Believers in Danger in Iraq

January 23, 2007

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., Jan. 22 /Christian Newswire/ — Phil Walker, President of International Christian Ministries (ICM) recently traveled to three different North Africa and Middle East Countries. In one country he taught leaders from four countries including Iraq. What follows is a plea for help from a Christian brother in Iraq for his family. He and his family are one of the thousands of other believers trapped in an almost impossible situation.

“Tuesday at 3:45 pm, me and my family were about to be killed. An unknown armed people attacked the street where I live and the shops which are beside my house. Thousands and thousands of bullets were randomly shot; no body believed what was going on. We just tried hard to hide somewhere in the house that looked safe. This thing lasted for 30 minutes. We thought we will never see the sun again. After some minutes of silence I opened the door to find 5 bodies in front of my house door. There was more than 12 people killed and 40 injured; some of the cases were very serious. They tried to kill every thing that was moving in the street at those minutes. I and my son John came to our house from the grocery shop, just 15 minutes before. If we were late a little bit there is no doubt that we were killed. More than 20 shops in my neighbors were smashed and some of the owners were killed.

Since Tuesday, I was not able to leave my house. The children are shaken from the fear and don’t want me to leave them. No one is able to go to school. We have had a serious shock. The situation is so bad in these days that more than 500 people were killed and injured during these days because of several attacks and bombings.

Besides all the killing, we have electricity for only one hour a day and it’s so hard to afford for the gasoline for generators. We are spending very hard days and dark cold nights.

Please I ask you and the brothers there to pray for us and for our safety.”

Link For Kareem

January 12, 2007

DC Blogging for Freedom

The following is offered as an opinion from Gary McCullough, the director of the Christian Communication Network, in regard to recent discussions on the criteria to define a religion as peaceful and statements made by Pope Benedict XVI:

Is there not an Arabic version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Suit?
“How dare you say Mohammad was violent – I, as a devout and faithful follower of the peaceful religion of Islam, will kill you Christians and destroy your religious sites until your Pope apologizes.” – A hypothetical but apparently accurate position of many Muslims

The actions and teachings of Mohammad were evil and inhumane (my words, not the Holy Father’s). This was recently illustrated by the televised beheading of Nick Berg when one of the murderers put a blade to Berg’s neck and said, “Allah has left us an example in the blessed Prophet with the slow cutting of the prisoners’ necks, and the cutting off of their heads.”

Faithful followers of Mohammad are destine for eternal damnation–and while living out their faith on earth will make life like hell for those whom they are able to impact. Their only salvation is repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord, (yes, the one born of the Jews).

Our Christian desire is that the followers of Islam renounce faith in Mohammad, but not because we wish you death or will punish you. Our desire is out of love for you, even while you wish us harm—even while you do us harm. This offer is made with the unconditional promise that we will never force you to accept our proposition. This position on force is what defines a religion as peaceful. This position on force is what allows Muslims and a multitude of other religions to peacefully coexist with Christians in western countries. When Christians have the rule of law and the majority in a democracy, there is true freedom to worship as you choose.

What we will force upon Islam and its followers is punishment for enforcing Mohammad’s faith or laws upon others. This punishment will be meted out only in a just and measured response.

Such a response of force is not revenge. Such a response is not contrary to peace. It is a response in defense of life and in defense of our families’ and neighbors’ freedom. Individual Christians, as has been demonstrated throughout history, may refuse to defend themselves as a manifestation of God’s love for all—including violent Islamic aggressors. After all, we are commanded to “turn the other cheek.” But as a whole, as nations, and as families, we are not commanded to “turn the other cheek” of our neighbors, our wives, husbands, parents, or children.

A religion should be judged by its fruit. In countries under Islamic rule – violence against individuals who practice other religions is common. In the war raging in southern Sudan – when Islamic forces take control of an area, Christians have been killed when they refuse to convert to Islam and the Christian churches are burned. Yet when control of an area is taken by the southern rebel Christian army, mosques are left standing and Muslims are allowed to continue to practice their faith. I have traveled to Africa and spoken to the soldiers and survivors. This is just one example of what defines a religion as peaceful. This is one more example that defines Islam as a religion of the sword.

To claim Islam is a peaceful religion is a lie of whole cloth similar to the fabric of The Emperor’s New Suit. Perhaps I am naïve as a child, but I am no longer willing to be silent and gawk at Mohammad’s nakedness. – Gary McCullough, director of the Christian Communication Network

Background—

Here is what Pope Benedict XVI said:

“The emperor certainly knew that Sura 2, 256, reads: ‘No force in matters of faith’. It is one of the early suras, from a time — as experts say — in which Mohammed himself was still powerless and threatened.
“However, the emperor of course also knew the requirements about the holy war that were later formulated in the Quran. Without going into details like the handling of the owners of the scriptures, or non-believers, he (the emperor) turned to his interlocutors — in a surprisingly brusque way — with the central question after the relationship between religion and violence.

“He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

See: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/ europe/09/15/pope.islam/

Also see: Mohammed, Assassinations, and Beheadings

Also see: Death Threats From Muslim Extremists

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 /Christian Newswire/ — The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just released its annual Hall of Shame Awards. This list details the world’s top ten persecutors of Christians.

This report calls attention to a growing trend that shows the source of Christian persecution shifting from nations with Communist governments to Islamic nations.

The first example of this trend is Iraq. One of the unintended consequences of the war in Iraq was to bring more pressure on the Christian communities there. Much of the media attention has focused on bloodshed between Sunni and Shiite, but hardly any coverage has been given to the disproportionately large number of brutal attacks on the small Christian minority. Therefore, ICC has ranked Iraq as the second-worst persecutor of Christians.

In addition, radical Islam has gained a foothold in the Horn of Africa through the anarchy in Somalia. This has contributed to a sharp rise in violence against Christians in Somalia and Ethiopia. It remains to be seen what effect the recent defeat of the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia will have on the region.

ICC’s President Jeff King said, “Persecution must and can be fought. Religious persecution must be named and shamed on an international level. Journalists need to speak out about Islam’s mistreatment of other religions, while concerned individuals should get involved in the fight by contacting their elected representatives and by calling embassies and requesting fair treatment for Christians overseas.”

In order, ICC has ranked the world’s worst persecutors as: North Korea, Iraq, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Eritrea, China, Vietnam, and Pakistan.

The report is in PDF format, and can be found on the ICC website http://www.persecution.org, or it can be accessed directly at http://www.persecution.org/suffering/pdfs/HallofShame2007.pdf.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /Christian Newswire/ — The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC),www.persecution.org, has learned that in early October, a mob of three hundred Muslims murdered six Christians, and seriously wounded fifteen others during a midnight worship service in Beshasha, a town located in the Agaro province, 408 kilometers West of Addis Ababa.

On October 14, Orthodox Christians held a midnight worship service when a group of three hundred Muslims, carrying guns and knives approached the church. The mob could not enter the locked doors to the church but then proceeded to pour gasoline around the building, forcing the Christians to come out of the building.

The men of the church came out first and attempted to defend the men and women but had no real weapons, in comparison to the guns and knives used against them. The Muslim mob began to attack the Christians. Fifteen individuals from the church suffered sever knife wounds. Six people died as a result, two priests, two elderly women, and two men.

Two weeks later, the Ethiopian media announced that the police had arrested the leader of the massacre. However, the violence against Christians continues to steadily increase. It was only two weeks before the Beshasha massacre that another attack on Christians occurred in Jimma, Ethiopia because Muslims opposed Orthodox Christians celebrating the traditional Meskel holiday.

Muslims in the Horn of Africa are becoming increasingly radical and violent and are being urged to export that violence to surrounding countries.

This trend is almost certainly affecting Christians in Ethiopia. The Union of Islamic Courts in Somalis recently called for Jihad against Ethiopia, appealing to Muslims of the Horn to rise up against anyone who would dare come against the religion of Allah.

The tragic incident may only be a precursor of things to come as Muslims in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania are radicalized.

ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

MIDLAND, Texas, Nov. 29 /Christian Newswire/ — China Aid Association learned that three controversial church leaders were executed secretly sometime last week.

According to Mr. Li Maoxing’s wife, she was asked by the Intermediate Court of Shuangyashan City, Heilongjiang province at 2:30pm on November 28 (Beijing time) to collect her husband’s ashes at the court as soon as possible. According to attorney Li Heping who is the defense lawyer for Mr. Xu Shuangfu, the founder of the Three Grade Servant church group, Mr. Xu, Mr. Li Maoxing and Mr. Wang Jun were already executed secretly sometime last week. Neither of their attorneys nor any of their relatives was informed in advance about the execution. The Defense team for the three executed argued that there is no evidence to prove Xu and the other two church leaders were directly involved or took part in organizing and abetting the murder of the members of the Eastern Lightening religious group.

Attorney Li Heping told CAA that he was deeply disturbed by the secret arbitrary execution without even notifying the family members of the executed in advance. CAA confirms that so far 15 individual believers and leaders had been executed in related to this case.

“We are completely shocked by this news” said Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA, “the arbitrary execution certainly shows the Chinese central government is totally ignoring the rule of law. The local government is clearly engaging cover-up the evidence of torture by secret cremating the inmates’ bodies. We appeal to the Supreme People’s Court to launch independent investigation on this case.”

Defense Lawyer Mr. Wei Rujiu’s contact phone number:
Phone: +86-13901098010

Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Tel:+86-10-65205114
Fax:+86-10-64729863
Address: No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)

Great article!! I Wish I had thought to write it, but upon reading it, I am glad Dr. Mohammed wrote this article, for it seems that his life’s work has been this. God bless him!!

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pan-arabism-inhuman-progenitor-islamic-terrorism.html

MIDLAND, Texas, Nov. 14 /Christian Newswire/ — CAA learned that November 17-19, 2006, the Heilongjiang Higher People’s Court re-tried the case of the “Three Grades Servants.” In December it is very possible that the death sentence issued by the Shuang Yashan Intermediate People’s Court in the first trial will be upheld for Xu Shengguang and 2 other church leaders.

The second trial was held in the Shuang Yashan Intermediate People’s Court room by judges from the Provincial Higher Court. Officers from National Jurisdiction Organs and the National Religious Affairs Bureau were also present. Only 15 of the 16 defendants appealed for a second trial.

The court allowed one relative of each suspected criminal to be present at the trial, although some 100 people were present in the audience. According to the eyewitnesses, Xu seemed physically and mentally well during the trial.

The Defense argued that there is no evidence to prove Xu and the other two church leaders were directly involved or took part in organizing and abetting the murder of the members of the Eastern Lightening religious group.

According to an amendment passed by the 24th Conference of the Chinese Standing Committee of the People’s National Congress, beginning January 2007, the Chinese Supreme Court can reverse a Provincial Court’s death sentence. Unfortunately the mid- December verdict date for Xu falls two or three weeks prior to the effective date of the new procedure. So if the death sentences are upheld in the second trial, Xu and the others will face execution.

According to information received by CAA, the “Three Grades Servant” sect, even though they claim to be Christians and adhere to the Bible, is considered a heresy by mainstream house churches in China, because of their extreme doctrine. The Eastern Lightening group founded by a woman named Zheng, who claims to be China’s female reincarnation of Jesus Christ, is widely acknowledged by house churches to be a cult and a criminal religious group.

“We are closely monitoring the progress of this case,” said Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA, “We appeal to the Heilongjiang Higher People’s Court to try this case in a just and fair manor according to the Chinese Constitution.”

Defense Lawyer Mr. Wei Rujiu’s contact phone number:+86-13901098010

Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of PRC
Tel:+86-10-65205114
Fax:+86-10-64729863
Address: No. 10, Nan Da Jie, Chaoyangmen, Beijing City (Zip Code: 100020)

Issued by CAA on November 14, 2006

MIDLAND, Texas, Nov. 1 /Christian Newswire/ — China Aid Association learns that on October 26, 2006 a house church building in the campus of “Changchun Agricultural University” in the suburb of Changchun city, Jilin province was demolished forcibly by the local government.

It is known that the building served as the gathering place for Nongda house church when religious activities were held there. The place was also used as the “Morning Star Supermarket” in other times.

According to the witnesses, the government sent 500 policemen and several hundred peasant workers to the site at 4 o’clock in the morning. They drove the people out of the building while they were sleeping. Within an hour, the main part of the building as well as the furniture in it became piles of debris. In the entire process, no explanation was given on the issues.

Nongda house church, which has a history of more than 10 years, serves mainly the brothers and sisters in the nearby countryside. It not only gained reputation in the surrounding areas, its influence reached as far as Heilongjiang and Inmongolia.

Though being threatened, attacked, and harassed frequently, the church has always stuck by the principle of not being affiliated with 3-Self church, or registering to the government. They hold the orthodoxy Christian belief, and cherish the biblical truth.

Who can imagine that within an hour’s time, the main part of their church building was bulldozed under the pretext of “urban appearance rearrangement.” Only a two-story building was left.

Brothers and sisters of Nongda house church ask earnestly that the Lord’s body pray for their church in tribulation.

CAA appeals that the Changchun government give an account to Nongda house church concerning the event as soon as possible, and arrange a place for the new building, in order not to bring shame on the ancient city of Changchun.

Christian Freedom International Urges Renunciation of Violence
FRONT ROYAL, Va., Oct. 5 /Christian Newswire/ — Violence continues throughout the Muslim world in response to Pope Benedict’s recent remarks about Islam. Some Christian churches in Iraq have posted letters indicating their disagreement with the Pope in an attempt to avoid attack.

According to Christian Freedom International president Jim Jacobson, “as long as almost any criticism of Islam is met with violence, a serious dialogue between Christians and Muslims is impossible.”

In a world driven by economic, ethnic, and religious differences, people desperately seek dialogue. It is certainly better to talk than to fight. And much can be achieved if people set aside their differences to work together for common ends.

However, genuine dialogue requires confronting real problems. There is much in history about which those of both the Christian and Muslim faiths–and others as well–must regret. Injustice was committed by the use of violence by those claiming to speak for God. The victims of such injustice were many.

Today the picture is very different. By no means is the Christian church perfect–“God tells us that all men have fallen short of His glory,” emphasizes Jacobson. But over the last several hundred years Christians have come to recognize that violence and force have no place in promoting the Gospel message.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in the Muslim world. That sad reality is evident from the response to the Pope’s speech: the murder of a nun in Somalia, church burnings by Palestinians, attacks on churches in Iraq, and threats against Christians elsewhere. The problem of Islamic violence against non-Muslims of all faiths is not locked in history. It is today.

Equally serious is the problem of persecution and discrimination. “The bias against Christians is pervasive across the Muslim world,” explains Jacobson. “Of course, some countries are freer and more tolerant than others. Nevertheless, it is virtually impossible to find a Muslim-majority nation in which Christians are not oppressed, while it is similarly hard to locate a Christian-majority state in which Muslims are victimized.”

The starting point for any inter-faith dialogue must be a discussion of the willingness of Islamic governments to stop the persecution of non- Muslims. “Freedom of conscience is a prerequisite for religious faith, and it must be protected for everyone,” says Jacobson.

There is much in culture and history that divides believers in God. But we also have much in common. The foundation for future religious dialogue and cooperation must be the renunciation of violence in the name of faith.

Christian Freedom International is a human rights organization for religious liberty, helping persecuted Christians.


U.S.-Based Humanitarian Organization Helps Provide Income for Artisans in Other Countries

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, Oct. 2 /Christian Newswire/ — Christian Freedom International (CFI), a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to the cause of helping persecuted Christians worldwide, has released its 2006/2007 Handcraft Catalog in conjunction with its microenterprise program.

The catalog features dozens of handcraft items for sale, including ethnic clothing, pottery, jewelry and bags, all made by Christian artisans in countries such as Pakistan, Laos, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. As part of its microenterprise, or “self-help,” program, CFI provides artisans with training and materials, then pays them for the crafts that are shipped to and sold in the United States. For poverty-stricken Christians, the program has been a successful way for them to earn an income for themselves and their families.

Microenterprise is just one of the many projects CFI undertakes in its attempts to aid suffering Christians throughout the world. By monitoring countries where persecution is the most intense, the organization is able to partner with indigenous churches and church members to provide basic supplies such as food, Bibles, medicine and medical care, as well as the operation of schools and orphanages, in areas where it is desperately needed.

Startling statistics reveal that more Christians have been martyred for their faith in the past 100 years than in all of the past 1,900 years combined. Christian Freedom International has been widely recognized for its efforts to provide relief and advocacy on behalf of Christians living in countries where even the simple act of owning a Bible is illegal.

To order a copy of CFI’s 2006/2007 Handcraft Catalog, or to learn more about persecuted Christians and how to help, visit http://www.christianfreedom.org.


American Korean Pastor Put under Surveillance in a Hotel; New Website for Religious Freedom in China Launched

MIDLAND, Texas, Oct. 27 /Christian Newswire/ — China Aid Association learns that all the 35 Christians arrested October 26, 2006 in a Bible training program held in Qilin mountain Villa, Urumqi city, Xinjiang Autonous Region have been released. They were released at 11pm after 12 hours of interrogation.

The police behaved relatively “gentle” during the interrogation, according to the eyewitnesses, female Christians were not abused this time, but at least one male Christian were beaten by the interrogators, and 2 Christians were fined 50 Yuan (about 6 US$).

After the interrogation focused on the issue of the American Korean pastor is currently under residence surveillance in an unknown hotel, and the police have his passport. The local Christians are not able to converse with him.

Among the 35 previously arrested, sister Fu Jufang and sister Rao were summoned again to the police station at 1pm on October 27(Beijing Time) and were released at 7pm after 6 hours of interrogation. Sister Zhou Li and another sister are also asked to go to the Yongfeng police station for further investigation next Monday.

CAA today formally launches a new website to promote and advance religious freedom for all in China. The name of this website is WWW.MonitorChina.Org.

“We welcome the release of the arrested Chinese house church pastors and we hope the American Korean pastor can be allowed to come back home soon,” Said Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA, “We hope through timely, accurate and truthful reports as well as faithful actions, the Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be realized in China, which reads:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

CAA gathers verifiable reports on threats and actions against the religious freedom of all people in China, regardless of their religious affiliation. CAA then urges proper actions by concerned communities to help advance religious freedom for all in China.

MIDLAND, Texas, Oct. 23 /Christian Newswire/ — CAA learned the local prosecutor in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province decided not to prosecute the 6 Church leaders in the event at this time. The case has been returned to the local PSB to gather more evidence. Family members of the indicted pastors were notified this decision on October 16, 2006.

According to information acquired by CAA, at the time of the event the church leaders implored the military police to postpone entering the construction site, and at the same time urged the Christians to leave quickly. The potential large-scale clash was actually avoided on the spot. The local people’s prosecutor might find the charge of incitement to resist law-enforcement is not tenable. So the case was returned to the local PSB to gather more evidence.

According to an expert legal analyst, the most optimistic prospect is that the case will be thrown out for lack of sufficient evidence.

It is well known that the local PSB began investigating an old case that was settled 3 years ago, known as the 8/22/04 event for short. In 2004, Xiaoshan churches held a series of open-air Gospel meetings to evangelize the nomadic workers in Xiaoshan. As the attendance increased vehemently, the local PSB intervened. August 22, 2004 the police intercepted & arrested some Christians on their way to the meeting site. The issue was peacefully settled with an agreement between the local PSB and the church that stated that the PSB would stop the investigating if the church stopped holding similar activities and the negotiation was videotaped as a proof.

The possibility still exists that the local PSB is investigating the legal responsibility of the church leaders in the 8/22/04 open air Gospel meeting event, because most of the church leaders were involved in both the 2004 & 2006 cases.

The 6 church leaders are all prestigious Christians in Xiaoshan, Rev. Bob Fu, the president of CAA said, They are absolutely law-binding and peaceful people of faith and we urge the Zhejiang authority to honor the rule of law and the spirit of religious freedom and to release them immediately.

Bob Fu also expressed concern that some individuals in the Xiaoshan PSB broke the agreement made with the church in 2004. The local government authority will lose their credibility in the eyes of thousands of religious believers in the long run.

6 church members still imprisoned:

Sister Shen Zhuke (52-year-old)
Brother Shen Chengyi (76-year-old)
Brother Ni Weimin (45-year-old)
Brother Wang Weiliang
Brother Guo Lijun
Telephone numbers of the leaders in charge of the departments involved in the persecution in Xiaoshan:
The deputy Public Security Bureau head: Xuan Zhuolin: +86-138-0575-2568 (he is in charge of almost all the previous persecution events in past years)
The head of United Front Department: Qiu Youlai +86- 139-5716-5666
The head of Religious Bureau: Lan Xiaohua (female) +86-139-6710-5506
Xiaoshan City Government office: +86–571-8289- 8210

Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008

http://www.china-embassy.org/

TEL: 202-7456743
Fax: 202- 588-0032
Issued by China Aid Association Inc. on October 23, 2006 © China Aid Association, Inc

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /Christian Newswire/ — The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), http://www.persecution.org, has just been informed that on July 20, 7 Muslim leaders (clerics) brutally attacked 50 or more Christians in Henno, Ethiopia. This latest attack is just one example of the increasing violence against Christians in Ethiopia. In fact, Islamic leaders are urging Muslims in the area to kill full-time Christian evangelists. The situation has reached such intensity that Christian leaders are in fear and moving in pairs to ward off attacks. Local Muslim authorities failed to take action against the Muslim attackers.

Henno is located in the district of Kokosa of the Oromia region, 404 kilometers South of Addis Ababa.

In 2005, two prominent Muslims in Henno converted to Christianity: “H,” a well known Muslim leader, and “M,” the son of a well-respected Muslim tribal leader. The two conversions angered Muslim leaders in the surrounding region. On July 20, 2006, “M” hosted a worship service for the other Christians in Henno and invited a choir from the Sidama region.

The worship service gained the attention of the whole village, including Muslim leaders who responded violently by instigating a riot, using gangs in the area. The gangs were carrying local weapons such as knives, stones, and metal rods.

The Muslim leaders demanded the expulsion of the choir from the area. The new believer and former Muslim leader, “H,” refused to stop the service despite their pressure. Consequently, the crowd began to beat “H” and other Christians in the house with their weapons.

“H” was beaten badly, receiving five deep wounds to his head. Because he was beaten with an iron rod, he was also missing teeth. He suffered deep lacerations to his legs, where several ligaments protruded from the skin. “H’s” daughter-in-law was pregnant at the time but lost her baby because she was also severely beaten.

In total, twelve people were seriously injured; five others were found to have lacerations on their body and received medical treatment in Shashamene Kuyera Hospital. “H” also received care and has recovered from the attack.

The Christians reported the riot to the district government administrative office, which took no legal action. Instead, the officers warned Christians not to worship in a region that is predominately Muslim. It is important to note that all officers who heard the case were in fact Muslim. The case was then taken to a higher police authority. The police responded by arresting 26 gang members. However, they were released quickly because tribal elders appealed to the government.

An Encouraging Note

In the following weeks, many Muslims denounced the actions taken against the Christians. To express their disgust, Muslims refused to go to Mosques. In fact, forty-seven key leaders became Christians and renounced Islam stating, “If Islam means killing innocent brothers and sisters – we do not want to follow it!”

Please pray for the Christians in Henno, Ethiopia who are in need of your support in the midst of persecution from Muslim leaders who want to annihilate them. ICC encourages all concerned parties to contact the Ethiopian embassy in the United States, to respectfully express concern that the freedom of Christians in Ethiopia is not being sufficiently protected. You can contact them at the addresses and phone numbers listed below:

Embassy of Ethiopia
3506 International Dr. NW Washington, DC 20008
Tel (202)364-1200
Fax: (202)587-0195
info@ethiopianembassy.org

The following is offered as an opinion from Gary McCullough, the director of the Christian Communication Network, in regard to recent discussions on the criteria to define a religion as peaceful and statements made by Pope Benedict XVI:

Is there not an Arabic version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Suit?
“How dare you say Mohammad was violent – I, as a devout and faithful follower of the peaceful religion of Islam, will kill you Christians and destroy your religious sites until your Pope apologizes.” – A hypothetical but apparently accurate position of many Muslims

The actions and teachings of Mohammad were evil and inhumane (my words, not the Holy Father’s). This was recently illustrated by the televised beheading of Nick Berg when one of the murderers put a blade to Berg’s neck and said, “Allah has left us an example in the blessed Prophet with the slow cutting of the prisoners’ necks, and the cutting off of their heads.”

Faithful followers of Mohammad are destine for eternal damnation–and while living out their faith on earth will make life like hell for those whom they are able to impact. Their only salvation is repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord, (yes, the one born of the Jews).

Our Christian desire is that the followers of Islam renounce faith in Mohammad, but not because we wish you death or will punish you. Our desire is out of love for you, even while you wish us harm—even while you do us harm. This offer is made with the unconditional promise that we will never force you to accept our proposition. This position on force is what defines a religion as peaceful. This position on force is what allows Muslims and a multitude of other religions to peacefully coexist with Christians in western countries. When Christians have the rule of law and the majority in a democracy, there is true freedom to worship as you choose.

What we will force upon Islam and its followers is punishment for enforcing Mohammad’s faith or laws upon others. This punishment will be meted out only in a just and measured response.

Such a response of force is not revenge. Such a response is not contrary to peace. It is a response in defense of life and in defense of our families’ and neighbors’ freedom. Individual Christians, as has been demonstrated throughout history, may refuse to defend themselves as a manifestation of God’s love for all—including violent Islamic aggressors. After all, we are commanded to “turn the other cheek.” But as a whole, as nations, and as families, we are not commanded to “turn the other cheek” of our neighbors, our wives, husbands, parents, or children.

A religion should be judged by its fruit. In countries under Islamic rule – violence against individuals who practice other religions is common. In the war raging in southern Sudan – when Islamic forces take control of an area, Christians have been killed when they refuse to convert to Islam and the Christian churches are burned. Yet when control of an area is taken by the southern rebel Christian army, mosques are left standing and Muslims are allowed to continue to practice their faith. I have traveled to Africa and spoken to the soldiers and survivors. This is just one example of what defines a religion as peaceful. This is one more example that defines Islam as a religion of the sword.

To claim Islam is a peaceful religion is a lie of whole cloth similar to the fabric of The Emperor’s New Suit. Perhaps I am naïve as a child, but I am no longer willing to be silent and gawk at Mohammad’s nakedness. – Gary McCullough, director of the Christian Communication Network

Background—

Here is what Pope Benedict XVI said:

“The emperor certainly knew that Sura 2, 256, reads: ‘No force in matters of faith’. It is one of the early suras, from a time — as experts say — in which Mohammed himself was still powerless and threatened.
“However, the emperor of course also knew the requirements about the holy war that were later formulated in the Quran. Without going into details like the handling of the owners of the scriptures, or non-believers, he (the emperor) turned to his interlocutors — in a surprisingly brusque way — with the central question after the relationship between religion and violence.

“He said, I quote, ‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

See: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/ europe/09/15/pope.islam/

Also see: Mohammed, Assassinations, and Beheadings

Also see: Death Threats From Muslim Extremists

CHICAGO, Oct. 12 /Christian Newswire/ — The criminal case against Repent America (RA) director Michael Marcavage, relating to his arrest and subsequent incarceration during Chicago’s “Gay Games,” has come to a screeching halt. On October 4, the prosecutor announced that neither the alleged “complaining witness,” nor any of the numerous police officers identified as witnesses were willing to come to court to pursue the charges.

The case was continued from August 30 to October 4 when the prosecution advised the court that they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to reach the “complaining witness.” In the interim, the prosecution was to have made special efforts to contact the alleged witness, as well as reach the police officers involved to determine how they would proceed. The prosecution, however, failed to pull together a case, resulting in the “disorderly conduct” charge lodged against Marcavage to be “stricken off the call with leave to reinstate (SOL).” The charge cannot be reinstated unless the prosecution can demonstrate “good cause.”

“Obviously, as these were transparently trumped up charges and as the city could find no credible witnesses ready or able to back them up, the case was tossed on the trash heap where it belonged from the beginning. The case should never have been brought,” stated Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel at the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, attorney for Marcavage. “And now that it has been thrown out, it’s high time that our city be held to make a full accounting for this egregious and disgraceful suppression of fundamental First Amendment liberties on the streets of Chicago,” Brejcha concluded.

Repent America filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago a week prior to Marcavage’s arrest for an incident that took place on July 16, 2006. On this occasion, several RA volunteers were arrested and jailed for several hours, but not charged, for attempting to minister the Gospel on a public sidewalk near Navy Pier. The lawsuit has now been amended to include the July 22, 2006 incident.

“Adding insult to injury, we found on retrieving a videotape of the events leading up to the arrest (outside Wrigley Field, just before the closing ceremonies) that after confiscating the tape the police had recorded over it to destroy this critical evidence, yielding a powerful inference that the videotape would have fully proved our client’s utter innocence,” said Brejcha. “It was an honor to represent one so intrepid and determined to preach the Word of God in the teeth of such adversity and so near the Gates of Hell,” Brejcha concluded.

Related Documents:
Narrative Statement of the July 22, 2006 Incident ( http://www.repentamerica.com/narrative7-22- 06.html)
Copy of the Federal Lawsuit, “Marcavage vs. City of Chicago, et. al.” ( http://www.repentamerica.com/images/ChicagoCompl aint.pdf)

MIDLAND, Texas, Sept. 25 /Christian Newswire/ — CAA learned August 20, 2006; the People’s Court of Hualong District, Pu Yang City, Henan Province revoked the Re-education through Labor Decision of House Church Christian Li Huimin who was arrested March 13, 2006.

Plaintiff, Li Huimin, charged with holding an illegal gathering, and sentenced to re-education through labor had his conviction revoked. This is the first time a Christian in China has won such a lawsuit.

March 13, 2006, Li Huimin, along with a group of Christians held an Easter worship service, a traditional Christian observance at the home of Ma Weqing, a 71-year-old Christian in Wen County, Henan Province. Most of those attending were local Christians. Some came from adjacent counties, like Lihuimin, to worship with their relatives. At the close of the gathering, the service was raided by the local police. Many Christians were arrested, including Li Huimin.

Li Huimin is in charge of a house church in Nanle County, Puyang City. He was taken first to the Wen County Public Security Bureau, where they attempted to coerce him into admitting he is a cult member. Li Huimin refused and was cruelly beaten. Two days later, Li Huimin was escorted to Nanle County, Puyang City.

He was detained there for another 38 days and then sent to the re-education through labor camp April 26, 2006, and charged with holding an illegal gathering. May 16, 2006, Li Huimin applied to Puyang People’s Government for an Administrative Review. The government dismissed the appeal and upheld the re- education through labor decision. So Li Huimin filed a lawsuit with the People’s Court of Hualong District through a lawyer.

August 20, 2006, Hualong District People’s Court reached a verdict in the first trial. Though the Easter celebration was still considered illegal, Li Huimin’s Re- education through Labor Decision was revoked because of the inappropriate citation of the legal articles. (See details in the attachment 2) Though this is the first example in China of a Christian winning such a lawsuit, said Pastor Bob Fu, President of CAA, it is still too early to believe it is a sign that the Chinese government is changing its policy on religious freedom, because the proper Christian gathering in this case is still considered illegal. Attachment 2 Main Points of the First Trial Verdict the following facts were made clear during the trial:

The defendant, the Puyang Municipal Re-education through Labor Committee’s written decision of Re- education through Labor (PU Lao Zi (2006) No. 31) issued April 12, 2006, concluded that on March 13, 2006, Li Huimin, accompanied by 4 other Christians went to Wen County to attend an illegal gathering held in Ma Weqing’s house, and was arrested by the Wen County Public Security Bureau. March 15, 2006 he was escorted to the Nanle County Public Security Bureau and placed in custody.

According to the State Council’s decision on the issue of re-education through labor, article 1 of the State Council’s Notification of the two measures: forced labor and administrative detention for investigation into re-education through labor, and article 10, section 2, item 13 in the Interim Measure of Re- education through Labor, the Puyang Municipal Re- education through Labor Committee issued the written Re-education through Labor Decision of Li Huimin ( PU Lao Zi (2006) No. 31) for 1 year, April 12, 2006.

Plaintiff Li Huimin refused to comply with the judgment, and applied for an administrative review to the Puyang government. The Puyang Government dismissed the appeal and upheld the original judgment.

The court concluded that the two parties have no controversy over Li Huimin’s participation in the gathering. The controversy focuses on whether the gathering is illegal. According to the Religious Freedom Situation in China published by the State Council News office (the administrative & legal protection and supervision), the conventional prayer meeting held at a Christian’s home is not required to register if the attendants are mainly friends and relatives.

The fact that the plaintiff is not a relative of Ma Wenqing from Wen County, along with the large scale gathering shown by evidence provided by the defendant, proved the appropriation of the defendant’s conclusion that the gathering is illegal. So the court does not support the argument of the plaintiff that the gathering is legal.

But the legal article the defendant cited to make the decision of Li Huimin’s Re-education through Labor (Pu Lao Zi (2006) No. 31) section 3, article 10 in the Interim Measure of Re-education through Labor, dealing with acts of hooliganism, prostitution, larceny, fraud, refusal to change evil ways despite repeated exhortation, but not serious enough for criminal sanctions.

The court believes that this citation of the law is inappropriate, so the decision is to be cancelled.

So according to item 2, section 2, article 54 of The Administrative Procedural Law, the court revokes the Re-education through Labor Decision of Pu Lao Zi (2006) No.031.

The case expenses are to be paid by the defendant.

If the verdict is not accepted, an appeal may be lodged with the court within 15 days of receiving this verdict notification.

Chief Judge: Jiang Xuemei
Judge: Guo Yongjie, Wu Xichun
August 20, 2006
Secretary: Lu Yaping
The People’s Court of Longhua District, Puyang City

Issued by China Aid Association, Inc. on September 25, 2006

Indonesian Christians Executed

September 21, 2006

MEDIA ADVISORY, Sept. 21 /Christian Newswire/ — The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) http://www.persecution.org has just become informed that the three Christian men facing the death penalty in Indonesia have been executed by firing squad. The men were executed just after midnight on Friday, September 22, 2006, Indonesia time.

“Justice has once again been denied Indonesia’s Christians,” said Jeremy Sewall, ICC Policy Analyst. “I am deeply saddened at this news, and ask all concerned Christians to pray for the families of these men. This is a tragedy. This is not justice.”

After their execution was stayed last month by the Attorney General for Central Sulawesi, Mohammad Yahya Sibe, he was suddenly replaced. He was the one who had to give the order for the executions to proceed. The Chief of Police was also suddenly replaced and sent to another department. The appeal for these men that should have lasted months or even a year to process was denied within weeks.

Tibo, Riwu, and Da Silva, all Christian, were the only men charged in the Poso conflict, even though the conflict started in 1998 and went till 2003. This is a glaring injustice and hints of a massive cover-up by the Indonesian government. ICC has personally investigated the Poso conflict. Entire Christian villages were attacked with government munitions and burned down using Indonesian government fuel trucks. Christian adults and children were beheaded. The Muslim community initiated the attacks and there was every indication that local Muslim government leaders were involved. Why were no Muslims ever charged in any of the attacks?

“These men were sacrificed as scape-goats so that the Indonesian government could wash their hands and walk away from the Poso conflict of 1998 to 2003. But if Indonesia really wants to show the world they value truth, they should re-open the investigation into this conflict and find all those responsible for the violence,” stated Sewall.

“Please pray that the Christians in Poso will not seek revenge for these executions, and that instead they would trust God to administer justice in his own time.”

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 /Christian Newswire/ — On Thursday, September 7, 2006, Christian artist, Lloyd Marcus along with three other distinguished black conservative political activists sat on a panel to address the Congressional Black Caucus. Each panelist spoke on topics crucial to the Black community.

Marcus spoke on ‘Philosophical vs. Racial Discrimination’. Marcus emotionally shared the story of how three of his paintings were selected by his city’s PR director for their Black History Month display in City Hall. Two days later the city manager and attorney ordered the removal of Marcus’ paintings from the display because of their quote ‘religious themes’.
As president of the city’s arts and historical center, Marcus found himself in an extremely awkward situation. He and his wife Mary have invested four years volunteering and building the failing center into a vital asset to the community. Marcus was ready to ask the city to assist them in purchasing a new larger location. Marcus feared that confronting the city on the banning of God from the public square could jeopardize all that they had worked to achieve.

Marcus sought counsel from his semi-retired minister father, Dr. Lloyd Marcus, Sr. ‘My dad reminded me of the scripture that if we deny God among men, He will deny us’. Marcus realized that the issue was larger than him.

February 2006, Marcus became the eye of the storm in a worldwide Freedom of Speech controversy. Media and talk radio across the U.S. and as far as Japan and Australia covered Marcus’ story. Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit on Marcus’ behalf for the re-installing of the paintings. The city rescinded.

Marcus rejected advice by some to sue for damages and the baiting of the media to trash his city’s leadership. Marcus felt such behavior would taint the victory for Christianity and Freedom of Speech. Marcus spoke at the ‘War on Christians & the Values Voter In 2006’ Conference sponsored by Vision America. Singer, songwriter, artist, commentator and activist Lloyd Marcus is fighting the war on Christianity.

What religious imagery caused Marcus’ banned paintings?

‘3AM’ has a Bible on a night stand.
‘The Christmas Basket’ a man wears a baseball cap reading, ‘I heart Jesus’.
‘Goin’ Home’ is a New Orleans style street funeral with a minister carrying a Bible.

Banned Paintings: http://www.LloydMarcus.net

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) http://www.persecution.org has just become informed that the execution date has been re-scheduled for three Christians involved in the Poso conflict. The men are to be executed on Thursday, September 21, 2006. They were the only ones charged in a conflict in which massive numbers of Muslims participated.

After their execution was stayed last month by the Attorney General for Central Sulawesi, Mohammad Yahya Sibe, he was suddenly replaced. He was the one who had to give the order for the executions to proceed. The Chief of Police was also suddenly replaced and sent to another department. Now, the appeal for these men that should have lasted months or even a year to process has been denied within one month. The execution is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 21, 2006.

Jeremy Sewall, ICC Policy Analyst, said, “The Indonesian government is sacrificing true justice to provide judicial ‘balance’ by executing these three Christians to appease Muslims who are upset that three Islamic terrorists are also set to be executed for their part in the Bali bombings. This is not justice. This is deception, cover-up, and appeasement.”

Tibo, Riwu, and Da Silva, all Christian, were the only men charged in the Poso conflict, even though the conflict started in 1998 and went till 2003. This is a glaring injustice and hints of massive cover-up by the Indonesian government. ICC has personally investigated the Poso conflict. Entire Christian villages were attacked with government munitions and burned down using Indonesian government fuel trucks. Christian adults and children were beheaded. The Muslim community initiated the attacks and there was every indication that local Muslim government leaders were involved. Why were no Muslims ever charged in any of the attacks?

Jeff King, President of ICC, stated, “There are so many Muslims in the Poso area with blood on their hands that the Governor of Central Sulawesi, where Poso is located, recently conveyed to the community that in order to attain peace it was necessary to implement a ‘General Amnesty’ for those implicated in the Poso case. Religious and cultural leaders of the Poso community have also repeatedly held meetings in order to achieve a ‘General Amnesty.’ Strangely, the need for amnesty is only for those who have not been charged.”

ICC requests that all concerned individuals contact their Indonesian embassy to urge the Indonesian government to intervene in this case to:

Delay the execution.

Reopen a wide ranging investigation into the Poso attacks to so that everyone who is guilty can be charged or amnestied.

Indonesian Embassy US
2020 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036, USA
Tel. – 202 – 775 – 5200;
Fax. 202 – 775 – 5365

http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/

Indonesian Embassy UK
38 Grosvenor Square
London W1K 2HW
Tel. (020) 7499 7661
Fax. (020) 7491 4993

Indonesian Embassy Canada
Post Mail: 55 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 1E5, Canada
Phone: (613) 724-1100
Fax: (613) 724-1105

http://www.indonesia-ottawa.org/

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