Christians in Malaysia – Rights on Conversion
Morning Star News, February 28, 2018
The highest court in Malaysia has refused to hear an appeal by four Christians wanting to officially convert out of Islam.
On Feb. 27, the five-member panel of the Federal Court unanimously ruled that civil courts had no jurisdiction to decide on apostasy cases. The four converts held that the Shariah Courts had no power to decide apostasy cases under state laws because they are no longer Muslims.
Bewilderment remains as Shariah Courts are state courts and the Federal Court ruled in January that the federal civil court has the final say on legal matters even as they pertain to Muslims.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Kuching, Simon Peter Seng, issued a statement asserting that Christians should not give up. “I was at the court hearing yesterday, and I testify that the judges were very neutral and fair. Pray, continue to pray. With God, nothing is impossible.’”
Gracious words amid the emotions that ran high on all sides; the Malaysian Insight noted that the archbishop was indeed present at the hearing, and then was heckled by demonstrators trying to jostle him as he exited the court.
Indonesia Christians whipped
World Watch Monitor, March 2, 2018
Two Indonesian Christians were whipped in public earlier this week in the capital of the Sumatran province of Aceh, as a crowd took photos and jeered.
They were being punished for breaking Islamic law by playing a game at a children’s entertainment centre and were whipped six and seven times respectively on 27 February.
Sharia courts impose hundreds of whippings every year. Previously, the laws only applied to Muslims, but this changed in December 2013, when they became effective for members of all religious groups.
Aceh’s authorities do not allow new churches to be established, whereas in other Indonesian provinces that is still possible.
In politics, targeting Christians is a classic manoeuvre to garner votes and support from Muslims.
Non-Muslims in Aceh are allowed to choose between being punished under Sharia or civil code. Some prefer whipping over potential imprisonment.
Hindu Extremists in India Attack Christians
Morning Star News, March 7, 2018
Christians on their way to a recent Christian camp in eastern India shared the purpose of their trip with fellow bus passengers, not realizing one of them was a Hindu extremist.
He began cursing and accusing the Christians of “always converting innocent and poor villagers.”
When they arrived at the bus station, 60 to 70 angry Hindu extremists were waiting for them. The hard-line Hindu had made phone calls to Hindu nationalist groups.
The mob separated out the native missionary, D. Joseph, as well as another Christian, Baldev Singh, and assaulted them.
- Joseph sustained several internal injuries and was hospitalized in a state of deep shock. Singh also was hospitalized with multiple injuries, including internal damage to his ear.
There was a media person present to record and publish the entire episode in the media, along with the Hindu extremist mob.
Jacksons – March Update 1
Give thanks that people are coming forward to help with the homework club.
Fraser’s still waiting to hear from Stellenbosch IT Dept if they will host the library internet portal. If they say no, pray we’ll identify an alternative which is both workable and within NetACT’s budget.
Pray for Sihle and Xosile, two of the regulars at Dawn’s Monday afternoon student group. Both are Xhosa-speakers who have an enthusiastic desire to spread the knowledge of God’s kingdom in love, obedience and awesomeness.
Pray that Dawn’s efforts to learn Afrikaans will be successful and conversations will go beyond buying a cup of coffee.
Blythswood – March Update 1
Continue to give God thanks for those in Blythswood and also their Romanian partners who are committed to working with these younger children in Talita Kum – the seeds of future Romania.
Many of these children would have no other opportunity to see the Christian faith being lived out on a daily basis. So please remember those Romanians who have been called by God to pour their lives into the young.
Please continue to pray for Daniel Centre’s staff and volunteers.
It is not always easy to adapt from living on your own, or perhaps in a dysfunctional family, to living in a close community supervised by committed Christians and with other young men drawn from a variety of backgrounds.
Yet the potential for making a great change in your community is there. The daily spiritual dynamic of the Centre is critical for the future of these young men.
The Middle East – March Update 1
Liberated Mosul still not safe for Iraqi Christians
Barnabas Fund, 1 March 2018
The presence of Iranian-backed Shia militia in Mosul means Christian do not feels safe, more than seven months since the city was liberated from Islamic State.
The Shiites are met with a lot of distrust and not seen as allies. The city has not become safe for Assyrian Christians.
Many Christians used to live in Mosul and the nearby Nineveh Plains, but they remain very hesitant to return to their homes, many of which are damaged or destroyed.
Violence against Christians began in Mosul long before the arrival of Islamic State.
In 2008 and 2009, Christians began to be threatened, abducted and killed for their faith. A well-known priest was abducted and slaughtered. His body was found in pieces.
For Iraqi Christians considering what lies ahead, their future prospects remain bleak.
Christmas for refugees in Lebanon
World Watch Monitor, December 31, 2017
Lebanon has absorbed more than a million refugees from conflicts in nearby Syria and Iraq, where Christians either fled general violence or direct targeting.
Because of Lebanon’s multi-faith make-up, many Iraqi and Syrian Christians have sought refuge there. They may not be the most materially impoverished, because the Churches there have tried hard to help them find rented accommodation.
At home, Iraqi Christians would go to church on Christmas Eve for a host of special events. In Beirut, where many feel scared to go out into a city they do not know, “they’ll only go to church at midnight, then go home.”
The Chaldean Charity Association has put on a free Christmas concert in Beirut cathedral for refugees, two Christmas parties for 1,200 children with gifts and food and animators, and is distributing food and hygiene parcels for 600 families for Christmas.
India – Hindu Extremists Disrupt Prayer Service
Morning Star News December 22, 2017
Hindu extremists have kept hundreds of Christians from a prayer service and attacked those who managed to attend.
2,000 people were expected on Dec. 6, but only 300 Christians made it past Hindu extremist check-points.
Hindu nationalists positioned men at village entry points and asked people where they were headed.
If they said they were going to the church service, they were shooed away, and if they tried to reason with them, they were threatened and manhandled.
Christian women who objected at the check-points were disgracefully manhandled. They were caught by their throats, and their clothes were pulled to threaten them.
When the worship service began, 700 hard-line Hindus attacked, led by members of the Hindu extremist VHP. They struck vehicles parked outside the prayer hall with sticks and set two of them on fire.
Cuban Christmas: Silent night
World Watch Monitor, December 31, 2017
Christmas in communist Cuba is a quiet affair. Catholic churches may hold a Christmas Mass, and some Evangelical churches will celebrate Christmas on their own premises but not in public spaces. Other Evangelical churches don’t hold Christmas services because of years of fierce government restrictions.
For many Cubans, bigger than Christmas is the anniversary of the revolution, 1 January. So, on 31 December, towns come alive with street parties and dancing. Many churches sidestep these festivities by holding all-night prayer services.
However, Christians watch what they say, even in church. For long after the revolution, Christmas couldn’t even be mentioned in a church. Nowadays such tight controls have relaxed to an extent, but “there continue to be government informants in all church services”.