November 2016 Persecution Magazine (1 of 3)

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NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


North Korea<br />

Explore the Bizarre World <strong>of</strong> North Korea:<br />

A state-created false religion, a national<br />

counterfeiting operation,<br />

and first-hand tales <strong>of</strong> tragedy<br />

and escape from the world’s<br />

worst persecutor <strong>of</strong> Christians<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


President’s Letter<br />

It’s very rare for us to do two newsletters on one country back-to-back, but North<br />

Korea is a special case. North Koreans are raised from birth being watched 24/7<br />

by an insanely oppressive regime that crushes all dissent, free expression, and<br />

thought by creating a web <strong>of</strong> total state surveillance and control.<br />

The regime is concerned with only one thing: blind loyalty and obedience.<br />

Twenty-five million people are imprisoned in a state run by an iron-fisted and<br />

pathologically narcissistic family dynasty. Those who cannot or will not adapt to<br />

the system face the worst punishment and torture imaginable.<br />

Consequently, the personality <strong>of</strong> the average North Korean and the culture as<br />

a whole is uniquely warped. Lying, cheating, stealing, and the complete cloaking<br />

<strong>of</strong> the majority <strong>of</strong> one’s thoughts and feelings are not character defects, but<br />

essential traits that are key to one’s survival.<br />

Jeff King, President<br />

International Christian Concern<br />

Those same survival skills that keep them alive in the prison <strong>of</strong> North Korea hurt them when they escape. They are traumatized,<br />

extremely wary, narcissistic and barely skilled. Yet they face the most formidable challenge <strong>of</strong> all: starting life over in<br />

an open, hyper-competitive, and foreign culture.<br />

In this issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>Persecution</strong>, you will once again come face-to-face with the vast prison state known as the Democratic<br />

People’s Republic <strong>of</strong> Korea (DPRK).<br />

I think this prophetic passage from Isaiah 32 that looks forward to the coming <strong>of</strong> the unrevealed Messiah sums up our hope<br />

and prayer for North Korea. I’ve paraphrased it and focused it on North Korea but I think it fully reflects the original passage<br />

and His heart for the prisoners <strong>of</strong> Satan held in North Korea.<br />

Behold, my servant, the coming Jesus, my chosen one, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him and<br />

He will bring forth justice to North Korea. He will faithfully bring justice to North Korea and will not rest until He has<br />

established justice there. The people <strong>of</strong> North Korea wait expectantly for His law.<br />

Please work with us and open your wallet (see page 32) to open the prison doors and to bring freedom and the Gospel to<br />

the 25 million inhabitants <strong>of</strong> this prison state. There is some amazing and effective work taking place that is saving North<br />

Korea, one soul at a time.<br />

As always, your gifts will be used ethically, efficiently, and effectively.<br />

I promise!<br />

Jeff King<br />

President<br />

International Christian Concern<br />

www.persecution.org<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



News<br />

1<br />

2<br />

First American Citizen Charged under<br />

Russia’s New Anti-Missionary Law<br />

1 | RUSSIA Russia recently implemented a new law that<br />

severely restricts religious freedom. At face value, the law<br />

is intended to crack down on terrorist activity. However,<br />

the law also bans “missionary activity” without government<br />

permission, which means that an everyday citizen is<br />

restricted from sharing his or her faith with an unbeliever<br />

without prior government permission. Punishments for<br />

violating these new restrictions range from hefty fines to<br />

deportation for international missionaries.<br />

In a string <strong>of</strong> arrests under this new law, Pastor Donald<br />

Ossewaarde was the first American citizen to be charged<br />

in violation <strong>of</strong> the restriction and was issued a significant<br />

fine. Police entered the pastor’s home as he was leading<br />

a worship service and subsequently took him to the police<br />

station to issue the charges. Despite legal counsel advising<br />

otherwise, Ossewaarde has chosen to appeal the fine.<br />

Since the July implementation <strong>of</strong> this new law, three<br />

others in addition to Ossewaarde have been found guilty,<br />

including a Christian from Ghana who is living in Russia,<br />

a Pentecostal Russian, and another who follows the Hare<br />

Krishna faith.<br />

4<br />

7 6<br />

3 5<br />

Another Church Burned Down in Chile<br />

2 | CHILE In recent months, there have been a number<br />

<strong>of</strong> arson attacks on churches, leaving multiple Christian<br />

communities without a place <strong>of</strong> worship. On August 9,<br />

yet another church was burned to the ground in Chile at<br />

the hands <strong>of</strong> the Mapuche Resistance, an indigenous group<br />

primarily located in southern Chile.<br />

In this incident against Iglesia La Batalla (The Battle<br />

Church), authorities confirmed the Mapuche as the source<br />

<strong>of</strong> the attacks because they left several signs and pamphlets<br />

at the scene with the group’s name on them. An<br />

examination <strong>of</strong> the crime scene, including both the materials<br />

left behind and the characteristics <strong>of</strong> the fire, left<br />

authorities confident that this fire was no accident.<br />

Although the attacks have primarily been politically<br />

motivated, churches and other places <strong>of</strong> worship have<br />

found themselves as primary targets for the attacks.<br />

According to Christian Headlines, there have already been<br />

16 church attacks in the past year alone.<br />

While these acts <strong>of</strong> vandalism are certainly drawing<br />

attention to their cause, the Mapuche are creating needless<br />

victims <strong>of</strong> the local religious communities. These attacks<br />

are simply another example <strong>of</strong> how political conflict can<br />

infringe upon the rights <strong>of</strong> everyday citizens.<br />

China Clamps<br />

Down on<br />

North Korean<br />

Refugees<br />

Fleeing<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong><br />

3 | CHINA It is widely<br />

known that North<br />

Korea is one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

world’s most oppressive<br />

regimes with<br />

a laundry list <strong>of</strong><br />

human rights abuses.<br />

However, the general<br />

public is less privy to<br />

China’s role in the<br />

difficulties that North<br />

Korean citizens face.<br />

While thousands <strong>of</strong><br />

North Korean refugees,<br />

many <strong>of</strong> whom<br />

are Christians, flee<br />

their oppressive home<br />

country, China continues<br />

to crack down<br />

on refugees by deporting<br />

them back to<br />

North Korea. Chinese<br />

authorities near the<br />

North Korean border<br />

have <strong>of</strong>fered rewards<br />

for those who capture<br />

refugees for the sake<br />

<strong>of</strong> deportation.<br />

Those who are<br />

sent back to North<br />

Korea face intense,<br />

and <strong>of</strong>ten violent,<br />

interrogation about<br />

their time out <strong>of</strong><br />

the country and<br />

are <strong>of</strong>ten banished<br />

to prison camps.<br />

Unfortunately, many<br />

fail to make it to the<br />

prison camps as they<br />

are executed immediately<br />

upon their<br />

return.<br />

3 PERSECU ION.org<br />

NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


ISIS <strong>Magazine</strong> Calls on Followers to Destroy Christianity<br />

4 | MIDDLE EAST In a recent edition <strong>of</strong> the Islamic State’s propaganda magazine, “Dabiq,” ISIS calls upon its followers to destroy Christianity. The<br />

magazine also threatens Christians by encouraging them to “break the cross,” stating that they can either convert to Islam or risk death by maintaining<br />

their faith in Christ. In addition to the numerous threats and calls for violence, the magazine contains violent images <strong>of</strong> both stonings and beheadings.<br />

Second Anniversary <strong>of</strong> Kenneth Bae’s<br />

Release<br />

5 | NORTH KOREA On <strong>November</strong> 8, <strong>2016</strong>, ICC is recognizing<br />

the second anniversary <strong>of</strong> the release <strong>of</strong> Kenneth<br />

Bae from North Korean authorities. Bae, an American<br />

citizen, was arrested in <strong>November</strong> 2012 in North Korea<br />

and sentenced to 15 years <strong>of</strong> hard labor due to his work as<br />

a missionary. After serving slightly more than two years<br />

in prison, Bae’s time in jail was known as the longest on<br />

record for an American imprisoned in North Korea. Bae’s<br />

release followed international outcry from Christian and<br />

human rights groups as well as a social media campaign<br />

led by his family calling for his release. Earlier this year,<br />

Bae published a book detailing his time in captivity.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Christians in<br />

Nepal Attacked<br />

While Trying to<br />

Help Others<br />

6 | NEPAL A group<br />

<strong>of</strong> Christians was<br />

recently attacked in<br />

Nepal while attempting<br />

to distribute building<br />

materials to those<br />

affected by last year’s<br />

earthquake. While<br />

unloading a truck <strong>of</strong><br />

supplies, a group <strong>of</strong><br />

neighbors approached<br />

the Christians and<br />

began beating them<br />

with rods. According to<br />

reports, local Hindus<br />

repeatedly threatened<br />

the Christians, accusing<br />

them <strong>of</strong> converting<br />

Hindus. While the<br />

government pledged<br />

to pay for the medical<br />

costs <strong>of</strong> this attack, the<br />

victims have reportedly<br />

received only a fraction<br />

<strong>of</strong> the amount needed.<br />

Algerian Christian Imprisoned for<br />

Facebook Comments<br />

7 | ALGERIA On August 7, an Algerian Christian<br />

named Slimane Bouhafs appeared in court on blasphemy<br />

charges due to comments that he made on<br />

Facebook regarding the Muslim prophet Muhammad.<br />

In his online statements, Bouhafs said that the light <strong>of</strong><br />

Jesus would outshine both Islam and Muhammad and<br />

he included photos <strong>of</strong> Muslim radicals carrying out an<br />

execution.<br />

In Algeria, sentences for blasphemy can range<br />

from fines to five years <strong>of</strong> imprisonment. After<br />

appearing in court for allegedly committing blasphemy,<br />

Bouhafs was sentenced to the maximum fiveyear<br />

prison term. Numerous human rights groups<br />

have since spoken out on behalf <strong>of</strong> Bouhafs, stating<br />

that his sentence is an infringement upon his freedom<br />

<strong>of</strong> conscience.<br />


News<br />

2<br />

3<br />

6<br />

5<br />

1<br />

4<br />

Bishoy was<br />

issued a five-year<br />

prison sentence<br />

for supposedly<br />

presenting a “false<br />

image” <strong>of</strong> religious<br />

persecution in<br />

Egypt.<br />

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Sets Appeal<br />

Date for Asia Bibi<br />

1 | PAKISTAN On August 22, ICC learned that Asia Bibi,<br />

a Christian mother sentenced to death for allegedly committing<br />

blasphemy, would have her final appeal heard by<br />

Pakistan’s Supreme Court in mid-October. This appeal<br />

serves as Bibi’s last legal option in Pakistan through<br />

which she can escape execution. Apart from the final<br />

appeals hearing, Bibi could only be pardoned <strong>of</strong> the death<br />

penalty through a Presidential Pardon, a power granted to<br />

the president <strong>of</strong> Pakistan by their constitution.<br />

Bibi has been on death row since 2010 despite international<br />

outcry, with countless roadblocks and delays<br />

impeding her release. Her appeal with the High Court<br />

was rescheduled seven times before it was finally held<br />

in October <strong>of</strong> 2014. During that hearing, one <strong>of</strong> the two<br />

judges hearing the case confirmed her death sentence.<br />

The initial accusation against Bibi occurred in the summer<br />

<strong>of</strong> 2009 after she drank from the same water dish as<br />

her Muslim coworkers. Due to the fact that these women<br />

viewed Bibi as unclean because <strong>of</strong> her Christian faith, an<br />

argument broke out among the women. Later, the Muslim<br />

coworkers went to a local cleric and accused Bibi <strong>of</strong> blaspheming<br />

against Islam by saying, “My Christ died for me,<br />

what did Muhammad do for you?”<br />

Riots Follow<br />

Attack on Christian<br />

Student Beaten<br />

for Alleged<br />

Blasphemy<br />

2 | NIGERIA On August<br />

21, an argument broke<br />

out between a<br />

Christian and Muslim<br />

student on campus at<br />

Nigeria’s Abdu Gusau<br />

Polytecnic, following<br />

accusations that<br />

the Christian student<br />

insulted Muhammad.<br />

The dispute quickly<br />

escalated toward violence<br />

and a mob gathered,<br />

claiming that the<br />

student deserved to die<br />

for his alleged blasphemy<br />

against Islam.<br />

The next day, radical<br />

Muslim students continued<br />

their riots by<br />

destroying Christian<br />

establishments on<br />

campus. A local church<br />

leader reported that<br />

the riots spilled into<br />

the local town, leading<br />

to violence, vandalism,<br />

and arson. The influence<br />

<strong>of</strong> Sharia law has<br />

permeated northern<br />

Nigeria, leading to<br />

increasing violence and<br />

discrimination against<br />

Christians in Nigeria.<br />

Egyptian Christian Declares Return<br />

to Islam After Two Years in Prison<br />

3 | EGYPT In 2007, the story <strong>of</strong> Mohamed Hegazy<br />

grabbed international attention as he was the first<br />

Egyptian to sue the government in order to <strong>of</strong>ficially<br />

switch from Islam to Christianity on his ID<br />

card following his conversion. As a result, many local<br />

Muslims began speaking out against Hegazy, who is<br />

also known by the Christian name <strong>of</strong> “Bishoy.” Some<br />

even called for his execution on the terms <strong>of</strong> apostasy.<br />

In June <strong>of</strong> 2014, Bishoy was issued a five-year<br />

prison sentence for supposedly presenting a “false<br />

image” <strong>of</strong> religious persecution in Egypt. Following<br />

his release in July <strong>of</strong> this year, more than two years<br />

after his sentence was issued, Bishoy appeared in an<br />

online video declaring his return to Islam.<br />

In the video announcing his conversion, Bishoy<br />

noted that he would not discuss the reasons for his<br />

return to Islam. Although he stated that the decision<br />

to convert back to Islam was made out <strong>of</strong> free<br />

will, many human rights advocates believe that the<br />

statement was coerced in exchange for his freedom.<br />

He has also stated that he will not speak publicly<br />

regarding this decision, making it difficult to reach<br />

the ultimate truth.<br />

5 PERSECU ION.org<br />

NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


A church in the town <strong>of</strong> Oral, Kazakhstan, at dawn. Creative commons photo by Flickr user Darin House.<br />

Christian Leader in China Handed Seven-Year<br />

Jail Sentence<br />

4 | CHINA In yet another example <strong>of</strong> China’s continued crackdown<br />

on Christianity, church leader Hu Shigen has been given a seven-year<br />

prison sentence. His charges included “damaging national security<br />

and harming social stability” as authorities described Hu as the leader<br />

<strong>of</strong> a group which was using religion as a guise for exposing government<br />

abuses. This is Hu’s second prison term as he served 20 years<br />

for the charge <strong>of</strong> “counter-revolution,” which has since been abolished,<br />

before his release in 2008.<br />

VBS Camps Raided by Officials at Two<br />

Kazakhstan Churches<br />

5 | KAZAKHSTAN Two Baptist churches in Kazakhstan recently<br />

experienced the discrimination that is sweeping Central Asia firsthand.<br />

Officials raided the two churches during their Vacation Bible School<br />

camps, questioning whether or not the young participants had permission<br />

from their parents. The reason for these raids and the accompanying<br />

law that requires parental permission is to avoid the possibility<br />

<strong>of</strong> conversion without the consent <strong>of</strong> their parents. A similar incident<br />

took place last year which resulted in a temporary church closure and<br />

substantial fines.<br />

Sudanese Pastors Face Charges that Could Result in the<br />

Death Penalty<br />

6 | SUDAN Two Sudanese pastors, Kuwa Shamal and Hassan Abdulraheem<br />

Taour, have <strong>of</strong>ficially been charged with crimes that could potentially result<br />

in the death penalty. Both <strong>of</strong> the pastors have been imprisoned since last<br />

December, while Shamal was temporarily released and then rearrested in May.<br />

Despite the severity <strong>of</strong> the charges, which include espionage and crimes against<br />

the state, there is no adequate evidence to justly carry out a sentence.<br />

In a similar case, two pastors named Yat Michael and Peter Reith also faced<br />

charges associated with the death penalty, but were released last summer after<br />

months <strong>of</strong> imprisonment. The recent charging <strong>of</strong> Shamal and Taour is yet another<br />

example <strong>of</strong> Sudan’s crackdown on Christian leaders. As the Gospel continues to<br />

spread, the government continues to arrest pastors, subject them to interrogation,<br />

and imprison them indefinitely with no contact to the outside world.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



Your Dollar$ at Work<br />

Radios Save<br />

Lives in Nigerian<br />

Villages<br />

“The radio is helping. I can link up clearly<br />

with four other communities,” said one<br />

village operator.<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

Christian farming communities in the<br />

north-central region <strong>of</strong> Nigeria are<br />

under constant threat <strong>of</strong> Islamic radicals<br />

and Fulani herdsmen whose attacks on<br />

the Christian communities seek to take<br />

over valuable territory. These attacks have<br />

resulted in the murder <strong>of</strong> tens <strong>of</strong> thousands<br />

<strong>of</strong> Christians and untold damage to<br />

farmland and property. Villagers are <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

taken by surprise since these attacks are<br />

strategic and well-organized in nature.<br />

Such attacks have taken place since 2001<br />

and have seen a rise in the last 15 years.<br />

ICC learned that increased communication<br />

between Christian villages in<br />

this region also increases the survival<br />

rate <strong>of</strong> Fulani militia attacks. The use <strong>of</strong><br />

word <strong>of</strong> mouth, and at times the use <strong>of</strong><br />

mobile phones where phone service is<br />

available, has allowed some villages to<br />

warn the next village <strong>of</strong> imminent attack.<br />

However, these methods are not always<br />

reliable.<br />

In an effort to provide ample warning<br />

to each village, thus increasing security,<br />

ICC provided 20 sets <strong>of</strong> two-way radios<br />

to community leaders in 20 Christian<br />

villages affected by Fulani attacks. We<br />

researched topography in the region and<br />

consulted experts in order to determine<br />

what type <strong>of</strong> radios best suited the villagers.<br />

Village representatives underwent a<br />

training session on how to operate their<br />

radios.<br />

According to many village operators, the<br />

radios have undoubtedly saved lives. They<br />

can now give ample warning to nearby villagers<br />

who are able to evacuate and escape<br />

the attack.<br />

“The radio is helping. I can link up clearly<br />

with four other communities,” said one village<br />

operator who was able to use his radio<br />

to alert three nearby villages <strong>of</strong> a highway<br />

robbery.<br />

7 PERSECU ION.org<br />

NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


Medical Assistance<br />

to Pastors in India<br />

Underground Pastors<br />

India has launched its worst attack on religious<br />

freedom since it became an independent<br />

nation. ICC has documented 157 attacks in the<br />

past two years. We’ve responded by delivering<br />

medical assistance to those physically injured<br />

by persecutors, like Pastor BP Paul.<br />

In <strong>November</strong> 2015, 20 people accused Pastor<br />

Paul <strong>of</strong> forced conversions and subsequently<br />

beat him. He suffered massive internal injuries,<br />

but was unable to pay for the necessary treatment.<br />

ICC paid for all <strong>of</strong> Pastor Paul’s medical<br />

bills which has helped him heal and continue<br />

ministering to other persecuted pastors<br />

like Pastor Nitin Kumar. Pastor Kumar was<br />

attacked at a prayer meeting by Hindu radicals<br />

and suffered lower back injuries. ICC was also<br />

able to pay for Pastor Kumar’s treatment.<br />

ICC’s assistance provides more than physical<br />

healing. It also provides spiritual encouragement<br />

to persecuted believers who are given<br />

hope through the Body <strong>of</strong> Christ.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Aid to Yazidi IDPs<br />

in Iraq<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

When ISIS burst onto the scene in 2014,<br />

religious minorities in Iraq and Syria<br />

found themselves under extreme threat.<br />

While Christians faced intense persecution<br />

from the Islamic extremist group, other religious<br />

minorities, such as the Yazidi community<br />

<strong>of</strong> northern Iraq, faced an existential<br />

threat.<br />

Wherever ISIS found Yazidis, they would<br />

slaughter the men and force the women<br />

into sex slavery. It was this inhumane treatment<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Yazidis that led the US to label<br />

ISIS’s actions against religious minorities<br />

as genocide.<br />

In an effort to aid all those suffering under<br />

the surge <strong>of</strong> ISIS, ICC provided food, clothes,<br />

and necessary medical items to two Yazidi<br />

IDP camps in northern Iraq. Through ICC’s<br />

Christian partners on the ground, we were able<br />

to display the love <strong>of</strong> Christ to many whom<br />

Jesus would consider “the least <strong>of</strong> these.”<br />

Church Assistance<br />

in Indonesia<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

I<br />

n Indonesia, building a church is not a simple<br />

matter. A church must secure a license<br />

from the local government and get permission<br />

from neighbors. These parties, influenced by<br />

radical Islamic groups, <strong>of</strong>ten deny the license<br />

and the permission to build, leaving many<br />

Christians without a formal place <strong>of</strong> worship.<br />

In 2013, the GGP Ciranjang Church, which was<br />

operating out <strong>of</strong> their pastor’s home, was forcefully<br />

closed down by the local government after giving<br />

into pressure from extremist groups. Through<br />

much prayer and petition, the GGP Ciranjang<br />

Church received a church license from the government<br />

and permission to build a church in <strong>2016</strong>.<br />

Immediately, the church worked on constructing<br />

a permanent building and to help them build<br />

quickly, ICC provided construction materials.<br />

“I never stopped thanking God and ICC for<br />

this blessing,” the pastor said. “What ICC has<br />

done really gave a great encouragement for<br />

me, my family and the church members.”<br />


Your Dollar$ at Work<br />

ICC Repairs Two<br />

Churches in<br />

Pakistan<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

In <strong>2016</strong>, several Pakistani churches were<br />

robbed and burned. The arson attacks<br />

destroyed furnishings and Christian literature<br />

in addition to portions <strong>of</strong> the structure.<br />

Through ICC’s Community Rebuild fund,<br />

we were able to provide the repair work and<br />

replace the Christian literature, which included<br />

Bibles and books to teach catechism to children.<br />

Necessary repair work included laying<br />

carpet and s<strong>of</strong>t foam for the congregants to sit<br />

on, installing new electrical wiring, painting,<br />

and replacing a tent.<br />

For Christians who attended the burned<br />

churches, the repairs strengthened their faith<br />

because they reminded the believers <strong>of</strong> their<br />

Christian family outside <strong>of</strong> Pakistan who pray<br />

and support them. The repairs and literature will<br />

empower Pakistani Christians to continue meeting<br />

while spreading the Gospel to their neighbors.<br />

Churches Grow<br />

in Indonesia<br />

Despite Backlash<br />

Underground Pastors<br />

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim<br />

majority country in the world, making it<br />

a prime location for spreading the Gospel.<br />

The Christian population may be small at an<br />

estimated 8.8 percent <strong>of</strong> the population, but<br />

it is vibrant and willing to endure discrimination<br />

and persecution from both Muslim<br />

radical groups and occasionally the government<br />

itself.<br />

Among the Indonesian people are an estimated<br />

127 unreached groups which are fertile<br />

ground for planting the Word. ICC has heard<br />

the call from the Christian community and<br />

partnered with passionate believers to reach<br />

these groups for Christ. Through our in-country<br />

contacts, we have been able to provide assistance<br />

to five Indonesian church planters who<br />

have gathered with like-minded Christians to<br />

see their vision come to life, thus spreading the<br />

Gospel and fulfilling the Great Commission.<br />

9 PERSECU ION.org<br />

NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


Your Dollar$ at Work<br />

Family in Mali Starts Goat Business<br />

Food Aid to a<br />

Grieving Widower<br />

Underground Pastors<br />

In June <strong>of</strong> this year, a pastor who leads a church<br />

in Kano City, Nigeria, tragically lost his wife<br />

when she was murdered by Islamic radicals on<br />

allegations <strong>of</strong> blasphemy under Sharia law.<br />

Unfortunately, discrimination against<br />

Christians in northern Nigeria is all too common.<br />

Because Kano is situated in a Muslim majority<br />

region <strong>of</strong> the country, Sharia law is commonly<br />

accepted, even among government <strong>of</strong>ficials.<br />

ICC visited the grieving pastor in August<br />

and delivered much-needed food packages.<br />

During the visit, we learned <strong>of</strong> the disappointing<br />

government actions taken regarding<br />

the case. The collaborators <strong>of</strong> the crime had<br />

already been released and were allowed to<br />

walk freely. According to the pastor, the case<br />

was still at the lower Court <strong>of</strong> Law rather than<br />

being delegated to higher jurisdiction, as it<br />

should be.<br />

ICC conveyed its sincerest condolences<br />

for the pastor’s loss and encouraged him to<br />

stand strong in his faith. The bereaved widower<br />

expressed deep appreciation for the<br />

prayers and help he received from ICC and<br />

his local church.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Community Rebuild<br />

After Islamic leaders staged a march<br />

against churches in Gao, a city in eastern<br />

Mali, resulting in the use <strong>of</strong> tear gas bombs<br />

on an unsuspecting Baptist church, a local<br />

pastor felt threatened by the rising turmoil<br />

in the city. As the situation worsened and the<br />

threats began to personally affect his family,<br />

the pastor finally made the decision to move<br />

Legal Assistance to Pastor in India<br />

Hand <strong>of</strong> Hope<br />

his family to the capital city <strong>of</strong> Bamako,<br />

where they could find safety.<br />

Unfortunately, Christians in Bamako still<br />

face social exclusion, making it nearly impossible<br />

to find work. ICC provided the pastor’s<br />

family with the necessary supplies to start a<br />

goat husbandry business. The income from<br />

this business will allow the family to financially<br />

provide for themselves in this new city<br />

without having to abandon their ministry.<br />

In 2012, Hindu radicals attacked Pastor<br />

Reyansh’s (name changed for security)<br />

prayer meeting. They accused him and his<br />

congregation <strong>of</strong> fraudulent conversions.<br />

Police subsequently arrested the pastor.<br />

Pastor Reyansh protested the charge in<br />

India’s courts and eventually appeared in the<br />

upper court in 2015, three years after the incident.<br />

Pastor Reyansh needed, but could not<br />

afford, a lawyer, so ICC paid all <strong>of</strong> the legal<br />

fees. Through God’s grace and the lawyer’s<br />

skill, the courts closed Pastor Reyansh’s case<br />

and cleared him <strong>of</strong> all charges.<br />

This is a tremendous victory for Christian<br />

pastors who have hope that the court will<br />

protect them, even though Christians are<br />

still extremely vulnerable and experiencing<br />

increased persecution in India.<br />


est<br />

atch<br />

Youth Minister No Longer<br />

Welcome in Illinois School<br />

Following a complaint from the Freedom<br />

from Religion Foundation (FFRF), a youth<br />

pastor is no longer able to meet with students<br />

during the school day or their lunch hour at<br />

an Illinois school. In the past, students had been<br />

given the option to obtain permission slips from<br />

their parents in order to meet with the Baptist<br />

youth minister during lunch breaks which included<br />

pizza and soda provided by the minister.<br />

The FFRF complaint reads, “It is inappropriate<br />

and unconstitutional for the district to<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer religious leaders access to befriend and<br />

proselytize students during the school day<br />

on school property. This predatory conduct<br />

is inappropriate and should raise many red<br />

flags...The district cannot allow its schools<br />

to be used as recruiting grounds for churches<br />

during the school day.”<br />

The matter was given to the school board<br />

which ruled that the local minister would<br />

no longer be allowed to meet with students<br />

on school property during the school day.<br />

Air Force Major Cleared <strong>of</strong> Wrongdoing After Leaving Bible Open<br />

The Military Religious Freedom<br />

Foundation (MRFF) recently filed a<br />

letter <strong>of</strong> complaint asking for disciplinary<br />

action against an Air Force major who left an<br />

open Bible on his desk.<br />

The complaint stated that the <strong>of</strong>ficer<br />

left a yellow-highlighted Bible “displayed<br />

front and center, quite prominently” in an<br />

open <strong>of</strong>fice work environment. It went on<br />

to say, “The egregious constitutional and<br />

Department <strong>of</strong> Defense regulatory violations<br />

<strong>of</strong> such a brazen display <strong>of</strong> sectarian<br />

Christian triumphalism and exceptionalism<br />

have been noted by many United States Air<br />

Force members through the years.” The<br />

complaint demanded that the Bible be kept<br />

out <strong>of</strong> sight and for his own personal use<br />

saying, “MRFF now demands that you order<br />

this Major Steve Lewis to immediately take<br />

down his Christian biblical display from his<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficial United States Air Force desktop.”<br />

The complaint also went so far as demand<br />

that, “pending the results <strong>of</strong> the investigation,<br />

both he and his direct supervisor,<br />

Colonel Lisa Johnson, be swiftly, visibly<br />

and aggressively punished for allowing this<br />

long-running, repulsive violation <strong>of</strong> USAF<br />

regulations and bedrock Constitutional law<br />

to fatally poison the Command Climate in<br />

the RNSSI.”<br />

Despite these claims <strong>of</strong> constitutional violations,<br />

Lt. Col. David Fruck announced, “We<br />

In 2014, the Freedom from Religion<br />

Foundation (FFRF) issued a letter <strong>of</strong> complaint<br />

regarding the prayers led by an attorney<br />

and local citizen in the courtroom. In their<br />

complaint, the FFRF states, “It is a fundamental<br />

principle <strong>of</strong> Establishment Clause jurisprudence<br />

that the government may not in any<br />

way promote, advance or otherwise endorse<br />

religion. It would appear to any reasonable<br />

observer that the Montgomery County judicial<br />

system [is] endorsing religion in general<br />

and Christianity in particular.”<br />

The attorney general <strong>of</strong> Texas has upheld<br />

the prayer practice by noting that religious<br />

leaders <strong>of</strong> all faiths are welcome to lead a<br />

have concluded that no abuse <strong>of</strong> liberties has<br />

occurred. Therefore, Maj. Lewis is allowed to<br />

have his Bible on his desk if he wishes.”<br />

Sonny Hernandez, an Air Force chaplain<br />

at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, wrote<br />

an article regarding the matter saying, “I<br />

want to personally thank Major Steve Lewis<br />

for displaying his Bible replete with yellow<br />

highlighted verses, as I do all <strong>of</strong> the time.<br />

Major Lewis has a constitutional right to<br />

embrace his sincerely held theological convictions<br />

without anyone abridging his free<br />

exercise <strong>of</strong> religion.”<br />

Texas AG Upholds Ruling Allowing Chaplains to Open Court in Prayer<br />

prayer. This decision was also upheld on the<br />

basis <strong>of</strong> past legal precedent.<br />

11 PERSECU ION.org<br />

NOVEMBER 2015<br />


Cross in the Seal <strong>of</strong> Lehigh<br />

County, PA, Will Remain<br />

In another Freedom from Religion<br />

Foundation (FFRF) lawsuit to remove<br />

Christian symbols from the public eye, the<br />

atheist group has now targeted the cross in<br />

the seal <strong>of</strong> Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.<br />

The group had issued two prior letters <strong>of</strong><br />

complaint over the cross in the seal, and has<br />

now filed suit.<br />

According to a statement from the c<strong>of</strong>ounder<br />

<strong>of</strong> the atheist group, Annie Laurie<br />

Gaylor, “Lehigh County is not a Christian<br />

county; it should be equally welcoming to<br />

all its citizens regardless <strong>of</strong> their religion or<br />

their reject <strong>of</strong> religion.”<br />

Lehigh County <strong>of</strong>ficials have stated that<br />

the cross holds historical significance for<br />

the county and does not serve as an endorsement<br />

<strong>of</strong> religion.<br />

In addition, members <strong>of</strong> the public contacted<br />

the county board in support <strong>of</strong> keeping<br />

the cross in their county seal. The<br />

commissioners voted unanimously to retain<br />

the cross and to communicate this decision<br />

to the FRFF.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Ten Commandments Monument<br />

Will Remain Outside Maryland<br />

Courthouse<br />

T<br />

his<br />

past March, Jeffrey Davis, a humanist<br />

who objected to a Ten Commandments<br />

monument outside <strong>of</strong> a Maryland courthouse,<br />

filed a federal lawsuit to have the monument<br />

removed. Davis filed the suit saying that he<br />

deemed the monument unconstitutional.<br />

The lawsuit stated, “Plaintiff believes that<br />

the monument represents only one particular<br />

religious point <strong>of</strong> view and therefore sends<br />

a message <strong>of</strong> exclusion to those who do not<br />

adhere to that particular religion (Christianity),<br />

in violation <strong>of</strong> the US Constitution. Plaintiff<br />

does not want to have exposure to the monument<br />

on government property in the future.”<br />

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a legal<br />

group defending the monument, filed a motion<br />

asking for the case to be dismissed. ADF’s<br />

motion reads, “His broad stroke recitation<br />

<strong>of</strong> the elements <strong>of</strong> an Establishment Clause<br />

claim does not survive Van Orden, where the<br />

Supreme Court made abundantly clear that the<br />

presence <strong>of</strong> a Ten Commandments monument<br />

identical to the one at issue here – indeed, one<br />

that, like here, was donated by the Eagles –<br />

on public lands is not itself a violation <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Establishment Clause.”<br />

In August, Davis sent a letter to the US<br />

District Court stating his decision to drop the<br />

case against the monument, although he did<br />

not detail his reasoning and declined to speak<br />

to press about the decision.<br />

Newspaper Advertisement<br />

Rejected Over the Word<br />

“Christian”<br />

I<br />

n<br />

Tennessee, a local bookstore, Cedar<br />

Springs Christian Store, recently tried<br />

to place an advertisement in the Knoxville<br />

News Sentinel classified section. However,<br />

the Sentinel refused to print the ad saying<br />

that they deemed the ad <strong>of</strong>fensive for containing<br />

the word “Christian.”<br />

The advertisement read: “Store closing<br />

sale – Cedar Springs Christian Store –<br />

Clinton Highway location – All merchandise,<br />

fixtures, slat walls must go. Sale<br />

through August 13.” After seeing that their<br />

ad did not run on their requested days, the<br />

owner <strong>of</strong> the store made an inquiry to the<br />

paper. The owner states that the “ad did<br />

not run because it contained an <strong>of</strong>fensive<br />

word. I asked what that <strong>of</strong>fensive word<br />

was and she said the <strong>of</strong>fensive word was<br />

‘Christian.’” The newspaper did not notify<br />

the owners that the ad was rejected, nor did<br />

they refund the owners’ money.<br />

The owners, feeling this response was a<br />

“slap in the face” to Christians, published<br />

a Facebook post entitled, “Do you find the<br />

word ‘Christian’ <strong>of</strong>fensive?” An outcry <strong>of</strong><br />

public support for the bookstore ensued,<br />

and the Knoxville News Sentinel issued an<br />

apology for any “misunderstanding about<br />

their stance on Christianity.” They ran the<br />

ad at no extra charge.<br />


West Watch<br />

Pure Flix Denied Advertising Space for “God’s<br />

Not Dead 2” at Republican National Convention<br />

The Christian media entertainment<br />

company Pure Flix,<br />

known for films like God’s Not<br />

Dead, Woodlawn, and Do You<br />

Believe, was denied advertising<br />

space outside the Republican<br />

National Convention to promote<br />

the release <strong>of</strong> God’s Not Dead 2.<br />

Pure Flix planned to display a large<br />

banner on a building in downtown<br />

Cleveland with a quote from actress<br />

Melissa Joan Hart. The advertising<br />

company rejected the display due<br />

to the words, “judged by God,”<br />

on the banner, stating that the term<br />

was “too political” and “way too<br />

incendiary.” The CEO <strong>of</strong> Pure<br />

Flix, Steve Fedyski, was quoted,<br />

saying, “They dragged us along<br />

for weeks. Now, right up against<br />

the convention date, they say we<br />

aren’t approved, and they give us<br />

no logical rationale.” Wisconsinbased<br />

atheist group Freedom<br />

from Religion Foundation was<br />

able to display a billboard quoting<br />

President Ronald Reagan regarding<br />

no establishment <strong>of</strong> religion. The<br />

company attempted to work with<br />

Pure Flix for an alternate location;<br />

however, both sides decided to part<br />

ways after the original denial.<br />

Christian Flag Removed from Georgia<br />

Courthouse after Complaint<br />

The Bryan County Courthouse<br />

in Pembroke, Georgia,<br />

removed a Christian flag which<br />

had been situated in the corner<br />

by the judge’s bench after an<br />

atheist group filed a complaint.<br />

The Freedom from Religion<br />

Foundation (FFRF), known for<br />

its activism against religionbased<br />

cases, took up the issue<br />

when it was revealed that the<br />

easily recognizable red Latin<br />

cross affixed upon a blue and<br />

white background was in a government<br />

facility. According to<br />

the FFRF, the presence <strong>of</strong> the<br />

flag was in clear violation <strong>of</strong><br />

the Constitution’s Establishment<br />

clause which states, “Congress<br />

shall make no law respecting<br />

an establishment <strong>of</strong> religion or<br />

prohibiting the free exercise<br />

there<strong>of</strong>.” To avoid legal troubles,<br />

local attorney Leamon Holliday<br />

advised that the flag be removed.<br />

The FFRF has been both vocal<br />

and visible in many states advocating<br />

for the removal <strong>of</strong> religious<br />

symbols in public and private<br />

spaces in recent months.<br />

Scripture Decal On Kansas Police Vehicle Targeted by<br />

Freedom from Religion Foundation<br />

The Harper Police Department came under<br />

fire from an atheist group over one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

police vehicles displaying a scriptural decal<br />

on the tailgate.<br />

The Freedom from Religion Foundation<br />

(FFRF) responded to an anonymous complaint<br />

from a local resident in the small<br />

community <strong>of</strong> 1,400 people who believed<br />

the department to be in violation <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Establishment Clause to the United States<br />

Constitution.<br />

The decal referenced Romans 13:4, which<br />

states, “For the one in authority is God’s<br />

servant for your good. But if you do wrong,<br />

be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for<br />

no reason. They are God’s servants, agents <strong>of</strong><br />

wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer”<br />

(NIV).<br />

Since the complaint was filed, the police<br />

department has removed the decal from the<br />

vehicle so as to avoid any legal trouble stemming<br />

from the controversy.<br />

Some local residents consider the case to be<br />

inconsequential compared to other issues at<br />

hand. The FFRF has raised issue with many<br />

religious-based cases in recent months.<br />

The case <strong>of</strong> the Harper Police Department<br />

has parallels to a case in Brewster County,<br />

Texas. Brewster County had previously displayed<br />

a Latin cross decal in the rear section<br />

<strong>of</strong> their patrol vehicles.<br />

The FFRF was involved in this case as well,<br />

leading to the removal <strong>of</strong> the decals in June<br />

<strong>2016</strong>, despite an intercession by Texas governor<br />

Greg Abbott in favor <strong>of</strong> the decals.<br />

13 PERSECU ION.org<br />

NOVEMBER <strong>2016</strong><br />


West Watch<br />

Two ISIS-Inspired French Residents Murder 85-Year-Old Priest During Mass<br />

Two weeks after the Nice terror attack earlier<br />

this year that claimed the lives <strong>of</strong> 84<br />

people, there was an attack inside a Catholic<br />

church in northern France. Two ISIS-inspired<br />

individuals entered the church during Tuesday<br />

mass and slit the throat <strong>of</strong> 85-year-old Reverend<br />

Jacques Hamel. One attacker, identified as Adel<br />

Kermiche, previously attempted to travel to<br />

Syria in 2015 before he was arrested by French<br />

authorities. After spending nearly one year in<br />

confinement, authorities released him early<br />

in <strong>2016</strong> with restrictions upon his movement<br />

including a tracking bracelet. A nun who was<br />

there during the attack reported that the attackers<br />

screamed, “Allahu Akbar” which means “God is<br />

Great” in Arabic. The murder <strong>of</strong> the priest was<br />

filmed by the attackers.<br />

Local residents and fellow priests described him<br />

as a grandfather figure to the community. According<br />

to those present, Rev. Hamel’s final words while<br />

attempting to push away the terrorists were, “Be<br />

gone Satan!” France has been riddled with terror<br />

attacks in recent years, with the first major attack<br />

being the massacre at the <strong>of</strong>fice <strong>of</strong> the satirical<br />

magazine Charlie Hebdo. Since then, France experienced<br />

a large-scale attack in <strong>November</strong> 2015 with<br />

deaths <strong>of</strong> over 184 people spread across three major<br />

locations in Paris. In July <strong>2016</strong>, the Bastille Day<br />

celebration in Nice was terrorized by an Algerianborn<br />

terrorist who drove through a crowd in a truck<br />

shooting indiscriminately and killing 84 people<br />

before he was killed by police. While the murder <strong>of</strong><br />

Rev. Hamel was small in comparison, it is one <strong>of</strong><br />

the more frightening events. It is also the first terror<br />

attack in France directly targeting an individual for<br />

his Christian faith.<br />

Colorado Pastor’s Long-Standing Contract with<br />

City Denied Renewal after Complaint<br />

Controversy has ensued in<br />

Colorado Springs, CO, after<br />

a complaint was filed over certain<br />

public transit bus benches<br />

that state “Jesus is Lord.” Pastor<br />

Lawson Perdue <strong>of</strong> the Charis<br />

Christian Center has had a longstanding<br />

contract with the city to<br />

purchase advertising space on 20<br />

bus stop benches.<br />

However, after the complaint<br />

was filed, the city decided not to<br />

renew his contract. The city has<br />

begun to conduct a review <strong>of</strong> the<br />

advertising policy as a result <strong>of</strong> the<br />

complaint, which was made based<br />

upon the Establishment Clause <strong>of</strong><br />

the US Constitution. According<br />

to Perdue, the city transit agency<br />

informed him that if they were to<br />

allow Jesus to be advertised, they<br />

would be required to allow hate<br />

speech advertisements as well.<br />

Perdue is currently weighing his<br />

options on whether to file a free<br />

speech lawsuit against the city <strong>of</strong><br />

Colorado Springs.<br />

Iowa Man Charged with Terrorism for Threatening<br />

Pastor During Church Service<br />

According to reports, an Iowa<br />

man faces charges <strong>of</strong> terrorism<br />

for threatening to kill a<br />

local pastor during a Sunday service.<br />

David Flores-Marroquin,<br />

age 25, threatened the pastor<br />

<strong>of</strong> Community Bible Chapel in<br />

Sioux City on two separate occasions.<br />

The first incident happened on a<br />

Saturday when he was seen cutting<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


himself with a knife and smearing<br />

blood on the stairs <strong>of</strong> the church.<br />

He threatened the pastor with the<br />

knife after he was asked to leave<br />

the premises.<br />

The second event occurred<br />

the following afternoon when he<br />

entered the service, threatening the<br />

pastor with a BB gun. The pastor<br />

again asked him to leave the premises.<br />

Local authorities were called<br />

Controversy and outcry<br />

ensued after a video clip was<br />

posted <strong>of</strong> the son <strong>of</strong> a Muslim<br />

cleric in Belgium calling on<br />

Allah and Muslims to kill all<br />

displaced Christians. Radical<br />

cleric Imam Sheikh Alami had<br />

been scheduled for deportation<br />

by Belgian authorities pending a<br />

court appeal.<br />

to intervene. Flores-Marroquin is<br />

currently charged with felony terrorism<br />

and assault while displaying<br />

a dangerous weapon. Similar<br />

instances have occurred throughout<br />

the country as a man set a<br />

church building on fire in Pittsburg,<br />

California, and an Islamic-inspired<br />

man attempted to kill members<br />

<strong>of</strong> Corinth Missionary Baptist<br />

Church in Bullard, Texas.<br />

Belgian Teenager Posts Video Clip Calling Muslims<br />

and Allah to Kill All Displaced Christians<br />

Alami was issued a deportation<br />

order because <strong>of</strong> his rhetoric<br />

inciting individuals to join the<br />

battle in Syria.<br />

It appears that his message to<br />

join jihad was not merely for<br />

foreign fighters, but also for his<br />

own children, as his 16-yearold<br />

son echoed the sentiment in<br />

the video.<br />

The timing <strong>of</strong> the translation<br />

<strong>of</strong> the video raised fear among<br />

European intelligence <strong>of</strong>ficials<br />

and the general public, as it coincided<br />

with the murder <strong>of</strong> French<br />

priest Jacques Hamel who was<br />

killed during mass by two ISISinspired<br />

men.<br />


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Keep the next generation <strong>of</strong><br />

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