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Dan Wooding interviews David Robinson at an NBA Chapel Service in LA

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Dan Wooding interviews rock keyboard legend, Rick Wakeman

Hundreds gathering from around the world in nation's capital to discuss the Christian response to terror and genocide

By Bill Bray, Special Missions Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) 

Mike PenceWASHINGTON, DC (ANS, May 10, 2017) – US Vice President, Mike Pence, will address Christian leaders tomorrow morning (Thursday, May 11, 2017) at 9 a.m. to help kick-off the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.

Sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), the international summit is scheduled to bring over 600 Christian leaders from 130 countries to discuss the spreading persecution and genocide of Christians around the world.

“Christians are now one of the most victimized groups in the world,” says spokesman Todd Shearer, “215 million Christians experience very high or extreme persecution in 50 countries.”

The indigenous leaders are gathering behind closed doors for the first-time ever to plan a strategic, global response starting today through May 13. They will seek answers to the question, “How should Christians love their enemies and respond to genocide and persecution around the world?”

The invitation-only event in Washington is hosted by Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization and is scheduled for May 10-13, but the delegates are already arriving.

Besides planning and organizing an emergency response to the persecution and genocide crisis, the conference has four stated purposes: (1) Help change public policy that promotes discrimination against Christians, harassment and persecution, (2) Find ways to increase diplomatic pressure on the violating states, (3) Inform and mobilize Christians to address President Trump and their elected officials to take stronger American action against the increasing persecution, (4) Comfort and help the victims respond in a Biblical manner.

Coptic Christians about to be killed by ISISGovernment restrictions, harassment and persecution of Christians and other minority religious groups soared in 2015-2016 according to the non-partisan Pew Research Center. Restrictions on religion were rated high or very high in 40% of the countries worldwide, up from 34% in 2014.

Washington, DC, was chosen as the site for the Summit because it provides high security with friendly media coverage and a host government legally committed to upholding religious freedom because of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act.

Franklin Graham issued a statement explaining his purpose in sponsoring the event, saying, “I want the politicians to see firsthand what’s taking place. I want to put a big spotlight on the Christians around the world who are being persecuted, who are being tortured.”

He also urged Americans to contact President Donald Trump, and their elected officials, to increase enforcement of the International Religious Freedoms Act of 1998 by appointing an Ambassador at Large to address human rights violations. The post is now vacant.

According to Open Doors USA, the world’s top 10 violators of religious freedom are North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Eritrea. Over 95% of the governments in the Muslim Middle East North Africa countries have used force against religious minorities in 2015.

Franklin and Billy GrahamGraham called on Christians to organize prayer for those enduring persecution, prison, rape and violence for the sake of Jesus Christ.

ASSIST News Service (ANS) is among the accredited media covering the event, the first World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians.

It is being held in downtown Washington, DC where hotel rooms are running $320-$370 a night. Reporters for ANS are volunteers and must raise their own funds to cover the costs involved in covering this and other important events. (ANS goes out at no charge to many thousands of of media outlets and subscribers).

Operation Esther leader Ivy Bray will lead the OSM Operation Esther Prayer Team to the event May 11 in Washington, DC.

Also, students from the University of Virginia, and other nearby schools, are being invited to join the Operation Esther Prayer Circle to worship and intercede for the Summit during the event and pray on-site with insight. For details of this, please contact my wife, Ivy, at my e-mail address, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by phone at 434-227-0812 or 227-0811.

Community prayer partners will gather at the Charlottesville Amtrak Station at 6:30 am tomorrow (Thursday, May 11, 2017) for a prayer-outreach to Washington.

Photo captions: 1) US VP, Mike Pence. 2) ISIS’s medieval beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach. 3) Franklin Graham with his famous father, Dr. Billy Graham. 4) Bill Bray.

Bill BrayAbout the writer: Bill Bray is a Christian journalist who specializes in missions and student ministries. He is the author of Called to All: How I discovered the power of a yielded life from WestBow Press, a division of Zondervan. Those who want to support his work at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians may send designated contributions to www.OSMission.org, using Gift Code: WSP-2017. He welcomes interaction with our readers and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please tell your friends that they can received a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above ANS website and signing up there.

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By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

IRAN (ANS-October 12, 2016) -- Three of the five Iranian Christians arrested during a trip to the Alborz Mountains north-east of Tehran in August have been released on bail, though two are still being detained.

According to a story by World Watch Monitor (WWM) quoting Middle East Concern (MEC), Ramil Bet-Tamraz, Mohammad Dehnavi and Amin Afshar Naderi were released after each posting bail of about US $33,000.

Five Iranian prisonersThey still haven't been told what charges they face, although MEC reports that their interrogation related to the activity of Ramil's father, Victor, a pastor who is still expecting a summons to court over his arrest (alongside Naderi) on Dec. 26 2014.

Hadi Asgari and Amir Saman Dashti remain in jail, and MEC reports that Asgari has faced “particularly intense pressure” during his interrogation.

Referring to an earlier story published on Aug. 31, WWM said the five Iranian Christians were arrested on Aug. 26 during a trip to the Alborz Mountains north-east of Tehran - the latest in a recent spate of arrests. Their wives and families expressed concern for their safety.

As mentioned earlier, one of them, Amin Afshar Naderi, had been arrested before. Also arrested that day was Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, whose son, Ramil, was part of the group arrested on Aug. 26.

Victor Bet-Tamraz led the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church before it was shut down by Iran's Ministry of Interior in March 2009.

WWM reported that he and Naderi - a convert to Christianity - were arrested alongside another convert while celebrating Christmas at the pastor's house. All three were charged with conducting illegal evangelism and kept mostly in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, before being released on bail in Feb. and March 2015.

Their wives were separated from them during the raid by security officials from the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. MEC reported that Afshar had asked to see an arrest warrant. After none was produced, he was beaten.

More than 200 Christians have been detained by Iranian authorities since 2015. Many are in jail, while others, such as Victor Bet-Tamraz, have been released conditionally, pending sentencing or an appeal.

MEC said that at least 43 Christians were arrested in Aug. 2016.

For more information visit www.worldwatchmonitor.org

Photo captions: 1) L to R: Mohammad Dehnavi, Hadi Asgari, Amin Afshar Naderi, Ramil Bet-Tamraz and Amir Dashti. 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.

Jeremy and Elma Reynalds very latestAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds, who was born in Bournemouth, UK, is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. One of his more recent books is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. His latest book is "Two Hearts One Vision." It is available at www.twoheartsonevisionthebook.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information, please contact Jeremy Reynalds at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to the ASSIST News Service by going to the ANS website (see above) and signing up there.

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By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Amin KhakiTEHRAN, IRAN (ANS-July 27, 2016) -- Relatives and friends request prayer for three Azeri Christians and an Iranian Christian who were arrested on June 24 and remain in detention in Tehran.

According to Middle East Concern, security agents raided an engagement party in Tehran attended by Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov and Bahram Nasibov from “Word of Life” Church in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Initially about ten people were arrested, but most were soon released. However Gurbanov, Farhadov, Nasibov and an Iranian Christian were taken away and remain in detention. Their whereabouts are unknown.

Since their arrest, Middle East Concern said, the Azeri detainees have only been able to contact their families once or twice. They are being kept in solitary confinement, and consular officials from the Azerbaijan Embassy in Tehran have not been allowed to see them.

Gurbanov, who is a youth pastor and missions director, believes that they were set up and caught in a trap. As yet no charges have been brought against the detainees.

Their families and friends are obviously very concerned about the situation.

In more positive news, friends of Amin Khaki are delighted that he has been released from Ahvaz Prison.

Khaki, along with Hossein Barounzadeh, Mohammad Bahrami and Rahman Bahmani, was among eight people arrested at a picnic in Shush on March 5 2014. They each received a sentence of one year in prison for spreading Christianity in Iran.

In ChainsFollowing a re-trial held on Feb. 1 2016, the sentences were upheld but the defendants were not immediately summoned to prison. In June, all four Christians presented themselves at Ahvaz Prison to serve the remainder of their sentences.

However, last week Khaki was released, and he does not need to serve a previously suspended sentence of one year in addition to the most recent sentence.

Barounzadeh, Bahrami and Bahmani still have four months left of their sentences to serve.

Middle East Concern asked for prayer that the three Azeris and the Iranian Christian will be released soon, and that God will bring peace and comfort to them and their families.

In addition, that no charges will be brought against the four men, and that officials from the Azerbaijan Embassy will be allowed to see them.

Also, that Khaki will adjust well to his freedom, and that no new charges will be brought against him

Finally, that Barounzadeh, Bahrami and Bahmani will also be released, or know God's peace as they serve the remainder of their sentences and that all officials involved will love mercy, act justly, learn about Jesus and choose to follow Him

For more information visit Middle East Concern at www.meconcern.org.

Photo captions: 1) Freed – Pastor Amin Khaki. 2) Prisoner in Chains (via Pakistan Christian Post). 3) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.

Jeremy and Elma Reynalds very latestAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net and click on the DONATE button to make you tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you these important stories. If you prefer a check, please make it out to ASSIST and mail it to PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends that they can have a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above website and then sign up there.
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Key Leaders to Gather at "The Bridge" Conference on Persecution

By Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service, www.assistnews.net

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ANS, June 30, 2016) — A gathering of NGOs, government officials, church leaders, and others concerned about the intolerable persecution being perpetrated against Christians and other religious minorities, is set for July 7-9 in Washington DC, and is free for attendees.

The Bridge Logo 06302016This timely conference, called “The Bridge,” is primarily focused on the plight of Christians and the disappearing church in the Middle East. This movement of leaders will meet to discuss the situation on the ground for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, as well as possible policies to secure their future in the region.

According to a media release from International Christian Concern, ICC) www.persecution.org: “The Bridge comes in the wake of CIA Director John Brennan's comments just last week that efforts against ISIS "have not reduced the group's terrorism capability and global reach," and the State Departments declaration of ISIS' actions against religious minorities as genocide.

Attendees will grow a deeper understanding of this designation and possible next steps toward ending this genocide. The conference will also provide attendees with an education of the situation for Christians in the Middle East, training breakout sessions, and the ability to network with other organizations and individuals who share concerns for Christians and other religious minorities in this region.

Those participating will hear from keynote speaker Eric Metaxas, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Senator Ted Cruz, the United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, Congressman Joe Pitts, retired 3-star general, William Boykin, Former US Department of State Coordinator for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, Alberto Fernandez, and more.

On July 8 & 9 (July 7 is an invite-only session for politicians and Human Rights NGO’s), “The Bridge” is gathering the Church in the US to meet their persecuted brothers and sisters and those that work on their behalf.

mi Jeff King President of International Christian Concern 06302016“From members of Congress, to nonprofits, to churches, missions pastors, missionaries, and the persecuted themselves, we are gathering the Free and Persecuted Church together to learn from each other and to learn how to connect and fight for the Persecuted Church,” said Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern, www.Persecution.org.

“This is a conference about Persecution where the speakers and leaders we gather will give you the inside scoop on ISIS, persecution, how to get your church engaged, as well as how to connect and assist Christians in persecuted countries,” King said, adding: “Finally, in the persecuted Church, you find real devotion, sacrifice, and great love for the Lord in spite of the terrible cost Christians pay for their faith. It is our hope and desire for the Lord to touch our hearts at this conference and call us to revival.

“It’s that spirit that we love and hope to spread, starting with you!”

King stated of the event, "83 percent of Christians have left Iraq since 2003, indicative of the larger exodus of Christians from this region. This unprecedented movement will raise awareness and work to identify solutions for Christians to stay in this region, living peacefully with neighbors of other faiths.

“The persecution and violence that has been felt by Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East should trouble anyone who values freedom of belief and religious liberty. This conference is the perfect way to hear from victims of these acts regarding the situation on the ground. It also allows attendees to hear from experts on the region, leaders of NGOs that provide support and aide, victims, and government officials regarding policy proposals for addressing this religious persecution."

For more information regarding the conference, or to register to attend, please visit the conference website.

ICC (International Christian Concern) www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.

For interviews, please contact: Marylin Guillen-Carrera, Marketing Specialist, International Christian Concern, 301-329-6965, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photo captions: 1) The Bridge Conference Logo (Courtesy ICC). 2) Jeff King. 3) Michael Ireland.

Michael Ireland small useAbout the writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia.

** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)

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They say that Say Norway is Not in Violation of Christian Parents' Rights

By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Bodnariu familyNORWAY (ANS-May 1, 2016) -- As the removal of five Pentecostal kids from their Romanian-Norwegian parents' custody over spanking allegations has enraged thousands of global supporters, especially in Romania, some Christian leaders in Norway are combating the notion that parental and religious freedoms are being violated by the Norwegian government.

According to reporting by Samuel Smith for The Christian Post (CP), the five children of Romanian IT engineer Marius Bodnariu, and his Norwegian wife Ruth Johanne Bodnariu, were removed from their parents custody on Nov. 16, 2015, after a school principal told Norwegian authorities about their oldest daughter's allegation that her parents spanked her and her siblings as a form of discipline.

As spanking and other forms of physical punishment are considered illegal under Norwegian law, the Barnevernet (Norway's child services agency) placed the five children of the Romanian-Norwegian couple in three separate foster homes while their parents have been granted limited visitation rights.

Over 62,000 people in Romania have signed a petition in recent days asking for a fast and fair solution in a sensitive case - See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/norway-decision-over-romanian-family-spurs-protests-01-12-2016#sthash.iLoyR7PF.dpuf

While the Bodnariu parents wait for their next court hearing to determine whether they are found to be competent enough to regain custody of their children, a number of human rights activists, lawyers and pastors have argued that the Bodnariu case is essentially a part of a larger pattern displayed by the Barnevernet of targeting migrant families.

In an interview last Monday with The Christian Post, Texas-based lawyer Peter Costea, the president of the Alliance for Romania's Families, explained that many migrant families feel that the Barnevernet is targeting them and removing their children to ensure that the children "grow up Norwegian."

Costea, who sent a letter to the Norwegian ambassador to Romania in December and also has access to court records, argued that the Norwegian government does not have the right to remove children from their parents simply on the allegation of spanking.

CP said he added that spanking is not listed as a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Romanians protest about children being taken from parentsAt a protest held outside the Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C. in Jan., Norwegian human rights lawyer Marius Reikeras and other supporters of the Bodnariu family, claimed that there are thousands of families just like the Bodnariu's — normal, well-educated families that get in trouble with the Barnevernet over disciplinary issues.

Despite the claims that the Barnevernet is targeting migrant families from eastern European countries and other nations, Andreas Nordli, Norway's national director for Youth With a Mission, told CP that such a claim is not true and feels that the tendency for migrant and ethnic families to get in trouble with Barnevernet is simply because they are unaware of Norway's child abuse laws.

Nordli, who collaborated with the Barnevernet when he was a pastor of a church that had a number of migrant families, said his own experiences with the Barnevernet have been very good.

“I hear both in this specific case with the Romanian family and cases with Russian (families), Lithuanian (families), and (families) from Czech Republic that there have been accusations toward child protective services in Norway, but I haven't (seen) it myself,” CP reported Nordli said.
He added, “Because we have strict laws against physically disciplining your kids, I think a lot of non-Norwegians coming here, they are not aware of the law. Because of that, that creates the problems, I think. Maybe even the child protection (agencies) in Norway are not good enough in explaining to non-Norwegians how our laws are set up."

Although some Bodnariu family supporters claim that it was the family's religious belief that "God punishes sin" that originally drew the concern of the principal and Barnevernet, Andreas Hegertun, the spokesman for the Norwegian Pentecostal Movement, explained that religious liberties of ethnic families in Norway are not strained in any way.

Hegertun added that families have the freedom to raise their children in accordance with their faith as long as they are not perceived to have violated the nation's laws.

“Every ethnic religious group may worship and raise their children according to their beliefs, as long as they don't violate Norwegian law,” Hegertun told CP.

“In practice this means as long as they don't use violence. I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble with the government for any other reason than violence, serious neglect or addictions. In this matter we, as churches, strongly agree with our government that violence toward children is not accepted.”

"In fact, there has also been the opposite suspicion that the government may be tempted to look the other way in communities with other cultural values regarding violence toward children because they are scared of not being culturally sensitive — for instance in many Muslim communities," Hegertun continued.

Costea told CP last week that court records indicate that spankings are the only alleged abuse against the Bodnariu parents. The only facts of the case that are available are the facts provided by the family, as the agency has to protect the privacy of the children while the case is still ongoing.

Dagen, a Christian daily in Norway, said in an editorial by Vebjørn Selbekk that Norway is not the Soviet Union.

Dagen added, “What we can categorically state is that vital information about the reasons for the resolution by Barnevernet has been omitted in the written articles. And in the campaigns against the Norwegian Barnevernet run in the social media.

“Hence the picture presented of the alleged Christian persecution becomes unjust.

"Norwegian media – included Dagen – are usually reluctant to write about matters relating to Barnevernet. The main reason being the right of children is not being identified. In cases where name and picture of a child is being distributed in social media, the situation becomes even more demanding for the traditional media.”

Despite the claim that the parents lost custody of their children for spanking them, CP said Hegertun and Nordli find it surprising that the Barnevernet would remove the children as just the result of a spanking allegation.

“In Norway spanking and other types of corporal punishment is illegal. But this does not mean that all parents that practice these models of parenting have their children removed,” Hegertun said.

“A majority of the families that the Barnevernet are in contact with do not have their children removed. Most families receive parental courses and advice on how to change their parenting style so that they parent without using corporal punishment or spanking.”

But as some parents and cultures believe that physical punishment is vital to the upbringing of their children, Hegertun admits that if parents feel they are not wrong to spank their children, then the Barnevernet could seek to remove children from their parental custody.

“If the parents see no wrong in using violence or do not want to change, the Barnevernet considers making a case to remove the child,” CP reported Hegertun said.

“Removing children from their parents is not easy. In Norway, the system is that the Barnevernet needs to make their case to a judge, the parents get an attorney, and then the judge makes the decision. This takes place in a courtroom and proof is submitted and witnesses on each side are called in. In my experience, the barrier to do this is high, but obviously not as high as in countries that accept violence toward children.”

According to a media report, official data confirms that domestic violence against children remains a problem in Romania.

Around 63 per cent of Romanian families use physical correction, such as slapping or pulling hair, as a way of educating their children, according to data from the international organization Save the Children.

More than half of the domestic violence cases against children are registered in rural areas. Experts say this reflects the endurance of traditional values.

“The problem in Romania is not that we don’t have laws on the subject, but the way they are enforced,” said Diana Stanculescu, an expert on child abuse.

“While Norway has no tolerance for any form of abuse, in Romania the norms are different,” she added.

Official data confirms that domestic violence against children remains a problem in Romania. 

Around 63 per cent of Romanian families use physical correction, such as slapping or pulling hair, as a way of educating their children, according to data from the international organisation Save the Children. 

More than half of the domestic violence cases against children are registered in rural areas.

Experts say this reflects the endurance of traditional values.

“The problem in Romania is not that we don’t have laws on the subject, but the way they are enforced,” said Diana Stanculescu, an expert on child abuse.

“While Norway has no tolerance for any form of abuse, in Romania the norms are different,” she added.

- See more at: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/norway-decision-over-romanian-family-spurs-protests-01-12-2016#sthash.iLoyR7PF.dpuf

Photo captions: 1) The Bodnariu family. 2) Thousands of people took to the streets in Romania in support of the Bodnariu family (Facebook). 3) Elma and Jeremy Reynalds.

Elma and Jeremy Reynalds useAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on the book are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net and click on the DONATE button to make you tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you these important stories. If you prefer a check, just make it out to ASSIST and mail it to: PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA.

** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)

 

Published in ANS News Story

By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Uganda church destroyed Morning Star NewsNALUGONDO, UGANDA (ANS-April 22, 2016) -- Muslims in a village in eastern Uganda last week killed Christians' pigs and tore down their church building.

According to a story by Morning Star News quoting area sources, a Muslim mob demolished the building of the 450-member Nalugondo Church of Uganda building at about midnight on April 12, shouting, “We cannot live together with neighbors who are infidels. We have to fight for the cause of Allah.”

Nalugondo village is near Bugade, Mayuge District, 93 miles east of Kampala.

Two days earlier, sources said, a group of Muslims slaughtered a church lay leader's pigs, a key source of income.

Singing praises to Allah and shouting, “Allah only is to be worshiped, and Muhammad is his prophet,” the group led by area Muslim Kambo Daudo killed Samuel Kijali's pigs at 4 p.m. on April 10, as Kijali's wife watched helplessly.

A few weeks before the slaughter, Morning Star News said Kijali had received text messages, saying that church members must stop raising pigs.

“Let this be known to your church members that pigs are extremely unholy and an abomination before Allah, very outrageous and shameful,” one text read. “They are haram (forbidden) and unlawful, as our holy Quran does prohibit them.”

Sources said Muslims also sent a text message to church member Kamaala Yokosani reading, “We are soon coming for the heads of your pigs,” before killing eight on April 5.

Ugandan Christians protesting persecution in UgandaYokosani was elected chairman of the Bugade zone in May 2015, and then later he began raising pigs.

A Christian witness said a Muslim neighbor of Yokosani, Kupoota Amisi, 60, went to his home with about 15 other Muslims.

“I saw Amisi with a group of people enter Kamaala's farm with knives, only to hear the following day that his pigs had been killed,” the witness said.

About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. However, Muslims now outnumber Christians in Nalugondo.

“It is quite difficult to resist these militant Muslims, because they have outnumbered us the Christians and are accusing us that we are defiling their faith,” Morning Star News reported Kijali said.

The church's 450 members are now without shelter as the rainy season descends, sources said. Musical instruments, more than 500 plastic chairs and other property were destroyed, a church leader said.

For more information visit www.morningstarnews.org.

Photo captions: 1) Workers sift through rubble of demolished church building in Nalugondo, Uganda. (Morning Star News). Christians in Easter Uganda protest the ongoing violence against them. 3) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds. 

Jeremy and Elma Reynalds

About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on "From Destitute to Ph.D." are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net and click on the DONATE button to make your tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you these important stories. If you prefer a check, please make it out to ASSIST and mail it to: PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA. Thank you.

** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)

 

Published in ANS News Story

By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Uzbek ChristiansUZBEKISTAN. (ANS-APRIL 18. 2016) -- Latipzhon Mamazhanov, a Protestant who was arrested and jailed on March 12 for 15 days in Fergana in eastern Uzbekistan, was released from jail on March 28.

Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It is bordered by five countries: Kazakhstan to the north, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Afghanistan to the south and Turkmenistan to the southwest.

This is one day after he should have been released under the law, a story by Mushfig Nayram from Forum 18 News Service reported.

Police illegally raided Mamazhanov's home and those of other Christians in Fergana on March 12 searching for religious literature.

Mamazhanov was imprisoned in the Region's Kuva District Police Detention Center.

Forum 18 said that’s where as many as seven inmates were put in a cell designed for two people, no sanitary and hygiene rules are followed, and food given only once a day. Mamazhanov and other prisoners who insisted they were innocent of crimes were also tortured several times.

“They can keep one Bible in their homes,” Rustam Yegamberdiyev, Head of Fergana City Criminal Police, insisted to Forum 18.

He added, “But if they keep more than one then this means that they are intending to gather others in their homes for illegal prayers and meetings. It is exactly the same for Christians, Muslims and others.”

For more information visit www.forum18.org

Photo captions: 1) Uzbek Christians meeting secretly. 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.

Jeremy and Elma Reynalds useAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on "From Destitute to Ph.D." are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net and click on the DONATE button to make your tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you these important stories. If you prefer a check, please make it out to ASSIST and mail it to: PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA. Thank you.

** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)

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By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service, www.assistnews.net

NAIROBI, KENYA, (ANS, February 10, 2016) – An imam who threatened a convert from Islam in eastern Uganda has been arrested in connection with the killing of a 28-year-old Christian.

According to the East Africa Correspondent for Morning Star News (www.morningstarnews.org) Laurence Maiso’s body was found at his house, his head in a pool of blood, on Jan. 27 at around 5 p.m. in Numuseru village, Naboa Sub-County in Budaka District.

mi the body of Laurence Maiso 02 10 2016Four days earlier, Imam Kamulali Hussein had met him and his wife on a local road. According to Maiso’s wife, the imam told him, “You have refused to join us. Do you know that Allah does not want us to have a kafir [infidel] neighbor? And you should know that Allah is about to send to you the Angel of Death in your house. Please prepare to meet him at any time.”

Four days later, Maiso’s wife went to see a friend in nearby Lupada village. She returned to find her husband dead on the floor. Her cries brought several neighbors to the house.

Morning Star News reports that police rushed to the site, and the next day they arrested Hussein, well-known in the area and dubbed “the malaria of Christianity,” at Nampangalle village. The case is registered at Naboa police post with a reference number of CRB Ref: 28/2016.

“We found the villagers at the scene of the incident, and immediately we removed the body from the house and took it to the police station, then to the mortuary in Budaka,” said a police officer who requested his name be withheld. “The following day we carried out an intensive search, and from a lead from a villager we managed to arrest Hussein at Nampangalle village. We took him to Chief Magistrate Three at Kalaki court, and he was later remanded to Kamuge prison in Palissa District.”

Morning Star News reports the officer said police were still looking for other suspects as they interrogated Hussein.

According to Morning Star News, Maiso lived in a predominantly Muslim area. On several occasions Muslims had confronted him, demanding that he recant his Christian faith, but he remained firm and continued as a member of the Naboa Church of Uganda.

A neighbor told Morning Star News that on the day of the murder, Jan. 27, she saw eight men including Hussein, coming out of Maiso’s house at 4 p.m., and that some of them were dressed in traditional Islamic attire. Another neighbor said he spotted Hussein’s uncle and other Muslims in the area around the same time.

Monring Star News explained the killing is the latest in a series of attacks on Christians in eastern Uganda.

Morning Star News stated that about 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Image: 1) The body of Laurence Maiso. (Morning Star News) 2) Michael Ireland.

Michael Ireland small useAbout the Writer: Michael Ireland is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as a volunteer Internet Journalist and Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Click http://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410485204 to see a daily digest of Michael's stories for ANS.

** You may republish this or any of ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)

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By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  
 
NEW DELHI, INDIA (ANS-Dec 26)  - Police hostility toward Christians in India continued this year as officers in Tamil Nadu reviled two Christians for their faith and seriously injured them, sources said.
 
According to a story by Morning Star News, the two Christians, A. Rethinakumar and C. Nova of Jesus Redeems Ministry, were traveling by motorcycle in Thomas Nagar on Nov. 3 at about 2:30 a.m. 
 
Tamil Nadu medical collegeThat was when two policemen stopped them and began verbally abusing them, according to attorney T. Hubertson, who submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission about the assault.
 
He identified the officers as Special Sub-Inspector Ravi Chandran of the Asaripallam police station and Raj Kumar of the Tamil Nadu Special Police Youth Brigade.
 
“The two policemen were heavily drunk and calling the Christians ‘sons of prostitutes,’” Hubertson told Morning Star News. “They told the Christians to remove their helmets and started punching them in the face.”
 
Slapping, punching and verbally abusing the Christians, Chandran asked the Christians where they were going. 
 
When they replied that they had done some work for an upcoming Christian program and were on their way to see their ministry leader, the beating continued as Chandran made derogatory remarks against Christ and asked, “‘What has Jesus done for you, sons of prostitutes? Why are you running to Him?’” Hubertson said.
 
Kumar, slapping and kicking Rethinakumar and repeatedly kicking and punching him the length of his spine to his neck,  and threatened to kill them, said S. Jeyakumar, area leader of Jesus Redeems Ministry.
 
Morning Star News said the two policemen then forced the Christians to call Jeyakumar, and Kumar informed him that they were taking Rethinakumar and Nova to the police station.
 
After reaching the Asaripallam Police Station, Chandran and Kumar forced the Christians to sit on the floor and continued to assault them, sources said.
 
When Jeyakumar arrived at the Asaripallam police station, the officers refused to listen to him and continued assaulting the two Christians and disparaging Christ, the ministry leader said. The officers asked the two Christians if Jesus Redeems Ministry founder Mohan C. Lazarus offered them money to become Christians, and if “he is the one brainwashing you,” Morning Star News reported one source said.
 
Chandran then falsely accused the Christians of theft.
 
“He threatened to file false charges against the Christians and remand them to jail if they said anything about what they had done to them,” the source said.
 
Nova gave the officers copies of the motorcycle registration, driver's license and vehicle insurance. However, the policemen threw the documents on the ground, and filed a false case against them for failure to wear helmets and lacking registration, insurance, license and brake light, Jeyakumar said.
 
The policemen seized their motorcycle and, after obtaining signatures from them on a blank paper, drove them from the police station at about 4 a.m., continuing to beat them and threatening to kill them, the sources said.
 
Rethinakumar suffered fractures in his spine. He first received treatment at Kanyakumari Government Medical Hospital, and was later admitted to Peace Health Center Hospital in Tirunelveli, Jeyakumar said.
 
Nova suffered a broken nose and a serious mouth injury, Hubertson said.
 
“His face was swollen, and he was not able to talk or eat properly for many days,” he said. “He was discharged from the hospital after a medical treatment of 25 days.”
 
The National Human Rights Commission on Nov. 22 registered a case against Chandran and Kumar for assault.
 
Police officials, however, have not taken any action against the assailants, Morning Star News reported sources said.
 
“The local police are not responding to any of our complaints, and no police actions have been taken against the attackers, but we are submitting a memorandum to the higher officials including the chief minister of the state,” Hubertson said.
 
Chandran and Kumar were not available for comment.
 
For more information visit www.morningstarnews.org
 
Photo captions: 1) Kanyakumari Government Medical College in Tamil Nadu. (Wikipedia). 2) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
 
At local event Elma and JeremyAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on "From Destitute to Ph.D." are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 
 
Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net  and click on the DONATE button to make your year-end tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you these important stories.  If you prefer a check, please make it out to ASSIST and mail it to: PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA. Thank you.
 
** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
   
 
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By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  
 
JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN  Authorities in Sudan have demolished a Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) building in the same area of Omdurman where they destroyed another church building a week earlier, sources said.
 
According to a story by Morning Star News, after bulldozing a Lutheran Church of Sudan (LCS) building on Oct. 21, authorities in the Karari area of Omdurman demolished the SCOC building on Oct. 27 without prior warning, church leaders said. 
 
Local authorities said the SCOC building was on government land, a claim church leaders adamantly denied.
 
“It seems that the government is systemically targeting churches in these times,” one church leader told Morning Star News. “They did not give us notice before the demolition.”
 
Church leaders said they have filed a complaint with the Ministry of Religious Guidance and Endowment, but received no response.
 
Karari officials in Omdurman, across the Nile River from Khartoum, reportedly authorized the demolition of the church building claiming it was built on government land allocated for a field. 
 
In the demolishing of the LCS church on Oct. 21, the local authorities said it was built on land designated for business, although a mosque stands nearby.
           
The SCOC church, which Morning Star News said has 120 members, was established in 1998.
 
SCOC church leaders said it would be difficult for their congregation to find a place for Bible study and Sunday services in coming weeks. 
 
The Sudanese Minister of Religious Guidance and Endowments announced in April 2013 that no new licenses would be granted for building new churches in Sudan, citing a decrease in the South Sudanese population.
 
Members of the SCOC church said they had decided to hold Sunday worship in the open air at a nearby field early in the morning, before temperatures climb.
 
SCOC church leaders said they were issued ownership papers for the land but have been so far unable to find them.
           
“We are not happy with the act of demolition, but we cannot do anything now, given this difficult situation,” a church leader said.
 
In spite of the ban on new licenses for church buildings, Morning Star News said church members were contributing funds toward a new worship structure for worship. 
 
The Sudanese government's decision to issue no new church building licenses came after South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011. That was when President Omar al-Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of sharia (Islamic law) and recognize only Islamic culture and the Arabic language.
 
Sudanese authorities on Feb. 17 2014 demolished another SCOC church building in Omdurman without prior notice. 
 
Morning Star News said bulldozers accompanied by local police and personnel from Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) destroyed the worship building in the Ombada area of Omdurman, sources said.
 
Sudan since 2012 has harassed and expelled foreign Christians and bulldozed church buildings, usually on the pretext that they belonged to South Sudanese. They have also raided Christian bookstores and arrested Christians.
 
Morning Star News said on Aug. 24 2014, NISS agents padlocked the building of the 500-member Sudan Pentecostal Church (SPC) in Khartoum, which housed the Khartoum Christian Center (KCC).
 
Sudan fought a civil war with the south Sudanese from 1983 to 2005, and in June 2011, shortly before the secession of South Sudan the following month, the government began fighting a rebel group in the Nuba Mountains that has its roots in South Sudan.
 
Due to its treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999.
 
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the country remain on the list in its 2015 report.
 
Sudan ranked sixth on Christian support organization Open Doors' 2015 World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face most persecution, moving up from 11th place the previous year.
 
Besides recent government demolitions of church buildings, Morning Star News reported suspected Muslim extremists in Sudan's eastern city of Al Qadarif set fire to an LCS church on Oct. 16.
 
Christians in Sudan are calling upon the government of Sudan to stop targeting churches for demolition.
 
“We urge the government to look into this issue seriously,” Morning Star News reported a church leader from the SCOC said.
 
For more information visit www.morningstarnews.org
 
At local event Elma and JeremyAbout the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "From Destitute to Ph.D." Additional details on "From Destitute to Ph.D." are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 
Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net  and click on the DONATE button to make you tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you these important stories.  
** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
 
 
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