Category Archives: Christian Persecution

#PressRelease: Remember North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

North Korea

Institute on Religion & Democracy Press Release
June 12, 2018
Contact: Chelsen Vicari, Cell: 540-239-2170, E-mail:

Washington, DC—Tuesday’s historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un resulted in promises of nuclear disarmament and security. However, it is uncertain if protecting and advancing human rights was among the leaders’ commitments. There are deep concerns, and reports, that the summit between the presidents of the United States and North Korea would not touch on North Korea’s egregious human rights abuses.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2018 report ranks North Korea as a “Tier One” country. The situation remains especially alarming for Christians living under North Korea’s Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Examples of North Korea’s atrocious persecution of Christians cited by IRD International Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell include:

  • A former DPRK prison guard testifying before Congress confirmed the regime’s intense hatred for Christians. In one incident he recounted a woman, in prison because she was a Christian, was kicked repeatedly and left for days because a prison guard overheard her praying for a child (Yes, children are in prison camps because the regime imprisons three generations of a family for the transgression of one member.)
  • In prison factories, guards poured molten steel on Christians to kill them because believing in God instead of Kim Il-sung was the biggest crime in the eyes of the officials.
  • 2004 BBC documentary Access to Evil interviewed several defectors, former prison officials, who revealed that North Korea conducts deadly experiments on prisoners with gas chambers and chemicals. They indicated that those prisoners the regime considered “enemies of the state,” particularly Christians, were selected for the experiments. The former prison camp official watched a Christian family die in the gas chamber, with parents trying to shield their children from the fumes to the very end.

McDonnell commented:

“Try as it might, North Korea’s government has never wiped out Christianity. Some experts say that there are as many as 400,000 secret believers, most of whom became Christians in China or through contact with Chinese or South Korean Christians. They live in constant threat of imprisonment or execution.

“Few American Christians lose sleep over their fellow Christians in North Korea – if they even know they exist.

“Perhaps American Christians don’t know that the same regime that threatened to turn the United States into a pile of ash turns its own wretched citizens who die in political prison camps into piles of ash? It then uses them as fertilizer. In that appalling action, North Korea demonstrates one way in which it wipes out the very existence of Christians, as well as other political prisoners.

“While U.S. Christian organizations like the National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals have ignored the plight of Christians in North Korea and focused on a pacifistic approach to the summit, those who track North Korea’s human rights abuses approached the summit as an opportunity to help the country’s Christians, and indeed, all of the beleaguered citizens of the DPRK.

“We urge the Trump Administration to follow the example of President Ronald Reagan who rightly linked the advancement of human rights, including religious freedom, with nuclear disarmament.

“Barring divine intervention, only a drastic, verifiable change in the way that Kim Jong-un treats his own people, including the so-called ‘hostiles,’ the Christians, may indicate the possibility of North Korea ending its own hostility towards the free world.”

Source: #PressRelease: Remember North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

Persecution of Chinese Christians Worse Now Than Under Bloody Mao

Bibles are being confiscated, decorative crosses destroyed, churches closed and attendance monitored by government authorities
— Read on

Global Christian Persecution Summit: Why Don’t Christians Care about Christians? — Juicy Ecumenism

Institute on Religion and Democracy Media Advisory April 17, 2018 Contact: Chelsen Vicari, cell: 540-239-2170, e-mail: Who: Institute on Religion and Democracy What: A summit examining why American Christians have failed persecuted Christians overseas and aiming to inject concern for the Persecuted Church into the very DNA of American churches. Where: Dirksen Senate Office…

via Global Christian Persecution Summit: Why Don’t Christians Care about Christians? — Juicy Ecumenism

Pray for North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

North Korea flag

On March 27, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) released a statement urging Christians everywhere to pray for peace on the Korean Peninsula.  Evangelicals can surely unite on the issue of peace. But unfortunately, it seems the NAE’s call to prayer glosses over North Korea’s egregious human rights violations, including the persecution of Christians.

The statement reads:

We pray for wisdom for our political, diplomatic and military leaders as they work across differences toward a goal of peace, security and freedom. We pray that God will bless the efforts of citizens who seek to bridge the vast differences between our countries.


Decades of people-to-people contact between North Korea and the United States- through business, educational and other humanitarian exchanges – have put a human face on those who are sometimes characterized by one another as enemies. So, we pray with empathy and in a spirit of friendship, noting the image of God in every human being. However profound the differences between our governments, we do not view the North Korean people as our enemies. On the contrary, we desire only the best for the people of North Korea.

(You can read the full statement here.)

Signatories include the left-leaning Jim Wallis, founder and CEO of Sojourners, Robert Zachritz, Vice President of World Vision, Pastor Lee Younghoon, senior pastor of a megachurch in South Korea, as well as several Korean-American church leaders. Others include Kyle Healy, pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and more.

While Evangelicals differ in their approaches to justice and security, surely all agree the threats posed by North Korea exceeds the definition of “differences.” The NAE is correct in noting there are profound differences between the United States government and North Korea’s oppressive regime. North Korea’s government views the spread of Christianity as a pernicious, criminalizes evangelism, and tosses Christians into cruel labor camps where they are starved, beaten, and worse.

Writing at Providence magazine, Robert S. Kim noted, “North Korea’s efforts to eradicate Christianity in Pyongyang and elsewhere in its territory have been so ruthless and systematic that today few outside of Korea know that it was ever there.” American Evangelicals can’t imagine the horrors our fellow Christians face in North Korea, but we should work to understand their reality and highlight their plight.

I am thankful for the NAE’s well-intentioned call to pray for peace but am disappointed the statement is silent on Christians suffering under the oppressive regime.

As a Korean-American, I have witnessed the emotional pain of a divided Korean Peninsula. I’ve listened to my grandparents tell of their families separated by the Korean War. My grandparents routinely remind me to pray that one day Korea will unite as a peaceful nation state. I have met North Korean defectors and heard their stories of fear and torture experienced in labor camps. I have listened to fellow Christians testify of the pain and misery they faced because of their faith. Although it is emotionally distressing to hear of their suffering, it encourages me to know that they held even tighter to their faith in Jesus Christ.

I join the NAE in prayer for peace on the Korean Peninsula. But I also pray that North Korea’s government leaders are convicted of their sinful human rights abuses and that they find salvation in the Prince of Peace. I earnestly pray that God is with our fellow Christians persecuted by an oppressive regime. May the Lord watch over them, protect them, and reward them for their undaunted faith in the midst of persecution. May the Lord bless them and keep them as they spread the Gospel in North Korea.

Source: Pray for North Korea’s Persecuted Christians

‘Save The Persecuted Christians’ Campaign Launches

Save The Persecuted Christians

Institute on Religion & Democracy Press Release
February 14, 2018
Contact: Jeff Walton Office: 202-682-4131, Cell: 202-413-5639, E-mail:

“Caring for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, and knowing that we are one body of Christ with them, should be in the DNA of every church and every individual follower of Jesus Christ.”
– IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell 

Washington, DC—The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) is joining with the Save The Persecuted Christians (STPC) campaign, an informal alliance of individuals and non-profit organizations dedicated to using their expertise, skills, and energy to protect Christians worldwide suffering discrimination, torture, rape, slavery, banishment and murder simply because they believe in Jesus Christ.

The campaign is modeled after the extraordinary work of the campaign to Save Soviet Jewry, which began in 1970 with banners and signage in front of synagogues and churches. Save The Persecuted Christians hopes to spawn a similarly powerful movement that will be a catalyst for change in the minds and hearts of American Christians – to wake the sleeping, transform the apathetic, ignite the passive, and empower all those who care but don’t know how to take action.

Dozens of churches will hang the official “Save The Persecuted Christians” banner in front of their place of worship beginning today. Churches can continue to join the effort at any time, by ordering a free banner and information/resources kit from the website,

IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith McDonnell, with 24 years of experience in advocacy work for persecuted Christians, coordinates IRD’s partnership in STPC.

IRD Religious Liberty Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:

“IRD is proud to be part of the Save The Persecuted Christians coalition, and to re-energize a movement that 20 years ago led to the International Religious Freedom Act and other policy efforts to help the persecuted.

“A day that is both St. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday is especially appropriate to launch a campaign that we hope will become a gift from the heart of American Christians to their brothers and sisters who are suffering for their faith, and a time to remember that although the Lenten road experienced by persecuted Christians is so long and hard, it leads to resurrected life.

“It is my hope and prayer that churches that look to IRD for counsel on having a truly Biblical social witness in the world will immediately reach out to the STPC website and join the campaign. Caring for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted, and knowing that we are one body of Christ with them, should be in the DNA of every church and every individual follower of Jesus Christ.

“This initiative is truly on the heart of God. IRD has planned a conference for May 10 of this year on Western Christian apathy to the plight of persecuted. With the work of the STPC campaign, we envision more Western Christians empowered to daily intercede for and to take action on behalf of their persecuted fellow Christians.”

Source: ‘Save The Persecuted Christians’ Campaign Launches

CultureWatch: The Budapest Declaration

One of the most pressing issues of our day is the wholesale persecution of Christians. As has often been pointed out, more Christians have died for their faith over the past century than throughout two millennia of church history. And much of this persecution and death comes from political Islam.

Yet few governments are talking about this or taking it seriously. Thankfully there was a recent exception to this, when participants from 32 countries attended a two-day conference in Budapest. It was held on October 11-13 this year and called, “International Conference on the Persecution of Christians – Seeking Answers to a Long-neglected Crisis”.

It was hosted by Hungary’s Deputy State Secretariat for the Aid of Persecuted Christians within the Ministry of Human Capacities. The result of this meeting was the Budapest Declaration. This important document raises attention to this Christian persecution and calls on governments to act on it.

The 13 points of the Budapest Declaration are well worth sharing here:

The participants of the conference

(1) Express their deepest solidarity towards those Christian and other religious minorities around the world that are being persecuted.

(2) Welcome and support all efforts by governments, church and non-governmental organisations whose aim is to raise their voices in the name of the persecuted religious minorities of the world, with particular emphasis on Christians.

(3) Recognise the Hungarian government’s actions in support of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, as well as the similar actions of other governments.

(4) Condemn any action aimed at denying or curtailing the free exercising of basic human rights, with particular emphasis on violations of religious freedom.

(5) Call upon the international community to speak for persecuted religious minorities, stand up for them, and use all possible legal means against groups that commit atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities.

(6) Emphasise that the barbarian acts committed by the terrorist organisation calling itself the Islamic State, or any other similar terrorist organisations or militias, amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes, and accordingly all countries of the world must act in order to stop these criminal activities and bring to justice the persons responsible for them.

(7) Support the role of the special envoy in reinforcing freedom of religion and belief outside the European Union.

(8) Call upon the European Union to revise the effectiveness of restrictive measures and amend them taking into account the interests of the civilian populations of the countries involved.

(9) Call upon the world’s political decision-makers and influencers of public opinion to promote the free exercise of religion in the crisis areas where Christians and other religious minorities are being persecuted, in order to ensure international freedom and security, with particular emphasis on certain regions of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

(10) Call upon the world’s governments and international organisations to seek long-term solutions in order to end the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, and to ensure the exercising of all human rights, included that of the free exercising of religion in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

(11) Call for the urgent reconstruction of schools and other infrastructures, in order to allow Christians and other persecuted religious minorities to remain or return to their ancestral lands.

(12) Call for the support of political, economic and security solutions that will allow Christians or refugees belonging to other religious minorities to return to their home countries.

(13) Urge common action on behalf of the world’s governments and international organisations to end atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities, and to implement immediate and concrete measures in accordance with that goal.

This is a much-needed declaration and it is hoped that governments around the world will take it seriously. Indeed, I notice at least two recent initiatives since this conference was held, and they offer an encouraging way ahead. In the UK a symbolic gesture is taking place today:

On 22 November, churches and public buildings around the world, including the houses of the British Parliament, will be lit up in red as a sign of solidarity with persecuted Christians across the globe.
Numerous studies have shown that Christians are by far the most persecuted religious group in the world, with some 90,000 Christians killed for their faith in 2016 alone, while as many as 600 million were prevented from practicing their faith.
The event known as #RedWednesday calls attention to the plight of Christians in hostile situations around the globe by using the color red to evoke the notion of Christian martyrdom. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic organization that assists persecuted Christians, has organized the event in conjunction with Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
According to ACN, the rights of people of faith are “largely ignored in a society whose secular focus knows little about religion and cares even less.” A 2015 report found that Christians suffer widespread discrimination and ridicule even in the United Kingdom.
For this second annual #REDWEDNESDAY, organizers are inviting people to show their solidarity by wearing red, lighting buildings or landmarks red and holding peaceful prayer events.

And in the US, the Vice-President spoke out on this hugely pressing issue:

Vice President Mike Pence delivered the keynote address Wednesday night at the In Defense of Christians (IDC) annual summit, and brought a message of solidarity and hope for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East. “The Bible tells us that all who desire to live a godly life through Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” Pence said. “Sadly, today, Christianity is under unprecedented assault in the ancient land where it first grew.”
“Tonight, I came to tell you help is on the way. President Trump and I and our entire administration are working tirelessly to protect these ancient communities,” he added. Christians and religious minorities have endured ongoing torture in the Middle East, actions the Trump administration calls by name: genocide.
“They are genocide. They are crimes against humanity and we will call them what they are,” Pence said. The vice president also didn’t shy away calling the force behind the violence by name.
“President Trump and I see these crimes for what they are: vile acts of persecution animated by hatred for Christians and the gospel of Christ. And so too does this president know who and what has perpetrated these crimes and he calls them by name: radical Islamic terrorism,” Pence said.

All this is a good start on a long-term and widespread problem. Much more of course needs to be done. But Christians worldwide will applaud what took place in Hungary recently, and I look forward to seeing the principles enunciated in the Budapest Declaration seriously acted upon.

Please share this document far and wide. And, at the very least, keep the persecuted church in your prayers.

Source: The Budapest Declaration

CultureWatch: The Global Persecution of Christians

There is no other group on the planet subject to so much persecution, suffering and death as Christians. Primarily at the hands of Islam, Christianity is the most abused and persecuted group today, and it seems to be getting worse as we speak.

Daily we see graphic reminders of the war on Christianity, with believers being killed around the world at alarming rates. One organisation working on behalf of the persecuted church, Open Doors, lays out the facts and figures this way:

Each month:
-322 Christians are killed for their faith
-214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed
-772 forms of violence are committed against Christians (such as beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests, and forced marriages)

persecution 24One write-up on this topic also makes for scary reading:

In many parts of the world, Christians gathering to celebrate Christ’s resurrection do so with the knowledge that any day their faith could cost them their lives as it has for thousands of their brothers and sisters….
During the last calendar year, some 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith across the globe, making Christians by far the most persecuted group in the world, according to a study from the Turin-based Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR).
The director of CESNUR, Dr. Massimo Introvigne, told Breitbart News that whereas atheistic communist regimes were the greatest persecutors of Christians in the last century, “Islamic ultra-fundamentalism” has taken its place as the number-one agent of persecution.
The Center’s findings corroborate those of other scholars and human rights groups. According to the 2016 “World Watch List,” for example, published by the Open Doors organization, nine out of the top ten countries where Christians suffer “extreme persecution” had populations that are at least 50 percent Muslim.
Their 2016 report revealed that “Islamic extremism is by far the most significant persecution engine” of Christians in the world today and that “40 of the 50 countries on the World Watch List are affected by this kind of persecution.”
During the year, nearly one-third of the Christians killed for their faith were executed at the hands of Islamic extremists such as the Islamic State or Boko Haram.
While tens of thousands of Christians are killed for their faith, Introvigne said, they are just the tip of the iceberg and much persecution takes place on a daily basis that never makes news. Along with the enormous number of deaths, a great many more Christians—as many as 600 million—were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016.

As you know Coptic Christians in Egypt have especially been targeted of late. Coptic believers in the UK are certainly worried about all this. As one news report states:

Amir Michaeel is a Coptic Christian and like many others he struggles to understand why his faith is such a target overseas. ‘In a way it can be like, because we are not retaliating, we are a weaker target and we are easy prey,’ he said. ‘But at the same time I feel like there is something profoundly difficult about attacking someone who is not retaliating. For someone to turn the other cheek and for you to feel okay to hit them, I feel like it would take something quite inhumane to do something like that.’
There is a general perception that the media, and the West, has in recent years largely ignored attacks on Christians in some parts of the world. Tim Stanley, journalist for the Daily Telegraph, has written on the subject and told Sky News that people are too afraid to call it ‘a war’.
He said: ‘Some Western governments are legitimately worried about appearing to validate the narrative of the Islamists that this is about Islam versus Christianity, so they don’t want to talk about the persecution of Christians and I get that. The problem is that’s exactly what is actually happening. Moreover, I fear that some of that is political correctness.’

Yes, Western nations should be at the forefront of standing up for these persecuted believers. Yet in the West our leaders too often seem far more worried about Muslims having their feelings hurt. We have managed to side against the persecuted while siding with the persecutors.

Thankfully there are some notable exceptions here. Let me single out just one: Coalition frontbencher Michael Sukkar, the Federal member for Deakin. Late last year he released a ‘Grievance Motion on the Global Persecution of Christians’. He said in part:

I rise this evening to speak about a matter of great importance to me and many people in the Australian community and, I hope and believe, to many people throughout our world: that is, the persecution of Christians around the world. We hear much in the media commentariat and elsewhere about the persecution of various groups globally. Often this is warranted, and it is important to recognise that our efforts as Australians and as part of the Western world to fight against these injustices are often informed by the Judaeo-Christian values that underpin the values of our country and our civilisation more broadly.
Yet in our world today, the undeniable reality is that it is those of a Christian faith who are the most persecuted people in the world. This persecution can often be at the hands intolerant majorities of other faiths or militant groups, but it is more often than not state sponsored persecution against Christians that is becoming increasingly widespread. Of even greater concern is that this state sponsored persecution often comes at the hands of governments who receive foreign aid from Australia as well as other Western nominally Christian countries.
One shocking recent example is that of Asia Bibi, a mother of five in Pakistan who has essentially been sentenced to death for the crime of being Christian in a Muslim majority country after a recent sentence hearing on a charge of blasphemy. You may ask: What was her crime? She was alleged to have told colleagues that Jesus would have taken a different viewpoint to Mohammed when she was asked not to drink from the same water supply as the Muslim residents in her village. They believed that she would foul the water supply with her unclean Christian hands. After Asia Bibi allegedly said that Jesus would take a different view, a Muslim replied: ‘How dare you question the prophet, you dirty animal.’ Three other women joined in shouting, ‘It’s true, you’re nothing but a dirty Christian.’
This is sadly just another example of the ongoing persecution and terror that Christians face in Pakistan. Christian women and girls are regularly abducted in Pakistan; some are killed, others are forced to convert and marry; and many never heard from again. This is all occurring at a time when Pakistan is a huge beneficiary of foreign aid funding from a number of Western nations. From Australia alone, Pakistan will receive more than $55 million in aid this year. Other places such as the United States and the United Kingdom give at even higher levels. Clearly, it is a grave concern that Australian taxpayer dollars would go to a country and government that carries out such egregious human rights abuses directed at a particular minority—in this case, Pakistani Christians.
If Pakistani does carry out the execution or refuses to release Bibi, Australia should cut all aid and consider further sanctions, including sporting bans which would necessarily affect the Pakistan cricket team. This would send a strong message to the world that Australia will always stand up for persecuted minorities, not least the Christian communities that the world seems to have turned its back on.

And just a few weeks ago he called on Australia to officially recognise as genocide the Islamic State massacre of Christians in Iraq and Syria. As one news report states:

Mr Sukkar will call for a Coalition-sponsored motion to be put before parliament when it returns in May. The bid to build consensus on the issue comes after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was approached last year by an ISIS survivor for the government to adopt a genocide declaration against the terrorist group.
Labor’s Treasury spokesman, Chris Bowen, last year put a motion to parliament to recognise the ethnic and religious “cleansing” of Christians by ISIS but it was never put to debate. Mr Sukkar, a Lebanese Christian and MP for Deakin, has now called for the government to put its own motion to the house, following the Scottish parliament’s recognition last week of the mass killings as “genocide”.
“The persecution and attempted genocide of Christians and other minorities in the Middle East has been occurring for centuries,” Mr Sukkar told The Australian. “It has now reached its zenith with the bloodthirsty and barbaric Daesh (ISIS) attempting to wipe all Christians and Yazidis from the Middle East. Sadly, the silence has been deafening from large parts of the Western media and political class to these atrocities.”

Please get involved

There are many things concerned citizens can do about this. If you are a Christian, prayer is vital of course. Letting our leaders know about this and urging them to action is also crucial, and supporting MPs like Sukkar is certainly very important. Another course of action is a new petition being circulated by CitizenGo. Their initiative reads as follows:

Last Sunday two deadly attacks rocked Egypt in two different cities, killing at least 45 Christians. Daesh (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks in what has become an everyday occurrence for thousands of Christians worldwide.
Since December, the attacks by ISIS in Egypt have increased and Christians have been killed in their homes, businesses and places of worship. According to experts, the destabilisation of Egypt has become a new target for ISIS.
Speaking in Australia following the attacks, Federal Liberal MP Michael Sukkar told Sky news: “There needs to be a political awakening and movement for people who want to practice their faith in peace.”
He called for the Australian parliament to declare the atrocities committed against Christians around the world as ‘genocide’ and accused the Islamic State radicals of waging a war on Christianity.
Please sign this petition now to support this call to the Australian government:

Signing and sharing this petition is the least we can do for our persecuted brothers and sisters. Please do so now.–says-charity.html

[1710 words]

The post The Global Persecution of Christians appeared first on CultureWatch.

July 28, 2015 Christian Persecution Update

Considering Christ

By Rev. Colin Mercer – Posted at

When John Huss was being put to death he was led to the suburbs of Constance to be burned at the stake. When he reached the place, wearing the paper “cap of blaspheme” he fell on his knees and began to chant Psalm 31. He looked steadfastly towards heaven and chanted verse 5: “Into thy hands O Lord! Do I commit my spirit, Thou hast redeemed me, O most good and faithful God.” When he finished quoting those words his persecutors put a chain around his waist and tied him to the stake. Huss responded to the chain with these words: “My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake; why then should I be ashamed of this old rusty one?”

It is good to understand what John Huss was saying. In the midst of fierce and fatal persecution he lifted his thoughts heavenward and contemplated the greater suffering Christ had endured for him. …

Read more here…

North Korean Representative on Persecution of Christians: “Absolutely False”

ICC Note: It appears that this spokesperson for North Korea knows where his paycheck comes from.  Fortunately, added to the original report are some of the tweets and reports on the Internet on the well-documented abuses carried out by the North Korean regime against Christians.  And let’s not discount the personal testimonies of those who have risked their lives to escape from North Korea. 

By staff reporter, Barcelona

07/27/2015 North Korea (Evangelical Focus)

The representative of Cultural Relations of North Korea with Foreign Countries, the Spaniard Alejandro Cao, has denied the fact that Christian believers are being persecuted under the regime of Kim Jong Un. Joel Forster (@joelfwal), editor of Evangelical Focus, asked Cao on Twitter about Christians being persecuted in North Korea. The regime’s delegate responded: “It is absolutely false. The problem in the world is that there are enlighted people like you who believe themselves to be representatives of God or even God”. In several other tweets, the representative of the Asian regime threw more personal attacks (“you are not a religious person but an activist of the USA”) and pointed at evangelical Christians: “You take advantage of drug addicts and homeless people to force them to become evangelists in exchange of a plate of soup.”

When asked about the possibility of the existance of a God who would make justice to those people suffering under the North Korean regime, Cao mockingly responded: “He [God] seems to be arriving late. We have been here for 70 years, and many more to come”. Cao is an official “special delegate” of the North Korean regime and has been the contact which has allowed some journalists to enter the hermetic country, always under strict vigilance. He has appeared on several tv and radio broadcasts defending the atrocities of his “beloved leader” Kim Jong Un and his predecessors, Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung. Therefore it is not a surprise that the special delegate defined the regime as “the closest to an ideal human society. Without drugs and prostitution. Where values are above money”.

[Full Story]

Christians Being Forced to Convert in Mexico

Forced conversions are occurring not only in Africa or the Middle East, but to Christians in multiple states across Mexico. Tragically, for many Christian families in Mexico, the violation of their religious rights has not only cost them their personal security, but also the right to educate their children, and the right to maintain their own property. Speak up for our persecuted brothers and sisters today. Learn how:

‘There is No Solution Except Jihad in the Path of Allah’: Leader of Somali Terror Group Al-Shabaab Sends out Chilling Call for Fresh Wave of Terror Attacks Across East Africa

ICC Note:  The leader of al-Shabaab has encouraged Muslims in East Africa to help the cause of Jihad and “kill evil Christians”, according to reports.  According to emails, Ahmed Omar Abu-Ubeyda, the new leader of al-Shabaab, encouraged Muslims from Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic to join the terror group.  Al-Shabaab is notorious for committing countless atrocities against civilians in Somalia and Kenya, often specifically targeting Christians.  In the attack on Garissa University in Kenya on April 2, al-Shabaab led an assault on the college campus, sparing Muslims while specifically murdering Christians.  The Somali-based terror organization was also responsible for the deadly attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi in 2013.  

By Jay Akbar

7/27/15, Kenya (Daily Mail) – The leader of Somali terror-group Al-Shabaab has urged Muslims in east-Africa to rise up against the ‘evil Christians’.

In an online statement obtained by MailOnline, Ahmed Omar Abu-Ubeyda told them to ‘migrate to the lands of Jihad’ and seek out battlefields all over the world.

He also welcomed the people of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda and the dangerously unstable Central African Republic to come to Al-Shabaab’s terror training camps.

Ubeyda was appointed the group’s leader in September 2014 after Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

The extremist has made his first public statement since becoming the terror group’s chief in the new report called ‘Eid greetings to the Muslim ummah [community]’.

He justified Al-Shabaab’s cross-border attacks on Kenya in the hate-filled document by saying they were revenge for the ‘oppression and humiliation’ Muslims are facing in his own nation.

[Full Story]

Hundreds of Pakistani Christian Women Raped and Forcibly Married and Converted to Islam

ICC Note:

A recent report details the extent to which Pakistani Christian and Hindu girls are forced into marriages with Muslims and then pressured to convert. According to the report, over 1,000 women from religious minority groups are abducted, raped, and forcibly married to their rapist as they are forcibly converted to Islam. This issue remains widespread in Pakistan and begets international attention.

7/28/2015 Pakistan (Christianity Today) – Every year, at least 1,000 Pakistani girls are forced into Muslim marriages and made to convert to Islam, according to a new report.

The ‘Forced Marriages and Inheritance Deprivation‘ report from the Karachi-based Aurat Foundation claims that between 100 and 700 Christian girls, and around 300 Hindu girls, are married forcibly each year and forced to convert to Islam.

It quotes statistics from the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan (MSP), which says that an additional 1,791 forced conversions took place between 2000 and 2012. More than 600 of those converted were originally Christians.

Director of the Aurat Foundation, Mahnaz Rehman, explained to Fides news agency that forced conversion and marriage is common in Pakistan, but is largely ignored by police and civil authorities.

Women face significant discrimination, particularly on a religious basis, she added. Those who are forced to marry are often threatened and pressurised by their husband and his family to declare that their conversion was voluntary, even if the case is taken to court.

When MSP first released its statistics last year, its investigation found that forced marriages usually follow a similar pattern: girls, often between the ages of 12 and 25, are abducted, made to convert to Islam, and then married to the abductor or an associate. If a complaint is filed, then “girls are held in custody by the abductors [until the hearing] and suffer all kinds of abuse and violence,” the Aurat Foundation states.

“These cases are never investigated seriously to shed light on the phenomenon and mechanism of the crime.”

However, many forced marriages go unreported because “women are considered and treated as repositories of family honour, whose defiance or disobedience is tantamount to public shame and humiliation,” and it is also often used as a cover for human trafficking.

(Full Story)

Dying For Christianity: Millions At Risk Amid Rise In Persecution Across The Globe

ICC Note: The rate of persecution worldwide has risen dramatically according to organizations that monitor religious freedom around the globe. It is estimated that one in every ten Christians of the 2.2 billion Christians suffers some form of restriction or persecution. The crimes range from death and torture to general social exclusion and political restrictions.

07-27-2015 (The Guardian): Christians are facing growing persecution around the world, fuelled mainly by Islamic extremism and repressive governments, leading the pope to warn of “a form of genocide” and for campaigners to speak of “religio-ethnic cleansing”.

The scale of attacks on Christians in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America has alarmed organisations that monitor religious persecution, with most reporting a significant deterioration in recent years.

On his recent trip to Latin America, Pope Francis said he was dismayed “to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus”. He went on: “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”

At Easter, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the leader of the Anglican church, spoke of Christian “martyrs”. Christians were living under persecution in almost half of the 38 Anglican provinces worldwide, he said this month. “They fear for their lives every day.”

The Prince of Wales has described threats to Christians in the Middle East as “an indescribable tragedy”.

According to David Alton, a crossbench peer who campaigns on religious freedom, “some assessments claim that as many as 200 million Christians in over 60 countries around the world face some degree of restriction, discrimination or outright persecution”. That is about one in 10 of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world. Christianity remains the faith with the most adherents.

“Whatever the real figures the scale is enormous. From Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt to North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, from Cuba, Colombia and Mexico to Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan, Christians face serious violations of religious freedom,” Alton said. Persecution ranged from murder, rape and torture to repressive laws, discrimination and social exclusion.

[Full Story]

Christians Under Pressure: From Bigotry At School To Imprisonment And Murder

ICC Note: The article focuses on the specific persecution in four different countries around the world. Each nation has its own forms of religious restrictions. In Egypt, Copts are often excluded from society and socially targeted for their beliefs. In Pakistan, blasphemy laws target Christians and end many believers in jail or on death row. In China the surveillance and communist atheist repression is very real but is also a driving force for the growth of the church. In Israel, there have been aimed and specific acts of terrorism and vandalism against churches in the historic land.

07-27-2015 Egypt/Pakistan/China/Israel (The Guardian):

 Egypt: ‘It pushes you to feel disengaged’

As a boy growing up in a country where football is a national passion, Mina Fayek joined a youth programme at a local sports club in the wealthy Cairo neighbourhood of Heliopolis. He started training, but one day he overheard his coach make an offhand remark: no Christians would join the first team, or make it to the championships

“My parents and I knew this is not going anywhere, and I had to choose another game,” Fayek, 26, a software engineer and blogger, recalled. He tried handball and basketball, two sports seen as more acceptable for Egyptian Christians to play.

Fayek, an affable young man, believes his social status shielded him from the worst forms of persecution inflicted on poorer Egyptian Christians. Instead, he was subject to a more subtle form of discrimination: the sense that the highest echelons of power and status in his country were off limits because of his religion.

During his 13 months of compulsory military service, he trained soldiers and officers in computer skills. As a Coptic Christian, he knew he could never serve in the intelligence branch. No Christians sit on the supreme council of armed forces.

“It pushes you to feel disengaged from your country,” Fayek said. “How could someone maintain his love for his country – and be passionate about building it – while at the same time he can’t be whatever he wants to be, whether a military commander or a police commander.”

Egypt is home to the largest Christian community in the Middle East, with the Copts widely estimated to be about 10% of the population. The exact figure is a matter of dispute, with the government and Coptic church offering varying estimates. In spite of a history of cooperation between the church and the Egyptian state, Copts today say they face both official discrimination and the threat of violent attacks by militants.

[Full Story]

‘Chanting Monks’ Deployed in Standoff over Cross Demolition in China’s Zhejiang

ICC Note:  This report demonstrates the length to which Zhejiang provincial authorities are going in order to carry out their campaign of cross removals and church demolitions.  The monks taking part in this confrontation should think twice about their involvement on the side of the government, particularly when Chinese authorities elsewhere in China are persecuting Buddhists. 

By Yang Fan

07/27/2015 China (Radio Free Asia)

Officials in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang sent in monks to burn incense and chant Buddhist scriptures as a “provocation” as Christian believers faced off with a government-backed demolition gang intent on removing a large cross from the roof of their church, church members told RFA on Monday.

The monks came in and chanted prayers, burning incense at the door of the Jinjia’er church in Zhejiang’s Huzhou city, where believers had been staging a sit-in in the hope of blocking access by the demolition gang for several days, a church follower who asked not to be named told RFA.

“We are Protestant Christians, so by sending monks to chant sutras they were trying to get us riled up,” the Jinjia’er congregant said. “They blocked the main door, and they were detaining anyone who got physical with them on public order charges.”

“They were trying to make us angry so that we would retaliate against them. They think that anyone who opposes the government is a traitor, or someone trying to overturn the Communist Party,” he said.

President Xi Jinping warned Communist Party ideologues earlier this year that the development of religion in China, which is already closely controlled by an army of religious affairs officials, should be “independent of foreign influence.”

Citing the rapid expansion in Christian believers after churches began to re-open in the wake of the political turmoil of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), Xi has described religion is a tool that can easily be used “by hostile foreign forces.”

[Full Story]

Will There Be a Future for Iraq’s Christians?

By Todd Daniels and Sandra Eliott

07/27/15 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “There is horrible and uncontrolled violence and chaos [that is] leaving non-Muslim minorities like the Christians [in] fear for their lives…”

Joseph Kassab, President of Iraqi Christians Advocacy And Empowerment Institute (ICAE), explains that only two options remain for Christian in the region: either submit to the violence or flee to Kurdistan and neighboring countries.

The current generation has grown up in a world where Iraqi land is bloodstained and war-torn. Nevertheless, Iraq was once the home to some of the most tolerant and ethno-religiously diverse cultures in the world. The fabric of coexistence stitched together both monotheists and polytheists in an ancient land held dear by all living upon it. Yazidi shrines neighbored Christian sites and Mosques shared a land marked with tombs of Jewish prophets.

Sadly, we now face a new reality of sectarian hatred and radical jihadists that are intent on erasing all cultures other than their own.

Dim-Lit Future

Many forget that the Middle East was the birthplace of Christianity and, until recently, a large number still lived there. In 1947 Iraq was home to approximately 4.5 million Christians; in 2003 the figure stood close to 1.5 million. Today, however, the number of Christians in Iraq has tragically fallen to less than 200,000, with perhaps another 150,000 in the Kurdistan region.

Still more tragic are the conditions in which these 200,000 live. The majority of remaining Christians live in Baghdad, where recently, four Christian men were kidnapped by Islamic extremists.

Dr. Bashar Ghanem Al Akrawi, Saad Galyana Shaba, Qais Abd Shaya and Saher Hanna Sony were all kidnapped within two weeks of each other in early July. The former two were rescued and are well, while the latter two were both killed by their captors, despite their families having paid ransoms for their lives.

These types of abductions among other forms of criminality are sectarian based and carried out by powerful and armed militias. Christians have likewise had their homes and household goods stolen from them by means of falsified documents and government corruption.


These people face a dim lit future.


A Chaldean Patriarch in Iraq recently told Asia News that Christians are “fully fledged citizens of the state, and for hundreds and hundreds of years they have contributed to its civilization and its culture.” He appealed to the government authorities to protect the lives and property of these citizens in Baghdad.


Joseph Kassab contrastingly explained to ICC that this is not a problem that the Iraqi government will be able to easily resolve as the government itself is fragile and corrupt. 

“There is no hope in this country”

Iraqi Christians, among other minorities, are suffering under dire circumstances with little to no help. Soon enough, their ancient presence in Iraq will no longer be. Bernan Petros, a Christian originally from Bartella, Iraq, told Rudaw News, “There is no hope in this country. We have no hope here. We are so tired of this situation, and now we are thinking of leaving–all Christians together–to seek another place in Europe.”

This is exactly what will happen unless the Western church acknowledges the reality of what is happening in the Middle East and acts to change it. There is an urgent need for security and aid, but even more important are the tools to restart life. If families are to choose to stay in Iraq they will require sources of income and opportunities for their children. These will be the building blocks for a new future.

We must realize that this is a war being waged against religious freedom, not just Iraqis. It is a war to drive out those who don’t adhere to the radical beliefs of ISIS or other extremists.

How many more fathers, sons, husbands and brothers need to be kidnapped and murdered before we stop turning a fearful blind eye to atrocity?

The Garissa Massacre: Stories from the Survivors

ICC Note:  Almost four months after the April 2 attacks on Garissa University, where al-Shabaab terrorists spared Muslim students and specifically targeted and killed Christian students, survivors of the attack recall in horror the events that unfolded that day.  In the aftermath of the attack, the students explained how several Christians now fear living on campus, and that tensions have been heightened between Muslim and Christian students.  Simon Kande, the chairman of FOCUS, has asked for prayers of healing and protection, while also praying to remain a powerful witnessing community for Christ at Garissa University.

By Krish Kandiah

7/25/15, Kenya (Christian Today) – “I heard gun shots at 5.50am and I managed to hide in the wardrobe for one and a half days. When I was rescued I found out my roommates did not survive. Because of my tiny wardrobe space, I was unable to walk for two weeks after that but I thank God for sparing my life” – Elsie Karemi.

The world was shocked when news of a massacre on a Kenyan university campus broke over the Easter weekend this year. What wasn’t widely reported was that many of the victims, like Elsie, were members of an evangelical student ministry called FOCUS.

The ministry began in the late 1950s, started by Christian faculty at the University of Nairobi. It is now working in 144 universities and higher education colleges. There are 68 staff, including 32 interns, and in total there are 42,000 students in the movement.

Garissa is in Northern Kenya and is the only university campus in that region. The FOCUS group there had 250 students involved, meeting for Bible study, prayer and praise. Like all the student Christian Unions in Kenya they hold their own Sunday services. In a Muslim dominated area both Muslims and Christians wake up early to pray. It was normal custom for CU members to meet at 5am for daily morning devotions.

[Full Story]

Garissa’s Christians Told ‘Worship Here and You’ll Die’

ICC Note:  Nearly four months after al-Shabaab’s deadly assault on Kenyan Christians in Garissa, Kenya on April 2, local Christians remain fearful of further attacks.  The Garissa University attack claimed 148 lives while injuring dozens more.  During the attack, the insurgents spared Muslim students and specifically targeted and murdered Christians.  Due to continued threats, many Christians no longer find it safe to live and worship in Garissa.  In the face of fear and uncertainty though, some Christians refuse to leave their churches and homes in Garissa, risking their lives and safety in the face of potential future attacks.

By Nima Elbagir and Antonia Mortensen

7/26/15, Kenya (CNN) – Christians have come under repeated attacks in North Eastern Province in Kenya at the hands of Al-Shabaab militants who have killed hundreds.

It’s sunrise over the Tana River. Traffic starts to flow over the bridge and morning rush hour begins. What looks like the beginning of a normal workday here has a much darker undertone. Most of the commuters are day laborers, people going into their offices, but also many Christians who are too scared to sleep inside Garissa town. They have decided to move themselves and their families across to the other side of the river to safety.

We met Esther as she was crossing the bridge on foot on her way to work. She is a mother of three and a Christian. When we ask her why she decided to move her and her family out of town she tells us: “It is because of Al-Shabaab that I moved out of Garissa. You can be shot anytime while you are walking. Even when we’re at home they can just come from the bush.”

In April this year, hundreds of students at Garissa University in northern Kenya came under attack when Al-Shabaab militants from across the border in Somalia raided dormitories at the college. Separating Christian students from their Muslim classmates, the raiders killed 147 and wounded dozens more. Today, the university stands empty.

Christians in North Eastern Kenya have come under repeated attacks by Al-Shabaab militants.


[Full Story]

Indian Christians Forced to Choose Between Christ and Government Stipends

ICC Note:

Recently, Hindu nationalist organizations have escalated their efforts to convert Christians and other religious minorities to Hinduism. These efforts at proselytization are part of an ongoing campaign by Hindu nationalists against Christians. In violation of India’s constitution, Hindu nationalists have steered government welfare benefits away from Christians, pressuring them to convert to Hinduism in order to receive benefits. As Christians are disproportionately found in the poor Dalit class, the decision to stand firm in their faith exacerbates their economic misery.

7/27/2015 India (Christian Post) – A Hindu nationalist organization has converted 39 people from Dalit Christian families to Hinduism in a controversial ceremony aimed at making them eligible for a government benefits program.

“We are moving ahead with our initiative and more families from other religions will be reconverted to Hinduism soon. We are being approached by many people who want to come back to their original faith,” said Viswha Hindu Parishad Alappuzha District Chief Prathap G Padickal, according to the Times of India.
The “ghar wapsi” programme in Kerala’s Alappuzha district previously oversaw another 30 Dalit Christians convert to Hinduism in December 2014.

The Dalits, known as the “untouchables,” make up India’s lowest caste, and are eligible for certain government benefits if they identify as Hindus

International Christian Concern, which reports on persecution taking place in India, noted that Christians from such low caste backgrounds are often soft targets for Hindu nationalists, who are seeking to take advantage of the stipulation in the government benefits program and lure people of other faiths into Hinduism.

“In most cases, people from low caste backgrounds are afforded government stipends and advantages, but these stipends and advantages are denied to low caste people who are registered as Christians or Muslims in India,” ICC noted. “In many cases the allurement o these government stipends and advantages are enough to convince people to convert to Hinduism.”

(Full Story)

Asia Bibi’s Fate Remains Uncertain Despite Upcoming Appeal

ICC Note:

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has agreed to hear an appeal filed by Asia Bibi regarding her blasphemy charge, which is punishable by death. Until the Court has heard the appeal, Bibi cannot be executed. Bibi’s case is one of the most high profile stories of religious freedom abuses emanating out of Pakistan. Despite both international and internal calls for reform, the prevalence of intolerance and extremism in Pakistan has stifled any meaningful efforts to reform the country’s infamous blasphemy laws.

7/27/2015 Pakistan (Gatestone Institute) – Pakistan’s authorities appear to have found a solution to at least one of their problems in the international arena: Aasiya Noreen — or “Asia Bibi” — a 50-year-old Christian woman and mother of five, who has been on death row for six years for allegedly insulting Muhammad.

Instead of executing Asia Bibi and further advertising to the international community that theirs is a savage and backwards nation — and instead of releasing her and provoking millions of angry Muslims to turn on the government and accuse it of supporting “apostasy” — Pakistan’s authorities appear to be letting time, wretched conditions, severe maltreatment, and beatings slowly kill her.

Recent reports state that she is deathly ill and “so weak she could hardly walk.” Mission Network News says that Asia Bibi has “internal bleeding, abdominal pain, and is vomiting blood. If she does not receive immediate medical care, she could die.”

(Full Story)

China Aid President Testifies at Congressional-Executive Commission on China Hearing on Religious Persecution In China

ICC Note:  ICC cooperates with China Aid, specifically in support of the persecuted church in China.  This article details the testimony of China Aid president Bob Fu before Congress. 

By Rachel Ritchie

07/24/2015 China (China Aid)

China Aid president and founder, Bob Fu, gave his testimony concerning religious freedom in China yesterday to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China in Washington, D.C.

Fu gave several recommendations during the hearing, titled “Religious with ‘Chinese Characteristics’: Persecution and Control in Xi Jinping’s China,” including the following for the United States Department of State:

• “The U.S. State Department should strongly consider posting an officer at the U.S. Embassy in China with the sole responsibility of reporting religious freedom and related human rights abuses in China, including the areas of Tibet and Xinjiang.”

• “The State Department should make an official public statement condemning this forced demolition of crosses and churches in Zhejiang and other areas of China. So far neither Secretary Kerry nor the spokesperson have issued even a public statement condemning this large, brutal, shameful campaign.”

• “The State Department should raise, publicly and at all levels of exchange with the Chinese government, the cases of prisoners of conscience, especially the China 18 and others. And I know you had led the campaign to urge President Obama to meet with the daughters of the China 18 multiple times. I think the excuse [of] not meeting with these family members in China is that it could pose a danger or [is] a potential threat. But how about here in the United States; there is no threat.”

Others that spoke at the hearing, led by Congressmen Chris Smith, (R-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), included Anastasia Lin, actress, human rights advocate and Miss World Canada 2015; Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uyghur Congress; and Losang Gyatso, service chief of Voice of America’s Tibetan service.

Fu’s full testimony, below, and the testimony of the other witnesses, along with a video of the hearing can be found here.

[Full Story]

U.S. State Dept. Bars Christians from Testifying about Persecution: Muslim Persecution of Christians, May 2015

ICC Note:  The U.S. State Department has reportedly barred some Christians from testifying on Christian persecution occurring in predominantly Muslim countries, including Nigerian Governor Jonah David Jang.  Last year, after the U.S. Institute for Peace invited different Nigerian governors from northern majority-Muslim states for a conference, Governor Jang, the only Christian, had his visa denied by the State Department.  According to Nigerian human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe, this is due to the anti-Christian bias that exists within the State Department and U.S. government as a whole. This ignorance and refusal to acknowledge Christian persecution in Nigeria may have serious implications for U.S. aid designed to assist Nigeria in combating Boko Haram. 

By Raymond Ibrahim

7/24/15, Washington, D.C. (Gatestone Institute) – During the height of one of the most brutal months of Muslim persecution of Christians, the U.S. State Department exposed its double standards against persecuted Christian minorities.

Sister Diana, an influential Iraqi Christian leader, who was scheduled to visit the U.S. to advocate for persecuted Christians in the Mideast, was denied a visa by the U.S. State Department even though she had visited the U.S. before, most recently in 2012.

She was to be one of a delegation of religious leaders from Iraq — including Sunni, Shia and Yazidi, among others — to visit Washington, D.C., to describe the situation of their people. Every religious leader from this delegation to Washington D.C. was granted a visa — except for the only Christian representative, Sister Diana.

After this refusal became public, many Americans protested, some writing to their congressmen. Discussing the nun’s visa denial, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said:

[Full Story]

June 15, 2015 Christian Persecution Update

As China Knocks Down Christian Crosses, the Faithful Restore Them

ICC Note: Courageous Christians in Zhejiang Province, China, are making bold moves in protest of a provincial government campaign which aims to remove the cross as a symbol of the Christian faith from the Chinese skyline.

Kenya Army Foils Mpeketoni Anniversary Al-Shabaab Terror Attack In Lamu Kenya, 11 Terrorists & 2 Soldiers Killed

ICC Note: Kenyan defense forces raided an al-Shabaab camp on Sunday, killing 11 Islamic terrorists and reportedly foiling assaults planned for the anniversary of the Mpeketoni attacks, which killed 60 people, including many Christians in June 2014.

Wanted Sudan Leader Bashir Flies out of South Africa

ICC Note: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has reportedly left South Africa against a High Court ruled that he remain in the country until his arrest application was completed.

Christianity Doomed in Iraq, Say Experts

ICC Note: The unfortunate but real message conveyed by experts on Iraq is that unless something drastic is done, Christianity has no future in the ancient homeland.

No Compensation for Christians in Wake of Violence in Egypt

ICC Note: Despite reconciliation sessions and promises of compensation, the Coptic families from Kafr Darwish village have yet to receive any material repayment. Some of the losses suffered by the Copts in the violence that erupted last month and forced the families to leave the village for a number of days include: 11 burned houses, a destroyed car and an uprooted field.

Rakhine, Monks and Buddhist Extremists March against Rohingya Muslims

ICC Note: This article describes the political background for the ongoing persecution of the Rohyinga religious/cultural minority in Myanmar. It also provides a glimpse of how radical Buddhist nationalists seek to intimidate the government into imposing discriminatory policies against all religious or cultural minorities, who are not viewed by the nationalists as ‘truly Burmese’.

Jihad on Churches

“Destroying churches is permissible — as long as the destruction does not bring harm to Muslims, such as false claims that Muslims are persecuting Christians….” — Dr.

Kenya: Shabaab Threatens to Attack Kenya During Ramadaan

ICC Note: Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab has announced plans to attack Christians and other “non-believers” in Kenya at the start of Ramadan next week. A member of al-Shabaab has explicitly stated that the group’s intentions are to bring Jihad to the “non-believers” in Kenya.

Christians Suspect Islamic State Influencing Muslims in Palestinian Territories, Israel

ICC Note: With the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, Christians in Israel and Palestinian territories worry about radicalism. Anti-Christian hostility in the nation has always existed to some extent, but in recent months it has escalated to uncomfortable levels.

South Africa Court Bid to Arrest Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir

ICC Note: International pressure is mounting on South Africa to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and genocide related to the war he waged on Darfur.

May 27, 2015 Christian Persecution Update

Warning over Religious Believers in Chinese Communist Party Ranks

ICC Note: The Chinese Communist Party has long been concerned about its maintaining control of the general population in China, including control of religious beliefs. A newsletter article from the CCP makes it clear that its members do not have religious freedom.

Radical Buddhist Monk Responsible for Attacks on Religious Minorities Arrested in Sri Lanka

ICC Note:

Radical Buddhist monk and leader of the Buddhist extremist group Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS), Galgoda Aththa Gnanasara, was arrested yesterday by authorities of the new government in Sri Lanka.

Christian Homes in Lahore Damaged Following Blasphemy Accusation

ICC Note:

Following an accusation of blasphemy being leveled against a Christian in Lahore, Pakistan, a mob reportedly attacked a Christian neighborhood, damaging both homes and a local church.

Daily Prayer – Wednesday 27 May 2015

Praise God for the safe arrival in Iraqi Kurdistan of the 30 containers of high quality insulated tents and associated equipment that will comprise Sawra (Hope) Village for displaced Iraqi Christians.

Coptic Coalition Demands Maspero Killings Case Reopened

ICC Note: Egyptian Christians are still seeking justice from 2011 when 27 Christians were killed when army vehicles drove through a protest. Despite investigations into the matter the case has not been resolved and it continues to mark the sense of vulnerability that Egypt’s Christians face.

Two Pastors in Sudan Face Death Over Christian Faith, Trial to Begin Next Week

ICC Note: The possible death penalty case of 2 South Sudanese pastors in Sudan has grabbed international attention as religious freedom advocates fear the real possibility that the Sudanese government will truly execute the two men.

Arizona Restrictions on Church Signs Reach Supreme Court

After filing a lawsuit in 2008 against a municipal law, Good News Community Church of Gilbert, Arizona, is taking their case to the Supreme Court. Due to the city’s sign ordinance, the church was forbidden from displaying directional signs on public roadways more than twelve hours prior to their services and no more than one hour after services ended.

Boko Haram Could Be Using Kidnapped Chibok Schoolgirls As Suicide Bombers

ICC Note: Islamist terror group Boko Haram is increasingly using abducted girls for suicide bombings, carrying out multiple attacks this month in northern Nigeria . Officials from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) fear that some of the young girls are those who Boko Haram kidnapped from Chibok just over a year ago that sparked the international Bring Back Our Girls Campaign.

Boko Haram Suspected in Killing of at Least 29 People, Mostly Christians, in Nigeria

ICC Note: Boko Haram has murdered nearly 30 people in attacks across Adamawa state in the past 10 days, mostly Christians. The latest assault occurred Monday, May 25, when militants raided a town in the Madagali local government area, hacking to death 10 members of a Brethren church with machetes.

Suspected Fulani Herdsmen Kill At Least 23 Christians in Central Nigeria

ICC Note: Muslim Fulani herdsmen have reportedly murdered another 23 Christian farmers in central Nigeria. The assault occurred Sunday when unknown gunman attacked a Christian community in the Logo local government area of Benue state.

Heilongjiang Authorities Shutdown House Church Gathering

ICC Note: Although the officials of the District Public Security Bureau claim to have only enforced the regulations and to have followed the ‘normal procedures’, it is difficult to see how these regulations and procedures are compatible with the central Chinese government’s claim that China’s citizens have freedom of religion.

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