Sameh Khouzam granted stay of deportation

The Institute on Religion and Democracy | July 18, 2007

I want to thank all of you who responded so quickly and signed our Petition to Save Sameh Khouzam!

Your voices have been heard!

In large part thanks to your timely signatures and the efforts of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, Sameh Khouzam has been granted an indefinite stay of deportation! He can now stay in the United States and no longer has to fear the torture and even possible death that certainly would have awaited him upon arrival in his native Egypt.

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Christians seek visas to flee from Lebanon

Washington Times Michael Hirst April 3, 2007

BEIRUT — Christians are fleeing from Lebanon to escape the rise of radical Islam and growing fears that the trend will result in a Sunni-Shi’ite civil war, with minority Christians trapped in the middle.
In a poll to be published next month, nearly half of all Maronites, the largest Christian denomination in the country, said they were considering emigrating.
Of these, more than 100,000 have submitted visa applications to foreign embassies, according to the poll. Their exodus could rob the country of an influential minority, which has acted as an important counterbalance to the forces of Islamic extremism.
About 60,000 Christians have left since the summer’s war between Israel and Hezbollah. Many who remain fear that a violent showdown between rival Sunni and Shi’ite factions is looming.
“If we love our children, we have to tell them to get out,” said Maria, a Christian mother from the northern city of Tripoli who refused to give her surname for fear of reprisal. “When my daughter finished her high school, I sent her to Europe, and I will follow her if I can.”

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Ethiopian Evangelist Beaten to Death by Militant Muslims

ChristianNews Wire March 29, 2007

WASHINGTON, Mar. 29 /Christian Newswire/ — The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that an Ethiopian evangelist named Tedase was beaten to death by militant Muslims on Monday, March 26th, as he and two young women were on a street evangelism assignment in Jimma, Ethiopia. This marks the second time in six months that Christians residing in Southeast Ethiopia have been attacked and killed by extremist (Wahabbi) Muslims.

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Nigerian Archbishop Demands Justice

Christianity Today April 20, 2006

Peter Akinola affirms warning to government and Muslims, fires back on the Western press.

Peter Akinola, Anglican archbishop and president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) issued some controversial warnings during February’s deadly violence between Christians and Muslims. A couple weeks after the clashes he explained his concerns for the church and his nation to CT associate editor Collin Hansen.

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Petition for Abdul Rahman, Citizen of Afghanistan

Petition Spot Brian Mattson March 20, 2006

We, the undersigned, on behalf of Mr. Abdul Rahman, citizen of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, do petition Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, George W. Bush, the President of the United States, all members of the United States House of Representatives, all members of the United States Senate, any and all officials in the United States Department of State, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and leaders of all member nations of the United Nations, as follows:

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“Check conversion by Christian missionaries”

Guwahati: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that he had asked the Chief Ministers of all BJP-ruled states to stop `conversion attempts’ by Christian missionaries at any cost.

Kicking off the party’s election campaign in Assam, Mr. Singh demanded the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to frame legislation to prevent Christian missionaries from `proselytisation.’

He said the BJP had no objection to missionaries implementing welfare measures for people. “However, in the name of welfare missions, they have been luring people, particularly the tribals and Adivasis, to convert to Christianity. This needs to be checked,” he added.



The top Christian persecution news stories of 2005

1 – Dramatic spike in Eritrea
Eritrea dramatically accelerated its imprisonment and torture of Christians even as the U.S. State Department designated it as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for the second consecutive year. By October the number of Eritrean Christians confirmed to be jailed for their religious beliefs had shot up to a total of 1,778, nearly double the documented count in April. At least 26 full-time Protestant pastors and Orthodox clergy were jailed and their personal bank accounts frozen by government order, causing severe suffering for their families.

2 – Hollow promises in Vietnam
Vietnam Prime Minister Phan Van Khai’s historic visit to the United States in June, an equally historic (secret) human rights agreement between the two countries in May, and supposedly less restrictive religion legislation introduced in November 2004 all made headlines but had no effect on continued high levels of persecution of Christians. The Mennonite church continued to face the kind of harassment documented by missionary Truong Tri Hien, who submitted testimony to the U.S. Congress on June 20 showing how local officials have abused administrative powers to harass the denomination.

3 – State-sponsored persecution in Iran
In Iran, an Islamic court on May 28 acquitted Christian lay pastor Hamid Pourmand on charges of apostasy and proselytizing, though he continued to serve a three-year jail sentence for “deceiving the Iranian armed forces” by not reporting his conversion to Christianity. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, a military tribunal had ruled him guilty, dishonorably discharged him and handed down the maximum three-year prison sentence.

4 – Massive destruction in Pakistan
In Pakistan, some 2,000 Muslims armed with iron rods, axes and tins of kerosene ransacked and looted four churches, a convent, a mission-run school and several Christian homes in Sangla Hill on November 12 after the burning of the Quran led local mosques to appeal for Muslims to “teach the Christians a lesson.” The previous day Catholic Christian Yousaf Masih was gambling with his Muslim friend Saleem Sunihara near the Sangla Hill sports stadium. To avoid paying a large gambling debt, the Muslim set fire to old pages of the Quran kept in a nearby storage room and blamed the fire on Masih.

5 – Sunday school teachers jailed in Indonesia
In a disturbing development for a country with a relative degree of religious freedom, Indonesian judges on September 1 sentenced three women to three years in prison for allowing Muslim children to attend a Christian Sunday school program. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun received the sentence after judges found them guilty of violating the Child Protection Act of 2002, which forbids “deception, lies or enticement” causing a child to convert to another religion.


China Arrests Priests, Seminarians

Chinese authorities have arrested a priest and 10 seminarians from that nation’s underground Roman Catholic Church, a Vatican-affiliated news agency said Friday.

President Bush, who is due to visit China as part of an eight-day trip to Asia, called on China’s leadership this week to give the public more religious freedom and other liberties.

The Rev. Yang Jianwei and the seminarians were detained Nov. 12 in Xushui City in Hebei province, a traditional stronghold of Catholic sentiment in northern China, AsiaNews reported.

Six of the seminarians were released later, but Yang and the four others remain in police custody, it said.


Christians being driven from Iraq

Christians are being driven from Iraq with escalating violence and threats against them, according to a report from a Catholic priest distributed via the Fides News Service.

Father Nizar Semaan says that Christians in Mosul, are terrified with hard-line radical groups acting in broad daylight, and no one preventing their actions.

“Their intention is to destroy social harmony and upset peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims” says Father Nizar Semann.
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NYTimes: A Groundswell of Sympathy and Donations

New York Times
September 8, 2004

As might be expected, planeloads of foreign aid for the relief effort after the school siege in Beslan, Russia, have been sent in, but the scale of the horror seems to have evoked an unusual outpouring of sympathy.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations have been channeled by Russian migrs, Orthodox churches and
Christian evangelicals in the United States. Flowers are piling up outside the Russian Consulate in New York. People have lined up outside the Russian Embassy in Washington to sign a condolence book. About 150,000 people on Monday night snaked under torchlight and candles through Rome. Children carried banners reading: “Children with the Children of Beslan. They will not murder our future.”
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