• Treehaven3
    Treehaven, South Africa: International Retreat and Training Centre
  • Treehaven1
    South African Students Undergoing Training at Treehaven
  • Ray
    Ray Barnett, founder, Friends In The West
  • Corrymeela cross
    Prayers and practical help for those suffering through violence and war.

Christian teachers killed by suspected al-Shabaab militants

By Eno Adeogun

Two Christian school teachers have been killed in a suspected targeted attack by al-Shabaab militants in Kenya.

Philip Okumu, 26, and Daniel Wekesa 39, died in the East African country’s Mandera County, near the Somali border last Wednesday.

According to Olaka Kutswa, the Mandera County Commissioner, more than 20 militants arrived at the school around 1am and threw an explosive device into one of the rooms of the house where the school’s four non-local teachers stayed.

His statement revealed the house was set on fire as a result and both of the Christian teachers were shot as they tried to escape.

Two non-local teachers, Elijah Nderitu and Kelvin Lomusi, survived the attack but sustained injuries.

Lomusi told local broadcaster Citizen TV: “After witnessing the attack and the killing of my colleagues, I can no-longer endure working there anymore.

According to World Watch Monitor, police have said the attack was planned by a Somali national from the Damasa area.

They added that the terrorist organisation appear to be preparing further attacks in the Kenya-Somalia border region.

Al-Shabab is a faction of al-Qaeda and was forced out of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu in 2011 by Somali government forces and African Union troops.

However, it still operates freely in many rural parts of southern Somalia, where it often enforces Islamic law.

Source: Premier



Aid Worker Killed as ‘Apostate,’ in Nigeria, Leah Sharibu Kept as Slave, Report Says

Boko Haram’s Islamic law allows ‘infidels’ to be enslaved, group says.

Leah Nathan Sharibu. (Morning Star News via family)

Leah, kidnapped along with more than 100 schoolgirls from Dapchi, Yobe state in February but not released with the others because she refused to convert to Islam, will never be freed because Boko Haram’s Islamic law allows “infidels” to be kept as slaves, according to a statement by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), commonly known as Boko Haram, released through The Cable.

Alice Ngaddah, a Christian who works with UNICEF, will also be kept as a slave, according to the statement. Leah and Ngaddah, a mother of two, “are now our slaves,” the Boko Haram group said.
“Based on our doctrines, it is now lawful for us to do whatever we want to do with them,” the group said.

The group has executed Hauwa Leman, an aid worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), according to the statement.

“In a short clip seen by a special correspondent of TheCable, Leman was forced to kneel down, with her hands tied inside a white hijab which has a crest symbol, and then shot at close range,” The Cable reported.

Boko Haram in September killed Saifura Ahmed, one of the three humanitarian workers abducted in Rann, Borno state, in March. Leman, a 24-year-old midwife and student of health education at the University of Maiduguri, was among those then kidnapped.

In its statement, the Boko Haram group said, “Saifura and Hauwa were killed because they are considered as Murtads [apostates] by the group because they were once Muslims that have abandoned their Islam, the moment they chose to work with the Red Cross, and for us, there is no difference between Red Cross and UNICEF…If we see them, we will kill the apostates among them, men or women, and chose to kill or keep the infidels as slaves, men or women.”

Leah was the only Christian among more than 100 high school girls kidnapped from the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, on Feb. 19. The other girls were released in March.

Government representatives and advocates within Nigeria, along with the international community have called for her release.

Boko Haram has not made known its demands for the release of the hostages. It had set a deadline of Monday (Oct. 15) for its demands to be met or it would kill one of the hostages.

Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said in a statement that government officials were shocked and saddened at the killing of Leman in light of efforts the government has taken to secure the release of the hostages.

Mohammed said the killing was “dastardly, inhuman and ungodly” and said the government did all within its powers to save her life.

“As we have been doing since these young women were abducted, we kept the line of negotiations open all through,” Mohammed said in the statement. “In all the negotiations, we acted in the best interest of the women and the country as a whole…We are deeply pained by this killing, just like we were by the recent killing of the first aid worker. However, we will keep the negotiations open and continue to work to free the innocent women who remain in the custody of their abductors.”

Leah’s mother, Rebecca Sharibu, on Sept. 29 called on President Muhammadu Buhari to secure Leah’s release. Buhari later spoke with Leah’s mother, pledging to do everything possible to get her released.
Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in Nigeria since 2013, according to CNN.

About 100 of 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok, in Borno state, in 2014 are still missing.

Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as, “Western education is a sin,” has fought for nine years to impose sharia (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing more than 2 million. Boko Haram militants reportedly warned parents of the returned Dapchi girls not to send their daughters back to school.

In 2015 the Nigerian military began taking back most of the territory Boko Haram had controlled, but many areas remain, and the terrorists are still mounting isolated attacks. Jubilee Campaign reports that, according to figures from the Stefanos Foundation, Boko Haram in 2017 took responsibility for attacks that claimed more than 650 lives.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.

Nigeria ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Source: Morning Star News



Urgent prayer for Pakistani mother on death row

Pray for me’ pleads Asia Bibi

 

After spending almost a decade in jail, Aasiya Noreen – commonly known as Asia Bibi – is now anxiously waiting to hear if she will be sentenced to death after her final appeal was heard in Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday October 8. A decision is expected any day.

Despite increased calls from radical groups for the death penalty to be carried out, sources report that Bibi’s family remain hopeful that she will be acquitted.

“God willing it will soon be over and [Asia Bibi] will be back home with the family.” – Emmanuel Yousef

While waiting for the court’s ruling, Bibi’s family have been visiting England with support from the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Speaking on behalf of the family, Father Emmanuel Yousef from ACN, said: “Although the judges didn’t give a judgement, this has happened in many cases of this kind in the past – and they still ended positively …

“We will have to wait a few days but we are confident that things will go well … God willing it will soon be over and [Asia Bibi] will be back home with the family.”

Bibi’s husband Ashiq Masih was equally optimistic when speaking to the Catholic Herald, saying that his wife “wanted to deliver a message to the international community that they must remember her in their prayers.” He continued, “These prayers will open the door of the prison, and she will be released very soon.”

“She feels when she is praying, Jesus is encouraging and supporting her.” – Ashiq Masih
According to the Catholic Herald, Masih also said his wife was “spending her life praying with a very strong faith and is reading the Bible every day. She feels when she is praying, Jesus is encouraging and supporting her.”

As the mother of five made her final appeal in court last week, Pakistani Christians engaged in a day of fasting and prayer. Meanwhile, radical religious groups are making death threats towards the judges presiding over the case to warn them against showing leniency towards Bibi.

According to AFP, hardline Islamic party, the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), warned judges they would meet a “horrible” end if they didn’t go through with the death penalty via a press conference recorded on YouTube. The group was also calling for mass protests this week to support the stricter enforcement of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Another religious group, the Red Mosque in Islamabad, is also reported to have asked the Supreme Court to rule that Bibi is not allowed to leave the country if she is acquitted.

Bibi has been on death row for nine years for alleged blasphemy. World Watch Monito

Bibi has been on death row since 2010, when she was convicted of blasphemy against Islam’s prophet Muhammad. It took four years for her appeal against this charge to be first heard by the Lahore High Court in 2014. At that time the court upheld the death sentence, but postponed her execution. Her second – much delayed – appeal this month was Bibi’s final chance to have the charge overturned.
Bibi has always maintained her innocence, most definitively through her memoir, Blasphemy, which was published in 2013. In this book, she tells how she was accused of blasphemy while working in the fields picking fruit in Punjab, Pakistan’s second-largest province, in 2009. According to Bibi, her offence stemmed from simply drinking a cup of water.

A series of catastrophic events resulted. Bibi was accused of stealing the cup by a Muslim co-worker and contaminating it as an “unclean” Christian. An argument followed, during which one of the women accused Bibi of blasphemy for a comment she allegedly made about the founder of Islam, Mohammed – a charge punishable by death in Pakistan. Bibi was beaten by a mob, imprisoned and, one year later, sentenced to be hanged.

Since then tensions around the case have escalated. Bibi’s family have been forced to flee their village due to threats of violence. Two prominent public figures who came to Bibi’s defence – the Muslim governor of the Punjab Province, who supported reform to the country’s blasphemy laws, and Pakistan’s Christian Minister for Minorities – were both assassinated. In 2016, around 150 Muslim clerics from radical Islamist group Sunni Tehreek called for Bibi to be hanged.

International outcry about the case has come from the European Parliament, the EU’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and even from Pope Francis.

And now, the rest of the world is being called to urgent prayer for Bibi. Yousef told ACN: “We have prayed 10 years now for our sister, Asia, and I am confident that our prayers will be heard, and the judgement will go in favour of Asia, her family and the entire Pakistani Christian community.”

Pray
Some prayer points to help
Pray for the release of Asia Bibi
Pray for strength and courage for Asia Bibi’s husband, her five children and the rest of her family
Pray for reform of Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws

Source: Eternity News



Christian teacher survives violent attack in north-east Syria

A teacher responsible for Christian schools in Qamishli, north-east Syria, survived a vicious assault with baseball bats outside his home, days after meeting with Kurdish representatives who forcibly closed Christian schools in August.

On 22 September 2018, Isa Rashid was attacked from behind as he left his house by two unknown assailants and left for dead. Mr Rashid’s head split open as the assailants repeatedly struck him with the bats. Left bleeding on his doorstep, Mr Rashid was eventually found and taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Two days prior to the assault, he met with YPG officials who are imposing their own ideological and Kurdish-oriented syllabus on Christian schools in the region. Mr. Rashid refused to be pressured into the official’s demands to implement the study program.

Kurdish militia closed down four Christian schools in the towns of Qamishli, Derik and Darbasiyah in north-east Syria on 28 August. It is understood the schools were closed by the self-proclaimed administration of the Kurdish YPG militia, which is in control of parts of north-east Syria, after they refused to move to teaching the administration’s “ideologically saturated” curriculum. Christian residents and church leaders took the streets to demonstrate against the closures in Qamishli.

Mr Rashid is still being treated in a local hospital and, at the time of writing, no arrests have been made.

Source: Global Christian News



Abused and Abandoned: Woman and Four Children Chased Away for Faith in Christ

By Nathan Johnson

 

Two years ago, Dorika Kabuo and her four children were chased from their home by the one they called “protector and provider,” Dorika’s husband. This happened after Dorika and her children committed their lives to Christ and left Islam together.

While speaking with International Christian Concern (ICC), Dorika confided, “My husband of over 20 years turned violent against us when we converted to Christianity and joined the nearby evangelical church in Bwera, Western Uganda. The man we looked upon for love and care turned into a beast, beating me and my children daily because of our new faith in Christ Jesus.”

Sarah, one of Dorika’s children, remembers that time with pain and loss. She shared, “During that period, our father stopped paying for our school fees and taking care of us. He also used to beat us even without reason. He refused us to go to church, but we could sneak and go when he was away. If he learned that we were in church, he would pick his rubber whip and flog all of us.”

The persecution facing Dorika and her children did not stop them from pursuing an intimate relationship with Christ. Dorika’s son, Christopher, pointed out, “Nothing could stop us from fellowship with other brethren because that is where we got encouragement, nourishment, and love. The church became like a home for us. The more we insisted about remaining in Christianity, the more my father’s hostility escalated.”

Dorika’s story is just one of the many cases of Christian persecution in Uganda where family members have been rejected, tortured, or even killed for leaving Islam.

“Although life has not been easy after converting to Christianity, we are determined to finish the race and keep the faith.”

My children became my inspiration because of their unwavering commitment to Christ and readiness to overcome any obstacles in the way. Being a Muslim family, my husband’s relatives joined in fighting us even to the extent of abusing my children whenever they met with them.” Dorika told ICC.

“One evening,” shared Dorika, “my husband beat us up and threatened to butcher us the following day if we continued professing the Christian faith. That very night, he chased us away. We packed a few belongings and left the place we called home to Kasese, not knowing how we would get there or where we would be staying.”

Dorika and her four children were taken in by a pastor from the All-Saints Church of Uganda, Kasese, who offered them a small rented room where they could stay. However, this did not stop her husband from pursuing his family with the intent to kill them. “He used to send Muslim sheikhs who pledged to hunt me down and poison me, but the Lord protected us. We have since changed our names and it is hard for anyone to identify us now.”

Dorika proclaimed, “Although life has not been easy after converting to Christianity, we are determined to finish the race and keep the faith.”

Though the majority of people in Uganda are Christian, there is still a very active Sunni Muslim population as well. They make up approximately 14% of Uganda’s population. The biggest problem is that people who convert to from Islam to Christianity often face similar persecution from relatives like Dorika did. This same extremist Muslim population has also attacked churches, pastors, and other Christian families in the past.

Source: International Christian Concern