy, struck by a bullet and a 40 year old man with facial injuries.
Witnesses quoted by Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) report that Egyptian security forces did not intervene promptly to repel the onslaught and defend the Christians. Even the teams of firefighters delayed their intervention, arriving only 90 minutes after the assault, and when most of the buildings were already in flames. A source adds that a hut belonging to a Coptic Christian was burned to make room for the construction of a mosque. Moreover in the area there are now 300 Muslim places of worship, compared to only one Christian church even though Christians are 50% of the local population.

According to the Copts, the anti-Christian violence is related to the upcoming parliamentary elections: the Salafis, in fact, want to prevent the religious minority from voting which, with its 20 thousand members, can shift the balance of power in the area. The Copts are close to the Muslim moderate wing, which opposes the Islamist front. A witness confirmed that "no Copt from Rahmaniya-Kebly could vote" and that "the Salafis will win the elections."

In a second incident, which also occurred January 19, the Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood - together - broke into the church of Abu Makka in Bahteem, Qaliubia, informing members of the congregation that the place of Christian worship is illegal. An extremist also said that the 1,300 square meter building "is perfect for building a mosque and a hospital." The local bishop was to inaugurate the church and celebrate the first Mass, has suspended all ceremonies for security reasons, sparking the anger and disappointment of the whole congregation.
Sharia forbids the construction of new churches or the repair of existing ones.

Posted by Marisol on January 22, 2012 7:51 AM

Boko Haram declares war in Nigeria

From Mission Network News:

oko Haram declares war in Nigeria

nigeriaSunday Alambaap.jpg
(Photos by Associated Press/Sunday Alamba)
Nigeria (MNN) ― Police in Nigeria discovered ten more car bombs yesterday in Kano, an area already reeling from multiple bombings on Friday.
Spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs USA, Todd Nettleton, says the level of sophistication is what's drawing their concern. "This was a very serious attack. It also shows the growing ability of Boko Haram to coordinate attacks and to maximize the body count."
Boko Haram, a radical Islamist sect, claimed the bomb blasts that killed 256 people. The attacks came shortly after Muslim prayers in that beleaguered nation's second-largest city. This time instead of churches, it was police headquarters and other police stations, a secret police building, and immigration offices that were targeted. According to a video released by the group's leader, the attacks were a response to a refusal by the authorities to release the sect's members from custody.
The government deployed thousands of troops to quell the violence. While they have over 300 people in custody, Nettleton says it's not doing much to reassure the shell-shocked Nigerians. "The government seems unable to stop these attacks, unable to take a really significant stand against Boko Haram, and that's a concern not only to Christians in Nigeria, but really to everybody in Nigeria."
Although the group has mainly confined their activities to northeastern Nigeria, many fear extremist elements within the sect may try to escalate the crisis throughout the country -- "not only government of Nigeria targets, but international targets, as well. They have basically declared war on law and order in Nigeria, and anybody who represents law and order, they are willing to attack as they continue these calls that Nigeria should be an Islamic nation and should follow Sharia law."
This could amount to starting a civil war and destabilizing the government at the same time. President Goodluck Jonathon declared a 24-hour curfew to clear the streets. However, from there, it's clear that fear is spreading.
If Christians are provoked further, church leaders warn they will defend themselves. "Pray that the Christians will have wisdom to know how to respond, because we want to respond like Christ. We want to represent Him. At the same time, they don't want to be 'sitting ducks' for more of these attacks that are specifically targeting Christians."
Nearly 200 religious leaders gathered on Monday for a prayer vigil. A short time later, police discovered the car bombs as well as nearly 300 homemade explosives. 
In Hausa, Boko Haram means "Western education is sinful" and is modeled on the Taliban movement. Since Christianity is equated with the West, Nettleton says believers know they're in the cross-hairs. "What is this going to mean for Nigeria? What is this going to mean for religious freedom in the northern part of the country? Are Christians going to have the ability to witness, the ability to meet together, the ability to worship in a place where they have been clearly told by Boko Haram, 'You should leave, or else'?"
Experts predict the violence will continue to spiral out of control. Nearly every news report Nettleton watches concludes with a grim prediction of civil war.
"Pray for wisdom for the Christians in Northern Nigeria to know how to respond, to balance their own need for safety and protection while also living out the biblical mandate to love our enemies and to forgive those who persecute us."

Christian Pastor (Convert Out of Islam) Receiving Free Medical Treatment After Muslims Acid Attack shouting ‘Allah Akbar’

From Atlas Shrugs:

Christian Pastor (Convert Out of Islam) Receiving Free Medical Treatment After Muslims Acid Attack shouting ‘Allah Akbar’

Obama say, "Respect it!"
Pastor receiving free aid in Israel after acid attack  
Written by --        Monday, 16 January 2012
TORONTO – A pro-Israel Christian pastor from Uganda is receiving free medical treatment in Israel after being attacked with acid in Kampala on Christmas Eve.

Umar Mulinde, 38, converted to Christianity from Islam when he was in university. Since then, he has openly criticized Islam, and his ministry has included public debates with Muslims. His wife is a popular gospel singer.

The evangelical minister learned about Israel through, which offers online courses about Israel and Judaism. Mulinde went on to teach the courses at his Gospel Life Church International as well as to neighbouring Christian ministers. He also organized a 5,000-person teach-in about Israel in a local stadium.

The acid attack appears to have had religious overtones.

“I was attacked by a man who called out to me shouting ‘Pastor, Pastor’ and I turned to see who he was,” said Mulinde. “Then he poured acid which burnt part of my face. As I turned away from the attacker, another man poured liquid on my back and ran away shouting ‘Allah Akhbar’ (God is greater).”

The acid caused severe burns to Mulinde’s face and torso and damaged his right eye. While in hospital in Kampala, he contacted Andrea Gottlieb, executive director,, and asked whether the school could help him seek more advanced medical treatment in Israel. Gottlieb turned to Professor Zeev Rotstein, director, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, in Tel Hashomer, Israel. In addition to its global humanitarian work, Sheba has specialized in providing care for eye and burn injuries throughout Africa. Rotstein offered to provide acute and rehabilitative care to Mulinde at no charge.

A board member worked with Israel’s Foreign Ministry to arrange travel visas on short notice and Mulinde arrived in Israel, via India and Jordan, on Jan. 5. He is receiving treatment at the Sheba Burns Unit and the Sheba Eye Institute.

“Pastor Mulinde uses our courses to share his love for Israel with others,” said Gottlieb. “He is a devoted and loyal friend of Israel. We quickly responded to the pastor’s urgent needs and are grateful that he is now receiving the best medical treatment in the world.”

Rotstein added, “Healing is deeply ingrained in Jewish history and tradition. So it was only natural that we agreed to help Pastor Mulinde.... I trust that we can rehabilitate him and perhaps help him regain his eyesight.”
Last Updated ( Monday, 16 January 2012 )

Stavanger, Norway: Nine out of ten rapists are 'men from minority groups'

From Jihad Watch:

Stavanger, Norway: Nine out of ten rapists are 'men from minority groups'

Muslim men rape Muslim women because they do not dare to go to the police out of fear of their family's "honourable" reaction.
Muslim men rape non-Muslim women because it is their right.
Not only the women are hurt. Islam also perverts men's sexuality and destroys their ability to experience true love, which is based on equality. Violent frustrations and sexual perversion might often be the result.
In Oslo, Norway's capital, 100 percent of rapes are committed by 'non-Western' immigrants. As a result, the female staff at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Oslo has received training in martial arts, and all female employees are wearing alarms -- basically to be able to defend themselves against Muslim rapists.
The latest news is that in Stavanger, Norway's 4th biggest city, nine out of tenrapes are committed by 'men from minority groups'.
The amount of reported rapes in Sweden has increased 186 percent from 2001 to 2010.

Indonesia: Islamic groups launch search to find church service at a Christian home and disrupt it

From Jihad Watch:
Indonesia: Islamic groups launch search to find church service at a Christian home and disrupt it

Is there still actually a government in Jakarta? One could be forgiven for doubting, in yet another episode of the Yasmin Church saga.

The great irony for the Islamic supremacist thugs here is that their prolonged persecution of the Yasmin Church has made it, and its perseverance, known to the world. By trying to make them disappear, they have made them more visible in public life than they ever would have been. That's a great, big "own goal." "Radical Groups Disrupt Yasmin Church Sunday Service," by Vento Saudale for the Jakarta Globe, January 22 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Hundreds of people from various radical groups launched a search on Sunday to find the location of the Yasmin church congregation’s service and prevent them from worshiping. The groups even went to the home of one of the worshipers.
Protesters from the Indonesian Muslim Communication Forum (Forkami) and the Islamic Reform Movement (Garis) surrounded the home where the service was held on Jalan Cempaka no. 10, Taman Yasmin complex in Bogor.

“It crosses the line now. The protesters now come to the residential area, which is not a public place,” politician Lily Wahid, the sister of late president Abdurrahman Wahid, said at the scene.

Police were present to safeguard the house, but the worshipers were unable to leave the home because the mob blocked their way out.

The GKI Yasmin church has been illegally sealed off by the city administration on the pretext that the congregation doctored a petition needed to obtain a building permit.

The congregation has since 2008 been forced to hold Sunday services on the sidewalk outside the church and now in the home of parishioners.
Posted by Marisol on January 23, 2012 7:34 AM |

Nigeria: Muslims destroy Christian orphanage

From Jihad Watch:

Nigeria: Muslims destroy Christian orphanage
But Nigerian officials assure us that the end of Boko Haram is near, only weeks after admitting that the jihad group had friends and supporters in high levels of the Nigerian government. Sounds as if the claims that the jihadis' end is near are just face-saving.

"Troops swoop on Boko Haram, claim end of sect is near," from The Guardian (Nigeria), January 24 (thanks to Clark):

SECURITY agents operating under the aegis of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Operation Restore Order (ORO) in Maiduguri have killed four persons suspected to be members of the fundamentalist Islamic sect Boko Haram.
But the uncovering of vehicles laden with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) cast a shadow over this victory.

The vehicles with the IEDs said to be owned by members of Boko Haram were uncovered in Kano where about 200 people were killed by the sect last Friday.

It was learnt that two vehicles, Honda and Camry cars, were discovered to have contained the explosive devices at Gorondutse and Sheka parts of the metropolis.

Though there is no official reaction to the discovery, it is believed that the explosives may have been abandoned by Boko Haram members.

To ensure the return of peace to the state, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, yesterday led hundreds of Muslim faithful in a special prayer session.

However, commercial banks that initially opened had to shut down at about 10.00 a.m. when false news filtered into town that the state government had declared yesterday a work-free day.

Armed soldiers and plain clothes security personnel patrolled strategic points within the metropolis and stern-looking security operatives barred residents from gaining access to any of the police formations within the metropolis.

Suspected Boko Haram members took their terrorism to Minna, Niger State as they set ablaze a Christian missionary home, Bethany Home, and destroyed property worth millions of naira.

Although no life was lost in the attack, occupants of the home, mostly orphans and the less-privileged were rendered homeless as a result of the attack.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin yesterday assured that Boko Haram might soon run out of suicide bombers.

Oh, that's a relief!

Posted by Robert on January 23, 2012 5:53 PM |

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Iran says no execution order for apostate from Islam; attorneys say order remains in effect

From Jihad Watch:

Iran says no execution order for apostate from Islam; attorneys say order remains in effect
And -- surprise! -- the tacked-on charges of being a Zionist, traitor, rapist, and brothel owner, which had fallen out of the discussion as the pressure on the Iranian government lessened and the case simmered on a back burner, have reappeared. Even CNN noted that, in a 2010 Iranian Supreme Court brief, the only charge against Youcef Nadarkhani was apostasy.

An update on this story. "Iran's Christian pastor alive, execution looming," by Lisa Daftari for Fox News, February 27:

The Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran last week for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity was confirmed alive as of early Sunday, sources close to his attorneys told Fox News.
Iran’s government backtracked over the weekend, stating that no execution order had been announced for Youcef Nadarkhani, and that he was being held not for apostasy, but for rape and “other crimes,” according to the Islamic Republic’s state-controlled Press TV.

Nadarkhani’s attorneys believe the government toned down its rhetoric in response to an international outcry. The execution order, however, remained in effect, they said.

Supporters fear Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old father of two who was arrested more than two years ago on charges of apostasy, fear he may be executed at any time, as death sentences in Iran can be carried out immediately or dragged out for years.

Others fear Nadarkhani will be used in broader political negotiations as Iran endures crippling sanctions and international pressure in response to its nuclear agenda and rogue discourse. The number of executions in Iran has increased significantly in the last month.

“If a human being becomes a bargaining chip for the ayatollah, that’s not a situation that will lead to anything positive,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a human rights advocacy group that has led international campaigns to free Nadarkhani.

“When it’s a high-profile case, they test the international community’s reaction to these stories and how they change as geopolitical priorities shift.”

Iran’s judiciary, fearing its ultimate decision will have far-reaching political implications, has been caught in a bind in determining Nadarkhani’s fate.

Should the court release the pastor, it will appear disrespectful of the tenets of Shariah, or Islamic law, which call for an apostate to be put to death. If it executes him, it will face increasing criticism from the international community that continues to petition for the Nadarkhani’s release.

Dozens of human rights groups along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 89 members of Congress, and leaders from the European Union, France, Great Britain, Mexico and Germany have condemned Iran for arresting Nadarkhani and have called for his quick release.
Anything from the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna?

Last week, the State Department and White House put out statements condemning Tuesday’s execution verdict.
Congress has scheduled a vote as early as Wednesday on House Resolution 556, which condemns the Iranian government and calls for the pastor’s quick release.

Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at 19 and came under the Islamic regime’s radar in 2006 when he applied for his church to be registered with the state. He was arrested and soon released, according to sources.

In 2009 he went to local officials to complain about Islamic indoctrination in his school district, arguing that his children should not be forced to learn about Islam.
He was subsequently arrested and found guilty of apostasy by a lower court in Gilan, a province in Rasht, where he and his family live.

The court gave Nadarkhani a chance to recant and return to Islam, but he refused.

Death sentences for apostates in Shariah Law are prescribed both by fatwas, or legal decrees, and reinforced by Iran’s penal code. Article 225 of the Iranian penal code states, "Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death," and "Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death.”

While all religious minorities in Iran, including Bahais, Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, have faced various forms of persecution and political and social marginalization, the government saves its harshest retribution for those who have abandoned Islam.
Posted by Marisol on February 27, 2012 9:08 PM

Conflicting reports coming out of Iran over condemned pastor

From Mission Network News:

Conflicting reports coming out of Iran over condemned pastor

(Photos by Present Truth Ministries)
Iran (MNN) ― Reports of the imminent execution of Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani are now being countered by news of delay.
Spokesman with the Voice of the Martyrs USA Todd Nettleton says the latest information he's heard is still being confirmed. "There is a report from an Israeli media outlet saying that the execution has been postponed. It's unclear when it will happen. The other part of this report that has new information to me is that it was scheduled to take place today (February 28), but it was postponed indefinitely."
There are other stories indicating there was actually no execution order and that Nadarkhani was being held for rape and "other crimes," not apostasy. (Article 225 of the Iranian penal code states, "Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death," and "Punishment for a Parental Apostate is death.") Naturally, the changing details beg the question, "Is this a campaign of misinformation?"
"There are so many different pieces of information coming from different directions, that it's hard to know what is real and what is not real," Nettleton notes. It could discredit future reports coming out of Iran. Who benefits from discrediting the stories? The bigger question, says Nettleton, is: "What role does the Iranian government play in this? They have a history of not being transparent with the rest of the world as far as what's going on inside Iran. So it is interesting to wonder if they are perhaps playing with this information as a way to try to gauge: 'How is the world going to respond if we do this?'"
However, delay could be a response to the international scrutiny, too. "When it comes to some of the European countries, those countries can have sway on Iranian public policy. The Iranian government does tend to pay attention to what they're saying. In this case, many of them are also sounding the chorus that a person should not be executed for their religious beliefs."
The American Center for Law and Justice added their voice the chorus of concern. "If a human being becomes a bargaining chip for the ayatollah, that's not a situation that will lead to anything positive," says ACLJ's executive director, Jordan Sekulow.
Nettleton says the lack of movement could also signal an acknowledgement of the conundrum Iran's judiciary faces. If the court releases the pastor, it denies Sharia law, risking the wrath of Muslims in Iran. If they execute him, they face the displeasure of the international community, which includes dozens of human rights groups, the White House, members of Congress, leaders from the European Union, France, Great Britain, Mexico and Germany.
Trying to find a way out of the dilemma, the court gave Nadarkhani a chance to recant and return to Islam, but he refused. His story reveals a distress the government can't ignore. Nettleton explains, "The government is responding with lethal force in this particular situation because the church is growing in a way that the government can't understand and can't control. They see putting someone to death as saying, 'This will put a stop to Muslims leaving Islam to follow Christ.'"
The paradox of persecution, says Nettleton, is met by prayer. "There is an incredible hunger for the Gospel. There is an incredible openness to hear about Jesus Christ. We need to pray that there will be ministries and people and workers who will work in those harvest fields."
Check our Featured Links Section for more about the work of the Voice of the Martyr with the persecuted church.

Churches bombed in Nigeria


Churches bombed in NigeriaRSSFacebookFebruary 28, 2012

A suicide bomber drove into a Protestant church in the central Nigerian city of Jos on February 26, killed three and injuring 38. The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility. In retaliation, Christian youths beat two Muslim passersby to death and burned a Muslim-owned shop near the church.
A second bomb exploded that same day near a church in Suleja, a city of 220,000 in central Nigeria. Five persons were injured.

Another Saudi Christian in Big Trouble

From The American Thinker:

February 23, 2012

Another Saudi Christian in Big Trouble

Jeff Treesh
Another Saudi national has waded into controversy and possibly worse after he insulted the Prophet Mohammad via Twitter on Wednesday. Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri is a self-described convert to Christianity who lives in Mecca and calls himself the "Mecca Pastor."  Muslim social network users are openly calling for his arrest and trial, some even calling for death  (The only way to silence those who insult God and his prophet).
Al-Amri was first arrested in 2004 for "attacks on Islam," where he was detained for 9 months and in 2008 for one month where he was tortured with sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, physical torture, and continual insults.  Arrested again in 2009, He was released March 28th, 2009 on the grounds that he wouldn't travel outside of Saudi Arabia or appear on the media. He attributed his release to the efforts of the Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights Information, though the director of the organization claims they were not responsible and believes Al-Amri was extreme to write about Christianity under an Islamic government. If you doubt his sincerity, here is his blog, "Wake up unsuspecting."
As reported in Arutz Sheva.
In one Tweet, he wrote, "I say about Muhammad... anyone who has read his biography knows that his words contain a great deal of shabbiness."
"Muhammad permitted vile abuse of non-Muslims and infidels, and killing even Muslims, insofar as it resulted in victory for Islam," he wrote in another.
"I discovered that corruption and nepotism under the yoke of the Saudi regime is due to Muhammad," he wrote in another Tweet. "Failing to acknowledge that Muhammad's teachings are criminal, impious and intrusive makes it impossible to mend our circumstances."
He also tweeted that he "loved Muslims," but added "any Muslim who wrote the same things I have written about Jesus would not be charged in court."
Meanwhile, Hazma Kashgari, about whom I wrote two weeks ago, has since repented a series of tweets he made as prosecutors prepare to interrogate and charge him with blasphemy.  Kashgari's posts sparked outrage and prompted thousands to call on a Facebook page entitled "The Saudi people demand Hazma Kashgari's execution" for him to be executed, and he is currently awaiting trial.
However, Saudi  public prosecutors are not only planning charges against Kashgari, but are also probing both those who expressed support for him online and those who aided him in his flight the country.
They are not alone either; Iran has an easy way of dealing with people who do things online that displease the mullahs. Kill them.

Read more:

Jude Julius another victim of Pakistan's blasphemy law

From The British Pakistani Christian Associtation:

Posted: 28 Feb 2012 08:36 AM PST

 We have received this personal account of a blasphemy law attack and post it prima facie:

 I am Jude Julius and am born in a catholic christian family in Karachi Pakistan, and now along with my friend (Brian Nadeem) who tried to help me are charged 

under a false blasphemy case on accusation of burning pages of Holy Quran without any investigation of high ranking police officer on January 19, 2011, in Korangi Industrial Area 

Karachi province of Sindh Pakistan,

I Jude Julius aged 32, was a factory worker, I was working at Usmania Paper Mill PLOT NO 32 SECTOR 27 KORANGI INDUSTRIAL AREA, Karachi in packing department,  

with other Muslims in paper factory to finish packing, after finishing work my supervisor  asked me to collect the trash and set it on fire you are well aware that Muslims feel 

ashamed to touch any sort of trash or garbage  and leave such jobs on us Christians to do ,that’s why I was forced to collect trash and clean the workplace, 

when I was burning papers and hardboards the factory owner Mohammad Qudus arrived and saw some pages in Arabic language were in fire, Mohammad Qudus instead of 
blaming other Muslim laborers accused me of defiling Holy Quran and started beating me my other Muslim workers also joined Mohammad Qudus on beating me and started 
shouting that Jude is a blasphemer on which other Muslim laborers came out of the factory and attacked me, I begged  that I never realized what I was burning but they were not
ready to know or  investigate that what other Muslim workers were doing at that time and why they did not took out pages of Holy Quran from trash,but some how I managed to 
escape the angry Muslim mob,but  could not return back to home as I was aware that they will torture or may be even kill me,so I went to one of my christian friend Brian Nadeems 
home in Korangi Industrial Area but one of the muslim worker knew about my friends home so the very next day they came to the area where I was hiding in my friends home,
and then gathered the Imam & other Muslim of the area and started shouting that a Christian has committed act of blasphemy by intentionally burning pages of Holy Quran and is 
hiding in his friend Brians home and then Muslims of the area gathered they entered my friends home and beat me and rahil almost to death his family tried to help but they were helpless 
in front of them his family kept  asking why are you beating them ? they were shouting that they I and my friend  is also a blashmer because he tried to protect a blashmer,  
when the area police was going to arrive they they left us tortured and bloodied Brians family took both of us to the near by hospital they broke my right leg and hurt my eye,
and Brians both hands and left leg is broken,and then in the evening Brians father came to the hospital and informed us that that he fears that the Muslims of the area are very furious and 

that he has heard that they are coming again towards to the hospital to attack us but somehow both of us managed to leave the hospital and save our lives,and then with the help of a 
local priest we contacted human rights organization and after investigating the case they came to know that my elder brother Mr. Trevor Clive and his family are also facing a Blasphemy 
case against them in Pakistan due to which they had to flee from Pakistan to save their lives and they are also wanted by police in a Blasphemy case against them and now on pressure 
of the factory owner angry Muslims of the area and relatives of factory owner have announced Fatwa against us and they have also registered a false Blasphemy case against us in 
police station of Korangi Industrial area Sindh Karachi and we fear that if we are arrested or produced before city Magistrate for police remand we will face anger of Muslims 
and assault in courthouse or even be killed as there have been many broad daylight incidents of murder  in Pakistan with Christians accused of Blasphemy, now we are 

hiding in the premises of a church but now the priest is being transferred to another city so he says its difficult for us to stay here, also the human rights organizaton are trying to 

help us to leave Pakistan as we cant stay in this country anymore so please pray for us.

please remember us in prayers it is the only way we can be saved.

Live in peace

Jude Julius 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pakistan: Christian teacher accused of blasphemy, arrested

From Jihad Watch:

Pakistan: Christian teacher accused of blasphemy, arrested
As generally seems to be the case, all that was needed was a rumor that Saira Khokar burned a Qur'an. That is a handy excuse, since the accusers can claim the evidence was consumed in the fire. The next question for police should be: who has a score to settle with Saira Khokar or her family?

"Christian teacher accused of blasphemy in Lahore," by Jibran Khan for AsiaNews, February 23:

Lahore (AsiaNews) - After Asia Bibi, another Christian woman has been targeted by Muslim fundamentalists because of allegations of blasphemy. Saira Khokhar, who teaches at the City Foundation School in Lahore, is accused of burning a copy of the Qur'an. However, the case is still shrouded in mystery.
Police took Ms Khokhar into custody and launched an informal investigation. No First Information Report (FIR) has been filed yet, but Christian activists and organisation along with the special adviser to the prime minister on minority affairs, Paul Bhatti, are closely monitoring developments to ensure her safety and rights.

Local sources told AsiaNews that at 9 am a mob from a village not far from the school burst into the building accusing Saira Khokhar of burning Islam's holy book. The school is run by a Christian NGO, City Foundation. The attackers seized the woman but police prevented them from taking her away.

The local police chief took the Christian teacher into custody to examine whether the case warranted a First Information Report.

Representatives from human rights associations, the Masihi Foundation, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) and Life for All came to her rescue. Paul Bhatti, brother of Catholic Minority Affairs Minister Shabbaz Bhatti who was slain by extremists on 2 March 2011 for his opposition to the country's 'black law', also came to her defence.

Christian activists plan to monitor the affair to guarantee Saira's safety and stop any formal charges of burning a copy of the Qur'an from being laid in.

They want to prevent a repeat of the Asia Bibi affair, the 45-year-old mother of five who was sentenced to death on false blasphemy charges. Bibi, who is currently being held in a prison in Punjab, is still waiting for her appeal to be heard after several postponements.
Her appeal may not be heard until 2015. Authorities seem to be half hoping she will die in prison and spare them the awkwardness of making a decision.

Posted by Marisol on February 26, 2012 7:32 AM |