Sunday, February 18, 2018

Persecution: Armed Gangs Wipe Out 15 Villages In Nigeria, Terror Of Life As A Christian In Egypt

Christian persecution: Armed gangs WIPE OUT 15 villages in Nigeria

Dozens of people have been killed after the gangs ransacked towns and villages to clear them of all aspects of the Christian faith.
Houses belonging to believers have also been razed with authorities doing little to help, an anti-persecution watchdog claimed. 
Open Doors spoke to one Christian who described the broad daylight attack carried out by a group of Fulani - one of Africa’s largest ethnicities. 
A spokeswoman said: “One attack took place in broad daylight, as people were about to go to church.
“The assailants chased and killed the villagers and burned down nine churches and many more houses.”
Christian persecution is a major problem in Nigeria which has been exacerbated by the spread of radical Islamic teaching and practice. 
The shocked witness said Christians needed more protection from the country’s leader or lives would continue to be lost. 
They said: “Despite several calls to the governor and his deputy, and other security apparatus, the government remained silent as the atrocities continued.
“The Fulani were able to carry out their deadly attack. They stayed for hours in the vicinity, moving at will, unchallenged.”

Details of the attack, which took place in north-eastern state of Adamawa earlier this year, have only just emerged.
In the central state of Nasarawa, 25 villages have been destroyed since January 15. 
Again, the predominately Christian victims said they had been abandoned by leaders. 
A spokesman for the Concerned Indigenous Tiv People group said: “Since the outbreak of the crisis on January 15 this year, due to the Fulani /herdsmen attack on our villages, leading to the displacement of Tiv in their ancestral homes, the Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Almakura, has done very little to bring the situation under control.”

Other attacks have taken place in Benue State and across the Middle Belt region of the country. The Army has now been deployed to certain areas in order to stop the violence. 
A spokeswoman for Open Doors said: “Believers experience discrimination and exclusion, and violence from militant Islamic groups, resulting in the loss of property, land, livelihood, physical injury or death; this is spreading southwards. 
“Corruption has enfeebled the state and made it ill-equipped to protect Christians. Rivalry between ethnic groups and raids by Fulani herdsmen compound the persecution. Converts face rejection from their Muslim families and pressure to recant.”

The father-of-two, who spoke to using a false name due to fears for his safety, said Christians in Egypt were terrified at the growing number of attacks. 
‘Michael’ said 2017 had been the worst year on record for Christian persecution, with more than 130 worshippers slaughtered inside churches. 
On April 9 last year twin suicide bomb attacks took place in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria. Officials said 45 people were killed and more than 125 injured. 
And last month gunmen opened fire on a church in Cairo, killing nine people including a police officer who raced to the aid of worshippers. 
Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors revealed Egypt has risen to 17th in a table of the world’s worst places to be a Christian after a year of bloodshed. 
They said Egypt is now facing an “unprecedented” level of persecution with the country’s Coptic Christian population, which numbers around 10 million, being targeted in numerous attacks from extremist Muslims. 
Amid a rise in radicalised Muslim, Michael said Christians attending the many funerals of victims were all thinking the same blood-chilling thing. 

He told “It brings about a lot of concern and fear in the hearts of many Christian families. When people put themselves in the shoes of those who have been killed, they think ‘could I be next?’ 
“It is bringing a lot of concern and fear. Some Christians are asking their children to stay at home during special occasions in fear of possible attacks.”
He said the number of attacks on Christians was growing in Egypt due to a rise in extremism. 
The man, who works in the travel industry in Cairo, said: “The way Christians in Egypt are viewed as generally: 'Christians are infidels, corrupt'. 
“That mindset is embedded in the minds of many Muslims in Egypt. When we talk about extremist Muslims in particular, they are the ones who want to clearly stand against Christians, to treat them badly, or even in many cases to attack them violently because of them being Christians.

“Since I was a child I have bared a lot of experiences where I was not violently attacked but I have definitely been discriminated against. My wife, my father, my mother, because of that radical mentality.”
He said Christians were shocked by the increase in violence but remained hopeful - despite the bloodshed and fear.
He said: “It is an interesting phenomena. Churches are completely packed with Christians, even when we are not sure what can happen. We just celebrated another Eastern Christmas, it was very joyful celebrating Christmas.”
“Even mothers coming on television testifying how they are sad for their daughters or sons to have been killed but they pray for the attackers. It is mind blowing.”

Two street preachers are targeted, confronted and eventually arrested by transit officers who insist that they stop talking about their Christian beliefs without getting the agency’s permission first, and the courts say that’s all right.
But the Rutherford Institute thinks otherwise, and that’s why it’s seeking a rehearing before the entire 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in a First Amendment case involving preachers Don Karns and Robert Parker.
A panel of the appeals court previously ruled that the two transit officers, Kathleen Shanahan and Sandra McKeon Crowe, were justified in ordering the preachers to be quiet, grilling them over their activities, and then arresting and charging them – all because they were sharing their beliefs in a public location.

“This case sheds light on a disconcerting bureaucratic mindset that wants us to believe that the government has the power to both bestow rights on the citizenry and withdraw those rights when it becomes necessary, whether it’s the right to proselytize on a train platform, the right to address one’s representatives at a city council meeting, or the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.

“Yet those who founded this country believed that our rights are unalienable, meaning that no man or government can take them away from us. Thus, the problem in this case is not the absence of any specific law allowing free speech on the train platform. Rather, the problem is government officials who have forgotten that they work for us and their primary purpose is to safeguard our rights.”

Rutherford is seeking a rehearing in the case that erupted when Karns and Parker were preaching at a Princeton, New Jersey, train station.
They were charged with trespass and obstruction of justice but eventually cleared of the charges.
They then sued the New Jersey Transit Corp. and the officers over the demand that they “obtain a permit” to talk, non-commercially, with others at the public station.

Gunman kills five at Russian church service

Five women have been killed while leaving a church service in southern Russia, media in the country is reporting. 
Another five people were wounded during the shooting at the Orthodox Christian house of worship.
Tass news agency said the slaughter occurred outside a church in the town of Kizlyar in Dagestan. 
The gunman shouted 'Allahu Akbar' during the shooting, according to an Orthodox priest.

The agency cited Mayor Alexander Shuvalov as the source for the number of people killed and wounded.
A police source told Tass: 'The shooter was gunned down.'  
The assailant was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee. He has been reported dead. 
He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person. 
'An unknown man opened fire with a hunting rifle in Kizlyar, fatally wounding four women,' the regional internal affairs ministry said in a statement.
A fifth woman died of her injuries in hospital, health ministry spokeswoman Zalina Mourtazalieva told TASS news agency. 
Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar. 

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