Persecution Fridays – Pakistan – New Blasphemy Charge

March 16, 2012 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Pakistan: New Blasphemy Charge

Dildar Yousaf, 28, was arrested and charged with blasphemy after defending his 8-year-old nephew from a group of Muslim boys on June 10, 2011. That morning, Dildar’s nephew, Ehtasham, was taunted by a group of boys as he passed the madrassa on his way to the market. A madrassa is a school where Islamic students study the Quran.

As Ehtasham walked by the madrassa, seven boys gathered around him and tried to force him to become a Muslim by repeating the phrase, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” Ehtasham refused, and the boys began to scream at him and beat him.

Ehtasham’s uncle, Dildar, happened to pass by at that moment. Dildar pulled his nephew away from the boys and took him back home. Dildar then went on to his job. That afternoon, the news spread that Dildar had disgraced the Muslim proclamation of faith; the news was repeated from one mosque loudspeaker to another. Soon Muslim crowds began to shout, “Kill him! Death for the blasphemer!”

Police picked up Dildar from his workplace and put him in protective custody. They also filed a blasphemy charge against him under Pakistani law 298A, which carries the lightest sentence for blasphemers. (Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, who was charged with blasphemy under 298C, was sentenced to death. Her case is on appeal.)

Dildar remains in prison as his case progresses through the justice system. His blasphemy charge carries a potential three-year sentence, with the possibility of parole. Dildar’s wife, Naseem, and two children have had to leave their home and move in with her family in another village because of ongoing threats. Ehtasham and his family have also had to leave their village. VOM is supporting the family and providing legal assistance to Dildar.

Dildar’s village has a history of persecution. In the past, a Christian’s house was burned, a pastor was killed, and believer Ayub Masih was charged with blasphemy. “Muslims have always looked down on us,” Ayub told VOM workers. “We cannot send our children to school, and we cannot feed our animals because we cannot go into the fields. We live under the fear that anything can happen any time.”

Persecution Fridays – Iran – Pastor Faces Charges

September 2, 2011 at 10:31 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | 2 Comments
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Pastor Faces Charges

Iranian pastor Abdolreza “Matthias” Haghnejad was released from prison on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, after a family member pledged their property for his bail. Haghnejad is charged with blasphemy against Islam, according to VOM contacts.

Haghnejad, a pastor from the city of Bandar Anzal, was arrested on Aug. 17, while making a pastoral visit in the city of Rasht. VEVAK, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and National Security, held Haghnejad in prison in the Rasht area until his family paid the $30,000 bail, according to ASSIST News Service.

“[Blasphemy against Islam] is a serious charge against Haghnejad, so I ask that you continue to pray for him and his family,” VOM contacts said. “God made a way for his acquittal previously, and I believe he will do so again.”

Haghnejad and 10 other church members were detained earlier this year and charged for activities against the Iranian order and drinking alcohol but they were later acquitted on May 1. The charges referred to their involvement in a house church meeting and to taking communion wine.

Haghnejad’s most recent arrest occurred amidst reports of escalated government pressure on Christians. Please pray that God will provide Haghnejad and his family with strength and courage while they wait for the court hearing on the blasphemy charges.

Persecution Fridays – Pakistan

June 17, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Pakistan: The Power to Forgive

Shaken and still feeling the effects from an attack on their service, Numseoul Presbyterian Church publicly forgave the men who attacked them on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. Armed with guns, the nephew of a former legislator, Muhammad Shoaib, and four other men disrupted the church service three days earlier. “They were just out of control,” Pastor Ashraf Masih told Compass Direct News. “Shoaib and his men broke the glass altar of the church, threw copies of the Bible towards the wall and desecrated the cross.” The gang also beat three elderly Christians with bamboo sticks.

The attackers cursed the congregation for disrupting the peace by worshipping on loudspeakers, Masih said. However, the church uses loudspeakers only inside the church building, located in a rural area outside Lahore. “The loudspeakers on mosques are used all day long for prayers and sermons,” he said. “I fail to understand why this man has turned against us in the last few months.” Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Pakistan…

Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon Remembrance of Christ

May 29, 2011 at 7:51 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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A Sermon

Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 7th, 1855, by the

REV. C. H. Spurgeon

At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

“This do in remembrance of me.”—1 Corinthians 11:24.

It seems, then, that Christians may forget Christ. The text implies the possibility of forgetfulness concerning him whom gratitude and affection should constrain them to remember. There could be no need for this loving exhortation, if there were not a fearful supposition that our memories might prove treacherous, and our remembrance superficial in its character, or changing in its nature. Nor is this a bare supposition: it is, alas, too well confirmed in our experience, not as a possibility, but as a lamentable fact. It seems at first sight too gross a crime to lay at the door of converted men. It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb should ever forget their Ransomer; that those who have been loved with an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, should ever forget that Son; but if startling to the ear, it is alas, too apparent to the eye to allow us to deny the fact. Forget him who ne’er forgot us! Forget him who poured his blood forth for our sins! Forget him who loved us even to the death! Can it be possible? Yes it is not only possible, but conscience confesses that it is too sadly a fault of all of us, that we can remember anything except Christ. The object which we should make the monarch of our hearts, is the very thing we are most inclined to forget. Where one would think that memory would linger, and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder, that is the spot which is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness, and that the place where memory too seldom looks. I appeal to the conscience of every Christian here: Can you deny the truth of what I utter? Do you not find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Some creature steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of him upon whom your affection ought to be set. Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should have your eye steadily fixed upon the cross. It is the incessant round of world, world, world; the constant din of earth, earth, earth, that takes away the soul from Christ. Oh! my friends, is it not too sadly true that we can recollect anything but Christ, and forget nothing so easy as him whom we ought to remember? While memory will preserve a poisoned weed, it suffereth the Rose of Sharon to wither. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Charles Spurgeon Remembrance of Christ…

Sermon Sunday: Charles Spurgeon

April 3, 2011 at 7:48 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | 2 Comments
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Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 7th, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

“I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”—Malachi 3:6

It has been said by some one that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel— Continue Reading Sermon Sunday: Charles Spurgeon…

Persecution Friday: Pakistan

March 11, 2011 at 9:26 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Pakistan: Christian Minister Killed

A pamphlet left by Taliban forces at the scene of the crime.

Pakistan’s only Christian cabinet member, Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated by gunmen on March 2, 2011. Shahbaz, a member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, ardently advocated reforming Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which is often used against Christians. He is the second politician killed for criticizing the blasphemy law and calling for the release of convicted Christian Asia Bibi. The governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was killed on Jan. 4 after he publicly spoke out against the law. Several armed men opened fire on Shahbaz’s car in a residential neighborhood of Islamabad. Two of the men pulled Shahbaz’s driver out of the car while the third man repeatedly fired his Kalashnikov into the vehicle. Shahbaz was killed instantly. Pakistani television carried images of his bullet-riddled car. 

 Pamphlets attributed to Al-Qaeda and a branch of the Pakistani Taliban were distributed at the scene, warning that anyone who criticized the blasphemy law would be killed. Last November, Shahbaz joined Governor Taseer in championing the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death. Shahbaz had been receiving death threats since the governor’s murder. He said in several interviews that he was “the highest target right now,” but he vowed to continue his work and trusted his life to God, according to Compass Direct News. “I don’t believe that bodyguards can save me after the assassination [of Taseer],” he said. “I believe in the protection from heaven.”

Shahbaz was a committed Christian. In a BBC video recorded just four months ago, Shahbaz said, “I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of cross. And I am following the cross.” He joined the Pakistan People’s Party in 2002 and was appointed the Federal Minister for Minorities in 2008, the first Christian to hold the position. According to Release International’s CEO, Andy Dipper, “Shahbaz was an uncompromising supporter of minorities in Pakistan who face abuse and unfair treatment. He was fully aware of the risks in speaking out. Extremists have succeeded in destroying another good man.”

Newslinks 01/09/11

January 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

 

Passion to 22,000 Students: Be Free, Fully Alive in Jesus
People want to be here. That’s the sense you get when you come to the Passion 2011 conference that opened Saturday, New Year’s Day, with 22,000 students.

Beth Moore: Control Your Mind, Focus on ‘One Thing’

 

American Churches Begin 2011 with Prayer, Fasting

 

Atheists Declare Religions as ‘Scams’ in New Ad

 

Global Church Body Condemns ‘Vicious Attack’ in Egypt

 

Islamic Extremists Protest Efforts to Change Blasphemy Laws and Free Christian

Louie Giglio Surprises Passion Crowd with Haitian Family
Attendees of the Passion conference on Sunday heard about a family that survived the Haiti earthquake that destroyed their home and killed two family members. What the crowd did not expect was to see them walk out on stage. Continue Reading Newslinks 01/09/11…

Newslinks 12/12/10

December 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

2 More Christians Killed in Baghdad
Iraq’s Christian minority took another hit Sunday evening when gunmen shot and killed an elderly Christian couple in their home.

Prop. 8 Appeal Goes Before Federal Court

Pakistan Minister Condemns Reward for Killing Christian Woman

Colson: Prison Rate Up Due to Moral Breakdown

WCC Head, Pope Benedict Discuss Church Unity

Somali Teenage Girl Shot to Death for Embracing Christ Continue Reading Newslinks 12/12/10…

Persecution Fridays: Pakistan

December 10, 2010 at 10:07 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Pakistan: Mullah Requests Murder

On Dec. 3, 2010, a mullah in Pakistan offered more than $6,000 (U.S.) to anyone who kills Asia Bibi, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.

VOM contacts are concerned for Asia’s safety. In the past, Christian have been killed in jail, on their way to court, and even after being released from jail. “There is threat that she can be killed even after her releasing from the jail,” VOM contacts said. “It’s not just a statement by mulana, but we have examples of previous blasphemy cases.”

Following the mullah’s statement, Muslims, including representatives from extremist groups, protested against Asia and a proposed amendment of the blasphemy law. Protests were held in many major cities in Pakistan.

Asia was arrested by police in June 2009 following an intense discussion between her and her co-workers about their faith. Asia told the Muslim women about her faith in Christ, explaining that he had died on the cross for our sins. Then she asked them what Mohammed had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammed is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

Upon hearing this, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan.

Asia was charged with blasphemy, and on Nov. 8, 2010, she was sentenced to death. Pray for Asia’s protection during this tense time. Pray for Asia’s release from prison and for her safety after her release. Ask God to minister to her family, especially her children.

Newslinks 11/14/10

November 14, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Posted in Newslinks | 2 Comments
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Republican Co-Author of Incandescent-Bulb Ban Seeks Chair of House Energy Committee
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) may have some explaining to do to fellow GOP colleagues as he seeks the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, given the incoming wave of new conservatives who may not appreciate some aspects of Upton’s voting record.

House G.O.P. Promises Open Amendment Process on all Spending Legislation
(CNSNews.com)
– Once Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January, even minority Democrats will be able to offer amendments to reduce spending for all spending legislation that comes before the chamber — something that was not allowed under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Planned Parenthood Seeks Donations after GOP Electoral Gains, Even as Group Gets Millions in Taxpayer Dollars
(CNSNews.com)
– In a letter sent to supporters by e-mail on the day after Republicans were swept in as the new majority in the House of Representatives and gained seats in the Senate, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards used the election results to press for an “emergency donation” to help fight against “dangerous politicians who oppose women’s health and the right to choose.”

Pakistan Happier Than India With Obama’s Comments on Terror
(CNSNews.com)
– In his comments on terrorism delivered at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel – the location of a deadly attack two year ago – President Obama dismayed many in India by making no mention of Pakistan. Continue Reading Newslinks 11/14/10…

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