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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Christians Are the World's Most Persecuted Religious Group

Did you know any of the events described here, all of which happened only in the last few days and are representative of what goes on all the time all over Asia and Africa?

While the media ran a carpet coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and pointed the finger at the purported Israeli "aggressor", all of this news, a sample of which is below - and is only the tip of the iceberg -, received scarcely any attention.

Christians are now, and have been for some time despite the world's, including the historically Christian West's, silence, the most persecuted religious group in the world.

In "modern, moderate" Indonesia (everything is relative), Muslims threaten churches in West Sumatra:
A mob numbering in the hundreds and grouped under the banner of the Islamic Organizations Communication Forum (FKOI) descended on two churches on Tuesday: Stasi Mahakarya and GPSI (Gereja Pentakosta Sion Indonesia).

Those in the crowd threatened to use force to stop the congregations from building additional structures in their compounds, nailing wooden boards outside the churches.
In Nigeria, Muslims erupt in new violence against Christians over supposed blasphemy, four Christians are killed:
A rumour that a Christian man blasphemed against Islam has sparked a riot in the northern Nigeria town of Bichi, police have said.

Residents said four people were killed and shops were looted.

The riot came on the day the incoming head of the Anglican Church, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, launched an initiative to promote religious tolerance in Nigeria.

Religious clashes [a BBC euphemism for Muslims killing Christians] have claimed thousands of lives in Nigeria since military rule ended in 1999.

The militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, has also been waging an insurgency since 2009 to impose strict Sharia across Nigeria, which is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a Christian and animist south.
Church bombings have become normal for Christians in Nigeria.

In Vietnam, pastors imprisoned for refusing to give up their ministry are tortured and subjected to forced labour. One pastor's daughter watched as police tied her father to the back of a motorcycle and dragged him away.

In Somalia, a Christian convert from Islam is beheaded:
Islamic militants from al-Shabaab beheaded a Christian in the Somalian city of Barawa Friday, accusing him of both being a spy and forsaking Islam.

A crowd watched as Farhan Haji Mose's body was split in two and then dumped near the beach, according to Morning Star News.

Mose's family didn't immediately recover his body for fear that the Islamists would kill them as well.

Mose, who had a small cosmetics shop in Barawa, often traveled to Kenya on business where he converted to Christianity in 2010.

With a population of 545,000, Barawa is now under control of al-Shabaab militants fighting the government; the militants have already killed dozens of Christian converts from Islam since launching a campaign to rid the African nation of Christianity while seeking to impose a strict version of shar'ia over all of Somalia.

Al-Shabaab was one of several Somalian groups that arose from the power vacuum created after Ethiopian forces toppled the Islamic Courts Union back in 2006.
In Uzbekistan, a refugee pastor is facing up to 15 years in prison for having held a religious meeting.

In Tanzania, Muslims torch and destroy dozens of churches and demand heads of all church pastors, while violence against Christians in East Africa escalates. There were no arrests.

In Sudan, dictator Omar al-Bashir is launching new attacks and airstrikes against the mostly Christian Nuba people:
Although the casualty figures vary depending on the source, Nuba Reports that since June 2011, 350,000 people have become refugees. Nuba Reports also says 88 bombs were dropped in September and October.

Relief Web says that since mid-October, 18 people have been killed in shelling in Kadugli town in the South Kordofan state.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that the 80-bed Mother of Mercy Hospital in Nuba was housing over 500 wounded.

“These days they are reporting intensified fighting, with both sides initiating offensives. This is what one would expect this time of year as we get into the dry season. The Nuba Report is well-placed to report on civilian casualties on the SPLA-N side,” Eibner said.

Eibner adds that terrorism and military strikes are one of al-Bashir’s preferred methods of dealing with non-Muslim Sudanese populations.


“Al-Bashir is no stranger to genocide. Consider the events in Darfur. Once South Sudan split off from Sudan, the north decided that it had to establish its Islamic identity. This has been reflected in the government’s actions and statements,” Stark said.

“Al-Bashir said that Sudan would become a purely Islamic state now that the south has split off. This statement was very worrisome for many Christian that continued to live in the North,” Start said.

Since al-Bashir’s announcement, the move to a fully Islamic state has only gained momentum.

“Since that statement, the Sudanese government has ratcheted up its implementation of Shariah law, even on non-Muslims,” Stark said.

Stark said, “Women found not wearing a veil/hijab are arrested for violating Shariah, whether they are Muslim or not. Also, Christian schools and institutions are being either closed down by the government or destroyed by Muslim mobs. Sometimes it is a combination of the two!” Stark said.


“With the borders being closed, many Christians that would likely flee south are now stuck in the north. Many sold their property in anticipation of moving south, but got stuck because of the border closing. Now they live in refugee-like camps on the outskirts or Khartoum,” Stark said.


Stark points to the Barnabas Aid airlift that has transported some of Sudan’s Christians south.

“There are some organizations airlifting some of the neediest Christians to the South, but there are so many refugees that it is going to be a long time until they are all safe. My contacts estimate there are around 500,000 Christians stuck in Sudan right now around Khartoum alone,” Stark said.

The major issue for Christians in Sudan is al-Bashir’s increasingly strident Islamic tone. Eibner says the gradual implementation of Shariah is part of al-Bashir’s effort to fulfill a promise to jihadists.

“Shortly after the independence of South Sudan and the deterioration of relations between Khartoum and Juba, Bashir pledged to place Sudan more solidly on an Islamic basis and making more space for Shariah in the a new constitution,” Eibner said.

“He clearly seeks stability for his regime by enhancing its Islamist credentials. He is expected to convene shortly an Islamist congress. This makes politically conscious Christians and other non-Muslim in Sudan nervous,” Eibner said. “But I am not aware of a new direct threat against the Christian minority.”

Eibner adds that Shariah has always been a part of Khartoum’s plan.

“Shariah has long been a part of the constitution of Sudan. I am not aware that it is being implemented in a much more comprehensive and rigorous fashion these days,” Eibner said, adding, “But a desperate regime in Khartoum will not shrink from turning the screws against Christians if it believes it will help its survival.”

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