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Monday, October 31, 2011

Egypt: Christian student murdered for refusing to remove crucifix


Ayman Nabil Labib, a 17-year-old Coptic Christian student, was murdered by Muslim classmates after refusing to remove a crucifix he was wearing, the Assyrian International News Agency is reporting.

The murder, which took place on October 16 in the central Egyptian town of Mallawi, took place after a teacher asked Labib to cover up a tattooed cross on his wrist. Labib refused, instead uncovering a cross necklace.

“The teacher nearly choked my son, and some Muslim students joined in the beating,” said Labib’s father.

“They beat my son so much in the classroom that he fled to the lavatory on the ground floor, but they followed him and continued their assault,” the victim’s mother added. “When one of the supervisors took him to his room, Ayman was still breathing. The ambulance transported him from there dead, one hour later.”

Christians in Nigera are fleeing Jos from fear of Muslim attacks

A pastor of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) King James Dapar, has raised alarm that Christians in Jos, Plateau State, are fleeing their homes out of fear of attacks by Hausa-Fulani Muslim militants.

The Christian leader, according to, raised the alarm when The Middle Belt Dialogue (MDB), an NGO, presented donations of relief materials to the church whose members have been affected by the ongoing crisis in Jos, Nigeria.

The pastor, while receiving the materials, said the Christian community was besieged by Hausa-Fulani Muslim militants who attack at the slightest provocation. The pastor said Christians in the Chwalnyap area live constantly in fear of Hausa settlers, and many were relocating to safer zones and selling their homes to Hausa buyers:

"We are surrounded by the Hausa people and they harass and intimidate us at will. At the slightest provocation, they will just start attacking us. But God has been helping us. Many people have relocated from Chwalnyap. Our people are relocating and selling their houses to the Hausa people. But our fear is that once the Hausa people buy the houses at the strategic route that is serving as escape route for us during crisis, we are finished."

The pastor called on wealthy Christians and the state government to buy the houses relocating Christians were abandoning rather than allow the houses to be bought by their "Hausa oppressors." The pastor said the Plateau State government, intending to set up security outposts in the area, had bought some of the houses Christians left. The state government, according to the pastor, has, however, so far not done anything to establish the security outposts.


Coptic Christians protect monastery from Egyptian army assault

Hundreds of Coptic Christians mobilized on Tuesday in front of the Monastery of the Virgin and St. John the Beloved, located on the Desert Road from Cairo to Ismailia. Although the Monastery has the necessary permits, the army had sent a message to the monastery that they would come on the next day, October 25, to demolish its fence, which guards it from unauthorized visits and criminals.

The official website of the Monastery warned of threats of a " new massacre" by the Egyptian Armed Forces, and the removal of its fence, pointing out that the Monastery was built in 2002 and is under the supervision of the secretariat of H.H. Pope Shenouda.

When the Army vehicles with demolishing equipment arrived at the monastery, they were met by priests, monks, deacons and Copts all dressed up in white for mass, holding wooden crosses, praying and singing hymns.

Other Copts flocked to the Monastery, which lies 80 miles from Cairo, on hearing of the news.


Shar'ia advances as Sudan's constitution is rewritten


Sudanese leader Omer Hassan Al-Bashir is rewriting his country's constitution in order to implement shar'ia (Islamic) law.

"This new law is going to affect a significant number of Christians who live in places like Khartoum," said Jonathan Rach, International Christian Concern's North Africa specialist. "There are still a significant number of Christians in Sudan ... If Al-Bashir introduces this shar'ia law and if he's going to go ahead and adopt an entirely Islamic constitution, Christians and other non-Muslims who live in Sudan will be treated like second-class citizens; they will be dhimmis and they will not have full rights in the freedom of religion."

Racho said Al-Bashir's move towards shar'ia shows that the government of Sudan hasn't learned anything from its recent loss of the South.

"The government of Sudan should realize that the reason the South seceded ... was because of the shar'ia law, and now they're repeating the same mistake."

"Bashir has always embraced shar'ia as good government," said Global Response Network Founder and President Tom Zurowski. "Shar'ia has been the very ethos of Bashir and the North for a long, long time. People on the ground in the South have known this right along (that) the Islamization of Sudan has been the goal of Bashir's government for years."

Zurowski said al-Bashir is now facing the realities of having a new Christian neighbor while having to deal with its other African Islamic countries.

"If Bashir wants the backing of neighboring Arab nations, he must fully embrace shar'ia, or be seen as a weak leader among other Arab countries," he said. "His ego and arrogance will not allow for that."

South Sudan's independence took a major portion of Sudan's oil revenues, so Al-Bashir is now facing a new economic reality. The Sudan Tribune reported Al-Bashir told government officials that spending reductions are now a priority so as to relieve mounting economic pressures, but Racho is asking the international community to put even more pressure on Sudan to ensure safety for its Christians.

"We (ICC) want the international community to put pressure on Sudan," he said. "One of the important things about Sudan is its reliance on the international community. We also want the American Christian community to know that the secession of the South doesn't end the plight of Christians, so they should continue to advocate on behalf of the Christians in Sudan."