Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pastor In Iran Still Faces Death

This from OPEN DOORS USA- Sept. 28 2011

Court to determine Yousef Nadarkhani’s fate in the coming week.

ISTANBUL, September 28 (CDN) — Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani refused to recant his Christian faith today at the fourth and final court hearing in Iran to appeal his death sentence for apostasy (leaving Islam).
The court house in Rasht, 243 kilometers (151 miles) northwest of Tehran, has swarmed with security forces for four consecutive days since Sunday (Sept. 25), the first day of his four appeal hearings. Applying sharia (Islamic law), the court on Monday, Tuesday and today gave Nadarkhani, 35, three chances to recant Christianity and return to Islam in order for his life to be spared. In all instances, Nadarkhani refused to recant.
“I’m in contact with Iran,” a source close to Nadarkhani’s family said, “but the news isn’t very good. We’ll see. If they really want to they can kill him they can, because he hasn’t renounced his faith. It finished today. We have left everything in the hands of God.”
Authorities arrested Nadarkhani in his home city of Rasht in Oct. 2009 because he allegedly questioned obligatory religion classes in Iranian schools. In September 2010 the court of appeals in Rasht found him guilty of apostasy and in November issued a written confirmation of his charges and death sentence.
At an appeal hearing in June, the Supreme Court of Iran upheld Nadarkhani’s sentence but asked the court in Rasht to determine if he was a practicing Muslim before his conversion. The Supreme Court also determined that his death sentence could be annulled if he recanted his faith.
On Sunday (Sept. 25) in the first two and a half hours of the court, the judges determined that Nadarkhani indeed was not a practicing Muslim before his conversion to Christianity. The source said that in this time period things looked more promising for Nadarkhani, and that the court might reverse the sentence based on the findings.
In the end, however, the court declared that although Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim before his conversion, he was still guilty of apostasy due to his Muslim ancestry, the source told Compass.
Secret service agents surrounded the court and maintained a presence there throughout the following days, and his wife, Tina, was not allowed in the courtroom. On Sunday (Sept. 25), she was allowed to stand at the doorway for a few minutes to see her husband, the source said.
A defense lawyer told Nadarkhani’s family and friends there is a way to take the case back to the Supreme Court or extend Nadarkhani’s prison sentence, but the source said the directives of the Supreme Court were clear and he didn’t think there was much hope.
“Yousef is known as a hero, so if he is released it will seem like the government was defeated,” he said, “but if they leave him in prison there could be more international pressure.”
It is critical for foreign governments to negotiate and engage in diplomacy with Iranian authorities about Nadarkhani’s case, the source said, adding that his predicament could be more hopeful if they intervened.
“They need to start negotiating,” the source said. “It’s the moment to negotiate, because if they do, the situation could be regulated.”
The source and advocates in the international community fear that authorities may kill Nadarkhani as early as midnight tonight or any time in the coming week. The court said a verdict on Nadarkhani would be issued within the next week.
“They probably won’t kill him today, but they can do it whenever they want,” the source said. “They can hang him in the middle of the night or in 10 days. Sometimes in Iran they call the family and deliver the body with the verdict. They have gone outside the borders of law. This is not in the Iranian law, this is sharia. Sometimes they don’t even give the body.”
The final appeals hearing today lasted about an hour and a half, ending around 1 p.m. after Nadarkhani’s defense lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, gave his closing defense. Dadkhah also reportedly faces charges for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime,” due to his human rights activities.
The hearings on Monday (Sept. 26) and yesterday lasted just 30 minutes, long enough for Nadarkhani to refuse to recant Christianity.
The source said Nadarkhani’s 30-year-old wife is very apprehensive about what the courts might decide this week. They have two children: Joel, 7 and Daniel, 9.
“The wife is under depression and worried; we can say his wife is very worried,” he said. “It is difficult for all his family, it is difficult for us.”
Nadarkhani, whose first name is also spelled Youcef, belongs to the Church of Iran, a group that has been marginalized by other Christian Iranian groups over concerns that its doctrine on the Trinity is inadequate.
The Church of Iran’s statement of faith on its website asserts that God is “revealed in the Scriptures as Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19).”
The church’s statement of faith also affirms “...the Lordship of Jesus Christ, only Son of God, the Word manifested in flesh. We believe that He is from the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20) and He was born of a Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:23, Luke 1:34). We believe in His atoning death and redemption (Heb. 9:28), in His bodily resurrection (Luke 24:39), in His ascension (Acts 1:9-11), on His return in person to gather His Church (1 Thess. 4:17), followed by His coming in glory to judge the rebels and establish the reign of a thousand years (Rev. 1:7). ”
The church also states that it believes the “baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5, 2:38) is the new birth (John 3:5-8). It introduces the Christian in the Eternal Life of God and leads into all truth, to holiness in communion with Christ.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Muslims being 'appeased' by crackdown on Christianity

Note by Carolyn- What I found most sad and disturbing about this article was not that persecution is taking place. Bible believing Christians know that persecution is happening and will continue as Jesus told us. No, it's what Ms. Gabrielle states later on in the article: "Christians in the West are neglecting the Christians in the East." She is totally correct, the silence from the church in the west is deafening. Ignorance is no longer an option. News shows monthly persecution of Christians in not only Muslim countries, but in modern communist countries such as China. There are a few well known organizations which focus on Christian Persecution such as Open Doors and Voices of the Martyrs. If your church doesn't talk about or focus on persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world- you need to talk to your pastor or prayer leader and have them contact one of these ministries. We can NOT allow this to continue without speaking up. We may not stop it from happening, but if our brothers and sisters over there hear our voices- it may give them renewed strength!


Muslims being 'appeased' by crackdown on Christianity
But ministry leaders say people accepting faith 'even after re-education programs'

Posted: January 13, 2011
12:55 am Eastern

By Michael Carl
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

It's happening in Egypt, Pakistan and Laos as well as other Muslim-dominated nations in Asia and Africa, and its results are stark: a surge in attacks on Christian families and Christian churches. Now an analyst concludes that the attacks are being allowed, perhaps even encouraged, by government inaction in what is no more or less than the appeasement of radical Islamics.

Investigative journalist and the founder and executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism Steven Emerson says the pattern follows Islamic law.

"The Egyptian government [which has seen a series of recent attacks on Christians] hasn't done what it is morally obligated to do, which is to provide protection for the Copts. Certainly the Copts are treated as second-class citizens. This is the classic dhimmi situation in a Muslim country," Emerson observed.

"It doesn't protect the large Coptic community perhaps to appease the larger Islamic community," Emerson said.

Recent high-profile attacks have included the assassination of Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer for his support of Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi and the Coptic church bombing in Alexandria, Egypt. But many others are happening, too.

Director Sirikoon Presertsee, of the Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom, says the recent arrest of 11 Laotian Christians at a Christmas celebration in Khammouan Province is an example.

"The believers had gathered together to celebrate Christmas. The celebration was designated for the 5th of January. It's common in Laos that the celebration of Christmas takes place from December to January," Presertsee explained.

"The evangelical Christians in the country informed the central government that it would take place in that time. The information was given to the religious department in the country," he continued.

But Presertsee says the government sent 20 truckloads of police to break up the celebration.
"When they came together that night, they were ambushed by truckloads of police armed with guns. They were cocking their guns as they ran into the house and telling the believers to stop and not move," Presertsee continued.
He says the Christians asked to finish their meal, but permission was denied.
"They took them by force to different locations and the families didn't know where the authorities had taken these men," he said.
Presertsee says the police disbanded the gathering claiming that the Christmas celebration was a "secret meeting." The police took the action even after the Christians who came from all parts of Laos had notified the religious affairs department.
"The police were coming with guns and the believers didn't have anything. They were surprised by the police action after reporting to the village authorities that they would be having a Christmas service," he added.
Presertsee says persecution is growing, but said it is having the opposite effect from what is intended by the government.
"People in those areas began to embrace and observe Christianity. That's when the officials increased the pressure. The government has re-education programs for people who violate the laws, maybe one-day, two-day programs," Presertsee added.
"Some of the people have accepted Christianity even after the government re-education program," Presertsee added.
Five of the nine pastors have been released from the Khammouan prison. Four of the pastors still remain in custody at this time. Presertsee says this latest incident is one reason Laos is back on the U.S. government's watch list for religious freedom.
"Laos was put back on the watch list in 2008 and could elevate to a country of particular concern, which could have a lot of economic and policy sanctions that might be imposed on Laos," Presertsee said.
International Christian Concern's Jonathan Racho says the arrest and detention of 30 Christians at a house prayer meeting in the Eritrean capital city of Asmara highlights the increasing intensity of religious persecution in the Horn of Africa.
"The government, they follow the communist ideology and they've been clamping down on Christians since 2002. Currently there are more than 6,000 Christians who are imprisoned in Eritrea because of they believe in Jesus Christ," Racho affirmed.
"The latest crackdown happened on January 2 when Eritrean officials arrested 30 Christians who were praying in a private house in the capital city of Eritrea," Racho detailed.
"We are very worried about why this is happening in that country because Christians don't even have the basic freedom of praying together in a private house," Racho explained.
The ICC Middle East analyst says that after a registration rule was passed in Eritrea, the Eritrean government only recognizes four religious groups, Islam, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Catholic Church, and the Eritrean Lutheran Church.
According to this policy, Racho explained, all evangelical groups in Eritrea are outlawed. The official church policy was the explanation for the arrest of dozens of elderly women in 2009.
Racho says the Eritrean government rarely charges Christians with a crime.
"Unfortunately the Eritrean government, when they arrest Christians, they never charge them with a crime. They put them behind the bars and that's all. That's why we want to tell the international community," Racho explained.
"There is no rule of law in Eritrea as far as Christians are concerned. No one there cares about them," Racho added.

(Listen to an interview with Racho- follow the link at the bottom of the page)

Egypt is far from without confrontations.
Terrorism analyst Daniel Greenfield writes that terrorism is frequently an "inside job," meaning that the attacks are possible because of coordination and a mole "on the inside."
International Christian Concern Middle East specialist Aidan Clay says the recent Alexandrian Coptic Cathedral bombing highlights a gradual escalation of persecution, coordinated throughout the Middle East.
"We have definitely seen an increase – and acceleration – of persecution of Christians really since the attacks on the church in Baghdad. They seem to have heightened since once al-Qaida made an official statement asking the mujahedeen throughout the Middle East to begin targeting Christians," Clay explained.
"A statement was made during the attack on the church in Baghdad where al-Qaida actually associated, or made an excuse for the attack, by blaming an incident that was occurring in Egypt," Clay added.
"Two wives of Coptic priests were allegedly being held captive because they converted to Islam. Of course, there is no basis for that statement. It was a grievance by Muslims in Egypt that gained such publicity throughout the Middle East that al-Qaida used it as an excuse to target Christians," Clay continued.

(Listen to an interview with Clay- follow the link at the bottom of the page )

Clay points out that this was a turning point that seemed to be a springboard for more attacks.
"It would be naïve not to make a connection between what's going on in Iraq and what's happening in Egypt," Clay stated.
Clay says that the report that the attack was done with government complicity is nothing new.
"On the church attack, there was no security outside the church which basically left it exposed to the violent bombing. Of course, that's nothing new in Egypt. The Egyptian government has discriminated against the Coptic community throughout the past year and really since I've been following the issue in Egypt. The Copts have always felt discriminated against," Clay advised.
Terrorism analyst Brigitte Gabriel, founder of ACT for America says this increase in Islamic persecution of Christians is the result of Islamic empowerment encouraged by Western neglect.
"They are feeling empowered because of the weakness of the West. The West symbolizes the strength of Christianity and for the last century it's been weakening," Gabriel observed.
"The radicals are realizing that every country in the world where the radicals are misbehaving, the radical Islamists are feeling like they can get away with anything right now because no one is paying attention," Gabriel asserted.

(Listen to an interview with Gabriel- follow the link at the bottom of the page)

"The Muslims across the Middle East are feeling empowered that this is their time. They feel like Islam is finally getting the respect it deserves on the world stage and nobody is standing up for the Christians," Gabriel stated.
Gabriel says the Christians in the West are neglecting the Christians in the East.
"This is why the Muslims are doing the massacring that they're doing. It's like the massacre in Egypt; it's like world doesn't care about it. This is why they feel emboldened," Gabriel added.
The ACT for America founder agrees with Clay that the Islamic governments are supporting the terrorist's actions.
"These actions are done with the approval of governments. What happened in Egypt is that the police left an hour before the bombing. So what we are realizing is that what we call supposedly moderate Muslims are basically in cahoots or not doing anything to stop the persecution of the Christians in their countries," Gabriel said.
"What happened to the moderates in Egypt to stand up and defend the Christians?" Gabriel observed.
Gabriel adds that this is true of other Middle Eastern countries.
"This is the same thing that happened when the Arab countries expelled over 900,000 Jews out of Arab lands. This was done by governments systematically, from Libya, to Iran, to Egypt, to Lebanon, to Syria," Gabriel explained.
"The world didn't give a darn about the Jews so the world didn't say anything. Right now we're seeing the same thing happen to the Christians across the Middle East whether they're living in Syria, Lebanon or in Egypt or in any other nation in the Middle East," Gabriel added.
Gabriel also points out that the jihadist persecution extends to the West.
"Look at what's happening in Canada. We found out that the Muslims have made a list of all the Copts in Canada, where they live, their pictures, their addresses and they're targeting them. They are doing the same thing to the Copts in Australia," Gabriel detailed.
"So it's spreading and basically because the Muslim clans, whose loyalty is first with their clan, whether it's in Egypt, or Pakistan, or Afghanistan, Syria or Lebanon and this is why they're persecuting the Christians over here," Gabriel said.
While Gabriel explains that Muslims worldwide have been empowered by Western neglect, she clarifies an important distinction that Americans and Westerners miss.
"Fully devout Muslims, devout Muslims who are following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad, following the commandments of the Qur'an. They're very clear about how to treat infidels and non-Muslims," Gabriel explained.
"Those Muslims are followers of Shariah, they are adherents to Shariah law, and so the law is very clear on how Muslims should treat non-Muslims and now, because the Muslims are feeling empowered worldwide, they are beginning to implement those attitudes strongly across the Muslim world against the Christians," Gabriel stated.

Read and hear more: Muslims being 'appeased' by crackdown on Christianity

Thursday, July 29, 2010

AP Exclusive: NKorean killed for spreading Gospel
By HYUNG-JIN KIM (AP) – Jul 4, 2010

SEOUL, South Korea — Like most North Koreans, Son Jong Nam knew next to nothing about Christianity when he fled to neighboring China in 1998.
Eleven years later, he died back in North Korea in prison, reportedly tortured to death for trying to spread the Gospel in his native land, armed with 20 bibles and 10 cassette tapes of hymns. He was 50.
His story, pieced together by his younger brother, a defector who lives in South Korea, sheds light on a little-discussed practice: the sending back of North Korean converts to evangelize in their home country — a risky move, but one of the few ways to penetrate a country that bars most citizens from outside TV or radio and the Internet.
Little is known about the practice, believed to have started in the late 1990s. Missionaries won't say how many defectors they have sent back, citing their safety and that of the defectors.
"It's their country, where people speak the same language. They know where to go and where to escape," says the Rev. Isaac Lee, a Korean-American missionary in Seoul who has dedicated his life to spreading Christianity in the North. "But I agonize a lot whenever I have to send defectors to the North as I know what kind of punishment they would get if arrested."
Officially, North Korea guarantees freedom of religion for its 24 million people. In practice, authorities crack down on Christians, who are seen as a Western-influenced threat to the government. The distribution of bibles and secret prayer services can mean banishment to a labor camp or execution, defectors say.
For North Koreans, a personality cult surrounding the country's founder Kim Il Sung and his son and current leader Kim Jong Il serves as a virtual state religion.
"Kim Jong Il is above the country's law ... and in North Korea what he instructs is like Jesus Christ's words in the Bible," says Son Jung-hun, a human rights activist who has become a devout Christian since his brother's death.
It was into this world that Son Jong Nam was born on March 11, 1958.
He served in the presidential security service for 10 years until his discharge as a master sergeant in 1983. In those years, he was ready to dedicate his life to fighting the "American imperialists," his brother says. Son worked at an army-run performing arts center after his discharge.
The first twist in his life came in 1997.
His wife, eight months pregnant at the time, was arrested for allegedly saying Kim Jong Il had ruined the economy and caused a mass famine. Interrogators seeking a confession kicked her in the stomach, forcing her to discharge blood and have a miscarriage, Son's brother says.
Terrified and disillusioned, Son, then 39, fled in January 1998 with his wife and their 6-year-old daughter to the Chinese border town of Yanji. His younger brother had already arrived the previous year, fleeing what he says was a false charge of being involved in the illegal export of strategic items.
Son's wife died of leukemia seven months later.
That's when the next twist came.
Son grew closer to a South Korean missionary, who had talked to him about Christianity and North Korea, while sheltering and feeding him and his family after their arrival in China.
Their meeting was not unusual. South Korea has a large Christian population, and hundreds of South Korean, American and Canadian missionaries work undercover in Chinese towns near the North Korean border, say Seoul-based activists specializing in North Korean human rights issues.
They hide bibles in shipments of food, clothing, bicycles and other aid bound for North Korea. They release balloons imprinted with the Gospel of St. Mark and let winds carry them across the border. They help North Koreans flee and teach them about Christianity. And sometimes they send them back.
One missionary, Korean-American Robert Park, made headlines after he crossed into North Korea last Christmas, shouting that he brought God's love and carrying a letter demanding Kim's resignation. The 26-year-old was arrested and later released in February.
The South Korean missionary who converted Son disguised himself as head of a timber mill. Son's brother never met the missionary; he says his brother wouldn't let him or even reveal his name, because of concerns about the missionary's safety.
After becoming a Christian, Son began helping the missionary try to convert other North Koreans hiding in China.
"My brother said he realized the Kim Jong Il regime is hypocritical, and living in accordance with what the Bible says is what we have to do," the younger Son says. "Christianity can come upon innocent people like my brother so fast."
In January 2001, Son was arrested by Chinese police for allegedly trying to convert North Korean defectors in China, which bans foreigners from proselytizing. He was deported home in April, where he was detained and tortured, leaving him with a limp, his brother said. He lost about 70 pounds (32 kilograms) in captivity.
"He was beaten in the head with clubs and given electric shocks," his brother says, his eyes welling up with tears.
Son was released in 2004 and sneaked across the border to Yanji to see his daughter, who had been left in the care of a Chinese missionary. He soon decided to return to North Korea to proselytize.
"I repeatedly urged him to change his mind, but he told me he has something to do in North Korea," says his brother, who was living in Seoul by then but returned to China briefly to see his brother.
Son headed back with the bibles and tapes. Little is known about how he evangelized, though his brother says Son worked at a state-run defense institute and was allowed to travel freely.
It's unclear whether efforts such as Son's have met with much success. Lee, the Seoul-based missionary, claims his Cornerstone Ministries International has 135,000 members in North Korea.
But experts such as Kim Soo-am at the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul are skeptical of purported active underground church movements. "They know they would get severely punished," he says, adding that he thinks many North Koreans aren't even aware of religion as an option.
Son was arrested again in January 2006 after police found bibles at his home in the northeastern city of Hoeryong. He was also charged with spying for the United States and South Korea and sentenced to public execution by firing squad.
His brother launched an international campaign to save him. That apparently led his captors to switch to a less public method: torture. "There are many ways to kill people in North Korea," says his brother.
He died in a prison in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in December 2008.
"He told me his dream is to build a church at a good Pyongyang location and work as a pastor there," his brother says. "I thought the religious faith completely changed his fate."
His death went unannounced, at least outside North Korea. It was not until nearly a year later — when a fellow inmate who had been released managed to call in November 2009 — that the younger Son learned his brother had died.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pray for Christians in Afghanistan

Member of parliament: Execute those Christians!
Reports confirm believers now in hiding because of threats

Posted: June 05, 20101:55 am Eastern
By Bob Unruh© 2010 WorldNetDaily

A member of parliament in Afghanistan has called for the public execution of Christians, sending many members of the faith into hiding over concern for their lives, according to a new report from International Christian Concern.
The organization said it had learned from Associated Free Press that Abdul Sattar Khawasi, deputy secretary for the lower house in the Afghan parliament, had called for the execution of those Afghanis who converted from Islam to Christianity.
The public call to violence came after a video was broadcast by Noorin TV, an Afghan television network, that showed Christian men being baptized and praying in Farsi .

According to the ICC report, Khawasi said, "Those Afghans that appeared in this video film should be executed in public, the house should order the attorney general and the NDS (the state police intelligence agency) to arrest these Afghans and execute them."
Aidan Clay, an ICC official who deals with issues in the Middle said, called it "absolutely appalling that the execution of Christians would be promoted on the floor of the Afghan parliament.
"Khawasi's statement sounded a whole lot like the tyrannical manifesto of the Taliban, not that of a U.S. ally," he said. "American lives are being lost fighting terrorism and defending freedom in Afghanistan – yet Christians are being oppressed within Afghan borders. This comes after billions of U.S. dollars have been invested in the war effort, and millions more have been given in aid."
He said the U.S. government needs to step up to make certain that religious freedoms are protected for all Afghans.
"Intervention is not a choice, but a responsibility, as Afghan policies reflect the U.S. government's ability and commitment to secure a stable government in Afghanistan," he said.
The report said the broadcast about the Christians also triggered a protest by students at the University of Kabul, where crowds estimated in the hundreds shouted death threats and demanded the expulsion of Christian foreigners accused of proselytizing.
The report said because of the conflict, officials with Church World Services from the United States and Church Aid from Norway have suspended their operations for the time being.
"ICC sources within Afghanistan have reported that many national Christians are in hiding, fearful of execution. Under government pressure during investigations, some Afghans have reportedly revealed names and locations of Christian converts," the ICC report said.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Columbian Official Bans Christianity; Arrests Believers For Refusing To Renounce Faith
A Columbian governor banned Christianity on a reservation for indigenous people and has imprisoned 28 of the natives for refusing to renounce their Christian faith.Among those detained are two infants, both less than a year old, reported International Christian Concern last week. ICC said it has learned that the indigenous Christians have been imprisoned since October, and among those detained is a six-month-old infant.

The local governor, Jose de los Santos Sauna Limaco, had announced that Christianity was banned and called a meeting with the Kogui Christians on the Kogui reservation in northern Colombia.After the Christians were gathered, he reportedly trapped them and imprisoned 16 individuals, including children, for refusing to renounce their faith. Since then, the number of Kogui Christians in prison has grown to 28.ICC noted that in some regions of Colombia the governor and local authorities are given relative autonomy over reserves for indigenous tribes.The governor reportedly wants the Kogui to maintain the traditional identity of the tribal region, including animism. He has threatened to imprison all the Christian members of the Kogui community unless they renounce Christianity. This could result in over 100 more Kogui individuals being imprisoned.The governor has also refused to allow the Kogui Christians to leave the reserve to practice their faith elsewhere.

Though several Christian religious freedom groups have advocated on behalf of the Kogui Christians, the Columbian government has refused to intervene.“By refusing to act and allowing Christians to be imprisoned, the Columbian government has shown that it is willing to ignore its own constitution and its international agreements including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said Logan Maurer, regional manager at ICC, in a statement. “Just because these injustices are happening in an indigenous community does not mean these people do not have basic human rights.”The population of Colombia is 90 percent Roman Catholic, according to the CIA World Factbook. Yet curiously the Colombian government has apparently refused to act on behalf of indigenous Christians.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Please Pray!

Christian girl begs state: Don't let them kill me!
Judge decides fate of honor student, cheerleader who fled Muslim parents
Posted: August 20, 20098:27 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling© 2009 WorldNetDaily
Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17 A young Christian runaway in foster care awaits her hearing tomorrow when Florida authorities will decide whether she will be forced to return to her Muslim parents – whom she says will kill her for converting to Christianity.
Fathima Rifqa Bary, 17, an honor student and cheerleader, was raised in a Muslim family in Columbus, Ohio. She became a Christian four years ago as a result of her interactions with children at school.

Atlas Shrugs' Pamela Geller has followed Bary's case closely, reporting that the girl's friends accompanied her to the school counselor after they noticed bruises covering her arms and legs that allegedly resulted from beatings by her father and brother.
"The middle school, in a serious dereliction of duty, did not report these beatings to child welfare services," Geller reported. "Beatings were random, violent, unprovoked. Take, for example, when Rifqa and her father Mohamed were driving in the car. He would force her to wear the hijab (head covering), which she hated. In her discomfort she would slouch down, embarrassed, and her father would haul off and sock her in the face so that she never forgot to sit up straight in her costume. The beatings were regular and so much a part of the landscape of Rifqa's life, she became inured to them …"

Bary, a native of Sri Lanka, hitchhiked to a bus station and ran away from home on July 19 because she says her family will murder her in what is known as an honor killing. In Islamic tradition, an honor killing is the customary slaughter of a person who is believed to have brought dishonor upon his or her family.
The Christian teen turned to pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of Global Revolution Church in Orlando, Fla., whom she met through Facebook. She has been placed in foster care by the Florida Department of Children and Families, or DCF, awaiting a decision tomorrow on whether her case will be heard in Florida or in Ohio. Her jurisdiction hearing is now scheduled for 3:15 p.m. EST in Orlando's juvenile court.
Fox News reported that legal experts have said she will almost certainly be forced to return to her parents' home in Ohio where she will be required to live with her parents since Ohio does not have an emancipation statute. According to the report, Florida has such a statute, but it requires parental consent.

The teen's attorney, John Stemberger, filed a petition for adjudication of dependency on Aug 18.
Blake Lorenz embraced the emotional teen as she told her story in the following video posted on YouTube:

"I'm a Christian, and my parents are Muslim. They are extremely devout," she said. "They threatened to kill me. … You guys wouldn't understand. Islam is very different than you guys think. They have to kill me. My blood is now halal, which means that because I am now a Christian, I'm from a Muslim background, it's an honor. If they love God more than me, they have to do this. I'm fighting for my life. ..."

Asked what her father, Mohamed Bary, told her, she replied, "He said he would kill me. Or he'd have me sent back to Sri Lanka where they'd put me in the asylum."
She said she left a note for her parents before she ran away: "I said, 'I refuse to deny Jesus. He is my Lord and Savior. I pray you find his forgiveness and mercy, and I love you both dearly.' I wrote that, but they never showed it to the police officers."
Bary warned that if she is forced to return to her family in Ohio, she will die "within a week."

Asked why she ran away, she said, "I was threatened by my dad. When my dad found out – I had a Facebook, that's how he found out – and phone calls from the Muslim community started coming in with e-mails that confronted me. And I had a laptop and he took that laptop and waved it in the air, and he was about to beat me with it, and he said, 'If you have this Jesus in your heart, you're dead to me. You're not my daughter.' And I refused to speak but he said, 'I will kill you. Tell me the truth.' In these words, bad words, cuss words. So I knew that I had to get away."

Atlas Shrugs reported that those members of the Muslim community, from Noor Islamic Cultural Center, warned Bary's father that his daughter was an apostate, so the teenager sought to escape with her life.
Bary said she would sneak out to Christian prayer meetings and hide her Bible from her parents. After her father confronted her, he forced her to attend several classes, hoping she would return to Islam. However, several weeks later, her mother discovered a Christian book that belonged to her.

"I knew right then that it was over for me," she said. "I had to leave."
Fox News reported that the father discovered she had been baptized earlier this year.
The teenager said that in the 150 generations of her family, no one has ever known Jesus.
"I am the first one," she said. "Imagine the honor in killing me."
Bary said she wants to remain in Florida so she can be free to worship Jesus, go to church and read her Bible.
"You talk about religious freedom?" she asked. "No! I don't have that. I want to be here. I want to worship Jesus freely. I don't want to die."

Bary's father, a jeweler, called the church a "cult" and claimed it has brainwashed Fatima.
"This is a cult group who kidnapped my daughter and took her away," Mohamed Bary told WESH 2 News.
He also denied the charges she is making and claims he does not intend to hurt her. He and his lawyer are in Florida, fighting to take his daughter back to Ohio.
Fathima Rifqa Bary has been the subject of various media attacks in recent weeks. Pakistan Daily reported, "The family maintains that the girls was into drugs, promiscuous behavior and raunchy messages on Facebook. She was discussing sex with multiple older married men. When the parents tried to control her behavior she refused to do so. On her return to the home she conjured up a story of conversion to Christianity. There are serious accusations against the church on holding a minor girl in custody against the will of her guardians and parents. How many more girls will the church kidnap?"

WND located the following photo of Bary with a boy named Tayee Adrian on Facebook. Messages left with Adrian and Global Revolution Church had not been returned at the time of this report.
Facebook photo of Fathima Rifqa Bary posted by boy named Tayee Adrian
Geller points out that the media appear to be focusing primarily on "the lies and deception of Rifqa Bary's devout Muslim family and their lawyers" and smearing the pastors for caring for Bary rather than immediately turning her over to her parents. She also said the Bary family mosque, Noor Islamic Center, is a hotbed of extremist activity, noting that Patrick Poole of Ohio Against Terror has reported extensively on extremist positions of its leaders.

Bary's Aug. 18 petition to the court states:
The child's parents are devout followers of Islam and members of the extreme Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Columbus, Ohio. This is where the internationally known Hama cleric, Salah Sultan, was the resident scholar before being banned from the United States. Salah Sultan is known as a global terrorist who publicly advocates the killing of Americans and Jews. The largest cell of Al Qaeda[sic] operatives was operating from the largest mosque in the Columbus area. Columbus is one of the cities under current investigation concerning the U.S. operations of Al-Qaeda [sic]. The child is a target for the radical Muslim community of Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler, author of "Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?" told Fox News Bary's life will be in danger if she is forced to return to her parents.

"Anyone who converts from Islam is considered an apostate, and apostasy is a capital crime," she said. "If she is returned to her family, if she is lucky, they will isolate her, beat her, threaten her, and if she is not 'presuaded' to return to Islam, they will kill her. They have no choice."
Chesler continued, "She escaped from her family's brutal tyranny and shamed her family further through public exposure. Muslim girls and women are killed for far less."

Meanwhile, International Christian Concern is urging Florida officials to retain custody of Bary.
In a statement, ICC said it is concerned about Rifqa because the Columbus police officer who investigated the case told the press that Rifqa's father "comes across to me as a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter."
However, ICC reveals that a source who spoke with the same investigating officer said the officer indicated earlier that he has spoken with 20 different people who warned him that the girl's life was in danger.
"We are extremely concerned about Rifqa," ICC President Jeff King wrote. "... Based on our extensive international experience with fundamentalist Islam, we strongly believe that Rifqa's life will be in danger if DCF decides to send her back to Ohio. We call upon authorities in Florida to retain custody of Rifqa."
Fathima Rifqa Bary now has more than 2,000 Facebook fans expressing their support for the young girl. However, one Facebook group titled, "Rifqa Bary's father 100% correct" was created by a man in Sri Lanka named Hashan Dilshan. The group has only 14 members – each with Islamic names.
One member named Mohammed Rizwan writes, "Rifqa, it's not your fault. Rifqa, please be cool and think about what you are going to and what you will get from this religion. Rifqa, nothing to worry. Allah with you always if you not close to him, but Allah always close to you [sic]."
In yet another message likely intended for the girl's father, Rizwan wrote, "Bary, you are correct. No one can do without Allah order! [sic] Go ahead … We are all together …"

Concerned individuals may e-mail Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, fill out a contact form, call his office at (850)488-4441 or (850)488-7146 or fax (850)487-0801.
The Florida Department of Children and Families may be reached by calling (850)487-1111 or fax (850)922-2993.
Verne Melvin, acting regional director of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Department of Children and Families, may be reached by calling (407)245-0400.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Al-Qaida-linked thugs now executing children

Posted: July 01, 200911:35 pm Eastern
By Bob Unruh© 2009 WorldNetDaily

An al-Qaida-linked terror group has been identified as the organization that dragged off three children of a Christian father in Somalia and executed two of them by beheading, according to a horrifying new report from Compass Direct News.
The Islamic extremists identified as being with a group called al-Shabaab, which has been described by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization, attacked the family and killed the boys because their father refused to provide information about a church leader, the report said.

"I watched my three boys dragged away helplessly as my youngest boy was crying," said the mother, Batula Ali Arbow. "I knew they were going to be slaughtered."
A short time later, 7-year-old Abdulahi Musa Yusuf came running back to his mother, wailing and crying. Dead were his brothers 12-year-old Hussein Musa Yusuf and 11-year-old Abdi Rahaman Musa Yusuf, according to the report.

The killers continued searching Kenya's refugee camps to find the father, Musa Mohammed Yusuf, who was gone at the time, the report said. He was the leader of an underground church in Yonday village in Somalia before April, when the family fled to a Kenyan camp.
Word of the tragedy is just being reported because of the remote area (20 miles outside of Kismayo) where the attack happened several weeks ago.

According to the report, al-Shabaab militants arrived in Yonday village in February, went to Yusuf's house and interrogated him about his work with Salat Mberwa, a leader of 66 Somali Christians meeting in an undisclosed location. Yusuf told them he knew nothing.
The terrorist left, but promised to return, so Yusuf fled. Not finding him on their return, the attackers killed the boys, the report said.

U.S. government agencies describe the al-Shabaab militants as terrorists who hold "mobile Shariah courts" as they travel, often dispensing Quran-prescribed punishments such as amputations on the spot. Al-Shabaab reportedly controls large sections of southern Somalia, a land where no formal government has been in control for years.
Known formally as Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin, the group has been involved in a violent insurgency since 2006. It has released statements praising al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden, and claims to have succeeded in multiple bombings and shootings in Mogadishu. Its victims have included peace activists, aid workers and journalists, according to the National Counterterrorism Center.

Minnesota Public Radio has reported that the organization is suspected of recruiting young men from Minnesota, which has the largest population of Somalis in the United States, to launch the terror attacks in Somalia. Shirwa Ahmad, who is described by the FBI as the first U.S. citizen to carry out a terror bombing attack in Somalia, reportedly began his training in Minnesota.

The boys' mother said she buried their bodies after the terrorists left.
Yusuf, who had fled to Kismayo, got word of the attack and spent several weeks seeking help to reach Kenya. The remaining members of the family later gathered at the refugee camp, where they reportedly are living without shelter or sleeping mats.
Interviewed by Compass, Mberwa said the terrorists "are on our heads … even here in the refugee camp we are not safe."
The report said an example of the vicious nature of the al-Shabaab attackers came just a week ago, when "in a show of power in the capital city stronghold of Mogadishu … hard-line Islamic insurgents sentenced four young men each to amputation of a hand and a foot as punishment for robbery."

"After mosques announced when the amputations would take place, the extremists carried them out by machete in front of about 300 people on Thursday (June 25) at a military camp," the report said.

Many Somalis, while Muslims, are moderate and the strict and bloody enforcement of such penalties has shocked, according to Compass
Another previous attack had indicated how dedicated the Islamic terrorists were to finding Christian leaders. Late last year, they interrogated Mberwa's son, Abdi, about his father's whereabouts. Not getting the information they wanted, they beat him with a gun until leaving him for dead, although he was hospitalized and survived.
Abdi Mbera told Compass it is urgent to help Christians flee Somalia, "before they are wiped out."