Christian Persecution May/Jun 2017

Iraq—ISIS is increasing its persecution of Christians in Iraq, and believers must now decide whether to return to their cherished communities or flee the country for good.

In a horrific incident of torture, Esam, from Qaraqosh, related what ISIS did after his sister’s husband refused to convert to Islam: “He was crucified and tortured in front of his wife and children, who were forced to watch. They [ISIS] told him that if he loved Jesus that much, he would die like Jesus.”

The Islamic militants tortured his brother-in-law from 6 in the evening until 11: Two other members of Esam’s family, a Christian couple, were abducted and separated by ISIS. To this day, the husband does not know where his wife is; he only knows that she was turned into a sex-slave.

For Iraqi Christian Bashar, ISIS not only stole his home—they also stole his brother. When Bashar fled Qaraqosh in 2014, ISIS captured his brother Nawar and sent him to Mosul. Bashar expected to return home after ISIS was defeated. After two and a half years of occupation, though, there is no home to which Bashar can return. His brother is gone, and ISIS burned his home to the ground.

Iraqi Christian Rabee reported, “The church is trying their best to maintain [the] existence of the Christian community through helping families to go back to their cities, but the reality is Christian emigration increased after [the] liberation of Qaraqosh…because IDPs [internally displaced people] found that their homes [had] been burnt, their belongings were stolen, and they cannot make sure that the same thing will not happen in the future.” Meanwhile, the torture continues.

by Raymond Ibrahim
To read the full report, visit RaymondIbrahim.com.

Mexico—Traditionalist Catholics in Chiapas, Mexico, have given evangelical Christians an ultimatum: Convert, flee, or face imprisonment.

Juan Gabriel Lopez Perez, an evangelical Christian in El Encanto, Chiapas, was recently imprisoned for three days for refusing to deny his faith and contribute to Traditionalist Catholic festivals, according to an advocacy group. Local authorities who practice the Traditionalist Catholic blend of indigenous pagan and Roman Catholic rituals threatened Perez that he would not be released unless he sold his house and left the area within 20 days.

Authorities gave Perez the option of paying a 5,000-peso ($240 USD) fine or spending 72 hours in jail. He refused to pay, so authorities sent him to jail for declining to sign a document denying his evangelical faith and for refusing to contribute to the Traditionalist Catholic festivals, which frequently involve drunkenness.

The incarceration followed after area Christians filed a complaint against Traditionalist Catholic authorities for cutting their water supply and suspending government benefits and medical services, as well as denying their children the right to remain in school. Although the Chiapas governor had been made aware of the harassment of evangelicals, he failed to address the problem.

The Coordination of Christian Organizations reported, “There is still no guarantee of freedom of religion as established in Article 24 of the constitution and as established in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Mexico ranks 41st on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians experience the worst persecution.

by Morning Star News
To read the full report, visit Morningstarnews.org.

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