Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pastor Beaten, Church Attacked by Hindus in Himachal Pradesh, India

Indian pastor Feroz Masih was beaten and his congregation threatened on November 4. He was on his way to comfort a member of his congregation in a nearby town when Hindu extremists beat him severely and forced him to sign a paper stating he was converting Hindus to Christianity "forcibly" and that he and his congregation would "reconvert" to Hinduism. If they did not, they were threatened with being burned to death and/or having their houses or the church burned to the ground.

Masih and his son Ramesh wrote a letter to the police, and said they would hold the police responsible if anyone was hurt or killed because of the actions of the extremists. “We will not allow the VHP to hold a reconversion meeting or any religious function in our house,” Masih wrote.

The Masihs denied reports from various sources that they have forcibly converted anyone.
“We simply preach the message of peace and joy as given in the Bible. All the believers who attend the worship ... have embraced Christianity out of their own will,” he said.

Interestingly, the Himachal Pradesh police have a website. There is a link to send e-mail and you may wish to avail yourself of it to express your concern about the Masihs and their congregation. As always, if you write to the police or to any other official, be courteous, express your belief that they are willing to listen and are reasonable people, explain that Christianity is not a threat to their authority and thank them for their time. Tell them they will be in your prayers -- we are called to bless those who persecute us, remember? (Matthew 5:44; Romans 12:14)

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