“My wife goes to a neighbor’s tube well to fetch the water at midnight, so that people will not see her,” said 69-year-old Ali Siddiki, a retired village police officer. “If they catch her, she will be accused stealing water! It’s a shameful thing for my wife to do, but we have no other way for us to get drinking water.”
Tube wells are a common source of potable water in Bangladesh’s rural villages. Some private individuals own wells, while others can go to a public one. Bengali former Muslims who choose to follow Christ are effectively prevented from getting water from any tube well.
“In our area, most public tube wells have arsenic, so the government sealed them,” explained Ali. “Tube wells that are free of arsenic are always crowded. But I am not allowed to get water, because I am a Christian.”
Ali Siddiki started following Christ in 1991. Though he grew up in a Muslim home, Ali was not faithful and he described his life before Christ as “ugly,” without any good reputation to show as a Muslim. At one point, Ali felt that he needed to change and sought forgiveness. “But in Islam, if you miss just one prayer (out of the five) in a day, you’re guilty of spending many years in hell. And I have missed it a thousand times!” said Ali.
It seemed that the more Ali sought peace for his soul through Islam, the deeper he sank into hopelessness. His despair led him to explore other faiths, to know what hope other religions could offer people like him – sinners. “A Christian showed me in the Bible that Isa (Jesus) came to save sinners,” Ali recounted. “He read to me Mark 2:17: ‘It is not the healthy who needs a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ In that verse, I found hope. I made up my mind to follow Jesus.”
After his conversion, Ali faced an uphill battle to build good relationships with the people in his village. As a Muslim, people had not really liked him; as a Christian, they hated him. Preventing families from accessing the tube well is only the beginning of the many pressures that Muslims often use against believers to force them to return to Islam.
“I did not worry about them (Muslims),” said Ali. “But we (my wife and I) could not continue sneaking into our neighbor’s property to get water. Not only is it shameful, but it can land us in jail! So, we prayed for our own tube well.”
This year, Open Doors provided resources for Ali to have his own tube well. He was excited about the opportunities this new well affords him. "I don't have enough words to express my gratitude to God and to Open Doors," Ali said. "The tube well you provided me helps not only my family, but also the people in my village. Many of our tube wells have arsenic, so people are crowding around public and private wells. I'm sharing mine to my neighbors; I hope it will help me restore good relations with them."
Bengali Christians make up less than one percent of the Bangladesh's population of 16 million.
Bookstore owner Zhou Heng and fellow Christian Brother tan were arrested as they collected a shipment of Bibles, and Christian books at the Yayi Christian Book Room in the southern suburb of Urumqi, Ximjiang, China. They confiscated 96 boxes (three tons) of Bibles. The men's houses were searched, materials were confiscated and the PSB closed the Bookstore. They were beaten in prison,
Many Christians are killed in Columbia by the FARC (Revoutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). Christians are warned to stop sharing about Jesus. They are attacked during worship, Bible Studies and and they send spies into the churches that are in existance.
Of course ChinaAid expresses its shock at this latest persecution of Alimujiang and his family and condemns the Xinjiang authorities for this heartless decision. You can click here to help the persecuted like Alimujiang
And, the road has not been an easy one. It all began in 2007 when the Kashgar Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs in Xinjiang ruled that: “Since 2002, Alimujiang Yimiti has been engaged in illegal religious infiltration activities in Kashi area in the name of work. He preached Christianity, distributed religious propaganda materials and converted people to Christianity among ethnic Uighurs.”
Then in 2008 the Kashgar Municipal Public Security Bureau placed Alimujiang under criminal detention on suspicion of "inciting the secession of the state” and “illegally providing state secrets to foreigners.” A few days later he was formally arrested by order of the procuratorate.
On September 12, 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reached a decision with regard to Alimujiang’s case. In its Document No. 29 for 2008, it determined that Alimujiang was arbitrarily detained.
Yet, nothing happened until August 2009 when the Kashgar Intermediate Court secretly sentenced Alimujiang to 15 years imprisonment on the charge of “illegally providing state secrets to a foreigner." The court did not notify Alimujiang’s wife or his attorney, Mr. Li Dunyong, of the verdict and sentence until two months later.
Alimujiang appealed and was represented by the prominent human rights attorney Mr. Li Baiguang.
On March 16, 2010, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region upheld the lower court verdict of Kashgar District Intermediate Court at a closed hearing during which Alimujiang’s attorney was denied permission to argue his case. Alimujiang was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years deprivation of political rights. Alimujiang was transferred from the Kashgar Detention Center to serve his sentence at the Xinjiang No. 3 Prison.
Then in November 2010 the Xinjiang Higher People’s Court accepted the appeal filed by Alimujiang’s wife, Gulinuer, and his mother, Wuxiuerhan, and decided to retry Alimujiang’s case of “disclosing top state secrets.” At the request of his family members, Beijing's Gongxin Law Firm, which had been representing Alimujiang throughout this case sent its attorneys who arrived in Urumqi on November 17. After Christmas 2010, Xinjiang Higher People’s Court notified Gulinuer that they had made a decision on this case on December 20 in a collegial panel.
But hope was dashed in February 2011 when the Xinjiang Higher People’s Court notified Alimujiang Yimiti, who was already serving his sentence, that it was upholding his original sentence of 15 years imprisonment.
ChinaAid is deeply suspicious of the administrative abilities of the Xinjiang authorities and of their motivations for this decision, which can only draw negative attention. This combination of weak government administration and its willful violation of the law is a sign that Xinjiang's situation will continue to deteriorate. ChinaAid urges the new Chinese leadership to promote the rule of law by unconditionally releasing Alimujiang as soon as possible.
ChinaAid diligently seeks to help men, like Alimujiang, who are being persecuted for their faith and where human rights are being violated by providing legal aid where possible and helping the families of political prisoners.
Your gift of $100, $75 or $50 will help ChinaAid continue to defend men like Alimujiang. Please take a moment right now and consider serving the persecuted through your gift.
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Pastor Saeed Abedini Sentenced to 8 Years
Though preserved from the death penalty, Iranian American Pastor Saeed was sentenced to 8 years in Iran’s Evin prison. The U.S. State Department has called for his release, but is holding out little hope for the outcome. "The greatest support has been prayer," His wife, Naghmeh said. “Unless we get him out quickly, we won't have a chance to release him for years to come."
Vietnamese Christians Brace Themselves for Decree 92
“Vietnam’s church leaders consider Decree 92 as a wake-up call,” says an Open Doors’ worker. “When the country’s economy opened, churches relaxed a bit and became less cautious. Now, they are more vigilant, both in prayer and in their activities. The decree can be a defining moment for the Vietnam Church at this time.”
90 Days to Freedom, Part 2
Pastor Makset Djabbarbergenov, a citizen of Uzbekistan living in exile in Kazakhstan, was arrested and interned in a Kazakh immigration prison. Uzbekistan was demanding his extradition to stand trial for his Christian activity and for false charges of terrorism, but, while the pastor was praying, God assured him that He would not send him back. Last week, we began reading his testimony; this week, we continue his story.
Iran Says American Tried to Turn Children Against Islam
On Monday, the trial of Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho began in the Tehran courtroom of Abbas Pir-Abbassi, a Revolutionary Court judge notorious for harsh sentences. After almost four months in the infamous Evin prison, Abedini was allowed a rare phone call last week to his wife, Nagmeh. "I wanted to tell him that we're fighting for him here, but I couldn't. I didn't know if it was safe. Abedini faces a lengthy prison sentence, and possibly the death penalty, if convicted of the crime of attempting to undermine the Iranian government through the spread of Christianity.”
A New Wave of Arrests in Eritrea
Ten Christian leaders were arrested in an ongoing government campaign to eliminate the underground church. Though there have been similar campaigns in the past, church leaders fear that this particular one is far more serious because it wants to “eradicate the underground church by targeting its key leaders.”
Two North Korean Christians Killed for Their Faith
Reports confirm that a North Korean believer was shot while on his way to attend Bible training in China; the other Christian died in one of North Korea’s notorious labor camps.
Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Rimsha’s Blasphemy Case
In a January 15 ruling, the Pakistan Supreme Court threw out an appeal to reopen a blasphemy case against 14-year-old Rimsha Masih, a Christian who was accused of burning verses from the Koran. Though Rimsha is free at last, her lawyers say that she will always be at risk while in Pakistan.
Sentence of Amputation Moves Khartoum Closer to a Sharia State
All Africa News Service reported that on Feb. 18, doctors at al-Ribat University Hospital executed a sentence of amputation on a man convicted of banditry. Christians fear that this confirms the government plans to enforce Islamic Law in Sudan. The local church says that the situation has deteriorated recently as many NGOs have been expelled from the country.
'Religious persecution has been on the rise in Cuba since 2007, and those affiliated with the Apostolic Movement have under particular attack by government officials. Churches affiliated with the group have been subjected to repeated fines and have had property confiscated or destroyed. A number of the movement's leaders, including Pastor Omar Gude Perez, have been imprisoned for various lengths of time.
Officials at the Central Committee for the Communist Party of Cuba's Office Religious Affairs [ORA] have refused attempts to rgister the religious group. In 2010, Christian Solidarity Worldwide [CSW] published a video of Caridad Diego, head of the [ORA] apeaking openly about the government's attempts to readicate the group.
"We call on the Cubban government to uphold the religious freedom of all its citizens and to instruct government officials at the national, provincial and municipal levels to cease their harassment of the apostolic movement and other religious groups," says Andrew Johnston, advocacy director at CSW.' From CHARISMA MARCH 2013, pg. 19, News Briefs, CHARISMATIC CHURCHES FACE PERSECUTION IN CUBA