IS issues 11 mandates for Christian citizens of the captured Syrian town

Christian citizens of the Islamic State-controlled town of Qaryatian in Syria have been issued 11 mandates or commandments that they would have to follow if they have to live. These 11 stipulations prohibits the establishment of churches, the displaying of crosses, making Muslims hear Christian prayers or rituals of worship, the hiding of spies, offending Islamic religious beliefs, the carrying of weapons, the sale of pork or wine to Muslims, and failing to dress modestly. Christians in the captured town will also have to pay the jizyah or jizya tax imposed on non-Muslims, according to the mandate. Read more here.

Christian lawyer in China ‘kidnapped’ again

Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been ‘kidnapped’ by Chinese officials after speaking out about his alleged torture in prison, according to China Aid. Sources told the Texas-based organisation that Public Security Bureau officers arrived at the lawyer’s home in Shaanxi province at 1pm on Thursday, “and began frantically searching for Gao.” He had previously told China Aid that he expected to be detained again after giving an interview this week that detailed horrific torture at the hands of Chinese authorities. Excerpts from this link!

A Christian is martyred every 5 minutes: A Report

According to a report from the group Christian Freedom International, every five minutes, a Christian is martyred for their faith somewhere in the world. The group is preparing for the International Day of Prayer on Nov. 8. More Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th and 21st centuries than the previous 19 combined. According to their report, right now, more than 200 million Christians face persecution. Click here to see a infographic and get an insight into this.

Church buildings torched in Tanzania

Three church buildings were set ablaze in northwestern Tanzania. Pastors said that the extremists have also issued threats against them. A pastor of one of the three churches whose buildings were gutted, Vedasto Athanas of Living Water International church, said area Christians are worried and frightened as such attacks have increased each of the past few years. Also burned were the buildings of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God and the Evangelical Assemblies of God; all three churches are located in the Kashfa village area of Bukoba District, church leaders said. For more, click this link!

Extremists order missionaries to leave Nepal

Extremist groups in Nepal have warned Christian missionaries to leave the country. Nepal is a secular state under the new constitution but an extremist Hindu group has distributed leaflets threatening Christians and warning them to leave. “Christians have corrupted the country,” the leaflet distributed by the ‘Morcha Nepal’ group read. “Foreign influence has manipulated government decisions.” Despite this, Christian missionaries are continuing to work in Nepal. This news report is courtesy this link.

Follow-up: Saeed Abedini worse off since US-Iran Nuclear Deal

Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini, said her husband is increasingly sent to solitary confinement and suffers attacks from both guards and inmates. His father visited him this week and learned that prison officials attacked him with a stun gun and interrogated him. Apparently, additional charges are forthcoming that could lengthen his sentence. “My husband’s situation has gotten worse,” she said, before adding “Honestly, since the [nuclear] deal, I thought the treatment of my husband would improve.” More here! Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stated that the pastor  won’t be set free until the US first releases 19 Iranian criminal.

Judge orders Oklahoma 10 commandments monument to be demolished

The monument of the Ten Commandments—considered important by Christians and Jews alike—erected on the Oklahoma state capitol grounds in the USA will have to be taken down within 30 days after a state district judge affirmed an earlier ruling stating that public space cannot be used to promote any religious belief. Seventh District Court Judge Thomas Prince released the order on Friday for the removal of the Ten Commandments monument. The judge junked a motion earlier filed by Attorney General Scott Pruitt asserting that the demolition of the monument will constitute unconstitutional prejudice against religion. Click here to read more about this news.

Indonesian Christians call for President’s intervention for religious freedom

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, has been called upon by the Christians to be more proactive to check the Islamic extremism against them. A report stated that Jokowi has been implementing a cautious bottom-up strategy, which is needed to promote tolerance and moderation, while avoiding a direct confrontation with extremist groups. In recent years, Indonesian Islamists have threatened and intimidated people, vandalized and burned down churches, and forced congregations underground. Incidentally more than 200 churches have been destroyed since 2007, and rebuilding them is nearly impossible because of government inaction. Click here to read more!

Former lesbian and Christian rapper speaks about her conversion

Christian rapper and former lesbian Jackie Hill-Perry recounted in a recent interview how she was able to overcome her same-sex attraction, saying it was due to the efforts made by church leaders who made her understand that her identity is more than just her sexuality. After talking to church leaders, she said she realised that her struggle was not with lesbianism but “with hatred, bitterness, laziness, gluttony, lack of stewardship, pride.” Excerpts from this link.

Syrian refugees receive support from Egyptian Christian billionaire

A Christian billionaire said he wants to buy an island from Turkey or Greece to give homes to the thousands of refugees who have fled the Middle East. Coptic Christian billionaire Naguib Sawiris said he will name the island after the 3-year-old Syrian boy who was photographed lying face-down on a beach dead after he and his family tried to flee the violence. The boy’s name was Aylan Kurdi, according to The Christian Post. More on this link.