They Cry in Silence Sep/Oct 2008
At least 30 serious instances of persecution of Christian believers have occurred over a one-month period, reports Compass Direct News. Attacks, arrests, incarcerations, rapes, treason charges, destruction of church properties, blasphemy charges, and fines are all part and parcel of the ongoing ill-treatment Christians face in countries across the planet.
- In Algeria a believer was arrested and detained for five days for carrying a Bible and personal study books. He received a one-year suspended prison sentence and was fined $460 dollars. Since January 2008, police and provincial officials have closed up to half of Algeria’s 50 or so Protestant churches. A 2006 law governing worship by non-Muslims restricts most religious meetings to approved places and forbids any attempts to “shake the faith of a Muslim.”
- In Bangladesh a pastor reported that Muslim villagers attempting to force him to leave the area gang-raped his 13-year-old daughter. Then the rapists left the girl unconscious in front of his house. The pastor had been receiving death threats from men in the village who objected to his preaching and pastoral activities. “When nothing stopped me,” he said, “then they wanted to leave me scarred for life, so that I would be upset and not able to show my face to the society for shame, and therefore I would leave the village,” Compass Direct reported.
- In Eritrea unconfirmed reports indicate that the repressive regime in this African country plans to press formal charges of treason against three prominent Protestant pastors who have been jailed for the past four years. Conviction carries a death penalty. Compass Direct said the three “have been missing within the Eritrean prison system since their arrests in May of 2004.”
- In Karnataka, India, police arrested a pastor on charges of luring Hindu villagers to convert to Christianity. The Global Council of Christian Churches said about 15 Hindu extremists stormed the Assembly of God Church; cursed at the Christians; ripped up their hymnals and Bibles; and dragged the pastor to the police station, beating him along the way. At the station, he was falsely accused of forcing Hindus to convert.
- In Nigeria Christian sources reported that a mob of paramilitary Islamists destroyed six churches to protest a police rescue of two teenage Christian girls whom Muslims had kidnapped with the intent of marrying them to Muslim men. Following the rescue, Muslims under the Hisbah Command, a paramilitary arm of Kano State’s Sharia Commission, went on a rampage attacking Christians and setting fire to churches, Compass Direct reported. One pastor reported damage to his church amounting to an estimated $112,000. But even more disturbing was that, following the attack, his congregation of 130 shrunk to some 40 people.
- In Turkey most of the Christians in that tiny community of believers were formerly Islamic. Several months ago, three armed men approached a church, threatening to “get rid” of the pastor. It was the seventh such incident reported in Ankara in the four months preceding the encounter.
“Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also” (Heb. 13:3).