Monday, October 16, 2006

Petition for Chinese House Church - from International Christian Concern

From ICC:

"Dear friends,

ICC received news in early August 2006 that Chinese authorities had demolished a large house church in the province of Zhejiang. This church was under construction and was almost done when a mob of government-hired agitators came to watch as bulldozers and wrecking balls tore it to the ground.

As Christians, we need to stand with our brothers and sisters who were building this church by letting the Chinese government know that this warrant-less destruction of private property is unacceptable. ICC has written a petition to the Chinese ambassador to ask him to rectify what has happened. Would you take just a few minutes to read through this petition and sign on to it on
our website (click here)?

You can also print out several of the sign-up sheets included as the second page of the attachment from
the website and encourage other Christians you know to stand with these persecuted believers in China by signing in one of the spaces provided. Then fax or mail us those signatures by October 30. Our fax number is 301-989-1709, and our address is:

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave NW #941
Washington, DC 20006

We will circulate this petition for just 2 – 4 weeks, and then we will present it to the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC.

Thank you so much for your concern for the persecuted church.

Sincerely in Christ,


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Open Doors: Egypt

Egypt:* An Egyptian Christian teenager escaped from her Muslim kidnappers last week, hours after they had drugged her on a public bus. Compass Direct reported that they threatened to rape her and convert her to Islam if her family did not leave their Nile Delta city of El-Mahala el-Kobra. Held in Cairo’s southern Helwan suburb, Laurence Wagih Emil, 15, escaped the ground-floor room at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3rd while her captors were away, breaking their Ramadan fast. Before family members recovered her, State Security Investigation officials interviewing Laurence Emil told her she would never see her parents again unless she reported a false story, denying the kidnapping. Read More

Please Pray:

- Thanksgiving to God for delivering Laurence from her captors; and for her courage and determined resistance during this terrible ordeal.

- That Laurence’s attackers will be brought to justice.

- That the Lord will provide honest and unprejudiced law enforcement officials for this investigation.

- For God’s mighty hand of protection, and the peace of Jesus for this family.

- For all believers living in Egypt; for their deliverance from their enemies.

- For the salvation of all the unbelievers in Egypt.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

From WEA RLC: Eritrea - SItuation Deteriorating

"Eritrea: Appalling religious situation continues to deteriorate.
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal.

Recent reports from Compass Direct (CD) indicate that the appalling religious situation in Eritrea continues to deteriorate.

CD reports: 'Newly compiled statistics smuggled out of Eritrea indicate that at least 1,918 Eritrean citizens are imprisoned and being subjected to torture and forced labor because of their religious beliefs. According to a detailed list obtained by Compass last month, 95 percent of these known religious prisoners of conscience are Christians.

'A total of 35 pastors, priests and church elders are confirmed under arrest in Asmara's Wongel Mermera investigation center. An additional 1,758 Christians of both evangelical Protestant and Orthodox confessions are jailed in 14 other cities and towns.

'According to reports compiled by Compass, 163 of these Christian prisoners have been put under arrest since the beginning of 2006. As many as a fourth of all those jailed are believed to have been incarcerated for two years or more.'

[. . .]

CD reports: 'None of those imprisoned for their religious beliefs in the government crackdown begun more than four years ago have been brought before a court of law to be charged or tried."

The CD report gives a breakdown of the numbers of Christians in various prison facilities. It also details the tragic fate of those who attempt to escape from these facilities into the surrounding desert.

As noted by CD, the persecution has spread way beyond those Protestant churches initially targeted in May 2002. The Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Abune Antonios, who was deposed and replaced by the government in January, remains under house arrest. Subsequently, "Since March, 65 leaders of the Medhane Alem renewal movement within the Eritrean Orthodox Church have been openly threatened with excommunication if they refuse to confess following 'heretical' teachings."

Asmara's Anglican Church is also facing repression. CD reports, "The Department of Religious Affairs has refused to allow the Anglican Church in Asmara to supply its own pulpit since October 2005, when the Rev. Nelson Fernandez was summarily ordered out of the country. To the 'expressed dismay' of the Anglican congregation, one source said, control of the worship and activities of the church has been handed over to the government-registered Lutheran Church."

Reports are circulating in Asmara that the government plans to shut down the Anglican Elementary School in the near future."

According to another CD report: "The Eritrean government demanded this month that the Kale Hiwot Church surrender all its property and physical assets to the government."The written confiscation order targets possessions of the Protestant church's relief department, which has for more than 20 years functioned as a legally recognized non-governmental organization (NGO) under the Eritrean Relief and Rehabilitation Commission."

CD adds that the sweeping property confiscation would include all church buildings, schools, vehicles and other assets. The church's computers, office equipment, files and keys to the property were confiscated in raids last October. The government action not only affects the church, but the orphanage and kindergartens run by the Kale Hiwot Church.

Eritrean Christians have told CD that they believe that a strategic persecution is being executed in three stages:

1) the arrest of pastors and leaders (leaving the congregations leaderless),

2) the raiding and sealing of church places of worship (leaving leaderless congregations destitute and without facilities),

3) the permanent confiscation of church properties and assets (supposedly bringing an end to the church's existence).

CD reports: "'All the closed churches here are undergoing a great deal of hardship and challenge to exist,' one source stated. But despite ongoing arrests and surveillance, local evangelicals told Compass they were 'continuing to meet for worship, prayer and Bible studies' in their homes. 'Please pray for God's protection, especially when we meet for prayer,' one said. 'All the churches are in a desperate need of Bibles for their ministries.'"

Eritrea has no independent media. Free Christians and human rights monitors leak this information at great personal risk. The government of Isaias Afewerki continues to deny that any religious persecution exists. Doubtless exacerbating the situation are the escalating tensions between Eritrea and Ethiopia (Coptic Orthodox Christian), over their border dispute and over Somalia."

Forum 18: Kyrgyzstan - Mob Goes Unpunished


Intolerance of religious freedom - notably that of Christians - is growing among people in south Kyrgyzstan, Forum 18 News Service has found. Two months after a July mob attack on his home in a southern village, in which religious literature including Bibles were burnt, Protestant pastor Zulumbek Sarygulov has told Forum 18 he still fears for the lives of himself and his family. The police chief - three of whose officers witnessed the attack and took no action - denies a hospital report that Sarygulov suffered two broken fingers and was beaten up, as does Shamsybek Zakirov of the state Religious Affairs Committee. Zakirov and the local imam state that Pastor Sarygulov should leave his home and close the church 'so as not to provoke the situation'. Religion Law amendments are being drafted by a parliamentary deputy, Kamchybek Tashiev, who is hostile to religious freedom. Among proposed new restrictions will be an article punishing those who
'offend the feelings of citizens who belong to another religion'."

Forum 18: Belarus - Massive Fine for 'Illegal' Baptisms


Baptising 70 people in a lake has led to the pastor of one of Belarus' largest Pentecostal churches being fined over 150 times the minimum wage, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. This is, to Forum 18's knowledge, the first time that a congregation of a mainstream Protestant Union has had such a huge fine imposed for religious activity without state permission. Judge Oksana Kusheva of Baranovichi Municipal Court imposed the fine on Pastor Sergei Poznyakovich and fined the Pentecostal Union's bishop for Brest region, Nikolai Kurkayev, a significantly smaller amount.

Baranovichi's state official dealing with religious affairs, Ruslan Krutko, told Forum 18 that Pastor Poznyakovich's fine was so large because the church performed similarly unsanctioned baptisms in the same lake in 2005. Confirming that the authorities had not responded formally to a request to be allowed to perform the baptisms, Krutko nonetheless insisted that official permission must be obtained in advance. A church member commented to Forum 18 that 'if we are fined again within a year, the authorities will have grounds to close the church down.'"

Monday, October 09, 2006

Forum 18: Kazakhstan: More Fines for Baptists


Facing continued fines for unregistered religious activity in Kazakhstan, Baptists who refuse on principle to register have insisted to Forum 18 News Service that they will not pay the fines. 'We don't pay because we don't consider we're guilty. Kazakhstan's Constitution guarantees freedom of worship and says nothing about registration,' Pastor Yaroslav Senyushkevich told Forum 18. Kazakh religious state registration procedures can be highly intrusive in their demands for information - including demands to know the political views of members. One respected legal scholar disputes that registration is in law compulsory. The latest two known fines for unregistered religious activity have been for amounts equivalent to just under twice the estimated average monthly salary.

'The law is the law and we will keep on fining members of unregistered religious organisations,' Lyudmila Danilenko of the Justice Ministry told Forum 18.'"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

VOM: Indonesia - Church Burnt to Ground

"Muslim Mob Reduces Church to Ashes - VOM sources/

Infuriated by reports that Christians were scheduling revival meetings at the Indonesia Evangelical Mission Church in Aceh province, a militant Islamic mob set the worship center ablaze on September 1st. Local Muslims from the town of Siompi, which was the first in Indonesia to implement Shariah law, reduced the building to ashes in an attempt to wipe out those in their province not bowing down to Allah. Church members have moved their worship services to a local house, as they refuse to buckle under Muslim attacks. Give thanks to God for these Christians who are remaining faithful to Jesus. Psalm 33:20-22"

VOM: India - Churches Attacked

"Congregation Attacked for Second Time - VOMsources/

For the second time in three weeks, Pastor Vijayakumar's congregation of 30, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, was attacked on September 10th. Reappearing after their first violent attack on August 20th, a militant Hindu mob stormed the prayer and worship service. The frightened congregation continued to worship, even though the militants threatened there would be a blood bath the following Sunday if they persisted in worshipping Jesus Christ. Pray for God's protection on His people and the militant Hindus who sit in darkness will be brought into the glorious light of His kingdom. Psalm 36:9 "

Muslim Militants in India Attack Christian Missionary School - Compass Direct

Recently a mob of around 250 Muslim militants attacked the Good Shepherd Mission School in Kashmir state, destroying the boundary wall and damaging the school building and equipment. A national newspaper has named the Dutch missionary director, Fr. Borst, as one of a handful of people encouraging Muslims to convert to Christianity, and officials have attempted to expel him from India. Pray Fr. Borst and the students will rest in God's peace and His assurance for the future of the school. Matthew 6:34.

Open Doors: Nigeria (Additional Info)

"Nigeria:* Jummai opened her tailor’s shop on the morning of September 18 in Dutse, the capital of Jigawa state in northern Nigeria, where Christians are less than 20 percent of the predominantly Muslim population. By that afternoon, her offhand comments exchanged with several Muslim customers had attracted the wrath of local Islamist agitators. According to Compass Direct angry mobs started forming all over town, demanding the Christian tailor be killed for blasphemy against Muhammad. The dispute spiraled into a violent, one-day rampage, leaving 16 churches burned down, six Christians injured and at least 2,000 Christians homeless.

Please Pray:

-For confidence and peace of mind for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria as they are being watched, or are under surveillance, by enemies of their Christian faith.
-For reconciliation between the Christian and Muslim communities; Pray that the Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of these people in a supernatural way.
-Pray for Jummai and other Christian brothers and sisters who have been harmed during the attacks.

Nigeria Update:

Last week, in response to the violence in Nigeria, Open Doors began to deliver relief aid to alleviate the immediate needs of Christians who have suffered loss in the attacks in Dutse.

Read More>"

WLC - Iran: House Church Leaders Arrested

"On Tuesday 26 September, secret police raided the home of Iranian house-church leaders Reza Montazami (35) and his wife Fereshteh Dibaj (28) confiscating their computers, Christian literature and
other items. Compass Direct (CD) reports: 'Montazami and his wife lead an independent house-church in Mashhad, the only known remnant of two active Protestant Christian congregations worshipping in the
city before Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. Both churches were closed by government order in the 1980s. Then in December 1990, the government executed a Mashhad pastor, the Rev Hussein Soodmand. A former Muslim who had become a Christian 24 years earlier, Soodmand refused to recant his faith after four months under extreme physical and psychological mistreatment in prison.'

Before Reza Montazami and his wife Fereshteh Dibaj were taken away Montazami quickly phoned his mother who came and took charge of their six-year-old daughter, Christine. The police told Montazami's
mother that Reza and Fereshteh were being taken to a certain police station. However they were actually delivered to a local intelligence branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The family has been told the couple will soon appear before a Revolutionary Court. The nature of the charge against them is as yet unknown. For the full story and a picture see <>. "