The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Growing Persecution of Christians

Muslims call for death of Christian accused of blasphemy
The persecution of Christians, particularly in Muslim nations, is not only increasing but also becoming more overt. Although Saudi Arabia takes first prize in this category, that kingdom is a closed society in which Islam is the official and only religion permitted. One expects nothing less than persecution from the Saudis. 

Other Muslim nations, however, seem to be trying to catch up with the Saudis. In Pakistan, for example,the Islamist party, the JUI, has called on Pakistan's supreme court to ban the Bible from the country. According to their petition the Bible is blasphemous and therefore violates Pakistan's notorious anti-blasphemy law. This view arises from the Bible's treatment of biblical patriarchs such as Abraham whose failings and moral lapses are clearly depicted. It would seem that Muslims believe the "prophets" to be sinless, something I find a bit ironic considering what the Qur'an has to say about Muhammad and his activities. Will the court side with the JUI? Probably, given how Christians have been treated by the government in recent years through the misapplication of the blasphemy law. The law has become a weapon in the hands of Muslim businessmen who want to eliminate Christian competitors, and is even being used by Muslims to send Christian neighbors to jail. To read more: Pakistan's Bible Ban

Christians calling for repeal of blasphemy law
Persecution in Pakistan takes on many different forms. In the city of Faisalabad, for example, Muslim landowners decided to use tractors to obliterate a Christian cemetery. When the Christians began legal proceedings against the perpetrators, the police refused to investigate and the Muslims threatened the Christians' lives if they continued. In the same city a Christian woman was kidnapped, drugged and gang-raped. When she reported the crime, instead of helping her the police helped the rapists cover up the crime. To read more: Anti-Christian violence in Faisalabad  

Pakistan isn't alone. In Uzbekistan the government seems to be waging a similar war on Christians. Not only has the Bible been officially banned in this country, but Christians are prohibited from praying together. The police have been attacking Christians in their homes, inflicting severe beatings on men and women who violate these unjust laws. Our Protestant brothers and sisters have borne the brunt of this persecution, receiving jail terms and huge fines for simply owning a Bible and other religious reading material. In the capital, Tashkent, the homes of Baptists have been raided by combined task forces of police and special forces. Others have been threatened, along with the children, if they don't testify against their pastors. They all courageously refused to do so. To read more: Uzbekistan, illegal to own a Bible or pray together   

In the Sudan there are far too many Christian martyrs. Only last week a young Catholic seminarian and a young evangelical were both murdered by agents of Sudanese military intelligence and Islamist militants. According to the news story:

KHARTOUM, Sudan (Compass Direct News) - Military intelligence agents killed one Christian, and Islamic militants sympathetic to the government slaughtered another last week after attacking churches in Sudan's embattled South Kordofan state.

Christian sources said a Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Intelligence unit detained Nimeri Philip Kalo, a student at St. Paul Major Seminary, on June 8 near the gate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in Kadugli's al Shaeer area and shot him in front of bystanders. Kalo and other Christians were fleeing the town after Muslim militias loyal to the SAF attacked and looted at least three church buildings in Kadugli, they said...
On the same day, Islamic militants loyal to the SAF slaughtered a young Christian man by sword in Kadugli Market, the sources said. Adeeb Gismalla Aksam, 33, a bus driver whose father is an elder with the Evangelical Church in Kadugli, was murdered by Muslim extremists shouting, "Allahu-akbar [God is greater]!"

The Islamic militias were heard shouting "Allahu-akbar!" as they began shooting at a Roman Catholic Church building at 3:30 p.m. on June 8, during a mass in which the congregants were asking God to protect them.
Apparently the Sudanese intelligence agents justified killing Kalo because he was a Christian and therefore would oppose Sudan's Islamic government. In one day two were murdered, two others were tortured, and three churches were attacked. Nice people. Of course, this is just a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of Christians and animists murdered in the Sudan over that past few years. To read more: Blood of the Martyrs

And watch the below video -- it's just a few minutes long -- to see what's been happening in the Sudan. Do you think our nation might be a bit more involved if these millions of victims were Europeans and not black Africans?

That's enough for now. I can take such news only in small doses. Just remember, though, evil will not prevail for we live always in hope, always certain that the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ will be fulfilled.
"If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." [1 Peter 4:14]

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