This week’s Persecution Update highlights the increase attacks in Egypt, the struggle of Islam in Nigeria, a closer look at the persecution in India and the ongoing crisis in North Korea.
Egypt Attack Increase
The bloodshed in Egypt continues following former President Mohammad Morsi’s removal from office by the Egyptian military. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are lashing out at Christians, apparently blaming them for the military’s actions against Morsi.
In early July, the Reverend Mina Abboud Sharoubeam was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle as he left his Coptic Christian church in the Al Masaeed area of Arish in Sinai, Egypt, a VOM worker reported.
In additional post-Morsi violence, radical Muslims killed nine Christians and burned Christians’ houses and shops in Al Dabaa village in the Luxor region of Upper Egypt. The injured and homeless in the area are taking refuge in a church that also came under attack, our worker said. Since Morsi’s removal on July 3, three other Christian churches have been burned across Egypt, and Christian businesses in Dalga and Der Mawas in Menia, Egypt, have been attacked by Islamic extremists.
Pastor’s Daughter in Nigeria Allegedly Kidnapped, Forced to Convert to Islam
Sharia court in Niger state backs alleged abduction of 24-year-old woman.
A Muslim leader in central Nigeria has abducted a pastor’s daughter and forced her to convert to Islam with the backing of a sharia (Islamic law) court, the church leader said.
Raymond Uzoechina, a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Abuja, told Morning Star News by phone that the Emir or Muslim leader of the Nupe ethnic group in Bida, Niger state, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, abducted his daughter soon after 24-year-old Charity Raymond Uzoechina went to the town in February to study at the Federal Polytechnic-Bida.
After his daughter’s friends notified him that she was missing, he discovered her whereabouts as he made inquiries in the town on March 1– he did not hear of her whereabouts in an invitation from the emir’s aides as the town emirate has claimed, he said.
“After a painstaking search, we found out that she was being held captive in the palace of the Etsu Nupe, the [ethnic Nupe] Muslim leader of the town of Bida,” Pastor Uzoechina said. “I went to the palace, and the Muslim leader told me that my daughter is now a Muslim and that she is under his custody. When I demanded to take her away, the Muslim leader said he would not release her because he said she has been entrusted under his care by an Islamic court, the sharia court in the town of Bida.”
In India, a familiar pattern of pressure on Christians
News briefs: Incidents for May and June
In vast and diverse India, Christians often live freely. Yet India ranks among the 50 countries where life as a Christian is most difficult, according to Open Doors International, a global ministry that serves Christians who are pressured because of their faith. The country is No. 31 on Open Doors’ 2013 World Watch List, largely because of a streak of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, that envisions India as a purely Hindu state.
Each month, numerous reports surface of provincial Hindutva militants breaking up prayer meetings, intimidating pastors, assaulting worshippers, and chasing Christian families from their homes and villages. The dates, locations and names change, but many of the elements remain: Christians are accused of forcing Hindus to convert; Church buildings are damaged; area church leaders intervene; police often provide little protection. The incidents reported here, for May and June, contain more of the same.
Hindutva has a political base in India’s right-wing, nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party, or BJP. It is the No. 2 party in the national assembly and holds or shares power in seven of India’s 28 states, comprising about 15 percent of India’s population. “This ideology . . . has firm root and strong support in many government structures as in the police,” the World Watch List says.
Christian Organization Calls Attention to Ongoing Human Rights Crisis in North Korea
On the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is calling for increased efforts by the international community to address the grave human rights crisis in North Korea.
The Korean War ended on 27 July 1953, having claimed the lives of three million Koreans including many civilians. However, the war ended in an armistice, not a permanent peace, and the Korean peninsula is technically still at war between North and South. Furthermore, North Korean people continue to suffer under a brutal regime with one of the worst human rights records in the world.
An estimated 200,000 people are believed to be detained in five political prison camps across the country. The system of guilt by association means that citizens can be imprisoned for political “crimes” committed by their family members for three generations. Conditions in the camps are dire: inmates endure freezing temperatures in winter, hard labour, and meager food rations. Defectors estimate that 70 percent of prisoners are severely malnourished. Torture, rape and public executions are common.
Please pray for the persecuted Church!