Newsdesk - 13 July 2017

Iran, Syria, Kenya, Pakistan, Zimbabwe

 

PAKISTAN – Chinese missionaries kidnapped and murdered by Islamic State

Two Chinese nationals reportedly serving as Christian missionaries in Pakistan have been murdered by Islamic State (IS). Meng Li Si, aged 26, and Li Xinheng, 24, were abducted on 24 May by militants posing as police officers, from outside a language centre in the city of Quetta, close to the Afghan border. The IS news agency, Amaq, later reported that both had been killed.

Pakistani authorities claimed that the young Chinese man and woman were “engaged in preaching”, in violation of their business visas. A state-run Chinese newspaper blamed South Korean churches for “recruiting young Chinese people to preach in war-torn areas, exposing them to great dangers” and stated that the murders “should serve as a lesson”.

A local friend, who knew Meng Li Si and Li Xinheng during their time as Chinese language teachers in Quetta, said “I have never seen people kinder than them”.

From China Source

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ZIMBABWE – State and Pentecostal bishop collude in persecution of white Christians

The Smart family have farmed in Zimbabwe for generations. But now they have been driven from their land and forced into poverty by the state and a corrupt churchman.

The family lost more than 90% of their farmland in the year 2000, when Mugabe’s government “redistributed” two million hectares supposedly to redress the historical imbalance of land ownership between blacks and whites; the Smarts went from working a large-scale farm of 8,000 hectares to cultivating 700 hectares, only 120 of which were fertile enough to grow crops. Then a local Pentecostal Bishop, a former President of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, announced he was commandeering 100 of their remaining hectares.

Barnabas Fund is providing food to destitute pensioners in Zimbabwe. This lady said that before, “I struggled to afford nutritious food and would often have to skip meals”.
Barnabas Fund is providing food to destitute pensioners in Zimbabwe. This lady said that before, “I struggled to afford nutritious food and would often have to skip meals”.

Bishop Manhanga sent his workers onto the Smart’s land and, when some of the Smart family’s employees confronted them, 71-year-old Rob Smart and his son Darryn were arrested; they were made to spend the night sleeping on a concrete prison floor. On 31 May 2017 the Smarts were served an eviction notice and armed police in riot gear expelled them from their homes. The whole Smart family, including Darryn and his young children, fled to the hills as gunshots echoed behind them. They can now no longer access their land, as the roads have been blocked with logs and their farm is guarded by armed men. The Smarts managed to rescue two horses, but all of their one hundred chickens have starved to death.

For years, Zimbabwe’s dictator has oppressed the white farming community, but in the Smart’s case, the state was aided and abetted in its programme of persecution by a supposed man of God.

Barnabas Aid is supporting poor white farmers and pensioners in Zimbabwe – as well as ex-servicemen – through feeding programmes. These provide regular meals to Christians who have been abandoned to starvation by their own government.

From Barnabas Aid Partners

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KENYA – Al Shabaab behead nine Kenyan Christians in targeted attack

Al Shabaab militants attacked the village of Jima, in south-east Kenya, on 8 July, singling out Christians for Islamic-State-style execution. One eyewitness said they “went from house to house, dragging out men”. The jihadis then “isolated people and asked their faith and killed Christians” reports Barnabas Aid’s Project partner. According to Kenyan police, nine men – all understood to be Christians – were murdered in the attack. Authorities have now imposed a regional curfew, as the attack in Jima took place only three days after three policemen were killed by suspected Al Shabaab militants in the same region.

Kenyan Christians have been the targets of several Al Shabaab attacks since May, when the Somali-based Islamist group released a video calling for violence against Christians who it was claimed have “occupied” Muslim lands.

From Barnabas Aid Project Partners & Washington Post

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IRAN – Ten-year jail terms handed down to Christian convert and Christian foreign nationals

An Iranian Christian convert and three Azerbaijani Christians have each been sentenced to ten years in jail by a court in Tehran. The four believers were arrested last year when secret police raided a house church meeting in the town of Karaj, 30 miles north-west of Tehran. The three Azerbaijani Christians, who spent four months in prison, have since left the country and were sentenced in absentia for establishing or directing groups which “threaten the security of the country”, under article 498 of the Iranian Penal Code. The 46-year-old Iranian Christian convert, Naser Navard Goltapeh, was also convicted of the same offence and now faces ten years behind bars in Iran’s notorious prison system.

From Mohabat News here

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SYRIA – Christian former captives of Islamic State still suffering

As Islamic State loses territory in Iraq and Syria, the world’s attention is turning towards what will happen next. But for those who lived through the torment of being taken captive, the wounds have still not healed. “Guiwargis” used to live in a village in north-east Syria, now he is a refugee in Lebanon. He still remembers the day Islamic State arrived: “ISIS had plans and maps. The jihadists implemented a concerted and deliberate strategy to empty the region of its Christians”. Along with 230 other Assyrian Christians, he was taken captive, although after seven months Guiwargis was released in exchange for a ransom. Another survivor recalls seeing other hostages murdered. On Eid Al Adha – the Islamic feast of sacrifice – they were led into the desert in orange jump suits and killed: “we had to carry their dead bodies to a truck. I don’t know where they were buried”. One day, the local IS leader ordered that the three most beautiful girls be brought to him so he could choose one. The parents of 14-year-old Caroline Shlimoun have not heard from her since.

Barnabas Fund has provided trauma counselling to Syrian Christian widows
Barnabas Fund has provided trauma counselling to Syrian Christian widows

Barnabas Aid is providing Christian counselling to Syrian believers who have suffered at the hands of Islamists, as well as major humanitarian aid.

From LeFigaro, via AINA

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PAKISTAN – Facebook cooperating with Pakistani govt. in attempts to introduce online “blasphemy” law

Pakistan’s Interior Minister met with Facebook’s Vice President of Global Public policy last week, as the Pakistani government continues its efforts to introduce what would amount to a global Islamic blasphemy law on social media. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar stated that he discussed “steps and actions being taken [by Facebook] to remove blasphemous content that is illegal in Pakistan”, later going on to affirm “the understanding shown by Facebook … and the cooperation being extended to us on these issues”.

The Pakistani Minister claimed his discussions stemmed from the "entire Muslim Ummah's serious concerns over the misuse of social media platforms to propagate blasphemous content”. The Pakistani government is also pushing to receive from Facebook the personal details of users who post “blasphemous” content; Chaudhry Nisar has previously called for those responsible for posts to face extradition and prosecution.

Earlier this month, Pakistani authorities handed down the death sentence to a Shia Muslim man for posting “blasphemous” statements on social media, while a 16-year-old Christian boy from Punjab is currently being held in jail and denied bail after being accused of liking and sharing a post which “insulted” the Kaaba shrine in Mecca.

From Dawn News here

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