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CHIBOK FOUR YEARS ON

Four years ago, few people had heard of the dusty town of Chibok. But that changed on April 14 2014 when Boko Haram stormed the school and abducted 230 of the 275 girls who had gathered to take an exam. Today, half of those girls remain in captivity. During a recent visit, parents thanked Open Doors partners for all their support and urged Christians to keep praying for them.

 


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"Prayer and giving money often feels like it is too easy, but it's not! It is making a huge difference in places like this"
- Lydia, Open Doors representative visiting Erbil, Iraq
 
  • Trial put on hold for American pastor accused of espionage in Turkey

    19 April 2018 -

    After his first day in court on Monday (16 April), American pastor Andrew Brunson must wait three weeks in an overcrowded prison before his trial can continue. When he appeared in court this week, Andrew rejected all the claims that have been made against him of links to terrorist organisations and espionage against the Turkish state. He is accused of helping a group led by Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Muslim preacher who is accused of being behind the failed 2016 coup. If convicted, he faces 35 years in prison.

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  • Kidnappings and bombings cannot stop the church in Syria

    17 April 2018 -

    "When we give a loaf of bread, the love of Christ is written on it," says Ghassan, a church leader in Aleppo. He has chosen to stay to serve his hurting community, despite losing friends and family to kidnappings and bombs.

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  • Open Doors asks Commonwealth Heads of Government to stop religious persecution

    13 April 2018 -

    As the leaders of the Commonwealth countries gather together for their 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Towards a common future (16-20 April 2018) Open Doors is asking that they put freedom of religion and belief at the heart of their discussions.

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  • Chibok four years on

    10 April 2018 -

    Four years ago 230 girls were kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. Today, half of those girls remain in captivity. During a recent visit, parents thanked Open Doors partners for all their support and urged Christians to keep praying for them.

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  • Christians in China wait with baited breath

    09 April 2018 -

    New laws or ‘Regulations on Religious Affairs’, in China came into force just two months ago (1 February). No one is sure yet what impact they will have for the estimated 97 million Chinese Christians. Just last month the People's Congress voted to extend President Xi's office from two terms to life in a move that many think could have significant impact on China's future.

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  • Nigerian Christians and Muslims come together to pray for Christian girl held by Boko Haram

    09 April 2018 -

    The pastor of Leah Sharibu, a Christian girl abducted from her school in Dapchi, Nigeria, on 19 February, has brought together Christians and Muslims to pray for her safe return. Leah's father says, "“I am very grateful to all churches and indeed all Nigerians who are supporting us with their prayers.”

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  • Algerian Christian imprisoned for blasphemy released

    09 April 2018 -

    Slimane Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian imprisoned for posting material on facebook that was deemed ‘insulting to Islam’, was released on 1 April having served his sentence. On 7 August 2016 Slimane (51) was given the maximum sentence for blasphemy of five years' imprisonment and a fine of approximately £600, although his sentence was later reduced and the fine dropped. Slimane was attacked by other prisoners for defending his Christian faith and suffered from health problems during his imprisonment.

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  • India: Christians overturn Good Friday 'ban'; more attacks on churches

    04 April 2018 -

    Christians in Meghalaya State in India have overturned a government proposal to make Good Friday a normal working day. However, in other parts ,of the country there have been a series of violent atatcks over the course of the Easter period.

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  • Blog: How North Koreans celebrate life’s big occasions

    04 April 2018 -

    When people think about North Korea, the first thing that comes to mind is the totalitarian regime, not the 25 million people living there. Yet, these are normal people who are born, live, marry, have children and ultimately die. But what do these special occasions look like? North Korea refugee, John Choi blogs about everyday life in North Korea.

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  • Easter in Iraq 7: New Life from the Ashes

    01 April 2018 -

    “As Christ rose from the death, this congregation is rising from the ashes.” That’s the message from Father George Jahola, as the Christians rebuild their lives in Qaraqosh. “This Easter to the faithful in Qaraqosh is very important,” he says. “It's very significant that we celebrate this Easter here, because it is a big challenge and a big message to the world.

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  • Easter in Iraq 6: ‘Can you stand with us in your prayers this Easter?’

    30 March 2018 -

    Standing in the bullet-riddled courtyard of an ancient church, Adrian (20) delivers a powerful message for Good Friday. "For Iraqi Christian people suffering is something that we recognise very easily," he says. "And yet, my grandparents, my family and myself, we’re still here, still standing. Can you please stand with us in your prayers this Easter? Because we want to remain here. Thank you.”

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  • Easter in Iraq 5: ‘There is always hope in God’

    29 March 2018 -

    Maryam lives in Qaraqosh with her husband and her little boy, Toma. But she misses her family who have migrated to safer countries.

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  • Photo story: The Christians in Egypt with the cross on their wrist

    29 March 2018 -

    In Egypt it’s a tradition for Christians to tattoo a cross on their wrist to celebrate their identity in Christ. They often use the Coptic version of the cross which has four equal sides. But wearing a cross is not without risks. Recently, 27-year-old Bassem was killed because of a cross tattoo on his wrist. His murderers threatened to repeat their crime and kill more Christians. The killing of Bassem is an extreme example of what Christians in Egypt face every day - persecution and harassment because of their faith in Jesus. Despite this, they don’t hide their cross tattoos. Here eight Christians share about their love for the cross and what their tattoo means to them.

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  • Vietnam: Christians attacked, houses destroyed

    29 March 2018 -

    Four Vietnamese Christian families – 24 people in all – have been attacked by a mob led by the village chief. Four of the victims were hospitalised for eight days after the attack, with injuries to their heads and arms.

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  • Theresa May stands with persecuted Christians this Easter

    28 March 2018 -

    Prime Minister Theresa May said she stands with persecuted Christians this Easter as she shared about her meeting with Open Doors partner Father Daniel, in Prime Minister’s Questions.

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  • Easter in Iraq 4: ‘Iraq without Christians is like a garden without roses’

    28 March 2018 - Read more
     
  • Egypt's hidden story: The girls who disappear

    28 March 2018 -

    It’s every parent’s worst nightmare; that their child will be groomed and lured away by someone who plans to take advantage of them. In Egypt, this cruel trick is being used by Islamic extremists to deliberately target Christian girls, to bring shame on their families and tear their communities apart.

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  • Government ministers, MPs and Lords attend launch of art exhibition by women who survived Islamic State abuse

    27 March 2018 -

    The portraits in the exhibition were painted last summer when Hannah Rose Thomas and clinical psychologist Dr Sarah Whittaker-Howe travelled to northern Iraq. One Yezidi woman, Nazu, 19, painted red tears streaming down her face to her lips. She explained that her mother used to say that tears are sadness which touches your lips but one day happiness will touch your lips and you will smile again. Nazu has not seen either of her parents since IS took them captive.

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  • Easter in Iraq 3: Dreaming of a new Qaraqosh

    27 March 2018 -

    Noor is a 29-year-old architect. When so-called Islamic State conquered Qaraqosh, Iraq in 2014, she had to leave her home. Now, she and her family have returned to Qaraqosh to help with the rebuilding.

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  • Egypt: One year on from Alexandria Palm Sunday bomb

    27 March 2018 -

    One year ago a bomb in a church in Alexandria on Palm Sunday killed 22 people and wounded many others. Magid, recalls the events of that day, how he lost his wife, Hannan, in the attack, and how the prayers and presence of others brings him hope.

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  • Easter in Iraq 2: A message of new life

    26 March 2018 -

    Anis (58) is determined to stay in Qaraqosh. “Before ISIS, we were here in Qaraqosh with 50,000 Christians. But now, 25,000 have returned. However, even if there was only 1,000 Christians left, we would stay here”, he says. “I want to stay here. Forever.”

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  • Easter in Iraq 1: Christians in Qaraqosh celebrate Palm Sunday

    25 March 2018 -

    For the first time since so-called Islamic State (IS) drove Christians from Iraq’s Nineveh Plain in 2014, the Christian town of Qaraqosh has celebrated Palm Sunday. Andraws tells us about returning with his family to his home town and celebrating again.

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  • Open Doors holds Yezidi women art exhibition in parliament with artist, Hannah Thomas, and hosted by Caroline Spelman MP

    22 March 2018 -

    Open Doors has teamed up with British artist, Hannah Rose Thomas, to hold an art exhibition in Westminster. This exhibition features moving self-portraits of Yezidi women who are dealing with immense trauma after escaping the self-proclaimed Islamic State, alongside Hannah’s exquisite portraits of the same women.

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  • Iraq: Christian family of 3 stabbed to death

    22 March 2018 -

    An Assyrian Christian family of three were stabbed to death in their home in Baghdad on 8 March. The attackers then stole money and some items from the house.

    Dr Hisham Shafiq al-Maskuni, 61, and his wife Dr Shaza Malik Dinno, worked at a nuns' hospital as a radiologist and gynaecologist respectively. Dr Shaza's elderly mother, Khairiyah, was the third victim. Their bodies were found by neighbours the next morning, after they noticed their door was open, and Dr Hisham's body lying in the corridor. Police later found his wife's body in the kitchen, and Khairiyah's on the second floor. A spokesperson for Iraq's Interior Ministry announced on 10 March that they had caught the suspects.

     

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  • Iraq: Archbishop nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

    22 March 2018 -

    Archbishop Louis Raphaël I Sako, 69, the head of the Iraq-based Chaldean Church, has been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The French politician, Bernard Cazeau, said that Sako 'embodies' the dialogue between faiths and is 'respected' by people of all faiths and no faith for his 'honesty, sincerity, simplicity and generosity'. 

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"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