January 2017 Persecution Magazine

ICC's Hall of Shame Awards 2016

ICC's Hall of Shame Awards 2016


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JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


I will not persecute!<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not perse<br />

ICC’s Hall<br />

of Shame<br />

Awards 2016<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Table of Contents<br />

In This Issue:<br />


14 | ICC’s Hall of Shame Awards<br />

2016<br />

The Hall of Shame: From the “Worst<br />

of the Worst” to the “New and Noteworthy.”<br />


26 | On the Edge: <strong>Persecution</strong><br />

in India<br />

An overview of increased Christian<br />

persecution in India and how the<br />

rise of “social boycotts” has affected<br />

Christian communities in Chhattisgarh<br />

and Tamil Nadu.<br />


32 | ICC Advocacy: India<br />

ICC’s advocacy team works tirelessly<br />

to inform members of the US government<br />

with facts, data, and testimonies.<br />


34 | Assisting India<br />

ICC is aiding victims of social<br />

boycotts in India on a personal and<br />

community level, and you can get<br />

involved.<br />

PHOTOS<br />

38 | Crisscrossing India<br />

See more of ICC’s work with families,<br />

villages, and communities in India.<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not perse<br />

14<br />

Regular Features<br />

3 Letter from the President<br />

A few words from ICC’s president, Jeff<br />

King, on ICC’s Hall of Shame.<br />

4 World News<br />

A snapshot of the persecution that<br />

impacts our brothers and sisters daily, in<br />

every corner of the world.<br />

8 Your Dollars at Work<br />

Learn how your gifts are providing<br />

comfort, relief, Bibles, education and<br />

vocational training to the persecuted.<br />

12 Volunteers<br />

Learn how members of ICC’s volunteer<br />

teams are making an impact in their<br />

communities for the persecuted.<br />

30<br />

33 34<br />

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President’s Letter<br />

“Tell the truth and shame the devil”<br />

Francois Rabelais (d. 1553)<br />

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not<br />

what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the<br />

darkness at bay.”<br />

Gandalf speaking to the Lady of Lorien about Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit”<br />

by JR Tolkien<br />

There is an ongoing wrestling match in persecution ministry about how to deal<br />

with different cases of imprisoned Christians. Do you shout from the rooftops<br />

and embarrass the offending country? Or, do you simply pray and work quietly<br />

behind the scenes?<br />

Jeff King, President<br />

International Christian Concern<br />

The most frustrating thing is that there is no consistently right answer. Each case is different. In some cases we shout loudly<br />

but in other cases, that would be counterproductive in either the short or long term (or both) and therefore we work quietly.<br />

In general though, I lean towards exposing evil since evil loves the dark and hides from the light. My typical summation of<br />

this biblical truth is, “Turn on the lights and the roaches will scatter.”<br />

It is in that context that we are releasing our Hall of Shame awards, which you will find within.<br />

This year, we’ve arranged the list into three sections as opposed to a strict ranking of one-to-ten. No matter what methodology<br />

we have used in the past, a one-to-ten ranking, while “sticky” with the press, has in the end tended to be extremely<br />

subjective and has caused many long debates and internal philosophical wrestling matches that take away from our core work<br />

to build and bandage the persecuted Church.<br />

In one section, “New and Noteworthy,” you will see that we led with the United States. Let me be the first to say we are<br />

not trying to say that what Christians experience in the US is the same as in countries with heavy persecution. We are saying<br />

that the trend has gone on long enough and the cases are serious enough (especially in terms of precedent) that we felt<br />

compelled to sound the alert.<br />

Behind each section and country listed in the report, there are individuals who have been targeted and many who are feeling<br />

immense pain. It is our heart to stand up for them, act as a witness to their suffering, and present it to a world that would<br />

prefer to forget them.<br />

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sincere care for your brother and sister. The Lord’s eyes and heart are on<br />

these precious ones on the front lines and I’m pretty sure He is immensely pleased as a parent when we care for them, act in<br />

unity, and ease the pain He feels since it is His body!<br />

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

I promise!<br />

Jeff King<br />

President<br />

International Christian Concern<br />

www.persecution.org<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



News<br />

6<br />

2<br />

7<br />

1<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

Government<br />

Shuts Down<br />

Prayer Vigil<br />

Christians on Trial for Alleged Forced<br />

Conversions<br />

1 | NEPAL Religious freedom has significantly declined in<br />

Nepal since the creation of their new constitution in 2015.<br />

Although Nepal claims to be a secular democracy, the new<br />

constitution includes a clause which effectively outlaws<br />

evangelism as well as religious conversion. Several local<br />

Christians are now paying the price for these new restrictions.<br />

Eight Christians were recently charged with attempted<br />

conversion while handing out Christian literature in<br />

schools shortly after the 2015 earthquake. Six of those<br />

arrested were distributing the materials while the other<br />

two were a principal and a pastor who were involved in<br />

organizing the distribution.<br />

Several organizations have spoken out regarding this<br />

case, urging for all charges to be dropped against these<br />

eight aid workers. Furthermore, with long-term repercussions<br />

in mind, many have called for the Nepalese constitution<br />

to be amended in order to better protect human rights.<br />

Unless these restrictions are amended, religious freedom<br />

will quickly be choked out of Nepal, forcing Christians<br />

to forfeit the right to openly share their faith with others.<br />

Christian Writer Murdered for<br />

Blasphemous Cartoon<br />

2 | JORDAN On September 25, Nahed Hattar, a Christian<br />

writer in Jordan, was murdered outside of a courthouse<br />

for sharing a “blasphemous” cartoon depicting the prophet<br />

Muhammad. Hattar was initially arrested in August 2016<br />

because of the cartoon and faced charges of “contempt of<br />

religion” and “inciting sectarian strife.”<br />

This case not only highlights the injustice of blasphemy<br />

laws as a whole, but also reflects the deadly consequences<br />

of extrajudicial responses to matters that should be settled<br />

in a courtroom. Although Jordan is commonly viewed as<br />

a moderately Muslim nation, extrajudicial actions almost<br />

always lead to tragedy.<br />

In countries throughout the Middle East and South Asia,<br />

it is not uncommon for radicals to take the law into their<br />

own hands, carrying out violence in the form of beatings,<br />

church destruction, and, in this case, murder. Even if they<br />

are not legally prosecuted, Christians who are accused of<br />

blasphemy in Pakistan<br />

are often forced into hiding<br />

due to fear of such<br />

violence.<br />

Part of this issue<br />

stems from the mere<br />

existence of blasphemy<br />

laws. Since the government<br />

outlaws blasphemy,<br />

radicals are often able to<br />

justify their violence and<br />

use these laws to avoid<br />

any penalty. These unjust<br />

laws must be removed<br />

in order to avoid further<br />

violence like this inexcusable<br />

murder.<br />

3 | NICARAGUA The<br />

Alianza Evangelica<br />

Nicaraguenze<br />

(Evangelical Alliance<br />

of Nicaragua) was<br />

recently denied the<br />

use of a communal<br />

plaza for a prayer<br />

vigil. The Nicaraguan<br />

government rejected<br />

the group’s request<br />

to meet in the plaza<br />

during the months<br />

of September and<br />

October.<br />

In light of this<br />

recent rejection, it is<br />

noteworthy to mention<br />

that the plaza<br />

was originally opened<br />

in 2008 for the purpose<br />

of hosting religious<br />

ceremonies and<br />

prayer meetings.<br />

Some have speculated<br />

that the government<br />

denied the request<br />

because of Nicaragua’s<br />

November elections, in<br />

an effort to avoid public<br />

conflicts. However,<br />

with Nicaragua’s<br />

evangelical community<br />

growing to approximately<br />

50 percent of<br />

the population, this<br />

rejection remains surprising.<br />

This decision follows<br />

the implementation<br />

of a new policy<br />

which places stricter<br />

regulations on foreign<br />

missionaries wishing<br />

to enter the country.<br />

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Boko Haram Releases 21 of the Kidnapped Chibok Girls<br />

4 | NIGERIA On October 13, Boko Haram released 21 of the captive Chibok schoolgirls as part of a prisoner exchange. These girls were part of a<br />

group of 276 girls who were abducted in Nigeria by Boko Haram militants more than two years ago in April 2014. While we celebrate the return<br />

of these young women, we recognize the difficulties they will surely face as they attempt to return to a sense of normalcy.<br />

Church Denied the Right to Exist<br />

5 | INDONESIA The mayor of a town in Indonesia has<br />

forced a Christian church to suspend religious activity<br />

because they did not have the necessary building<br />

permit required to legally operate. The mayor justified<br />

the decision by saying that “strong protests” broke out<br />

in response to the construction of this church. This reasoning<br />

only emboldens the radical Muslim community<br />

to act out in hatred toward the Christian community in<br />

the future.<br />

Unfortunately, the process of obtaining proper documentation<br />

blocks many Christians from freely meeting as<br />

a church. The process can take several years and many<br />

are still denied at the end of the process due to local<br />

authorities who are opposed to the spread of Christianity.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


At Least 20<br />

Churches<br />

Destroyed in<br />

Airstrikes<br />

6 | SYRIA According<br />

to Russian government<br />

officials, at least<br />

20 churches have been<br />

reduced to rubble in<br />

Aleppo, Syria, due<br />

to ongoing airstrikes.<br />

Aleppo, which has<br />

now evolved into a significant<br />

location in the<br />

Syrian civil war, used<br />

to have a predominantly<br />

Christian population;<br />

however, recent<br />

estimates indicate that<br />

there are likely less than<br />

30,000 local Christians<br />

remaining. Those still<br />

trapped in Aleppo are<br />

suffering from violence,<br />

disease, and limited<br />

access to necessities such<br />

as food and medical care.<br />

Eleven Christian Television Stations<br />

Declared Illegal<br />

7 | PAKISTAN As part of a recent crackdown on media<br />

outlets, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory<br />

Authority deemed 11 Christian television networks<br />

illegal. Ten of the channels that were banned were<br />

Protestant Christian networks, in addition to one<br />

Catholic channel. Multiple Christian leaders in the area<br />

have spoken out against this new development and have<br />

called upon the government to explain their reasoning.<br />

Some of the banned networks have been broadcasting<br />

the Gospel via television for up to 17 years.<br />

In the predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan,<br />

Christians and other religious minorities are often<br />

excluded from society and do not receive the same<br />

protection and rights that others receive.<br />


News<br />

6<br />

5<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

In addition to the<br />

killings, attackers<br />

burned homes and<br />

businesses.<br />

Anniversary of Charlie Hebdo Riots<br />

1 | NIGER On <strong>January</strong> 16, ICC and the Christian community<br />

around the world are recognizing the second anniversary<br />

of the anti-Christian riots that swept Niger. Violent<br />

protests broke out throughout Niger a few days following<br />

the Charlie Hebdo murders in France in 2015. During<br />

the France attack, radical Muslim gunmen stormed the<br />

offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, after they<br />

published a cartoon depicting Muhammad. In the Muslim<br />

faith, this is considered blasphemy, which led the gunmen<br />

to murder 12 people and injure many more.<br />

In what was also reported to be a response to the Charlie<br />

Hebdo “blasphemy,” radicals began attacking the minority<br />

Christian community of Niger. However, local Christians<br />

believe that the Charlie Hebdo incident was simply used<br />

as justification for violence that had been planned well<br />

in advance. The attackers were simply waiting for an<br />

opportune time to strike. All in all, dozens of churches and<br />

homes were razed, countless Christians were displaced,<br />

and up to 10 people were killed during the attacks.<br />

Although the dust has settled, persecution and discrimination<br />

unfortunately continue to affect Christians<br />

living in Niger. This<br />

country has generally<br />

been seen as a peaceful<br />

place for Christians<br />

and Muslims to coexist,<br />

but the riots represent<br />

a concerning,<br />

underlying sense of<br />

hostility.<br />

While the Christian<br />

community continues<br />

to recover from these<br />

devastating riots, we<br />

must continue to support<br />

our brothers and<br />

sisters in prayer. In<br />

this country where less<br />

than five percent of<br />

the population claims<br />

Christianity, we must<br />

remind them that they<br />

are not facing these trials<br />

alone.<br />

Boko Haram Kills Two Christians<br />

2 | NIGERIA In late September, Boko Haram militants<br />

murdered at least two people after attacking two villages<br />

in Nigeria’s northeastern region. The attacks took place<br />

in the predominantly Christian villages of Kuburumbula<br />

and Boftari in the Chibok region. According to local<br />

reports, the man who was killed in Boftari was tied up<br />

and murdered in front of his wife and children.<br />

In addition to the killings, attackers caused untold<br />

damage by burning homes and destroying businesses.<br />

These attacks took place only a week after Boko Haram<br />

militants killed at least eight Christians in another village.<br />

While the Nigerian military has been persistent in<br />

fighting Boko Haram, the need still remains for greater<br />

protection for the vulnerable Christian community. The<br />

attacks are indicative that Boko Haram is holding true<br />

to their recent declaration that they would focus their<br />

attention on specifically targeting Christians. This new<br />

strategy was revealed in an interview between ISIS’s<br />

Al-Naba magazine and Boko Haram’s leader, Abu<br />

Musab al-Barnawi.<br />

The loss of life is painful in and of itself, but particularly<br />

tragic in light of the location. The Chibok area<br />

suffered a mass kidnapping in April 2014 when 276 primarily<br />

Christian girls were abducted. While some have<br />

escaped or been released through prisoner exchanges,<br />

countless families are still grieving the absence of their<br />

daughters.<br />

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Group of Christians Attacked by Mob for Distributing Literature<br />

3 | INDIA According to reports, three Christians were violently beaten by a mob of Hindu radicals who accused the Christians of attempting to<br />

convert Hindus. The accusation arose because a pastor and two members of his church were distributing religious pamphlets when they were<br />

approached by their attackers. The pastor, who was beaten the most severely, was left unconscious until someone noticed him and brought him to<br />

the hospital to receive medical attention.<br />

Since the rise to power of Prime Minister Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), violence and discrimination against Christians have sharply increased<br />

throughout India. When the government does not denounce religious persecution, persecutors view this as a free pass to continue and attacks only worsen.<br />

Missionary Released from Prison<br />

4 | CHINA Following two years of detention, a Canadian missionary<br />

named Kevin Garrett was recently released from a Chinese prison.<br />

He and his wife, who served near the North Korean border by distributing<br />

humanitarian aid, were initially arrested in 2014 after officials<br />

accused them of espionage. One year after their arrest, Kevin’s<br />

wife, Julia, was released on bail. However, Kevin was not released<br />

until a recent visit to China from the Canadian prime minister, Justin<br />

Trudeau. Kevin Garrett finally returned to Canada in mid-September<br />

and offered many thanks to the Canadian government for playing an<br />

instrumental role in his release.<br />

Members of Congress Write Mexican Government<br />

5 | MEXICO On September 12, thirteen members of Congress wrote a<br />

letter to the Mexican attorney general to support religious minorities<br />

who are facing persecution. The letter referenced more than 150 cases<br />

of persecution, ranging from five to 150 victims per case.<br />

ICC has been actively involved in bringing attention to the often<br />

overlooked issue of Christians suffering for their faith in this traditionally<br />

Catholic nation. However, as incidents continue to mount, it is clear<br />

that Christians, especially those who leave syncretistic Catholicism,<br />

may be at risk, particularly in the rural regions of Mexico.<br />

Appeal Rejected for<br />

American Pastor Charged<br />

Under Anti-Terror Law<br />

6 | RUSSIA As previously reported,<br />

American pastor Donald Ossewaarde<br />

was found guilty under Russia’s<br />

recently implemented “Yarovaya”<br />

laws. These laws, which were created<br />

for the purpose of combatting terrorism,<br />

also include harsh restrictions on<br />

missionary activity. The new restrictions<br />

demand that religious “rituals<br />

and ceremonies” be conducted only<br />

when proper government authorization<br />

is granted. Punishment for violating<br />

these restrictions can range<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


from hefty fines to the deportation of<br />

foreign missionaries.<br />

Following his initial conviction,<br />

Ossewaarde decided to appeal the ruling<br />

despite being advised otherwise.<br />

During the appeals hearing, prosecutors<br />

attempted to connect the pastor<br />

to a US-based missions organization.<br />

Ossewaarde has stated that he does<br />

not work for the organization and<br />

has no intention of coercing people to<br />

join this organization. Unfortunately,<br />

even after further testimony was presented,<br />

his September 30 appeal was<br />

denied. However, Ossewaarde has<br />

vowed to continue the appeals process<br />

as far as possible.<br />


Your Dollar$ at Work<br />

Children in Nigerian IDP Camp<br />

Receive the Gift of Education<br />

Suffering Wives and Children<br />

Violent attacks from Boko Haram, an<br />

extremist Islamic militant group in<br />

Nigeria, have displaced a huge population<br />

of Christians from the northeastern region<br />

of the country. Churches, homes and other<br />

means of livelihood have been destroyed.<br />

Christian communities have been severely<br />

affected and many members of these<br />

communities have fled to wherever they<br />

can find refuge. Unfortunately, refugee and<br />

internally displaced people (IDP) camps are<br />

often ill-equipped to take care of all of the<br />

needs of those living there. One such IDP<br />

camp has housed approximately 80 households<br />

from the region impacted by Boko<br />

Haram for the past two years.<br />

The smallest and most<br />

innocent members of<br />

this IDP camp are the<br />

children.<br />

The smallest and most innocent members<br />

of this IDP camp are the children. As a<br />

result of being forced to flee their homes,<br />

they were left without a place to go to<br />

school and were deprived of an education.<br />

Getting an education is more than learning<br />

to do math or read a book. It is a path<br />

towards bettering oneself and becoming a<br />

responsible member of society. Recognizing<br />

the deep need that these children had for a<br />

quality education, ICC stepped in to provide<br />

teachers and learning materials, such as<br />

computers and furniture, so that each child<br />

would be given the opportunity to go to<br />

school. ICC is also committed to recruiting<br />

the best teachers and administrators to provide<br />

the best learning environment possible<br />

for each child. Because of your donations,<br />

120 school-aged children at the camp will<br />

get the education that they deserve.<br />

ICC hopes that each family will one day<br />

be able to return safely home. Until then,<br />

they can be confident that their children are<br />

learning and growing.<br />

8 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


Fried Food<br />

Funds<br />

Fellowship<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

In December 2015, a group of Christians<br />

in Indonesia was forced to stop using their<br />

normal meeting place, a hotel ballroom, after a<br />

radical group pressured the hotel into refusing<br />

space to the church. As a result, the church not<br />

only suffered from dwindling attendance, but<br />

suffered financially as well. The congregation<br />

simply did not have the resources to provide for<br />

the church or the pastor’s family.<br />

ICC stepped in to assist this pastor and his<br />

church by providing funds to start a small<br />

business selling fried food to help supplement<br />

church expenses. The pastor expressed his<br />

thanks, saying, “No matter how difficult our situation,<br />

knowing someone [is] not only praying<br />

but even helping us and the church really means<br />

a lot to us here.” Now, despite various setbacks,<br />

this church will continue to serve its community<br />

without the burden of financial stress.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Food for<br />

Victims of<br />

Taliban Attack<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

Last September, four heavily armed<br />

terrorists attacked a Christian neighborhood<br />

in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing<br />

a Christian man and damaging dozens<br />

of homes. Soon after the incident, ICC<br />

surveyed the neighborhood to assess the<br />

damage and provide food packages to<br />

each of the 12 Christian families affected<br />

by the attack. ICC will also continue to<br />

help each family with repair work on<br />

their homes.<br />

In addition, the families of four Muslim<br />

security guards who were injured in their<br />

effort to protect the Christian neighborhood<br />

were given food packages. Without<br />

the brave efforts of these security guards,<br />

damages to the Christian neighborhood<br />

could have been much worse.<br />

Medical<br />

Assistance to<br />

Gunshot Victim<br />

Hand of Hope<br />

J<br />

ohn Muriuki sustained gunshot wounds<br />

to his hands during an Al-Shabaab attack<br />

targeting Christians in July 2015. Left disabled<br />

from his injuries, Muriuki desperately needed<br />

medical attention. The government covered<br />

his initial treatment at Kenyatta National<br />

Hospital. He then learned that the metal plates<br />

in his hands needed to be realigned, but the<br />

government did not cover this expense.<br />

Due to these injuries, Muriuki was unable<br />

to work and provide for his wife and four<br />

children. Recognizing his serious need, ICC<br />

stepped in and covered his medical expenses,<br />

restoring full use of his hands. Muriuki has<br />

forgiven his attackers, saying, “If I got an<br />

opportunity to speak with them, I would<br />

preach to them the good news of salvation,<br />

peace, and respect for human life because life<br />

matters to God.”<br />


Financial Aid<br />

Underground Pastors<br />

In the central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and<br />

Kyrgyzstan, the government has near total control over religious activities,<br />

making it extremely dangerous for pastors who live there.<br />

Last fall, ICC provided financial support to the families of pastors who<br />

had been arrested in Central Asia. Their wives were in desperate need<br />

of financial assistance, so ICC intervened to provide for each family on<br />

a monthly basis, covering various expenses such as utilities, food, and<br />

medical expenses for three families.<br />

One family with a son who has Down Syndrome is now able to provide<br />

for his medical expenses and transportation costs to and from the<br />

doctor. Each of the pastors’ wives expressed their thanks to ICC and its<br />

donors: “Our family thanks you for your love and attention, for your<br />

moral and material support. Let our Lord God bless you, our dear brothers<br />

and sisters!”<br />

Renewed Hope<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

C<br />

hristians living in Tamil Nadu, India, experienced an unforgettable<br />

incident. After leaving their church to evangelize, they<br />

returned to discover their church had been set on fire. The fire<br />

destroyed everything from Bibles and musical instruments, to communion<br />

items and the offering box. Worst of all, the church building<br />

was rendered unusable.<br />

In response, ICC provided construction materials in order to<br />

rebuild the torched church. For the Christians, rebuilding their<br />

church is more than just replacing a building. It is a show of strength<br />

and faith, renewing their hope that God will provide.<br />

The pastor of the church expressed his gratitude to ICC’s donors,<br />

saying, “After getting the first amount for construction from ICC,<br />

our faith grew stronger...and now it is clear that God has not left us.”<br />

Your Dollar$ at Work<br />

Healing after Attack<br />

Hand of Hope<br />

In February 2016, more than 40 villages in Agatu, a predominantly<br />

Christian region of Nigeria, were attacked by militant Fulani<br />

herdsmen. The Fulani militia killed more than 500 people, destroying<br />

everything in their path, including homes and farms.<br />

James Ikpoloho survived the attack, but sustained gunshot<br />

wounds resulting in severely damaged bones in his right leg. He was<br />

hospitalized in a rural clinic where he received surgery. However,<br />

he was in need of an additional operation due to the complex extent<br />

of his injuries. Without the surgery, Ikpoloho’s bones would never<br />

heal completely. With the help of generous donors, ICC funded his<br />

surgery, allowing him to heal and return to his normal life without<br />

pain or lasting damage.<br />

10 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


Aid for Iraqi Christians<br />

Community Rebuild<br />

Ten Christian families living in tents on their church’s property were<br />

in dire need of food. Most of the families fled Mosul, a city in<br />

Iraq that was overrun by ISIS, in search of safety. Leaving everything<br />

behind, they faced an uncertain future.<br />

Two years later, the families are still living in the same church yard<br />

where they originally sought refuge. The conflict in Iraq, and the poor<br />

economy as a result of it, has made finding a job impossible. Struggling<br />

for basic necessities, the families relied on the generosity of the church<br />

to keep them alive. Although the church was initially capable of providing<br />

each family with food, their ability to do so has diminished.<br />

ICC stepped in to provide food staples to those struggling for food<br />

on a daily basis. In addition, funds were given to the church in order to<br />

continue to provide food for the families after the initial food packages<br />

run out.<br />

“At the beginning, the church had helped us with food. Our suffering<br />

[started] when the church couldn’t cover basic needs for us; thank you<br />

for being faithful to deliver this food bag to us,” said a very grateful<br />

family member.<br />

In addition to food, this community needs prayer. One Christian<br />

asked for prayer for the medical needs of his wife, who has epilepsy,<br />

and his daughter, who needs leg surgery.<br />

Your Dollar$ at Work<br />

Aid to Sudanese Pastors<br />

Underground Pastors<br />

S<br />

outh Sudanese pastors, Peter and Michael, were arrested in<br />

Khartoum for preaching the Gospel. After eight months in prison,<br />

they were released and, for their own protection, decided to relocate<br />

their families to Kenya. The move forced both families to leave all they<br />

knew behind and find another means of survival in a new country. Peter<br />

and Michael struggled to provide for their wives and children.<br />

Recognizing the need for aid, ICC provided both families with food<br />

packages and covered their rent costs. Peter and Michael were also<br />

in need of financial aid to continue their theological schooling. ICC<br />

stepped in and paid for both pastors to continue to receive their education.<br />

Pastor Peter thanked ICC, saying, “Surely, the Lord has been with us.<br />

This is a testimony that God will never forsake us nor leave us.”<br />

Pastor Michael also expressed his gratitude. He said, “My family and<br />

I are so grateful for the good action of compassion you have shown us<br />

today.”<br />

It is through the help of generous donors that ICC was able to provide<br />

for these families who chose to leave their homes rather than continue<br />

to face persecution. Peter and Michael ask for prayer that God continues<br />

to provide for and heal their families of the hurt they have experienced.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



Volunteers<br />

Volunteers Take Part in<br />

International Day of Prayer 2016<br />

ICC Volunteer<br />

Firsts<br />

On November 6, 2016, Christians<br />

around the world gathered together in<br />

honor of International Day of Prayer for<br />

the Persecuted (IDOP). IDOP is a major<br />

yearly event for ICC. Volunteers all over<br />

the world offered their time, talents, and<br />

prayers to support those who are suffering<br />

for their faith. Activities varied greatly, but<br />

the foundation was always the same: to<br />

support those who are enduring hardships<br />

for their faith and shed light on Christian<br />

persecution.<br />

With ICC’s IDOP resource kit in hand,<br />

volunteers in many parts of the world<br />

set out to make a difference in the lives<br />

of those facing persecution. Some shared<br />

about persecution through radio ministries.<br />

Some preached the Gospel in areas where<br />

it is unsafe to openly share about Jesus.<br />

Some led sermons about persecution in<br />

their churches. Most importantly, many<br />

spent extra time in prayer, whether by themselves,<br />

with their families, or with their<br />

churches, praying for the persecuted.<br />

One volunteer in India gave a presentation<br />

in front of his church about the importance<br />

of IDOP before spending time in prayer. He<br />

reported that although his community has<br />

a significant Christian population, he feels<br />

that responsible Christians cannot remain<br />

silent and must share the Good News.<br />

IDOP is first and foremost a day to<br />

remember the persecuted in prayer; however,<br />

it is also a prime opportunity for<br />

volunteers to raise their voices on behalf<br />

of those who don’t have an opportunity to<br />

raise their own. By sharing the stories of the<br />

persecuted, whether through writing, social<br />

media, sermons, radio, or another manner,<br />

volunteers have shared countless stories<br />

that would usually go unheard. ICC’s volunteers<br />

are figuratively, and sometimes<br />

literally, standing side by side in solidarity<br />

with those who are facing injustice simply<br />

because of their Christian faith.<br />

“Whatever you did<br />

for one of the least<br />

of these brothers of<br />

mine, you did for Me.”<br />

– MATTHEW 25:40 (NIV)<br />

The third quarter of 2016 brought various<br />

firsts to ICC’s volunteer program.<br />

Most significantly, in alignment with ICC<br />

as a whole, the volunteer program supported<br />

the first annual The Bridge conference.<br />

Volunteers from around the world<br />

offered countless hours to help make this<br />

event a success. Whether they assisted<br />

with day-of operations, promoted the<br />

event in their churches, or pored over the<br />

conference in prayer, none of these efforts<br />

were wasted. Without the faithful dedication<br />

of many volunteers, this event simply<br />

would not have reached its full potential.<br />

The next milestone that took place in<br />

the volunteer program was the first ever<br />

volunteer conference call. Through an<br />

arranged meeting time, volunteers were<br />

able to speak one-one-one with ICC staff<br />

about issues facing the persecuted Church,<br />

specifically through the lens of ICC’s<br />

advocacy department. This direct channel<br />

to ICC staff allowed volunteers to get the<br />

inside scoop on what is going on around<br />

the world and learn how they can most<br />

effectively get involved. This was the first<br />

of many meetings of this nature to come<br />

during <strong>2017</strong>.<br />

12 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


Looking for a Way to Make a Difference in the World? Join Our Team of Volunteers!<br />

Many who wish to make a difference on behalf of the persecuted Church are not sure how to get started. However, volunteers all over the world are<br />

making a difference within their own communities as members of ICC’s five volunteer teams: Advocacy, Awareness, Office, Prayer, and Special<br />

Projects. By standing up for the persecuted in various ways, ICC’s volunteers have played a crucial role in connecting the global Church by bridging<br />

the gap between the persecuted and the Western Church. It only takes one person to make a difference – are you willing to answer the call?<br />

Writing for the Persecuted<br />

There are many Christians in the world who have a passion for writing,<br />

yet aren’t quite sure how to put that skill and passion to good<br />

use. Thankfully, many have found a creative outlet utilizing their<br />

talents for writing through ICC’s Awareness volunteer team. Some<br />

members of this team have written blogs about persecution, updates<br />

about persecution in their church bulletins, or persecution-related<br />

posts on social media. Some have even gotten articles about persecution<br />

published! Whatever your interests may be, if you have a heart<br />

for serving the persecuted, there is almost always a way to use those<br />

skills for His glory.<br />

ICC’s Volunteer Advocacy Team<br />

Although working with the government often takes place behind the<br />

scenes, this branch of our ministry is crucial to ICC’s mission. ICC’s<br />

Advocacy team volunteers play an integral part in this ministry by<br />

promoting petitions, contacting elected officials, and making calls to<br />

their congressmen. By sharing petitions on social media, speaking about<br />

them during church services, and simply mentioning them to others,<br />

ICC’s advocacy volunteers have helped collect thousands upon thousands<br />

of petition signatures for some of ICC’s most important issues.<br />

ICC’s petitions have gained a strong international following thanks, in<br />

large part, to these volunteers.<br />

Volunteer Teams<br />

1 Advocacy: Fight for justice for the persecuted through petitions, Congress<br />

calls, and more.<br />

2 Awareness: Raise your voice through speaking in churches, writing, and<br />

social media.<br />

3 Office: Lighten the load of ICC’s staff by helping with administrative assignments.<br />

4 Prayer: Intercede for our brothers and sisters in Christ both individually and<br />

as a church.<br />

5 Special Projects: Volunteer on your own schedule through one-time projects.<br />

Interested in Serving?<br />

Online - Apply on our website at:<br />

http://www.persecution.org/how-you-canhelp/volunteer<br />

Email - Send an email to<br />

volunteer@persecution.org<br />

Phone - Want more information? Feel<br />

free to call us at (301) 585-5915.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



Hall of Shame Aw<br />

ICC’s<br />

2016<br />

From the “Worst of the Worst” to the “New and Noteworthy”<br />

“ E<br />

ven if I face death, I will follow Jesus.”<br />

Kim Eun-Jin still remembers the day, more than 20<br />

years ago, when her father uttered those fateful words. A<br />

leader of an underground church in the world’s most psychotically<br />

anti-Christian regime, Eun-Jin’s father would<br />

soon after become one of the estimated 400,000 followers<br />

of Christ believed to have given their lives for their faith<br />

since the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK -<br />

North Korea) was founded in 1948. Eun-Jin would, many<br />

years later, escape North Korea, leaving behind tens of<br />

thousands of her fellow Christians who to this day remain<br />

locked up in nightmarish camps, forced to work unendingly<br />

and endure regular torture while on the verge of<br />

daily starvation simply because they chose to become followers<br />

of Christ.<br />

To remember the world’s forgotten martyrs, prisoners, as<br />

well as the living victims of persecution, ICC releases this<br />

Hall of Shame list that details the world’s worst persecutors.<br />

Over the next few pages, you will be given insight into some<br />

of the world’s most challenging places to be a Christian.<br />

This year, however, we’ve restructured our report.<br />

Rather than ranking only the worst countries on earth,<br />

we’ve established three categories. The “Worst of the<br />

Worst” (North Korea, Iraq and Syria, Nigeria) is closest<br />

to our original list, and looks at the most egregious cases<br />

of persecution. Our second category, “Core Countries,”<br />

examines nations that don’t quite make the top of the<br />

list, but are perennial abusers of religious freedom (Saudi<br />

Arabia, Pakistan, China, India, and Egypt).<br />

Our third, and most exceptional category, is “New and<br />

Noteworthy.” The persecution in these nations may not<br />

come anywhere near the same level as persecution in<br />

nations on the rest of the list, but multiple serious indicators,<br />

from legal challenges to religious freedom (United<br />

States and Russia) to the outright displacement of small<br />

Christian communities (Mexico), signal alarm bells that<br />

have us projecting increasing amounts of hostility and<br />

discrimination towards Christians, barring any significant<br />

change in direction.<br />

According to the latest report by the Pew Forum on<br />

Religion and Public Life, 74 percent of the world’s population<br />

lives in countries with high or very high levels of government<br />

restrictions and social hostility towards religion.<br />

The same report estimates that Christians were harassed<br />

in 108 countries around the globe.<br />

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, our<br />

newly introduced 2016 Hall of Shame highlights 11 of<br />

these countries, shedding light not only on those who are<br />

the “worst of the worst,” but warning of nations where<br />

persecution, while not life-threatening, has taken a disturbing<br />

turn for the worse.<br />

These countries were recommended by ICC staff who<br />

receive daily updates on incidents in dozens of nations<br />

around the world. We encourage you to join with us in<br />

prayer for these nations, to speak out on behalf of the<br />

oppressed, and to bandage and build the Church that<br />

chooses to follow Jesus, even unto death.<br />

14 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


ards<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not persecute!<br />

I will not<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



Hall of Shame<br />

IRAQ & SYRIA<br />


As the population becomes<br />

increasingly secular and anti-Christian,<br />

the media and<br />

courts are aligning to drive<br />

Christianity out of the public<br />

sphere. The number of<br />

attacks against Christians is<br />

exploding, especially in the<br />

courts, and persecution is<br />

rising under the banner of<br />

so-called “equality.”<br />

MEXICO<br />

Although hidden from much<br />

of the world, Protestant<br />

Christians in remote, rural<br />

areas, especially in the<br />

south, face constant threats,<br />

loss of land and livelihood,<br />

and violence. Attackers are<br />

protected by law enforcement<br />

and the courts which<br />

contribute to a culture of<br />

persecution that has left<br />

thousands homeless and<br />

without income.<br />

Country Category<br />





Main Source of <strong>Persecution</strong><br />




Home to a Christian genocide,<br />

war and Islamic extremism<br />

have led to an<br />

existential threat on the<br />

ancient Christian population.<br />

Christians have been specifically<br />

targeted by ISIS for<br />

total annihilation in these<br />

regions through killings<br />

and enslavement. Christian<br />

populations were around<br />

1.5 million in 2002; today,<br />

some estimates put the<br />

population below 500,000.<br />

EGYPT<br />

Christians face severe<br />

threats from Islamic radicals<br />

and are suffering through<br />

a government crackdown<br />

on human rights as well.<br />

Christians remain targets of<br />

kidnapping, church burnings,<br />

and generations of socioeconomic<br />

discrimination.<br />


Christians in middle and<br />

Northern Nigeria face brutal<br />

persecution from two<br />

brutal armed Islamic militias.<br />

Boko Haram terrorizes<br />

northern and central<br />

Nigeria while Fulani militants<br />

wipe Christian farming<br />

villages off the map in central<br />

Nigeria. Christians are<br />

murdered, their churches<br />

burned, and their daughters<br />

are abducted, raped, and<br />

forced to convert to Islam.<br />

Over 30,000 Christians<br />

were killed in last 15 years.<br />

16 PERSECU ION.org<br />

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Hall of Shame<br />

RUSSIA<br />

In 2016, Russia took an<br />

about-face back towards<br />

the oppressive days of the<br />

Soviet Union. After passing<br />

new anti-extremism regulations,<br />

known as the “Yarovaya”<br />

laws, Christians across<br />

Russia can now be fined for<br />

speaking about their faith<br />

with non-believers, even in<br />

their own home or on the<br />

internet. These new laws<br />

are only the latest in a trend<br />

towards reducing religious<br />

freedom in Russia.<br />

INDIA<br />

Christians experience harassment,<br />

violence, and the<br />

loss of their livelihood from<br />

radical Hindus throughout<br />

the country as nearly 50 villages<br />

in central India essentially<br />

banned Christianity<br />

through social boycotts.<br />


For 14 straight years,<br />

North Korea has remained<br />

the worst country for<br />

Christians to live in, as an<br />

estimated 40,000-70,000<br />

Christians remain in political<br />

prison camps experiencing<br />

similar treatment<br />

to victims of the Holocaust.<br />

CHINA<br />


Christianity is completely<br />

repressed in Saudi Arabia<br />

but the real reason it is<br />

listed is their decades long<br />

investment ($100-200 billion)<br />

in exporting radical<br />

and violent Islamic teaching<br />

around the world. Look<br />

at the roots of most radical<br />

Islamic terror groups<br />

around the world and you<br />

will see the fingerprints of<br />

Saudi Arabia.<br />


Christians are regularly<br />

charged with blasphemy<br />

against Islam. Often used<br />

as a tool for personal retaliation<br />

or to steal land, 269<br />

cases have been reported<br />

since 2014 alone. Christians<br />

are treated as third class citizens,<br />

as they are abducted,<br />

raped, forcibly converted,<br />

and regularly suffer the<br />

bombing of their churches.<br />

China continues to crack<br />

down on Christianity and<br />

other religious minorities<br />

at levels previously unseen<br />

since Mao’s Cultural<br />

Revolution as over 2,000<br />

crosses and over 400<br />

churches have been demolished<br />

with countless believers<br />

imprisoned for merely<br />

being followers of Christ.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



Hall of Shame: Worst of the Worst<br />

The Worst:<br />

North Korea<br />

North Korea’s hatred of Christianity has<br />

condemned hundreds of thousands of<br />

Christians to death over the decades and it is<br />

estimated that they currently have 30,000 to<br />

70,000 Christians imprisoned in the dreaded<br />

penal camps. Christians not in the camps are<br />

extremely wary and hiding in the shadows.<br />

DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of<br />

Korea - North Korea) is the world’s worst<br />

human rights violator and the most violent<br />

persecutor of Christians.<br />

The Kim family’s communist government<br />

is the source of all persecution. The Kims<br />

have deified themselves and will allow no<br />

other god in the land. They are often called<br />

madmen as a result but that doesn’t really capture<br />

them. Their creation, the North Korean<br />

state, was designed above all else to feed and<br />

protect themselves. They have knowingly set<br />

themselves up as gods not because they are<br />

mad, but because this system of idolatry furthers<br />

their interests, control, and safety. Their<br />

demonic creation reveals them not to be crazy,<br />

but rather to be extreme narcissists.<br />

Each successive Kim demands complete<br />

loyalty to himself. Putting anything or anyone<br />

else above the state is considered treason.<br />

Since Christianity elevates God over<br />

the State, North Korea sees Christianity as a<br />

dangerous movement that must be silenced.<br />

North Korea persecutes Christians using three<br />

primary tools: songbun system, civil and<br />

political police, and gulags.<br />

Songbun is a three-tier (first – core; second<br />

– wavering; third – hostile) societal classification<br />

system that rewards/punishes citizens<br />

based on their ancestral and personal loyalty<br />

to the State. Disloyalty in either category<br />

eliminates the opportunity to achieve the<br />

highest songbun, core.<br />

Those in the hostile class only make $3-$5<br />

per month. Sadly, all Christians are classified<br />

as ‘hostile.’<br />

The State devotes massive resources on<br />

the monitoring of its citizens through civil<br />

and political policing. Witnesses confess that<br />

the State “was always watching what we<br />

were saying [and] doing.”<br />

The final tool of the North Korean security<br />

apparatus is the gulags, or labor camps loosely<br />

based on Stalin’s prison system. Gulags exact<br />

severe and effective punishments that hinder<br />

movements considered “anti-state,” like<br />

Christianity. While the government denies the<br />

existence of these prisons, satellite images and<br />

former prisoners’ testimonies affirm the camps’<br />

continued use as well as the guards’ inhumane<br />

treatment of prisoners.<br />

Massive workloads, starvation, extreme isolation,<br />

satanic torture, and the casual murder<br />

of prisoners define North Korean gulags. One<br />

former child prisoner described how prisoners<br />

were forced to stone each other to death in a<br />

camp. Another prisoner reported seeing the<br />

execution of whole families in gas chambers.<br />

“ ‘I witnessed a whole family being tested<br />

on suffocating gas and dying in the gas<br />

chamber,’ he said. ‘The parents, son and a<br />

daughter. The parents were vomiting and<br />

dying, but till the very last moment they<br />

tried to save kids by doing mouth-to-mouth<br />

breathing.’ ” (BBC: Access to Evil).<br />

Cracks are appearing in North Korea’s<br />

stony façade as high level defectors are<br />

leaving like never before. Also, external<br />

information, including the Gospel, is<br />

flooding in which totally disrupts the narrative<br />

of the Kim regime of DPRK being a<br />

worker’s paradise.<br />

Kim Jong-un is desperately trying to<br />

control the situation. There is evidence<br />

of more arrests, expanding prisons, and<br />

increased torture. Christians are at a<br />

greater risk for persecution during North<br />

Korea’s hour of desperation.<br />

In 1907, Pyongyang experienced one of<br />

history’s greatest revivals and was dubbed<br />

the ‘Jerusalem of the East’ as a result. Satan<br />

has worked to extinguish this flame and it<br />

nearly worked. Yet, a small flame still flickers<br />

within North Korea and may just soon<br />

turn into a consuming fire that burns down<br />

the gates of this great prison.<br />

18 PERSECU ION.org<br />

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Hall of Shame: Worst of the Worst<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Iraq and Syria<br />

On October 26, 2013, 18-year-old Ranim<br />

was murdered as ISIS invaded his<br />

hometown of Sadad, Syria. Ranim, a firstyear<br />

university student and Syrian Orthodox<br />

Christian, was thrown down a well, along<br />

with his grandparents, 16-year-old brother,<br />

and two other members of his family. At least<br />

24 other Christians would be massacred by<br />

ISIS that week, and hundreds of Christian<br />

families would be used as human shields to<br />

protect ISIS fighters from counterattacks.<br />

In August 2014, ISIS attempted to re-establish<br />

the Islamic caliphate based on radical<br />

Sharia law. They gained control of territory<br />

with roughly 10 million inhabitants. Among<br />

their more sinister acts was to begin enslaving<br />

Christian and Yazidi women. In 2015, ISIS<br />

published a pricing guideline for sex slaves,<br />

starting with “200,000 dinars for a woman<br />

aged 1-9/Yazidi/Christian” and ending with<br />

“75,000 dinars for a woman aged 30-40/<br />

Yazidi/Christian.” ICC estimates that ISIS<br />

has taken at least 433 Syrian Christians hostage<br />

over the past several years, sometimes<br />

demanding as much as $100,000 a head for<br />

their return. On September 23, 2015, ISIS<br />

brutally executed three of these hostages to<br />

Nigeria<br />

Although Nigeria’s population is almost<br />

equally divided between Christians and<br />

Muslims, the Christians in the North and<br />

Middle Belt face brutal daily persecution<br />

for their faith from the Islamic extremist<br />

groups Boko Haram and the Fulani<br />

(Muslim) militias.<br />

Known for the 2014 kidnapping of<br />

almost 300 Chibok girls, Boko Haram is<br />

an Islamic extremist group established<br />

to turn Nigeria into an Islamic caliphate.<br />

Their early attacks featured indiscriminate<br />

killing of all Nigerians who opposed<br />

an Islamic state, regardless of religious<br />

beliefs. In 2015, Boko Haram declared<br />

allegiance to ISIS, but a leadership crisis<br />

refocused Boko Haram’s attacks. Today,<br />

militants focus almost exclusively on<br />

Christians through surprise bombings and<br />

raids. This strategy has proven effective<br />

and difficult to stop because of the element<br />

of surprise. No one knows when<br />

the next car bomb, village raid, or other<br />

attack will occur.<br />

The Nigerian government’s military<br />

campaign against Boko Haram has been<br />

a massive failure overall. They have been<br />

pressure the Syrian Church for payment.<br />

Today, Christianity in Iraq and Syria is<br />

on the verge of extinction thanks to ISIS,<br />

other militant Islamic groups, and a widespread<br />

increase in radical Islamic thought.<br />

Brutal executions, displacement, threats,<br />

and destruction of church property in both<br />

countries targeting Christians has become<br />

commonplace.<br />

In Iraq, the Christian population is believed<br />

to have dropped by 80 percent in just 13 years<br />

- from approximately one million in 2003<br />

to no more than 275,000 Christians today.<br />

In Syria, Breitbart News reported that the<br />

Christian population has shrunk from 1.5 million<br />

people in 2011 to approximately 500,000<br />

people, a 66 percent reduction.<br />

While substantial military efforts now<br />

appear to be driving ISIS out of Iraq, and perhaps<br />

eventually out of Syria, the vast majority<br />

of Christians who have fled their countries<br />

may never return. Many of those who remain<br />

and managed to escape to safe areas fear<br />

trying to rebuild their lives anywhere with<br />

Muslim neighbors, knowing that much of the<br />

radicalism and persecution they face does not<br />

end with ISIS.<br />

able to apply some pressure to Boko<br />

Haram, but it has only refocused them on<br />

attacking Christians.<br />

Armed Fulani militias constantly attack<br />

Christian farmers. In the first five months<br />

of 2016, Fulani militias killed over 800<br />

Christians and injured 800 more. They displaced<br />

21,000 victims, and destroyed over<br />

100 churches and 700 homes.<br />

Incredibly, the Nigerian government<br />

hasn’t attempted any military action against<br />

them. The government is incredibly corrupt<br />

and the army is controlled by Muslims and<br />

riddled with Islamists. While some have<br />

been exposed and prosecuted, most operate<br />

in hiding by either abetting Boko Haram or<br />

hindering meaningful action.<br />

Since Christians cannot rely on government<br />

protection from persecution, they are<br />

left in an untenable position with little<br />

reason for hope. As would be expected,<br />

Christians are starting to arm themselves,<br />

but this is a grassroots movement without<br />

funding or coordination.<br />

Unfortunately, there is little reason to<br />

assume that the situation will change anytime<br />

soon.<br />


Hall of Shame: The Core<br />

Saudi Arabia<br />

Across the Middle East, and even the<br />

world, there are few nations where religious<br />

freedom is as completely restricted as<br />

it is in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Only<br />

Sunni Islam may be practiced publicly and<br />

any Saudi citizen who converts to Christianity<br />

or another faith is immediately guilty of<br />

apostasy, punishable by death. Even non-<br />

Saudi Christians living in the Kingdom risk<br />

imprisonment and deportation if they attempt<br />

to meet privately to pray or read the Bible.<br />

For over a decade, the US State Department<br />

has designated Saudi Arabia as a “Country of<br />

Particular Concern” for its egregious restrictions<br />

on religious freedom.<br />

Yet Saudi Arabia’s real reason for heading<br />

up our core list is their behind-the-scenes,<br />

multi-decade role of radicalizing the global<br />

Sunni Muslim body. At the turn of this century<br />

and by their own admission, the Saudis<br />

had invested $100 billion over three decades<br />

recruiting and radicalizing imams across<br />

the globe, building huge numbers of radical<br />

mosques and madrassas (boarding schools)<br />

and providing seed funding, guidance, and<br />

assistance, building most of the world’s existing<br />

radical Islamic terror groups.<br />

In India alone, between 2011 and 2013,<br />

Indian intelligence officials believe approximately<br />

25,000 Saudi clerics arrived in the<br />

country, bringing in over $250 million to build<br />

mosques and universities.<br />

Saudi Arabia is also responsible for sending<br />

15 of the 19 hijackers in the September 11,<br />

2001 attacks on the US, more suicide bombers<br />

to Iraq after 2003 than any other nation, and<br />

has supplied at least 2,500 fighters to ISIS,<br />

more than any other country except Tunisia.<br />

ISIS even adopted Saudi textbooks as official<br />

textbooks until it began publishing its own in<br />

2015. These textbooks, which can be found in<br />

schools across the Muslim world, teach discrimination<br />

against Christians and Jews, while<br />

encouraging the spread of Islam through jihad<br />

as a religious duty.<br />

Ms. Farah Pandith, the first US Special<br />

Representative to Muslim Communities at the<br />

US State Department, visited with Muslims<br />

in 80 countries between 2009 and 2014. She<br />

found that Saudi influence was “pernicious<br />

and universal,” an “insidious presence” in<br />

each place she visited.<br />

Today, thanks to new technological developments<br />

in oil extraction, Saudi Arabia may<br />

be facing a permanent economic downturn,<br />

which could eventually mean less funding<br />

for radical Islam around the world. For now,<br />

however, Saudi Arabia deserves its wellearned<br />

lead place in the core of ICC’s Hall<br />

of Shame report.<br />

Pakistan<br />

Christians account for 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s<br />

population, but endure intense persecution<br />

from both the Muslim-majority culture and government<br />

that severely restrict their religious<br />

expression and practice.<br />

Pakistani Christians suffer from rigid job<br />

discrimination, potent blasphemy laws, abductions<br />

and forced conversion/marriage, as well as<br />

bombings and terror attacks from Islamists.<br />

Blasphemy laws usually carry the death<br />

penalty, are arbitrarily administered, and are<br />

easily falsified. Common motivations for false<br />

blasphemy accusations include score settling,<br />

financial gain, and religious hatred.<br />

Christian women are targeted for forced<br />

conversions and marriage. Peace Foundation<br />

Pakistan estimates that 700 Christian women<br />

between the ages of 12 and 25 years old are<br />

raped, kidnapped, and forcibly converted to<br />

Islam every year.<br />

Terror attacks against Christians have been<br />

increasing over the last several years. ICC has<br />

assisted Christians after attacks like the All<br />

Saints Church Bombing and Peshawar attacks.<br />

Finally, Muslims subject Christians to general<br />

discrimination with the aid of the lingering caste<br />

system. Christians are relegated to the lowest<br />

caste and considered untouchable. Menial and<br />

low-paying jobs are reserved for Christians such<br />

as street sweepers, housemaids, etc.<br />

20 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


Hall of Shame: The Core<br />

China India Egypt<br />

China frequently uses intimidation, arrests,<br />

destruction of church property, and church<br />

closures to persecute Christians. For instance, in<br />

November, 30 Chinese police officers surrounded<br />

a house church before ending the service. In<br />

2016, the Chinese government destroyed or tore<br />

down approximately 1,200 crosses from churches<br />

in President Xi Jinping’s ongoing, multi-year<br />

crackdown on the Church.<br />

The government is the primary persecutor<br />

of Christians in China because it is afraid of<br />

any movement that can unify and gather people<br />

under a banner other than its own. China<br />

has exercised increased persecution towards<br />

Christians in 2016.<br />

China attempts to corral Christians into their<br />

government-sanctioned and controlled denominations;<br />

the Three Self Patriotic Movement<br />

Church for Protestants and the Chinese Patriotic<br />

Catholic Association for Catholics which is<br />

loyal to the State rather than the Vatican.<br />

Despite the government’s efforts to control<br />

and stifle the Church, Christianity continues to<br />

explode. Estimates show that China will have<br />

the largest Christian population of any nation by<br />

2030. This is perceived as an existential threat<br />

to the government by President Xi Jinping and<br />

we assume his multi-year program of church<br />

destruction and cross removal will continue and<br />

will only lead to an expansion of the Church.<br />

Over the past two years, attacks on Christians<br />

and places of worship have increased sharply<br />

in India. This escalation coincides with the rise of the<br />

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ascension of<br />

their candidate, Narendra Modi, to Prime Minister.<br />

Founded on a Hindu nationalist platform, the<br />

BJP often employs religiously divisive political<br />

strategies that incite Hindu radicals to violence<br />

against the country’s religious minorities.<br />

Unfortunately, Modi and the BJP deny that<br />

Christian persecution is taking place and allow<br />

the persecutors of Christians to go unpunished,<br />

implicitly approving of the BJP violence.<br />

In the first nine months of 2016, ICC recorded<br />

over 250 attacks on Christians and their places<br />

of worship, indicating a dramatic escalation<br />

on the 177 attacks reported by the Evangelical<br />

Fellowship of India in 2015.<br />

Foremost amongst those attacks is the continued<br />

assault on Christians in the Bastar District<br />

of India’s Chhattisgarh State. In June 2014, over<br />

50 villages passed resolutions banning the practice<br />

of non-Hindu religions, effectively making<br />

Christianity illegal. On top of the resolutions,<br />

Hindu radicals orchestrated assaults and social<br />

boycotts against the hundreds of Christian families<br />

living in Bastar. Despite a High Court ruling<br />

that declared the resolutions unconstitutional, the<br />

practice of banning Christianity and socially boycotting<br />

Christians remains widespread in Bastar.<br />

F<br />

ebruary 15, 2015, marked a heartbreaking<br />

moment for Egyptian Christians as they witnessed<br />

the beheading of 21 of their fellow Christians<br />

by ISIS on the coast of the Mediterranean.<br />

This attack, while brutal, is representative<br />

of the suffering of Egypt’s 10 million<br />

Christians who have endured crushing persecution<br />

for 1,400 years since Islam arrived.<br />

They are treated as second-class citizens and<br />

forced to list their religion on their national ID<br />

cards which facilitates discrimination. While<br />

Christians can change this religious ID to<br />

“Muslim,” it never works in reverse.<br />

The government often acts as an ally and<br />

tool of the Muslim populace, enforcing extreme<br />

persecution. For instance, they place restrictions<br />

on the building or renovation of churches,<br />

while mosques don’t face any of these rules.<br />

Authorities also refuse to assist Christian victims<br />

when attacks are perpetrated by Muslims.<br />

Tragically, Christian women are regularly<br />

abducted, raped, and forcefully married and<br />

converted. Typically, police either ignore or<br />

will even assist the perpetrators in these cases.<br />

Sometimes, Egypt is seen as a moderate Islamic<br />

country; the truth is that it is a very fundamentalist<br />

country which has severely oppressed its Christian<br />

citizens for 1,400 years and intentionally kept them<br />

as a permanent underclass. Unfortunately, we don’t<br />

see this changing in the near future.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



Hall of Shame: New and Noteworthy<br />

United States<br />

On June 11, 2016, Omar Mateen, a<br />

US-based radicalized Muslim, attacked a<br />

gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 and injuring<br />

53 more. In a call to 911, he clearly laid<br />

out his motivation. The attack was driven by<br />

his allegiance to ISIS and desire for retribution<br />

for attacks on ISIS. Incredibly, after the<br />

attack, numerous high profile media outlets<br />

vehemently blamed it on Christians.<br />

To most reasonable observers, this is irresponsible<br />

journalism at best and more likely<br />

hate-mongering coming from a socio-political<br />

agenda. Although the level of vitriol was surprising,<br />

it is in keeping with a multi-decade rise<br />

in anti-Christian attitudes and media attacks.<br />

In short, Christians in the US are facing<br />

constant attacks in the media, where they are<br />

portrayed as bigoted, racist, sexist, and closeminded.<br />

The hate-mongering in the media<br />

is of course translating into direct attacks as<br />

well. The First Liberty Institute, the largest<br />

legal organization in the US dedicated exclusively<br />

to protecting religious freedom, documents<br />

these attacks and reports that attacks<br />

on religion doubled between 2012 and 2015.<br />

More importantly though, Christians and<br />

all religious people are being marginalized<br />

through the law.<br />

From the case of a Christian football coach<br />

suspended for praying at the 50-yard line to<br />

Christian business owners forced to pay a<br />

$135,000 fine for declining to bake a cake for<br />

a same-sex wedding, the number of troubling<br />

cases directed towards Christians has exploded.<br />

In 2011, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship<br />

lost their official recognition as a student<br />

organization in all of their respective chapters<br />

across 23 California public colleges. This<br />

occurred because the Christian organization<br />

required their respective leaders to uphold<br />

a doctrinal statement of Biblical principles,<br />

which allegedly conflicted with California<br />

State universities’ policies. After four years of<br />

embattled negotiations, InterVarsity regained<br />

their official recognition in June 2015.<br />

In 2014, Eric Walsh was terminated<br />

one week after being hired by the Georgia<br />

Department of Public Health (DPH). The<br />

basis of termination was alleged undisclosed<br />

income from prior employment in California.<br />

However, the Georgia DPH knew that Walsh<br />

was a Christian preacher outside of work<br />

and went to great lengths to review and<br />

investigate the content of his sermons posted<br />

on YouTube. Georgia officials have even<br />

recently requested copies of Walsh’s sermons,<br />

despite prior statements that the termination<br />

had nothing to do with his religious views<br />

or affiliations. Walsh is currently suing the<br />

Georgia DPH for wrongful termination and<br />

religious discrimination.<br />

The rise of these cases stems partly from a<br />

broad cultural shift towards secularism. The<br />

Pew Foundation found that those identifying<br />

as non-religious in the US rose by seven percent,<br />

to 23 percent of the total US adult population<br />

within just seven years (2007 to 2014).<br />

Anti-Christian entities have been able to<br />

leverage the growing secularization of society<br />

and culture to their advantage, utilizing<br />

the courts as a preferred venue to gradually<br />

marginalize and silence Christians. Using the<br />

cudgel of “equality,” secular forces in and out<br />

of the courts have worked to create a body of<br />

law built from one bad precedent after another.<br />

Claims of intolerance and inequality are used<br />

to fundamentally distort the clear intent of the<br />

First Amendment.<br />

The Founders carefully and deliberately<br />

placed religious freedom as the first liberty<br />

because it encompasses several fundamental<br />

rights including thought, speech, expression,<br />

and assembly. The First Amendment explicitly<br />

grants freedom of religion, not freedom<br />

from religion. The essential aim is to protect<br />

the right of citizens to practice religion in the<br />

public square.<br />

Decades of accumulated bad judicial decisions<br />

and precedents have twisted the First<br />

Amendment so that the courts, in defiance<br />

of the Founders, are pushing religion out of<br />

the public square, and into the small space<br />

of private expression. In essence, the courts<br />

are deciding that you only have full religious<br />

freedom and expression in the church and<br />

your home. In the public domain, your religious<br />

views and thoughts must be restrained<br />

and controlled.<br />

This trend is extremely worrying in the<br />

country that has long been the birthplace and<br />

champion of religious liberty around the world.<br />

While there is no comparison between the<br />

life of a Christian in the US with persecuted<br />

believers overseas, ICC sees these worrying<br />

trends as an alarming indication of where<br />

the United States seems to be heading. The<br />

United States’ placement this year in the<br />

Hall of Shame is an alarm bell and a call<br />

for Christians across the US to wake up and<br />

speak out against discrimination, both at<br />

home and abroad.<br />

22 PERSECU ION.org<br />

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Hall of Shame: New and Noteworthy<br />

Russia<br />

n 2016, Russia took a tremendous<br />

I leap back towards the Soviet era by<br />

passing what are called the “Yarovaya”<br />

laws. The laws, which on the surface<br />

are designed to counter violent extremism<br />

from Islam, in fact place incredible<br />

restrictions on Christians and other<br />

religious minorities who are not a part<br />

of the Russian Orthodox Church. The<br />

Yarovaya laws are just the most recent<br />

crackdown in a trend of stifling religious<br />

expression.<br />

In addition to the 2016 Yarovaya laws,<br />

a 2013 blasphemy law criminalized disrespecting<br />

or insulting religious beliefs,<br />

while a 2012 anti-extremism law made<br />

illegal any materials stating that one religion<br />

is truer than another. A 2014 “public<br />

order” law requires prior official permission<br />

to conduct prayer or worship meetings,<br />

even in privately owned spaces.<br />

Pastor Donald Ossewaarde was the<br />

first American citizen to be charged<br />

under the Yarovaya laws, which included<br />

a ban on missionary activities in<br />

settings that are not explicitly religious.<br />

Under these laws, anyone who shares<br />

their faith outside of a church could<br />

face stiff penalties. Ossewaarde was<br />

arrested for holding worship in a private<br />

home and allegedly posting information<br />

about worship times on bulletin boards<br />

in nearby housing blocks. He is one of<br />

several Christian missionaries who have<br />

been fined for everything from conducting<br />

baptisms to preaching over the last<br />

few years.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


Mexico<br />

Discrimination against Christians in<br />

Mexico runs rampant in rural villages<br />

and other local communities, with little<br />

to no government intervention. Although<br />

Mexico’s population is very religious, only<br />

five percent are evangelicals and this minority<br />

faces widespread persecution.<br />

ICC has documented more than 150<br />

cases of persecution against Protestant<br />

Christian communities. In rural communities,<br />

minority Christians are often told that<br />

they must participate in and pay for local<br />

village festivals that they consider to be<br />

either pagan or even satanic.<br />

This typically sets up a point of conflict<br />

between evangelicals and town leaders that<br />

ultimately results in heavy fines, imprisonment,<br />

beatings, eviction from their communities,<br />

or in the most extreme cases, rape or<br />

murder. In <strong>January</strong> 2016, thirty evangelical<br />

Christians in the state of Chiapas were<br />

exiled from their village and their homes<br />

were destroyed.<br />

Lauro Pérez Núñez, a Mexican evangelical<br />

Christian, was imprisoned several<br />

times after publicly proclaiming his faith.<br />

Village authorities demanded that he deny<br />

his beliefs, which they claimed were contrary<br />

to their “custom” of communal faith.<br />

Núñez was told that he must leave the community<br />

or face a longer imprisonment. When<br />

he tried to return to his village to visit his<br />

family in March, he and his family were<br />

brutally attacked and he and his cousin were<br />

imprisoned. They have since been released.<br />

Although Mexico’s constitution guarantees<br />

freedom of religion, the persecution<br />

of minority Christian communities<br />

has continued without prosecution of perpetrators<br />

from the Mexican government.<br />

Additionally, provisions in the constitution<br />

which guarantee the rights of indigenous<br />

peoples are often used to justify persecution<br />

against Christians who disagree with the<br />

“traditionalist” religion. Because of these<br />

provisions, government apathy, or even collusion,<br />

perpetrators operate freely without<br />

fear of consequences.<br />

The international community has failed<br />

to hold the Mexican government accountable.<br />

However, back channel discussions<br />

between the US and Mexican governments<br />

on this issue have yielded some fruit.<br />

The ambassador-at-large for<br />

International Religious Freedom, David<br />

Saperstein, visited Mexico to speak<br />

with activists and members of religious<br />

minorities. In September, 13 members of<br />

Congress joined ICC in writing a letter to<br />

the Mexican attorney general calling for<br />

the prosecution of individuals guilty of<br />

religious freedom violations.<br />


ICC’S<br />





MAY <strong>2017</strong><br />

Breaking the Chains of<br />

North Korea<br />

Los Angeles, CA<br />

www.thepersecutionconference.org<br />

24<br />


The Bridge is an annual conference for the persecuted<br />

Church where the Church, government leaders, nongovernmental<br />

organizations (NGOs), and ministries unite<br />

to break the chains of the persecuted.<br />

This year, we will focus on the prison state of North<br />

Korea (DPRK). The incredible increase in high-level DPRK<br />

defectors, along with the massive stream of news from<br />

the outside world flowing into North Korea, represent<br />

cracks in the foundation of the prison state. We<br />

are calling the Church together to pray and<br />

to also work proactively with NGOs<br />

and the US government<br />

to bring down the<br />

world’s evil<br />

regime.<br />


On the Edge:<br />

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

in<br />

India<br />

How the rise of “social boycotts” has affected Christian<br />

communities in Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.<br />

By William Stark<br />

Christian persecution in India<br />

has existed for thousands of<br />

years. Since the first missionaries<br />

stepped foot on the<br />

subcontinent, Christianity has<br />

been tested. However, in the<br />

last two years, the Church in<br />

India has experienced a shocking<br />

new surge in persecution<br />

with a skyrocketing number of<br />

attacks on Christians and places of worship.<br />

The dramatic escalation in violence coincides<br />

with the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in<br />

2014 led by India’s current prime minister, Narendra<br />

Modi. A hate campaign orchestrated by the BJP and<br />

their allied ultra-Hindu nationalist groups, such as<br />

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa<br />

Hindu Parishad (VHP), has unleashed an assault on<br />

India’s Christian community with the intent to drive<br />

Christians out of many of India’s villages.<br />

Founded on a radical Hindu nationalist platform,<br />

the BJP employs religiously divisive political<br />

strategies that knowingly incite radical Hindus to<br />

violence against the country’s religious minorities.<br />

Unfortunately, Modi and the BJP deny that persecution<br />

of Christians or Muslims exists and refuse<br />

to condemn attacks. This implicit approval of BJP/<br />

RSS violence has, by design, bred more attacks<br />

and more religious intolerance.<br />

In the first nine months of 2016, ICC recorded 273<br />

attacks on Christians and their places of worship in<br />

India. This marked a dramatic increase from the 177<br />

attacks recorded by the Evangelical Fellowship of<br />

India in 2015.<br />

26 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


Christian fishermen<br />

have seen their livelihoods<br />

dry up as radical<br />

Hindus cut off their<br />

access to shared boats,<br />

fishing grounds, and<br />

markets. This practice<br />

known as “social boycotting”<br />

is used to pressure<br />

Christians to convert to<br />

Hinduism.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



Christian<br />

Protests<br />

5<br />

Delhi<br />

Uttar Pardesh<br />

Mass Riots<br />

4<br />

Gujarat<br />

Madhya Pradesh<br />

Chhattisgarh<br />

Odisha<br />

INDIA<br />


Karnataka<br />

Telangana<br />

Andhra Pradesh<br />

2<br />

Social<br />

Boycotts<br />



During the first three quarters of 2016, ICC<br />

documented 273 total incidents of attacks,<br />

arrests and violence against thousands of<br />

Christians throughout India.<br />

Tamil Nadu<br />

28 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


6<br />

Religious<br />

Minority<br />

Lynching<br />

Major Religious Minority<br />

Events in India<br />



BASTAR<br />

1 4<br />



1<br />

Social<br />

Boycotts<br />

Location: Bastar District, Chhattisgarh<br />

State, India<br />

Date: June 2014 - Present<br />

Description: In June 2014, more than<br />

50 villages in the Bastar District of<br />

India’s Chhattisgarh State banned the<br />

practice of non-Hindu religions, effectively<br />

outlawing Christianity. This<br />

resolution remains in place, forcing<br />

many Christians to choose between<br />

converting to Hinduism and leaving<br />

their village.<br />

Location: Gujarat State, India<br />

Date: February 2002<br />

Description: Following the Godhra<br />

train burning, in which 58 Hindu pilgrims<br />

returning from Ayodhya were<br />

killed, anti-Muslim riots broke out<br />

across India’s Gujarat State. Hindu radicals<br />

killed an estimated 790 Muslims.<br />

Prime Minister Modi, Chief Minister<br />

of Gujarat State during the riots, was<br />

accused of initiating and condoning the<br />

violence that took place.<br />

2<br />




5<br />



3<br />

Mass Riots<br />

Location: Nagapattinam and surrounding<br />

villages, Tamil Nadu, India<br />

Date: July 2015 - Present<br />

Description: In July 2015, a social<br />

boycott was initiated against Christians<br />

in an estimated 64 villages near the<br />

town of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu.<br />

This boycott restricts an estimated<br />

6,000 Christian families from collecting<br />

water from village wells, talking<br />

to their Hindu neighbors, engaging in<br />

commerce, using the communal fishing<br />

boats, or even burying their dead.<br />

Location: New Delhi, Delhi, India<br />

Date: December 2014<br />

Description: Starting in December<br />

2014, five churches were attacked and<br />

desecrated in India’s capital of New<br />

Delhi. Among these churches was St.<br />

Sebastian’s Church, which was burned<br />

on December 1, 2014. The series of<br />

church attacks in Delhi sparked protests<br />

by Indian Christians calling for<br />

Prime Minister Modi to do more to<br />

protect their community and places of<br />

worship.<br />

3<br />



6<br />


PERSECU ION.org<br />


Location: Kandhamal District, Odisha<br />

State, India<br />

Date: August 2008 - October 2008<br />

Description: Christians in the<br />

Kandhamal District were wrongfully<br />

blamed for the assassination of a Hindu<br />

monk. As a result, enraged Hindus<br />

attacked Christians, destroying homes<br />

and places of worship. More than 100<br />

Christians were killed and 56,000 people<br />

displaced in what has been called<br />

India’s worst instance of Christian persecution.<br />

Location: Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, India<br />

Date: September 2015<br />

Description: On September 28, 2015,<br />

Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi, a 52-year-old<br />

Muslim, and his 22-year-old son, Danish,<br />

were attacked and savagely beaten by a<br />

mob of Hindus who accused the Muslims<br />

of slaughtering a cow, an animal considered<br />

sacred by Hindus, and consuming beef.<br />

As a result, Mohammad died after being<br />

beaten to death with bricks and Danish<br />

was left with permanent brain injuries. The<br />

attack sparked international outrage against<br />

the rise of extreme Hindu nationalism and<br />

led to several protests by Muslims and<br />

other minority groups across India.<br />


Feature Article<br />

ICC interviewed Dr. John Dayal, Secretary<br />

General of the All India Christian Council and<br />

member of the National Integration Council,<br />

to get a deeper insight into the attack data.<br />

According to Dr. Dayal, “The persecution<br />

data for 2015 and 2016 have to be seen<br />

in the context of the fact that thousands of<br />

incidents of communal violence have been<br />

recorded in the three years since Modi<br />

and his party launched the campaign to<br />

make him the Prime Minister. These incidents<br />

affect Christians, Muslims, and Dalits<br />

(untouchables). Impunity is rampant (so<br />

the) goons feel free to abuse, coerce, and<br />

assault Christians. The data just covers the<br />

surface. Behind each incident of violence is<br />

the potency of threats which generate lasting<br />

fear.”<br />

The Rise of Social Boycotts<br />

A new trend has also gained momentum in<br />

India’s rural and tribal areas. Under the influence<br />

of radical groups, village leaders in several<br />

areas have organized what are called “social<br />

boycotts” against Christians. Under these social<br />

boycotts, Christians are segregated and cut off<br />

from their ability to survive in the village. Until<br />

they agree to convert to Hinduism, Christians<br />

are forbidden from collecting water from village<br />

wells, from cultivating their fields, from<br />

grazing their livestock, from engaging in commerce,<br />

and are even fined if caught talking to<br />

their Hindu neighbors.<br />

The first area where these social boycotts<br />

arose in mass was in the Bastar District of<br />

Chhattisgarh State. In June 2014, more than<br />

50 village panchayats (village councils), under<br />

the influence of the VHP and Bajrangdal,<br />

passed resolutions banning the practice of<br />

non-Hindu religions and prayers, effectively<br />

making Christianity illegal.<br />

These resolutions not only precipitated<br />

widespread physical assaults on hundreds of<br />

Christian families in Bastar, but also marked<br />

the beginning of the social boycotts. Both<br />

the assaults and the social boycotts left the<br />

Christians in desperate circumstances, without<br />

food or access to clean water, and cut off from<br />

the social life of the village.<br />

“The Hindu radicals threatened to kill us,”<br />

Pangu Markham, a 45-year-old Christian from<br />

Bastar, told ICC. “They told us that they would<br />

beat us and take possession of our properties.<br />

They further warned us that we shouldn’t use<br />

the drinking water from the village bore well<br />

and not to graze our cattle in the fields. They<br />

said no one in the village will give us work in<br />

their agriculture land, as many of us survive<br />

as agricultural laborers. They even told us that<br />

they will drive us out from the village.”<br />

Unfortunately for the Christians of Bastar,<br />

their situation has not improved over the past<br />

two-and-a-half years; many are still facing<br />

a life-and-death struggle because of their<br />

Christian faith.<br />

The Spread to Tamil Nadu<br />

“I was ridiculed [a] number of times by<br />

non-Christian women in the village,” Debora,<br />

a Christian woman in Tamil Nadu, told ICC.<br />

“They would say that I was going to church<br />

to have illegal relationships. It was like Hell.<br />

Now, I am not allowed to attend weddings,<br />

funerals, or even talk to any other Hindu villagers.<br />

Life is very tough living as a Christian.”<br />

Recently, an ICC team discovered the establishment<br />

of similar social boycotts on a visit<br />

to the town of Nagapattinam in India’s Tamil<br />

Nadu State. Christians from fishing communities<br />

spread over 64 villages were being<br />

socially boycotted because of their faith.<br />

“It was on a Friday, the 15th of July this<br />

year,” Yakobu, a Christian from Pudukuppam<br />

(a nearby village) said. “The entire village<br />

gathered at the temple premises, as part of the<br />

weekly routine gathering to discuss various<br />

issues of the village.”<br />

“We couldn’t have imagined that day would<br />

come on us as a big wave that washed away<br />

our freedom to worship Jesus,” Yakobu continued.<br />

“The (village council) told all 15<br />

Christian families to either leave the Christian<br />

faith or leave the village.”<br />

“When we refused, we were abused and<br />

threatened by (council),” Murthy, another<br />

Christian from Pudukuppam, explained.<br />

“Then, the resolution was passed against us,<br />

denying us the basic things of life.”<br />

The resolution was read out loud and the 15<br />

“For every single<br />

thing that I want<br />

to purchase, I have<br />

to travel eight<br />

kilometers because<br />

the local village<br />

grocery shop will<br />

not sell anything<br />

to me because I am<br />

Christian.”<br />

Women facing social<br />

boycotts because they<br />

are Christians pray in a<br />

rural village in India.<br />

Christian families were forced to sign it. The<br />

resolution stated:<br />

• Hindu villagers should not speak to or<br />

have any association with Christians<br />

• Christians are not allowed to use the village<br />

well<br />

• Christians should not bury their dead in the<br />

village<br />

• No one should sell fish to Christians<br />

• Hindus should not employ Christians on<br />

their fishing boats<br />

Those who violated the resolution would pay<br />

a penalty of 50,000 rupees, approximately six<br />

months’ wages for a local fisherman. Rukumania,<br />

a Hindu unaware of the new discriminatory resolutions,<br />

was caught conversing with a Christian<br />

a week after the resolution was passed and was<br />

forced to pay the penalty. Because the Christian<br />

30 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


community felt responsible for Rukumania’s<br />

suffering, they collected 10,000 rupees to help<br />

Rukumania pay the penalty to the village council.<br />

ICC discovered that the resolution was being<br />

used across the region. Through conversations<br />

with local Christians, ICC found that similar<br />

resolutions were passed in 64 villages, home<br />

to over 6,000 Christian families, where social<br />

boycotts had also been introduced.<br />

Poombukar, home to approximately 4,000<br />

families, used to have almost 500 Christian<br />

families living in it. All but five families have<br />

converted to Hinduism due to the pressures<br />

from the village panchayat.<br />

“It has been very difficult as we are not allowed<br />

to attend any social gatherings,” Mallika, a Christian<br />

woman from Poombukar, told ICC. “People insult<br />

us when we go to fetch the water from the public<br />

tap with the provocative language. For every single<br />

thing that I want to purchase, I have to travel eight<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


kilometers because the local village grocery shop<br />

will not sell anything to me because I am Christian.”<br />

Despite this extreme pressure, many Christians<br />

said that they would remain steadfast in their faith.<br />

“No matter what, I will follow Jesus till the<br />

end of my life,” Yakobu told ICC. “When I had<br />

no hope, I found hope in Jesus. I will not deny<br />

Jesus even if I have to give away my life.”<br />

Boats of Hope<br />

Like Yakobu, there are hundreds of believers<br />

in these fishing villages who want to stand<br />

for Jesus. Still, for many, the choice to follow<br />

Jesus will have daily consequences like hunger,<br />

marginalization, and fear.<br />

This is not the first time ICC has dealt with<br />

this type of persecution.<br />

In 2012, ICC discovered a similar situation in<br />

Nagapattinam where Christian fishermen from<br />

a single village were forbidden from using the<br />

communal fishing boats. This boycott left these<br />

Christian families with no way to provide for<br />

themselves, forcing them to borrow from loan<br />

sharks just to keep food on the table.<br />

In response, ICC was able to purchase five<br />

fishing boats and pay back all of the loans the<br />

Christians had taken out. “ICC’s assistance<br />

was like a life boat,” Murgan, a Christian who<br />

ICC assisted in 2012, said. “I am able to go<br />

fishing with other Christians helping me. We<br />

are able to earn the living and are in a much<br />

better situation. The help meant so much.”<br />

As ICC prepares to assist those Christians<br />

now affected by the social boycotts, those<br />

who were aided in 2012 are stepping up to<br />

do their part. When ICC told them about the<br />

other social boycotts, they pledged to put aside<br />

some funds each month to help ICC purchase<br />

fishing boats for their persecuted neighbors.<br />


ICC Advocacy:<br />

India<br />

By Isaac Six and Nathanial Lance<br />

With persecution<br />

intensifying<br />

for<br />

Christians<br />

in India,<br />

it became<br />

clear to<br />

ICC that<br />

US government<br />

and congressional attention was<br />

needed. India’s prime minister, Narendra<br />

Modi, refused to speak out on behalf of<br />

Christians, despite hundreds of attacks. It was<br />

time to put pressure on India to enforce their<br />

own constitution which, in theory, provides<br />

religious freedom for all.<br />

In late 2015, ICC launched a series of<br />

meetings with US officials on this issue. This<br />

resulted in a congressional letter with the signatures<br />

of 34 senators and congressmen being<br />

sent to Prime Minister Modi in February<br />

2016. The letter encouraged Modi to speak<br />

out in specific and forceful terms against the<br />

persecution happening in his country, and to<br />

restore the religious freedom that India’s constitution<br />

is supposed to protect.<br />

The Indian government tried to side-step the<br />

facts of the letter, with their interior minister<br />

calling instances of persecution “aberrations,”<br />

denying the multiple examples of persecution<br />

against non-Hindu faith groups detailed in the<br />

letter. Still, media outlets in India and around<br />

the world such as Fox News, Vice News, and<br />

the Times of India reported on the congressional<br />

letter and the government’s subsequent<br />

response. Millions of readers suddenly became<br />

aware that hundreds of Christian families in<br />

the Bastar District were being persecuted on a<br />

daily basis. ICC was interviewed for many of<br />

these articles, allowing us to detail our findings<br />

and highlight our opinions on this issue.<br />

Simultaneously, ICC launched an online<br />

petition to raise awareness regarding the plight<br />

of Christians in India. The petition garnered<br />

thousands of signatures from over 78 countries<br />

around the world, a strong indication to the<br />

Indian government of how the international<br />

community views the severity of this issue.<br />

Efforts by ICC and our partners in Congress<br />

continued. Just before Modi was scheduled<br />

to visit the United States in June, the Tom<br />

Lantos Human Rights Commission, a group<br />

of congressional members dedicated to the<br />

advancement of human rights and religious<br />

liberty, scheduled a congressional hearing to<br />

learn from non-governmental organizations<br />

(NGOs) and other leaders concerning the status<br />

of human rights in India.<br />

In response to the announcement of this<br />

hearing, India’s ambassador to the United<br />

States met with congressional members in an<br />

effort to stop the hearing from taking place and<br />

causing India embarrassment during the prime<br />

minister’s trip. Armed with data and testimonies<br />

provided by ICC, congressional offices<br />

countered the Modi government’s attempts<br />

“The silence<br />

of Modi and<br />

government<br />

authorities is<br />

deafening.”<br />



to evade or hide the facts on the ground. The<br />

ambassador’s meetings were just one way in<br />

which the Indian government has tried to push<br />

back against US government officials and<br />

others speaking out against the human rights<br />

abuses that go unchecked in India.<br />

High powered lobbying firms have also been<br />

hired by India to put pressure on congressional<br />

offices and others in an attempt to combat questions<br />

being asked of the Indian government.<br />

To the great credit of congressional members<br />

involved, the hearing went forward as scheduled.<br />

ICC’s president, Jeff King, was invited by<br />

Congress to testify at this hearing, detailing<br />

the devastating experiences of India’s Christian<br />

community. Here, he joined other NGOs and<br />

human rights activists in clearly demonstrating<br />

the many human rights abuses that are currently<br />

taking place in India. Mr. King stated as part of<br />

his testimony, “The silence of Modi and government<br />

authorities is deafening,” highlighting the<br />

fact that Modi’s silence is giving tacit approval<br />

to Hindu radical groups. Not long after this<br />

hearing, a group of investigators travelled to<br />

Bastar and confirmed ICC’s reports.<br />

Since the congressional hearing in June, India’s<br />

Christians have continued to face persecution,<br />

and more villages have begun to ban the practice<br />

of non-Hindu religion. This is taking place despite<br />

a state court ruling these bans unconstitutional. If<br />

the federal government of India continues to be<br />

silent on this issue and refuses to enforce their<br />

own constitution, ICC sees no reason for this<br />

persecution to be curtailed.<br />

As always, ICC will continue to advocate<br />

on behalf of India’s Christians, but we cannot<br />

do it alone. Your continued support through<br />

prayer and financial contribution is vital in<br />

allowing us to provide advocacy, awareness,<br />

and direct assistance to persecuted Christians<br />

in India and around the world.<br />

32 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


Turn<br />

On the<br />

Lights!<br />

ICC’s advocacy team works with<br />

the US government to push for<br />

religious freedom worldwide.<br />

ICC has worked to<br />

expose India’s social<br />

discrimination against<br />

religious minorities<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />

ICC meets with congressional<br />

offices to provide testimonies<br />

and data on the persecution of<br />

Christians in India.<br />

ICC’s president, Jeff King, speaks<br />

at the congressional hearing on<br />

religious persecution in India.<br />

The India hearing was scheduled by<br />

Congress to coincide with a visit from<br />

India’s prime minister to the US.<br />

As long as countries like India can hide the<br />

social boycotts, frequent attacks, and other<br />

methods of discrimination, they will continue<br />

their persecution of Christians.<br />

However, once persecution is exposed,<br />

there is a chance to end it. A clear inverse<br />

relationship exists between awareness and<br />

persecution, and our job at ICC is to shine<br />

a light into India’s dark recesses, exposing<br />

India’s persecution of Christians.<br />

To expose India’s persecution tactics, we<br />

have published numerous featured articles,<br />

news releases, social media posts, and newsletters<br />

about India’s social discrimination. We<br />

have been interviewed by media outlets, and<br />

produced videos describing the living conditions<br />

of Christians in India. We have increased<br />

global awareness about persecution to hold<br />

India accountable for their atrocious acts, to<br />

fight persecution, and to make people more<br />

willing to assist victims of persecution.<br />

While God ultimately rescues the persecuted,<br />

ICC is privileged to serve as one of<br />

His mouthpieces for Christians in India and<br />

around the world.<br />



INDIA<br />

As the use of social boycotts explodes,<br />

Christians are left devastated and in<br />

need of help.<br />

By Michelle King<br />

34 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


PERSECU ION.org<br />


One of the Christian fishing<br />

families that ICC assisted<br />

by creating a boatshare<br />

program. Find out<br />

more on page 37.<br />

“<br />

Ineed to feed my family…but the<br />

(Hindu) villagers told us that we<br />

are not allowed to harvest our<br />

own fields,” said a Christian villager<br />

to ICC.<br />

Many Christian villagers in<br />

India are suffering from the new<br />

phenomenon of social boycotts<br />

(see page 26, “On the Edge:<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> in India”). As the<br />

practice of socially boycotting Christians<br />

continues its dangerous spread, ICC has<br />

been on the frontlines investigating, aiding<br />

(page 37), and advocating (page 34) for its<br />

victims.<br />

The effects of the boycotts on Christians<br />

are devastating because they impact<br />

Christians on several fronts. Their incomes<br />

are affected due to the inability to practice<br />

their trades because of bans on farming and<br />

fishing. Their access to education for their<br />

children is affected which is less painful<br />

in the short term, but in the long term is<br />

devastating. Their lives are even disrupted<br />

at a basic level as they are denied access to<br />

village wells and not allowed to visit local<br />

shops and supermarkets run by Hindus.<br />

Nagapattinam<br />

India began experiencing the first taste<br />

of social boycotts in 2012 when Hindu<br />

radicals launched the first of many attacks<br />

against Christians in Nagapattinam, a small<br />

village in the state of Tamil Nadu on India’s<br />

eastern coast. During Sunday services, radicals<br />

attacked the church, beating any males<br />

they could catch. Those Christians who<br />

were not captured hid for several days in<br />

the forest as the radicals raided their homes.<br />

Any possessions not stolen were destroyed.<br />

Shortly after the attack, village officials<br />

determined that Christians could only live<br />

in the village if they converted to Hinduism,<br />

which they refused to do. As punishment,<br />

officials banned Christians from accessing<br />

the fishing boats necessary to generate<br />

income. Nagapattinam is a coastal village<br />

and the primary livelihood for its residents<br />

is fishing.<br />

According to an ICC representative,<br />

“[The villagers] depend on these boats for<br />

fishing...due to this ban, they face many<br />

problems and are unable to earn money to<br />

feed their families.” Without assistance, the<br />

villagers would have to leave their homes<br />

to seek safety, employment, and residence<br />

somewhere else.<br />

In Nagapattinam, after the Christians were<br />

banned from using the community boats,<br />

ICC supplied the affected Christians with<br />


Feature Article<br />

Christians in the village<br />

of Madota show<br />

appreciation for their<br />

new small businesses.<br />

their own fishing boats, motors, and nets to<br />

ensure that they could earn an income.<br />

Hindu leaders were enraged that Christians<br />

had found a way out of their trap and they next<br />

banned them from selling their catch in the<br />

market, forcing the men to travel long distances<br />

to other markets. This has not discouraged<br />

the believers who are now able to provide for<br />

themselves and stay in their homes.<br />

On a recent ICC trip to Nagapattinam, we<br />

rejoiced to see that the Christians have not<br />

just survived, but thrived. They have purchased<br />

additional engines and fishing tools<br />

because they have such great demand for<br />

their catch. The persecution may not have<br />

stopped, but God continues to provide for<br />

the villagers’ needs.<br />

Systemic and Widespread<br />

In other places throughout India, the<br />

effects of social boycotts encompass more<br />

than unemployment. In the Bastar District<br />

of Chhattisgarh, for example, officials outlawed<br />

Christianity in 2014. This led to<br />

social boycotts and physical assaults affecting<br />

over 300 Christians. Although this ban<br />

is unconstitutional, India’s constitution is<br />

often selectively interpreted. To raise awareness<br />

of the unconstitutional ban against<br />

Christianity, local pastors wanted to stage<br />

a protest in the district capital. The pastors,<br />

however, lacked the funding and knowledge<br />

of protests to organize one, so we helped<br />

organize the protest and provide the necessary<br />

equipment.<br />

Over 4,000 pastors and Christians attended<br />

the rally, which not only alerted the<br />

government about the village’s unconstitutional<br />

ban on Christianity, but also unified<br />

many denominations that had previously<br />

“I have learned to<br />

repair bicycles and,<br />

with ICC’s assistance,<br />

set up a repair shop.<br />

I am much more<br />

confident now.<br />

Thank you.”<br />


not worked together. The rally, coupled with<br />

ICC’s advocacy campaign, propelled the<br />

social boycotts and ban from obscurity to<br />

international attention.<br />

Despite the increased awareness of social<br />

discrimination, the boycotts continued.<br />

Eight Christian families in Madota, India,<br />

almost left their homes in 2015 because<br />

radical Hindus banned them from working<br />

at local construction sites. Without employment,<br />

the victims had no income. The men<br />

began traveling long distances to find work<br />

and send the money home, but their absence<br />

left the women and children vulnerable to<br />

attacks. “[We] were shattered after the incident<br />

and did not know what would happen<br />

to us. We were confused,” said one of the<br />

Christians.<br />

We visited Madota to talk with the<br />

Christian families and investigate ways to<br />

provide employment opportunities so that<br />

the families would be able to survive and<br />

remain intact. As a result, we were able<br />

to set up businesses, such as tailoring and<br />

bicycle shops. We purchased the supplies<br />

for the businesses and trained the Christians<br />

to operate them.<br />

A local Christian in Madota, for exam-<br />

36 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


ple, did not know about the bicycle repair<br />

trade, but said “I have learned to repair<br />

bicycles and, with ICC’s assistance, set<br />

up a repair shop. I am much more confident<br />

now. Thank you.” Another villager<br />

rejoices that he is “a proud owner of a<br />

business that gives me dignity and a livelihood<br />

when we were socially boycotted.”<br />

Today, the businesses are still in operation<br />

and providing families with sustainable<br />

incomes.<br />

In another village just last year, Hindus<br />

from Nachandih, India, forbade Christians<br />

from working the fields or grazing their<br />

cattle. Nachandih is an agricultural village,<br />

so Christians have no opportunity to<br />

earn an income. In addition, the government<br />

refuses to provide food rations to<br />

Christians who are under the poverty line<br />

because of their religion. Hindus under the<br />

poverty line receive government assistance,<br />

but not Christians.<br />

Christians in Nachandih are starving,<br />

but have no way to provide food for themselves.<br />

In response, we are providing a<br />

month’s worth of groceries for the villagers<br />

so that they can continue to endure despite<br />

the persecution. Packages filled with rice,<br />

dal, sugar, and spices meet both physical<br />

and spiritual needs as the villagers are<br />

encouraged by the support of fellow believers<br />

worldwide.<br />

With ICC’s help, an Indian Christian set up a bicycle<br />

repair shop so he can provide for his family.<br />

Pay It Forward!<br />

These fishermen were denied use of the Hindu village’s communal<br />

fishing boats in 2012 because they were Christian. ICC<br />

donors purchased the boat above, complete with a motor,<br />

nets, etc. They are now thriving and saving money to help<br />

other targeted Christians.<br />

Rescuing the Victims of<br />

India’s Social Boycotts<br />

Radical Hindus are starting social<br />

boycotts against Christians all over the<br />

southeastern coast of India.<br />

These boycotts are devastating because<br />

when you take away the livelihood of a<br />

Christian, they have three choices; move<br />

away, starve, or convert to Hinduism.<br />

In late 2016, we did an extensive survey<br />

of the region and have discovered 64 different<br />

villages where Hindus have boycotted<br />

the Christians, affecting 6,000 Christian<br />

families. One of these villages had over<br />

500 Christians; now it has only five.<br />

As we talked with hundreds of these<br />

Christians, they expressed how they want<br />

to stay in their villages and not be forced<br />

to leave, but that is increasingly difficult<br />

without outside help. The good news is<br />

that we have a positive track record of<br />

helping these types of victims and can<br />

solve this problem with relative ease.<br />

In 2012, in Nagapattinam, Hindus told<br />

Christian villagers that they couldn’t use<br />

the communal fishing boats.<br />

We went to our donors who responded<br />

quickly and then purchased five fully<br />

equipped boats that rescued 25 families.<br />

Those families in the last three years have<br />

thrived and have expanded their businesses<br />

and are now even saving money to<br />

help other families facing social boycotts.<br />

We need to quickly raise $240,000 to<br />

purchase 40 completely outfitted boats that<br />

will rescue 200 families affected right now!<br />

These Christian families desperately need<br />

your help for daily life and to endure persecution.<br />

Without your financial contribution,<br />

these families will lose their homes<br />

and some will even fall apart.<br />

Please work with us to rescue these<br />

families by choosing one of the options<br />

below:<br />

• $35 provides a tank of gas<br />

• $100 feeds two families for a month<br />

• $500 feeds an entire village for a month<br />

• $1,800 purchases the nets or an<br />

engine for one boat<br />

• $3,000 purchases one boat frame<br />

• $6,000 provides a completely outfitted<br />

boat that will provide five families<br />

with a sustainable living!<br />

To partner with us: 1. Use the enclosed<br />

insert and mail in a check or card<br />

payment, 2. Call in a gift at 800-ICC-<br />

5441, or 3. Give through our India<br />

Boats Project at: info.persecution.<br />

org/india-boats Please Help Now!<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />





Throughout 2016, ICC traveled to nine states in<br />

India to investigate persecution issues, administer<br />

aid packages, follow-up on previous projects,<br />

and develop relationships with Christian families<br />

in India. These photos provide a small glimpse<br />

into ICC’s travels to Uttar Pradesh, the most<br />

populous Indian state, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh,<br />

Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil<br />

Nadu, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh.<br />

TOP<br />

ICC teams are able to meet many people in<br />

Chhattisgarh near the Chitrakote waterfalls.<br />

These falls, often referred to as the Niagara<br />

Falls of India, are an important aspect of life<br />

in Chhattisgarh because of its tourism and<br />

natural resources.<br />


In addition to investigation, prayer, and<br />

projects, ICC regularly follows up with past<br />

projects to ensure that all is well. We are<br />

happy to report that the boats we funded<br />

for socially boycotted Christians have helped<br />

provide stable incomes for the villagers.<br />


This girl and her family are socially boycotted<br />

for their faith. ICC can help protect these<br />

Christians by setting up small businesses,<br />

administering food aid, and telling their<br />

stories.<br />

38 PERSECU ION.org<br />

JANUARY <strong>2017</strong><br />


Christians in Bastar<br />

rally against the<br />

government’s ban on<br />

Christianity through<br />

anti-conversion laws.<br />

A pastor in India recovers<br />

in a hospital from a<br />

vicious attack by Hindu<br />

radicals. ICC provided<br />

for his medical care.<br />

Nagapattinam<br />

Christian villagers<br />

pray during a worship<br />

service.<br />

Bhaskhar Suna Maji was<br />

falsely accused of murder<br />

because he is a Christian.<br />

ICC visited his family to<br />

see how we could assist<br />

them and joined in praying<br />

for his release.<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />


An underground<br />

pastor in India<br />

that ICC provided<br />

with several goats<br />

to help support<br />

his family.<br />


You Can Help Today!<br />

PERSECU ION.org<br />



ICC<br />

PO BOX 8056<br />

SILVER SPRING, MD 20907<br />




800-ICC-5441<br />



Provide now for a future gift to ICC<br />

by including a bequest provision in<br />

your will or revocable trust. If you<br />

would like more information on giving<br />

to ICC in this way, please give<br />

us a call at 1-800-ICC-5441.<br />

Keep the next<br />

generation of<br />

India in your<br />

thoughts and<br />

prayers.<br />

© Copyright <strong>2017</strong> ICC, Washington, D.C., USA.<br />

All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce all<br />

or part of this publication is granted provided<br />

attribution is given to ICC as the source.<br />

International Christian Concern (ICC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) (all donations tax-deductible).<br />

ICC makes every effort to honor donor wishes in regards to gifts. Occasionally, situations<br />

arise where a project is no longer viable. ICC will then redirect those donated funds to the<br />

fund most similar to the donor’s original wishes. ICC uses 7.5 percent of each restricted<br />

donation to carry out the mission of its segregated funds.<br />

facebook.com/persecuted<br />


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