Compass Direct News Articles

Nepal Churches Live Under Constant Threat

ap_Nepal_church_bombing_photog-Gemunu_Amarasinghe
AP Images/Gemunu Amarasinghe

Defying
pouring rain and flooded streets, over two dozen people have gathered
faithfully at the Putalisadak Church in the heart of capital city
Kathmandu for the regular Thursday evening Bible study class,
bringing a smile of satisfaction on the face of Pastor Dev Kumar
Chetri.

The smile fades, however, when he talks about the
problems that Nepal’s second-oldest church has faced due to
government discrimination. Hundreds of other churches scattered
through the former Hindu kingdom have faced the same problem.

Muslim Mobs Burn Pentecostal Church Meeting Place

Muslim Mobs Burn Pentecostal Church Meeting Place

ap_Indonesia_church_attacks
AP Images/Slamet Riyadi

Suspected Islamists were
behind the burning of three homes used as churches on Sumatra Island’s
Riau Province this month, though a political motive may also have played
a role, Christian leaders said.

Muslim mobs burned the
meeting places of a Batak Karo Protestant Church (GBKP) congregation and
a Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (GPDI) group on Aug. 1, and that of a
Methodist Church of Indonesia on Aug. 2, all in Kuantan Singingi
district.

Provincial GBKP leader Sahat Tarigan reportedly
said about 100 people on motorcycles arrived at the home at 11 p.m. on
Aug. 1, throwing stones, threatening church members with knives and
ultimately pouring gasoline and setting it on fire. A number of church
members were inside painting at the time of the attack, but there were
no casualties, Tarigan told Radio 68H News Agency.

Insurgent Blast Ravages Church Building in Iraq

Insurgent Blast Ravages Church Building in Iraq

ap_Iraq_Kirkuk_bombing_8-15_photog-Emad_Matti
Iraqis inspect the site of a bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Monday (Aug. 15). (AP Images/Emad Matti)

An insurgent blast left a
church building in Kirkuk, Iraq, severely damaged on Monday in a
second round of attacks against the city’s Christian community in two
weeks.

The bombing of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Mar
Afram was the only attack against Christian targets amid a wave of
violence that swept across Iraq yesterday, hitting 17 cities and
claiming about 70 lives, according to The Associated Press.

An
explosive device next to one of the church’s walls exploded at 1:20
a.m. on Monday. Photos showed the bricks of one of the side walls strewn
across the church floor and furniture, and one of the metal doors
twisted open.

Indonesia Mayor Rejects Church Permit

Indonesia Mayor Rejects Church Permit

indonesiacroppedA mayor in West Java who
disregarded a Supreme Court ruling to reinstate the building permit of a
church in Bogor has now dismissed a recommendation by the National
Ombudsman Institute to do so.

Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto
rejected the recommendation to reinstate the permit for the Indonesian
Christian Church (Gereja Kristen Indonesia, or GKI) Yasmin Bogor Church
last month, leaving the congregation to worship on a small strip of land
as 15 to 20 Muslim demonstrators taunt them.

Father Tortures Teenage Daughter for Leaving Islam

Father Tortures Teenage Daughter for Leaving Islam

uganda photo of church attack croppedA 14-year-old girl in western
Uganda is still unable to walk 10 months after her father tortured her
for leaving Islam and putting her faith in Christ, according to area
Christians.

Susan Ithungu of Isango village, Kasese
district, has been hospitalized at Kagando Hospital since October 2010
after neighbors with police help rescued her from her father, Beya
Baluku. He was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released, sources
said.

Susan and her younger brother, Mbusa Baluku, lived
alone with their father after he divorced their mother. In March 2010 an
evangelist from Bwera Full Gospel Church spoke at Susan’s school, and
she decided to trust Christ for her salvation.

Muslims Murder Christian in Upper Egypt

Muslims Murder Christian in Upper Egypt

ap_egypt_church_fire

AP Images

A Coptic Christian was killed
and several others were injured in Upper Egypt after Muslims on Sunday attacked a predominantly Christian village following an
argument between a Muslim and Christian.

The attack at
Nazlet Faragallah village in Minya, 218 kilometers south of
Cairo, lasted until Monday morning, Christians said. The
attackers raided an unknown number of homes owned by Christian villagers
and set eight on fire, area residents said.

The assailants
killed Maher Nassif, 46, a civil servant and livestock farmer, when he
tried to defend his home. The men burst into Nassif’s house, shot him in
the head and slit his throat while his teenage son watched from under a
bed where he was hiding, Christian villagers said. The men looted the
home and stole Nassif’s livestock as his son escaped into the night,
according to villagers who spoke with the boy.

Pakistan’s Christian Flood Victims Face Religious Discrimination

Pakistan’s Christian Flood Victims Face Religious Discrimination

Pakitan floods
In this photo taken July 26, Pakistani children fetch water in a camp where hundreds of people displaced by last years’s flooding live. (AP Images/B.K. Bangash)

Many Christians living in the
southern belt of Pakistan’s Punjab Province who lost their houses in
last year’s floods remain homeless despite a plan by the Punjab
government to allocate land to residents in the area, area Christians
said.

Hameed Masih, a resident of Kot Addu in Muzaffargarh
district, said the provincial government has not set a quota for
granting of land to members of minority communities left homeless by the
devastating floods that began in late July 2010.

 The
government has begun four plans in Kot Addu under which around 435 plots
of five marlas (151 square yards) each were to be distributed among
people who lost their property. Several people were allotted land last
month, but so far no minority member has been given land, he said.

Muslim Extremists Threaten to Burn Christian Women

Muslim Extremists Threaten to Burn Christian Women

India violence against Christians
AP Images/Manish Swarup

Four months
after a recent convert to Christianity from Islam in eastern India’s
West Bengal state was stripped and beaten, about 50 Muslim extremists
yesterday disrupted a prayer meeting held in her home, threatening to
burn it down if she did not return to Islam, area Christians said.

The
extremists warned Selina Bibi of Motijil village in Murshidabad
district that if she did not return to Islam, then she must either leave
the area or see her house burned down. At her baptism at Believers
Church four kilometers from her home on March 29, a large crowd of
Muslim extremists disrupted the service, said a pastor identified only
as Bashir.

“I pleaded with them to let me at least finish the worship service before they attack us,” he told Compass.

Christian Accused of ‘Blasphemy’ in Pakistan Granted Rare Bail

Christian Accused of ‘Blasphemy’ in Pakistan Granted Rare Bail

bibleandprisonbarscroppedIn a rare move in Pakistan, a
lower court in Punjab Province on Tuesday released on bail a
young Christian man accused of blaspheming Islam.

The
Magisterial Court of Chichawatni, Sahiwal district, granted bail to
Babar Masih, who suffers from a psychiatric disorder that causes him to
shout in fits of rage for as long as an hour without knowing what he is
doing or saying. In the face of Islamic extremist threats, generally
lower courts in Pakistan do not dare grant bail or acquit a Christian
accused of blasphemy, leaving such decisions for higher court judges who
enjoy greater security measures.

 The complainant in the
case, Zeeshan Arshad, states in the First Information Report (FIR) that
Masih was “addressing the stars and calling names of Muslim sages and
holy personages” when he made the alleged remarks blaspheming Islam. The
FIR itself states that Masih never intended to hurt Arshad’s religious
feelings, and that no sane person would draw the ire of area residents
by talking in this way.

Kidnapped Christian Girl in Sudan Escapes, Traumatized

Kidnapped Christian Girl in Sudan Escapes, Traumatized

Sudan MapHiba Abdelfadil Anglo, 16, has
escaped from a gang of Muslims who kidnapped her last year, but it may
be a long time before she recovers from the trauma.

As she
told Compass how the kidnappers beat, raped and tried to force her to
convert from Christianity to Islam, she broke into tears for nearly half
an hour.

“They did many bad things to me,” she said, tears streaming down her eyes.

Blast Near Church in Kirkuk, Iraq, Injures 13

Blast Near Church in Kirkuk, Iraq, Injures 13

Iraq_bomb_Kirkuk
The damaged interior of the Holy Family Syrian Catholic Church after an early-morning car bomb attack in Kirkuk on Tuesday. (AP Images/Emad Matti)

A car blast outside a Syrian
Catholic church in Kirkuk, Iraq, Tuesday morning left 13 wounded as
police located and disarmed two more car bombs targeting churches in the
city, according to area sources.

Online video images of
the attack against the Holy Family Church showed one of its walls
blasted open and all its surfaces covered with broken glass, rubble and
dust from the entrance where the explosion took place to the sanctuary
on the far end of the building. The explosion occurred on the second day
of the month-long Muslim fasting period of Ramadan.

Nearby
houses in one of Kirkuk’s oldest quarters, where Muslims and Christians
had lived together peacefully, were seriously damaged, and cars on the
street were left in twisted piles of metal. Shattered glass wounded 13
residents as they slept, area sources said.

Muslims Steal Christians’ Land in Zanzibar Island

Muslims Steal Christians’ Land in Zanzibar Island

Zanzibar Island
Women voters on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania,
on Oct. 31. (
AP Images/Ali Sultan)

Authorities of predominantly Islamic Zanzibar island chain decline to act. Influential
Muslims on this East African island have begun building what appears to
be a hotel on a 100-year-old burial site owned by an Anglican church,
Christian leaders said.

Church leaders with ownership
papers for the land told Compass they are disturbed that authorities
have taken no action since they filed a police complaint in December
about the seizure of the burial site three kilometers (nearly two miles)
from Zanzibar city’s airport. Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago,
including the largest island of Zanzibar (officially known as Unguja),
is 99.9 percent Muslim.

“We see that the government is
partisan and would not like to see the church grow in Zanzibar,” the
Rev. Canon Emmanuel John Masoud told Compass. “The retired Chief Justice
Augustino Ramadani, who is a member of the Anglican church, was
appointed to be a link between the church and the government to
facilitate the negotiation process, but it seems that nothing is bearing
fruits. Hence the church is not supported in any way.”

Pastor Faces Execution in Iran

Pastor Faces Execution in Iran

Iran mapA pastor in Iran found guilty
of leaving Islam awaits the outcome of a judicial investigation into his
spiritual background to see if he will be executed or, if possible,
forced to become a Muslim, according to Christian groups with ties in
Iran.

The court-ordered investigation will take place this fall to determine whether Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, 34,
was a Muslim as a teenager before he became a Christian at 19.

On
Sept. 22, a regional court sentenced Nadarkhani, who leads a
400-strong house church movement in Rasht, to death by hanging for
“convert(ing) to Christianity” and “encourag(ing) other Muslims to
convert to Christianity.” Nadarkhani’s lawyer appealed the verdict to
the Iranian Supreme Court, in part because the pastor said he had never
actually been a Muslim and therefore could not be found guilty of
abandoning the religion.

Lao Authorities Arrest Christians for Evangelizing

Lao Authorities Arrest Christians for Evangelizing

lao_deitiesAuthorities in
a village in northern Laos have ordered all Christian residents to
cease meeting for worship in private homes following the arrest of four
Christians on July 10, rights advocates said.

Also on July
10, police arrested a Christian in Luang Prabang Province, ordering him
to abandon his faith or face imprisonment, according to a statement
from the advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom.

In Luang Namtha Province, Pastor Seng Aroun of
Kon church in Namtha district, and three other Christians from Sounya
village church identified only as Souchiad, Naikwang and Kofa had met at
Kofa’s house for Sunday worship on July 10, HRWLRF reported. Kofa had
also asked them for advice regarding a vehicle accident in May in which
he had unwittingly caused the death of another person.

Pakistani Muslims Convicted for Beating Christian to Death

Pakistani Muslims Convicted for Beating Christian to Death

pakistanmapcroppedThree Muslims convicted of
killing a Christian in Pakistan’s Punjab Province for refusing to
convert to Islam last year have been given life sentences, according to
attorneys for the European Centre for Law and Justice in
Pakistan.

The Sessions Court in Mian Channu on July 7
convicted Ghulam Rasool, Amjad Iqbal and Kashir Saleem of torturing and
killing Rasheed Masih on March 9, 2010, and sentenced them to life in
prison, which in Pakistan is 25 years. The court also ordered each
convict to pay 100,000 rupees ($1,153) to Masih’s family. A fourth
suspect, Muhammad Asif, was acquitted.

Pin It on Pinterest