Monday, December 29, 2008

Compass Direct: Bangladesh - Buddhists force Christians from home (Direct Post)

DHAKA, Bangladesh, December 26 (Compass Direct News) – Buddhist villagers in southeastern Bangladesh’s Rangamati district last week beat a young father and drove him from his house for converting to Christianity. The Buddhists in Asambosti, in the Tabalchari area some 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Dhaka, warned Sujan Chakma, 27, not to return to his home after beating him on Dec. 18. Chakma, who converted to Christianity about four months ago, has come back to his home but some nights the likelihood of attacks forces him to remain outside. He is often unable to provide for his 26-year-old wife, Shefali Chakma, and their 6-year-old son, as area residents opposed to his faith refuse to give him work as a day laborer. Chakma, his wife and son do not eat on days he does not work, he said. “They threatened me that if I come back to my home, I will be in great trouble,” he said.

Earlier this year in Rangamati district, Bengali Muslim settlers killed a tribal Christian for defending indigenous peoples from illegal land-grabs. On Aug. 19 Ladu Moni Chakma, 55, was stabbed repeatedly and his throat was cut at Sajek in Baghaichuri sub-district in Rangamati district after he reported to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission how a military commander helped settle Bengali Muslims on area lands.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Forum 18: Nagorno-Karabakh (Direct Post)


President Bako Sahakyan of the internationally unrecognised entity of Nagorno-Karabakh is considering a restrictive new Religion Law, Forum 18 News Service has found. The new Law imposes vaguely formulated restrictions, including: an apparent ban on unregistered religious activity; state censorship of religious literature; an undefined "monopoly" given to the Armenian Apostolic Church over preaching and spreading its faith, while banning "soul-hunting" and restricting others to undefined "rallying their own faithful". Garik Grigoryan, head of the parliamentary Commission on State Legal Issues, claimed to Forum 18 that "it will be a more liberal, democratic Law."

Members of religious communities have expressed serious concerns to Forum 18. One member of the Armenian Apostolic Church rhetorically asked Forum 18: "Where's the freedom?"Another described the Law as "like rubber," noting that "you can't see exactly how it's going to be put into practice." The Law also does not resolve the issue of a civilian alternative to compulsory military service.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Open Doors: India, Nigeria, Egypt (Direct Post)

Please Pray for India
News about the terrorist attacks last Wednesday in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, infiltrated the homes of many Americans this past Thanksgiving weekend. Several news sources reported that terrorists targeted many tourist sites, a hospital, and even a Jewish center, killing nearly 200 people. Even though the Indian government has declared the siege in Mumbai officially over, violence continues in the northern Indian state of Orissa against the Christian community, claiming the lives of at least 500 people. In the past few months more than 18,000 have been injured and around 4,500 houses and churches have been destroyed. Join our campaign and ask your Representative to sign a resolution to stop the violence in Orissa.

Violence Erupts in Jos, Nigeria
Communal violence broke out in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Nov. 28 after Muslims began attacking Christians on claims of vote-tampering, leaving hundreds dead and thousands fleeing their homes. Local residents said the fight was sparked after officials reportedly refused to post local council election results the previous day, prompting speculation that a party backed largely by Christians had won. Muslim gangs in the Ali Kazaure area of the city began attacking Christians, which resulted in a death toll estimated to be in the hundreds. According to Compass Direct News, Muslim militants burned several churches, including that of the Church of Christ in Nigeria in the Sarkin Mangu area of Jos. Several mosques were also reportedly razed in the tumult. Read more about the attacks in Nigeria.

Two Christians Wrongly Detained, Tortured in Egypt
On November 22 Egyptian authorities sent brothers Refaat and Ibrahim Fawzy Abdo to a detention camp near the Egypt-Sudan border where they were tortured so authorities could try to extract a false confession, according to Compass Direct News. The two Christians were originally arrested for allegedly killing a Muslim during an attack back on May 31 at the Abu Fana monastery in Egypt. The brothers’ attorney, Zakary Kamal, said the timing of the murder at the monastery rules out any possibility of the two brothers committing the murder. Monks at Abu Fana say the Fawazy Abdo brothers were far from the monastery at the time of the attacks. Read the full story about their arrest on our website.

For more information on persecuted Christians worldwide, download the Persecution Update.

Prayer Points:
  • Pray for God's comfort and healing for all those bereaved or injured in recent attacks in Mumbai, Orissa and Jos.
  • Pray that the police and military will be able to contain any further unrest and that Christians in Nigeria will not be tempted to participate in any of the violence.
  • Pray for the continuing safety of Open Doors' staff in Nigeria, India and Egypt.
  • Pray for the release of the two brothers who have been wrongfully detained and tortured in Egypt.