Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Persecution. Show all posts

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Mother of Four Must Go to Jail For Non-Participation at School Event

The comments beneath this article point out that the treatment of non-Christians, such as Muslims, is unequal when it comes to similar objections from parents. Muslims who object to their daughters participating in school events like swimming and sex education are not held to the same rule of law as Christians.

Salzkotten [] A Russian-German Christian must go to to jail, because she kept one of her children from a School event and had not paid the outstanding fee for it.

The mother of four children was brought from Salzkotten by Paderborn to the Bielfield Correctional Facility. They will remain five days in incarceration. One of her children did not participate in a theater even of the Catholic Liborius Grade School.This was, in any case, compulsory.

The parents founded their negative attitude toward the performance because of their beliefs. [The play apparently deals with sexual "enlightenment" or education] The participation is not compatible with her religious convictions. Already in a previous performance the parents had written the District Attorney's Office to explain their stance: The payment of a fee expected by you would challenge our personal convictions.

"For this reason our incarceration will not move us to pay a fee, of which we are, in so far as it applies to German law, not guilty." Most recently the cases where parents from the region have for reasons of avoiding school and non-payment of fees have been incarcerated have increased.

The effected children all go to the same school. First at the beginning of August a Father of twelve children was arrested for a total of forty days.

Original, here...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sheikh Incites Muslims to Attack Christians in Egypt

At one point, an inept, knife-wielding Muslim attempts to convert a Copt by force.

ISTANBUL, March 17 (CDN) — A mob of enraged Muslims attacked a Coptic Christian community in a coastal town in northern Egypt last weekend, wreaking havoc for hours and injuring 24 Copts before security forces contained them.

The violence erupted on Friday (March 12) afternoon after the sheikh of a neighborhood mosque incited Muslims over a loudspeaker, proclaiming jihad against Christians in Marsa Matrouh, in Reefiya district, 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Alexandria, according to reports.

The angry crowd hurled rocks at the district church, Christians and their properties, looted homes and set fires that evening. The mob was reportedly infuriated over the building of a wall around newly-bought land adjacent to the Reefiya Church building. The building, called al Malak al Khairy, translated Angel’s Charity, also houses a clinic and community center.

“I was very surprised by the degree of hatred that people had toward Christians,” said a reporter for online Coptic news source Theban Legion, who visited Reefiya after the attack. “The hate and the disgust were obvious.”

The attack was a rarity for a northern coastal resort town in Egypt; most tensions between Copts and Muslims erupt in southern towns of the country.

According to a worker building the wall around the newly-bought plot, local Sheikh Khamis along with a dozen “bearded” men accused the church and workers of blocking a road early on Friday, staff members of Watani newspaper said.

Worried that the dispute could erupt into violence, one of the priests ordered the workers to take the wall down.

The governor of Marsa Matrouh approved the building of the church center and granted a security permit to conduct religious services in 2009.

Following afternoon mosque prayers, Sheikh Khamis rallied neighborhood Muslims, gathering more than 300 people. The mob broke into groups, attacking the church and nearby houses of the Coptic Christian community. There are nearly 2,000 Coptic Christians in Reefiya.

Around 400 Copts fled into the church building while the rioting mob looted and destroyed 17 houses, 12 cars and two motorcycles, according to Watani.

Local security forces were unable to contain the attack and called-in back up from nearby Alexandria. At nearly 1:30 a.m. on Sunday (March 14) they managed to contain the crowd and let the Christians out of the church.

Police arrested 16 young Christian men among those who were inside the church building, according to Watani. Later, four of them who were released because they were underage told reporters that security forces beat them. Police also arrested 18 of the assailants.

Some of the attackers and security forces were also wounded in the altercation. Of the wounded Copts, two were reportedly rushed to a hospital in Alexandria in critical condition. Sobhy Girgis, 33, was taken to Alexandria’s Victoria Hospital for internal bleeding in the kidney from injuries sustained from rocks the crowd threw at him, and Mounir Naguib, 41, was treated for multiple stab wounds, according to Watani.

Naguib, a teacher, said he was accosted while on his way to the Angel’s Charity building, with a knife-wielding member of the mob asking him if he was a Christian. When he said he was, the Muslim told him to convert to Islam by pronouncing the two testimonies of the Muslim faith (that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger).

“When I refused, he stabbed me in the thigh and hit me on the head,” Naguib told Watani.

One Copt, Nabil Wahba, told of how his house was destroyed. Wahba said he came home at 6 p.m. to find around 40 men hurling stones at his house. At 9 p.m. they came back with clubs and iron pipes, ripping the windows open and throwing fireballs into the house.

“When we tried to put out the fire, they hurled stones at us, while others were pulling down the garden fence and setting the other side of the house aflame,” Wahba told Watani.

Security forces pulled Wahba and his sister out of his blazing house.

On the same day that violence erupted in Marsa Matrouh, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a report denouncing Egypt’s legal system for not bringing people to justice for violent acts against Christians and their property.

According to the report, in the last year there have been more than a dozen incidents in which Coptic Christians have been targets of violence.

“This upsurge in violence and the failure to prosecute those responsible fosters a growing climate of impunity,” USCIRF Chairman Leonard Leo states in the report.

Since 2002, Egypt has been on the USCIRF “Watch List” as a country with serious religious freedom violations, including widespread problems of discrimination, intolerance and other human rights violations against members of religious minorities, according to the report.

Commenting on the Marsa Matrouh attack, the Theban Legion reporter stated that among the mob were members of Bedouin communities who are intolerant of plurality and diversity in society.

“The law of the land is supposed to be a civil law, and we would like to see a civil law applying to everybody,” he said.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Catholic Bishops in Paper: Iraq War Caused Extremism; Christians Are Victims

[Memri/Al Zaman, Iraq] According to a preparatory document for the Synod of the Catholic Bishops in the Middle East, to be held later this year, the relationship between Muslims and Christians in the entire regime are going through difficult times because of what it called the growth of "political Islam" and the mingling of religion and politics.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making Sense of Benedict’s Jewish Policy –

Making Sense of Benedict’s Jewish Policy –

John Allen

By this stage, outsiders trying to make sense of Pope Benedict XVI’s approach to Jewish-Catholic relations might be forgiven for wondering if the pontiff suffers from an undiagnosed case of schizophrenia.

After all, this is the pope who made a point of visiting a Cologne synagogue in 2005 on his first foreign trip, and Auschwitz on his second, only later to revive a controversial Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews. More recently, this is the pope who rehabilitated a Holocaust-denying traditionalist bishop and who announced that Pope Pius XII (whose alleged “silence” during the Holocaust remains a bone of contention between Jews and Catholics) is a step closer to sainthood, only to visit Rome’s Great Synagogue on January 17 to express his “esteem and affection” for Judaism, and to pledge that the “faces, names, tears and desperation” of Holocaust victims must never be forgotten.

We see that John Allen is as slavishly devoted as ever to the party line, but he is right after all considering Holy Father's ultimate concern in his policy that, "Benedict’s top priority is internal, directed at the inner life of the Catholic Church. His aim is to restore a strong sense of traditional Catholic identity, in order to inoculate the church against infection by radical secularism." However, there are others, in Israel, who view things a little bit differently, like this Jewish paper which views Benedict's maneuvers as essentially hostile. We've seen a lot of negative reaction to Benedict's various changes and some of his public acts which don't bode well for an integralist Catholic viewpoint, like changinig the Good Friday prayers to make the Jews and the traditionalists happy at the same time. The prayer actually called for the conversion of the Jews, and a loud minority were, not suprisingly, unhappy with the prayer and their views were reported far and wide. Fact is, most Jews don't care about Benedict's activities, they don't go to services either. Why don't we spend more time talking to those Jews and get them to come to Mass, permanently!

Vatican Blames Israel for Driving Christians Out of the Area

January 20, 2010

A Vatican synod being convened by Monsignor Nikola Eterovic will address an internal document addressing the plight of the dwindling Christian minority in the rapidly growing Islamic population in the Mideast. 150 bishops are expected to attend the synod which will be held on October 10-24.

The internal Vatican documents pertaining to the meeting place the ongoing Israel-PA (Palestinian Authority) conflict at the heart of regional instability and conflict, adding “radical terrorism” over recent years exploited the conflict towards advancing political Islam in countries including Egypt.

Israel’s “ongoing occupation” is blamed for restricted access to houses of worship in those areas, hampering religious life. In Iraq, the report states all Iraqis became victims but the small and weak Christian population was among the principal victims.

The Vatican believes the solution remains in the hands of “the stronger countries, to settle the conflict between Israel and the PA.

A Vatican statement added “Violence is in the hands of the strong and weak alike, the latter resorting to whatever violence is within reach in order to be free.”

When asked if the Vatican document was referring to yishuvim throughout Yehuda and Shomron and ongoing construction in the eastern capital, Eterovic explained that while the Vatican was not making policy decisions, it does adhere to and accept the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which in this case, support the Roadmap Plan and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

The bishop added that while many of the 17 million Christians living between Iran and Egypt have fled, the numbers of Christians in the region has grown due to the influx of manual laborers, Christians, in a number of Arab countries, some that had a minimal or no Christian presence prior to their arrival.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mosul Welcomes New Archbishop, Mourns Murders

MOSUL, Iraq, JAN. 19, 2010 ( Sunday was bittersweet for Mosul Catholics, who celebrated the arrival of their new archbishop while also mourning the murder of one of the faithful.

Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona, whose election as the archbishop of Mosul of the Chaldeans was confirmed Nov. 13 by Benedict XVI, was officially installed in the archeparchy Sunday.

AsiaNews reported that the same day, Saadallah Youssif Jorjis, a 52-year-old Syrian Catholic, a husband and father of two daughters, was shot dead.

The news source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the "persecution continues in the midst of general indifference."

He asserted that this "ethnic cleansing" currently taking place in Mosul is "very similar to what happened in 2008."

"They want to push Christians to the plain of Nineveh, and the community has lost confidence in the future," the source added.

Jorjis owned a produce shop near his home, and was married to a woman who worked as a nurse.

A few days earlier, on Jan. 12, another grocer, Hikmat Sleiman, 75, was killed by an armed group.

Archbishop Rahho

The 2008 wave of violence claimed the life of the former archbishop of Mosul of the Chaldeans, Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho.

He was kidnapped in February of that year outside of a church where he had led the Way of the Cross on a Lenten Friday. During the kidnapping, his three companions were killed.

For days there was no news from the archbishop or his kidnappers. Finally, after a phone call from the assailants, the prelate's body was found March 13 in a shallow grave. He was 65.

The election of Archbishop Nona took place according to the tradition in the Eastern-rite Churches. The synod of bishops of the Chaldean Church made the decision, which was then approved by the Pope.

Sunday's ceremony for Archbishop Nona was attended by several political and Muslim leaders.

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Communist Government Denies Blowing Up Crucifix in Vietnam, Blocks News Sites

Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan 19, 2010 / 03:59 am (CNA).- Following reports that it destroyed a crucifix and brutalized parishioners, the Vietnamese government has blocked various Catholic news sites from its citizens and claimed that it dismantled the crucifix, rather than blowing it up.

On Jan. 6, an estimated 600-1,000 armed police officers entered the Dong Chiem parish cemetery to protect an engineering unit assigned to destroy the stone crucifix under the pretense that the fixture violated a state mandate that all religious symbols be inside a religious premise. Parishioners begged the police to stop the destruction of the crucifix but were met with tear gas and batons.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Chuck Colson Takes Media To Task in Its Poor Coverage of Copts' Plight

The most recent Egyptian assault took place in in the ancient city of Nag Hammadi – a gunman opened fire on a crowd of worshipers leaving Midnight Mass. Seven Coptic Christians were killed, and at least six more were wounded. The shooting was said to be in retaliation for an alleged (emphasis Colson’s) sexual assault by a Christian man against a Muslim girl in November, which was followed by five days of looting and burning of Copt homes and businesses.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vietnamese Police Attack Priest, Journalist

Catholic Culture

Vietnamese police, joined by pro-government thugs, attacked a priest and a Catholic journalist in the village of Dong Hoi, about 40 miles south of Hanoi, on January 11. The priest, Father Nguyen Van Lien, was escorting Nguyen Huu Vinh on a tour of the village when the police stopped them, pulling the priest aside an clubbing the journalist into unconsciousness. The beating ended when the police took the journalist’s camera, leaving him bleeding on the road; he was diagnosed with a concussion.

Police in the region have accused Catholic priests of stirring up anti-government sentiments, and several Catholic residents have reported been roughed up by police officers and pro-government forces.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Pope condemns murder of Coptic Christians in Egypt

(AFP) – 1 day ago

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday condemned the murder of six Coptic Christians in a January 6 attack in Egypt, and denounced violence against Christians.

"The violence against Christians in certain countries has caused indignation among many people, among other reasons because it has manifested itself during the holiest days of the Christian tradition," the pope told pilgrims in St Peter's Square.

The drive-by shooting happened in the southern Egyptian town of Nagaa Hammadi as Copts celebrated their Christmas Eve along with other Orthodox communities.

"There can be no violence in the name of God," Benedict said.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Copts Clash with Egyptian Police

CAIRO — Clashes erupted on Thursday as thousands of Coptic Christians in a southern Egyptian village gathered to bury six of their number gunned down on Coptic Christmas Eve by men believed to be Muslims, security officials said.

Officials and the local bishop said three men in a car had raked pedestrians with gunfire along a street containing two churches and a shopping precinct late on Wednesday.

Bishop Kirilos said the victims were people who had just emerged from church after attending a Christmas Eve service, and the proximity of the shopping area might have drawn some of them to it.

Six Copts and a Muslim policeman were killed, while at least nine more Copts were wounded, two of them seriously, a security official said.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Persecution Against Christians Continues in Iraq

Mosul (AsiaNews) - Attacks continue against Christians to push them to flee from Iraq. Yesterday afternoon Zhaki Homo Bashir, a Christian deacon, was hit by gunfire from a group of unknown criminals. The man had just entered his shop located in the district of al Jadida. Seriously injured, he was transported to hospital. AsiaNews published the news yesterday of the kidnapping a college student from an Islamic group.

Asia News...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Columbian Governor Arrests Christians

Governor outlaws Christianity, arrests believers in Colombia
28 indigenous Colombian Christians have been imprisoned since October for refusing to denounce their faith, reports MNN.

Logan Maurer with International Christian Concern says the central government gave local governors relative autonomy. "They have devolved power to a governor there who has outlawed Christianity. He has said that if anybody there is a Christian, they're going to go to prison."

With that announcement, the local governor over the Kogui (ko-gee) called the Christians together on October 27th. "He was holding a meeting to discuss this issue," said Maurer, "and he surprised these Christians by saying, 'You're all under arrest.'"

The governor wants them to maintain more of the traditional identity to the tribal region, which includes animism. The group is still being held because they refuse to reconvert.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide says at last report, two of the kidnapped infants were seriously ill. The governor and his allies also humiliated non-Christian leaders who had supported the Christians in the community and protected them from being expelled.

What's especially odd about this case is that the Colombian government has apparently refused to act on behalf of the Christians. That's prompting outcry from human rights watchdog groups. Maurer adds that the Colombian government is "willing to ignore its own Constitution and its international agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR, the ICSECR, and the American Convention on Human Rights--all of which explicitly protect the right of individuals to choose their own faith and to convert of their own free will."

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Biblical Story of Jesus in Egypt

The Christmas season is almost upon us and is a great opportunity to tell children around the world that the infant Jesus travelled in Egypt and performed his first miracles there, says Jill Kamil

Despite the biblical references to the Holy Family's journey to Egypt: Take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt [Matt: 2:13], and Out of Egypt have I called my son [Matt: 2:15], outside of the Coptic communities around the world, the early years of Jesus are not as widely known as the Nativity, the Passion, and the Resurrection. Is it not time to stage a three-act play in Coptic churches that combines the Nativity with the Flight into Egypt? It should be borne in mind that, apart from Copts in Egypt and the Middle East as a whole, there are more than 500,000 in the United Sates, 100,000 or in Canada, 300,000- odd in Australia, and more than a million residing in Europe, Latin America, Africa and New Zealand.

If the children of Coptic doctors and academics, engineers and businessmen -- and I should mention that Copts in the diaspora have built impressive Coptic Orthodox churches and the bulk are regular church-goers -- took part in or attended such a play, I wager that soon enough the schools that they attended would come to know about the three-act "Christmas Story", and perhaps it would then be enacted in churches of other denominations. What a boost to tourism that would be!

Some years ago an attempt was made by the Ministry of Tourism to promote tours entitled "In the Footsteps of the Holy Family". The first step, which achieved great success, was the restoration of sites and churches associated with the visit of Mary, Jesus and Joseph -- no fewer than 22 throughout the Delta and Upper Egypt. Subsequently, there was sustained effort in promoting the tour on television and video clips. Ultimately, though, it failed. The idea was not sold by travel agents, largely because due consideration had not been given to its feasibility. It was not possible to take tourists to the sites associated with the Holy Family because most of them were too far apart: they span the whole of the Delta as far as Wadi Natrun in the Western Desert, and extend from Cairo and its suburbs to sites in Upper Egypt as far as south in Deir Al-Muharraq, west of Assiut.

Religious tourism is a fixture of both ancient and modern cultures, a constant through the ages, and until today a mainstay of tourism in several areas. It is not possible, however, to promote this product in the same way as Pharaonic monuments are marketed, which is to say as religious buildings rather than a religious experience. What better way than to bolster Coptic Orthodoxy than by actively joining in the celebrations at the end of each year, rather than wait until 7 January, the date of the Coptic Christmas, when the New Year celebrations are over and people are enjoying the post- Christmas shopping sales? Why not take advantage of the pomp and ceremony that surrounds the Western Christmas well in advance of 25 December to relish and promote the tradition so strongly supported in Egypt, of the sojourn of the Holy Family, and extend our celebrations through to 7 January? And why not bring reverence for the past into a tangible present by presenting a three-act play at the right time, when the whole of the Christian world is focussed on the birth of Jesus Christ. The play might run like this:

Act I: The traditional scene of the Nativity with Christ in the manager, the three Wise Men and the shining star, culminating with the entry of Roman soldiers, and with Mary and Joseph gathering up the Child, and fleeing across the barren desert of Sinai into Egypt's fertile Delta.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Rampaging Elephants Attack People Who Persecuted Christians in 2008

Nature definitely exacts a price for sins, but this is more dramatic, almost miraculous. It reminds us of the Ents attacking Isengard.

In July 2008 a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes. Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering.

In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles. In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.

These elephants first attacked a rock crusher machine owned by a key leader of the persecution movement. They then went on to destroy his house and farms.

Hundreds of villagers have been forced to take shelter in camps in the Indian state of Orissa after repeated attacks by a herd of elephants.

Seven people have been killed and several others injured in attacks by a herd of 12-13 elephants over the past few weeks in Kandhamal district.

Over 2,500 people living in 45 villages have been affected by the attacks, district chief Krishen Kumar said.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Copts in New York Protest Persecution

This statement is from the American Copts at who organized simultaneous rallies in several States to “express their resentment and rejection to what is taking place to their brethren in Egypt, including killings, destruction and looting of their property, displacement from their homes and the forced Islamization of their minor daughters.”

Link to "the "silent" majority no more!"...with lots of photos.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Muslims and Christians Flock To See Mary In Cairo

Our Lady is appearing to Copts in the poorest neighborhoods of Cairo. She doesn't say anything, but her presence speaks nonetheless. Like children, the Copts and some Muslims crowd around her mantel, seeking protection, maternal love and hope. The following is from "The Watchers Lamp" blog.

(ANSAmed) - CAIRO - Exorcisms and alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary are occurring in Cairo, in two of the city's poorest neighbourhoods, and the two phenomena are drawing in throngs of the faithful, mostly Christian Copts but Muslims as well. The most recent event is the one which occurred last Friday in the El Waaraq neighbourhood, located in the Giza area. The Egyptian Gazette reports that many claim to have personally witnessed the Virgin Mary on the roof of St. Michaels church with her arms opening in their direction, while the smell of incense and a flock of doves surrounded the area. This event allegedly occurred at least twice, but a Church appointee was unable to capture it on video. People are now awaiting for the return of Copt pope Shenouda III to return to Cairo from the USA on the day after tomorrow. He is expected to set up a committee that will look into the alleged apparitions, and to decide on the now sizeable amount of money offered by the faithful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two More Bombs in Mosul Targeting Chaldeans

By John Pontifex

SHOCK and fear have gripped the Church in Iraq after two explosions on the same day with the threat of more to come.

The Al Beshara (Annunciation) Syrian Catholic Church in Mosul was the first to be targeted at 10.30am on he 15th of December when a bomb was placed against an outside wall of the building.

A minor explosion took place with damage to the wall. Nobody was hurt. Youngsters at a nearby kindergarten had a lucky escape.

Within a few hours, a second, much bigger bomb had gone off at the Al Gahera (Our Lady of Purity) Syrian Orthodox Church, also in Mosul.

A number of people were injured in the explosion which caused major damage to the church in the crowded Al Shefaa district in the city centre.

Speaking from northern Iraq in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, the Catholic charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, Fr Bashar Warda described the “fear and shock” of the people who looked forward to Christmas as a time to “lift our spirits”.

Meantime, the government in Baghdad has warned Church leaders of further attacks over the Christmas period, urging priests and religious Sisters to be especially vigilant.
Fr Warda said the Church would continue its Christmas preparations undeterred.
The Redemptorist priest based in Ankawa, outside the Kurdish capital, Erbil, added: “Normally Christmas is a time when we lift our spirits with a number of festivities so you can imagine what the atmosphere is like here now.
“The shock and the fear of the people is very strong.”

He described talking to Al Beshara parish priest Father Nazen Eshoa, who returned to Mosul to resume his ministry despite being kidnapped for a few days last year.
“Fr Nazen – like all of us – is shocked but he wants to continue preparing for Christmas as much as possible.”

The identity of the attackers is as yet unknown and Church leaders do not know if there is a link between the attacks in Mosul and the threats declared in Baghdad.
The attacks come less than three weeks after bomb attacks – again in Mosul – inflicting serious damage to St Ephrem’s Chaldean Church and a nearby convent.
Nobody was hurt in the attacks, on 26th November, although at least five Chaldean Sisters were in the convent when it came under fire.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Coptic Women Being forced to Marry Muslims in Egypt

This article is from the Baptist Press, and we have to say that it's interesting that the call Copts Christians. Copts who don't accept any of their core doctrines regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary and a host of other issues too numerous to mention here have given the title, "Christian" to these suffering people. How nice of them. Now that they recognize this ancient group of Christians who have more in common with Catholics than they have with Baptists, perhaps we can make some headway?

WASHINGTON (BP)--Coptic Christian women in Egypt are being forced to marry and convert to Islam and that oppression is part of a larger pattern of persecution against Christians facilitated by the Egyptian government, according to two recent reports.

"Cases of abduction, forced conversion and marriage are usually accompanied by acts of violence which include rape, beatings, deprivation of food and other forms of physical and mental abuse," said a new assessment by Christian Solidarity International and the Coptic Foundation for Human Rights.

At the same time, the 2009 U.S. State Department report on international religious freedom noted the Egyptian government fails to prosecute crimes against Copts and even has taken a hand in destroying church property and, in one case, a government official reportedly raped a woman who had converted from Islam to Christianity.

About 90 percent of the Egyptian population is Sunni Muslim, and the rest primarily identify themselves as Coptic Christians, according to the Human Rights Watch report "Prohibited Identities: State Interference with Religious Freedom." Copts typically are underprivileged and experience discrimination.

Egyptian sex traffickers entice Coptic Christian women from low-income families by promising an escape from poverty, then force the women into Muslim "marriages" or outright slavery, according to the CSI/CFHR report.

"Such abuse remains covered in a cloak of silence and tacit acceptance, even though it is against the constitutional affirmations of civil rights," the report said.

Once a Coptic girl is coerced into marriage and Islamic conversion, her family will not take her back, and if she leaves her "husband," she is considered a "disgrace" to her family, the report said. In addition, the Coptic Orthodox Church excommunicates female members who wed Muslim men, the State Department said.

Since Islam is the "religion of state" in Egypt, conversion to Islam is easy, while returning to Christianity is unacceptable, the HRW report said. The Civil Status Department, which issues national identity cards, sometimes refuses to give Coptic women a new card identifying her as Christian since it is considered apostasy for a Coptic woman to leave Islam, even to return to her religion of origin.

Egyptian law requires every citizen to have an identity card for purposes such as voting, employment and education.

Most of the cases of Coptic women being coerced into marriage are not reported and "observers, including human rights groups, find it extremely difficult to determine whether compulsion was used, as most cases involve a female Copt who converts to Islam when she marries a Muslim male," the State Department report said.

In two examples of coerced conversion, CSI/CFHR reported Nov. 10:

-- An Egyptian woman was raped and beaten since she would not have sex with the man she was forced to marry. The Coptic cross on her wrist was later removed with acid.

-- Another woman was forced to marry a Muslim lawyer and work for him in "slave-like conditions" for five years.

John Eibner, CSI's chief executive officer, urged President Obama in a letter to combat the trafficking of Christian women and girls in Egypt and to make sure the U.S. makes this issue a priority in its relations with Egypt.

"Trafficking of Christian women in Egypt is not a new phenomenon.... But this problem has now reached boiling point within Egypt's Coptic community, which views it as symptomatic of a much broader pattern of religious persecution," Eibner said in his letter.
Cindy Ortiz is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Even Buddhists brutally attack Catholic church in Sri Lanka

Maybe Sinead O'Connor and Bono will write a song on behalf of all the Catholics being killed and persecuted throughout the world. One wonders what their reaction, indeed, that of the media in general, would be if Jews were being persecuted to this degree.

Buddhist extremists brutally attack Catholic church in Sri Lanka

Friday, December 11, 2009

Office of Chalden Patriarch Under Attack

Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad revealed yesterday that the offices of the Chaldean Patriarchate in the Iraqi capital were damaged by the terrorist attacks on Tuesday that left 127 dead and 500 wounded, reports Catholic News Agency.

According to the SIR news agency, the bishop noted that “fortunately only the buildings were damaged. The sisters and the Patriarch were not present at the time of the explosion. They had left to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

“Doors, windows, window panes were all blown out, and the walls were also damaged,” he added.

Bishop Warduni said Baghdad residents are convinced that those behind the attacks are linked to political groups. “What is left now is the great desperation, pain and suffering of death that haunts our people,” the prelate concluded.

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