Christians on Trial in Algeria

Posted in Algeria with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2008 by Mike

The Christian Post is reporting that two men who converted from Islam to Christianity are now on trial for illegally promoting the Christian faith.

Rachid Mohammed Seghir, 40, and Jammal Dahmani, 36, were already convicted in absentia for illegal practice of a non-Muslim religion in 2007 but asked for a new trial, as Algerian law allows, their lawyer said.

They are charged with praying in a building that had not been granted a religious permit by authorities and are also accused of trying to spread the Christian faith among Muslims, the court said.

Their defense lawyer said she felt confidant that her clients would not be incarcerated.

“Things have taken a good turn, and it’s good sign this affair will be solved,” Khelloudja Khalfoun told The Associated Press on the phone from Tissemsilt, about 155 miles southwest of Algiers, the capital.

Another Surge Needed

Posted in Iraq with tags , , , , on June 24, 2008 by Mike

Robin Harris at National Review Online has an excellent article about the imminent extinction of the Christian Church in Iraq.

Members of all religions have been affected by the violence since the toppling of Saddam Hussein. But Christians are in a worse position since they suffer directly because of their Christian faith. Targeted by Islamist extremists, they are confronted by demands to convert, death threats, looting of their homes and businesses, systematic intimidation, abductions for ransom, bombings, and frequently murder. Because Christians are known to be weak they and their property are also prey to gangsterism. Churches and church leaders are particular targets for Islamists. The 65-year-old Chaldean archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul was abducted and murdered in March. Numerous priests and deacons have been tortured and shot or beheaded. At least 40 churches have been burnt.

The Iraqi Christian community has disappeared altogether from many areas of the country. Baghdad is rapidly emptying of its once flourishing Christian community, whose members have fled north to the traditional Christian homeland in the towns and villages of the plains of Nineveh. But here too they are hugely vulnerable. The regionally dominant Kurds, with whom relations have historically been bad and occasionally bloody, have little interest in offering protection. The Shia-dominated government in Baghdad is distant, unsympathetic, and has its own interests and problems. Even the relative success of the U.S. surge strategy has brought difficulties for the Christians, because the struggle with al-Qaeda is now focused on the regional centre Mosul, where Christians had hoped to find security. The Christian population itself is unused to bearing arms. It has no militia to defend it. It has no regional protectors. It is subject to pressures of illegal land confiscation and annexation, aimed at pushing it out of its last refuge.

Shared Hope International

Posted in America, Human Trafficking with tags , , , on June 20, 2008 by Mike

Human trafficking, and sex trafficking in particular, is a problem that is growing, not just overseas, but here in the US, also. This is due to a number of factors, but one of them is that the market is growing in our country–the demand is growing, so the supply must increase. The Church is taking a more active role in combating this terrible problem. Citizen Link has an interview with Linda Smith, former Washington congresswoman and founder of Shared Hope International.

1. Linda, you’re combating global sex trafficking. Many people might be surprised to hear there are similar things happening right here in the United States. Tell us about the domestic problem we have with sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry. It needs a product, it needs a buyer, and somebody’s all too happy to get a “product” and take it to market. And that’s what we call the trafficker or pimp.

2. There is a lot of that happening with minors. What are you uncovering with regard to boys and girls being taken into this?

We’re just about two-thirds through the investigation of major cities throughout the United States and the trafficking of children for commercial sex. What we’re finding is shown by the story of a 12-year-old. She was snatched going to school. The man had been walking alongside of her as she went to school. Come along six months, he had built a relationship. She was a gifted, smart, little girl, and that’s why she was walking the extra blocks to a special school. She got in the car with him and disappeared.

She was arrested twice, taken home, and they couldn’t understand why he’d get her again. She was arrested 19 more times before she was 16, in about that many states. Once a child, kidnapped, lured, deceived, six magic words will control her: “I know where I got you.” And those controlling words say, “I know how to get your mother. I can beat you again. There’s no safe place in the world for you.” We just prosecuted the pimp. I’ll go to the prison in a couple of weeks and interview him. He was part of a network selling girls (from) Louisiana to Toledo, clear over to Kansas, all the way to Seattle, and they had a pimp network of our little girls — just snatched and lured for “product” to men all over the United States (who) are pretty common, pretty ordinary, buying them because they’re labeled “prostitute.”

3. How does the American culture contribute to the problem of sex trafficking?

The American culture has started to tolerate commercial sex. “What happens here stays here” means thousands of little girls have been brought into Las Vegas, sold to tourists as well as local men. You don’t find any of the buyers being arrested because, in the man’s mind, she’s a prostitute. In society’s mind, she’s a prostitute. The man is perceived as just using a prostitute, no matter what the age. The age is going younger and younger, as men are visualizing something young. They’re seeing young porn. They’re seeing young bodies, no stretch marks. And when you come to actualization from visualization, that actualization has to replicate something similar. It’s going younger and younger as porn is going younger. We found 1 out of 5 images online are of children.

Abort73.com

Posted in abortion with tags , , , on June 18, 2008 by Mike

Hey, all. I found this great website that offers the truth about abortion. An incovenient truth that those in the pro-abortion industry would like to not see the light of day. If you know anyone who is facing an unexpected pregnancy who might be considering abortion as an option, please go to Abort73.com and dive in. Consider it a little research project. They’ve got arguments against all the common excuses that the pro-abortion camp likes to offer. Wanting to have an intellectual conversation and skip all the yelling back and forth? Go to Abort73.com and learn the facts that will help you persuade your friend that abortion really isn’t an option.

Iranian Christian Arrested Without Charges

Posted in Iran with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2008 by Mike

Compass Direct News is reporting that Eight policemen arrested Mohsen Namvar, 44, from his Tehran home on May 31, refusing to provide any reason for his arrest.

The officers confiscated a number of the Christian’s personal belongings including his computer, printer, CDs, books and money. His location remains unknown.

An Iranian pastor residing outside the country said that Namvar had anticipated that police would come for him.

“I know that if they decide to kill me as a martyr, you will care for my wife and my children,” the father of two told the Iranian pastor last month.

Acquaintances warned Namvar that he had been implicated during police interrogations of Christians in the city of Amol in April, the pastor residing abroad said. That month officials had detained several Christians in Amol, 80 miles northeast of Tehran, releasing them over the following weeks.

Treatment of Christians in jail follows a customary pattern, the pastor said: Authorities put them in jail for a few weeks and beat them in an attempt to get information about other converts.

Police had previously detained and tortured Namvar for baptizing Muslim converts to Christianity. The Christian was unable to walk for several months after police repeatedly applied electrical shocks to his back in the spring of 2007.

Religious Tensions in Egypt

Posted in Egypt with tags , , , , , on June 17, 2008 by Mike

The Middle East Times has an interesting article about the increasing religious tensions between the country’s Muslims and its Coptic Christians.

Still, to say that Egypt’s Christian Copts — 16 million in a country of 81.7 million — have coexisted peacefully with the Muslim majority may be stretching the truth. While the two communities have largely gotten along over the years, there have been periodic clashes, some of them violent, some of them leaving many dead and wounded.

Ever since the Muslims became the majority in Egypt around the middle of the first century, Egypt’s Christians and followers of St. Mark the apostle and evangelist, known as Copts, found themselves relegated to the position of second-class citizens. Their situation began to improve in the early 19th century under the stability and tolerance brought to the country under the dynasty of Mohammad Ali.

Yet, despite Egypt’s generally more moderate approach to religion when compared with other Muslim countries — such as Saudi Arabia, for example — strife between the country’s Muslim and Christian communities will periodically make the headlines.

Ahmad al-Aswani, an Egyptian writer, posted on June 7 an essay on the liberal Web site Aafaq.org, in which he sheds light on a series of escalating attacks on members of the Copts community.

“What is happening to our Coptic brothers … is no longer a matter of sporadic incidents,” writes al-Aswani. “It is open season on Egypt’s Copts,” said the Egyptian writer in a dispatch translated from Arabic by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“It is no longer a matter of sporadic incidents,” said al-Aswani.

Read the rest of the article for examples of the violence that Muslims have committed against Christians.

The Disappearing Church in Algeria

Posted in Algeria with tags , , , on June 12, 2008 by Mike

Open Doors USA has an alarming post about how the Church is being forced into extinction in Algeria.

In March 2006,the Algerian government introduced new legislation that redefined the conditions for exercising religious activities outside of Islam. Since November 2007, 26 of the 52 known Algerian churches have been ordered to close. Many churches that attempt to register in accordance with this new law are often denied applications by the government with little or no explanation. Send an email to the Algerian Ambassador today, asking the Algerian government to stop the church closures!

The government fears that the growth of religious minorities within Algeria will allow foreign powers to interfere with Algeria’s internal affairs. Authorities have begun comparing Christianity with terrorism, and reports encourage Muslim schools and mosques to counter this “dangerous” Christian evangelism. As the number of church closures rises and more are encouraged to fight Christianity, the Algerian church risks becoming extinct.