From early childhood, Bassem Herz Attalhah loved the church and was a man of prayer and worship.
Our persecuted family in Egypt (#17 on the World Watch List) continues to see increased violence and bloodshed. The war on Christianity in Egypt is intensifying. In 2017, 130 Christians were reportedly killed for their faith, including an attack on a church south of Cairo on Dec. 29, 2017. 2018 begins with the death of a devoted Christ follower and a vow from militants to kill more Coptic Christians.
“Are you Christian?”
The 27-year-old husband and father of five Bassem Herz Attalhah didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Yes, I am Christian,” he told his attackers and then immediately proclaimed his faith a second time in a loud voice: “Yes, I am Christian.”
A VISIBLE REMINDER AND SIGN OF FAITH
Bassem was on his way home from work in El-Arish, where he and his brother, Osama, had opened a mobile phone shop. He was with Osama and their neighbor and friend Mohamed when three men stopped them and asked Bassem to show them the wrist of his right hand (Coptic Christians “wear” a small black tattoo of a cross on their right wrist–a visible reminder and sign of their faith and also a form of identification since many churches station security at their doors to check that those entering are Christians)…. more
Two house church pastors in China have been told they must pay a fine of over 7 million yuan (over 1 million USD) because they collected the same amount in offerings from their congregation.
Pastors Su Tianfu and Yang Hua of Huoshi Church in Guizhou province have been facing the fine since May 2017, China Aid reported, but it was only earlier this month that a provincial court delivered a final verdict and confirmed the punishment.
Su and Yang have been told that the money they collected from church offerings is “illegal income,” despite their argument that they have only used the money for the church itself…. more
Persecution against Christians continues to run very high, with Muslim youth being taught to treat believers with contempt
Throughout the Central Asian country of Pakistan (#5 on the 2018 World Watch List), persecution against Christians is rampant. Increasingly, Muslim youth are taught to treat believers with contempt and persecute Christians, commonly regarded as an “untouchable caste.”
August 30, 2017. The day is indelibly marked into the memory of the Masih family.
It would be the last day Ilyasab and his wife would hear the voice of their 17-year-old son, Sharoon… more
An Indian pastor says he was attacked by Hindu extremists who dragged him out onto the streets, beat him, and threatened to kill him unless he renounced Jesus Christ for a Hindu monkey deity.
“In those moments when they were kicking and beating me, I felt that even if I die now, the Lord will make the ministry I leave behind fruitful,” Pastor Karma Oraon told Morning Star News in an article published Monday.
“We are just a few gathering in the name of Jesus. He is our strength.”
The attack occurred while in Harmu village of Ranchi District, Jharkhand state, on Christmas Eve, when 16 or so Hindu radicals attacked a prayer meeting the 34-year-old pastor was leading with others…. more
While Christianity traces its birthplace to the Middle East, that region has been arguably the most hostile area for the religion in recent years. A new report by the Christian charity group Open Doors has found that most of Israel’s neighbors, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian territories, are among the world’s most dangerous places for Christians.
Susan Michael, U.S. director for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), told JNS that “Islamic extremism originated in the Middle East and is the main cause of persecution of Christians in the world today. It is a dangerous and violent ideology that must be stopped.”
Egypt’s embattled Christian minority, which comprises roughly 10 percent of the country’s population and stands as the largest Christian community in the region, has been the frequent target of Islamic terrorism. Coptic churches in Alexandria and Tanta were struck by suicide bombers last April, killing 45 people on Palm Sunday. Last December, at least eight Christians were killed in a terror attack on a Coptic church south of Cairo…. more
Pray for Christians in Egypt. Reports of another attack on a church—and a nearby Christian-owned shop—just came in this morning.
According to the BBC, two men attacked a church south of Cairo, killing nine people. Just a short time later, a gunman attacked a nearby Christian-owned shop, killing two more people.
Police killed one of the attackers, and the other escaped, although authorities say he is now in custody. Police also found a vest bomb which they safely defused.
These attacks lead up to the celebration of the New Year and Christmas—celebrated by the Coptic Church on January 7… more
What would it be like to have to celebrate Christmas in secret, knowing you’re risking arrest… or your life?
On a nondescript evening in Saudi Arabia, two Indian men furtively walk down a dark street, stopping at an unmarked door. When they’re sure no one’s watching, the men open the door–bright lights from within flickering out onto the street–and shut it quickly behind them.
The decorations inside stand in contrast to the darkness outside. Dozens of fellow Indians mill about the room, standing underneath festive lights, garlands, and stars. This is their Christmas celebration. And it’s illegal in this country.
Every Day Can Be Christmas
For Americans, the decorations in this small room are so ever-present they’re almost invisible, taken-for-granted symbols of the Christmas season. But in Saudi Arabia, they’re a sign of something more: a defiant statement of hope in a spiritually dark country. The pastor of this gathering, a blue-collar worker during the day, stands in front of his congregation and reminds his congregation what Christmas means:… more
Christianity came to Iraq’s Nineveh Plain shortly after Christ’s death and resurrection. But ISIS did its best to wipe the modern-day descendants of those ancient Christians off the face of the earth. Now a father and son who survived that genocide have come to America to put a face on those who’ve been terrorized and persecuted.
Imagine you’re a pre-teen and ISIS troops are about to invade your town. You’re well aware they’ll likely kill you and most everyone you know. That’s just the situation eight members of the Binoo family faced one night in 2014.
“We were all afraid as we heard that ISIS was heading toward our town,” Noeh Binoo recalled. “We were all scared.”… more