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Friday, December 23, 2011

How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?



Father Immanuel Dabaghian, one of Baghdad’s last surviving priests, is expecting a quiet Christmas. To join him in the Church of the Virgin Mary means two hours of security checks and a body search at the door, and even then there’s no guarantee of survival. Islamist gunmen massacred 58 people in a nearby church last year, and fresh graffiti warns remaining worshippers that they could be next.
The Americans have gone now, and Iraq’s Christian communities – some of the world’s oldest – are undergoing an exodus on a biblical scale.

Of the country’s 1.4 million Christians, about two thirds have now fled. Although the British Government is reluctant to recognise it, a new evil is sweeping the Middle East: religious cleansing. The attacks, which peak at Christmas, have already spread to Egypt, where Coptic Christians have seen their churches firebombed by Islamic fundamentalists. In Tunisia, priests are being murdered. Maronite Christians in Lebanon have, for the first time, become targets of bombing campaigns. Christians in Syria, who have suffered as much as anyone from the Assad regime, now pray for its survival. If it falls, and the Islamists triumph, persecution may begin in earnest.

Salafists, who are emerging as victors of the Arab Spring. They belong to the same mutant strain of Sunni Islam which inspired al-Qaeda. Their agenda is sectarian warfare, and they loathe Shia Islam as much as they do Christians and Jews. Their enemy lies not over a border, but in a church, synagogue or Shia mosque. The Salafists may be detested by the Muslim mainstream. But as they are finding out, you don’t need to be popular to seize power in a post-dictatorship Arab world – you just need to be the best organised. The West is so obsessed with government structure that it doesn’t notice when power lies elsewhere, and Islamist death squads are executing barbers and unveiled women in places like Basra.

Two years ago, the idea of such bloody sectarianism would have sounded like a macabre fantasy in a country as civilised as Egypt. After al-Qaeda bombed a church on New Year’s Day, Muslim elders sat in the front pews forming a human shield and defying the terrorists. But moderate Egyptians are now losing this power struggle. The killing has started, with another 25 Copts murdered in October. Tens of thousands of Egypt’s Christians have already joined their Iraqi counterparts in exile: as Iraq proved, one death can lead to a thousand emigrations. The Salafists are finding it staggeringly easy to realise their fantasy of a “purer” Egypt.

The Arab Spring was always going to mean danger for religious minorities, unleashing the Islamic extremists who previously were kept at bay. For all their evil, the old secular tyrants abused their victims equally, whether they wore the cross, hijab or skullcap. This year’s revolutions are marked by the utter absence of any leaders-in-waiting. History has repeatedly shown how, under such circumstances, regime change can be followed by a descent into sectarian chaos. Extremists can easily start fights along religious or ethnic lines by assassinating a leader, or blowing up a shrine. The result can be civil war (as with Bosnia and Rwanda), even leading to partition (as with India and Cyprus).



Radical Muslims' Christmas gift to Christians: death and destruction



ICC

Christian leaders from around the world are asking for prayers and government protection following threats of attacks during Christmas. In the past, radical Muslims and Hindus have stepped up their anti-Christian attacks during the Christmas season. There have already been reports of possible attacks this Christmas.

"The rumor of possible attacks on Christians during this year's Christmas celebration is gaining more momentum. The Christians are calling on the government of Nigeria to ensure the protection of lives and properties, and we call on the church worldwide to bear up the church in Nigeria on the wings of prayer," said a Nigerian church leader in a statement to ICC.

Last year at Christmas time, 38 people were killed in bomb attacks in the Nigerian city of Jos. Members of the Islamic radical group, Boko Haram, took responsibility for the attacks. AFP reports that pamphlets are now circulating in Jos warning of attacks this Christmas. The Nigerian security is taking the threats seriously. 

Pakistan is also taking steps to protect churches during Christmas celebrations. Pakistan's police spokesman reportedly told AFP that 2,500 police will be sent to protect churches from attacks.

Christians living in Orissa, India are also on edge due to fears of attacks by Hindu radicals. Orissa was a scene of anti-Christian violence during Christmas of 2007. More than 100 Christians were killed and over 55,000 displaced in 2008 following Hindu radical violence. 

"Hindu radicals are rallying on December 24th and 25th to stop Christians from celebrating Christmas. The only churches that will get protection from the attacks are registered churches. Churches which are not registered will not have the protection. Christians from unregistered churches may not celebrate this year's Christmas at their churches," said an Indian church leader in an interview with ICC.

Jonathan Racho, ICC Regional Manager for Africa, said, "We are extremely concerned with the impending anti-Christian violence during this Christmas. We ask Christians around the world to pray for their brothers and sisters who face death simply because of their faith in Christ. We urge government officials in the Middle East, Asia and Africa to step up protection of Christians and their properties."


Darfur rebels march towards Khartoum, say ‘main fight with government has started’


AFP

Rebels from Sudan’s Darfur region have begun moving towards the capital Khartoum, their spokesman said Thursday, more than three years after they made an unprecedented attack on the capital.

Now our troops are moving from Darfur in an easterly direction towards the capital Khartoum,” Gibril Adam Bilal, of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), told AFP from London.

Our main fight with this government has already started.”

Sudan’s army spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bilal said JEM had reached En Nahud, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Darfur in North Kordofan state, on a mission to change the regime led by President Omar al-Bashir.

In 2008 more than 222 people were killed when JEM guerrillas drove about 1,000 kilometers across the desert to Omdurman, just over the River Nile from the presidential palace on the Khartoum side.

Government troops repulsed them after heavy clashes and later sentenced dozens of rebels to death for their role in the assault.

We are calling for all the political and military movements who are struggling against this government to work together to change this regime,” Bilal said.

In July the government signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur with the Liberation and Justice Movement, an alliance of rebel splinter factions.

Darfur’s main armed groups, JEM and factions of the Sudan Liberation Army headed by Minni Minnawi and Abdelwahid Nur, did not sign the deal.

Instead, last month they, along with the SPLM-North rebel group, ratified documents forming the new Sudanese Revolutionary Front dedicated to “popular uprising and armed rebellion” against the National Congress Party regime in Khartoum.

On Sunday the head of the joint African Union-United Nations Mission to Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, told AFP the new rebel alliance means the door is closing for more groups to join Darfur’s peace process.

According to the U.N. at least 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003 when fighting broke out between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

'Saudi Arabia arrests Ethiopian Christians for “mMxing With Opposite Sex”



Shame on those who allow to construct Saudi Mosques in Ethiopia!

Shame on Amnesty International, on Human Rights Watch, who are quick to help Swedish terrorist journalists, convicted in Ethiopia, but who are silent on the 42 Ethiopian Christians jailed and tortured because they are Christians.

ICC

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Ethiopian Christians who were arrested seven days ago in Saudi Arabia for holding a prayer meeting are now being charged by Saudi officials with mixing with the opposite sex. In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal for men and women (non-family) to be in the same room together.

The six men and 29 women were holding a weekly prayer meeting on December 15 when the Saudi police arrested them. Christian leaders say that the accusation of “mixing with the opposite sex” is only an excuse, and believe that the Christians were arrested for practicing their faith. The Christians have not yet been brought before any court.

“The Saudi officials are accusing the Christians of committing the crime of mixing of sexes because if they charge them with meeting for practicing Christianity, they will come under pressure from the international human rights organizations as well as Western countries. In fact, when an employer of one of the detainees asked for the reason for their employee’s arrest, the Saudi official told him that it was for practicing Christianity,” said a church leader from Saudi Arabia in an interview with ICC.

Asked what Christians around the world could do, another Saudi church leader said, “I ask people who belong to the kingdom of God to show their solidarity with the detained Christians by speaking on their behalf and asking government officials for their release.”

ICC’s Jonathan Racho said, “The freedom of religion, including the freedom to assemble together to worship, is a basic right recognized under international human rights law. It is ironic that Saudi Arabia, the country which engages in construction of mosques around the world, clamps down on Christians who worship in their private homes. We urge the media, international human rights bodies and others to put pressure on Saudi Arabia and condemn its actions.” 

 

Muslim persecution of Christians at a crossroads


FRONTPAGEMAG

The following article was written for Christian Solidarity International,“an international, Christian human rights organization, campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity, and assisting victims of religious persecution, victimized children and victims of catastrophe.” 
 
When the major media reported a few months ago that Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was set to be executed for leaving Islam, many Western people were shocked, finding it hard to believe that in the 21st century people are still being persecuted—by their governments no less—simply for being Christian.

The fact is, Muslim persecution of Christians in the modern era has been consistently growing worse.  Yet, because only one out of every few hundred or so cases ever receives major attention, few in the West have any idea that it exists. 
 
For instance, around the same time that the case of Pastor Nadarkhani made headlines, 129 Christians in Sudan were imprisoned, and one in Somalia was beheaded—like the pastor, simply for converting to Christianity.

Dozens of other documented cases of persecution were occurring at the same time, none of which received much media attention.  These include Christians imprisoned, tortured, and killed for allegedly “blaspheming” Islam; Christian girls abducted and raped because they are “infidels”; churches burned, Bibles confiscated, and crucifixes destroyed—and in one instance, a Christian boy killed for refusing to conceal his crucifix.

To anyone familiar with Islam’s history and traditional teachings, none of this is surprising. Instead, all of these accounts demonstrate 14 centuries of continuity.  With Islam’s resurgence and the concomitant upsurge of anti-Christian violence, however, the very existence of Christian and other non-Muslim communities is under threat. The process of religious cleansing could lead to their eradication within a generation [see CSI’s Genocide Warning].

So why is there such a lack of awareness concerning this matter in the otherwise “humanitarian” West?

One reason has to do with recent history. During the colonial era and into the mid 20th century, when Western influence in the Muslim world was strong, Christian persecution was markedly subdued.  Because of the lull in persecution, generations of Westerners came to see events closer to their time as more representative of reality. They tended to overlook the historic and doctrinal roots of Christian persecution under Islam, and thus failed to comprehend what is otherwise so obvious.

This anachronistic perspective is enforced by the “guardians of knowledge”—the mainstream media, academia, and political activists and apologists —who have made the ugly truths of persecution unknowable, all in the name of “multiculturalism” and “political correctness.”

For example, aside from the fact that it is so rare for the major media actually to report on Christian persecution, when it is reported, it is almost always in the context of “sectarian strife” and other neutral phrases that conflate victim with persecutor.

Likewise, far from being content with relaying objective facts concerning the Muslim world, Western academia often puts the best spin on things—forcing facts to conform to the prevailing multicultural ideologies and not vice-versa.

The situation is fundamentally exacerbated by the fact that the majority of Western Christian leaders, whether fearful of “offending” Muslims or eager to appear “tolerant,” are reluctant to speak openly about persecution. If expected from secular journalists, the silence of so many church leaders is far more perplexing.

Today, in light of the so-called “Arab spring,” the West needs to acknowledge the crisis of survival facing Christians in the Middle East.  We have already seen the fruits of democracy in Muslim nations like Iraq, where, since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein​, Christians have been brutally persecuted to the point that more than half of them have fled their homeland, where they are nearing extinction; and in Afghanistan, a decade after the West overthrew the Taliban—committing billions of dollars and thousands of lives—the last public church was just destroyed, even as Christians suffer under blasphemy and apostasy laws enforced by the government installed by the West. 
 
Now, as Muslims in Arab countries begin to elect Islamist parties—which make no secret of their bigotry against Christians—the future of the latter looks especially grim.

The first step to ameliorate this situation is simple awareness—to get Western people to learn of it.  To do this, the establishment first needs to be jarred from complacency, needs to reassess its politically-correct narrative.

Accordingly, next month, when President Obama gives his State of the Union address, he has an opportunity to include some measured words—for instance, that aid to Muslim nations is contingent on the protection of religious minorities.  Along with holding these nations accountable,  such words might further cause some in the West to reassess the established narrative, creating a trickle-down effect of knowledge.

Through CSI’s Petition to the President, you have the chance to encourage him to do so. 


 

Attacks on African Christians surging


'It appears Islamists narrowed in on Kenyan community'

Attacks on Christians are surging in Kenya, and analysts say Islamic radicals are putting a bull's-eye on the community. 

International Christian Concern's Middle East specialist Aidan Clay says he recently visited a victim of a Somali mob attack in Kenya. 

"When I saw him a month after the incident, he was still badly bruised, could hardly see out of his right eye which was black, and was missing teeth," Clay said.

Clay said the attacks are getting more frequent and more intense.

"Recently, there has been a slight surge of violence targeting Christians inside Kenya, provoked mainly by Somali Muslims, some of whom are likely from the militant group al-Shabaab," Clay said.

"It appears that the Islamist militants are not only targeting crowded areas and tourists, but also narrowed in on a Kenyan Christian community," he said.

MORE



Monday, December 19, 2011

42 Ethiopian Christians arrested in Saudi Arabia

 

ICC

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Saudi security forces arrested 42 Ethiopian Christians at a prayer gathering in Jeddah on Thursday. The location of the detained Christians is unknown.

On December 15, Saudi police and security officers raided an evening prayer meeting at the home of an Ethiopian Christian in the Al-Safa district of Jeddah. Those attending the service were reportedly beaten and threatened before being arrested.

"Security officials broke [into] the house and captured, beat and threatened them for death. They divided the men and the women and they are torturing them [in prison]," an Ethiopian and Eritrean Christian immigrant community living in Europe wrote in a desperate appeal for help to the ambassadors of European embassies in Riyadh on Friday.

"Saudi Arabian officials have arrested Christians in the past but it is unprecedented for them to arrest 42 Christians at one time," a church leader in Jeddah, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told ICC. "We are particularly concerned about the children of the detained Christians."

Two Ethiopian fellowships in Saudi Arabia informed ICC that they will temporarily postpone services until the situation calms. Christians in Saudi Arabia, most of who enter the country as foreign workers, are not allowed to practice their faith openly. Saudi police have been known to raid private worship gatherings in homes, arrest and deport congregants, and confiscate Christian materials, including Bibles.

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, "Though not permitting a single church building where Christians can worship in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government goes even further to assault the religious freedoms of its citizens and foreign workers by hunting for and arresting Christians who attend services in the privacy of their own homes. As a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture, we urge Saudi Arabia to end the abuse that the Ethiopian Christians have reportedly suffered in prison and to ensure their immediate release."


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Egypt Copts react to Islamist electoral win



It is an understatement to say that 2011 has been a difficult year for Egypt’s exhausted Christians.

It began with the bombing of the Two Saints Church, only minutes after the New Year started, and culminated in the victory of Islamists with more than half of the parliament in the first phase of the elections.

Indeed, according to the latest results, the Muslim Brotherhood’s newly licensed Freedom and Justice Party won no less than 40 per cent of the seats, while the Salafist El-Nour Party won 20 per cent of the seats. And this is only the first phase, which covered nine of the country’s governorates. There are two more phases before a final picture of the first post-Mubarak regime can be drawn.

If the first phase results are anything to go by, Islamists will be the overwhelming majority in the next parliament. This outcome, which was expected, has still left the Coptic community reeling.

It has been a year where Coptic churches were burned by Salafist groups, where residents of the southern city of Qena demonstrated and blocked the city’s highways to protest the appointed of a Coptic governor, where Copts repeatedly took to the street to protest increasing discrimination and where deadly clashes between Coptic protesters and the army left at least 28 dead in what became known as the “Maspero massacre,” taking place in front of the State TV building in Maspero.

It’s also been a year where various Islamists speaking on TV shows called Christians kafirs (heretics) and insisted that they should pay the jizya (Islamic fine for non-Muslims), pushing Egypt’s Christians to spiral into an even more intense wave of panic.

Now, however, speaking to Ahram Online, various faces of Egypt’s Christian population talk about their fears, aspirations and predictions of how life under an Islamic dominated parliament will be for them.

Father Filopater Gameel, a Coptic priest, and a leading member of the Maspero Youth Union and eyewitness to the Maspero massacre.

"I am not surprised that the Islamists won the parliament majority. There were many hints in recent months that they were going to easily win many seats. The fact that they were insisting that the elections take place while all the other political forces were pleading that the elections be postponed hints that both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists made a deal with the military council.

"The elections were filled with rigging and violations. The Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC) has already announced that many ballot boxes will be disregarded because concerns that they were rigged. We also saw violations in terms of niqabis (fully veiled women) entering the polling stations and refusing to identify themselves so that they can keep entering the station and vote more than once. We’ve also heard of cases were the Salafist El-Nour Party blocked the door to the polling stations, so that any voter going in would have to pass by them first, which is actually against the law that bans campaigning in front of polling stations.

Also, during the electoral process there was heavy usage of religious slogans and mosques were used for campaigns and to promote the Islamists.

"The Islamists were pushing for the elections even when the martyrs blood had not yet dried in Tahrir Square and Maspero. But we Copts now insist on continuing the electoral process until the end. The Copts are flexible and are able to adapt to any regime. We tasted bitter medicine during the Mubarak regime and we will probably face more of that under the rule of the Islamists.





We would allow a Coptic president only if Israel allows a Muslim one: Salafist leader



AHRAMONLINE

One of Egypt's most prominent Salafist leader has said he would only accept a Coptic Christian president of Egypt, if the US, Britain and Israel accepted a Muslim president of their countries.

According to Yasser Burhami, head of the influential El-Dawa El-Salafiya (Salafist Call) group, Copts do not have the right to run for political office in Egypt.


Egypt election results are a nightmare come true



ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS

Israel’s worst fears regarding its relationship with the Arab world – and with Egypt in particular – are coming true before its eyes, Middle East expert Dr. David Buk’i told Arutz 7 in an interview Saturday night. “The rise of the Islamists in Egypt means the end of the peace treaty with Egypt and the rise of a government committed to the ideological Islamist goal of the destruction of the State of Israel,” Buk’i said.

With results in from the first round ofvoting in Egypt, it’s clear that the Islamist coalition has emerged as the largest faction in the future Egyptiangovernment, by far. The Muslim Brotherhood captured more than 40% of the vote, but the hardline Islamist Salafist Nour Party garnered some 20% of the vote – placing the Islamist coalition firmly in control of Egypt’s parliament, at least until the second round of voting in several weeks.

Buk’i is not surprised at the results, and in fact, he says, he warned months ago that this was exactly what would happen. “It was already clear to me last February that the uprisings in the Arab world were not an ‘Arab spring,’ but rather a bitter ‘Arab winter’ and a return to chaos and violence.When you give a Muslim a free voice in electing his leaders, he will pick an Islamist leadership every time, because that’s what he knows and appreciates. That the Muslim Brotherhood will solve Egypt’s problems is clear to the average Egyptian,” Buk’i said.

And once Islamism is firmly planted, it spreads quickly, says Buk’i. “The foolish West helped Al-Qaeda win in Libya, and Al-Qaeda now controls Tunisia. And it is spreading to other nations. There are two powers in the Arab world – military dictatorships and Islamism, and it is in the interests of the West to side with the dictatorships. Tragedy and catastrophe ensue when Islamists win,” he added. “Israel is seeing the catastrophe unfold now.” 


 

Salafists surge in Egypt



The West has long feared the advent of the Muslim Brotherhood​ in Egypt, but the first round’s election results released Sunday night show an even worse group of Islamists surging: The Salafists. Nearly one-fourth of Egyptians voted for the group whose puritanism makes the Brotherhood look moderate.

On Sunday night, the Egyptian government released partial results for the first round of elections. Sixty-two percent of eligible Egyptians voted. The Muslim Brotherhood came in first place with 36.6%, followed by the Salafist bloc with 24.4%. The non-Islamists, the Egyptian Bloc and the Wafd Party​, came in 13.4 and 7.1 percent respectively. It was a landslide victory for the Islamists, who are now expected to control about two-thirds of the parliament once all rounds of voting are completed.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a moderate group, but it appears reformist when compared to the Salafists. Whereas the Brotherhood embraces elections, the Salafists are hostile to the very concept of voting. The Brotherhood is pragmatic and aware of political constraints, whereas the Salafists have no qualms about expressing their desire to turn Egypt into another Saudi Arabia. The Brotherhood is “moderate” in comparison to the Salafists like Hamas is “moderate” compared to Al-Qaeda. 

The success of the Salafists is particularly terrifying because they are honest about their objectives. Some supporters of the Brotherhood are misled about the group’s ideology. All of the Salafists’ supporters know what they are asking for when voting. The Salafists regularly call for closing movie theaters, gender segregation, creating a morality police, stoning adulterers, severing the hands of thieves and banning alcohol and “fornication.”

I want to say: Citizenship restricted by Islamic Shariah, freedom restricted by Islamic Shariah, equality restricted by Islamic Shariah…Shariah is obligatory, not just the principles—freedom and justice and all that,” said one top Egyptian Salafist leader, Sheikh Abdel Moneim el-Shahat.

In the land of Islam, I can’t let people decide what is permissible or what is prohibited,” says another. 

One of the parties belonging to the Salafist bloc, al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya, has Aboud al-Zumour, the mastermind of the assassination of Anwar Sadat​, as one of its leaders. He still speaks affectionately about his old colleague, Ayman al-Zawahiri, calling him a “very kind and nice man.” He says he disagrees with his killings of civilians and tourists, but supports “resistance” against “occupiers.” 

The Muslim Brotherhood, a group that supports terrorism and Shariah-based governance, criticized the Salafists for their inflammatory rhetoric. The Brotherhood favors a more incremental approach. The Deputy Supreme Guide, for example, says “the enforcement of Shariah punishments will need time, and will only come after Islam is planted in every heart and masters the life of people, and then Islamic punishments can be applied.” 

The White House has yet to express alarm over the election results. The Israeli Defense Minister, on the other hand, said the results are “very, very disturbing.” Hamas is elated, as expected. 


MORE



Egypt’s Christians deserve a democratic future too



The measure of a true democracy is not just how well it represents the will of the majority, but also by how effectively it safeguards the fundamental rights of minorities within the population. 
 
On the evidence of the past nine months, Egypt has been on course to fail this test with dangerous consequences. Some nine million of Egypt’s citizens, over 10 per cent of the population, are Christians. For them, the "Egyptian Spring" that began in February has not brought tangible benefits; if anything their situation, already severe before the revolution, has worsened.

Under President Hosni Mubarak, Christians suffered significant discrimination at both the state and the extra-judicial level. The right to build a church was dependent upon presidential decree; Muslim converts to Christianity found it impossible to obtain ID reflecting the fact; and discrimination against Christians in the public sphere was endemic. 
 
Unsurprisingly, Egypt’s Christians played a full and active role in the February revolution that forced President Mubarak from power. Amongst other notable acts, Christians established a field hospital to treat the wounded in Tahrir square and numerous images showed Muslims and Christians holding hands whilst chanting a common refrain of the revolution, “Muslims, Christians, we are all Egyptians”.

In spite of this, however, the solidarity of Egypt’s Christians with their fellow citizens has not been rewarded. Sources inside the country report that discrimination against Christian children, often by their own teachers, carries on unchecked. Getting a good job as a Christian in the workplace is still as hard as ever. It remains impossible to build a church legally, and converts to Christianity still cannot obtain legal recognition of that fact.

And this is not the end of the story. So high is anti-Christian feeling running in the new Egypt that twice in the past six months, clashes have taken place which have left scores of Christians dead. Worse is the fact that this violence is not merely sectarianism gone mad, still less the subversive influence of "foreign agents", as the authorities in Egypt so frequently claim. There is very good evidence to suggest that state security forces have not just been negligent in their handling of Christian protests, but have actually been engaged in bloodletting themselves. Unlike with the most recent round of Egyptian protests, however, this violence elicited no apology from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), still less any promises to reform.



Thursday, December 1, 2011

At Least 45 Christians Killed in Plateau State, Nigeria



Muslim herdsmen along with Muslim soldiers have killed at least 45 ethnic Berom Christians in Plateau state in the past week, Christians in this northern-central Nigerian town said.

Smaller attacks beginning on Nov. 20, reportedly over allegations by Fulani Muslims of cattle theft, preceded an attack on a Barkin Ladi church on Nov. 23 that killed four Christians, and an assault the next day left 35 Christians dead in Barkin Ladi and nearby Kwok village, according to area Christian leaders.

Church attendance was decimated yesterday as thousands of Christians have left the area.

“Christians are fleeing the town because we have no guns to fight back,” said one woman in a group of six Christians trying to leave Barkin Ladi. “Muslims have guns, and they have their soldiers fighting for them, so we have no choice but to leave town.”




Thousands of Muslims attack Christians in Egypt, 2 killed, homes and stores torched



Thousands of Muslims attacked and besieged Copts in elGhorayzat village, population 80,000, killing two Copts and severely wounding others, as well as looting and torching homes and businesses. A quarrel between a Copt, John Hosni, and Mahmoud Abdel-Nazeer, who later died in hospital, turned into collective punishment of all Copts in the majority Christian village of elGhorayzat, in the Maragha district of Sohag province. Muslims vowed not to bury Abdel-Nazeer until John Hosni is punished. Mr. Hosni fled from the village with his family, "fearing a wholesale massacre of Copts," reported activist Mariam Ragy. 

The events started on Monday, November 28, when John Hosni, a building supplier, had a quarrel with his neighbor, Mahmoud Abdel-Nazeer (48), over some steel rods and cement Mr. Hosni had left in the street to use for erecting a wall around his house. This was perceived by Mr. Abdel-Nazeer as extending the home into the street, which is public property. "Instead of reporting this building transgression to the police or local authorities, Abdel-Nazeer took the matter in his own hands and brought some Salafists and torched the store and the home of the Copt," said an eyewitness. 

In the altercation between the neighbors, Mr. Hosni hit Abdel-Nazeer in the head with a wooden branch, which lead to his death later in hospital. 

Angry Muslims murdered two Christian brothers, Kamel Tamer Ibrahim (55) and Kameel Tamer Ibrahim (50), in revenge. The brothers were not a party to the altercation. Kamel Tamer, who was defending his shop from looting, was murdered in front of his wife. His brother was also murdered in front of his wife for defending his home (video of the murdered Copts. WARNING: contains highly graphic content).





Sudan 'stealing oil' from South Sudan


South Sudan has accused Khartoum of stealing its oil amid a row about how to split revenues after southern independence.

At least one million barrels of oil are reportedly being held in Port Sudan.



US Congress warns of Nigeria's Boko Haram



A US Congressional report says Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram is an "emerging threat" to the US and its interests.

Boko Haram has carried out a spate of bombings, including in the capital, Abuja, as well as in the mainly Muslim north where the group originated.
The report said it may be forging ties with al-Qaeda-linked groups in Africa.




Banned aid agencies warn disaster in Somalia



Aid workers and Somali residents expressed outrage Tuesday, a day after the militant group al-Shabab banned 16 aid groups from its territory, a decision officials said puts tens of thousands of sick mothers and malnourished children at risk.

Tens of thousands of Somalis have already died from drought and famine-related causes this year, and the U.N. estimates that 250,000 people still face starvation in a country plagued by violence.

Somalis expressed sadness and anger at al-Shabab's decision, one that could further damage a group highly unpopular in many Somali circles because of its strict social rules and harsh punishments like amputations and stonings.