Archive for the 'Persecution' Category

Dec 15 2018

Ingo Breuer

Egyptian Police Officer Murders Two Christians

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Christians’ Confidence in Police Further Plunges Following Yet Another Attack

12/14/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) www.persecution.org – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the evening of December 12, Egyptian police officer Rabi Mustapha Khalifa shot and killed Coptic Christian Emad Kmal Sadeq and his son David. The police officer was stationed as a security guard at the Nahded al-Qadasa Church in Minya City, Upper Egypt. He has since been detained in custody pending an investigation. At the time of writing, no charges are believed to have been filed.

The police have claimed that “the victims tried to take his (Mustapha’s) gun during a fight.” However, Christians familiar with the situation say that the incident was the outcome of a dispute that originated a few days prior. Video footage also further calls the police’s narrative into question.

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Dec 14 2018

Ingo Breuer

Arrested Sichuan House Church Members Criminally Charged

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Chinese Church Leaders Charged with Various Crimes

12/14/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that after more than 100 members were arrested during the December 9 crackdown on Sichuan’s Autumn Rain Covenant Church in China, several detained leaders have been criminally charged.

Both Pastor Wang Yi and his wife Jiang Rong have been detained for allegedly inciting subversion of state power, a crime that can result in imprisonment of five years, but up to 15 years in extreme cases. Wang has not yet been allowed to meet with lawyers or family members. Jiang was issued “residential surveillance at a designated location,” where she could be held for as long as six months in facilities commonly known as secret prisons, subject to torture and abuse.

Elder Li Yingqiang who was responsible for posting updates and prayer requests online for the church, has been detained for allegedly picking a quarrel and inciting trouble on the internet. Additionally, deacon Ge Yingfeng and Lu Jinheng were detained for alleged illegal operations, according to South China Morning Post.

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Dec 12 2018

Ingo Breuer

Islamic Extremists Strike Yet Another Church in Upper Egypt

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Christians Forced to Pray in the Streets Following Church Attack

12/11/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) www.persecution.org – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Sunday, December 9, a group of Islamic extremists attacked a church in the Upper Egypt village of Kom Al-Raheb. Security forces arrived before the attack ended and closed the church, which had recently opened a new building.

A local Christian carpenter, Sobhi, told ICC, “It’s a hard time. We don’t know what we should do. How does the government permit us to open new churches and then force us to close churches? We barely open churches, and the police don’t want to keep us safe!”

“They are easily building many mosques, and when we try build a church, all of them try to harm us,” another local Christian, Madonna, told ICC. “It’s unfair, the situation has become so ridiculous!”

Peter added, “Why [are] you so shocked!! Every day we witness incidents like that [which] happen close to us. It’s the normal life, especially in Shosha and Kom Al- Ahmar; there are many extremists there.”  

Approximately 2,500 Coptic Christians attend the church in Kom Al-Raheb. With the church now closed pending the outcome of a reconciliation session, these Christians no longer have access to a local church. Some Christians gathered on December 10 outside of the church to pray in the streets for its speedy reopening.

“We are so depressed,” said a local pastor. “It’s not the first time extremists [have done] this; I think it’s government policy toward the Christians. We have nothing to do, just pray… God is good.”

The Egyptian Parliament passed a law in 2016 which reformed the church legalization process. The new law included a provision which dictated that for a church to be officially recognized, it cannot be considered a security risk. Islamic hardliners use the vagueness of this provision to create incidents which lead to the indefinite closure of churches that would otherwise receive official recognition. Egypt’s constitution adds another element of uncertainty for the country’s Christians.

“In Egypt’s constitution, it is said that Egypt is a Muslim country and the country’s religion is Islam,” explained Karim, a Bible college student, to ICC. “With this item in the constitution, it gives the idea to radical Muslims that having a church is not part of the Islamic country and that Christians are not a part of the Islamic community.”

According to Isaac Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the incident is “the result of the state’s adoption of clear discriminatory policies and there is no desire to change. What happened is a single pattern… A prayer begins and then demonstration starts.”

He continued, “[Then], security services come into the church or the building of services and they prevent prayer, assembly, and then cut off facilities, there is no arrest of any of the instigators… The church building law is a trap and will not give the right to pray.”

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Unfortunately, church closures are a common occurrence in Egypt. Although the 2016 law purports to streamline the process, the vagueness of certain provisions within the law allows for the continued closure of churches in order to appease hardline extremists. If Egypt is truly sincere about providing religious freedom, this problem must be addressed. We must also keep Egypt’s Christians in our prayers as we approach the Christmas season, as it is common for the public practice of their faith to become even more risky during this time.” 

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Dec 10 2018

Ingo Breuer

More Than 100 Sichuan House Church Members Arrested

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Leaders, Members of Autumn Rain Covenant Church Unaccounted For

12/10/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) www.persecution.org – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that more than 100 members and leaders of Autumn Rain Covenant Church in China’s Sichuan province have been arrested. The arrests took place on December 9 after local authorities raided the homes of many church members.

According to a statement from the church, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, the police raided and surrounded the church, arresting a church staff member. Around 9:00 p.m., members’ WeChat accounts and cellphone group discussions were blocked, while the church’s telephone line was also shut down. In the meantime, the police ambushed dozens of homes, arresting numerous church members and leaders, including Pastor Wang Yi and his wife. Some were forced to sign a document stating that they will no longer attend the house church.

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