Displaying items by tag: Christian persecution

Thursday, 19 May 2022 23:44

Pakistan: pray for Pastor Zafar

Zafar Bhatti, Pakistan’s longest serving blasphemy convict (he has been in prison for ten years) had his life sentence increased to hanging in January 2022 - even though every piece of physical and electronic evidence suggests his innocence. His conviction was based on an unsubstantiated report made by police in the early stages of their investigation, when he was beaten into a false confession. He could be killed any day, and is being denied bail on health grounds despite substantial health concerns. Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws are evidently being used as a tool for discrimination against a Christian pastor. Staff gave him tablets for diabetes which caused pain and vomit with traces of blood. Doctors changed his medicine and the side-effects stopped. But now (14 May) he has a huge swelling in his left leg, from his feet to the top of his thigh. British Asian Christian Association (BACA) is supporting Zafar and his wife while they suffer the ignominy of this unfounded blasphemy conviction.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 19 May 2022 23:37

Eritrea: persecution and prisoners

Many face extreme poverty as drought and food shortages are serious challenges in this one-party state. Christians in denominations not recognised by the government are persecuted; many are under house arrest, and over 3,000 are in prisons that are beyond description. Some are kept in metal, unsanitary, unventilated shipping containers in the desert - tin cells that are almost too hot to touch by day and freezing cold at night. They are beaten to get them to renounce their faith. The government has seized church assets. All denominations are drawn together in fellowship through decades of war, drought, and government oppression, but the intense suffering of the Church in Eritrea is one of the untold stories. Pray that Christians may remain fervent for Jesus amid hardship and make a significant impact on their nation and beyond. Evangelicals now operate through underground networks in homes. Around twenty or more networks are known, but numbers are impossible to ascertain.

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John Lee replaced Carrie Lam as Hong Kong's leader after a closed voting process in which he was the sole candidate. His appointment is seen as China’s move to tighten its grip on the city. Mr Lee, a staunch Beijing supporter, oversaw the violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protestors in 2019. He was intensely criticised for sanctioning police use of water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protestors. In 2020, he backed a controversial national security law which criminalised most forms of political protest and opposition and reduced the city's self-government. He maintained that ‘the law would help restore stability from chaos’. His staunch support of Beijing's policies has stoked fears that his leadership will usher in an era of tighter Chinese oversight of the semi-autonomous region. China persecutes Christians, and on 11 May Hong Kong's national security police arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen and four others who ran a now-disbanded humanitarian fund for protesters: see

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Friday, 13 May 2022 09:23

Global: rising Christian persecution

Release International reports, ‘With all eyes on Russia’s assault on Ukraine, we will be watching closely to see how Russia is treating Christians of faiths other than Russian Orthodox.’ The USCIRF has long criticised the Taliban for their extremist policies. Its 2022 report warns, ‘Afghans who do not adhere to the Taliban’s harsh and strict interpretation of Sunni Islam and adherents of other faiths or beliefs are in grave danger. With the Taliban’s return to power, religious freedom conditions in Afghanistan, and the overall human rights situation, have significantly deteriorated. Christian converts (and other minorities) practise their faith in hiding due to fear of reprisal and threats from the Taliban.’ Also religious persecution in India has taken a significant turn for the worse. In Nigeria there is an anti-Christian dimension to much of the violence which the government is failing to control.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 28 April 2022 22:23

India: another pastor tortured in police custody

Last week a Christian pastor was arrested on false charges of conversion activities in Uttar Pradesh and tortured for 24 hours. ‘I could not walk out of the police station. My two legs were swollen badly. There was so much pain. I could not move from one place to the other. Whenever there was a phone call about my arrest, the police increased the intensity of lashes with the belt and sticks. They beat me on three occasions while demanding I say “Jai Sriram” (Glory to Lord Rama).’ Local sources said the pastor and his family were visiting relatives and worshipping with them when a police van arrived after a neighbour complained. The police abused the family and arrested the pastor and his uncle. They took turns physically torturing them at the police station. At midnight his uncle was released when officers learned he was not a Christian.

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Thursday, 21 April 2022 21:00

India: authorities arrest 36 Christians

A congregation of 100 Christians celebrating a Maundy Thursday service in Uttar Pradesh’s Fathepur District were threatened by a radical Hindu mob who surrounded the church and subsequently locked the doors. A First Information Report was lodged against 36 of the Christians on alleged forced conversion charges based on Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion laws after the mob’s leader, Himanshu Dikshit, complained that the church was working to convert Hindus to the Christian faith. Most of the congregation were freed from the locked church, but the 36 remained in jail until the wider Christian community raised their bail amount. One of the congregation said, ‘This is a perfect portrayal of Jesus’ suffering 2,000 years ago. We know Jesus endured, and we will.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 21 April 2022 20:36

Mexico: Christians are persecuted

Christians are the majority of Mexico’s total population, but they are targeted by unlawful gangs for speaking out against criminal operations and violence. Cartels violently try to silence them. In rural indigenous communities, anyone turning away from traditional religious beliefs faces rejection and punishment in the form of fines, imprisonment, and forced displacement. Non-discrimination laws mean that any links between Christian faith and politics are placed under very strict legal scrutiny. In areas controlled by criminals or drug cartels, young Christian men are exposed to forced enrolment. Those who do not accept it face threats, potential abduction, and even death. Families are bribed and intimidated to force their children to obey the gangs. Church leaders are victims of blackmail because they have access to church funds. Mexico also has the highest rate of human trafficking in the world. Women are easy targets.

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Islamic teacher, Hiire Sadiki, was poisoned on April 2, shortly after his wife learned he had converted to Christianity. He put his faith in Christ on March 27 after several months of discussions with a Christian pastor. After he didn’t observe the Ramadan fast and his wife noticed him praying in the name of Christ she questioned his mode of praying. He told her he believed in Issa (Jesus]). His wife had studied the Koran and knew verses about apostasy punishment. She left the room and began phoning Muslim leaders, then returned and prepared supper. ‘After 30 minutes, a neighbour arrived, went to the kitchen and then immediately left. After supper Sadiki suffered convulsions and vomiting and phoned the pastor who took him to hospital. Tests indicated his food was tainted with insecticides used to kill rats. The assault was the latest of many instances of Christian persecution in Uganda. 

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 15 April 2022 04:31

Myanmar: Catholic Church raided by Tatmadaw

On April 8, in Mandalay, approximately 40 soldiers from the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) raided Sacred Heart Cathedral during Lent preparations searching for gold, money and ‘hidden weapons.’ They held scores of worshippers hostage for hours, including Archbishop Marco Tin Win. They claimed to have been tipped off about weapons being hidden in the clergy centre. When the vicar general of the Archdiocese explained that the only money they had was donations raised for the poor, he too was pushed into the cathedral. The ongoing assaults against churches and religious leaders should not be ignored by the international community. They intimidate Christians, they also occupy, desecrate, and loot churches across Myanmar.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 08 April 2022 04:08

India: Pastors need prayer

26 pastors have been explicitly named and included in written threats. A Christian leader from a nearby city said other Christians in the area have also received threats, but still gather for worship, saying, ‘This is God’s work and we will not deny Him. It is difficult, we must face these things. Please pray that we are not discouraged.’ Police have not taken action and are not interested in pursuing those who attack or kill believers. Sometimes the police side with the persecutors. Please pray for the 26 named pastors to be protected from harm. Their names can’t be shared for security reasons, but God knows them. Pray for all Christian leaders in India to receive God’s love and strength, and continue to be resilient in their faith and witness as the attacks against Christian leaders increase daily. Even if they don’t kill in all the cases, the injuries are serious and long-lasting.

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