Christian Persecution May/Jun 2021

New Delhi, India—Hindu extremists attacked a group of tribal Christians preparing to celebrate the New Year, causing a Christian woman eight months pregnant to miscarry after beating her unconscious and kicking her in the stomach. Twenty-five-year-old Leela Bai was refused treatment at two hospitals.

Wielding wooden batons and stones, a large mob attacked the Christians in Dewada village, reported morningstarnews.org. Sardar Vaskale, a Christian homeowner, along with a visiting pastor, had organized a church service of thanksgiving and prayer and had permission for a gathering of more than 100 people.

“Dividing themselves into groups, the Hindu extremists took Vaskale to one side and began to beat him while another group approached the women and girls, seized their mobile phones, and began sexually harassing them, survivors said,” morningstarnews.org reported. Another group searched Vaskale’s house.

The Christians were told they would all be killed if they went to the police. In addition, “It was plain to see that because of political pressure, the hospital authorities did not take Leela’s case,” a pastor and Christian leader told the news service.

Tizi-Ouzou, Algeria—A 43-year-old Christian father of four who reposted a cartoon of Muhammad on his Facebook account three years ago was recently sentenced to five years in prison. His children are ages 6, 4, 3, and 3 months; and one is seriously ill, reported morningstarnews.org.

Hamid (surname withheld for security reasons), a poultry farmer, heard nothing from authorities after reposting the cartoon in 2018 until they appeared at his home in January 2021, said Rachid Seighir, pastor of Oratoire Church in Oran, some 250 miles west of Algiers on the Mediterranean coast.

“It is a tragedy for us and for his family,” Pastor Seighir said. “When a member of the Body of Christ is sick, the whole body feels the pain. Brother Hamid was naive in accepting this cartoon on his Facebook account.”

Hamid was arrested based on Article 144, which has been condemned by human rights organizations as a violation of international law. In its report, “Policing Belief,” pro-democracy group Freedom House said the article is commonly used to persecute Christians and allows “police officials and judges to impose their own religious perspectives on society, and to give at least one version of Islamic practice the force of law.”

Nearly 90 people are imprisoned in Algeria for acts related to protest and/or exercise of individual freedoms. Charges are often based on Facebook posts, according to the National Committee for the Release of Detainees.

Jos, Nigeria—A professor at a Christian university was released after being kidnapped in Nigeria, which leads the world in abductions of Christians. John Fatokun, professor of computational mathematics and numerical analysis and deputy vice chancellor of Anchor University in Lagos, was released in January, two days after Fulani herdsmen captured him as he traveled from Jos to Nasarawa state, reported morningstarnews.org.

“Despite the experience, my faith remains unshakable,” Fatokun told reporters. “We will continue to work, pray, and raise godly men and women who are destined to change the narratives and make Nigeria a better place for the generations ahead.”

Nigeria is the country with the most Christians killed for their faith (3,530), according to the 2021 World Watch List, up from 1,350 in 2019. In overall violence, Nigeria is second only to Pakistan, and it trails only China in the number of churches attacked or closed (270), according to the list.

The full text of these articles, along with many more articles on the persecution of Christians, may be found on morningstarnews.org.

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