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Monthly archives: August, 2015

Pastor: Boko Haram Killed 70 Percent of My Church

A Nigerian pastor says Boko Haram terrorists have killed 8,000 members, 70 percent, of his church.

Rev. Samuel Dali is president of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. At his office in Jos, Dali told journalists the terror group has destroyed church facilities in Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno states, leaving most of his pastors without jobs.

He also said 176 of the 276 Chibok girls kidnapped last year were from his church.

Earlier this month, Boko Haram jihadists slit the throats of 16 Christian fishermen in three villages in Borno state.

The head of Borno state’s fisher’s union told AFP they used knives to slaughter their victims so as not to alert soldiers from Baga, a town in northeastern Nigeria near Lake Chad.

Still, Dali said he’s hopeful the end of the terrorist group is near.

“Nigeria will overcome the Boko Haram challenge soon,” he said.

Source: CBN News



Ethiopian Orthodox leaders jailed after protesting about persecution

A district court in Ethiopia has charged six members of an Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) with inciting public disturbance, destroying public trust in government officials and spreading hatred after it surfaced in the media that official complaints were made to the government about increasing persecution of Christians in a Muslim-dominated area in the south of the country.

The court found the men guilty on 7 August and sentenced them to between five and almost nine years in prison.

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Easter worshippers at Holy Saviour Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa, April 2015 WWM

The men were members of St Mary’s Orthodox Church in Kilto, 180km south of the capital Addis Ababa in the Silte zone of SNNP state. Silte is a Muslim-dominated zone that came into existence after the Silte people unanimously chose to form a separate zone in a referendum held in 2001.

A number of Ethiopia’s prominent Muslim politicians come from Silte, including the current Minister of Defence, the Minister of Communications and the current caucus leader for women’s affairs in the federal parliament.

Since the new zone’s inception over a decade ago, its capital, Worabe, has seen tremendous growth and is now home to at least four prominent mosques. But leaders from the EOC have been complaining about increasing persecution, including attacks on their church and its members by local Muslims and officials of the local government. These complaints have received considerable attention from local independent media outlets.

Situation likened to ISIS executions in Libya

On 11 March six members of St Mary’s Orthodox Church’s Administrative Committee wrote a letter addressed to national leaders of the EOC and copied to various government institutions, including the office of the Prime Minister in which they listed the persecution they have been facing. According to them this included discrimination in job opportunities, unfair dismissal from jobs, unjustly negative feedback on job performance, burning of EOC church buildings, physical attacks and threats against their lives.

The authors said their situation had become unbearable and they likened it to the circumstances in Libya where, in April, so-called Islamic State (IS) militants filmed the execution of 30 EOC members and circulated the video on the web.

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Outside of Holy Saviour EOC, Addis Ababa, April ’15 WWM

The matter of the IS executions is a highly emotive subject in Ethiopia and has led to protests against the government for perceived poor handling of the situation.
When the administrative committee letter was leaked to the media, local government officials summoned the authors to a meeting and demanded an apology. Citing local sources, local privately owned media reported that the leaders’ explanation did not “win the officials’ understanding”: the latter told the authors that going to the media was a mistake.

The six leaders wrote a letter of apology. That did not deter the district prosecutor from charging the committee members on 6 July with inciting public disturbance, destroying public trust in government officials and spreading hatred. On 7 August the Eastern Azeret Berbere district court found them guilty of all charges.

The judge sentenced administrative committee leader, Yemariam Worke Teshager to eight years and eight months in prison and sentenced each of the others to five years and six months in prison. They are Masresha Seife, Nigatua Lema, Mulugeta Aragaw, Habtamu Teka and Maru Lema.

The six men have since been transferred to prison in Worabe, the capital of the Muslim-dominated Silte zone The leader of the regional EOC diocese has indicated that they will appeal the verdict, but also said: “Imprisonment is common in Christianity, and it is good to be persecuted”.

For many years, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been opposing Christians who left its ranks to join (mostly) non-traditional Protestant churches, or Christians who joined the renewal movements within the EOC. However, along with members of these non-traditional Protestant churches the Church has become increasingly vulnerable to pressure from Muslim extremism in eastern, western and south-central parts of the country where Muslims are in the majority.

Christian youth jailed for evangelising

Meanwhile in eastern Ethiopia last week a group of 15 Christian youths were physically assaulted, arrested and incarcerated with restrictive penalties imposed on the local Christian community they were visiting during an evangelistic mission. The young people had travelled 430km from the capital Addis Ababa to visit the eastern Ethiopian town of Karamile in a Muslim dominated area of Oromia state.

Trouble started on the first day of their visit when a group of people from Karamile opposed their evangelism and physically assaulted two of the female members of the group. Police quickly intervened but instead of taking action against the aggressors, arrested and jailed all 15 visiting youths.

The officials released them later in the day after local church leaders intervened and requested their release.

The following day town administrators and security officers summoned all church leaders in Karamile to a meeting and ordered them to stop all evangelistic activities outside of the church premises. They also said that although the Christians had the right to pray privately in their homes with their families, they were not allowed to invite other people to such prayers.

These restrictions are in conflict with the Constitution of Ethiopia, which guarantees freedom of religion and protects freedom of expression without interference. Ethiopia ranks 22 on Christian charity Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List of the 50 most difficult countries in which to live as a Christian.

Source: World Watch Monitor



Christians who escaped from ISIS, tell their stories.

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In this very powerful and moving video below from Kings School of Media, we have real life interviews with Christian refugees from Iraq who escaped certain death at the hands of IS. Many of these Christians were comfortably off with families, homes, good careers, etc. The easy option for them would have been to deny their faith in Jesus Christ and convert to Islam. But they refused to abandon their faith even though it meant losing everything they owned. Now they’re faced with having to start from scratch to rebuild their lives.



More Death and Destruction from IS

More than 50 people have been killed after a truck bomb exploded in north-eastern Baghdad this morning, Iraqi officials say.

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The truck bomb targeted one of the busiest markets in Baghdad

The blast tore through the crowded Jameela market in the predominantly Shia district of Sadr City.

The Sunni jihadist group, Islamic State (IS), said it was behind the bombing and that it targeted Shia militiamen.

It came after a top US general said it should consider embedding American troops with Iraqi forces if progress was not made in the fight against IS.

Raymond Odierno, the army’s outgoing chief of staff, told reporters that such forces would have a support rather than a combat role. The US has already sent some 3,500 military trainers and advisers to Iraq.

Thursday’s bomb attack in Sadr City was one of the deadliest in the capital since Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi took office a year ago.

A hospital official told the BBC at least 51 people were killed and 75 others injured.

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The explosion was one of the largest to hit Baghdad in the last year

In a statement posted on Twitter, IS said the truck bomb targeted Shia militiamen from the Mahdi Army and the Popular Mobilisation forces, who have been battling the jihadist group in northern and western Iraq for more than a year.

Sadr City has been the target of several bomb attacks this year claimed by IS militants, who consider Shia to be heretics.

Dozens of people have been killed in bombings across Baghdad in recent months. In May and July, large car bombs exploded outside two prominent hotels.

IS also continues to control vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq, but air strikes by a US-led coalition have helped Iraqi pro-government forces regain some territory since last August.

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Source: BBC News



Islamic State militants ‘abduct Christians’ in Syrian town

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IS militants seized al-Qaryatain after attacking it with suicide bombers, reports say

Islamic State militants have abducted dozens of people, many Christian, from a Syrian town captured on Thursday from pro-regime forces, reports say.

They were seized when the jihadists swept through al-Qaryatain in Homs province, monitoring groups say.

Many of the Christians had fled to al-Qaryatain to escape fighting in Aleppo province to the north.
Islamic State (IS) has treated Christians harshly in other places under its control.
The group follows its own extreme version of Sunni Islam and has previously ordered Christians to convert, pay jizya (a religious levy), or face death.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), at least 230 people were seized by Islamic State (IS) fighters in al-Qaryatain.

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Some were taken from inside a church, SOHR said. It said IS was hunting down a list of people it suspected of “collaborating with the regime”.

The Assyrian Federation of Sweden, whose members have relatives in the town, said about 100 families were being held.

The federation says it has not been able to contact anyone inside the town and the conditions of the captives are not known.
The SOHR said “at least 60” Christians were among those being held.

Earlier this year, dozens of Assyrian Christians were abducted by IS militants in attacks on villages in Hassakeh province in north-east Syria.

A local Christian militia said it believed the captives were taken away to a mountain, but their fate since then is unclear.

Source: BBC News