They Cry in Silence May/Jun 2012
Suicide Bombers Attack Church in Nigeria. Two suicide bombers from the Boko Haram Islamist sect drove a car laden with bombs into the worship service of a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) congregation recently, killing at least one Christian and injuring 38 others. COCIN is one of the largest evangelical Christian denominations in Nigeria.
The Islamists broke through a security barrier at the church’s gate. Church member Felix Apollos said members of a security force at the gate tried to stop the assailants, but soldiers also guarding the church ordered them to allow the bombers onto the premises.
Boko Haram seeks to impose a strict version of Sharia law on Nigerians. Boko Haram translates loosely as “Western education is forbidden.” The group has bombed many COCIN congregations recently and last year murdered the Rev. David Usman.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s 158.2 million population. The rest are Muslims.
Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Still Alive. At press time, lawyers for Iranian Pastor Youscef Nadarkhani had not received official word their client will be executed.
The case is before Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. The lower court can still issue an execution order, but Khamenei has authority to block it.
Nadarkhani faces death for leaving Islam. He has been in prison since October 2009. Although the court declared Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim before his conversion, it still found him guilty of apostasy due to his Muslim ancestry.
Some Iranian Christians say the key to their freedom is continued pressure from the international community.
Pakistani Christian Charged With Blasphemy. A judge has denied bail to 23-year-old Khuram Masih, charged with desecrating the Qur’an despite the lack of evidence against him. Masih, a Christian, said he was falsely accused because of an argument with his Muslim landlord over rent.
Asif Aqeel, executive director of the Community Development Initiative, an affiliate of the European Centre for Law and Justice, told Compass Direct News trial courts in blasphemy cases tend to deliver guilty verdicts due to Muslim pressure. Masih faces life in prison.
Falsely accusing Christians of blasphemy is commonplace in Muslim countries.
Turkish Christians Attacked. Christians in Turkey continue to suffer attacks from private citizens, discrimination by lower-level government officials, and vilification in both school textbooks and news media, according to a study by a Protestant group.
In its annual “Report on Human Rights Violations,” the country’s Association of Protestant Churches noted mixed indicators of improvement but pointed to a “root of intolerance” in Turkish society toward adherents of non-Islamic faiths.
The report documented 12 attacks against Christians in 2011, including incidents in which individuals were beaten in Istanbul for sharing their faith, church members were threatened, and church buildings attacked. None of the attackers have been charged.
The report also identified state policies that single out Christian children for harassment or vilification. A civics book used for eighth graders characterizes “missionary activities” as a national threat.
Many of the more horrific attacks, such as the 2007 torture and killing of three Christians in Malatya, have been linked to members of nationalist movements. The criminal case into the murders continues without a court ruling.
An estimated 120,000 Christians live in Turkey, of which 3,000 are Protestants. Sunni Muslims make up close to 99 percent of the country’s 75 million people, according to United Nations’ population figures.
Christian Beheaded in Somalia. Islamic extremists from the rebel al Shabaab organization in Somalia have beheaded another Christian outside Mogadishu. His body was left for 20 hours before nomads found it and carried it into Mogadishu, sources said.
Zakaria Hussein Omar, 26, worked for a Christian humanitarian organization that al Shabaab banned in 2011. “He was sharing with me his life as a Christian,” said a friend of his. “Last year he mentioned to me that his life was in danger.”
In 2011 the militants beheaded a 17-year-old Christian near Mogadishu and another in southwestern Somalia. They have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity and impose strict Sharia law.
Compiled from reports by Compass Direct News.