All of them involve violent mob action from members of other religious groups. None of them would have occurred without the compliance of the police. Most of the time, the police arrest the Christians who have been attacked rather than their attackers. This, of course, is police corruption, as well as mob violence.
Most of these crimes occurred in countries which have legal guarantees of freedom of religion. Our Constitutional guarantee that the government may not interfere with “the free exercise” of religious faith is a precious freedom that Americans have had for so long that we take it for granted.
But freedoms can never be taken for granted if they are to be preserved. There are always those who will try to limit other people’s freedoms.
Here are this week’s 6 Quick Picks.
1. Islamic Hard-liners, Police Raid Christian-Muslim Interfaith Conference in Indonesia
By Amir Tedjo on 4:52 pm June 12, 2013.
Surabaya. A small group of religious hard-liners, backed up by police, disrupted a Christian-Muslim Interfaith dialogue on Tuesday night, claiming that the event was conducted without a permit.
They forced the organizers to go to the Surabaya Police station to be questioned.
“The weird thing is that the police officers who were present stayed quiet, regardless of what the group did,” Ahmad Zaimul Hamdi, a committee member and activist with the Anti-Violence Society Network, said on Wednesday.
“The police even provided a vehicle to bring the organizers to the police station.”
Ahmad said that the event was part of an academic discussion that analyzed the Koran and the Bible from both Islamic and Christian perspectives. Hundreds of people attended the event, and the discussion was going smoothly until the small group of hard-liners arrived on the scene.
From Jakarta Globe http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/hard-liners-police-interfere-with-interfaith-dialogue/
2. Mob of “Hundreds of Muslims” Attack Christians in Bangladesh
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Perpetrators Operate With Impunity as Government Fails to Protect Religious Minorities
6/14/2013 Washington, D.C. (ICC)-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a group of radical Islamists have targeted and attacked Christians in Bangladesh. Two incidents in the last week have left priests and seminary students among those severely beaten. In both incidents the attackers have operated with impunity.
On June 5, Muslim extremists went to the Tumilia mission, a Catholic compound, and physically harmed Fr. Abel when he came out of his room.
On June 6, another attack by the same group of radical Islamists an attack on the entire village.
Two of the Christians fled and sought shelter at the Catholic Church’s mission compound in Dinajpur, in Northern Bangladesh. However, a mob of Muslims numbering over a hundred stormed in armed with local weapons. “They broke the main gate, destroyed the barb wire fence and entered the compound. They beat up Fr. Uzzal, and seminarians and destroyed parts of the buildings…vandalized and looted everything,” says an ICC source.
“The police arrested some of the Christians and took them to the police station but did not take any action against the Muslims who were trespassing on the Catholic Compound,” the ICC source continued. “The Muslims wait for any excuse to attack the religious minorities.”
Not one perpetrator has been arrested in either of these cases.
“The priests are afraid to do anything against the perpetrators,” says an ICC source. “Most of the time the Muslim extremists are protected by the [Muslim] ruling party. This is Bangladesh, where we [Christians] live without any security and protection from the government or law enforcing agencies,” the source continued.
Corey Bailey, ICC’s Regional Manager for Bangladesh says, “According to their Constitution, there is Religious Freedom in Bangladesh, but that exists only on paper. Muslims attack religious minorities with impunity. This is outrageous and must end.
I urge those interested in religious freedom to contact the Embassy of Bangladesh and demand better protection for religious minorities, as well as justice in these cases.”
Ambassador: H.E. Akramul Qader 202-244-2745 or 202-244-0183 (PABX)
For interviews, contact Corey Bailey: RM-Asia@persecution.org
You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.
3. Hindu Militants Attack Christian Pastors in India
By BosNewsLife Asia Service
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Twenty Baptist pastors have been attacked by suspected Hindu militants in southeastern India and several church leaders required hospital treatment for severe injuries, representatives said Friday, June 7.
The All India Christian Council (AICC), which represents churches and mission groups, said the victims were from the Telugu Baptist Church who gathered for their monthly prayer meeting Tuesday, June 4, in the town of Maheshwaram Mandal, in the Indian state of Hyderabad.
About 50 followers of Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or ‘National Volunteer Organization’ (RSS) stormed the gathering and “brutally attacked” the pastors “with sticks and rods causing dreadful injuries” and verbally abused them, AICC added in a statement seen by BosNewsLife.
Seven of the pastors, identified only as Thimothy, Kumar, Krupaiah, Roberts, Rosaiah, Lazarus and Thinothy, were rushed to hospital for serious injuries, according to AICC officials.
The attack is part of a wider crackdown on devoted Christians in the heavily Hindu nation, said John Dayal, AICC secretary general.
“We are deeply concerned that anti-Christian attacks are taking place in the state. After Karnataka [state] such violence against Christians has started in Andhra Pradesh,” Dayal added.
He said police had been asked to investigate the case. About 1,000 local Christians were also planning a peaceful rally to protest against the attack and demand justice, according to AICC investigators.
From BosNewsLife http://www.bosnewslife.com/28646-india-militants-attack-baptist-pastors-several-injured
4. Third Christian Community in 50 Days Attacked by Muslims in Pakistan
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Pakistan
Christians in a village in Punjab, Pakistan were forced to evacuate their homes after they were attacked by armed Muslims who threatened to destroy their property; theirs is the third Christian community to come under attack in less than two months.
A mob of around 50-60 armed Muslims attacked Christians in Eassa Pur village, Khanewal district, on 26 April. The furious assailants opened fire on the believers after beating them and throwing stones at their houses, which they also threatened to torch.
Christian communities in nearby villages were also forced to flee their homes after receiving threats against their property.
Police have registered against a case against five Christians following the violence, but they have not pursued legal action against the Muslims who instigated it.
Muslims in the village had also threatened to burn down Christian property during a previous attack on 6 April. A group of Muslims beat local Christians severely when a dispute broke out because two Christian men were sitting on mats that were not facing towards Mecca.
Some local Christians believe that Muslims are using any excuse to create hostilities in order to take over Christian property.
Outbreaks of violence against entire Christian communities in response to personal disputes are becoming disturbingly frequent; this attack is the third of its kind in recent months.
In Joseph Colony, Lahore, a Muslim mob torched 178 Christian homes on 9 March after a local Christian was accused of blasphemy following an exchange with a Muslim friend.
Then, on 3 April, Muslim extremists attacked a Christian neighbourhood in Francis Colony, Gujranwala, following a minor dispute between Muslim and Christian youths. A church building was ransacked and dozens of shops and vehicles vandalised after Muslims were incited over mosque loudspeakers to “teach the Christians a lesson”.
From Barnabas Fund http://barnabasfund.org/UK/News/Archives/Third-Christian-community-in-50-days-attacked-by-Muslims-in-Pakistan.html
5. Churches Closed and Pastors Threatened by Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka
Country/Region: Sri Lanka, South and East Asia
Buddhist monks have forced the closure of 18 churches in southern Sri Lanka, threatening pastors with death if they continue their activities.
Churches in Hambanthota have been under pressure for some time, but tensions have ratcheted up this month.
On 10 May, the district secretary of Hambanthota called a meeting of local officials, senior police officers and Buddhist and Christian leaders to discuss the situation. The legality of the local churches was questioned, and various accusations were levelled at the pastors by the Buddhist monks.
The Christian leaders were effectively told that they had to provide proof of the legality of their churches or else they would be closed down.
A follow-up meeting was held on 17 May at which the Buddhist monks said they had already closed down a number of churches – later confirmed as 18 by local pastors – and demanded that those still functioning also be shut.
The church leaders explained that, under Sri Lankan law, they have the right to practise their religion anywhere and that church registration is not required.
The authorities decided not to take any action against the churches at this stage, but a further meeting will take place in three months’ time.
The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka said that the situation in the south remains tense. Local pastors told Barnabas Fund that the Buddhist monks have threatened them: “If you don’t stop your activities your destiny will be like Lional Jayasinghe”, a pastor who was martyred in Hambanthota in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, Buddhist monk Bowatte Indarathana set himself on fire as a protest against the conversion of Buddhists by Christians and other minority groups, and also the slaughter of cattle, in Sri Lanka. The incident happened on Friday (24 May); he succumbed to his injuries the following day.
Supporters of Sinhala Ravaya, a Buddhist Sinhalese extremist group, praised Indarathana’s “heroic act” in defence of the nation’s values, while Udaya Gammanpila, a member of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party, promised to “transform his demands into reality” through a new law.
Christians in Sri Lanka are under pressure from the Sinhalese Buddhist lobby, which campaigns for laws to control religious conversions.
The government claims to uphold religious freedom but affords Buddhism the “foremost place”; around 70% of the population is Buddhist. The Religious Affairs Ministry recently announced that it intends to introduce legislation enabling the authorities to take action against religious groups that are deemed cults. This could threaten the country’s Evangelical churches, which are not recognised by the Religious Affairs Ministry.
From Barnabas Fund
6. More Attacks on Pastors in Tanzania
June 13, 2013
Earlier this week, we shared a video report from Gary Lane in Tanzania that included the story of Pastor Mathayo Kachili, who was killed because of his faith in Christ. Pastor Kachili’s story is also included in VOM’s June newsletter.
The persecution of Christians in Tanzania continues. On the night of Sunday, June 2, the home of Pastor Robert Ngai in Geita town, northeastern Tanzania, was attacked by a large group of radical Muslims. The attackers broke into the home and attacked Pastor Ngai with machetes. The pastor received serious cuts on his hands and arms when he raised his arms to protect his head from the blows. Doctors at the local hospital said the injuries were beyond their ability to treat, and urged that he be rushed to a hospital in a nearby, larger city for treatment. Ngai is the pastor of the Evangelical Assemblies of God Church. At last word from VOM contacts, he was still in ICU.
Two nights before the attack on Pastor Ngai, the home of Pastor Daudi Nzumbi in Geita also came under attack. Pastor Nzumbi leads the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania (FPCT) congregation in Geita. Thankfully, the attackers fled after they were confronted by Pastor Nzumbi’s large, barking dogs.
When Pastor Nzumbi heard his dogs barking, he looked out the window and saw the attackers. He called the police, but the officer in charge told him, “I cannot protect every pastor!”
VOM contacts are working to get more details on these attacks, and to offer encouragement and assistance to these two pastors and other Christians in Tanzania affected by violent Islamic attacks. Please continue to pray for Christians in Tanzania as well as for their persecutors.
From Persecution Blog