Pakistan: Al Qaida branch planned murder of Shabhaz Bhatti

Shabhaz Bhatti was murdered by Islamic fanatics, and the Pakistani government is now pursuing the killers, according to the brother of the slain Catholic leader.

“The investigations into the murder of my brother Shabhaz are finally on the right track,” said Paul Bhatti, who is now a special adviser to the prime minister for religious-minority affairs. He said that the prime suspects are now in Dubai, and Pakistan’s justice minister has issued an international warrant for their arrest.

The killing was the work of an Al Qaida branch, led by a Pakistani Taliban leader, Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani investigative commission has found.

via Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Pakistan: Al Qaida branch planned murder of Shabhaz Bhatti.

Pakistani Government has already abolished the cabinet office for religious minorities, the same one held by Mr. Bhatti.

UK: Christian peer questions the government’s role in Pakistan

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A Christian peer\’s speaking out about the persecution of minorites in Pakistan. Lord Alton has asked a question in the House of Lords inquiring what the government is doing to support the religious in the country.

via Christian peer questions the government\’s role in Pakistan | Premier.org.uk, Current News.

Very interesting link: it has lots of information about the persecution that Pakistani Christians are suffering.

Afghanistan: Video released shows Taliban beheading Christian convert

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A video released in recent weeks, and made available to WORLD this week by two separate Afghan sources, shows four Afghan militants beheading a man believed to be a Christian in Herat Province.The militants, who claim to be Taliban, captured the victim, a man in his 40s named Abdul Latif (according to Obaid Christ, who provided translation of the video), earlier this year from his village outside Enjeel, a town south of Herat.

In the two-minute video, the men, wearing explosive belts (or suicide vests) and kaffiya head scarves to cover their faces, recite verses from the Quran while forcing Latif to the ground and pinning him with their feet. “You who are joined with pagans . . . your sentence [is] to be beheaded,” read one of the militants in Farsi from what looked like a paper decree. “Whoever changes his religion should be executed.” The passages refer to Sura 8:12 (“I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks . . .”) and the hadiths, or sayings of Mohammed.

As Latif fought his captors from the ground, one of the militants thrust a medium-sized blade into the side of his neck. With blood flowing onto the ground the militants shouted “Allahu Akhbar” or “God is great” over and over until Latif was fully beheaded and his head was placed on top of his chest.

via WORLD Magazine | Brutal beheading | Mindy Belz | Jun 22, 11.

Whoever considers that this is equivalent to a soldier, is either an idiot or a scoundrel. 😡

Found at Markedmanner Blog.

Pakistan: Christians demonstrate to call for the release of kidnapped Anglican pastor

Persecution against Christians continue:

Christians took to the streets of Attock–a city of 260,000 in Punjab province in northern Pakistan–to call for a more serious police investigation into the May 14 kidnapping of Robin Javed, an Anglican pastor.

“We do not know the reason why he was kidnapped, nor have we been asked for a ransom,” a local Christian told the Fides news agency. “This silence worries us greatly.”

Members of the Taliban are suspected of carrying out the kidnapping.

Malaysia: Islam’s Persecution of Christians

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An interview with IBA co-blogger The Anti-Jihadist:

Deciding that Islam as an ideology (and not Muslims per se) was my enemy was a personal Rubicon for me, a step that, once taken, could never be retracted. I understood how serious this was, from my own studies of Islam, from my knowledge of what’s happened to other critics of Islam, and from the repeated warnings here in Malaysia regarding ‘insults’ to Islam — i.e. being too truthful about it.  And the pointed Malaysian warnings about being ‘respectful’ of all religions (‘respect’ for Islam is all the government here really cares about) make it very clear that criticism of Islam is a big, big red line that should never be crossed.  Furthermore, in Malaysia it’s quite legal for anyone to be arrested and held indefinitely without charge, trial or access to legal council.  It’s a law called the ‘Internal Security Act’ or ‘ISA’ for short and it’s positively medieval. ISA is one of the reasons that you rarely hear criticism of Islam from anyone in this country, in public and even in private, no matter how outrageous things get.

…On a more personal level, Muslims in Malaysia have on numerous occasions destroyed churches, sometimes with official backing on the flimsiest of pretexts (like for supposed ‘code violations’). The same has also happened to Hindu and Buddhist temples. Bibles are sometimes seized in carload lots by the (Muslim) authorities on one technicality or another. New church construction is heavily discouraged, and it takes years if not decades for new churches to be approved and built. And they must be built in a ‘low profile’ manner if they are allowed to be built at all.

All of these restrictions and the drip-drip-drip of discrimination, or worse, creates a tense and foreboding atmosphere for Christians. It’s pointless for Christians — who are mostly Indians and Chinese — to petition the Malay (Muslim) government for any sort of redress of grievances, because the police, courts and judges here are all owned and operated by Muslims. So increasingly, the ‘infidels’ are leaving — permanently. The same sort of Islamic repression of Christians that has played out in Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and virtually every other Muslim-ruled country is also playing out here.

via Islam’s Persecution of Christians in Malaysia | FrontPage Magazine.

Iraq: AINA publishes photos of tortured, mutilated and murdered Christian

I blogged about Ashur Yacob Isha  some days ago. Thanks to the Pakistan Christian Post, I have known more about his terrible murder:

His body was mutilated. His head was nearly severed off. He was tortured before he was executed, according to the Kirkuk police. His eyes were gouged out, his ears were cut off and his faced was skinned. There also were signs of dog bites on the body.

Mr. Jacob is survived by his wife and three children.

He was an Assyrian construction worker.

His body was found like this:

I have no words. How someone can be so cruel against another human being escapes my understanding. But that the reason is just that he believes in other religion is horrible. Plainly horrible.

The world remains silent before the abyss… 😡

Photo: found at AINA.org.

Pakistan: Police arrests a man in investigation over Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder

Pakistani police have arrested a man suspected of being involved in the March 2 assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Catholic cabinet minister slain for his opposition to the nation’s blasphemy law.

A Church official reacted by calling upon authorities to launch a more serious investigation. “We ask the government to launch serious investigations and to urgently predispose all possible means,” said Father Yousaf Emmanuel, director of the bishops’ commission on justice and peace. “We hope and pray that the culprits are caught as soon as possible, so the family and the Christian community can have justice.”

Let’s see if they actually find the culprits and condemn them or it happens as in Gojra killings.

German official: “Islam is a moderate religion”

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Herret ruled out the idea of decreasing German’s investments in Egypt if the Brotherhood come to power, stressing that the new political parties should implement a group of economic policies to boost investment and enhance the Egyptian economy’s competitiveness.

The German official played down the concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood winning the elections.

Islam is a moderate religion, which encourages dialogue with the other and denounces violence and extremism,” he explained.

Herr Herret hasn’t read what Muslim Brotherhood leaders think about non-Muslims, has he? Continue reading

Pakistan: Christian community shocked as killings continue

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While international community continues silent about the situation of non-Muslims in the country, a week ago 7o Muslims accused of murdering several Christians (some of them were burned alive) were freed. Of course, impunity makes the number of killings rise:

Christians used to living amid heightened tensions for years, are offering daily prayers for calm after an upsurge in targeted killings in Karachi in recent days.

“The government seems to have little interest in dealing with clashes and solving disputes among rival parties. Everybody is affected by fear and violence,” said Father Saleh Diego, diocesan director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace.

“Churches are trying to give them solace with daily prayers for peace,” said Father Diego added.

More than 30 people have been murdered in the last three days in target killings. Eight political workers from rival parties were killed yesterday as gunshots echoed in different areas around the city. Armed men occupied several buildings while others looted a few.

Saima Mushtaq, a Caritas field worker, said she had to find alternative routes several times yesterday to pick up her son and take him home after tuition class.

More here.

“We do not have to fear for our lives as long as we do not infringe Islam”

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We have to thank him for his exact portrait of what is to live under “tolerant” Islam, though:

A year after his appointment as the first bishop of the overwhelmingly Muslim Comoros–which consists of three islands between mainland Africa and Madagascar–Bishop Mahuza Yava told Aid to the Church in Need that Christians are “well accepted and tolerated.”

“It is a tolerant Islam which has nothing to do with extremism,” he said. “We can freely express ourselves as long as we don’t proselytize. We do not have to fear for our lives as long as we do not infringe upon Islam.”

Bishop Yava added, however, that “a woman who marries a Muslim man will be forced to convert to Islam if she is not strong in her faith,” and “Christian children are badgered by their Muslim friends at school to convert to Islam.”

Most of the nation’s 6,000 Catholics are foreign workers.

More here.

Pakistan: Court Acquits 70 Muslim Radicals of Burning 8 Christians Alive during 2009 Gojra Massacre

Pakistan’s fundamentalists are rejoicing following the acquittal verdict. The country’s Christian minority is “under shock” because, this time as well, the massacre of innocent victims done in the name of the infamous blasphemy law will go unpunished. The justice system also shows its powerlessness vis-à-vis extremists who can carry out heinous crimes with total impunity, whilst the government remains silent. Meanwhile, a Muslim religious leader publicly says that Christians “deserve” to be murdered.Burning

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court acquitted 70 people who, in various roles, were involved in the Gojra massacre of August 2009 (see Fareed Khan, “Eight Christians burned alive in Punjab,” in AsiaNews, 2 August 2009). The anti-Christian violence broke out following blasphemy allegations. During a wedding, a group of Christians supposedly burnt pages of the Qur‘an, a pretext used to strike at the religious minority.

More here.

Background: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

The case of Pakistani Catholic Farah Hatim

People are fearful for Farah Hatim, the Catholic girl abducted and forced to marry and then to convert to Islam in the city of Rahim Yar Khan in southern Punjab. According to Fides the girl’s family is concerned because Farah is constantly drugged and life-threatened. Yet authorities continue to discourage attempts by the family in its battle to request the release of Farah.

Yesterday Qasim Hatim and Huma, a brother and a sister of the victim, were summoned by local police to show them a marriage certificate, a declaration of conversion to Islam and a picture of Farah, with the traditional Muslim robes.

More here.

Algeria: “All buildings for non-Muslim religious worship will be permanently closed down”

even Algerian churches face closure this week after the governor of their province sent them written notice that they were operating “illegally.”

The notice on Sunday (May 22) from Police Chief Ben Salma, citing a May 8 decree from the Bejaia Province governor, also states that all churches “in all parts of the country” will be closed for lack of compliance with registration regulations, but Christian leaders dismissed this assertion as the provincial official does not have nationwide authority.

“All buildings permanently designated for or in the process of being designated for the practice of religious worship other than Muslim will be permanently closed down in all parts of the country, as well as those not having received the conformity authorization from the National Commission,” Salma stated in the notice.

Read more. Tx to VH.

Pakistan: Christians are forbidden to eat in restaurants

“The Muslim dominated society of Pakistan forbids Christian to eat in any restaurant in Pakistan, a Christian student is forbidden to drink water in a glass in schools in which Muslim student drinks water, a roadside Vendor will beat you and charge you for cup in which you drink tea when he recognize you as Christian, it is Pakistan where Muslim members of National Assembly of Pakistan can block a move to offer prayers for slain Christian member of parliament, so, its not surprising if Muslim members of ruling party in Punjab Assembly are resisting on presentation of annual budget by a Christian Minister Michael Kamran on June 10, 2011” said Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, President of Pakistan Christian Congress PCC, here today.

More here.

Iran: Christian convert detained in Evin prison, whose fate remains unresolved and unclear

According to reports obtained by the Iranian Christian News Agency, Mohabat News, this 32 years old new Christian man, Farshid Fathi, who resides in Tehran, pursuant to a pre-planned series of home invasions by the security forces, was arrested on September 26, 2010. Now, after more than 5 months from his arrest and remaining in custody at the 209th wing of Evin prison, his fate remains unresolved and unclear.

Mohabat News has reports indicating that this Christian prisoner has been held in solitary confinement for months and has been given permission to speak to his family once a week only and despite the conclusion of all interrogations there has been no court orders or instructions issued in his case.

The security forces and the interrogators have been using psychological torture methods to force Farshid to confess and provide a full list of all individuals he has evangelized and who and where are the domestic and foreign contacts.

More here.

Pakistan: Muslim think-tank denounces persecution against Christians

It also calls for the abolition of the Blasphemy Law.

In Pakistan there has been a steady increase in violence against religious minorities and Christians “are the first victims of persecution” is an issue that the government must address in order to guarantee freedom, democracy and the rule of law. E ‘, according to a new report entitled “A question of faith”(A Question of Faith), published in recent days by “Jinnah Institute, a prestigious center for research and analysis of Pakistan, based on the principles of the founder of the country, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. The Study Centre is now chaired by the Parliamentary Muslim Sherry Rehman, Pakistan People’s Party, the party currently in power in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistani people want more Islamization and recently the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Samiul Haq) leader Maulana Abdul Rauf Farooqi and others called for banning the Bible because it contains “blasphemous material”.

Algeria: Christian sentenced to 5 years in prison after sharing faith with neighbour

Siagh Krimo, an Algerian Christian, was sentenced to five years in prison on May 25 after he shared his faith with a neighbor. Krimo was sentenced under the nation’s blasphemy law, which prohibits actions that “insult the prophet [Muhammad] and any of the messengers of God, or denigrate the creed and precepts of Islam, whether by writing, drawing, declaration, or any other means.”

That “moderate” Algeria…

(I’m sorry for not posting… and I hope I can return shortly… 😉 ).

Pakistan: Christian assaulted for condemning both Koran burning and Church assaults

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From Asia News:

Pakistan’s Christian community continues to be the object of intimidation and threats as well as abuse and harassment on the workplace. The latest victim is Waris Masih, a male nurse in Multan, a city in Punjab who was assaulted at work for slamming both the burning of a copy of the Qur‘an in Florida (United States) and attacks against churches in Pakistan. Since 20 March, at least seven acts of violence have been perpetrated against Christians and their places of worship, in a country where extremists are riding a wave of interfaith hatred.

Just in case someone has not considered the implications. He has condemned BOTH acts, but he has been assaulted nevertheless. And no one can be inside a Qur’an but, as a building, inside a church there could be christians.

 Oh, by the way, Qur’ans were burned during a demonstration to protest Qur’an burning. Logic thought is non-existent among these guys…

Pakistan: “If they don’t hang Asia Bibi, we will kill her”

A score of men who have completed their work in the field or in the construction business are going to listen to their imam. Although they acknowledge that Bibi and his family were quiet people who never had problems, that doens’t change their minds: the penal code says that anyone who blasphemes against the prophet should be hanged. At Wali Ittan, that Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari, has yielded to international pressure (the pope included) and has said it would forgive Bibi, is of little value. “If she is not hanged as the law states, we will kill her,” it’s heard in the group of men. One of them, wearing the traditional salwar kameez, steps forward and says proudly: “I’m ready to kill her.” Abdul Shakoor, 26, is followed by several of his neighbors who share his idea. “I would too,” says Zuqar Nain, 20, with a smile.

The imam of the village, Mohammad Salam, has little time to answer questions before giving his sermon at the austere mosque. It was this long-bearded, 31-year-old man, the one who accused Bibi of blasphemy to the police, in June 2009. He tells us that a group of 25 laborers were on lunch break and that Muslim women would not drink the same glass as used Asia Bibi, the only Christian. She became angry and the argument became so heated that the woman blasphemed Muhammad, said the imam.

What was wrong? “I could never repeat it,” the imam replied angrily. He ensures that it doesn’t matter Asia Bibi is a woman. “She must be punished.” Salam, who learned of the quarrel by a young woman who witnessed it ensures that he conducted his own investigations.Five days after, he denounced her at the police station where, according to Christian sources, Bibi was pressured to convert to Islam. Her alleged offense, they argue, was to say that Jesus Christ is as sacred as the prophet.

El País.

(Translated by T&P).

Background:

  1. Pakistan: Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.
  2. Pakistan: your signature to save Asia Bibi.
  3. Asia Bibi: Pope appeals for “full freedom“.
  4. Pakistan: Asia Bibi NOT pardoned, protests are announced in case she is.
  5. Pakistan: Both Minister of Minorities and Punjab Governor threatened by Islamists over Asia Bibi’s release.
  6. Pakistan: Taliban-linked cleric offers $5,800 reward for anyone who kills Asia Bibi.
  7. Pakistan: Taliban-linked cleric offers $5,800 reward for anyone who kills Asia Bibi (II).
  8. Pakistan: court orders government not to change blasphemy law.

Ethiopia: Christian sentenced to three years in prison for defacing Qu’ran

This is an update of this story. It is not even clear he actually defaced the Qu’ran, even if imprisoning someone for defacing it would be so unjust and stupid. But I as said, it’s even worse: it isn’t even proved that he actually did what he is accused of (and condemned afterwards):

A Christian in Ethiopia’s southern town of Moyale was sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly desecrating a Qur’an, church leaders said. Tamirat Woldegorgis, a father of two and member of the Full Gospel Church, was arrested in early August after a Muslim co-worker in the clothes-making business the two operated discovered Tamirat had inscribed “Jesus is Lord” on some cloth, area Christians said. His business partner later accused him of writing “Jesus is Lord” in a copy of the Qur’an, although no evidence of that ever surfaced. Tamirat was sentenced on November 18 and transferred to Jijiga prison, a source said. Jijiga is the capital of Ethiopia’s Somali Region Zone Five, which is governed by Islamic principles. Tamirat’s transfer there puts his life in great danger, a church leader said. The church is concerned about Tamirat’s condition.

via The Voice of the Martyrs Canada :: Christian accused of defacing Qur’an :: Providing Information and Support for Persecuted Christians.