30 House Church Leaders and Christians Arrested in Sichuan Province; 14 Received Criminal Detention After Brutal Abuse
June 30, 2006
WASHINGTON, June 29 /Christian Newswire/ — China Aid Association learned from May 27th to 28th 2006, thirty House Church leaders from Langzhong City, Sichuan Province were arrested and forced to pay fines, fourteen received criminal detention after they were brutally abused.
Eyewitnesses and family members of the victims reported to CAA that the raid and arrests happened from 11 AM on May 27th until 9 AM on 28th as this group was attending a church coworker’s fellowship meeting. After the meeting, fifteen members of the Public Security Bureau in 6 police vehicles raided the meeting. Some of the arrested were released on the 28th. The morning of the 29th, fourteen received criminal detention notices. They are Pastors LI Ming, WANG Yuan, LI Jinbo, LI Chengxi, SHI Zhihe, GOU Yongcai, JIN Jiyun, Sister WANG Shuhua, GOU Qingju, KE Xiufang, SUN Changfen, HU Yongju, ZHANG Shulan and LIAO Zhoulan.
Among the fourteen, Pastors LI Ming, WANG Yuan, LI Jinbo and JIN Jiyun are major leaders of the Chinese House Church Alliance. The Chinese House Church Alliance was established in 2004 and is made up of approximately three hundred thousand members from various house church movements scattered across twenty-one provinces.
Eyewitnesses said that during both the arrests and interrogations, the Christians were abused inhumanely by constant heavy beatings. Pastor LI Ming, who is one of the seven top national leaders of the House Church Alliance, was observed to have been beaten and kicked by 6 policemen about his head and abdomen during his arrest.
CAA also learned that in recent weeks a number of house churches from Beijing, Shangdong and Guangdong were forced to close by the local authorities.
“These illegal arrests and detentions are a very disturbing indication of the deteriorating condition of religious freedom in China,” said Bob Fu of CAA. “We call upon the international community to demand that the Chinese government honor their international obligations to respect and protect the religious freedoms of the Chinese citizens.” CAA called for the immediate release of these innocent Christian leaders. Letters of protest and concern can be sent to the Chinese Embassy.
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008
Fax:202- 588-0032 ; 202-7457473
Director of Religious Affairs: (202) 328-2512
Issued by China Aid Association, Inc. on June 29, 2006
Christian Satellite Network SAT-7 Broadcasts a Series of Programs in the Middle East and North Africa about Male and Female Christian Sports Heroes
NICOSIA, Cyprus, June 26 /Christian Newswire/ — As the World Cup enters the elimination round, Arab viewers eagerly await live telecasts in coffee shops scattered from Marrakech, Morocco to Mosul, Iraq. Interest continues to grow despite the fact that two Arab national teams, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, were recently eliminated.
“Everyone is talking about it,” said Jinan Slim, Acquisitions Manager for SAT-7, the world’s only provider of Christian programming made by and for the people of the Middle East and North Africa. “Egypt recently won the Africa’s Cup so there is a great deal of interest to see how the African teams will do, how individual star players will play, and who will eventually win the World Cup.”
SAT-7 recognized months ago that many of its viewers would be focusing attention on the World Cup and prepared a number of sports programs that will air for a full month in the channel’s daily hour-long From East and West programming block. Most of these World Cup-related programs are documentaries about Christian sports heroes that SAT-7 has dubbed into Arabic. “We wanted to connect to the excitement of the World Cup by broadcasting programs that show what Christ has meant in the lives of some famous soccer players and athletes,” said Slim. SAT-7 believes these films and documentaries will also draw many new viewers to the channel because the topic is so timely.
Programs that will air on SAT-7 during the month-long competition include The Prize by Athletes in Action, which features interviews with soccer players who either currently or formally played for the national teams of Brazil, Ivory Coast, USA, or Korea. There is also a documentary on Tim Howard, goalkeeper for Manchester United and another on Michelle Akers, 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup player of the Century. Other programs include Cross Courts—The Story of Michael Chang, an international tennis player and French Open champion and a documentary about Eric Liddell, the gold medal sprinter in the 1924 Olympics— whose story was told in Chariots of Fire— and a missionary who was martyred in China.
One particularly powerful program SAT-7 will be airing is called Passion and Power, which focuses on successful female athletes in a variety of sports including soccer, golf, tennis, basketball, and horseback riding. Tim Coleman, SAT-7 Regional Director of Development for the Southeast USA was the former Executive Director of Soccer Outreach International, the soccer ministry started by Michelle Akers. Coleman says, “Over 3.5 billion people will watch this year’s World Cup, making it the most watched sporting event in the world. SAT-7 is leveraging that momentum by broadcasting these very timely sport related programs that add a very relevant chapter to our strong history of equipping Christians in the Middle East.”
SAT-7 can be viewed via satellite in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and much of Central Asia. Programming can also be watched worldwide at http://www.SAT7.org. Through locally-produced Arabic children’s programming, talk shows, teaching programs, music, serial dramas, and documentaries, SAT-7 provides large audiences with a unique opportunity to hear an accurate presentation of Christian truths in their own language through programming created by their own people. Launched in 1996, SAT-7 is an Arabic Christian television service by and for the people of the Middle East and North Africa, and has its U.S. headquarters in Easton, Md.
Warren Buffett Gives until it Hurts: Hurts Women, Hurts the Developing World and Kills Preborn Children
June 28, 2006
“Warren Buffett’s philanthropy aims at killing pre-born children not curing childhood disease, eliminating the poor not poverty, destroying the developing world not aiding in development,” states prominent Roman Catholic Priest.
FRONT ROYAL, Va, June 27 /Christian Newswire/ — The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International responds to Warren Buffett’s announcement to donate billions of dollars to the pro-abortion Gates Foundation.
“Warren Buffett’s money has gone to fund the deadly abortion causing drug RU- 486, the production and distribution of portable suction abortion devices in the developing world, organizations that push abortion on developing countries, and among many other radical organizations Buffett’s foundation gave a grant to the Center for Reproductive Rights, an organization that fought bans on partial-birth abortion…
“Warren Buffett, who is not a Roman Catholic, has also donated money to the Anti-Catholic organization Catholics for a free Choice a group that seeks to undermine the Catholic Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life.
“Warren Buffett’s philanthropy aims at killing pre-born children not curing childhood disease, eliminating the poor not poverty, and destroying the developing world not aiding development.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have also given millions of dollars to organizations pushing abortion around the world. The merger of Gates and Buffett may spell doom for the families of the developing world.
“Warren Buffett will be known as the Dr. Mengele of philanthropy unless he repents and ceases using tax deductible donations to promote a culture of death and desolation…,” concluded the Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer.
Founded in 1981, Human Life International is the world’s largest pro-life, pro-family organization that is dedicated to defending life, faith and the family, with branches and affiliates around the world.
June 26, 2006
Khartoum Continues to Deter Deployment of UN Peacekeepers
International Force Urgently Needed to Address Deteriorating Situation on Ground
WASHINGTON, June 26 /Christian Newswire/ — The Genocide Intervention Network today expresses serious concern over the UN’s failure to take meaningful action to end genocide in Darfur. Following the Sudanese government’s outright rejection of an international force in Darfur, the UN continues to compromise the lives of civilians by allowing Khartoum to stall indefinitely on the question of peacekeeping.
After the signing of the Abuja peace deal, the Sudanese government indicated that it might allow a UN force to enter Darfur. Yet in subsequent months, the regime has become increasingly hostile to the idea of such a force. Last Tuesday, President Omar al-Beshir made clear his intentions to renege completely on the pledge to consider an international peacekeeping mission, claiming that he would not allow the country to be “recolonized.”
“These tactics are clearly meant to delay the deployment of a meaningful protection force,” says Rajaa Shakir, Director of Education for the Genocide Intervention Network, “and it appears that the Sudanese government is succeeding.”
The UN originally stated that they intended to begin operating in Darfur this September. That timeline has now been pushed back to January 2007, because of continued posturing by the government of Sudan.
“As the Sudanese government pretends to engage in meaningful dialogue with the United Nations, they are impeding progress toward peace on all fronts,” Shakir adds.
The plans for implementing the Darfur Peace Agreement are far behind schedule, and the government continues to allow the Janjaweed to ravage the people of Darfur.
“It is irresponsible for the United Nations to continue to bend to the will of a genocidal regime,” Shakir says. “They must stop deluding themselves into thinking that they are making progress with the Sudanese government.”
Earlier this week, UN Peacekeeping Chief Jean-Marie Guehenno said, “As long as the government of Sudan does not accept a UN mission, there will not be one. It’s as simple as that.”
“While the UN continues to converse with the government of Sudan, 500 people die each day,” argues Mark Hanis, Executive Director of the Genocide Intervention Network. “The UN must begin organizing a mission for Darfur immediately.”
An international peacekeeping force is urgently needed in Darfur, as the African Union itself acknowledges. “We need to hand over the baton to the UN,” the AU Commission Chairman said following a meeting with a Security Council delegation. “The AU today does not have the resources to be [in Darfur].”
“Monitoring [the Darfur Peace] agreement with only the troops we have now will be a failure,” added another AU official.
Perhaps most outrageously, the government of Sudan yesterday said it could take over the peacekeeping mission from the African Union.
“This is the most contemptible argument yet from the government of Sudan, which has proven it has neither the will nor the ability to reign in the genocidal Janjaweed militias,” Shakir says.
The time has come for the United Nations to stand by its responsibility to protect the civilians of Darfur, the Genocide Intervention Network says. The UN must immediately declare its intention to bring peace and stability to Darfur through an international peacekeeping force, deployed without delay.
The Genocide Intervention Network works to mobilize an anti-genocide constituency in the United States and Canada to raise the costs for inaction by politicians in the face of genocide. Accessible online at http://www.GenocideIntervention.net, GI-Net empowers its members with the tools to support initiatives that prevent and stop genocidal violence, in particular by protecting civilians in Darfur, Sudan.
The Genocide Intervention Network works to mobilize an anti-genocide constituency in the United States and Canada to raise the costs for inaction by politicians in the face of genocide. GI-Net empowers its members with the tools to support initiatives that prevent and stop genocidal violence, in particular by protecting civilians in Darfur, Sudan.
MEDIA ADVISORY, June 26 /Christian Newswire/ — Coptic Christian girls and women have been the targets of kidnap, rape and forced marriages by Islamic Fundamentalists in Egypt. According to the research conducted by the American Coptic Union, over 500,000 Coptic females have become victims of this tragedy since 1981. These crimes are part of the silent genocide that is destroying Egypt’s once vibrant Coptic community.
Though concerned family members have reported kidnapping incidents, the US-supported Egyptian regime, led by Hosni Mubarak, ignores the kidnapping of Coptic females while participating in its spread. Many of the victims do not return to their grieving families. Those who do, suffer long-term psychological trauma.
At a New York Council of Churches press conference, held on June 28, 1999, Kees Hulsman, a senior correspondent in Egypt, announced that approximately 15,000 to 20,000 Coptic girls have been kidnapped each year since 1980.
In “Confessions of a Former Islamist,” published by FrontPage Magazine in 2005, Ahmed Awny Shalakamy details his cruel work of drugging, kidnapping and raping Coptic females, and says he was paid by one of the Islamic proselytizing organizations to do this. Shalakamy’s account was first reported by Maria Sliwa of Freedom Now News, who says that the Egyptian Government’s silence in response to these crimes is deafening.
While Egypt has chosen to ignore its 800-year-old traditional laws, which are family laws specifically for Christians, it has opted to implement legislation based on Islamic law (Islamic Shariaa or codes), which discriminates against non-Muslims.
Another discriminatory law in Egypt is Act-290-1992. According to this law, if a female is raped the perpetrator is automatically considered married to her. Christian females have been kidnapped, raped, and forcibly married to their rapists without any government action because of this law. Although the law was slightly changed because of Hillary Clinton’s intervention during her visit to Egypt in 2000, the trend of forced marriages is still ongoing.
The Registration and Documenting Notarization Office in Egypt, legally issues false documents. Two underage Christian sisters, who were kidnapped by a Muslim Sheik, received certificates by this agency identifying them as Muslim. Another certificate that was issued, replaced the name of the sisters’ biological father with that of the Sheik. This application of the discriminatory laws in Egypt assists the perpetrators in their victimization of Coptic females.
Despite the continued requests by the American Coptic Union to U.S. representatives and human rights organizations for their help, the victimization of Coptic females continues.
The American Coptic Union is requesting that the U.S. Government reconsider its relations with Egypt based on Egypt’s escalating human rights violations against Coptic Christians. This sentiment was shared by Sen. Sam Brownback, Rep. Frank Wolf, and Rep. Thomas Tancredo during a Press Conference on Nov. 9, 2005. U.S. governmental agencies and advocacy organizations such as the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the Office of the Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, and Freedom House must revisit and review the Coptic problem as an ongoing and silent genocide.
Imagine that a sick man is lying on an operating table: prone, silent, and doped to the gills. Various machines are beeping and whirring all over the place, and the general atmosphere isn’t the most comforting. Now imagine two doctors looming over him, one on either side, hands ready to plunder the table of glittering instruments. All of a sudden, the men begin arguing about where to make the cut.
“Start it here! We have to start it here!” says one.
“No way! Then we’ll run into all sorts of trouble! Start on the other side, and a little lower!”
“I’m TELLING you, we must start it right here, and at the top!”
The voices escalate, maybe one of them throws a punch. And the patient? He begins to shift restlessly in his “sleep.”
I don’t need to spell out the various elements of danger present here–the likelihood that the patient will come out of his anesthetic cloud too soon (since they took so long discussing what to do), the chance that his condition will actually deteriorate as time goes by, or even that, in their “communicative state,” they might knock him clean off the operating table.
Crazy thing to imagine, isn’t it? Unfortunately, we don’t need to imagine it; it’s happening today, right under our noses, in the Middle East.
Actually, the fight over Egypt’s Copts isn’t just in Egypt. Sad to say, it’s going on in “The Diaspora” (fancy way of saying “Everywhere but Egypt”) and no one seems to know how to stop it.
The Egyptian mentality, I must tell you, is very stubborn and vain. (Generally speaking.) Especially if you happen to be a man. I am sorry, but that’s the way it is.
We Egyptian men always have to be right. We always have to have our way. And if not, it’s “Goodbye Charlie.” I can honestly tell you this because it’s something I have struggled with for many years now, but I am praying to be free from such a Byzantine mentality.
Activists can sometimes go about fixing the problem the wrong way, but more common is the incidence that each one has a good idea that he thinks is the best idea and the only way. This is not the case! We all have good ideas, but we must put them into some semblance of order or else we will never get any of them done.
I want to bring your attention to something. You may or may not have heard of “The New Jersey Conference” that happened last week (The fourth international Coptic Conference of Mr Adly Abadeer and Copts United) but I have read a few accounts of the party, seen footage of the event, and spoken to some people who attended it.
Please do not think that I was pumping these people for information, or that they were spies, but in my line of work, I have to ask the correct questions that give me the best set of facts I can use. Imagine me as an investigator, trying to figure out the events of the night in question. My task was made more difficult when I found out that the accounts conflicted, and that there were the Pro-Copts United people and the totally Anti-Copts United people. This being a group of Egyptians, though, I was not surprised in the least.
From what I could gather, there were many factions present in this conference, as there were in the Washington Conference and the Zurich Conference before that. In this case, Gihad Auda told Saad Eldin Ibrahim (mid-speech) that Saad had misquoted him. They actually scuffled (verbally!) for a few moments, each accusing the other of having forgotten when happened during Auda’s speech. Also, a few hecklers kept saying “Qur’an!” every time a speaker said that the problem in Egypt was anything but Islam’s “Holy Book.” Conference Security reportedly had to come in and tell one of the guys to shut up. How I wish I had been there!!
Other things that I have heard about from other sources included Mob Boss Adly Youssef’s vitriol-laced rantings, and what I call “The Ineffective Resolutions.”
I call them “ineffective” because they never get put into effect. This is the umpteenth time that the Copts have met, and not only has the group shrunken (apparently Youssef does away with all the people he has previously worked with, for not only were Michael Meunier, Megdi Khalil, Milad Eskander, and others absent from the show, but I have it on good authority that the co-host of this years’ show has also been excommunicated by Youssef).
Of what use is it to meet up so often (this was the fourth conference in only 2 years) IF nothing gets accomplished? They should call it “The Brainstorming session” because the word “Conference resolutions” isn’t cutting it anymore, it’s actually a joke.
But I haven’t even told you the best part!! Yes, it’s true. The whole reason I even sat down to write this is because, despite the fact that I am not involved with “The Coptic Cause” in any way, shape or form, I do know what Copts are like. They are gossips. They love hurling accusations. They have to make the person in front of them look like a crook so that they will look better (this bespeaks a deep-seated insecurity in their own worth). Are they so unsure of their work? Are they so certain that their goals are less than noble? Are they afraid someone will steal the spotlight? Or are they just so disconnected from the God they are supposed to be fighting with and for?
It is with a HEAVY HEART that I tell you these things. It is with the deepest of sadnesses that I report these tales. But do not let your sadness at them overshadow the work we can accomplish if we really and truly band together. We are, after all, different limbs of the same body.
I beg you, friends, to do your work in secret, to hide what your left hand is doing from your right hand. Because then, and only then, will you gain heaven’s reward. (And curtail the War of the Egos!)
June 17, 2006
‘We Could Control This Country’: 33 Extreme Reasons to Give Bush the Boot
by Maureen Farrell
“I am deeply disturbed by the dangerous and growing influence of people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on our nation’s political leaders.” – Walter Cronkite, January, 2004
Last week, I wrote about how the GOP’s secret bride, the Religious Right, will be shuffled into the broom closet during next week’s Republican National Convention. And lest you think this is a case of leftist “religion bashing,” consider this: The National Council of Churches, which represents the country’s Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians and 32 other denominations, has, against all tradition, been brushed aside by this President, while evangelicals have enjoyed unparalleled access.