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Open Doors News

Syria: Christmas in Tartus

Christmas in Tartus, a city on Syria's coast, won't look the same as it has in years gone by. Pastor B, one of our partners who leads a church in Tartus, says, "Because of the war there is no decoration in the church. There are no lights, no Christmas tree. There is pain in every mouth, even our neighbours, there is pain and a lot of grieving. So we as a church, because we respect their feelings, stop these celebrations."

Read more...

 
"The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed"
- Psalm 103:6
 

Mexico: Thirty displaced still living in two rooms

07 December 2016 - Seven families - a total of thirty people - from the Tuxpan de Bolanos community in western Mexico are still living in just two rooms a year after being displaced. They were forced out of their homes in January 2016 because, they say, they were attracting other villagers to evangelical Christianity, posing a threat to ancestral traditions. Read more...

 

Syria: 'All are welcome!' Join Syria's Christians in prayer this month

07 December 2016 - On 18 December, Syrian Christians from across different denominations and towns will be gathering together to pray for their war-torn nation. And they are inviting you to join them. 'During Christmas, we raise our prayers together not only for ourselves, but also for the 'People' and the 'Land', so that they experience peace, just like the angels chanted before the birth of the Lord of peace. For this reason, we invite you to join us in a prayer meeting.' Read more...

 

Azerbaijan: Church raided and Christians branded criminals

07 December 2016 - Four Christians have been arrested following a raid on an underground church in Azerbaijan. About 30 Christian believers - men, women and children - were gathered for prayer in the Pastor's house when a group of about 15 policemen came into the room and demanded to stop the meeting, because it was 'illegal'.The police took the names and passport details of all those gathered, as well compiling an inventory of all the literature in the house. Although 26 of those gathered for prayer were taken to the police station and detained, 22 were released. Read more...

 

Uzbekistan: Christians jailed for possessing 'illegal' literature

07 December 2016 - Two Christians, Shokir Rakhmatullayev and Dmitri Inyushev, were jailed for five days on 9 November after being found in possession of 'illegal' literature. A police raid on their homes, in the Termez, south Uzbekistan, found religious literature, including a Russian Bible, Uzbek New Testament, Christian CDs, audio tapes and DVDs as well as many pages of personal notes. Read more...

 

India: Christian woman stripped and beaten to death

05 December 2016 - Samari Kasabi (55), a Christian from the village of Dokawaya, District Sukma, Chhattisgarh, was stripped naked, beaten to death, and her body was burnt by people from her village on the night of 16 October. Her son Sukura (35) and his family were at church when the attack took place, about 12km away from their village. The villagers had initially been looking for Sukura, and attacked Samari when they discovered he was not there. Read more...

 

Indonesia: Christian governor accused of blasphemy

29 November 2016 - Jakarta's Christian Governor, Basuki Cahaya Purnama, also known as Ahok, is to be tried for blasphemy after around 100,000 Muslim radicals took to the streets and demanded he be prosecuted. The governor had earlier sparked outrage among Islamists for 'desecrating' the Quran - he had indicated in a public forum that many had been influenced to object his leadership because, citing a verse from the Islamic holy book, of his Christian faith. Despite a public apology, Ahok will soon stand trials. Read more...

 

Cuba: Castro's death not likely to change much for Christians

29 November 2016 - For decades, the church in Cuba has experienced persecution and oppression. In the past that meant beatings, imprisonment and sometimes murder; today, it is generally in the form of harassment, strict surveillance and discrimination, including occasional imprisonment of leaders. Despite this, the Cuban Church has grown. Now the architect of much of that oppression, Fidel Castro, has died aged 90. Ever since Fidel Castro took power, the country has been a place where political rights and civil liberties are to a large extent restricted. Read more...

 

Pakistan: Five sentenced to death for murdering couple who were 'burned alive'

25 November 2016 - On 23 November an Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore sentenced five men to death for the murder of a Christian couple who were burned alive in November 2014 for setting fire to some pages from a Qur'an. A mob of about 600 people beat to near-death Shahzad Masih, 26, and his five-months-pregnant wife Shama Bibi, 24, for their 'blasphemous' act on 4 November 2014, in a village 60 km from Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab region. The couple were then thrown into the large kiln where they worked as bonded labourers. Read more...

 

Sudan: UPDATE - Pastors accused of supporting rebels

22 November 2016 - The prosecutor repeated old accusations against Sudanese pastors Hassan Kodi and Kuwa Shamal, as well as against Abdulmonem Abdumawla and Petr Jasek, in court this week. Sources report the prosecutor again accused Petr Jasek of supporting rebel groups in South Kordofan. The prosecutor also repeated old accusations against Hassan, Kuwa and Abdulmonem of supporting rebels in Darfur. The prosecutor also accused them of reporting bad information about Sudan 'as if the state is against Christians'. He said Kuwa lied by saying the government has demolished his church. Read more...

 

Syria: Christmas in Tartus

22 November 2016 - Christmas in Tartus, a city on Syria's coast, won't look the same as it has in years gone by. Pastor B, one of our partners who leads a church in Tartus, says, "Because of the war there is no decoration in the church. There are no lights, no Christmas tree. There is pain in every mouth, even our neighbours, there is pain and a lot of grieving. So we as a church, because we respect their feelings, stop these celebrations." But they do still celebrate - by serving others. Read more...

 

Uzbekistan: Tohar Haydarov released from prison

22 November 2016 - Uzbekistan has released Christian prisoner Tohar Haydarov (33) after he served six years and 10 months of his ten year sentence, local sources have confirmed to Open Doors. His release came unexpectedly for everyone involved. The Uzbek authorities didn't alert anyone and there was nobody to pick Haydarov up from the prison. On 7 November, a judge officially granted Haydarov parole. He left the prison one day later and was finally reunited with his family once he made it home. "God has heard the prayers of many Christians," an Uzbek Christian said. Read more...

 

Nigeria: Attacks on Christian communities leave 45 dead

21 November 2016 - A series of terrifying attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria has left 45 dead and several more injured. The attacks took place in five villages in the Kauru Local Government Area, in the Middle Belt state of Kaduna - an area mostly populated by Christians. Most of the victims were women, children and the elderly, who could not escape the gunfire of the attackers, believed to be Fulani herdsmen. Some 120 houses, including eight house-churches, were burnt down. Read more...

 

Indonesia: Church bombing kills a child and injures three others

18 November 2016 - A child has died and three others are intensive care after a church bombing in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, which took place on Sunday, 13 November. Two-year old Intan reportedly died on Monday morning from severe burns. Alvaro (4), Trinity (3), and Anita (2) are currently in intensive care in a local hospital as they also suffered from severe burns. Read more...

 

Nigeria: Refugees who were forced to eat leaves to survive given vital aid

17 November 2016 - Since October, Open Doors has provided lifesaving food aid for 3,000 families - approximately 15,000 people - who have been displaced by Boko Haram violence, with some resorting to eating leaves in order to survive. "We had to flee Boko Haram because they didn't allow us to go to our farm," said Mary Charles, one of those who received aid. "We had no drinking water and we didn't have anything to eat. I thank God for this food aid and I thank the people who brought it. We now have food that we can give to our children. We didn't have anything to give them." Read more...

 
"God has called me to stay here and be his witness. I cannot leave the other Christians behind."
- Eun Hee, Christian martyr from North Korea