April 22, 2006
By Erick Stakelbeck
Washington Terror Analyst
CBN.com – WASHINGTON – Last week, a Muslim man wielding a knife stormed three Coptic churches in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. He killed one Christian and wounded 16 more.
The incident has galvanized Egyptian Christians, including those in the United States, and has sparked angry protests from the city’s Coptic Christian community. Muslims — and, according to some accounts, the Egyptian police — have responded with violence against the Copts.
This anti-Christian mayhem is nothing new in Alexandria. In October, Muslims attacked churches there for allegedly distributing a DVD that they said offended Islam.
Today in Washington, a group of Egyptian Christians said they have had enough.
Egypt’s Copts are the largest Christian community in the Middle East. But for years, they have faced persecution from Muslims and even the Egyptian government. They are here at the White House today to draw attention to their plight.
“We’re trying to get out a message that we’re just sick and tired of the inaction by the Egyptian government, as far as dealing with these terrorists…Churches have been burned, people have been killed, and homes and businesses destroyed, so we are just here to say that we’ve had enough,” said Michael Meunier, president of the U.S. Copts Association in Washington.
Muslims at the rally said they too are fed up with the treatment of Egyptian Christians–and hope their brothers in the Middle East are listening.
“I am not from Egypt, I am from Saudi Arabia,” said Ali Al-Ahmed of the Saudi Institute, “and I think it is not only my duty, but the duty of all Muslims and all Arabs, to protect the rights of their neighbors — Christians or Muslims or any minorities.”
But a number of protestors told CBN News that in the end, pressure on Egypt’s government from the Bush administration and the U.N. may be the only way to truly empower Egypt’s Christians.
WASHINGTON, April 21 /Christian Newswire/ — Fidelis, a national Catholic based advocacy group, called on Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to explain himself after telling the Christian Science Monitor Wednesday that “The religious community has to decide whether they want to be tax exempt or involved in politics.”
Fidelis President Joseph Cella responded: “Howard Dean’s statement makes it clear that he wants to muzzle America’s churches and religious groups from professing what they believe on important issues facing our society. When it comes to debates over public policy and issues, Dean should be welcoming the voice of America’s churches, not attempting to silence them. Instead Dean has shown utter disregard for people of faith by threatening the historical and treasured role of religious groups and churches in American public life.”
“Under Howard Dean’s rules, pastors, priests, and rabbis wouldn’t have been able to mobilize people of faith to join the civil rights marches in Selma and Montgomery,” said Cella.
Dean’s statement is the latest in a series of comments directed toward conservative Christians. Just last year, Dean told the San Francisco Chronicle, “they are not very friendly….they all behave the same, and they all look the same.”
Cella continued: “Dean’s blatant hostility toward any church or religious group calls into serious question his supposed outreach to values voters following the 2004 elections. In essence, Dean is saying that if religious groups want to continue to speak out, then the hand of government is going to exact a penalty. Comments such as these continue to place Howard Dean and the Democratic Party in jeopardy of further alienating religious voters.”
Fidelis is a Catholic-based advocacy organization working with people of faith across the country to defend and promote the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and the right to religious liberty by electing pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty candidates, supporting the confirmation of judges, and promoting and defending laws consistent with the Founding principles of the United States.
Coalition to Rally Monday, April 24, in Los Angeles to Ask US Government to Intervene
LOS ANGELES, April 21 /Christian Newswire/ — A coalition of mostly Christian organizations is joining United Coptic Voice (UCV) in a rally to bring attention to Egypt’s sanctioning of murder, mayhem, persecution and prosecution of Christians in the name of Islam.
When: Monday, April 24, Noon to 4:00 PM
Where: In front of the Federal building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Who: Representatives from International Christian Union (ICU), United Coptic Voice, and Courageous Christians United
Why: To ask the US government to intervene, as Egypt is the second largest recipient of USA aid
Knife-wielding assailants attacked worshippers at three Coptic churches in Alexandria during Mass on Friday, April 14, killing one person and wounding more than a dozen. The Associated Press quoted the Egyptian Interior Ministry as saying, “A citizen attacked three worshippers inside the Mar-Girgis Church with a knife and then fled and went into the Saints Church, where he attacked three other worshippers and again fled.”
The Egyptian government described the man as suffering from “psychological disturbances.” Long time Middle East Christians supporter and Pat Buchanan‘s VP running mate (Election 2000) observes, “It seems the Muslims’ insanity targets only Christians and their Churches. This vicious episode adds to the series of horrendous crimes Muslims in Egypt commit against the Copts from attacking their churches, shedding their blood, raping their women and daughters and forcibly converting them to Islam.”
Paul Marshall, a Senior Fellow with Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom outlines 18 instances of escalating violence against and oppression of Coptic Christians in Egypt from August 19,2003 to February 20, 2006 (will be available to press at rally).
UCV joins with the International Christian Union (ICU) in calling for an end to the escalating violence against Christians in Egypt. Coptic Christians in Egypt who number approximately 15-20 million are denied human rights as to the practice of their religion and their security inside their own professions and occupations.
UCV, and coalition members, will rally Monday, April 24, Noon to 4:00 PM in front of the Federal building, 11000 Wilshire Bl, Los Angeles, CA 90024, asking the USA government to intervene, as Egypt is the second largest recipient of USA aid.
April 22, 2006
SANTA ANA, Calif., April 19 /Christian Newswire/ — It is estimated that between 2 and 3 million North Koreans have died over the past 10 years – most of them due to starvation – under the brutal dictatorship of President Kim Jong Il.
North Koreans are denied basic freedoms and rights.
Thousands are detained in prison camps, tortured and executed. It is believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently among those suffering in North Korean prison camps. The hermit regime is suspected of detaining more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world.
Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have fled to China just to survive. Thousands have been sent back and probably killed.
North Korea is entering its fourth year as the world’s worst violator of religious rights of Christians, according to Open Doors’ 2006 World Watch List. Last fall the U.S. Department of State redesignated North Korea as a “Country of Particular Concern” for severe violations of religious freedom.
Soon Ok Lee, a former North Korean political prisoner, says: “We need to speak out about these abuses. Many need to join in and stop the persecution of Christians and the human rights violations. Please join me in this effort.”
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) adds: “In North Korea we hear reports of religious believers being tortured, imprisoned and even executed for their beliefs. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently documented some of these terrible incidents that fall on believers who refuse to renounce their faith. We must all confront this intolerable evil. Please join me in commemorating North Korea Freedom Week.”
During North Korea Freedom Week April 22-30, Open Doors USA – a ministry celebrating 50 years of supporting and strengthening persecuted Christians – is partnering with North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC) members to focus on atrocities in North Korea, increase awareness of the conditions in that communist country and raise up prayers on behalf of those being abused and disenfranchised.
Activities centered in Washington, D.C., include:
April 27 – Wreath laying ceremony at the Korean War Memorial at 4 p.m.
April 28 – North Korea Freedom Day Capitol Hill rally 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 28-29 – Prayer Vigil at the Chinese Embassy from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
There are also prayer vigils planned April 28 from 7-9 p.m. in front of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles (443 Shatto Place) and April 29 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Chinese consulate in Houston (3417 Montrose Blvd). For more information email Lindsay Vessey, Open Doors USA Advocacy Coordinator, at email@example.com.
“North Korea could be compared to one large concentration camp – with the entire population trapped in a nightmare that doesn’t end,” says Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller. “Like Soon Ok Lee and Sen. Brownback urge, get involved. Get others involved. Thousands are suffering, including many religious and political prisoners.”
NKFC is a bipartisan coalition of religious, human rights and non-governmental Korean and American organizations whose primary purpose is to bring freedom to the North Korean people and to ensure that the human rights component of United States and world policy towards North Korea receives priority attention.
Open Doors, celebrating 50 years of service to persecuted Christians, serves and strengthens the Persecuted Church in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (524-2535) or go to our USA Web site at http://www.opendoorsusa.org.
April 21, 2006
Would You? (The Full Article) By Sally Bishai
Would you trust someone after they looked you in the eyes and lied (more than once)?
Would you look someone in the eyes and tell a lie, if only to keep someone else’s secret?
Would you hide your cross (or Star of David or whatever) if someone told you to?
Would you tell your best friend if her husband is running around on her–and you saw him with some chick at some shady coffee shop?
Would you tell your best friend that her husband had made a weighty pass at you?
Would you speak up in a room full of people who are in favor of something you’re against?
Would you complain about a pornographic billboard that’s situated near a pre-school?
Would you complain if the explicit content in the billboard showed kids?
Would you be grateful if someone told you the truth–something that you needed to hear–in a way that was less than ideal?
Would you let it go if someone trampled on you in some way that they were likely to repeat, and that you weren’t afraid to confront?
Would you keep it a secret if you’d made a blanket promise to keep a secret… but it was that your friend was going to rob a bank? Or kill himself? Or kill another?
You may be wondering where I’m going with these questions, despite having enjoyed the imagination game they conjured up.
April 20, 2006
My ten day hiatus is up, and I’m back in the clinic, and back at the computer. Cheers, Salib