Persecution Fridays – China – Glory in the Midst of Trials

September 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm | 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

China: Glory in Midst of Trials

After serving two years in Chinese labor camps Labor Camp, five leaders of the Linfen house church have been released: Fao Fuqin, Zhao Guoai, Yang Caizhen, Yang Hongzhen and Li Shuangpin. Although each person experienced physical and psychological torment, they all feel strong, experiencing “glory in the midst of trials and tribulations,” reported ChinaAid Association. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – China – Glory in the Midst of Trials…

Persecution Fridays – Iran – Crackdown on Bibles

August 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm | 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

Iran: Crackdown on Bibles

The Iranian government is showing increasing concern about the large quantities of Bibles entering the country, according to VOM contacts.

Government advisor Dr. Majid Abhari recently announced the seizure of 6,500 copies of the Bible between the cities of Zanjan and Abhar in northwest Iran, according to Mohabat News. He accused the missionaries in charge of the operation of using money and propaganda to influence people in Iran, specifically youth.

“With regards to the activities of these Christian missionaries to deceive people, especially youngsters, they have begun a huge campaign by spending huge sums and false propaganda for deceiving the public,” Abhari told a government news agency.

Bible confiscation is common in Iran. Prior to this event, police officers and revolutionary guards seized and burned 300 Bibles on a routine bus inspection in November 2010.

Abhari expressed concerns about the large quantity of Bibles recently imported and circulated in Iran. He said, “These books were made with the best paper in the world [and were] pocket size. The important point in this issue that should be considered by intelligence, judicial and religious agencies is that all religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam.”

Many government officials believe the purpose of Christians is to directly confront Islam, reports a VOM contact. According to VOM contacts, Iranian officials have always been against Muslim conversions to Christianity. However, three decades of extensive propaganda against Christianity has not deterred many Iranians from seeking the gospel.

Persecution Fridays: Uzbekistan – False Prosecutions

August 19, 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

Uzbekistan: False Prosecutions

Authorities in Uzbekistan continue to pressure churches and religious groups, often fabricating evidence to punish or limit Christians’ ability to practice their faith. Christians recently have been subjected to excessive fines, false accusations and literature confiscations. In the most recent case, on July 15, 2011, Konstantin Malchikovsky, pastor of the Hamza District Baptist Church in Tashkent, was indicted for tax fraud.

The indictment involved allegations that Malchikovsky failed to pay taxes on church offerings and book sales between 2003 and 2010. According to Forum 18 News, a government investigator threatened church members with jail time if they refused to fabricate evidence against the pastor. The government apparently wants the church to use a cash register to receive offerings so they can issue a receipt for each one.

Malchikovsky faces a maximum of two years in jail if convicted. Local Christians told Forum 18 that city tax authorities did not present to the court all of the documents claimed as evidence. And the judge ignored documents that proved the inaccuracy of the indictment.

Last spring, authorities raided the Hamza District Baptist Church, confiscating money, printing equipment and tens of thousands of Christian books. Four church members, including Malchikovsky, were fined between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly wage.

In a separate raid in June, authorities confiscated about 250 Christian books and recordings, a computer and a passport from Christian Anvar Rajapov’s home. Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage. Ignoring police threats, Rajapov twice unsuccessfully appealed the ruling to Tashkent Criminal Court. On July 10, when Rajapov asked the court for the return of his hard drive, the court ordered that it be destroyed.

In another case, the Uzbek Supreme Court recently upheld the 10-year sentence of Tohar Haydarov, who was arrested in March 2010 and charged with the “illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities.” Church members consistently told Forum 18 News that the allegations were fabricated to punish him.

Although prison authorities have shown Haydarov letters that have been mailed to him, he has not been allowed to read them. The reason, prison authorities say, is that there are “too many citations from the Bible in them.” Local Christians told Forum 18 News that Haydarov has admonished other Christians to “appreciate dearly your worship services and listen attentively to the sermons. I so much wish to attend worship services, but, alas, I don’t have the opportunity.”

Persecution Fridays – Kazakhstan – Pastors Fined for Praying

August 5, 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

Kazakhstan: Pastors Fined for Praying

Two pastors in Kazakhstan have been punished for praying for others. Pastor Vissa Kim appealed then paid his fine in 2010, while Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov was charged just weeks ago.

Pastor Ushanov of the New Life Protestant church in the city of Taraz, was charged on June 8, 2011 with “causing severe damage to health” under Criminal Code Article 111 by the National Security Committee (KNB). The alleged health damage came after Pastor Ushanov prayed for Aleksandr Kereyev in a church service. KNB secret police then raided his church’s Sunday worship service on June 19 and search the pastor’s home on June 25. The pastor faces a fine of between 100 and 200 times the minimum monthly wage, up to 200 hours of community service or two years’ imprisonment.

According to the indictment police gave Ushanov, Aleksandr Kereyev’s wife complained that her husband felt sick after the “hypnosis” allegedly conducted at the church. Kereyev had only visited the church three or four times, according to church members. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Kazakhstan – Pastors Fined for Praying…

Persecution Fridays – Indonesia – Officials Close Church

July 29, 2011 at 10:35 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

Indonesia: Officials Close Church

A church in Bogor that has been attacked six times since 2008 was recently ordered to stop all religious activities or risk inviting “the community and others to react in a way that could spark a potential disturbance.” But church members have refused to obey the local government’s demands.

The Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) in Bogor, West Java, near Jakarta, has had an ongoing dispute with Islamist groups and local authorities. In 2008, the city revoked the church’s building permit and sealed the church building. Since then, the congregation has conducted weekly services outside the church, prompting some neighbors to complain of a public disruption. Local community members, backed by Islamist groups, have held multiple protests against the church. And even though the Supreme Court ordered Bogor city authorities to re-open the building in December 2010, it has remained sealed. Local authorities say they are afraid opening the church would spark social unrest. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Indonesia – Officials Close Church…

Design of the Week – Freedom to Preach

June 29, 2011 at 10:40 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is called Freedom to Preach.

The design is meant to remind others of the truth of the state of affairs in our nation. While there are many who would like nothing more than to see Christians silenced, the fact remains that the freedom to preach the gospel of Christ is protected by the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Continue Reading Design of the Week – Freedom to Preach…

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…

Persecution Fridays: Algeria

June 10, 2011 at 7:47 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

Algeria: Churches Threatened

A provincial governor ordered seven churches in the province of Béjaïa to close recently, but Christian leaders do not intend to comply. On May 22, 2011, the Béjaïa police commissioner sent an official letter to the head of the Algerian Protestant Church Association (EPA), stating that all churches in his province and around the country should be closed immediately. The notice cited a May 8 decision from the governor of Béjaïa province.

The police commissioner wrote, “Close down all the worship places around the country once for all, the places which are used now and the places which are under construction.” According to the notice, if the churches do not comply, they may face “severe consequences and punishments.”

After delivering the notice, police summoned the leaders of seven churches in Béjaïa to sign a document accepting the order. But the leaders did not comply, citing the regional governor’s limited authority. They will continue to hold regular church services as scheduled.

“They said we have to be in conformity to the law,” Mustapha Krim, a president of the EPA, told Compass Direct News. “We’ve always tried to do this and have submitted all that they requested. Now it’s up to them to give us the authorization and do what they need to do.”

Church registration is required under Ordinance 06-03, a law enacted in 2006. The churches have tried to register, but officials have refused to grant or even respond to applications for registration, EPA leaders told Compass Direct. “This first notification may be the beginning of permanently closing every place of worship other than Islam throughout the national territory,” a church leader in Tizi Ouzou told International Christian Concern. “We must begin to make noise and to not allow this to pass over in silence, or else the authorities will crush us.”

Persecution Friday: India

June 3, 2011 at 7:29 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

India: Attacks Persist

Hindu extremists continue to target Christians in India with harassment, false accusations, beatings and even murder. The Global Council of Indian Christians believes Hindu extremists are behind two recent murders of Christians in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the most recent case, 17-year-old Nirupama Pradhan was raped and murdered after school on May 12, 2011. Her father, Sitrian Pradhan, named the possible murderer, but according to Asia News, police have done nothing to find the murderer.

Police also have refused to give a post-mortem report to the widow of Saul Pradhan, a Christian preacher who was murdered on Jan. 10, 2011. Pradhan had taken a new job at a brick kiln in another village. When he did not return home from work one day, his family searched for him and found his body near a pond. Police originally claimed Pradhan died from the “bitter cold,” but his employers, Hindu radicals, later confessed to the murder. Continue Reading Persecution Friday: India…

Persecution Friday: Uzbekistan

May 27, 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

Uzbekistan: Raids Increase in April

Christians in Uzbekistan have faced increased persecution recently in the form of raids, literature confiscations, court-ordered literature destruction and heavy fines.

On April 5, Police and National Security Service (NSS) officers raided the home of Anvar Rajapov, a believer in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, according to Forum 18 News Service. Police confiscated about 250 religious books and recordings, a computer and Rajapov’s passport. A police officer also photographed Rajapov’s children without his knowledge.

Rajapov was convicted on April 14 of violating five articles of the administrative code, including those prohibiting the illegal storage of religious materials, the illegal organization of meetings, and proselytism. Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage, or about $2,330. The judge also ordered the destruction of the religious books confiscated in the raid, “except for those that can be allowed for internal use of religious communities.”

Local Christians told Forum 18 that the court had produced no evidence to support the charges brought against Rajapov. “The whole case is fabricated,” one believer said. He added that the judge “did not even investigate the case but just signed the hastily and carelessly prepared decision.” Local believers said the head of the city district committee, Ulmas Shukurov, had called for Rajapov to be punished and expelled from the district because he had left Islam and accepted Christianity. Shukurov accompanied police on the raid of Rajapov’s house.

Rajapov’s case is not uncommon, as Uzbekistan’s courts frequently order the confiscation and destruction of religious literature, including Bibles. Uzbek authorities conducted two raids in April on the Hamza District Baptist Church, also located in Tashkent. In a raid on April 7, police confiscated thousands of Christian books from the church as well as money belonging to a church member. Four days later, on April 11, police and NSS officers raided a church-owned flat nearby, confiscating printing equipment and tens of thousands of Christian books. Four church members were each fined between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly wage, according to Forum 18. In addition, tax authorities fined the church the equivalent of about $4,090 on April 28 for failing to use a cash register to record sales and donations.

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