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News & analysis

This is a collection of recent articles and research written by the Barnabas team.

Christian and other minority women raped in Iraq prison by ISIS militants 

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iraq  
Iraqi Christian women are at great risk from ISIS

Reports have emerged that Christian woman who are being held captive in Mosul’s Badush prison by ISIS (the Sunni militant group which now wishes to be known as the Islamic State) have been given the option either to convert to their brand of Islam or to suffer daily rape.

It marks the greatest military success of the brutal jihadist group, which is fighting to create a cross-border Islamic state in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

 
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iraq, Syria  
Displaced Iraqi Christians attending a worship service in northern Kurdistan

ISIS expands territory in the Middle East, aims to eliminate Christian presence

The Islamist militant group ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which now prefers to be known simply as the Islamic State) is widening its control of territory in the Middle East.

 
Country/Region: Sri Lanka, South and East Asia  
Pakistani believers at risk of anti-Christian violence may be forced to flee the country

Sri Lankan court reinstates deportation of persecuted Pakistanis

On Monday (1 September), a Sri Lankan court gave permission for the authorities to proceed with the deportation of Pakistani asylum seekers, including Christians, from Sri Lanka.

 
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Africa, South America, Egypt, Sudan, Bolivia, India  
News in Brief

News in Brief: 21 August 2014

Egypt – Some damaged churches reopen;
Sudan – Church forcibly closed by authorities;
Bolivia – Christians campaign against restrictive law;
India – Hindu nationalist school textbooks criticised.

 
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Nepal  
Recent growth of Christianity in Nepal has created tension with other religious communities

Nepali pastor released after two years in prison

On 17 July, the Nepali authorities released a Christian pastor who had been incarcerated for almost two years after being arrested for eating beef.

 
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iraq, Syria  
Dr Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria

Editorial: The Two Faces of Islam

Last month I was in Damascus. I had the great privilege of meeting Dr Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria. He is a man of peace who pleads repeatedly for equal and harmonious relations between Muslims, Christians and followers of all religions as members of one human family.

 
Country/Region: Sri Lanka, South and East Asia  
Christians in Pakistan are vulnerable to violence and false accusations of blasphemy; some have fled to Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan court suspends deportation of persecuted Pakistanis

The Sri Lankan Court of Appeal has suspended the deportation of Pakistani asylum seekers, who are mainly Christians and members of other persecuted religious minorities...

 
Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Iraq  
More than 1.2 million Iraqis have reportedly been driven from their homes

Displaced Iraqi Christians die in miserable conditions

Reports have emerged that Iraqi Christians driven from their homes by Islamist militants are beginning to die in crowded camps and other temporary places of refuge.

 
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Africa, North Korea, Nigeria, Iran  
News in Brief

News in Brief: 21 August 2014

Iran: Imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini threatened by ISIS;
Nigeria: Repeated attacks target Christians in Taraba state;
North Korea: American missionary transferred back to labour camp.

 
Country/Region: India, South and East Asia  
Indian Christians praying. In parts of India, Christians are under threat from militant Hindu nationalists

Indian Christian women arrested following false accusations of forced conversions

Four Christian women were arrested in the Indian state of Karnataka after visiting the home of a non-Christian family.

 
christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • The case of an Egyptian Christian man arrested following complaints by Muslim neighbours that he had been using his home as a church without a permit highlights the need of the Christian community for more places of worship. The 55-year-old man from Minya in Upper Egypt, where Christians are particularly vulnerable to persecution, was arrested once before, in 2011, for the same offence. Every church building in Egypt requires a permit, but these are notoriously difficult to obtain. Pray that the authorities will show leniency to the Christian man and that a provision in the new constitution addressing the issue of church buildings will be enacted. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 23 hours ago

    • Kidnapping for ransom has been a persistent problem for the Christian community in Egypt amid the political upheaval and instability following the “Arab Spring” revolution of 2011. On 14 June, Wadie Ramses, a well-known surgeon, was seized in El-Arish. The assailants opened fire on his vehicle and took him away wounded. They later demanded a ransom of ten million Egyptian Pounds (£800,000; US$1.4 million) for his release. Two days later, Christian merchant Gemal Shenouda was captured near his home in the same city. It is thought that Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda, who have been behind escalating violence in the Sinai region, are responsible for the kidnappings. Pray for the safe return of our two Christian brothers and that they and their families will know the Lord’s peace. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 18 June, Bishoy Armia Boulous (31) was sentenced to five years in prison and given a fi ne of 500 Egyptian Pounds (US£70; £40) for “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information” in connection with reports he produced relating to anti-Christian violence in Minya for a Christian TV channel. His lawyer believes that Bishoy has been targeted because of his conversion from Islam. The Christian gained notoriety in Egypt in 2007 as the first person to try to change his religion on his ID card, a case that is still unresolved owing to the political tumult in the country over the last three years. Pray that the Lord will be Bishoy’s strength and shield (Psalm 28:7), and that he will soon be released. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Saudi Arabia remains unique in the extent to which it restricts the public expression of any religion other than Islam.” In its annual report for 2014, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom highlighted the extraordinary restrictions faced by Christians and other non-Muslims in one of the most rigid and hardline Islamic states in the world. No churches exist in Saudi Arabia because of an Islamic tradition that Muhammad said there should be only one religion in the Arabian peninsula. Pray for peace and perseverance for the small number of Saudi converts and the many expatriate Christians practising their faith in this repressive context, and ask that the authorities will yield to international pressure to introduce greater religious freedom. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 23 June, Vahid Hakkani, a Christian convert in prison in Iran, resumed a hunger strike in protest against the refusal of a court to grant him and two other Christians conditional release. Vahid had broken his previous strike in May after another of his fellow-detainees was set free. The prison authorities have reportedly confiscated his personal belongings from his cell and are denying him the right to make phone calls; they have also separated the Christian prisoners from one another. Even before his first hunger strike, Vahid had been suffering from a digestive problem and internal bleeding. Pray that his health may not fail altogether and that his action will secure justice and freedom for him and his friends (Psalm 69:33). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Sep 2014 00:00

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