Morning Star News, June 24, 2020
Following calls from mosque leaders in Khartoum to rid their “Muslim area” of South Sudanese Christians, several Christians were attacked there and in neighbouring Omdurman this month.
At the end of evening prayers at a mosque, imams on June 6 called for residents to rid Christian South Sudanese from the “Muslim area”. Attacks on Christians in the area followed that evening and the next day.
In a separate attack on June 20 in Omdurman, young Muslim men shouting the jihadist slogan “Allah Akbar” stabbed a Christian to death in a street assault and four other South Sudanese.
Mariel Bang is survived by his wife and four children ranging in age from 1 to 4 years old. Bang was 35.
PrayerCast, June 20, 2020
President Karimov, who ruled for 27 years, died in 2016 and was succeeded by the prime minister, Mirziyoyev. Yet institutionalized corruption still exists at every level of government. Although Uzbeks boast a 99% literacy level, all media is government controlled, and free access to information is non-existent. This nation now acts as a transit point for drug activity, particularly Afghan narcotics going to Russia and Western Europe, and has a reputation for human trafficking.
Uzbekistan is in the top twenty most persecuted nations in the world. Approximately 84% claim Islam, while less than 1% are Christian. Of the sixty-one people groups, thirty-four remain unreached by the Gospel. Fundamentalist sects and those who seek to establish Islamic law have formed.
All churches, regardless of denomination, must be registered with the government. There are approximately 25,000 Christians in dozens of unregistered churches facing persecution, arrest, and torture from targeted attacks by government-controlled media and police. Despite increasing scrutiny and harassment, the Church continues to grow, mainly in urban areas.
PrayerCast, June 30, 2020
Cuba is a totalitarian one-party Communist regime that limits personal liberties, curtails independent journalists, and arrests those who criticize the government. While maintaining strict control over people’s lives, Cubans can now own their own small businesses. However, 80% of Cubans are still employed by the government.
In 2010 Cuba officially shifted from being an atheist nation to a secular one. However, in order to be approved by the government, churches must be members of the Cuban Council of Churches. Those that do not register are unable to print Bibles and face harsh intimidation: loss of work, inability to apply for top jobs, denied access to universities, utilities shut off, and even imprisonment. All churches are under surveillance and do not know which of their members are informants. However, state hostility has deepened the Cuban Church’s faith, dependence on prayer, and unity. Persecution has challenged and propelled Cuban believers to minister to their community in innovative and bold ways.
Middle East Concern, June 5, 2020
Iranian Christians request prayer for four Christian converts and their families after the men presented themselves at Evin Prison on 2 June to begin serving five-year sentences.
Hossein Kadivar, Khalil Dehghanpour, Kamal Naamanian and Mohammed Vafadar obeyed a summons issued on 28 May.
They were among nine Christian converts belonging to the “Church of Iran” denomination who were arrested over a four-week period at the beginning of 2019, accused of endangering state security and promoting Zionism. The other five men were immediately transferred to Evin prison, as they were unable to meet extortionate bail of $130,000 each.
In October 2019, all nine were convicted of “acting against national security” and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. The sentences were upheld on appeal in February 2020.
Of the four men who presented themselves at Evin Prison earlier this week, three are married with families, while Mohammad is single.
Barnabas Fund, 10 June 2020
At least 57 people were killed in renewed attacks by jihadists on villages in the mainly-Christian north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the end of May.
Members of Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamist militant group active in the region for more than two decades, attacked Samboko village on 26 May, murdering with machetes more than 40 villagers.
A day earlier, on 25 May, the extremists attacked the nearby village of Makutano, killing at least 17 people.
More than 700 people have been killed in Ituri province, where the two villages are located, since 2017, according to the UN. The north-east region has seen a surge of violence since October 2019, when the army launched a large-scale offensive against the ADF.
In January, the ADF murdered Pastor Ngulongo Batsemire, 60, after he refused their demands to convert to Islam. On the same day, militants murdered at least 30 people in a raids on four villages in the Beni region.
Morning Star News, June 11, 2020
Incited by Hindu extremists, followers of traditional tribal religion in eastern India last week stabbed and stoned a 16-year-old Christian boy to death for his faith, sources said.
The mutilated body of Sambaru Madkami was found on Friday, June 5, buried in the jungle, less than 4 miles from his village of Kenduguda, Odisha state. The village animists had seized him on Thursday night, June 4, after deciding to kill the male heads of the three Christian families in the village, area sources said.
“They had come for me,” Sambaru’s father, Unga Madkami, told Morning Star News, “but I was not at home. I had taken my daughter who was sick to the doctor.”
Sambaru had been leading daily meetings of a house church whose founding pastor, living in another town, dared to appear only twice a month due to villagers’ growing opposition. The only three Christian families in the village of 210 families met at Sambaru’s house.
“Sambaru knew the Word of God the most from among us,” his cousin told Morning Star News. “So he was the one who led us in a time of prayer and learning from the Bible every day in his house.”
Open Doors, 28 May 2020
744,000 Christians live in Syria, about 70,000 fewer than in 2019, many having fled because of the risk of being displaced by persecution and hardship.
Conflict has abated in parts of Syria, but radical Islamic groups still control areas. Church leaders are particularly vulnerable to abduction. Muslim Background Believers face pressure from families and communities – leaving Islam is seen as a huge source of shame.
Believers in north east Syria are vulnerable to attacks from Islamic militants among the Turkish army.
Jina’s husband Rober was kidnapped for his faith in 2013. She and her young son, Abraham, are still waiting for him to come home. Another man, kidnapped and later released, told Jina that Rober refused to convert to Islam: “Rober refused and said, ‘I have my God and that’s it.’” Christians are kidnapped for ransom across Syria.
Despite continuing challenges, Christians are shining a light in the darkness of Syria. Centres of Hope are providing vital short-term aid for thousands of vulnerable families and also offer long-term support, including trauma care and business microloans.
Release International, 26 May 2020
A new report from Nigerian NGO, International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, claims attacks by Fulani militants have killed 620 Christians in the first five months of 2020, supporting claims by Release International that the attacks are growing and have the characteristics of an undeclared jihad against Christians.
The report claims 32,000 Christians have been killed by Islamist militants since 2009, the UN puts the figure at 27,000 and the Stefanos Foundation estimates 30,000 have died in the continuing violence.
In a recent attack on the Christian village of Gonan Rogo, armed Fulani militants waited until around midnight on May 12 until the villagers, including babies, were asleep then set upon them with guns and knives.
‘The Nigerian government is at best ineffective, at worst reluctant, to prevent these attacks,’ says Release CEO Paul Robinson. ‘Our message to Nigeria and the international community is intervene and stop this now – before it is too late.’
Fulani militants have killed three times as many Nigerians as Boko Haram since the start of 2020.
Forum 18, 28 May 2020
The Council of Churches Baptist congregation in the north-eastern city of Pavlodar – led by the 65-year-old Pastor Isak Neiman – meets for worship on private premises. It chooses not to seek state permission to be allowed to exist and meet.
About seven police officers raided the congregation during its Sunday morning meeting for worship on 29 March, claiming to be checking anti-coronavirus health measures. About 300 church members were present, according to the subsequent court decision. Officers told church members they had to disperse, which they did.
At the hearing, the following day, at Pavlodar’s Specialised Administrative Court, Judge Musabayev found Pastor Neiman guilty of violating anti-coronavirus health measures and issued him with a warning, but then fined him nearly two months’ average wages for leading an unregistered religious community meeting for worship without state permission.
Romania moves from a military state of emergency to a state of alert on 15th May, with deaths still contained at under 1000 for the country. Alix and István still work and keep to their own rooms when back at the house, but no Covid 19 testing in place poses problems for the others. Abram is on his two-week supervision of the Centre.
Balazs and family are currently on a break from the city, the children schooling online. This year looks to be the driest year since 1947 – the country will have to cut down on grain exports to non-EU countries.
Balazs returns to Cluj today to work on claiming government furlough subsidies for the Centre. An offer has been made for one of the Centre’ outlying properties and Balazs will meet the potential buyer in Cluj.
No updated news at the moment but Talita Kum’s teachers continue online support to children normally attending Talita Kum under regular circumstances.
Adrian supports the children, their families and elderly in the Jimbolia community with meals from Talita Kum’s soup kitchen. This provides some relief for Talita Kum in its current cash-strapped situation.
The Talita 3 & 4 project is now in the detailed planning stage.