Kim Tae Jin finds it difficult to talk. The contrast between his life in North Korea and his life now in Seoul are too great. The most difficult thing for me is making decisions, Kim says quietly. Freedom of choice is unknown in North Korea. As I got older my doubts grew about the propaganda the government fed us.
God have your forsaken me? Tamirat asked. Sharing a 13×13 foot cell with 40 other inmates; the human stench was over powering. Bodies were everywhere. Inmates had to take turns to simply lie down. Even in such tight quarters, he never felt so alone.
Open Doors Helps an Indonesian Pastor in Distress
Local officials ordered a pastor to visit the district office; when he arrived he was surprised to see that members of the Forum Komunikasi Umat Beragama (FKU, Inter-Religious Harmony Forum, were also present. The reason for the meeting was quickly revealed; in one officials hand was a petition ordering his church to be closed because it was located in a Muslim-majority area.
One With Them
“The most difficult thing for me,” Kim Tae Jin says quietly from his apartment in South Korea, “is making decisions. Freedom of choice is unknown in North Korea. The Party told us what to do. As I got older my doubts grew about the propaganda the government fed us.” Four months after escaping to China, Jim was caught and forced to return to North Korea. Considered a traitor, he was tortured and imprisoned. This week come alongside Christians like Jin, a North Korean refugee, and stand as One With Them in prayer.
10,000 Egyptian Youth Gather to Worship
In the midst of social and political upheaval, Christian youth courageously gathered in the desert to praise the Lord. "To sit among over 10,000 young people, worship with them in a roaring holy noise, listen to challenging messages and pray for God's powerful presence in our lives; really, it is hard to describe in words," said one Christian leader.
Kazakhstan Jails Pastor, Considers Extradition to Uzbekistan: A former Uzbek house church pastor is in a Kazakhstan jail, awaiting a ruling whether he will be returned to his native country, even as Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court considers whether to declare him a refugee from almost-certain persecution. Makset Djabbarbergenov was arrested Sept. 5 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan wants him back to face charges that he practiced religion outside state regulation. Over 3,600 Open Doors’ supporters have advocated on behalf of the pastor. If you have not yet taken action, please do so today at Advocate for Makset
Hundreds of Congregations Refused Registration
Kazakhstan has long been a model of relative religious freedom in a region of the world known for harsh, restrictive policies. The era of freedom came to an end when President Nursultan Nazarbaev enforced a new restrictive law requiring all religious groups to re-register before October 25, 2012. One day after the deadline passed, one-third of all religious groups in Kazakhstan were forcibly shut down. Of the 666 Protestant churches, 204 have been ordered to close.
Chinese Church Continues to Grow as New President is Announced
Last Thursday (Nov 8), at the opening of the 18th National Party Congress in Beijing, leaders in China gathered to initiate a transfer of power. Just announced, Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will succeed as top Politburo Standing Committee members and take over the presidency and premiership in March 2013. What will that mean for the church in China?
Yesterday, national Religious Freedom Day, President Obama proclaimed that his Administration is "committed to promoting religious freedom, both at home and across the globe."
What about American Pastor Saeed?
The Obama Administration refused to even mention Pastor Saeed when seated across the table from Iran.
Now it is trying to stop new sanctions on Iran – sanctions that have worked in the past and are a key to Pastor Saeed's freedom.
If we are serious about religious freedom, we must show it with our actions, not just words.
We cannot clear the way for billions of dollars in economic stimulus to a nation that imprisons and abuses an American pastor.
Demand that the Senate vote to sanction Iran until it frees Pastor Saeed. Stand up for religious freedom today.
ACLJ Executive Director
Colombia's Election Results May Guarantee Support for Peace
Christians in Colombia are cautiously optimistic after the results of recent elections. Though most elected…
House Church in Southern Philippines is Closely Watched
To avoid trouble in the predominantly Muslim community, a church lay leader says, “We normally shut the windows …
There has been no visible change in recent years in the situation for Christians in Oman. Oman scores 56 points on the World Watch List 2014, the same score as in 2013.
The main persecution dynamics in Oman are Islamic extremism and Totalitarian paranoia.
Islam is the state religion, and legislation is based on Islamic law. All public school curriculums include instruction in Islam. Apostasy is not a criminal offense, but it is not respected by the legal system either, which assumes that all citizens are Muslims. The very concept of changing one's faith as an Omani citizen is an abomination. A convert faces difficulties under the Personal Status and Family Legal Code, which prohibits a father from having custody over his children if he leaves Islam. Deportation of foreign workers (because of their Christian activities) continues.
Because of Totalitarian paranoia, Christians face restrictions when their activities are considered a threat to the ruling power. Almost all Christians are expatriates. Pray that the few indigenous Christians will find ways to meet for fellowship, in spite of the ongoing persecution.
*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes
ISIS Orders All Former Church Guards to Surrender Their Weapons
ISIS Orders All Former Church Guards to Surrender Their Weapons
2014-08-14 17:30 GMT
(AINA) -- The Islamic State (ISI has ordered all former church guards in Bahgdede (Qaraqosh), Bartella and Karamles to surrender their weapons. There are no Assyrians remaining in these towns, as they have all fled north to Dohuk and East to Arbel, and the churches are abandoned and unguarded.
ISIS issued its demand via a telephone call to an Assyrian member of the Bartella city council, who fled the city on August 7 (AINA 2014-08-07).
According to the council member, he was contacted via telephone by one of his former Muslim neighbors who is now working for ISIS, who told the council member that ISIS has rigged explosives throughout his house in Bartella, and demanded that all former church guards surrender their weapons. The Muslim neighbor said that if the weapons are not surrendered the house would be destroyed and the council member would be found and killed.
As there are no Assyrians remaining in these towns, including the church guards, it is difficult to understand the practicality of this order. Does ISIS expect the church guards to return to these towns and personally surrender their weapons?
Disarming the Assyrians
Even before ISIS captured Baghdede, an attempt was made by the Iraqi government and the Kurdish forces, working in unison, to disarm the Assyrian population. A letter was sent on July 14 ordering all citizens to surrender their weapons. Here is the letter and its translation.
To the people of Baghdeda, Karamles, and Bertella
Those who have medium or heavy weapons or their ammunition must surrender them to the security committee, and if such material is found during a search, the owners will be subjected to the harshest disciplinary actions.
Therefore, we ask all of you to cooperate with the security committee, with our appreciation.
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With the phenomenal growth of China's churches has come a crackdown of epic proportions.