Iranian extremists with alleged links to Iranian security forces are using email to threaten nearly a dozen Christians who have fled persecution in Iran.
The emails, sent to at least 11 Christians, called on them to repent and return to Islam or meet the extra-judicial judgment of 'The Unknown Soldiers of the Hidden Imam' and face execution. It goes on to further warn that though they have managed to escape persecution in Iran, "they are not hidden from the acute eyes of the Unknown Soldiers".
The Unkown Soldiers wrote they were "advancing to the heart of the 'Zionist regime' over a number of years."
The email concludes by offering the eleven Christians "the opportunity to repent and ask forgiveness from the presence of the Hidden Imam", also known as the 12th Imam, a Messiah-figure in Shia Twelver theology and viewed as the Great Allah.
"Otherwise, according to the Fatwa given by Mehdi the Hidden Imam, they must be killed," the email reportedly says.
The Unknown Soldiers are suspected to have close ties with Iranian security services.
CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, an Iranian church group and religious rights organization, Mervyn Thomas stated that "The threat against the eleven Iranian citizens in the Diaspora is an appalling and vicious move by a group suspected of close association with the Iranian security forces."
"It is vital that countries hosting Iranian refugees and asylum seekers ensure these vulnerable people receive adequate protection, and make it clear to the Iranian authorities that cross-border assassinations are wholly unacceptable and will not be tolerated," stressed Thomas.
Reverend Samuel Yeghnazar of Iranian church group Elam Ministries, said he and his network of churches "are taking the threats very seriously."
The threats are to reportedly put additional pressure on Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian
Radical Hindu groups in India's southern Karnataka state have continued to threaten and harass local Christians.
After receiving complaints from radical groups in the area, police have closed down several Pentecostal churches in the Hassan and Bangalore districts.
"Hindu extremists with the complicity of the authorities continue their reign of terror against defenseless a Christian community," said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians.
Police have arrested the pastor fo the Church of God Full Gospel in Bangalore, claiming he was performing "forced conversions and did not have the proper permissions to conduct worship services. According to George, police inspector Balram Gowda "threatened the pastor in a clear fashion and ordered to close the church".
On the same day, in nearby Hassan, the End Times Full Harvest Pentecostal Church was the stormed by Hindu extremists. The radicals beat the church's pastor and forcefully stole the Bibles from the congregation's hands and then proceeding to desecrate the Holy Scriptures. When the police finally arrived, they chose to close the church rather than to protect the believers.
"The Pentecostal pastors were systematically beaten and threatened," said George, "dragged into police stations with false accusations, arrested and locked up, often without even the option of bail. And now, the followers of these churches have no Sunday service."
The Islamic Defender Front in Jatnangor, Indonesia has used its connections with local government to have a church shut down and all of its property seized.
The radical Islamic group believed that the church was a "haven for newly baptized Christians" and that its pastor, Rev. Bernard Maukar, was proselytizing in a Muslim area.
The chief of the village where the church is located said he had the right to close it down because it was within his jurisdiction.
"This area is under my authority," said Arief Saefolah. "Please, get out as soon as possible."
Saefolah and other local officials seized all Christian property, including furniture, musical instruments, and vehicles.
A local woman, and member of the church, was devastated by the loss.
"Police have no guts against this radical group," she said.
An estimated 5,000 Muslims went on a two day rampage in an Egyptian village during February, damaging property and terrorizing Coptic Christians. The rioters were incited by a father's mistaken notion that his teenage daughter had converted to Islam and that Christians had kidnapped her in an attempt to force her to return to Christianity.
Family and friends are asking the worldwide Christian community to pray for Abune Antonios, the deposed patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church. Antonios, a diabetic in his eighties, collapsed on Feb 27 in the small home where he is being kept under house arrest.
Christians in the Arab world are angered that Muslims have destroyed graves and stones in a Libyan Christian cemetery. "It is a shame; an unbelievable act," says a Christian Arab. "I know I should pray, but I find it difficult and hard to do. These kinds of acts make me so angry." Please join in prayer for Christians in the Middle East as they deal with this disturbing news and seek to forgive those who have caused this pain.
Christians Targeted in Sudans Ethnic Cleansing: The
ethnic cleansing that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has
undertaken against black Africans in the Nuba Mountains is also aimed at
ridding the area of Christianity, according to humanitarian workers. By
targeting Christians, among people who are also adherents of Islam and
other faiths in the Nuba Mountains, the regime in Khartoum is able to
portray the violence as jihad to Muslims abroad and thus raise support
from Islamic nations. Read more>>
Christians Targeted in Sudan's "Ethnic Cleansing"
Aerial bombs on February 25th killed five members of a Christian family from the Episcopal Church of Sudan in Umsirdipa, located in the Nuba Mountains. The "ethnic cleansing" that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has undertaken against black Africans in this region also aims to rid the area of Christianity. "The brutal state-sponsored militias are moving from house to house, searching the Christian and African indigenous homes as the government continues with air strikes," said a humanitarian worker.
Powerful Bomb Kills 38 Near Churches in Nigeria over Easter
On Easter Sunday, while worshippers at the ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All) Good News Church in Kaduna, Nigeria were taking communion in celebration of the risen Savior, a suicide bomb exploded in the street killing dozens.
Open Doors Provides Spiritual and Practical Support to Syrian Christians
The outlook for Christians in Homs remains desperate even after UN negotiators agreed on a cease-fire. Ninety per cent of Christians have fled the city, although a few pastors have stayed on and continue to hold services to a dwindling congregation.
Nigerian Suicide Bomber Targets Churches On Easter Sunday: Churches
celebrating Easter services were the targets of a suicide bomber who
killed at least 38 people in Kaduna city in northern Nigeria. Security
personnel at one of the church buildings blocked the bomber, believed to
belong to the Boko Haram Islamic sect, who then decided to detonate his
explosives in the street at a nearby motorcycle taxi center. Dozens of
people were injured in addition to those killed. The bombs damaged
church buildings, homes, hotels and vehicles. Read more>>
Turkeys Religious Freedom Record Slides: Sentiment against Christians in Turkey has persisted so long that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended it as a Country of Particular Concern. Pastor Orhan Picaklar knows such anti-Christian hostility first-hand. Pastor Picaklar, of Agape Church in Samsun, lives in the Black Sea region, a bastion of Turkeys Islamic-imbued nationalism, where Christians live under increasing pressure. He has seen his building attacked and his family and congregation threatened. Though Picaklars congregation has never pressed charges for previous hate crimes, last month they decided to formally complain. Read more>>
Only eight minutes into the worship service, three bombs exploded last Sunday at the Bayero University Chapel in Kano. Armed attackers on motorcycles then opened fire on Christians as they ran from the building for safety. Over twenty people were killed and an additional thirty sustained various degrees of injuries. Christians in Nigeria, still reeling from the string of recent attacks, are once again in mourning.
Pakistani Muslims Rape Girl, Beat Relatives for Prosecuting
In an apparent effort to pressure a Christian family into dropping charges that a 13-year-old family member was raped by three Muslim men, a group of Muslims attacked the family in their residence, severely beating one of the women, pregnant with twins, and causing her to lose the babies to miscarriage.
Bhatti Murder Case in Pakistan Increasingly Murky
The investigation into the murder of Pakistans only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, is now mired in suspicions of a possible cover-up. Bhatti, murdered March 2, 2011, was an outspoken critic of the countrys widely condemned blasphemy laws.
Persecution in Nigeria: Boko Harams Murderous Crusade Against Christians: A
religious war threatens Nigeria, yet the administration has downplayed
the religious roots of the conflict, preferring to emphasize the malign
impact of poverty and poor governance, says Doug Bandow of the Cato
Institute. At a recent Senate hearing, Assistant Secretary of State
Johnnie Carson made the rather astonishing claim that religion is not
the primary driver behind extremist violence in Nigeria.' He should read
the State Department's own report on religious liberty, says Bandow. Read more>>
Persecution in Nigeria: Boko Harams Murderous Crusade Against Christians: A religious war threatens Nigeria, yet the administration has downplayed the religious roots of the conflict, preferring to emphasize the malign impact of poverty and poor governance, says Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute. At a recent Senate hearing, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson made the rather astonishing claim that religion is not the primary driver behind extremist violence in Nigeria.' He should read the State Department's own report on religious liberty, says Bandow. Read more>>