Alimjan Yimit is a Uyghur Christian from Xinjiang who was the leader of a house church in Kashgar. The Chinese government initially accused him of separatism and illegal religious infiltration, but these charges were later changed to collecting and selling intelligence for overseas organisations. One of Alimjans lawyers confirmed that religion lies at the heart of this case. On 27 October 2009 Alimjan was sentenced to 15 years in an Urumqi jail.
In November 2010 Alimjans case was reviewed by the People's High Court of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Urumqi. On 6 March 2011 the court upheld the original verdict of 15 years imprisonment. Alimjan is serving his sentence in prison in Urumqi.
According to reports Alimjan is doing reasonably well in prison. He has a good reputation with other inmates and the authorities. He has been put to work in the textile department and is weaving sweaters. Physically it is not an extremely demanding job. He sends his greetings to all friends and unknown supporters all around the world!
Alimjans mother, his wife and children are allowed to visit. The visits usually take place through the window, except on occasional holidays. Gülnur needs much strength and courage to face the daily challenges of bringing up the two sons on her own. Pray for joy and strength for her and for Gods grace to uphold her.
Alimjans mother is a very brave woman in her 70s and she courageously fights for justice for her son. In spite of opposition and disappointments she continues to visit many offices and departments asking officials to review his case.
The Qatari Constitution declares that freedom to practice religious rites shall be guaranteed to all persons in accordance with the law and the requirements of the maintenance of public order and morality. In reality, expat Christians are restricted in practicing their faith. The government prohibits proselytizing of non-Muslims and restricts public worship, which is usually only allowed in assigned compounds. Foreign workers who evangelize are frequently deported. Some have had the renewal of their visa denied afterwards. During the current reporting period, several foreign workers were deported for their Christian activities. Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Coptic, and Asian Christian churches have legal status and only expats can attend. Recognition is hard to obtain, at least 1,500 registered congregants are required.
A Muslim who converts from Islam to another religion is considered an apostate and may face the death penalty. However no execution or other punishment for apostasy has been recorded since the countrys independence in 1971. Nevertheless, converts face severe persecution from their families and peers as well as from the government, which does not recognize their conversion and considers them Muslims still. From time to time, we receive reports that Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) are being physically harmed for their faith by family or peers, who view the conversion as harming the honor of the family. As a result of this oppression, MBBs strongly protect their anonymity.
A referendum passed in May 2009 installed Islam to be the state religion, infringing seriously upon freedom of religion. The penal code prohibits proselytizing for any religion except Islam. Any converts from Islam to Christianity can be prosecuted in court. Therefore Muslim Background Believers operate in underground fellowships. Only expatriates are allowed to operate churches in the country. Police are vigilant and question foreigners closely so that they don't distribute religious materials.
The indigenous Muslim community puts much pressure on non-Muslim citizens and foreigners to practice elements of Islam in Comoros, particularly during Ramadan. This intimidates non-Muslims and causes them to worship in seclusion and in fear. To see such harshness from the Islanders is unexpected. Most citizens know each other well and are friendly to each other regardless of faith. The influence of radical elements from Iran, however, causes Muslims in local mosques to be vigilant about Christian activities. A source person stated, "Through them the Christian faith is constantly vilified, they hype the emotions, and encourage persecution."
A group of about 25 policemen, officials and journalists raided the morning service of the SDA congregation in Sumgait without a warrant. They stopped the service, filmed all the participants against their wishes, and confiscated personal Bibles, literature, CDs and a personal laptop. They were there for about three hours; each individual church member was interrogated individually and asked how much they were paid for being a Christian. The congregation was told that they cannot meet for worship until they have received state registration. Church members showed the State Committee document confirming that their registration application is being considered, but that did not change the situation. Several days later the pastor of the SDA congregation and his assistant were fined for unregistered religious activities.
Eight days later, George Sobor, a member of the SDA congregation in Baku was not allowed to return to Azerbaijan after a visit abroad. He was accused of 'religious propaganda' by foreigners, which is illegal in Azerbaijan. (Art. 300.0.4) Only after eight weeks on 11 February he was finally able to return to his wife Aida and their three children. "Our children had lost hope of my return", he told Forum 18. "They cried with joy on my return!"
The Civil War is Over, but Challenges Remain for Burmese Christians
Despite global euphoria over official reforms, the reported changes have had little actual impact on the more than four million Burmese Christians. Getting a permit to build a church takes at least one year, says a pastor. But the cost to become a ermanent church is beyond our capacity.
In a Christian cemetery in Libya, Muslims extremists have destroyed many graves.
"It is a shame, an unbelievable act. And what is the world doing?! What is the difference between this act and the burning of Qurans?" one Christian wondering.
"I wonder if Christians did the same to an Islamic cemetery, what the reaction would have been? Probably not hard to guess- Welcome to the new democracy of Libya!" he stated
"I know I should pray, but to be honest I find it difficult and hard to do that. I cannot have hate and disgust, but my Lord I am also a human being and these kind of acts make me so angry", concluded one Christian.
Please pray for these Christians, as they deal with all these emotions. Pray that the Lord would grant them peace and love for those who have hurt them.
Unlike many of the other countries on this list, we do not always have stories we can share about this country. Persecution is part of daily life for Christians in Oman. In 2011 a Muslim Background Believer in Salalah was "treated" with electro shocks for their faith. The law allows for religious freedom, but does not allow Christians to evangelize.
Many believe that Oman is a free country- the government tries to display itself as such. However, Christians continue to face persecution.
Open Doors strives to provide pastoral care and support, while distributing Christian literature and media in Oman.
Please continue to lift up Christians in this country- a country that seemingly has religious freedom, but where Christians face many acts of per
Brunei is an Islamic nation, based on an ideology called Melayu Islam Beraja (Malay Muslim Monarchy). The religion of Brunei Darussalam is the Muslim Religion according to the Shafeite sect of that religion. All other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony by the person professing it in any part of the country. In practice, this means that only non-Malays are able and allowed to choose their faith. If a Malay converts, this "disturbs peace and harmony" and he is automatically scheduled for re-education to the Islamic faith.
The Sultan announced his aim to introduce an Islamic Criminal Law which will complicate the situation for the small Christian minority even further, especially for Muslim Background Believers known to have converted. The monitoring of churches and Christian meetings seems to have increased. The state sends spies to those gatherings, so Christians have to exercise more caution. In one case, a pastor was openly warned by authorities to be cautious with his Christian activities and with whom he meets.
It is very difficult for existing churches to get the government's permission to renovate a church building. Permission for expansions is never granted, whether churches are registered or not. Importing Bibles, Christian literature, and other materials is restricted to personal use only. Importing for ministry purposes is not possible. Materials in the national language are especially suspect and thus difficult to obtain. Accordingly, churches have to be careful; they experience challenges in training and work.
Will Christians and Jews Be Protected in Egypt's New Constitution?: The Constituent Assembly committee has revealed articles of Egypt's new constitution. The document declares that "Islam is the religion of the state" informed by Islamic Sharia principles. However, those statements seem to contradict another included provision for Christians and Jews to be governed by their own religion. Although newly instated President Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, vowed that the new Egypt would be democratic and more inclusive of its minority segments, doubts have persisted among some observers. Read more>>
Nearly five years into the prison sentence of the only Christian in Morocco serving time for his faith, Moroccan Christians and advocates question the harsh measures of the Muslim state toward a man who dared speak openly about Jesus. An outspoken Christian convert, Bakrim was sentenced to 15 years prison for "proselytizing" and destroying "the goods of others" after burning two defunct utility poles located in front of his private business in a small town in south Morocco.
Advocates and Moroccan Christians said, however, that the severity of his sentence in relation to his misdemeanor shows that authorities were determined to put him behind bars because he persistently spoke about his faith. "He became a Christian and didn't keep it to himself," said a Moroccan Christian and host for Al Hayat Television who goes only by his first name, Rachid, for security reasons. "He shared it with people around him."
Authorities in Agadir tried Bakrim for "destruction of the goods of others," which is punishable with up to 20 years in prison, and for proselytism under Article 220, which is punishable with six months to three years in prison. During his defense at the Agadir court in southern Morocco, Bakrim did not deny his Christian faith and refuted accusations that he had approached his neighbors in an attempt to "undermine their Muslim faith."
Though there have been other cases of Christians imprisoned for their faith, none of their sentences has been as long as Bakrim's. "They will just leave him in the prison so he dies spiritually and psychologically," said Rachid.
The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), Abune Paulos, passed on Thursday morning, August 16. Abune Paulos led Ethiopias 40 million Orthodox Christians - half of the population - since 1992. He was chosen to lead the church in 1992 - a year after the overthrow of the communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam. Observers say his death can potentially have major repercussions for the country; politically, socially, and religiously. Please pray for the situation as it may have a key impact on Christians in Ethiopia.
Suspected Hindu fundamentalists attacked and nearly killed a Hindu convert pastor in India's Andhra Pradesh state in early July. But as soon as Pastor Gajjal Niladhri Paul recovers from his severe head and internal injuries, he plans to return to full time ministry.
"Even if I die, I will die for the Lord," Pastor Paul told an Open Doors representative from his hospital bed in Hyderabad, two days after the attack. "It is my responsibility to preach the gospel, and I will continue doing it."
The attack left Paul, bleeding profusely. He was rushed to the nearby government hospital and then immediately referred to Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
"If he was not brought here in time, he would not have survived, because the nature of injuries was extremely severe," said the doctor on duty at Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad.
According to the doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, Paul had lost a lot of blood and sustained sharp injuries on his head, requiring stitches. Two days later, he underwent surgery for damage inflicted on a small percentage of his liver.
On the afternoon of the attack, the pastor left home after Sunday services and lunch on a borrowed motor scooter to travel to the nearby town. After making some purchases at a nearby market place, he was returning past Palivela village when "two men suddenly attacked me with their faces covered with handkerchiefs," he said.
He fell down from the vehicle and was beaten relentlessly.
His attackers left Paul and fled after Christians from Palivela village recognized Paul and intervened. Calling an ambulance, the villagers got him admitted to the Nalgonda district's Government Hospital. But upon seeing his critical injuries, doctors there immediately referred him to the Hyderabad hospital, some 200 kilometres away.