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Persecution

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 (10:17 pm)

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service

many Farsi-speaking churches have been closed down in Tehran and other cities across the country and pressure on Christian converts is increasing

Judge Ali Babaei said holding house church services was "a criminal act which spreads profligacy among youth and creates doubts in their minds about Islamic principles."

Judge Ali Babaei said holding house church services was “a criminal act which spreads profligacy among youth and creates doubts in their minds about Islamic principles.”

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– An Iranian court has sentenced a young evangelical Christian to one year imprisonment and two years exile to a remote border town for his involvement in evangelism and house churches, Iranian Christians told BosNewsLife Tuesday, August 20.

The Revolutionary Court in the city of Robat-Karim, some 27 kilometers (17 miles) southwest of Tehran, reportedly told Ebrahim Firouzi that his “Books (Bibles), and other means of evangelism taken from him, including his personal computer, which were used to commit this crime will be seized in favor of the government and destroyed.”

Judge Ali Babaei allegedly said the sentence was justified as Firouzi had been “propagating against the Islamic regime [by] starting and directing an evangelism group, contact with opponents of the Islamic Revolution and anti-Islamic regime networks in foreign countries”.

He added that Firouzi started a Christian website, distributed… Continue reading

Saturday, August 17, 2013 (9:33 am)

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

several unregistered Christian groups have been closed down, fined or had their members detained by police

Chinese Christians have been praying for their country amid reported persecution.

Chinese Christians have been praying for their country amid reported persecution.

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)– Several churches in northwest China faced another day of tensions Saturday, August 17, amid a wider government crackdown on devoted Christian groups and the detention of believers, Chinese Christians said.

Pastor Tan Wen was among those remaining behind bars in the troubled Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region after he received a 15-day sentence following an August 4 raid on a worship service, according to Christians with close knowledge about the situation.

At least 20 police officers from the nearby Urumqi Municipal Public Security Bureau and Xishan Police Station were reportedly involved in the operation, the latest in a series of attacks against especially unregistered churches, though even official denominations have become targets, activists said.

He was reportedly earlier detained for 10 days after fve officers without police uniform raided a worship service on June 9. In both case security forces allegedly failed to show proper documentation or followed legal procedures, Christians said.

This wasn’t an isolated incident as several unregistered Christian… Continue reading

Friday, August 16, 2013 (11:04 pm)

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service

Arab satellite channels showed Brotherhood supporters firing automatic weapons at targets beneath a main bridge in the Cairo district of Zamalek.

Dozens of churches have been destroyed.

Dozens of churches have been destroyed.

CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Dozens of people were killed Friday, August 16, in clashes between security forces and protesters prompting more fear among minority Christians.

Coptic Christians anxiously watched as least 70 died when troops began cracking down on supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi holding a “Day of Rage”, in defiance of the interim government-imposed state of emergency.

Morsi supporters, united in the Moslim Brotherhood party, were also seen destroying dozens of churches, Christian businesses and homes. Several Christians as well as journalists were killed in the violence.

Christians have been seen by hard-line Islamists of the Brotherhood as supporting the ouster of Morsi.

The leader of country’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, had previously expressed his support for the military coup that unseated the country’s first Islamist president last month, amid fears of rising Islamic extremism in the country.

COPTIC CHRISTIANS FEAR

Observers said Coptic Christians widely supported Morsi’s opponent in presidential elections last year. Copts, who have complained of… Continue reading

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 (2:25 pm)

By BosNewsLife News Center

Last month, the court…ordered Raisa Radchenko, 70, to undergo psychological ‘help’…a method used against dissidents and devoted Christians when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union.

Raisa Radchenko was sentenced to forced psychological treatment.

Raisa Radchenko was sentenced to forced psychological treatment.

ZAPORIZHIA/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)– An elderly human rights activist who was forced to spend more than two weeks in a Ukrainian psychological hospital for “socially dangerous behavior” said Wednesday, August 14, she remains confined to her home amid fears of more persecution.

Last month, the court in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia ordered Raisa Radchenko, 70, to undergo psychological ‘help’, including forceful treatment with drugs, a method used against dissidents and devoted Christians when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union.

Though she was released on July 27 after some 15 days detention, Radchenko told reporters that she remains confined to her home “fearing more provocations” from prosecutors who cooperate with local authorities.

Her ordeal began July 12 after she publicly criticized alleged police brutality in her city and the rest of the country, and collected 10,000 signatures for the resignation of the mayor, her daughter, Daria Radchenko, said earlier… Continue reading

Thursday, August 15, 2013 (7:36 pm)

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” Obama

Mick Deane, 61, a cameraman for British broadcaster Sky News, has been killed.

Mick Deane, 61, a cameraman for British broadcaster Sky News, has been killed.

CAIRO/WASHINGTON (BosNewsLife)– Two Christians were killed while scores of churches and two Bible Society shops were reportedly destroyed in revenge attacks by Islamic mobs in Egypt, after security services massacred supporters of ex-President Mohamed Morsi.

The crackdown by the military-led government on protesters and related violence that killed as many as 525 people according to officials prompted U.S. President Barack Obama to cancel a major joint military exercise.

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” Obama explained Thursday, August 15, in a brief statement from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation spot.

“As a result, this morning, we notified the Egyptian government that we are canceling our biannual joint military exercise, which was scheduled for next month,”… Continue reading

Thursday, August 15, 2013 (9:15 am)

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service with Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

“The specific targeting of the Christian community has led to staggering losses. Security forces must commit to ensure the protection of the lives and properties of all Egyptians, especially its Christian community,”

egyptnowCAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Minority Christians woke up in an Egypt on the verge of civil war with as many as 27 churches being attacked and at least two Coptic Christians killed among the at least 525 people who lost their lives in an army crackdown on protests and related clashes.

The Bible Society headquarters in the capital Cairo, Egypt’s main Bible publisher, was attacked in the violence that also inured nearly 3,000 people nationwide, Christians and officials said.

Clashes began Wednesday, August 15, when Egyptian security forces cleared out thousands of people at two sit-ins in Cairo demanding the return of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. Dozens of people were believed to have been killed in the operation at the Nahda Square and the Rabaa al-Adawiya sites, where protesters set up camps following Morsi’s ouster on July 3.

Interim President Adly Mansour declared a nation-wide state of emergency while Vice-President Mohammed… Continue reading

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 (3:30 pm)

By BosNewsLife Africa Service

Boko Haram, which means ‘Western Education is a Sin’ is reported to have murdered 45 villagers

Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of people this weekend, several sources say

Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of people this weekend, several sources say

ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Christian leaders in Nigeria expressed concerns Wednesday, August 14, over rising tensions after at least 50 civilians were killed and dozens more injured in a series of weekend attacks in north-eastern Nigeria by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

“We condemn in the strongest terms this unwarranted taking of human lives,” said Reverend Yunusa Nmadu who leads the Nigeria branch of advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

“Our constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and it is particularly appalling that so many people were murdered in places of worship by a group that attributes religious motivations to such unjustifiable actions and purports to be working for the well-being of the people they have murdered,” he added in a statement obtained by BosNewsLife.

Twelve people were reported to have been killed when Boko Haram members dressed in military and police uniforms attacked Ngom, a village between Mafa and Konduga Local Government Areas in Borno State, on Saturday 10 August.

The… Continue reading

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 (7:20 pm)

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

Mourners gather around human remains of murdered Christian Ishaq Masih.

Mourners gather around human remains of murdered Christian Ishaq Masih.

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Christians in Pakistan’s Punjab province were still awaiting justice Tuesday, August 13, more than two weeks after a local Christian leader and landowner was shot and killed by at least one Islamic gunman in front of his young children, family members and activists said.

Ishaq Masih, a resident of an Okara district village near provincial capital Lahore, was reportedly shot dead July 27 while his two young sons were watching the bloodshed.

The main gunman was publicly identified as Muhammad Luqman, also known as Ranjha. He allegedly illegally occupied Masih’s land, accompanied by at least seven others.

“They surrounded us and started beating my father,” said the late Christian’s 15-year-old son, Arshad Masih in published remarks seen by BosNewsLife. “I and my brother cried for help but nobody was there to help us. They were laughing and raising slogans that this bleady Christian has a lot of land,” he recalled in a statement distributed by rights activists.

Local Christians linked the attack to Masih’s activities who besides being an active landowner… Continue reading

Saturday, August 10, 2013 (5:16 pm)

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service

During interrogation, three Christians were allegedly beaten. Mohammad-Reza Pirri had to be hospitalized in prison’s hospital for four days.

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– Iranian authorities detained and mistreated three Christian converts amid a wider crackdown on what the country’s Islamic leadership calls “evangelical and extremist” Christians, activists said Saturday, August 10.

Farshid Modares-Aval, Mohammad-Reza Pirri, and Yashar Farzin-No, were reportedly captured July 20 in raids by security authorities in the northern city of Tabriz.

The three Christian men were transferred to the Ministry of Intelligence’s detention center in Tabriz prison where they remained Saturday, August 10, Iranian activists said.

During the interrogation, the three Christians were allegedly beaten. “This was so brutal in the case of Mohammad-Reza Pirri that he had to be hospitalized in prison’s hospital for four days,” said Mohabat News, an agency of Iranian Christians and activists.

Security forces reportedly also searched the homes of the Christian detainees, seizing several personal belongings.

NO REASONS PROVIDED

Officials have so far declined to reveal the reasons for the arrests to their families, Christians familiar with the case said. Authorities allegedly told… Continue reading

Sunday, August 11, 2013 (2:37 pm)

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

In this video Christian missionary and tour operator Kenneth Bae, 45, talks about his time in a prison camp.

Christian missionary and tour operator Kenneth Bae, 45, talks about his time in a prison camp.

SEOUL/PYONGYANG/SEATTLE (BosNewsLife)– An American Christian missionary imprisoned in North Korea is in “deteriorating health” and has been moved from a prison labor camp to a hospital, his family said in comments monitored by BosNewsLife Sunday, August 11.

Kenneth Bae, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for trying to overthrow the North Korean government, is suffering from several ailments including an enlarged heart and chronic diabetes as well as back and leg pain, according to his sister.

Bae’s sister Terri Chung spoke at Saturday’s prayer meeting for the missionary at her evangelical Quest Church in the U.S. city of Seattle.

Before Saturday’s service began, people were seen helping to light 281 candles to represent the number of days the 45-year-old husband and father of three has spent detained in North Korea.

Soon after, Chung told some 100 friends, supporters and family members that she learned of her brother’s hospitalization from the Swedish ambassador to North Korea, who visited Bae on Friday, August 9.

ONLY FOREIGN VISITOR

The ambassador… Continue reading