Showing posts with label Religious Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religious Freedom. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ISIS Bombs Assyrian, Armenian Churches in Syria

The St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal, Syria, was bombed by ISIS yesterday.
The St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal, Syria, was bombed by ISIS yesterday.

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- According to reports from Syria and also the Turkish press, ISIS has bombed two churches in Syria, the St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal and the St. Rita Tilel Armenian Church in Aleppo. The churches were bombed yesterday.

Located on the Khabur river in the Hasaka province in Syria, Tel Tal is one of the 35 Assyrian villages that was attacked by ISIS on February 23. ISIS captured nearly 300 Assyrians in those attacks and subsequently released 23, all from the village of Tel Goran. The remaining Assyrians are still being held captive.


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ISIS Bombs Assyrian, Armenian Churches in Syria



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Egyptian Christians Face Harassment, Violence in Attempting to Rebuild Church



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Coptic Orthodox Christians in the small village of Samalout, 137 miles south of Cairo, unexpectedly received permission from local authorities to rebuild their destroyed church building. Permits to build or rebuild local village churches in Egypt are rarely granted and usually bring strong Muslim opposition.

However, when the construction work started last week, Muslim extremists in the village stirred up a group to forcibly stop the work. Eventually, the Samalout police department called for a meeting between leaders from the church and more than 100 Muslims from the village who didn't want the church rebuilt. Police attempted to persuade the angry crowd to allow the construction of the church to take place with without opposition.

After the meeting ended with no resolution, the angry Muslims returned to the village. They took to the streets, shouting: "Egypt will become an Islamic State." They also chanted hostile slogans against Christians and stoned the houses of some Christians. That brought fear to the hearts of peaceful Christians of the village.

Although Christians had legal permission to build the church, the hardness of fanatic Muslims in their village did not allow them to build their church.


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Egyptian Christians Face Harassment, Violence in Attempting to Rebuild Church


Elderly nun gang raped trying to stop robbery in India, police say | Fox News

March 14, 2015: Students of Convent of Jesus and Mary School participate in a protest against the gang rape of a nun in her 70s by a group of bandits when she tried to prevent them from robbing the Christian missionary school in Begopara, (AP)


The following excerpts are from FoxNews.com:

KOLKATA, India – A nun in her 70s was gang-raped by a group of bandits Saturday when she tried to prevent them from robbing a Christian missionary school in eastern India, police said, the latest crime to focus attention on the scourge of sexual violence in the country.

The nun was hospitalized in serious condition after being attacked by seven or eight men at the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in Nadia district, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of the West Bengal state capital of Kolkata, a police officer said.

The men escaped and police are searching for them, said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

The robbers tied the school's security guards with ropes early Saturday and entered the nuns' room, where the women were sleeping. They took one of the nuns to another room when she tried to block their way and then raped her, the officer said.

The woman who was attacked is either 71 or 72 and is the oldest nun at the school, he said.


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Elderly nun gang raped trying to stop robbery in India, police say | Fox News




Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Assyrian Christians Captured As ISIS Attacks Villages in Syria

Kurdish fighters in front of a church in the village of Tel Jumaa on Wednesday (Reuters).
Kurdish fighters in front of a church in the village of Tel Jumaa on Wednesday (Reuters).


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

ISTANBUL -- The reports are horrifying, something out of a distant era of ancient conquests: entire villages emptied, with hundreds taken prisoner, others kept as slaves; the destruction of irreplaceable works of art; a tax on religious minorities, payable in gold.

A rampage reminiscent of Tamerlane or Genghis Khan, perhaps, but in reality, according to reports by residents, activist groups and the assailants themselves, a description of the modus operandi of the Islamic State's self-declared Islamic caliphate this week as it prosecuted a relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria against what have historically been religiously and ethnically diverse areas with traces of civilizations dating to ancient Mesopotamia.

The latest to face the militants' onslaught are the Assyrian Christians of northeastern Syria, one of the world's oldest Christian communities, some speaking a modern version of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Assyrian leaders have counted 287 people taken captive, including 30 children and several dozen women, along with civilian men and fighters from Christian militias, said Dawoud Dawoud, an Assyrian political activist who had just toured the area, in the vicinity of the Syrian city of Qamishli. Thirty villages had been emptied, he said.

The Syriac Military Council, a local Assyrian militia, put the number of those taken at 350.

Reached in Qamishli, Adul Ahad Nissan, 48, an accountant and music composer who fled his village before the brunt of the fighting, said a close friend and his wife had been captured.

"I used to call them every other day. Now their mobile is off," he said. "I tried and tried. It's so painful not to see your friends again."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Piece By Piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is Being Shattered



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Still reeling from last week's news of the Islamist beheading of 21 Coptic Christian migrant workers in Libya, Middle Eastern Christians were again targeted by a large scale Islamist terror attack with thousands of victims Monday, in Syria. Islamic State jihadists laid siege to a string of Christian Assyrian villages, along the Khabour river, in northeastern Syria, kidnapping or killing scores of residents. Those abducted are now in imminent peril and thousands more who were expelled have joined the ranks of mendicant displaced.

Piece by piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is being shattered.

What this means for the Islamist militants are gains in strategic ground and further headway in the goal of religious cleansing. In other words, the Islamic State also known as ISIS is still winning -- militarily and politically. And despite upbeat statements about our counter-terrorism strategy by new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and last week's Counter Violent Extremism conference at the State Department, our side -- those who oppose this barbarism -- finds itself still back on its heels.

Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East emailed that sources in the city of Hassakah, reported that some 3,000 of the villagers managed to flee, either to that city or to Qamishly, where they are being sheltered in churches. According to his source, who requested anonymity, the captives included "50 families in Tel Shamiran, 26 families in Tel Gouran, 28 families in Tel Jezira, and 14 young people (12 males and 2 females) who were defending Tel Hormiz." Milad, a 17-year-old man, was "martyred."

Since a family averages five people, this translates to over 120 Christians captured by ISIS. The Islamist militants reportedly separated the captives, men from women and children -- a pattern also seen when ISIS attacked Iraq's Yizidi community on Sinjar mountain last August. The Syrian Christians' fate is unknown but could include murder, enslavement, rape or traded as a hostage. Churches in the seized villages could be seen ablaze from the opposite river bank.

Syrian-Catholic Archbishop of Hassakah-Nisibi, Jacques Behnan Hindo, told the Vatican press Fides that the Christians feel like they are "abandoned into the hands" of ISIS.

The Archbishop explained:

"Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action. We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakah, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN High Commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen."


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Piece By Piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is Being Shattered

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Former Assyrian Church Leader and Two Christian Converts Arrested in Iran

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Iranian security agents arrested an Assyrian pastor and two Christian converts who were his guests at his Tehran residence on December 26, 2014, according to Mansour Borji, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Iranian Churches.

Borji told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the full reasons for the arrest of Pastor Victor Beth Tarmez, a former leader of the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church, and his guests remain unknown, but that at the time of the raid on his home, agents stated that they were arresting the individuals because they "participated in an illegal gathering." The "illegal gathering" was a Christmas party Tarmez was holding at his home and his guests were Zoroastrian, Muslim, and Christian citizens.

"There was a Christmas party at Pastor Victor's home. He and his wife and son and 14 guests were there. When agents entered the home, first they searched all the personal belongings of the guests, then they videotaped their faces, and then they searched the premises. Eventually, they arrested Pastor Tarmez along with two Christian converts and confiscated some property from the home," Borji told the Campaign.

"During a short phone call to his family on December 29, Pastor Victor informed them that he is held at Evin Prison. We have no information about the status of the two Christian converts arrested on the same day. All we know is that they have not been released yet," added Mansour Borji.


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Former Assyrian Church Leader and Two Christian Converts Arrested in Iran


Thursday, July 31, 2014

LIBYA - PHILIPPINES Tripoli priest calls for the repatriation of Filipino workers whose lives are risk - Asia News



The following excerpts are from AsiaNews.it:

Tripoli (AsiaNews/CBCP) - The Catholic Church in Libya "is doing everything possible" to help Filipino workers return home safe and sound, said Fr Amado Baranquel, parish priest at Tripoli's Mary Immaculate Church. Hence, the Filipino government should "rescue them via the sea" since armed clashes between Libyan government forces and the rebel groups have made land travel "too unsafe".

About 13,000 Filipinos live in Libya. Although they are welcome in the country, they have also been affected by the Islamist advance. A 50-year-old man who worked for a construction company was kidnapped and beheaded in Benghazi on 23 July because he was not Muslim.

"Violence and rapes against foreigners are happening every day," Fr Baranquel explained.In fact, two orders of nuns have repatriated their members to Italy, he said. "It is too risky for them to stay here."


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LIBYA - PHILIPPINES Tripoli priest calls for the repatriation of Filipino workers whose lives are risk - Asia News



Christian Groups to Rally for Protection in Iraq


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Across the ancient cities and villages of Iraq, an "N" word also is used out of hate.

Members of the extremist group known as ISIS spray paint the letter "N" in blazing red on the homes of those they deem different. Scrawled in Arabic and pronounced "noon," the N stands for Nazarene, or follower of Christ, and to an outsider, it may look like a happy face.

But ISIS uses it as a mark of death. It warns Christian families who live in those homes to convert to Islam, pay a hefty tax, or prepare to die.

"There is a Christian genocide happening in Northern Iraq and no one is doing anything about it" said Delilah George, a 31-year-old Assyrian woman and Valley Village resident. "My people are experiencing unspeakable horror and grief at the hands of these radicals."

Since the takeover in June of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIS has targeted the Christian population, whose faith has been present for almost 2,000 years. In the last two weeks, Assyrians were forced to leave their ancestral homeland under the threat of death. Many have been beaten, robbed and brutalized, or killed along the way as they search for a safe haven.

The sadness, frustration with the lack of public awareness and even anger has prompted George and countless Assyrians to hold a rally Saturday at the Federal Building in Los Angeles. Dubbed "Demand for Action," the Los Angeles event is one of nearly 40 worldwide to be held also on Saturday across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.


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Christian Groups to Rally for Protection in Iraq



Monday, July 28, 2014

Five Killed in Bombing of Catholic Church in Nigeria



The following excerpts are from ChristianPost.com:

At least five people were killed and eight others injured in a bomb attack on a Catholic church in Nigeria's northern city of Kano on Sunday. The bombing was blamed on the Islamist terror group Boko Haram.

The Saint Charles Catholic church, which is situated in Kano's Sabon Gari (foreign quarter) area, a mainly Christian area, was attacked shortly after the end of Sunday mass, police spokesman Frank Mba told Agence France Presse.

"We suspect an IED (improvised explosive device) that was thrown from across the road," the spokesman said.

In a separate incident in Kano city on Sunday, police prevented a woman from carrying out an attack outside a university, following which she blew herself up. Five police officials were injured while isolating her.

Following the two incidents on Sunday, Kano's emir cancelled the celebration of the Eid festival, which marks the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan.


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Five Killed in Bombing of Catholic Church in Nigeria


Saturday, July 26, 2014

PHILIPPINES - LIBYA Filipino priest warns that the lives of 13,000 Filipinos in Libya are in danger - Asia News



The following excerpts are from AsiaNews.it:

Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) - As Libya's political crisis plunges the country into ever greater chaos, a Filipino priest in Tripoli urges his government to ensure the safety of some 13,000 Filipinos trapped in the country.

Fr Amado Baranquel, pastor of the Church of Mary Immaculate in the Libyan capital, issued his appeal after radical Islamists killed a Filipino in Benghazi "for not being a Muslim."

The victim was a 50-year-old construction worker who was abducted and killed on Wednesday.

This has caused panic among Filipinos in Libya who are unable to leave because ports and airports have been destroyed.

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PHILIPPINES - LIBYA Filipino priest warns that the lives of 13,000 Filipinos in Libya are in danger - Asia News


Monday, July 21, 2014

Christian Holocaust Underway in Iraq, USA and World Look on



The following excerpts are from Aina.org:

When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003, there were at least 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Over the last ten years, significantly in the last few months with the emergence of ISIS, that figure has dropped to about 400,000.

In a region where Christians predate Muslims by centuries, over one million Christians have been killed or have had to flee because of jihadi persecution, while America is basically standing by and watching.


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Christian Holocaust Underway in Iraq, USA and World Look on



Monday, July 14, 2014

Christians Disappearing From Iraq, Bishops Lament

Chaldean Archbishops of Erbil and Kirkuk, Bashar Warda and Yousif Mirkis (photo: Aid to the Church in Need).

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Two Iraqi archbishops are seeking "faith and hope" in Iraq, while bewailing the continuing exodus of Christians from the country amid continued violence.
Archbishop Yousif Mirkis heads the Chaldean Archdiocese of Kirkuk, in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

He said that he "quite definitely" fears the end of Christianity in Iraq.

"We are in the process of disappearing, just as the Christians in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and North Africa have disappeared. And even in Lebanon they now constitute only a minority," he told the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need July 8.

Archbishop Mirkis said he is not resigned to defeat, but "trying to be realistic."

"There is still the hope that faith brings," he said. While he himself will not leave Iraq, he said he understands why young Christians are leaving in the wake of so many violent deaths.

"In the past ten years we have lost a bishop and six priests. In addition there are about a thousand of the faithful who have died in attacks."

"Not everybody shares the faith and the hope."

The Christian population in Iraq has plummeted to 400,000, down from about 1.5 million before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


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Christians Disappearing From Iraq, Bishops Lament



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nicaragua’s bishops to meet with Ortega, declare days of prayer : News Headlines - Catholic Culture


The following excerpts are from CWN:

  • On May 21, Nicaragua’s bishops, along with the apostolic nuncio, will meet with President Daniel Ortega, whom a bishop recently said has undertaken a “devious persecution” of the Church.
  • Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinistas who overthrew the authoritarian regime of Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista takeover until his loss in the 1990 presidential election. Ortega won the presidential elections of 2006 and 2011.

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Nicaragua’s bishops to meet with Ortega, declare days of prayer : News Headlines - Catholic Culture



Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Christians 'Crucified Again' for Refusing Islam


The following excerpts are from AINA:

  • To the awe of its readership, a recent Daily Mail article reports that the “jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIL],” which is currently entrenched in Raqqa, Syria, “publicly crucified two Syrian rebels in northeastern Syria in revenge for a grenade attack on members of their group.”
  • While the Daily Mail is to be commended for exposing these barbaric acts—along with posting photos of the crucified—it nonetheless minimized their significance, in two important ways: 1) by repeatedly saying things like “even al-Qaeda is distancing itself from ISIL,” and so implying that the act of crucifixion is some wild aberration that even the poster-child of jihadi terror, al-Qaeda, wants nothing to do with it; and 2) ignoring the much “sexier” story that Christians in Syria are also being crucified simply for refusing to embrace Islam (as opposed to the rather mundane but politically more correct story of Islamic jihadis crucifying each other in the context of vendetta killings).
  • Consider the atrocities earlier committed in Ma'loula, Syria, an ancient Christian village where the inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, the language of Christ.
  • According to recent Arabic news media, "a Syrian nun testified to the Vatican news agency that some Christians in Ma'loula were crucified for refusing to convert to Islam or pay jizya" (tribute subjugated Christians are required to pay to their Islamic conquerors in order to exist as Christians, per Koran 9:29).
  • Incidentally, they were crucified by the al-Qaeda linked Nasra Front (so much for Daily Mail's portrayal of al-Qaeda "distancing" itself from the apparently "extra-extremist" ISIL for crucifying its victims).

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Christians 'Crucified Again' for Refusing Islam



Monday, May 05, 2014

Teacher tells student he can't read the Bible in classroom | Fox News


The following excerpts are from Fox News:

  • A Florida school teacher humiliated a 12-year-old boy in front of an entire class after she caught him reading the Bible during free reading time.
  • The teacher, at Park Lakes Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, ordered Giovanni Rubeo to pick up the telephone on her desk and call his parents. 
  • As the other students watched, the teacher left a terse message on the family’s answering machine here.
  • “I noticed that he has a book – a religious book – in the classroom,” she said on the recording. “He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.”

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Teacher tells student he can't read the Bible in classroom | Fox News



Thursday, May 01, 2014

Continued violence against Christians in Orissa : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic World News:

  • Six years after an anti-Christian pogrom in the eastern Indian state of Orissa left several dozen dead and drove 50,000 from their homes, Hindu radicals destroyed a Catholic survivor’s rebuilt home, according to the India Christian Activist Network.
  • The state is now officially known as Odisha.

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Continued violence against Christians in Orissa : News Headlines - Catholic Culture



Egypt: 2 Christians dead in sectarian clashes : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic World News:

  • Sectarian clashes between Muslims and Chrstians have broken out in towns around Assiut, a city of 400,000 in central Egypt.
  • A Muslim driver destroyed the front of a store owned by a Coptic Christian in Paisari, according to the Egyptian news site Copts United. During a reconciliation meeting between the Christian and Muslim communities, violence broke out, leaving 10 injured.

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Egypt: 2 Christians dead in sectarian clashes : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Chaldean patriarch rips Western actions in Iraq: ‘we are a ruined church’ : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic World News:
  • Eleven years after the US invasion of Iraq, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church declared that “we are a ruined church” and said that “1,400 years of Islam could not uproot us from our land and our churches, while the policies of the West [have] scattered us and distributed us all around the world.”
  • “Democracy and change come through upbringing and education rather than through conflict,” said Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, who has governed the Eastern Catholic church since February 2013. “Intervention by the West in the region did not solve the problems … but on the contrary, produced more chaos and conflict.”
  • Referring to the regime of Saddam Hussein, he said that “in the Church of the Ascension, Al-Mashtal, for example, there were about 5,000 families and over 240 students preparing for their First Holy Communion before the regime’s fall.” On “25 April 2014, I celebrated in this church the Holy Mass for First Holy Communion of 13 students only.”

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Indonesian court bows to Islamic militants, revokes permit for Catholic church : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:


  • In the West Java region of Indonesia, Islamic militants have pressured a court to revoke the building permit for a Catholic church, the AsiaNews service reports.

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Indonesian court bows to Islamic militants, revokes permit for Catholic church : News Headlines - Catholic Culture


Saturday, March 15, 2014

More than thirty North Koreans sentenced to death for their faith


The following excerpts are from Live Action News:

  • If there was a question about whether Kim Jong-Un had any intention of heeding the U.N. Report on the rampant human rights abuses in North Korea, or complying with any of its demands, none should remain following the recent revelation by the South Korean press that the brutal dictator is preparing to execute approximately 33 Christians for allegedly attempting to overthrow the North Korean government.
  • The condemned have received this sentence, in reality, for nothing more than having come into contact with South Korean missionary Kim Jung-wook and receiving money to fund underground Christian churches.....

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More than thirty North Koreans sentenced to death for their faith