Real stories of real people in various parts of the world persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Please take a moment to read them and then pray for them!
April 4, 2018 by Arar Sarvarian World Watch Monitor
Samir Gedhya never wanted to leave his home in Qaraqosh for the unknown, even when the Islamic State group was almost at his doorstep, sweeping through the towns of Iraq. As the menace to Qaraqosh loomed, his eldest son Faraj, then 16, decided to flee to France, entering by a hazardous and illegal boat journey with the aim of later seeking to move his family there. Samir and his wife, Shaymaa, decided they would take the longer, safer and legal route to France together with their two younger sons.
Just before ISIS penetrated Qaraqosh in August 2014, the Assyrian Christian family fled to Erbil Governorate, finding themselves on the streets of the city of Ankawa without a roof over their heads. After a week, they arrived at Mart Shmoni refugee camp, which hosted 15,000 people, then moved onto Ankawa shopping mall, which had opened its doors to 4,000 refugees, Years later, the memory of scabies, a contagious skin infection that had spread throughout the mall, makes Samir's body crawl, even though he did not contract it.
In February 2016, upon being granted official permission, the family traveled to France and stayed there almost two years. Then, after Qaraqosh was liberated from ISIS and it was deemed to be safe to return, they packed their bags and made their way home. Faraj chose to remain in France.
April 5, 2018
World Watch Monitor
A Palestinian Christian father whose 12-year-old daughter was killed by Israeli soldiers has spoken about the ongoing conflict and his decision to forgive the soldiers who shot her, just over 15 years ago.
Violence erupted once again at the weekend along the Israeli border with Gaza, leaving at least 16 Palestinians dead and hundreds injured.
March 29, 2018 by World Watch Monitor
Shaforon village in northeast Nigeria's Adamawa state is all but deserted. Residents fled to the bigger cities of Numan and the state capital, Yola, when the village was attacked by Fulani herdsmen in December.
Hanatu Solomon, whose husband died during the attack, is one of the few to have returned. She says she hopes to rebuild her life. "Leadership is by example," she told World Watch Monitor during a visit to Shaforon, in the Numan local government area, on March 21. "I returned so that other women will be encouraged to do the same. We can't desert our ancestral homes simply because we have been attacked - that will give our enemies victory over us."
April 3, 2018 by Morning Star News
Lahore, Pakistan -- Four Christians, including a woman, were killed and a young girl wounded in a terrorist attack in Pakistan on Monday (April 2), sources said. Rickshaw driver Pervaiz Masih was transporting his brothers-in-law Imran Masih and Tariq Masih, along with their sister-in-law Firdous, in Quetta, capital of the restive province, when two unidentified terrorists opened fire on them, killing them instantly, according to the driver's cousin, George Anjum. The visitors had just boarded the vehicle when they were attacked.
Pervaiz Masih's 12-year-old daughter, Sidra, suffered bullet wounds and was receiving treatment at Quetta's Civil Hospital. Her life was said to be out of danger.
The rickshaw driver lived in Quetta, while his relatives were visiting from Sheikhupura District, Punjab Province, to celebrate Easter, Anjum told Morning Star News. "Imran had especially traveled to Balochistan to celebrate Easter with his sister in Quetta, " he said. "Their elder brother Emmanuel, whose wife Firdous is among those killed, makes a living as a rickshaw driver. He was inside the house when the attack took place.
March 25, 2018 by Brian O. Open Doors
For the first time since ISIS drove all the Christians from Iraq's Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh celebrates Palm Sunday after many of its families have returned. During this week leading up to Easter, our team on the ground visits Qaraqosh to meet with Christians there.
Today, the world can see and hear powerful truth---Christians have returned to the Nineveh Plain. Thousands of Iraqi Christians walked through the streets of the ancient town, waving palm and olive branches; praying, singing and remembering the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ. Their chorus: "King of kings and Lord of lords. Glory! Hallelujah!"
Don't Lose Hope
Amidst all this, we spoke with a 25-year-old teacher named Andraws. His message to Christians around the world was clear: "Please do not lose hope. Two and a half year we were displaced and we almost lost hope to ever return here. But today, we are here again, because of Jesus; because we had hope in Him," he said.
February 23, 2018
from Open Doors
As restoration of the Church in Iraq's Nineveh Plain continues, the casualties of war are still very real for many families. Our local partners report that more than 60 Christians from the Nineveh Plain are still missing since the liberation of the area at the end of 2016 and the summer of 2017.
The son of Adeeb Khedir Qreshat and Najeeba Poules Hanna stand at the site of his parents' abandoned home in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.
He is taken back by what he sees. Nothing is left of his parent's home. Everything is completely destroyed.
The last time he saw his parents was three years ago. While 100,000 Christians fled the city in one night when Islamic State militants captured and took control of the city in June 2014, his elderly parents stayed in their home. Mosul's entire population was given a 24-hour ultimatum to either convert to ISIS's radical brand of Islam or face beheading.
In a hidden location in the Middle East, a group of female house church leaders has gathered in secret to grown and learn together. Lively conversation and warm smiles fill the room.
Outside this room, in a culture dominated by men, these women are forced to blend into the anonymous mass of covered heads. The must hide their faith and risk their lives. But the light of Christ can't be stopped, and in the safety of this women's conference hosted by Open Doors, these daring leaders can finally be themselves.
Tala,* a warm, young woman with big, bright eyes, is part of the group. She was the first to come to faith in her Muslim family and has led more family members to Christ, including two of her older sisters. The sisters' decisions to live for Christ come at a high price.
January 02, 2018
News Service 2000 Co-Worker & World Watch Monitor
Violence escalated during the Christmas holidays in Egypt. The Mar Mina and Pope Kyrillos Church was attacked on December 29th. That same day, two Christian men were shot to death inside their appliance store.
On January 19th, 2018, we heard from one of our co-workers that two brothers, Ashraf and Adel were gunned down on January 1st near their car parts store by a radical Muslim man. The motive is unclear, but the brothers had been helping another Christian shopkeeper restock alcohol to hand out during the News Year's celebrations.
January 10, 2018
ENDURING THE SLOW 'SLOW CREEP' OF THE ISLAMIST
In the reporting period for the 2018 World Watch List, four trends have played a significant role in the persecution of Christians worldwide. By no means are they the only trends affecting believers globally. However, our research and reports from our on-the-ground partners and field reps in more than 60 countries indicate that these trends are the major forces influencing the persecution of Christians around the world. We identify and highlight them to provide insight into the battle the global Church is facing today.
In terms of media coverage, the Islamist Revolutionary Movement is one of the most widely recognized sources of persecution for Christians in the world today-and it continues to spread-aiming to bring many parts of the world under Sharia law.
January 04. 2018
What began on December 28 as local protests against high food prices in the northern city of Mashhad, Iran, has spiraled into mass protests consisting of some hundreds of thousands of Iranians in some two dozen cities, including if not especially Tehran, the seat of government. So far over 20 protesters have been killed and many hundreds arrested in what has been widely described as "the most serious internal crisis the country has faced this decade."
The protests have morphed from mundane topics concerning the economy to more existential topics concerning Islamic leadership. Reportedly hundreds of thousands of protesters have been heard shouting "We don't want an Islamic Republic," and calling blessings on Reza Shah, the staunch secularist and political reformer who did much to Westernize Iran, until his son and successor, Muhammad Reza Shah was deposed during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. According to Mideast media, women-such as Maryam Rajavi-are spearheading the current protests (and symbolically rejecting Islamic impositions by publicly removing their hijabs).
December 27, 2017
Raymond Ibrahim/Front Page Magazine
President Trump's new National Security strategy is not only notable for what it brings back to the paradigm-words such as "jihadi" and "sharia"- but in what it gets rid of, namely, the long held, much entrenched notion that Israel is the root source of all the turmoil plaguing the Middle East. According to the new strategy document,
"For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats."
That this is true cannot be overstated. For decades, the official establishment position championed by politicians, academics, and journalists of all stripes seeking to apologize for all the anger, violence, and jihadi terror plaguing the region was the creation of Israel.
December 21, 2017
by World Watch Monitor
Marco and Mina live in a small village in the Minya region of rural southern Egypt. Both look young for their age, 14 and 10 respectively. On May 25, 2017, they joined their father Ayad to go to the monastery of St. Samuel. Ayad worked there and was going to teach the teenagers his job. He never got the chance.
Right before them on the road to the monastery, a bus full of pilgrims was attacked by a group of armed men. All the Coptic men who would not confess Islam were shot. Then the gunmen heard Ayad's pick-up truck approach.
Mina recalls what happened that day, his empty eyes stare at the floor, his legs wobble impatiently. "My dad was driving, some of his colleagues rode with us. Then we heard shouting."
October 5, 2017
World Watch monitor
A 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl kidnapped on June 28 to be "converted to Islam, then married off or sold", was released and returned to her family on September 30 after police found her and arrested her kidnappers in a city just outside Cairo.
Marilyn was recovered from a city name 10th of Ramadan, but she is from a village several hundred kilometers south, in the governorate of Minya.
Her village priest, Father Boutros Khalaf, told World Watch Monitor: "Recently we found out that Marilyn was held in a place in 10th of Ramadan city... We went to the local police station and they really did their best to reach her and managed to arrest her kidnappers, Taha, and his brother, Gaber, and release Marilyn. She returned back to her family on Saturday, September 30, after 92 days".
November 20, 2017
World Watch Monitor
The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State has called on Sudan to "immediately suspend" its demolition of churches and to hold a round table discussion with Christian leaders to resolve disputes.
John J. Sullivan, speaking at the Al-Neelain Mosque in Omdurman on Friday, November 17, said, "treatment of members of religious minorities is often the ultimate indicator of a government's commitment" to religious freedom.
He added that the U.S. State Department's recent International Religious Freedom report "noted instances of the arrest, detention, and intimidation of religious leaders, and the denial of permits for the construction of new churches; restrictions on non-Muslim religious groups from entering the country; and the censorship of religious material".
September 15, 2017
Morning Star New
Recent bans on unregistered church worship and on teaching Christianity to children, "as if intending to eliminate all house churches at once," have startled Christians, a China Aid source reported.
In Guangzhou, Guangdong Province in southern China, a source told China Aid that in the past week police visited members of unregistered church members at their homes to warn them not to attend worship services. Officers also summoned a large number of them for questioning.
"The police called me again today and ordered me to stay away from church gatherings, which irritated me," reported one Christian, who wished to remain unnamed. "I don't know what to do with these people."
September 25, 2017
World Watch Monitor
Two Coptic Christians in a village in Minya, Upper Egypt are facing charges of inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islamic leaders, after comments from one of the men on social media, shared by the other caused some Muslims in their village to riot.
Bassem Abdel-Malak Fahim, 25, from the village of Ezbat El-Sheikh Nageim, first posted the comments on Facebook in the wake of the Minya bus attack in May, when 28 Copts were killed. The day after the attack, Fahim shared photographs of some well-known Islamic leaders, and accused them of inciting people to attack Christians. He also criticized the Egyptian government and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for targeting Islamic extremists in Libya but failing to control those within Egypt's borders.
July 27, 2017
Morning Star News
In Cairo, Egyptian military officers beat a new soldier to death on July 19 upon learning that he was a Christian, relatives said.
Joseph Reda Helmy of Kafr Darwish village, Beni Suef Governorate, had just completed training at Mubarak military training center and was transferred to Al-Salaam Special Forces police unit, where three officers killed him, relatives told Middle Eastern media. The Egyptian army told relatives Helmy died of an epileptic seizure.
His father, Reda Helmy, told Al Karma TV by phone that his large, strong son had arrived at the camp at 2 p.m. and was dead by 8 p.m.
July 14, 1017
World Watch Monitor
Attacks on Christians in Egypt have intensified in brutality because of an influx of arms and foreign jihadis, lax border security and increased local hostility to non-Muslims, according to a leading UK academic.
Dr. Mariz Tadros of Sussex University's Institute of Development Studies said that the suicide attack on a Cairo church last December showed that jihadis are prepared to engage in suicide bombings "to maximize horror". Attacks by Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood members, which have resulted in less damage, have not involved the death of the perpetrator, she added.
Many Egyptian Muslims had shown themselves willing to put their lives in danger to help their Coptic neighbors, she stressed.
June 29, 2017
World Watch Monitor
When Islamic State (ISIS) launched its so-called caliphate in 2014 it had seized territory in Iraq and Syria. However over the last 18 months, militants claiming allegiance to the group have carried out attacks in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, while the group also has sympathizers in India and Pakistan.
ISIS has "recognized" a number of existing Islamist terrorist groups in the Philippines, though it has stopped short of announcing a wilayet -- or province --there, as it has within Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Northern Caucasus. Last year the group issued a 20 - minute video encouraging viewers who could not travel to the Middle East to "go to the Philippines".
April 5, 2017
by World Watch Monitor
The belief dates back to when the Wixarika tribe first arrived in the area, in the western state of Jalisco, and encountered a deer which seemed to appear in front of them whichever way they turned. The tribe interpreted this as a sign of its promise of protection.
Today, in a community still dominated by members of the same tribe, the deer retains its significance as one of three local "gods". The others are the maize upon which the community subsists and a hallucinogenic drug believed to invite an encounter with the spiritual realm.
For many of the tribe, to be Wixarika is to believe in the power of the three and to partake in the ritual and sacrifices offered to the gods-- rituals involving blood, water and the use of the drug.
Yet not all Wixarika's believe in these practices. There are some, dotted around the communities of the surrounding mountains, who have become Christians and now don't want to take part in the rituals.
April 6, 2017
by World Watch Monitor
The Governor of Mexico's northern state of Chihuahua, Javier Corral, admitted that his government does not have the means to tackle organized crime, and that he's asked for federal resources to fight the drug cartels.
This came four days after the murder of a local journalist, who'd reported extensively on the links between organized crime and politicians.
Chihuahua's largest city, Juarez, on the border with the US state of Texas, used to be known as the murder capital of the world. From 2007-2014, thousands of people were killed every year in Juarez in violence related to organized crime. In 2011, the death toll across Mexico was greater even than in Syria and Juarez was at the center of it.
A period of relative calm has followed -- though dozens are still killed every month --but a local church leader fears another crescendo of violence is around the corner.