Saturday, November 29, 2008

Death toll over 300 in Nigerian sectarian violence

JOS, Nigeria-Mobs burned homes, churches and mosques Saturday in a second day of riots, as the death toll rose to more than 300 in the worst sectarian violence in Africa's most populous nation in years. Sheikh Khalid Abubakar, the imam at the city's main mosque, said more than 300 dead bodies were brought there on Saturday alone and 183 could be seen laying near the building waiting to be interred.Those killed in the Christian community would not likely be taken to the city mosque, raising the possibility that the total death toll could be much higher. The city morgue wasn't immediately accessible Saturday.Police spokesman Bala Kassim said there were "many dead," but couldn't cite a firm number.The hostilities mark the worst clashes in the restive West African nation since 2004, when as many as 700 people died in Plateau State during Christian-Muslim clashes.Jos, the capital of Plateau State, has a long history of community violence that has made it difficult to organize voting. Rioting in September 2001 killed more than 1,000 people.The city is situated in Nigeria's "middle belt," where members of hundreds of ethnic groups commingle in a band of fertile and hotly contested land separating the Muslim north from the predominantly Christian south.Authorities imposed an around-the-clock curfew in the hardest-hit areas of the central Nigerian city, where traditionally pastoralist Hausa Muslims live in tense, close quarters with Christians from other ethnic groups.The fighting began as clashes between supporters of the region's two main political parties following the first local election in the town of Jos in more than a decade. But the violence expanded along ethnic and religious fault lines, with Hausas and members of Christian ethnic groups doing battle.Angry mobs gathered Thursday in Jos after electoral workers failed to publicly post results in ballot collation centers, prompting many onlookers to assume the vote was the latest in a long line of fraudulent Nigerian elections.Riots flared Friday morning and at least 15 people were killed. Local ethnic and religious leaders made radio appeals for calm on Saturday, and streets were mostly empty by early afternoon. Troops were given orders to shoot rioters on sight.The violence is the worst since the May 2007 inauguration of President Umaru Yar'Adua, who came to power in a vote that international observers dismissed as not credible.Few Nigerian elections have been deemed free and fair since independence from Britain in 1960, and military takeovers have periodically interrupted civilian rule.More than 10,000 Nigerians have died in sectarian violence since civilian leaders took over from a former military junta in 1999. Political strife over local issues is common in Nigeria, where government offices control massive budgets stemming from the country's oil industry.

As in the days of Noah...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

20,000 Muslims attack Christian church in Egypt

More disturbing -- but telling -- details regarding this story. "20,000 Muslims Attack a Church in Cairo," from AINA, November 26:
One thousand Christians were today trapped inside the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in West Ain Shams,Cairo, after more than twenty thousand Muslims attacked them with stones and butane gas cylinders. The Church's priest Father Antonious said that the situation is extremely dangerous.The Muslim mob that attacked the church blocked both sides of the street and encircled the church building, broke its doors and demolished its entire first floor. The mob were chanting Jihad verses as well as slogans saying "we will demolish the church" and "We sacrifice our blood and souls, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Islam", while the entrapped Christians chanted "Lord have mercy".The incident started on the occasion of the inauguration of the Church today, when the Muslims hastily established a Mosque in the early hours of this morning, by taking over the first floor of a newly-built building facing the Church and started praying there.When the security forces tried to disperse the mob, they went to nearby homes and shops owned by Christians, and were armed with sticks, butane, knives and other sharp objects. Witnesses said the mob included children from as young as 8-years old to men of over 50-years old, in addition to women.The Church building was originally a factory that was adapted into its present state, the matter which took over five years to complete and to get the necessary permissions from the authorities to have a Church established.Human rights organizations and lawyers were refused entry into the besieged Church.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian, and soon to follow, no doubt, Western press, portray this as "sectarian strife" where both sides, Muslims and Christians, are equally guilty of "intolerance."
Posted by Raymond
As in the days of Noah...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deadly N.J. Church Shooting Suspect Captured in Ga

NEW YORK-A man accused of driving across the United States and fatally shooting his estranged Indian immigrant wife and another man inside a church has been captured in Georgia.Joseph M. Pallipurath was arrested around midnight Monday in Monroe, east of Atlanta, said New Jersey district U.S. Marshal James Plousis. Pallipurath, of Sacramento, California, is suspected of shooting and killing 24-year-old Reshma James inside the St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church in Clifton, New Jersey, a suburb about 15 miles west of Manhattan.Also killed was Dennis John Mallosseril, who maintained the church's Web site. Witnesses said he had tried to intervene and break up the church rampage.A third person, James' cousin, Silvy Perincheril, was shot in the head and was hospitalized in critical condition. James had taken out a restraining order against Pallipurath, prosecutors said.In California, the suspect's father had called on him to surrender, as did relatives of one of the victims in New Jersey.All three victims were shot once in the head and didn't regain consciousness, depriving investigators of the opportunity to interview them. James died at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, and Mallosseril died three hours later.The search for Pallipurath had centered on Georgia, where he has relatives, prosecutors said.Pallipurath is accused of opening fire Sunday just as the congregation at the largely Indian immigrant church was finishing its prayers for the dead, a staple of weekly worship service. Authorities say he fired more than three times but only three people were hit. No one else was injured.After fleeing three months ago from what relatives said was an abusive, arranged marriage in California, James moved to New Jersey and stayed with Perincheril.The couple were married just over a year ago in India and moved to Sacramento in January.Reshma's aunt Maria Joseph, of Hartford, Connecticut, said she warned her niece, who was studying to become a nurse, not to marry him. Other relatives told her the man had a history of "behavioral problems," Joseph said.Mathai Pallipurath, the suspect's father, said he thought his son and daughter-in-law were happy together, and he described his son as "handsome" and "a nice guy."According to a published report, however, the elder Pallipurath was granted a restraining order against his son in May. The father said Joseph was abusive to family members and had threatened his life.In the story posted on its Web site Monday, The Sacramento Bee, citing family court records, said the restraining order was dropped at Mathai Pallipurath's request on June 17. Mathai Pallipurath was not available later Monday to comment on the report. A man who answered the phone at the family's Sacramento home Monday evening said he did not wish to speak further.The shootings have reverberated throughout the Knanaya faith, a close-knit Christian minority in India who are even closer-knit in the United States.The parish priest, Rev. Thomas Abraham, said he heard a loud noise and thought something had fallen in the church.He got up to go toward the noise, only to be hit with a wave of parishioners pushing him backward, saying someone was shooting inside the sanctuary.He said church members were in shock."They're all scared; they're all really upset," he said. "We have to hold together in this time of adversity."
Click here for more from
As in the days of Noah....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thought Police On Patrol In Canada

Queen’s University in Canada has enacted a sweeping new new speech code that would prevent you from attending an event even on religious grounds.
A sampling of some behaviour that could warrant attention from university-appointed student facilitators, tasked with policing students’ offensive language at Queen’s:
If a student uses the phrase “That’s so gay” in conversation.
If a student calls someone or something “retarded.“
If a student writes a homophobic, racist or other derogatory remark in a public space, such as on a residence poster or classmate’s door.
If a student avoids a classmate’s birthday party for faith-based reasons.
You know what I’m pretty proud of as an American? The fact that the Ku Klux Klan is allowed to hold marches and protests here.Not because I’m a Klan member or even agree with the Klan on much of anything (claims from those of you who send me hate mail to the contrary), but because I think free speech means free speech.Now, I don’t think that free speech rights are necessarily absolute.I don’t think that free speech extends to disrupting the rights of others to speak freely or peacefully assemble.I don’t think that free speech means you can use a bull horn on a residential street at four in the morning.But I do think it means that we have to let those we disagree with have their time to speak and demonstrate freely no matter how offensive their message may be.Because I think the worst thing you can do to extremists is turn them into free speech martyrs by not letting them speak, and the best thing you can do is actually let them speak so that they can be dismissed as loons and roundly criticized by the public at large.Clearly, in Canada, they don’t value free speech (and free religion) at the same level we do here in America.
By Rob
As in the days of Noah....

Court to decide whether campus evangelism a crime

The so-called "free-speech code" of Yuba Community College District is under federal court scrutiny.California student, Ryan Dozier, decided to spend some time on campus sharing his faith and handing out tracts to fellow students, generating conversations about Christianity. Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Heather Hacker comments on the situation. "A campus police officer came over and told him that if he continued to do so without a permit that he would be possibly expelled or arrested, and so Ryan stopped immediately," she explains. Hacker says Dozier thought the case was closed, but he was apparently mistaken."Three weeks later he got a certified letter from the president of the college stating that his actions were the subject of a campus crime report," she adds."Last time I checked, sharing your faith on a public college campus was not a crime." But the letter informed him he could face expulsion if he shared his faith on campus again. ADF filed suit, and a federal judge has ordered the college to suspend enforcement of its highly restricted free speech policies until the lawsuit is resolved.
As in the days of Noah....

2nd church shooting victim dies

CLIFTON, N.J.-A second victim of a weekend church shooting died Monday, leaving one survivor who was in extremely critical condition, authorities said. The estranged wife of the alleged gunman, who remained at large, also died in the attack.John Dennis, 24, a bystander in the shootings, died of head wounds suffered in Sunday's shooting at St. Thomas Syrian Orthodox Knanaya Church.The search for the suspect, Joseph M. Pallipurath, focused on Georgia, where he has relatives, Passaic County Prosecutor James Avigliano said.Pallipurath, 27, had come from Sacramento, Calif., and allegedly killed his wife, Reshma James, 24, authorities said. She had been staying with relatives near Clifton since leaving Sacramento, where they lived.She had taken out a restraining order against Pallipurath, Avigliano said. Their marriage had been arranged, he said."She found out he wasn't all he was cut out to be," Avigliano said. "He was abusive toward her, and she left him and came out here."James' cousin, Silvy Perincheril, 47, also was shot in the head and remained in "extremely critical" condition Monday, Avigliano said.Dennis did not know the family, the prosecutor said.Pallipurath was last seen driving a green 2004 Jeep with California license plates and a black soft top.The church caters to immigrant families from the southern Indian state of Kerala.
As in the days of Noah...

Cops Hunt Gunman Who Opened Fire in Packed Service at New Jersey Church

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Flying Gospel

The Voice of the Martyrs has launched gospel balloons and gospel tracts into North Korea for more than 20 years. Each large balloon includes 10,000 gospel tracts, printed on weather proof plastic. The tracts include the book of Mark written in Korean. A time release mechanism drops them at intervals....

North Korea enraged by launch of Gospel gas balloons:Communists see Christian messages by thousands blanketing countryside

Christians launching a balloon to carry thousands of Gospel tracts over North Korea, where they are then dropped to residents
North Korean officials are infuriated by leaflets that have been floated over the communist nation's secured borders and dropped from plastic bags attached to gas-filled balloons, and one organization behind the effort says there's good reason the atheists in power are upset – the pamphlets are carrying a Gospel message directly to the people.Hundreds of thousands of leaflets have reportedly been distributed in just the past few months, and may have been the reason the North recently announced it would shut its border with the South. The North also has threatened to cut other communications, such as telephone lines, over the issue.The leaflets have been attributed to "political" groups, but a spokesman for one organization sponsoring the effort said there's nothing political about it, and the tracts carry a message of hope directly to the North Korean people.The spokesman and his organization, which spreads the Gospel around the world, couldn't be identified because of the potential for danger to affiliated activists who are dispatching the balloons.But he told WND those who have fled government crackdowns on their faith inside North Korea are desperate to get the message of hope to their family, friends and communities behind the wall of communist information censorship."Each balloon carried 10,000 Gospel tracts, in three separate bags at the bottom that have a time release mechanism so that they drop at different times to spread the leaflets over a wider area," he described.On one side, the leaflet cites a "great revival" that launched in Pyongyang in 1907."It began with a Bible study that took place in Changdaehyun church … Many Koreans came together to study the Bible, the written record of God's love for Korean people and the world," it says. "Unfortunately, this study of the truth was stopped by Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. They are not the first people to build big statues of themselves for people to bow down and worship. Throughout history, many leaders have claimed to be a god only to die later. The following is a true story from the Bible that took place thousands of years ago. It is about a man like Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il who thought he was even better than God Himself. But this story is also about 3 courageous men who knew who the real God was, and how they refused to bow down to someone who was only a man."The pamphlet then describes Nebuchadnezzar's reign, his construction of a golden statue to himself and the refusal on the part of three Israelite captives to bow down before it.The Bible records Nebuchadnezzer then had the captives thrown into a fire, but he saw four men, not three, walking around inside the flames, which did not hurt the men."There is only one who is the true Savior. Just as King Nebuchadnezzar died, so did Kim Il-Sung and one day so will Kim Jong-Il. But unlike these 3 men, the true God, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and lives," it continues."King Nebuchadnezzar had his people bow down and worship him, but God showed him that he was not a god. King Nebuchadnezzar had to bow down to the One True God. Everyone, including all the leaders in the world that have thought themselves to be God, will one day have to bow down to the One True God also. The Bible says that the name of Jesus, God's son, is above every name. At the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord."The Al-Jazeera network reported even the South Korean government was looking for ways to ban "activists" from sending "anti-North Korean propaganda" across the border between the two nations, apparently in an attempt to win favor with the North Korean powers.Kim Ho-Nyoun of South Korea's unification ministry said he was reviewing whether there were "legal grounds" to halt the spread of the messages, which Al-Jazeera described as an "irritant" to North-South relations because of their "critical" message about North Korean leadership.The Islamic network noted North Korean officials had been complaining about "debris," while the Korea Times said the government's previous attempts to discourage the spread of such messages have not been successful.The pamphlet says, "The Bible tells us that 'God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life" (John 3:16). We love God because He first loved us. God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die to save you-and He rose from the dead and is watching over you today. That is why you have found this paper."Although there may be "political" items also being dropped over North Korea, many of the items are evangelism-oriented, the ministry spokesman told WND."The good news of this story is that obviously it works," said the ministry spokesman. "If the leaflets weren't getting into North Korea, or weren't getting read by anyone, the North Korean government wouldn't be making a big deal about it."North Korea long has had a record of banning Christianity and torturing and killing Christians. WND reported a Christian ministry launched a campaign seeking to have North Korean students who were caught reading the Bible freed from jail.According to Free North Korea Broadcasting, a former vice-president of GumRung Co. of the Rodong Dang Labor Organization Department, reported the situation.He escaped to the relative freedom of China to avoid arrest by the National Security Agency of North Korea and carried information about the situation with him."In March 2006, 200 Life Bibles and several hundred CDs were purchased in China and secretly placed in flour bags before being smuggled into North Korea," he reported. "This huge Bible smuggling case was headed by GumRung Co. employees who were influenced by Christianity in China and underground Christians in Nasun City."He continued, "All the leaders have been arrested and are being severely tortured. If I am caught, I will be sent to a prison camp for political criminals. I didn't want to die in prison camp, so I escaped."
But detailed information from inside North Korea often is hard to obtain, many times coming only from those who have survived and escaped. WND previously reported on a North Korean who fled and said many North Koreans believe dictator Kim Jong-Il actually is a god.
By Bob Unruh
As in the days of Noah...

Prop. 8 opponents show 'intolerance', 'hypocrisy'

The war against passage of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that California voters approved to protect traditional marriage, continues.Homosexual activists have taken the case back to the courts to try to overturn the vote. Filing a brief supporting homosexual marriage are the California Council of Churches and the Episcopal bishops of Northern California and Los Angeles. Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) says the people who support same-sex marriage believe if voters are permitted to take away rights from a group based on sexual orientation, the same could happen to religious groups."These arguments are totally without merit in that homosexual marriage is not a true fundamental right, and that's the reason why voters had to go to the polls and amend the constitution of California to once again protect that which is truly a fundamental right," he explains. Dacus says he understands where the organizations are coming from, and says it is not the Bible. "These groups that just filed the brief are the ones that are the most adamantly against Christians who believe in the Bible, believe in what the Bible teaches," he adds."Their intolerance is unmistakable, and their hypocrisy is very evident in what they've filed."
As in the days of Noah....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PERSECUTION in AMERICA:Elijah-Jezebel showdown, by Lou Engle

PS:My heart is heavy for my country...that's why I post this video.
May the Lord SPEAK to you that are watching and IF you are not AWAKE,may the Lord SHAKE YOU from SLUMBER....Millions in the valley of Decision....
For all those that dont live in America....this is the PERSECUTION that IS AMONG US ALREADY...May the Lord grant us BOLDNESS to preach the Gospel like never before....!!!!!
As in the days of Noah....

Christian Prayer Group Sexually and Physically Assaulted by Homosexual Mob:San Francisco Castro District residents seek vengeance for vote on Prop 8

SAN FRANCISCO, November 18, 2008 ( mob of homosexuals sexually and physically assaulted a group of Christians praying together in the city's Castro District last week, in apparent retaliation for the recent defeat of homosexual marriage in California.The Christians, a group of Evangelical Protestants who regularly go to the predominantly homosexual Castro District to sing songs and pray with passers-by, say they were holding hands and singing "Amazing Grace" when a angry mob began to shove and kick them, steal their belongings, pour hot coffee on their faces, and sexually assault them."We'd been there for a couple of nights just singing worship songs, people would come up and stand with us and join us, we got to pray for some people," said one participant in an account filmed at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City...

..."but on Friday night it just was different.""We started worshipping, it was kind of like you would walk into someone's living room, and people are just hanging out with a guitar, worshipping Jesus, just really peaceful," she continued. "And a man came up after we'd been there for a little while and just began yelling and swearing at us and commanding us to get out of the Castro District, and our leader went up and he said 'why are you here?' and she said 'we're here to worship God and we're here because we love you'."The words enraged the man, who was soon followed by others. Although the group did no preaching, the mere presence of Christians praying in the Castro District was enough to provoke a frenzy of violence."A few men came and they brought a large piece of cloth and covered us with cloth and cornered us into a corner, and they started swearing at us and yelling at us and just filled with hatred, and the crowd grew larger and larger and larger until it ended up being a few hundred people and the bars had emptied out, and we're completely surrounded by people yelling at us," the participant recounted."And all of a sudden, me and another friend had hot coffee poured on our faces, and I thought they were pouring boiling water on us until I could smell the coffee, and the girl next to me, someone reached in and took her Bible and she went and said 'I'm sorry that's mine, can I have it back please?' and he hit on her head with the Bible, pushed her onto the ground and began kicking her."According to the account, members of the crowd began to shove the group and blow whistles in their ears. They took photographs and said "we know who you are, we're going to kill you". The group made a circle with the women protected inside. That was when "it got bad, it got perverse," the participant said.Although the videotaped participant did not elaborate, a YouTube member who posted a video of the violence included anonymous testimony from a participant claiming that "they were touching and grabbing me, and trying to shove things in my butt, and even trying to take off my pants - basically trying to molest me. I used one hand to hold my pants up, while I used the other arm to hold one of the girls. The guys huddled around all the girls, and protected them." After police arrived in riot gear, the mob reportedly became even more agitated, and began to violently lunge at the prayer group, seeking to go between the officers, who had formed a protective line. That was when the videotaped participant said she thought she was going to die.The police then reportedly insisted in escorting the group out of the Castro District, stating that it was necessary to preserve the lives of the prayer group members. A video on YouTube records the final minutes of the escort, showing angry homosexuals screaming curse words, threatening the Christians, and attempting to force their way through the protective line of police...

San Francisco's KTVU reports that one opponent of Proposition 8 claimed that "their rights were respected. They got a chance to go ahead and pray on the sidewalk and I had the opportunity to express my freedom of speech which is telling them to get out of my neighborhood."The television station explicitly attributed the anger of the homosexual mob to the recent victory of Proposition 8, the California referendum that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), told LifeSiteNews that America is beginning to see the real face of the homosexual movement in the aftermath of the Proposition 8 victory in California."Basically I think what we're seeing is that the homofascist element of the larger gay movement is coming out of the closet, and they're emboldened by what they perceive as injustice, but I'm hoping and I'm praying that their antidemocratic behavior educates America and helps Americans wake up to what this movement is all about," LaBarbera said."If you do a little logic test and flip it around and if you had a video of a bunch of Christians or let's just say conservatives, sexually molesting and chasing some gays out of a city, you'd better believe there would be a national outcry," he added.LaBarbera said that his website continues to receive more page views as interest grows in his organization, which is exclusively committed to combating the homosexual political agenda in the United States.
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Related Links:
Testimony of Prayer Group Participant
Video of Mob Assault of Christian Prayer Group
Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
Related LifeSiteNews coverage:
Prop. 8 Protesters Besiege LA Mormon Temple, Press Forward on Legal Challenges
Video Shows Gay 'Marriage' Backers Terrorizing Cross-Carrying Elderly Woman and Reporter
Mormons, Knights of Columbus Face Chilling Threats and More Vandalism for Prop. 8 Support
Homosexualist Anarchists Storm Michigan Church During Sunday Service
PS:This is very sad....Please remember this community in San Francisco in prayer....Jesus TRULY LOVES the sinner....that's why we preach the Gospel....
As in the days of Noah...

Former Iraqi adviser to Post: Religious extremism is top threat to minorities

Religious extremism is the biggest threat facing minorities in Iraq today and could ultimately see the war-torn country emptied of these populations, a former adviser to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.More than 40 percent of Christians are believed to have emigrated from Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein and Iraq was now seeing a mass migration of the Yazidi religious minority to Europe, said Mirzan Hassan Dinnayi, a Kurdish Yazidi who was Talabani's adviser on minorities in the first half of 2005, and now lives in Germany.Just last month, large numbers of Christians were driven out of Mosul in northern Iraq and other cities, he said."The biggest danger for them is Islamic religious extremism in Iraq and the 'Islamization' of the street - this is what scares religious minority communities," Dinnayi said in an interview, before giving a lecture at the Hebrew University's Harry S. Truman Center for the Advancement of Peace.The danger "is the killing based on [religious] identity," he said.The worst-case scenario, he said, was "that the displacement that is happening will empty Iraq of its minority communities."Other religious minorities in the country include the Mandaeans, the Shabaks and a small number of Jews. Roughly 60% of Iraqis are Shi'ites, and 34% are Sunnis.The Yazidis, for example, who make up an estimated 2.5% of Iraq's population and practice one of the most ancient religions in the Middle East, were targeted in three large-scale attacks in 2007.On February 15, 2007, in the Yazidi city of Shaikhan, "hundreds of radical Muslims" destroyed and burned the Yazidi temple, cultural centers, cars and shops, shot aimlessly at houses and citizens and demanded that the Yazidi people leave the area and emigrate, Dinnayi said in his lecture.The next day, they beheaded a Yazidi mother of four children.On April 22, 2007, 24 Yazidi workers were killed in Mosul by a group of gunmen. The attackers were aided by the police, whose headquarters ordered all checkpoints to move away from the area.The next day, an intensifying anti-Yazidi movement caused 820 students to leave their faculties at the University of Mosul, where all Yazidi families have now left.And in August 2007, extremists attacked in the Sinjar district, killing 311 people, wounding 800 and leaving 70 missing.Not only was there a lack of laws to protect these minorities, Dinnayi said, there are few mechanisms to implement the laws that did exist.While the Iraqi constitution protects the rights of all its citizens, "nothing from the constitution until now has been implemented regarding minorities," he said.One solution was "international solidarity" for all minorities, he said. Another would be the stabilization of the security situation in Iraq and an eventual transition to a democratic state and "a state of laws."In addition, one Kurdish official in northern Iraq has proposed establishing a "safe zone" in the Nineveh Plain for the Christian minority. The autonomous region, where Assyrian would be the official language, would have legislative and executive authorities.However, Dinnayi said, there were many questions about the feasibility and even the wisdom of such a move."If this 'Islamization' of the street and radicalization in Iraq becomes stronger," something he expects, "which written law can protect this small island in an ocean of Islamic radicalism?"Meanwhile, most of the minority members who suffered from "Arabization" measures imposed by Saddam Hussein's regime in northern Iraq, including displacement, forced relocation and confiscation of property, had still not been compensated, said attorney Said Pirmurat, a specialist in Iraqi criminal law who also lectured at the Truman Center on Tuesday.While a solution to these policies was sought with the adoption of Article 140 of the Constitution of 2005, the measures have not been implemented.In addition, Article 58 of the Iraqi Transitional Administrative Law of 2004 says that all confiscated lands must be returned to their owners or be compensated for, "but the Iraqi government has ignored this article," said Pirmurat, a Yazidi who also lives in Germany.Both Yazidis and Jews had suffered from measures instituted by Saddam's regime, such as sequestration of property and displacement and destruction of villages. Yazidis in particular had suffered because they were both Kurds and members of a religious minority, he said.One study from the University of Hanover in Germany estimated that some $18 billion worth of property was confiscated from the Jews, Pirmurat said. "Article 58 leaves an opportunity also for Jews to claim what was confiscated from them during these years," he said.
By Brenda Gazzar

As in the days of Noah...

November 21-23, 2008:Three Days of Prayer and Fasting for Iran

In response to a year of persecution and the imminent passing of a law making the death sentence mandatory for all Muslim men who turn to Christ and life imprsonment for Muslim women who turn to Christ, Iranian church leaders are calling for prayer and fasting from November 21 – 23, 2008.They know they have no influence in the courts of men – but they want to take their case to the courts of heaven.And like Esther of old, the queen of Iran who told Mordecai to ask all the people of God to pray and fast for three days, so Iranian Christian leaders are asking the world-wide church to also set aside these three days for prayer and fasting.If you are a prayer leader in your church, please contact other intercessors to be involved in these three days, and please approach your pastor to see if special prayers for Iran can be made at your church service on Sunday November 23.
The growing church in Iran is under attack. Since April there have been at least fifty three arrests of people whose only crime is their faith in Jesus Christ. The arrests are not localised, but have happened in all of Iran’s major cities…Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, and elsewhere. Sometimes people have been released the same day, others spent months in prison, some still remain behind bars. Many of them have had to pay exorbitant fees for bail and face frightening court cases. Some have suffered physically while in detention and it is believed that one elderly couple died as a result of being beaten up. These are only the arrests that get reported: it is likely there have been many more.All of this has been happening against the ominous background of legislation going through the Iranian parliament that will make the death sentence mandatory for any man who leaves Islam and chooses another faith. Women will face life imprisonment for the same ‘crime’.

Click here to read more about this legislation.
Despite the persecution, the church in Iran continues to grow rapidly.The Word of God is reaching many in the country and many believers are determined to courageously share Christ with their countrymen. Christian leaders in Iran believe that the church will continue to grow very rapidly in the next five to ten years, such is the openness of Iranians to the Gospel.
We urge Christians world wide to pray and fast on behalf of the church in Iran.
--Pray for all those who have been arrested and intimidated.
--Pray that the Lord will be their Rock, Deliverer and Shield. (Psalm 18:2)
--Pray that despite the persecution, Christians will be “encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” (Phil 1:14)
--Pray against the law of apostasy.

--Pray that the severe mandatory punishments regarding apostasy in Iran’s new penal code will not enter the statute book.
--Pray that many millions of Muslims will see the evil of this law and will hunger for spiritual truth and salvation.
Click here for more details about persecution in Iran in 2008.
Elam Ministries
As in the days of Noah....

Somali Christian shot at Muslim wedding

Somalia-According to International Christian Concern, a 22-year-old Somali Christian, Ahmadey Osman Nur, was murdered last month during a wedding ceremony.The Muslim wedding Nur was attending was performed in Arabic, the language of Islam. Even though most Somali Muslims don't speak Arabic, it is considered the "language Allah hears" and is therefore used in Muslim ceremonies.Due to the lack of comprehension of the service by any of the guests, Nur asked that the contents of the wedding be translated into the Somali vernacular. The Sheik performing the ceremony was aware of Nur's conversion to Christianity, however, and took offense to the request. He declared him to be guilty of apostasy and asked a guard to "silence" him.Nur was encouraged to leave the ceremony, and upon exiting, he was shot and killed by the armed guard.Nur is not the first Christian to be put to death for his faith in Somalia. It seems as though many Islamic extremists are looking for reasons to kill believers, and they often do so without much justification. In the past nine months, six Somali Christians have been martyred, including Nur.Ironically, Nur is now remembered for his generous compassion for those in need, a quality necessitated in the Five Pillars of Islam.
Please pray for believers in Somalia and other Islamic nations that undergo this kind of persecution daily.
Pray that believers would reflect the peace of Christ with their lifestyles and that many more Muslims would come to know the Lord, just as Nur did.
As in the days of Noah....

Persecution Rising in Algeria

Algeria-Courthouses in Algeria are collecting more and more Christians. Operation Mobilization reports the sentencing of five missionaries and several local believers.The Christians received two to three years in prison plus fines, but they are appealing. Although persecution is an opportunity to witness and grow, it's also emotionally draining.So far, 20 churches have been told to stop their activities, but they're ignoring this order. In September, six members of a house fellowship were handcuffed after the meeting and held in custody overnight. Their gathering "disturbed the faith of Muslims," and the believers were ridiculed, pressured and accused of becoming Christians for the money and visas. "The only visa we have received is that to heaven," the believers replied.Among the Christians that visited the court in Tiaret to learn about trial results were local newspapers and internationals. Some of the cases included six believers who were sentenced to two years in prison and two believers that were going through trial again. In the first case, believers were accused of "shaking the faith of Muslims" and "holding religious meetings without permission," On top of the two-year prison sentence, the Christians were fined $5,000 euros apiece. In a separate case, two believers have to face the judge in Tiaret for a second time. Previously held for three days after being found not guilty for carrying Christian literature, the believers are facing trial again.
As in the days of Noah...

Extremists use Bible translation mistake to foment anti-Christian sentiment

India-Extremists in India are stoking and spreading the flames of persecution over a Bible translation mistake.President of Words of Hope, David Bast, says their radio ministry office is in Ranchi, Jharkhand state.They broadcast Christian radio programs in several of the languages spoken in India including Hindi. That's why the latest report alarmed them. On October 20, Bast explains,"There was a huge anti-Christian demonstration in the streets of Ranchi. People came from all over India, not just this area, to protest this particular version of the Bible and to denounce Christians, in general." The controversy stems from one word in the Oraon Bible translation. It centers on the translation of Deuteronomy 12:2 which reads, "You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green (spreading) tree."The context of the passage deals with the children of Israel approaching the end of the time they were wandering in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. According to Words of Hope's Lee DeYoung, the passage in question is part of God's instruction to the tribes concerning what they had to do to make the land ready prior to entering Canaan. The term used for "spreading tree" in Oraon happens to coincide with the name of the religion that the tribal group practices.Extremists claim the point of the passage is proof of a Christian effort to annihilate a particular Indian tribe of people. They've spread the mistranslation and roused thousands to their cause. Militants also demanded mass burnings of the Bible throughout Jharkhand, as well as the renunciation of the first of the Ten Commandments.Bast says he's also been made aware of a demand for public punishment over the translation mistake.While the translation troubles did not come from Words of Hope, ministries like theirs are affected."The Christians in this city are asking us to pray for them to defuse the tensions here, and they're acting in concert to try to negotiate with more reasonable elements the unreasonable demands that are being placed upon them."The Bible Society has publicly apologized for the mistake and corrected it, but the pressure is high.There have been scattered reports of those who have been attacked as they came out of hiding and tried to go back to their villages.Extremists have been reported to be lying in wait and forcing them to reject their faith."Christians have renounced the faith and gone back to Hinduism. It's the only way to save their lives to be able to come back into their homes."
Keep praying for believers and for those in ministry that their faith remains strong throughout this time.
As in the days of Noah...

Church in Bangalore creates necessary defense

India-Church services in India are being conducted a bit differently these days, according to Tom Dudenhofer of Audio Scripture Ministries.After hearing of several other disruptions created by mobs in the middle of church services, one church in Bangalore was forced to "make arrangements," says Dudenhofer. The church neither had nor has any plans to be aggressive, but the congregation has come up with a defense system in order to be left in peace while they worship."Just a few weeks ago," says Dudenhofer, "they told the women and the children that they needed to go and sit near the front of the church. And then all the men were supposed to take up standing positions at all the doorways and all the entrances to the church."These men who encircle the church are there as more of a warning than anything else. The hope is that in a country where violence toward Christians is becoming expected, church services would still maintain some semblance of harmony. Fortunately, the story does not end here. "We believe that this is really a critical time for the country of India," says Dudenhofer. "There still are tremendous open doors." One of these doorways is for a Christian radio station. ASM hopes to build a radio building in order to broadcast encouraging and growth-stimulating programs for local Christians. This is especially important because the literacy rate in India is so low. A radio broadcast would provide another means of teaching for those who can't read and for those who feel threatened in their church services.For some, it may be hard to imagine going to church with the anticipation of hostility, but these faithful believers in Bangalore do it every Sunday. Pray for the safety of these believers, and for the radio building project, that it would bring hope to these devoted followers of Christ.
As in the days of Noah...

Three Algerian Christians Face 3 Years in Prison for "Blasphemy"

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 21, 2008, an Algerian court held a hearing on the case of three Christians who face three years of prison and a fine of 500 euros. The Court held the hearing in Ain Turk, a town 267 miles away from Algiers, the capital of Algeria. The three Christians are Youssef Ourahmane, Rachid Seghir and Hamid Ramdani. The public prosecutor accused them of "insulting Islam, its prophet and threatening the former professing Christian that complained against them."Earlier, a lower court agreed with the prosecutor and handed down a 3 year prison sentence and 500 euro fine. The defendants were not present at the time of the decision. The defendants then appealed the decision of the lower court on July 15, 2008. The appeal court postponed the hearing until October 21, 2008. The case against the three Christians was brought by the public prosecutor with the help of Mr. Shamouma Al-Aid. Mr. Al-Aid "converted" from Islam to Christianity for a period time during which he also attended a Bible school. According to Compass Direct News, Mr. Al-Aid continued to maintain relations with radical Muslims while attending churches and the Bible school. Later he "reconverted" to Islam and alleged that the three Christians were blaspheming Islam and its prophet Mohammed. He also alleged that the Christians were threatening him for "reconverting" to Islam. In a positive development, a lawyer who represented the Algerian Ministry of Religious Affairs said that the rights of Algerian religious minorities should be respected.The Judge, after hearing the arguments of the parties, scheduled to decide the case on October 29, 2008. ICC's Regional Manger for Africa, Jonathan Racho, stated, "As a member of the international community, the Algerian government has the obligation to respect the freedom of religion for its Christian minorities. It is time for Algerian officials to carry out their obligations by ceasing to interfere with freedom of worship of the country's Christian minorities."ICC calls upon Christians to pray for their Algerian brothers and sisters who are going through persecution. Please pray that the three Christians in this case will be cleared of the false accusation made against them. Please contact ICC for more information on how to help Christians in Algeria.
As in the days of Noah...

Congressional Leaders Issue Letter to Secretary of State, Condeleeza Rice Urging Advocation for Zhang Family

Washington DC- In response to the recent abuses committed by the Chinese Government against Zhang Mingxuan, the President of the 250,000 member “Chinese House Church Alliance”, two Congressional Leaders: Congressman Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) have co-written a letter to Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice urging the Cabinet member to request urgent action from the Chinese Government to free Zhang Mingxuan from his detention and to rectify the personal damages inflicted upon his family. In July of 2008, both Congressmen had the opportunity to personally meet with Zhang Mingxuan and his wife in Beijing, despite Chinese Government interdiction. During the meeting Zhang was able to personally share with the Congressmen the daily struggles and abuses he and fellow Christians face on a daily basis from the Communist Party of China.The letter also calls upon the American Government and the Bush Administration to not ignore the reprehensible acts of the Chinese Govnernment. The letter admonishes the adminstration to bring International attention to the situation by publicly calling on the Chinese Government to release Zhang Minguxuan and his family members. Furthermore, the letter directly confronts the Chinese Government of its hypocritical stance in international affairs by stating: “If the 2008 Beijing Olympics have taught us anything, it is that the Chinese government will go to any length to secure their image as a peaceful and harmonious society when the world is watching.”Through advocation for Zhang and his family the Current Adminstration will have the chance to publicly condone the daily human rights violations perpetrated by the Corrupt Communist Chinese Regime, and stand in unity with the persecuted citizens in China as both seek opportunities to advance freedom and democracy throughout the World.
As in the days of Noah...

Update on Nguyen Van Dai

In May 2008, Nguyen Van Dai, a Vietnamese Protestant church leader and lawyer, was sentenced to five years in prison and followed by four years of house arrest. Nguyen was accused of a wide range of crimes, including "conspiring with terrorists, in their efforts to promote human rights efforts, including religious rights and democracy." He was also accused of compiling "evidence of Vietnam's suppression of the Protestant religion and providing it to the U.S.-based Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam and the U.S. embassy."
As in the days of Noah...

Zhang Mingxuan and Son Jian’s Conditions Updated

BEIJING-For the first time since his disappearance on Oct. 16, Bike Zhang contacted his eldest son, Zhang Jian, via phone on October 22, from an undisclosed location. He was restricted from disclosing his location as well as further details of where he is being held. Bike Zhang was able to relay to his son that he was physically detained during a flight by PSB officers and has beenin detention since that time. He is expected to be transported to Nanyang City on October 24. The reason for the relocation and action of the PSB is unknown at this time. Pastor Bike’s wife and sister have also been placed under “soft detention” in a PSB operated Beijing hotel. Both of the women’s cell phones have been confiscated and were restricted from their freedom of travel by authorities.CAA has also learned that Zhang Jian, elder son of House Church Alliance President, Bike Zhang, was strongly recommended to sign a mediation agreement with Beijing PSB authorities or face imprisonment. The initial agreement was given to Jian to settle his medical reimbursements through the PSB office. Further compounding Jian’s struggle is the fact that the Beijing officials have forced Jian to accept the PSB’s office’s medical evaluation of his injuries rather than that of an objective medical professional. China’s Government only recognizes Police Medical reports for the litigation process. Unwilling to be separated from his wife and one year old son, Jian chose to sign the agreement which stipulated he had received only minor injuries despite hospital records indicating severe injuries requiring complicated surgery.Renowed Beijing attorney, Li Heping, committed to accompany Jian to the PSB office, but was stopped by several PSB officials at the gates of the PSB office in Chaoyang District and prevented from entering the building.After China Aid reported about the attack against Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan's family by the Chinese government and hired thugs, American churches and individuals expressed deep concern. One example is a letter sent from two pastors from Midcities Community Church to the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. In the letter, the two pastors, representing about 1,500 believers in their congregation, expressed concern regarding the attack and also encouraged others in the international community to speak out, stating that, “We encourage the international community to continue to voice your concern on the increasing religious persecution in China and urge China to honor the spirit of rule of law and her international obligation to respect citizens' freedom of worship.”CAA will continue to monitor the situation.
Voice your concern for this incident by contacting:
Chinese Ministry of Justice
Wang Lixian
As in the days of Noah...

CHINA:PSB Officers Beat Pastor's Son

Around noon on October 16, Zhang Jian received an urgent phone call from his mother.Plain clothes Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers had broken into her upstairs apartment and were throwing all the family's belongings out into the street:
"When I got there, I saw my mom lying on the ground being knocked down by these thugs...I tried to use my body to protect my mom from being hurt by them. Then this group of 15 officers immediately surrounded me and started beating my head and body with iron bars and said, 'We need to teach you a lesson as a troublemaker.'"
The violent attack lasted 25 minutes....
Authorities persecute this family simply because they are Christians. Their ministry to orphans and house churches - ordinary Christian activities - are considered crimes in China...
Bob Fu -
Founder & President ChinaAid
As in the days of Noah....

Agriculture Overcomes Persecution Barrier

Ecuador-Every 3.6 seconds, someone in the world dies of hunger.One in twelve people worldwide and 60 million children under the age of 5 are malnourished.International Mission Board missionaries use gifts from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund to provide food for people or help them grow it. World Hunger funds are used for agricultural projects that help people find long-term solutions in times of crisis, and in places like Ecuador, it also gives missionaries a gateway to share the Gospel."There are a lot of communities we can't get into because of persecution of Christians, so we use agriculture to get into those places to show them we care," said IMB missionary Darrell Musick.Four years ago, Darrell and his wife Rogene began working with the Quichua people in Ecuador. Using the agricultural skills they learned while operating a ranch in New Mexico, the missionaries gained entrance into Quichua communities. The Musicks checked and treated livestock for parasites or disease, and trained the farmers how to take better care of their livestock and raise their own crops. Once the farmers complete their training, they signed an agreement to teach others what they have learned."We make sure everything we do is reproducible," said Darrell. "Like the old adage, it is better to teach them to fish than to give them a fish."Agricultural projects also give the Musicks an opportunity to share the Gospel with the Quichua, most of whom put their faith in animism-a mix of beliefs in spirits and superstitions."They ask, ‘Why do you care about us?' We use that discussion as the gateway to share...that God cares for them, and as a result, we care for them."Since the Musicks began their work among the Quicua, they have seen 42 house churches start, and more people have become accepting of the Gospel. In recent months, the Musicks left the field for a stateside assignment, but they plan to begin similar work in Bolivia.
If you'd like to learn about how you can support IMB's human needs ministries, click here.
As in the days of Noah...

Update on KhamLa Namheng

Pastor KhamLa Namheng and seven Khmu pastors from Udom Sai province are doing well despite being imprisoned for the last six months. The Voice of the Martyrs contacts report that authorities have not allowed Pastor KhamLa's family to meet or visit with him, although the other prisoners have been allowed visitors.We encourage you to continue praying and writing to Pastor KhamLa. He has been strengthened by the prayers and help of believers like you. Also, write to the Laotian government requesting he be released along with the other seven pastors.
Pray and write today!
As in the days of Noah....

Pastor Bike’s Son Regains Consciousness; Family Continues to be Harassed

BEIJING – Zhang Jian, the oldest son of Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan, regained consciousness in the ER room Beijing Min Hang (Aviation) Hospital. Zhang Jian was severely beaten with iron bars at his mother’s home for 25 minutes by 15 Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers on October 16, 2008. The family was then evicted and their furniture thrown into the street. ChinaAid has been in constant communication with this family facing severe persecution by the Chinese government.China Aid’s president, Bob Fu, spoke with Zhang Jian this morning. He is still in very serious condition. His right eye is severely wounded and doctors are not sure if he will regain his sight. His nose bone and eye bone are both broken and doctors say he needs further CAT scans and surgery. Even though his physical condition is very bad, Zhang Jian has left the hospital because PSB officers have been watching him there, and he was afraid for his safety. He went to his brother’s home, but PSB officers followed him. The officers warned Zhang Jian and his brother, Zhang Chuang, not to leave the apartment before October 20, the date of the celebration Pastor Bike organized for the third anniversary of the Chinese House Church Alliance. Meanwhile, ChinaAid has received several calls from different house church leaders who have also been warned not to go to Beijing or attend the celebration.Zhang Jian’s mother was ordered by police today to take care of the furniture and personal items that officers threw into the street during yesterday’s attack on the family. The family is struggling financially to pay for the hospital bills, food, shelter and legal help. ChinaAid is working to send emergency help to Zhang Jian and his family.Police have also attempted to shut down the house church where Zhang Jian’s father preaches. On October 10, police sealed the door of the church and blocked it with two truckloads of garbage. Officials are blocking anyone wishing to enter, even though on September 28, officials gave permission for the house church to meet. They have also cut off the electricity to the church.The physical assault on Zhang Jian is the most serious of the recent attacks on Zhang Jian and his family. During the past 22 years, Zhang Jian’s father, Pastor Bike, has been arrested 26 times, beaten and evicted from his home numerous times because of his faith. Despite the persecution, this family continues to boldly preach and help the house church Christians.
View photos of the Pastor Bike’s sealed house church doors which police blocked with piles of garbage.
Write to the Chinese Embassy to voice your concern over violent police assault on Zhang Jian and the persecution of his family:
Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688,
(202) 588-9760
Fax: (202) 588-9760
Help to Zhang Jian and his family with a gift to ChinaAid.
Issued by CAA, October 17, 2008
As in the days of Noah....

Eradication of Iraqi Christians Underway in the City of Mosul

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that over 15 Christians have been killed and more than 15,000 Christian Iraqis have fled the city of Mosul, 225 miles from Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.The violence against Christians erupted following a demonstration they staged asking for the reinstatement of article 50 of the Iraqi election law.The article guaranteed the representation of Iraqi Christian minorities in the country's government by providing quotas for minorities. However, Iraqi officials removed the article when they enacted a new election law on September 26, 2008. Though the violence against Christians began soon after the demonstration, there is a more fundamental reason behind it. Michael Youash of the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project told ICC, "There is an obvious effort that has been ongoing since late 2005 and early 2006 to ethnically and religiously cleanse Iraq of the Chaldean-Assyrian Christians." Extremists demanded that Christians either convert to Islam or leave the city of Mosul. Many Christians have been fleeing the city, leaving behind their homes and possessions. In some cases, Muslim radicals bombed Christian homes. The Christians in Iraq are one of the most vulnerable religious groups. They are attacked by Sunni and Shiite Islamic extremists as well as by criminal gangs. The attacks have forced half of the estimated 1 million or so Iraqi Christians to leave their homes following the US invasion of the country in 2003. The Christians are soft targets for attacks by Islamic extremists because unlike the Sunnis, the Kurds and the Shiites, the Iraqi Christians do not have militias that protect them from attacks. Christian minorities also have not benefited from the recent surge in US troops, according to Mr. Youash. He called for greater security for Iraqi Christian minorities in order to protect them from Islamic extremists. Mr. Youash urged Christians in the United States to be actively involved in finding a solution to problems faced by Iraqi Christian minorities. He told ICC, "We need conscious Christians in America to mobilize through any means they have to make the president (of the United States) understand that something is needed to be done (to protect Iraqi Christians) and make sure the presidential candidates know they have to have a policy to prevent the cleansing of Assyrian/Chaldean Christians and other minorities from Iraq."ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, "Islamic extremists are bent on destroying Christians from Iraq. The international community shouldn't allow the Islamists to achieve their goal. Particularly, Christians in the United States should call their representatives and ask them to protect the Iraqi Christians against the ongoing violence."
Please go to to find the information for your elected officials and alert them to what is happening to Christians in Mosul.
ICC calls upon Christians to pray for their Iraqi brothers and sisters.
Christians should also assist their Iraqi brothers and sisters financially as they go through this difficult time.
As in the days of Noah...

Group Made Famous for Beheadings Threatens Iraqi Christians with Throat Slittings

Ansar al-Islam (formerly Ansar al-Sunnah), a group that frequently joins with al Qaeda in Iraq in murdering hostages and which was made notorious by brutally beheading dozens of foreigners, is threatening to kill all Christians in Iraq:
“There’ll be no room in Iraq for the Christian infidels from now on,” the letter continues, threatening that those who remain will have their throats slit as “it is happening to the Christians of Mosul.” This is more than likely a reference to a recent attack on two sisters who were killed by Muslim extremists.
I've noted the uptick in Salafi violence in Iraq and speculated that it has something to do with the election-that insurgents and terrorists in Iraq see Obama's victory as American weakness. But I wonder if the reemergence of a TV station dedicated to spreading terrorist propaganda might also have something to do with it?
PS:Please REMEMBER to PRAY for the CHURCH in IRAQ....The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.....!!!
As in the days of Noah...

Cruel Oppression Increasing in Laos

Laos-Christianity is labeled a "foreign religion" in Laos, so becoming a believer is considered near treason.Christians in Communist-ruled Laos report escalating persecution. According to the World Evangelical Alliance, believers are dealing with more outright harassment and intimidation tactics.The trend began in 2004 when reports began to surface about the treatment believers received at the hands of the government.Some have been held at gunpoint and forced to renounce their faith in Christ. The government has also put extensive restrictions on all religious groups. While the government has worked to improve their human rights record, the church is not yet free from persecution.Two believers and a pastor have been handcuffed and in stocks since August for refusing to renounce their faith. 32-year-old Pastor Sompong Supatto and 18-year-olds, Boot and Khamvan Chanthaleuxay were taken from a house church because they were practicing their faith.They were officially arrested August 3 for refusing to sign papers renouncing their faith. They had been threatened several times previously but had continued to worship.According to Compass Direct reports, Pastor Supatto faces life behind bars for leading the Boukham church. The teenagers will only be released when they renounce their faith.Please pray their faith would be strong and that God would intervene.
--Pray for Christians who continue to face pressure and imprisonment for their faith.
--Pray, too, for the government of Laos, that those in power will continue to improve policies and activities, recognizing need for freedom for all their citizens.
As in the days of Noah...

Christians upset with North Korea concession

North Korea-While North Korea continues to be one of the worst persecutors of Christians, the United States has removed the nation from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.Lindsay Vessey, Advocacy Program Manager for Open Doors USA, says the State Department made the move over the weekend. "It is viewed as a highly-controversial issue because Open Doors believes, and so many others, North Korea hasn't done anything deserving being removed from this list."Vessey says the timing was impeccable. "It was very interesting that it was taken off over the weekend when there would be much less media coverage of the event."She's not sure why this concession has been made. "If you look back at the agreements that the U.S. has made with North Korea, they have violated every agreement. They have agreed for a while. They've gotten concessions from the U.S. government, such as aid, and then they've violated it a few years later."As a result, according to news reports, North Korea said it will allegedly restart dismantling of its main nuclear facilities and allow inspections by U.N. monitors.The 2008 Open Doors World Watch List ranked North Korea as the top violator of religious rights for the sixth year in a row. More Christians were arrested in North Korea in 2007 than in 2006. Vessey says, "There is no true religious freedom. Christians have to worship in secret. And if they're caught, they're either executed or put in prison or labor camps. And so we estimate that there are close to 200,000 Christians in North Korea in the underground church, and that one in four Christians are in prison."While the move doesn't help or hurt Christians, Vessey says, "It kind of legitimizes North Korea. And with that legitimacy, in the future they may be able to get more concessions. And as they get more aid, essentially it props up the regime. It gives them finances so that they can stay in power."Vessey says it's real shame "because the six party talks have been going on, and many people thought they were making progress. But at the very end of the Bush administration, to take them off the list without getting anything in return is just really disheartening for many of us."The remaining countries on the United States terrorism blacklist are Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran. North Korea had been on the list since 1988.
To join Open Doors' North Korea Prayer Campaign, go to:
As in the days of Noah....

Rebels move from Iraq to Afghanistan

Afghanistan-The war on terror seems to be shifting from Iran to Afghanistan. The Afghan defense minister says the increased flow of insurgents from outside Afghanistan had contributed to the heightened intensity of the fighting.He appeared to be referencing neighboring countries where Islamic militants with bases in tribal areas along the border have intensified their operations in support of the insurgency in Afghanistan.Christians have felt the brunt. Tom Doyle with E3 Partners recently returned from Afghanistan where he spoke with church partners. "Everything has just been ratcheted up in Central Asia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. I just believe that Satan has done this. These are different groups that are persecuting the Christians, but it's all coming at one time, so it's pretty intense right now."Members of the Afghanistan Islamic Council had warned President Hamid Karzai not to allow foreign missions into the country. According to Voice of the Martyrs' Canada, the council claimed that missionaries in Kabul and in the provinces were forcibly converting Muslims, enticing them by giving them Bibles and promising to send them abroad.The Islamic scholars warned of serious consequences if the government did not stop Christians from preaching and evangelizing.Despite the risk to personal safety, Doyle says their national director continues to move forward with evangelism. "He's leading Muslims to Christ in Afghanistan right now. The numbers are quite large, and they're going into the villages and seeing people very open to the Gospel of Christ."They now need those who are mature enough to disciple. Doyle says the Christians in Iraq "never ask us to pray that persecution will stop, although we do; but they ask us to pray for more leaders. 'We need more quality leaders to help with the harvest.'"
--Ask God to thwart the attempts of those who seek to hinder His work in Afghanistan and Algeria.
--Pray that His servants in these countries will be emboldened to carry on their service to Christ wherever God leads them.
As in the days of Noah....

TURK-7 celebrates fifth anniversary

Turkey-Christian broadcasting company TURK-7 is getting ready to celebrate its anniversary. TURK-7 has maintained a ministry in Turkey for five years, creating the means to encourage Turkish Christians."TURK-7 exists to help support the minority Christians who live in Turkey,"says David Harder of SAT-7 .SAT-7 is a Middle Eastern Christian television broadcast that shaped TURK-7 into the program it is today. With the help of this ministry, TURK-7 has been able to take off and reach more people than just Christians in Turkey."TURK-7 is also to let the wider Turkish community as a whole understand more about Christianity," says Harder. "Often they're told things about what Christians believe that simply aren't true." This outreach expands to neighboring countries including Iran, through multiple broadcasts.TURK-7 has created their own programs, but is also implementing western Christian programs (such as VeggieTales) by using Turkish voicing."These shows are so encouraging to the Christians who live in Turkey," says Harder. "These broadcasts really help them to stand firm in their faith, to learn more about Jesus and to learn more about the Bible.This kind of encouragement is certainly necessary in Turkey, as well as neighboring countries that the station reaches. Several Christians have been martyred in Turkey in the past, and less than one percent of the population claim to follow Jesus. "But there is a Christian community there and they've been really struggling to survive for many, many years."TURK-7 is grateful to be able to serve the kingdom through its encouraging broadcasts and plans to celebrate many more anniversaries along the way.
--Pray for the necessary funding to come in to support the TURK-7 ministry.
--Pray also for the continued strength and boldness of Turkish Christians to share the Gospel of Christ.
As in the days of Noah....