Displaying items by tag: Persecution
In Afghanistan, after America and its allies withdrew, the Taliban controlled the government, declaring an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, employing harsh tactics to expose Christians. This has brought persecution in Afghanistan to its highest levels since the Taliban’s first government in 1996. In Nigeria Fulani Militants, the largest nomadic ethnic group, have killed tens of thousands of Christians and left many more homeless since 2000. Having seen increasing violence against Nigeria’s Christian population in the Middle Belt, it is alleged that the Fulani militant aggression is aided by stakeholders within the Nigerian government. Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, exerts control over every aspect of Iranian life, both physically and spiritually. As an Islamic republic, Iran poses severe limits on the ability of Christians to practice their religion, enforcing a hardline regime that allows the brutal torture and execution of many Iranian Christians.
For twenty years Nigerian Christians have suffered attack after attack, with little to no response from the largely Muslim government. Anti-Christian violence is often swept under the carpet. On 20 March community members had just finished their church worship when armed insurgents arrived with sophisticated weapons, an eyewitness told International Christian Concern. ‘Twenty-five people were killed and over 100 houses burnt down.’ He added that the evening attack occurred from 7 to 10 pm, without any intervention by the Nigerian army. The total number of casualties is yet to be released. ‘We are now hiding, our church and houses burnt; we are sleeping outside tonight’, said another eyewitness. Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for persecution. Due to violent terrorist groups and government indifference, tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced.
A missionary’s message: ‘There is much happening right now. Persecution and hardships abound, yet our Mighty Lord reigns over it all! One member of our team and his young family have been receiving threatening messages due to their ministry work, and we have had to relocate them to a new city. Pray with us that they will remain safe and be able to continue their work for the Lord. Another team member was arrested crossing a border between Jordan and Lebanon. Pray with us for favour before the judge and for a quick resolution to the false charges. Despite these hardships, our team has also reported many praises of how God has been at work. A sewing workshop will take place this week to train persecuted women, providing skills to help sustain them and their families. We praise God for this opportunity to serve these women and offer training, hope and a way forward with dignity.’
Despite 2018’s change in leadership, Cuban churches face unrelenting pressure from a government that views churches as a threat to the revolution that began in the 1950s. Cubans are poor, and the government seeks to control every aspect of their lives. In April 2021, Miguel Diaz-Canel was announced as first secretary of the Communist Party, the first leader since the revolution who is not a Castro. Three months later Cubans protested over deteriorating living conditions and called for an end to dictatorship. Most Cubans are atheists and many engage in superstitious and spiritist practices, including Afro-Cuban Santeria. 11% are evangelical Christians. The government persecutes them and seizes churches. Believers meet in illegal house churches which are growing through active evangelism. Many Cubans have never owned a Bible. Many are closely watched and effectively under house arrest. Many are denied jobs. Pray for those distributing Bibles and supporting discipleship and evangelism.
India has the second-largest Christian population in Asia, but a recent report states that over 300 attacks on Christians took place in the first nine months of 2021. 169 of them were in four states: BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, tribal-dominated Jharkhand, and BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh. At least nine states have planned anti-conversion laws, including Chhattisgarh which has emerged as a ‘new laboratory’ for anti-Christian hatred in India. Over 1,000 people recently gathered for a Stop Religious Conversions rally - one in a series of events organised in the garb of anti-conversion protests. Addressing the gathering, a far-right Hindu leader urged the people to ‘arm themselves with axes to teach Christians indulging in conversions a lesson’.
For many years we have interceded for the persecuted Christians in China. A significant trend in the past year has been for even more church raids: according to an International Christian Concern report, ‘not only were churches shut down or demolished, but pastors and Christians are regularly arrested.’ Open Doors estimates that there are 97 million Christians in China, many of them in unregistered underground house churches and therefore considered to be ‘illegal’. Christians are not the only religious minority facing persecution; between 1 and 3 million Uyghur and other ethnic Muslims have been put in internment camps where they are taught to fall in line with the CCP. In January, the US state department described China's treatment of Uyghurs as a ‘genocide.’ China has also reportedly violated the rights of Falun Gong practitioners and Tibetan Buddhists.
Kidnapping Christians is a tactic frequently used by the jihadists who have been waging an insurgency in Mozambique since 2017. The UN said at least 2,600 people have been killed and more than 700,000 made homeless. Even nuns have been taken hostage. Reports emerge of a Christian man in Mozambique who risked his life by refusing to convert to Islam after extremists seized him and held him captive in the bush. Father Kwiriwi Fonseca said, ‘We met a Christian who was asked “Do you want to stay here and become Muslim, or do you want to go home?” It is risky as some people who say they want to go home are slaughtered on the spot. He thought he would be killed but he said it is better to go home. The men decided he could go home; it is very mysterious.’
Religious minorities in India are facing “systematic persecution” at the hands of Hindu nationalists, which is condoned by the authorities, the police, and the media, new research suggests.
The report Destructive Lies: Disinformation, speech that incites violence and discrimination against religious communities in India, by the Christian charity Open Doors, based on research compiled by a team from the London School of Economics (LSE), says that Christian and Muslim minorities are facing an “existential threat” from mobs of Hindu nationalists known as Hindutva.
Hindutva is an ideology that disregards Indian Christians and Muslims (and other religious minorities) as true Indians because they have allegiances that lie outside India and asserts the country should be purified of their presence. This is leading to a systemic, and often carefully orchestrated, targeting of Christians and other religious minorities.
Researchers from the LSE - who have not been named for safety reasons - said that “state actors” were complicit in the attacks, as well as media, and senior religious leaders, who offered tacit approval for the violence. Social media are also frequently being used to stir up attacks on minorities, with impunity.
One researcher said: “The extent to which . . . state actors are complicit in the violence is shocking; it was there even at the ground level. The bureaucrats, the police, the lower court judges, all of them are . . . openly colluding to harass these minorities. And politicians, top religious leaders, and powerful media owners [are giving] very overt signals that this [behaviour] is desirable.”
Christian communities are now living in an “atmosphere of deep trauma, fear and anxiety”, the report says.
“Apart from regular spectacular incidents of mob lynching, even daily life for many religious minority groups is now marked by fear and a sense of abandonment from their fellow beings as well as from the government, and indeed their own religious institutions,” researchers said.
The report featured 8 case studies and determined 4 headline findings:
1. Persecution pervades everyday life
The research found that ‘an atmosphere of deep trauma, fear and anxiety pervades the Christian communities that we visited in rural areas, as well as many of the Christian and Muslim communities in medium-sized towns and villages and on the outskirts of larger cities’.
2. Covid-19 has made persecution even worse
Not only have Christians been deliberately overlooked in the distribution of Covid-19 government aid, they have also been the subject of disinformation relating to the pandemic. These lies have spread across mainstream and social media platforms and apps.
3. State officials are increasingly hostile
Some Indian states have anti-conversion laws. These are frequently used to target Christians for ‘forced conversions’ and reflect how hard-line Hindu influences in the political sphere translates to regressive laws.
4. Attacks are shared as warnings on social media
One of the first things extremists will do before attacking Christians and other religious minorities is snatch their phones. This is to prevent them documenting the incident. But the perpetrators themselves will record the attack and post it on social media.
Pray with us that the UK Parliament will respond to this report and use their influence to improve the lives of Christians in India.
Pray with us that each recommendation in the report will be fulfilled.
Pray with us that the lives of Christians in India will be changed (2 Timothy 3:11–12)
Chinese American Pastor Bob Fu of the group China Aid, which provides legal aid to Christians in the People's Republic, recently tweeted, "New Cultural Revolution" starts in #CCPChina this notice to students in a 1st Grade class demanding all parents and teachers to hunt all "religious books, antagonistic books & overseas books including books & videos that are copied/duplicated & translated". Everyone is mandated!"
CBN News says this is not only just another effort by the Chinese Communist Party to indoctrinate students, but it's also trying to prevent disruptions for the 2022 Winter Olympics which will be held in Beijing next February.
"We've got an Olympics coming up and the Chinese communist government does not want any disruptions for the Olympics," Lane said during an interview. "They really fear there could be protests, a pro-democracy movement going, and so forth, leading up to the Olympics and during the Olympics."
"So this sends a message to the parents. 'Look, no outside influence. We don't want any collusion with foreigners here,' because they know that foreigners are pro-democracy," Lane explained. "And so they are indoctrinating students, but they are also targeting not only the youth of China, but also sending a message to the adults."
Alongside this, on June 29, Bitter Winter (A magazine on religious liberty and human rights) published an article revealing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unveiled a "Christianity Loves the Party" Exhibition in Shanghai, claiming that “the Chinese Communist Party has been inextricably linked to Christianity from the day of its birth.” Even though the CCP "arrested, tortured, and killed countless believers" during its century reign, authorities expect religions to express enthusiasm and celebrate the 100th anniversary of CCP.
The exhibition tells the story of Christians who helped the first Communists, with some becoming members of the CCP. However, what the exhibition does not tell is that many of these Christians were later expelled from the Party and even executed, while the CCP clarified that only atheists can become Party members.
In this year, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, the government has ordered local officials and police officers to strengthen their persecution against all dissident groups, in particular Christian religious movements.
Pray with us for the safety of Christians living in China (1 Samuel 2:9)
Pray with us for courage, perseverance and hope for the Church in China.
Pray with us that international political leadership will continue to challenge human rights abuses in China.
Members of the Early Rain Church in Chengdu continue to face harassment as authorities attempt to shut down their unregistered congregation. While Wang Yi, the head pastor, is serving a nine-year prison sentence, other members of the church have also encountered persecution. Since early June, church minister Wu Wuqing, his wife Xiong Meifang, and their children have been locked in their home by governing officials. The fire door, which gives access to the stairs and lift, has been chained, and guards remain posted outside the door. At first the guards would unlock the door if visitors came to see the family but on 8 June they turned a woman and her children away, stating that since visitors were prohibited from entering the residence, they would only be allowed to pass food through the fire door.