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Archive for the tag “persecution”

Egypt: ‘Raped in broad daylight’

egypt coptsMission Network News reports:

Attacks against Christians in Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt are unprecedented. “They’re very brazen. We’re talking women being raped in broad daylight, men being attacked, or the homes of Christians being ransacked. And really, they have no recourse,” says Brittany Tedesco, Africa director for Christian Aid Mission.

Despite that, one ministry leader and his co-workers are determined to not flee the community because many Egyptians are open to the message of Jesus: “The nominal Muslims are even frightened by what they’re seeing from this government because it is so radical. This is not what they were wanting for their nation. To see these events unfold has been frightening for them as well.”

Read the full story by clicking here.
Video: Police watch violent attack on Christian funeral
Make a difference for persecuted Christians through International Christian Concern or Christian Solidarity International.

Stand for freedom — both at home and abroad

Have conservative evangelicals in the United States become so shortsighted — or steeped in the culture of victimhood — that they can only protest the noose tightening on their own religious liberty but cannot be bothered to stand alongside Christians in other lands whose very lives are at stake?

Mark Tooley, writing at, agrees with a recent Jonathan Merritt column that too many U.S. Christians are crying out about their own “persecution” while ignoring the truly horrifying oppression of Christians in other places around the world:

“… Even in our increasingly problematic culture, difficulties in the U.S. don’t compare to church burnings in Iraq, Pakistan, or northern Nigeria. Hundreds of millions of Christians globally live with the daily threat of persecution, mostly by Islamist regimes and movements or by communist governments. Their plight should motivate our unending prayers and advocacy, amid gratitude for our own relative safety in America.”

At the same time, however, “domestic religious liberty concerns such as the Obamacare mandate compelling religious groups to subsidize abortion pills, or the stigmatization of supporters of traditional marriage, amid rhetoric that privatizes ‘freedom of worship,’ may not equal North Korea level torment. But they are very real, unprecedented attacks on traditional American legal and cultural protections for full religious liberty. …

“Our American liberties are the notable exception and not the rule in our fallen world. We should jealously guard them, knowing freedom is typically lost incrementally and not suddenly, while also keeping perspective on and solidarity with believers who suffer unimaginably around the world. It’s not an either/or issue but a seamless garment of expectation that all persons everywhere merit full religious liberty. As Americans, we have special providential duties to protect religious freedom here. And as Christians, we are supremely obliged to esteem and urge protection for the whole Body of Christ.”

The Institute on Religion and Democracy and Evangelicals for Social Action’s Prism magazine both engage the issue of religious freedom in worthy ways.

Stand up for Saeed Abedini

Morning Star News reports on Iran’s sentencing of an American citizen, Saeed Abedini, to eight years in prison after a trial in which the accused and his attorney were barred from the courtroom while prosecutors brought testimony against him:

saeed abediniISTANBUL -– Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s most notorious prison today for allegedly threatening “national security” by planting house churches years ago. …

“This is a real travesty – a mockery of justice,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Liberty and Justice (ACLJ), which represents Abedini’s wife and children in the United States. “From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release.”

The verdict comes after a week of false promises of being granted bail and fear for his safety in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison. Iran’s official news agency reported that the state regime had told the pastor he could be released if he posted bail. When his family in Tehran attempted to free him, however, the bail officer turned them away, according to the ACLJ.

His location was also unknown for the last six days, since his first and only hearing before the judge on Monday (Jan. 21). Prison officials prevented his family from visiting him by claiming he had been transferred to another wing for medical treatment.

During his incarceration, Abedini faced periods of solitary confinement, repeated physical assaults and intense interrogations, “all while being denied access to legal counsel,” according to a letter members of U.S. Congress sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Jan 15. …

During the trial [Abedini] presented himself confidently before the judge, ACLJ International Legal Director Tiffany Barrans told Morning Star News.

“He was able to share from the Bible, explaining to the judge that he was motivated by his faith and had no political intention to undermine the Iranian government,” she said.

Abedini has been incarcerated since September. He was arrested when he returned to Iran to visit his family. He first became a Christian in 2000 and was ordained as a member of the American Evangelistic Association in 2008.

Before the verdict was given, the White House, the U.S. State Department, and 49 members of Congress called for his release as a U.S. citizen, fearing that the court was ready to hand Abedini a death sentence.

In a Friday (Jan. 25) press conference, White House Spokesman Jay Carney condemned Iran’s “continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion, and we call on Iranian authorities to release Mr. Abedini.”

Read the full text of this article by clicking here.
You can make a difference by signing the ACLJ petition calling on President Obama, the Secretary of State, and the U.S. Congress to “take all available diplomatic and legislative action to pressure Iran to respect religious freedom and release Pastor Saeed.”

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