Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Pastor among Three Charged with Quran Sacrilege
- Extremist Attacks against Christians Mount in India
- Nigerian Reverend Calls on Christians to Join Politics
- Saudi Arabia Deports Four African Christians
Pastor among Three Charged with Quran Sacrilege
A Muslim cleric has accused three Christians, including a pastor of the village 55/2 L, of blaspheming the Quran. The residents of the village told ASSIST News Service that Christian Abid and Gulshan had wanted to marry but failed to bring their parents round on this. Gulshan eloped with Abid and converted to Islam on May 24. When the couple returned to 55/2 L village, they didn't know their next move could be hazardous. The couple visited the Evangelical Christian Assembly Beith-el Church of Pastor Akram Masih. News of their visit traveled to the central president of the Institution for the protection of newly converted Muslims, Mian Arshad, who visited the couple. The cleric expressed his anger at their going to the Church. “You should not have visited the Church since you are Muslims now”, the couple quoted the cleric as telling them. Levelling charges of Quran sacrilege against three Christian men, Mian Irshad submitted an application against Rashid Masih, the father of Abid, Bashir Masih, the councilor of the village and the pastor of Evangelical Christian Assembly Beith-el-Chruch, Pastor Akram Masih “When I showed them the certificate endorsing Abid and Gulshan’s conversion to Islam they engaged in a scuffle with me. During the scuffle Pastor Akram pulled out Quran from my pocket and hurled it towards Bashir, who in turn directed it towards Rasheed but I pounced upon and caught hold of it”, he wrote in the application.
Extremist Attacks against Christians Mount in India
Compass Direct News reports multiple attacks and arrests in recent weeks demonstrate ongoing hostility towards Christians in India. Police have cooperated with Hindu extremists, in some cases claiming “tremendous pressure” to charge Christian ministers with forced conversion; Police, officials fail to halt violence and intimidation, detaining victims instead. On August 20, extremists burst into a church service in Kolar district, Karnataka state, beating the pastor and his assistant. In Andhra Pradesh state, police on August 21 arrested a Catholic priest for allegedly burning portraits of Hindu deities and interrogated a pastor after Hindu extremists attacked his church service on August 20.
Nigerian Reverend Calls on Christians to Join Politics
Rev. Chris Okotie, Founder of Household of God Church and one time presidential candidate during Nigeria’s 2003 general elections, has called on Christians to jettison their apathy for politics and embrace it. ASSIST News Service reports that this is to insure that Nigeria occupies her place in destiny as the country that would lead the way in world revival. The occasion was the inaugurating of World Christian and Ministerial Alliance (WCMA) which took place recently in Lagos. He spoke through a representative, Evangelist Elishama Ideh stating that “The Church in Nigeria has to carry out God’s purpose on earth because God has chosen her to trigger the end-time revival.” Evangelist Ideh narrated that “It was on March 19, 2005 that God revealed to her His desire that Christians should join politics. I am not a politician but was simply minding my evangelistic ministry when God revealed His wish to me. I know that God is about to do something in Nigeria, and if He is interested, I am interested also.”
Saudi Arabia Deports Four African Christians
Saudi Arabia deported four East African Christians last month after they were detained while leading a prayer service in Jeddah. Arrested on June 9, the church leaders were beaten and imprisoned for more than a month in torturous conditions. Masai Wendewesen, deported to his native Ethiopia on July 16, told Compass Direct News that the Christians were never formally notified of the charges against them. But according to his Saudi work sponsor, the four had been jailed for “preaching to Muslims, planting churches and gathering ladies and gentlemen together for prayer,” the Ethiopian said. The Christians were working in Saudi Arabia as chauffeurs and truck drivers. Proclaiming Christ to Muslims and building churches are forbidden in Saudi Arabia, where “apostasy” – leaving Islam – is a crime punishable by death.