jump to navigation

105,000 Christians murdered for the faith in 2012: The Church of England Newspaper, January 13, 2013 p 6. January 21, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Persecution.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
comments closed

Over 105,000 Christians were killed because of their faith in 2012, an Italian sociologist told Vatican Radio last week, with reports from Africa, India and Asia showing a surge in anti-Christian persecution over the Christmas holidays.

Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy from Islam but released after an international protest campaign was re-arrested at his home on Christmas Day, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports.

In a 26 December 2012 statement, CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said Pastor Nadarkhani had been returned to prison Iran. CSW reported he had “been returned to jail on the orders of the director of Lakan Prison, who claimed he had been released several days too early due to the insistence of his lawyer Mohammed Ali Dadkhah,” who is also in an Iranian jail for having defended Mr. Nadarkhani.

The Mohabat News service reported that on 27 Dec 2012, approximately 50 converts to Christianity from Islam were also arrested by police in Tehran for unlawful assembly.  The converts were released after several hours of police interrogation, but the Rev. Vruir Avanessian, remains in custody.

In Nigeria, the Islamist terror group, Boko Haram, attacked a church service on Christmas Eve in a village in Yobe State, killing the pastor and several members of the congregation.  The First Baptist Church in the northern city of Maduguri was attacked by gunmen during a Midnight Service on Christmas Eve and the church’s deacon was killed.  Reports on the total death count vary, with reports ranging from 12 to 24 killed.  CSW reports that since 2010, 45 Christians have been killed in Christmas church attacks launched by Boko Haram.

On 29 Dec, terrorist believed to belong to an Islamist militia group attacked the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in Dafniya a town near Misrata Libya.  Three members of the church’s staff were killed and two were injured in the attack.  As members of the congregation left the church following the Saturday evening service, a bomb exploded inside the church.  The Coptic Church in Egypt reports the death toll could have been much higher as the blast went off after the congregation had moved from the church to the parish hall at the conclusion of services – those killed were those still inside the sanctuary when the bomb detonated.

A Catholic priest in Zanzibar was shot on Christmas Day, missionaries on the majority Muslim island off the coast of Tanzania tell The Church of England Newspaper.  Fr Ambrose Mkenda was shot by two men riding a motorcycle as stepped out of his car after returning home from celebrating Christmas Day service.  Sources on the island tell CEN Fr. Mkenda, who is recovering in hospital, was not believed to be the primary target of the attack and was mistaken for the Catholic bishop of the island.  Last year the Anglican and Catholic bishops and clergy on the island were forced to flee to the mainland for a week after Uamsho, an extremist Islamic group, sparked riots.

In an interview broadcast on 26 Dec, the Feast of St Stephen the Martyr, Prof. Massimo Introvigne reported that in 2012 it was believed 105,000 Christians were “murdered for their faith”, or “one death every 5 minutes.”

Christians were most at risk in areas with a strong Islamic fundamentalist presence, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Pakistan and some parts of Egypt, in Communist North Korea, and in countries with strong ethnic national identities, where national identity is tied to religion.  In Orissa State in India, he said, Christians are considered “traitors to the nation.”

Ideology lay behind the persecution of Christians, Prof.  Introvigne said: “the ideology of radical Islamic fundamentalism, the more aggressive versions of ethno-nationalism and, of course, the vestiges of the old Communist ideology.”

He noted that “when it comes to the 105 000 deaths per year, these are not all martyrs in the theological sense of the term. However, within this number there those people who very consciously lay down their lives for the Church and often also pray for their persecutors and these offer forgiveness,” he said.

This forgiveness of those who persecute them is the “unique feature of Christianity, because many other cultures – even pre-Christian and post-Christian – speak, the right and duty of honor and vengeance. Christianity had this great civilizing function, which today we tend to forget, to have replaced the logic of revenge with the logic of forgiveness,” Prof. Introvigne said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Iran frees imprisoned Christian pastor jailed for apostasy: The Church of England Newspaper, September 16, 2013 p 7 September 15, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Persecution.
Tags: , , ,
comments closed

Yousef Nadarkhani

An Iranian court acquitted Yousef Nadarkhani of apostasy from Islam this week, permitting the Christian pastor to return home after three years imprisonment.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that at an 8 September 2012 hearing, a court in Rasht in Iran’s Gilan province on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea court overturned Yousef Nadarkhani’s 2010 conviction for apostasy, finding him guilty instead of proselytizing Muslims.  The court sentenced him to three years imprisonment for seeking to evangelize Muslims, but ordered he be released for time served.

Born in a non-practicing Muslim family, Mr. Nadarkhani (35) converted to Christianity as a young man and for the past ten years has been the pastor of a network of house churches in Rasht.   In 2009, Mr. Nadarkhani was arrested and brought before a political tribunal on 12 October 2009 after he complained that new government regulations requiring that his two sons, Daniel (10) and Yoel (8) be instructed in Islam in school violated the Iranian constitution’s guarantee of the free practice of religion.

Mr. Nadarkhani was brought to trial on 21-22 September 2010 before the 1st Court of the Revolutionary Tribunal. On 13 November 2010 the court handed down a guilty verdict and ordered he be hanged.  The third chamber of the Iranian Supreme Court in Qom on 28 June 2011 upheld the conviction for apostasy and the death penalty, but stayed execution pending an investigation by the trial court to determine when Mr. Nadarkhani had left Islam.

In October 2011 the trial court wrote to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini, requesting his opinion as to how to proceed in light of the Supreme Court’s decision. Last month it was announced the local court would review the proceedings in light of Sharia law precedents and investigate at what age Mr. Nadarkhani had left the Muslim faith.

Each of Islam’s five major schools of jurisprudence call for the death penalty for those who leave Islam for another faith. However Islamic law distinguishes between apostasy of an adult and a child. Iran’s proposed Islamic Penal Law also divides apostates into two categories: parental and innate. Innate apostates were those whose parents were Muslim, made a profession of Islam — the Shahada — as an adult and then left the faith, while parental apostates were those born in non-Muslim families, converted to Islam as an adult, and then left the faith.

Iranian law is unclear as the punishment for apostasy, but the proposed Article 225-7 of the Islamic Penal Law states the “Punishment for an innate apostate is death,” while Article 225-8 allows a parental apostate three days to recant their apostasy. If they continued in their unbelief, “the death penalty would be carried out.”

The push to impose penal sanctions on apostates from Islam comes amidst a rise in conversions to Christianity in Iran.  Approximately 200,000 or one percent of Iran’s population, belong to officially sanctioned groups that have historic ties to the region such as the Armenian, Assyrian and Catholic Churches.

However, the number of Protestant Christians is unclear.  In 1979, there were less than 500 known Christians from a Muslim background in Iran.  “Today the most conservative estimate is that there are at least 100,000 believers in the nation,” reports Elam Ministry –  a British based Christian ministry to Persians.

News of the release of Mr. Nadarkhani was greeted with joy by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), one of the principle organizations in the West that had championed his cause. CSW chief executive, Mervyn Thomas said they were “delighted to learn of Pastor Nadarkhani’s release after a long incarceration. We commend the Iranian judiciary for this step, which is a triumph for justice and the rule of law.”

“While we rejoice at this wonderful news, we do not forget hundreds of others who are harassed or unjustly detained on account of their faith, and CSW is committed to continue campaigning until all of Iran’s religious minorities are able to enjoy religious freedom as guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Iran frees Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani: Anglican Ink, September 8, 2012 September 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ink, Islam, Persecution.
Tags: , ,
comments closed

The Iranian Christian pastor awaiting execution has been acquitted of the charge of apostasy and released from imprisonment.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that at an 8 September 2012 hearing, the court overturned Yousef Nadarkhani’s 2010 conviction for apostasy, finding him guilty instead of proselytizing Muslims.  He was sentenced to three years imprisonment, but released for time served.

In 2009, Mr. Nadarkhani was arrested and charged with apostasy after he complained that new government regulations requiring that his two sons, Daniel (10) and Yoel (8) be instructed in Islam in school violated the Iranian constitution’s guarantee of the free practice of religion.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted: Oct 1, 2011 October 3, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican.TV, Property Litigation, South Carolina.
Tags: ,
comments closed

Has OE and KE become a disease of BC and AD? No it is not algebra, it is the new era and Kevin and George explain it and use it. Also in this week’s episode our hosts discuss Pastor Youcef bound in Iran and South Carolina and whether it is bound by title IV. Our legal segment with Allan Haley is on Bishop Seabury’s recent court loss.