The Algerian government tells local authorities to crack down on protestant churches. The investigations are now intensifying as the government tries to shut down more churches.
While Christians are happy the laws giving prison sentences for unapproved worship, they are very unhappy about what has replaced those laws. Local police can now issue fines up to 5 weeks wages without going through a court.
Burmese government dropped charges against the pastor who spoke out against them.
Pastor and his wife are imprisoned after they decided to homeschool their daughter who was being bullied at school for being a Christian.
Agenzia Fides is reporting:
After having seized hospitals and dispensaries, the Eritrean State is starting to seize schools run by Catholic, but also Islamic and Protestant religious bodies. In the last two years, 29 clinics have been nationalized and, in recent weeks, seven schools (four of which are Catholic). Faced with this forced nationalization, Eritrean eparchies took their stand: Mgr. Mengistheb Tesfamariam, Metropolitan Archbishop of Asmara; Mgr. Thomas Osman, Eparch of Barentu; Mgr. Kidane Yebio, eparch of Cheren, Mgr. Fikremariam Hagos, eparch of Segheneyti. The four bishops in a letter addressed to Semere Re’esom, Minister of Public Education of Asmara, and sent to Agenzia Fides write: “Considering that the actions that are being taken against our educational and health institutions are contrary to the rights and to the legitimate freedom of the Church, and heavily limit the exercise of the postulates of faith, mission and social services, we ask that the recent resolutions are reviewed and the consequent course of action promptly stopped”.
The expropriation relies on the law n. 73/1995, in which all the social structures are expected to be managed by the public authority. This provision, which remained on paper for a long time, began to be applied only in recent years. The provision aroused concern and bewilderment in the Catholic community and in the population. Among the seized schools, there are some historical institutions, such as the secondary Institute of the Most Holy Redeemer of the seminary of Asmara, founded in 1860, which over the decades has served hundreds of young people who have worked at the service of the Church and the Country.
“We ask – the bishops write – that all the educational and health institutions of the Church, are allowed to continue their precious and highly appreciated services to the people. If there are situations that need to be corrected or adjusted, not only is it good, but even the only viable way, in order for this to take place in a context of an open and constructive dialogue”.
The Church has never escaped dialogue. As the Bishops themselves say: “It has always been in the desires and in the agenda of us Bishops of the Catholic Church to meet with the government authorities to dialogue on everything concerning the situation of our Church and our nation.
We Bishops raise, once again, our voice of protest against the arbitrary and unilateral provision recently taken by the government”. (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 14/9/2019)
Agenzia Fides reports that two priests have been arrested in Jharkhand: Police in the state of Jharkhand, in eastern India, took into custody two Catholic priests and a catechist on charges of having led the conversion of religious faith to the people of a village. As reported to Agenzia Fides by father N.M. Thomas, vicar general of the diocese of Bhagalpur, the diocese where the village is located, the police arrested Fr. Arun Vincent and Fr. Benoy John and catechist Munna Hansda from the Rajdaha mission on 6 September accusing them of having carried out “forced conversions” to Christianity in the village of Deodar and also of “illegal occupation of land”.
The police subsequently released Father Vincent, while Fr. Benoy John and the catechist will probably be released after September 11, the Vicar general said. According to Father Thomas, these arrests are nothing more than “abuses against priests and Christians and cases of intimidation, politically motivated, to cloud the work of missionaries for the poor, the marginalized and the suffering”.
A local Catholic Augustine Hembrom told Fides: “We totally condemn this action. It is known that we Catholics believe in freedom of conscience and we would never force anyone to change his faith. Government authorities are aware of this. Therefore, the arrests are certainly instrumental, and they intend to hit Christians”
Speaking of the incident, John Dayal, a Catholic human rights activist and secular leader, told Fides: “What is happening in Jharkhand, in particular, and in the tribal belt in central India, is a cause for deep concern. There is a state sponsored by the federal government, which acts against religious minorities, affecting Muslims on the one hand and Christian clergy and educational institutions on the other”.
“The most worrying fact is the attempt to divide people according to religious affiliation. We are all Indian citizens. This policy of division must be defeated if peace and unity are to be maintained and democracy and development strengthened”, said Dayal. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 9/9/2019)
After family killed his wife with an axe, chased him off, and attempted to hurt his daughter, he still doesn’t understand why it all happened.
A pastor’s four year old daughter was raped after he said he would not stop sharing the Gospel.
Fatemeh Bakhteri is in Evin prison for refusing to renounce her faith.
Asia Bibi has released a video to encourage others.
After being illegally detained, a man died of torture. The father of two was killed while officers were trying to extract a false confession.
Zafar Bhatti’s appeal has been postponed for the 8th time. He has been imprisoned since 2012 under blasphemy laws.
Despite a Christian woman being selected to be on the transition committee, Christians are still pessimistic about changes in their favor.
A Greek Orthodox Church was vandalized with anti-Christian slogans.
Little information gets out about the Christians in Yemen. Faced with war, disease, and persecution, they are a light in a very dark situation.
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