ALGIERS, Jan 21, (Agen-cies): Thirty-seven foreigners of eight different nationalities, as well as an Algerian, were killed by hostage-takers in a well-planned attack on a remote gas plant, some of them brutally executed.
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said five other foreigners were still missing and that some of the hostages had been executed “with a bullet to the head” as the four-day crisis ended in a bloodbath on Saturday.
Most of the 32 militants who took hundreds of people hostage at the In Amenas gas complex in the Sahara on Wednesday had entered the country from neighbouring Mali, Sellal told a news conference in Algiers.
The premier gave the final grim figures after Algeria had warned other nations to prepare for a higher body count, amid fears as many as 50 captives may have died in the world’s deadliest hostage crisis in almost a decade.
“Thirty-seven foreigners of Read more…
Persecution of Christians is rising in at least eight African countries, according to the latest Open Doors USA list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom.
“Africa, where Christianity spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest,” the group noted.
On the 2013 World Watch List (analysis and Top 10 country summaries at bottom), which ranks the 50 countries where Christians face the most religious persecution, Mali has skyrocketed from being unranked to No. 7 this year, joining Somalia (No. 5) and Eritrea (No. 10) among the top 10.
“Mali used to be a model country. … Christians and even missionaries could be active,” said Jerry Dykstra, spokesman for Open Doors. “[But] currently the situation in northern Mali is Read more…
While we in Australia are looking forward to celebrating Christmas and the holidays, we should spare a thought for the Christians who are suffering persecution in so many countries. Even in democracies such as the US and Canada, Christians can be fined or lose their jobs for imaginary “hate” crimes, i.e. speaking about the health risks of some homosexual practices or declining to provide services for homosexual “marriages”.
It is persecution in developing countries that is most distressing to me because Christians there rarely have the financial resources to seek legal redress. Below some news items from the weekly email I receive from Christians in Crisis:
Iran: Two of the seven members of the Church of Iran arrested in Shiraz have been temporarily released on bail.
Indonesia: Church building set ablaze – Unidentified attackers torched a church building in Poso in a series of renewed violence against the local Christian community.
Egypt: A call to pray for an end to the abduction, forced conversion and forced marriage of Coptic girls by Islamist Salafis.
Kasakhstan continues its attempt to make exercising the freedom of Read more…
Christianity, which started in a Bethlehem stable, has been an integral part of the Middle East for 2,000 years. At its best it has contributed greatly, along with Islam and Judaism, to the culture and life of the region; at its worst it has been a source of conflict.
Today, the destiny of the region’s Christian communities is umbilically linked to the future of the countries in which they live – and to the ideologies competing for power. Ahead of Pope Benedict’s visit to Lebanon this week, it is timely to look at the circumstances of Christian communities in the region.
The cruellest paradox is that Christian minorities – and others – are criticised for not embracing the ideologies and acts of those who seek to annihilate them.
The situation has varied from country to country, but Read more…
Persecution is something that many people have claimed recently, yet in Mali, West Africa, Christian persecution has reached desperate levels. According to ASSIST News Service, one Christian leader has been beheaded and others are being threatened with similar treatment as Islamic militants run amok in Mali, West Africa. Christians have subsequently fled the town of Timbuktu in the north of the country where harsh Sharia Law has already been imposed. There have also been reports of churches in Gao, 200 miles to the east, have been completely destroyed. This news comes after a military coup in the country, which has cut off electricity supplies.
Local Christian Timothee (Tim) Yattara, who recently returned to his home country to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ has fled with his family to Bamako, the country’s main city roughly 400 miles south west with no money to support his family.
“We have escaped in the Read more…
Friday’s deadly bomb attacks in Nigeria’s second largest city, Kano, are the latest in a series of spectacular strikes by the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram. The coordinated series of assaults on police stations and other government offices killed at least 200 people. The rise of Boko Haram is sparking concerns that Africa’s most populous country may be edging closer to civil war.
Nigeria’s Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka predicted it; political analysts are regularly asked about it; and the Kano attacks prompted the Leadership newspaper to run as its weekend edition headline, “Finally, Boko Haram Launches War.”
The radical Islamist Boko Haram has made headlines with increasing frequency lately for a series of audacious terrorist strikes. Among them, a Christmas Day bomb blast that Read more…
U.S. jets over pyramids
A rising leader in the radical Islamic movement in Egypt that has become a major political player since the demise of Hosni Mubarak’s regime says Christian churches may need to be blown up and Christians exterminated to allow the advance of Islamic law, or Shariah.
The comments come from Sheik ‘Adel Shehato, a senior leader with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. The sheik was jailed in 1991 because of his positions but was released earlier this year in the revolution that removed Mubarak from power.
His interview with the Egyptian daily Roz Al-Yousef was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
The sheik, a senior jihadist leader, responded to a question about using violence against Christians, who Read more…
Totalitarians cannot tolerate the free exercise of religion. As so many disillusioned communists in the last century observed, communism, to its disciples, is a religion and a god. One well known book, a collection of the writings of a number of former communists, is called simply The God That Failed. Anyone who has attempted to discuss a subject intelligently with a communist quickly grasps that he is talking to a follower of a secular religion.
Sometimes communism has entered into a truce with faith or has loosened the chains on religious people for tactical reasons. During the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, for example, the churches opened again and allowed people to worship without duress. That limited freedom disappeared after the Nazis were defeated. The Soviets also pretended to respect the rights of Jews to worship, although in actual practice Judaism was suppressed (Hebrew, for example, was forbidden while Yiddish, a secular language, was encouraged).
Why the fear of religion? As men such as Read more…