A mysterious and horrifying deadly illness killing villagers in Ethiopia could be the dreaded “Disease X”.
A concept coined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to describe a new unknown pathogen with the potential to cause an epidemic, scientists are constantly on the lookout for illnesses that fit the description.
Some believe coronavirus is Disease X, but the real answer could lie in East Africa.
“Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever” leaves people bleeding from their eyes, mouth, and anus.
The gruesome sickness, informally dubbed “bleeding eye fever”, has a higher mortality rate than the plague and has mystified medical professionals for the past couple of years.
Eye-bleeding fever: Where has the disease ‘deadlier than the plague’ spread to?
‘Eye-bleeding fever’ outbreak CONFIRMED: Fears of PANDEMIC as disease hits SECOND country
Cases were reported in South Sudan and Uganda in 2018, with dozens infected and at least four killed.
Now neighbouring country Ethiopia is grappling with similar horrific symptoms.
One 23-year-old victim first experienced his eyes and palms turning yellow, before he began bleeding from his nose and mouth and his body swelled up, the Guardian reports . He later died after collapsing with fever.
Many of his neighbours suffered the same symptoms and some died.
Other victims included a two-year-old boy in the town of Haarcad who died despite receiving multiple blood transfusions during a month-long hospital stay. He, too, had yellow eyes and palms, swelling and a fever.
People who report the horrific symptoms are often treated for a short time in hospital, before being discharged and told nothing more can be done.
The disease is spreading through villages near a Chinese natural gas project in the Somali region, and some locals believe hazardous chemical waste has poisoned the water supply.
However, government officials have denied these allegations, saying there have been no reports of spillages.
“We can emphatically state that all the gas wells at Calub and elsewhere in the Ogaden Basin, are sealed, safe and secured … according to international standards,” Ketsela Tadesse told the Guardian.
There have been at least 2,000 deaths from the mystery illness since 2014.
In October 2019, the WHO warned an outbreak of Disease X was “on the horizon”.
All you need you know about the Disease X epidemic that could wipe out millions
DISEASE X warning: Deadly pathogen added to mass killer list with GLOBAL pandemic feared
“It is not a case of if, but when,” Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations CEO Richard Hatchett said.
“We need to be prepared. We need to invest in platform technologies that can be used to quickly respond to the emergence of a pathogen with epidemic potential.”
On the other side of Africa, in Sierra Leone, “virus hunters” are searching for Disease X – examining animals such as bats, which are believed to have passed the coronavirus to humans, for signs of a potentially deadly pathogen.
It’s unknown if Ethiopia has access to the same resources for a virus-hunting operation of its own.
The country has recently stepped up its prevention measures against coronavirus, the first confirmed case of which has just been reported in sub-Saharan Africa. (Click to Source)
13 people have been killed and 100 others have been injured following a heavy rain and hail storm in Buyende district, Uganda. The unusual weather ravaged the villages of Kabugudo, Nabweyo, and Nakabembe between 8:00 pm and 10:30pm on Sunday, April 21, 2019. Most of the deceased were swept away by floods into nearby swamps where they drowned.
The storm swept away 300 homes and residents have found refuge at Kidera health centre IV. Survivors were transferred either to Kidera health centre IV or Kamuli general hospital respectively.
A victim explains she decided to lock herself in her house. However, in no time, she saw her rooftop shaking and on her way out, it felt on her head.
Another injured man explained his three sons and wife had been transferred to Kamuli hospital after sustaining injuries.
“I was not at home when the storm struck, but I came back only to find the entire house flooded, and my wife together with the children were almost drowning, so I rushed them to Kamuli general hospital for further management,” he said.
Abdul Mulawa, the Buyende district police commander, says that the search is on to recover bodies of missing persons in the three villages. Mulawa further advised residents to shift from lake shores which have proven to be prone to heavy storms. Robert Musoke, the member of parliament for Budiope West, has asked the government and all volonteers to come and help rescuing the affected residents. (Click to Source)
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Philippines: On Sunday, January 27, Islamic militants bombed a Catholic cathedral during Mass. At least 20 people were killed and 111 wounded. Two explosives were detonated about a minute apart in or near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo around 8:45 a.m. According to one report, “The initial explosion scattered the wooden pews inside the main hall and blasted window glass panels, and the second bomb hurled human remains and debris across a town square fronting the cathedral.” Photos on social media showed human bodies and remains strewn on the street just outside the cathedral. The officiating priest, Fr. Ricky Bacolcol, “was still in shock and could not speak about what happened,” to quote a colleague. After the first bomb detonated, army troops and police posted outside the cathedral rushed in, at which point the second bomb went off. Fifteen of the slain were civilians, five military men; 90 of the wounded were civilians. Located in a Muslim-majority area, the cathedral was heavily guarded as it had been hit before: grenades were hurled at it twice in 2010, both times damaging the building; and in 1997, Bishop Benjamin de Jesus was gunned down just outside the cathedral. The Islamic State claimed this most recent attack, adding that the massacre was carried out by “two knights of martyrdom” against a “crusader temple.”
Egypt: An Islamic terror plot to bomb a packed Christian church on the evening of January 6, when Coptic Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, was foiled by police. According to one report,
[F]our explosive devices were planted around the Church of the Virgin Mary and St Mercurius in … Nasr City. Three were removed safely but the fourth, concealed in a bag, exploded when police bomb disposal technicians attempted to deactivate it. Police Major Mostafa Ebeid was killed in the blast, which wounded two other officers and a bystander. The explosion was the latest in a series of incidents apparently targeting Egypt’s Coptic Christian population, occurring the day before Orthodox Christmas eve….
Separately, between late December and early January, authorities forcefully shut down four more churches in Egypt after angry Muslim mobs rioted in protest of their existence. In one instance, on Friday, January 11, over one thousand Muslims surrounded and demanded the instant closure of St. George Church in Minya. Not only did authorities comply but they evicted the two priests who were holed up inside the church and hauled them off in a vehicle used for garbage, prompting “an elated response from a jubilating, gloating mob,” which included triumphant cries of “Allahu Akbar”(Allah is greater; a brief video of the mob can be seen here.) Police “ behaved with the priests as they would with killers,” one human rights lawyer said. “What happened frightened us,” added another clergyman. “I am a priest and it is possible for the police to cuff me if the extremist neighboring Muslims protest or gathered in front of my church. Things are getting worse, but let us pray to make God keep us in peace.” The local Coptic Christian bishopric said in a statement,
This is not the first time a place used for worship by Copts in Minya is closed. The common factor among all closures, however, is that they were done to appease fundamentalists and extremists to the detriment of the Copts. It appears to indicate that extremists now hold the upper hand, and appeasing them is the easy way out of problems…. This comes in the wake of declarations by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb in favour of churches, also positive talk and actions by President Abdel-Fattah a-Sisi that every Egyptian has the right to practise his or her religion of choice, and to Pope Tawadros’s efforts on that front.
A January 15 report discussing this attack computes that, “In total, Egyptian authorities have closed four churches within the last four and a half weeks. No formal procedures against the attackers of these churches have begun.”
Cameroon: Muslim militants invaded and ransacked two Christian villages in the middle of the night of January 24. They destroyed 190 homes, plundered and desecrated four churches, set a Christian hospital on fire, and killed livestock. “Is it really human beings who are doing this?” a local eyewitness was later quoted as saying. According to the report,
The attack on Gochi and Toufou [the Christian villages] is the fourth by militants in two weeks. In the previous attacks three people were killed and churches and homes were damaged or destroyed…. Christian villages in the far north of Cameroon are subject to attacks by Boko Haram Islamist militias [as] they attempt to establish an Islamic caliphate from north-eastern Nigeria all the way to northern Cameroon, which is where most Cameroonian Muslims live in what is a predominantly Christian country.
Nigeria: Militant Muslims have destroyed a total of 1,125 churches belonging to one Christian denomination alone, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, which is primarily based in the Muslim majority northeast of the nation, a January 23 report found. The President of the denomination, Rev. Joel Billi continues making appeals for the local Muslim majority government to expedite the rebuilding of these places of worship: “Why are we flagrantly neglected as if we deserve to be punished? If not for the inadequacy of our security forces and political undertone, Boko Haram would not have overrun us. So, why do we pay for the sin that was not committed by us?”
Ghana: Irate and machete wielding Muslim youth vandalized a church after its pastor predicted that the Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharunutu would die this year. Afterwards they made a video giving the pastor an ultimatum to withdraw his prophecy or else: “We’re warning you,” said the group leader. “You have only 24 hours to capture yourself in a video to apologise to all Muslims. Don’t bring your fake prophecies on the Muslims or our Chief Imam. If you don’t apologise, we’ll drink your blood.”
Indonesia: A Muslim mob stormed a house church meeting on Sunday, January 13, in the North Sumatran capital of Medan. Video footage shows a loud and angry throng led by men wearing Muslim skullcaps and women in hijabs surrounding a pastor’s residence, which had allegedly been converted into a place of worship for use by the Bethel Indonesia Church congregation. The mob shouted at and shoved Christians in attendance before forcing the service to a close. “We didn’t do things that were prohibited,” wrote one church member on Instagram. “We only wanted to pray, but why was our church attacked this morning? Where is justice in this country? Where is our religious tolerance? God is with us.” Due to this and similar incidents, Christians are increasingly “feel[ing] intimidated to worship in their own country,” the report notes, before adding that:
members of the congregation claim that they have obtained some permits for the building to function as a house of worship but are still missing some documents, which they say have been difficult to obtain from government officials, especially during the recent holiday period. In September, authorities in the East Sumatran city of Jambi sealed three churches, which had been used as places of worship for over a decade, because they lacked official permits. An administrator at one of the churches said they were given no warning prior to the closure and that he suspected the churches were shut due to pressure from certain groups who threatened to protest if they remained open. Officials from one of the churches said their attempts to obtain the proper permits had proven difficult as government officials [in the Muslim majority nation] always denied them.
Algeria: After authorities shut down their church, a 300-strong Christian congregation began to meet and worship in a tent—only to be forced out of and ordered to dismantle it as well on January 28. The tent was erected on the grounds of Azaghar Church, allowing the congregation to continue worshipping following the forced closure of their church on spurious “health and safety” reasons. According to one report,
The church … lost the use of its building in October 2018, despite the congregation responding to requests to install fire exits and fire extinguishers. While conversion from Islam is not a criminal offence in Algeria, those who witness to Muslims potentially face a five-year jail sentence. The officially recognised church had been open for five years and is a powerful ministry to local Muslims. …. A number of churches have been shut down since the start of 2018, either for alleged breaches of health and safety, or because authorities claim they are not properly registered.
Violence against Christians and Conversion Pressure
Uganda: Muslims beat and hospitalized a Christian woman for praying to Christ in her home. “Today we have come to warn you that you should avoid noisy prayers and the use of Issa [Jesus] in your prayers,” one of the four assailants informed Deborah Gimbo’s after bursting into her home. They added that a local cleric had said that “people who pray in Jesus’ name should be fought and pressured until they accept only worship of Allah, or else be killed.” “I cannot stop praying,” she responded, “and more so, Issa [Jesus] is my Lord and Savior, and I will continue praying in His name…. Immediately two of the intruders left the house, and in no time entered the room again with sticks and started beating me. I was hit on my face, and blood started flowing down my face as I started shouting for help.” Neighbors came to her rescue; she was hospitalized for two days.
Iran: During their final appeal hearing held on January 15, two Christians “were asked by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to renounce their faith, but refused to do so,” says one report. Earlier, on September 22, 2018, the two, Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri, were sentenced to prison on the charge of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.” The January 15 verdict also “claimed that discussions of Christian doctrine held in house churches were considered attacks on Islam.” A human rights activist familiar with the case elaborated:
The conviction of Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri for asserting Christian doctrine is not only a grave violation of their right to espouse a religious belief of their choosing, but also criminalises the Christian faith, which the Iranian constitution purports to recognise…. We call for the verdict against Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri to be overturned, and urge the Iranian authorities to ensure due process in cases involving religious minorities. We also continue to urge the Iranian government to cease all forms of harassment and intimidation of peaceable religious communities, and to release all those detained in connection with their religion or belief.
Somalia: “It’s very dangerous for anyone to identify you as a Christian in this country,” an underground pastor going by the pseudonym of John explained in a January 7 report concerning the dangers of being outed as a Christian in the Islamic Horn of Africa. “You will, in fact, be counting your days on Earth. So we are always silent as long as we meet and share the word of God in private.” The report elaborates:
Hundreds of Christians in Somalia, typically foreigners from nearby countries who work across the East African nation, fear [that] Muslim extremists — both jihadists in al-Shabab, a group linked to al-Qaida, and rogue elements among their otherwise peaceful neighbors — would kill them if they knew they held Christian services. Around 99.8 percent of Somalis are Muslim…. In recent years, the situation for Christians in the Horn of Africa has worsened, as illustrated by killings shared on social media. In the region under the control of al-Shabab, the militants hunt for Christians.
Attacks on Muslim Converts to Christianity
Kenya: “Muslim policemen on Saturday (Jan. 19) beat and arrested a Christian man on the outskirts of Nairobi, in retaliation for refusing to recant Christianity,” states one report. “Accompanied by two Muslims of Somali descent who had attacked him previously, the policemen arrived at the home where Hassan (surname withheld for security reasons) lives with his widowed mother, and the officers along with the two others punched, kicked, trampled and struck him with blunt objects…” According to his mother:
The police arrived and carried Hassan away with blood flowing from his body. My son’s leg is bruised, he has serious chest and back pain, he is unable to walk and some of his teeth were removed. My family is in danger, where are we going to hide ourselves? I cannot go back to Islam. I am better dying with my family than going back to Islam….I have suffered several persecutions from the Muslims for converting to Christianity…. My stomach is ailing from the attack I suffered few years ago. I cannot stand in an upright position. I and my family have chosen the cause of Christ. No turning back.
Sudan/Egypt: A January 31 report recounted the persecution experienced by a former Muslim woman turned Christian. Ebtehaj Alsanosi, 42, “had fled to Egypt in 2005 after being jailed five times for her faith in Sudan.” She eventually married another convert who had also fled Sudan and birthed a daughter. Her persecutors eventually tracked her down, kidnapping her on the way to market in Egypt:
They called her name, grabbed her, covered her nose and mouth, twisted her hands and sprayed some chemical on her that left her unconscious…They took her to the windowless room in an unknown house where they poured water on her, pulled her hair and tied her hands and legs to a chair, all the while shouting her name. Covering her eyes, they reminded her of her Islamic upbringing in Sudan, and how after her school years she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia. Her Sudanese father, they reminded her, is a sheikh (Islamic teacher) in Saudi Arabia.
“You are disgrace to your Muslim family, you brought shame to the family,” they yelled at her as they beat her. “You are ‘kafira’ [infidel].” They ordered her to return to her Sudanese family in Saudi Arabia, otherwise, she, her husband, and daughter aged 11 would all be slaughtered. “I will not go back to Islam—I hate Islam,” she shot back, prompting them to beat her even harder. One of her abductors then brought “a copy of the Koran and began reciting verses that call for the killing of those who leave Islam”—even as they all shouted “Allahu Akbar” in between recitals. “The extremists then untied her, forced her to lie on the floor and ripped her clothes. In spite of her pleas to stop, they raped her in turns.” One of the men said, “This is lesson number one.” They continued abusing and beating her, asking after each torture session if she was ready to renounce Christ and resubmit to Muhammad, only for her to refuse. She was eventually struck unconscious, and when she came to, was lying in the middle of a busy street.
A separate January 21 report revealed the sufferings of a Muslim man who also fled from Sudan to Egypt after converting to Christianity. Osman “left Khartoum in April 2014 after police from Sudan’s Criminal Investigation Department accused him of apostasy, punishable by death in Sudan.” At one point, “National police arrested him from the streets of Khartoum, covered his eyes with a cloth and took him into secret detention, where they tortured him for three weeks… He was suspended from the ceiling while agents poured cold water on him, leaving his left hand permanently damaged…” “[T]hey told me they were going to kill me if I do not return back to Islam,” he explained. “I fled Sudan for my life after I learned that my life was in danger.” Before long, however, unknown persons in Cairo began sending him death threats via phone texts. Most recently, his apartment was raided and his passport stolen, prompting him to go into hiding. “My life is in great danger as Egypt is becoming an insecure place for me,” Osman was last reported as saying.
Uganda: The story of a mother and daughter who were driven out of their home by their Muslim husband/father after they converted to Christianity appeared in a January 7 report. According to Adijah, the mother:
All the years that I was a Muslim, I found nothing wrong with it. But last year, when I was listening to a radio program about Jesus, I started thinking about Christianity and why there was so much enmity between Muslims and Christians. I did not know [it then, but it] started my journey to Christianity. My husband learned that I had accepted Christ when he found a Bible in the house. I pleaded with him to allow me to try out my new faith and see how far I would go, but he was reluctant. Within days, he became hostile towards me and Nuriah [the daughter] who had also started reading the Bible. I was given a one-week ultimatum to decide if I wanted to become a non-Muslim and follow the lost religion of Christianity.
Knowledge of her apostasy from Islam eventually spread throughout the region and extended family and others urged her husband to drive her out: “You are an infidel,” he eventually burst out. “I do not want to see you here. Pick your clothes and leave with Nuriah because she has also started reading the Bible and singing Christian hymns. See the shame and destruction you have brought to us. Nuriah used to be a good Muslim, but now she hides and goes with you to church.”
The following day before we left [continues Adijah], he had uprooted all the cassava crops I had planted. Shouting at the top of his voice, he threatened to take back everything that he had put under my name so that I will not inherit any property from him. He said these were the dire consequences of forsaking Allah and his prophet and following after other gods.
According to his daughter, Nuriah, “I am ready to become a Christian, but my father might look for me and beat me. I still love my father but he doesn’t want us to worship the way we want. He should not force us into Islam. One of our relatives has informed us that my father is looking for ways to kill us.” He has since remarried. “I hear that he has looked for a Muslim lady and they are staying together in the same house we used to live,” said his ex-wife. “We live in fear because we don’t know what he is planning to do to us.” The destitute mother and daughter have experienced much poverty and turmoil since, and were last reported as taking refuge with a Christian family in another part of the nation.
Separately in Uganda, a former Muslim turned Christian lives in fear for his life after local Muslims razed the church he led to the ground and threatened him with death for apostatizing and causing other Muslims to apostatize from Islam. “A gang of radical Muslims entered the church compound,” Simon Mustafa Waseke, who became Christian in 2017, recalled, “and pulled down the church building while shouting ‘Allah Akbar [Allah is greater], away with this church and Pastor Mustafa Waseke. No more prayers in this place, or else you will all lose your lives,’ and in no time the church was on its ground.” A clandestine Christian in touch with the Muslim community informed him that they are plotting his murder: “Even if am given police protection, I am not sure of the security of my members of the church, who are now very fearful. I am at a crossroads of not knowing what to do. My church members are scattered like sheep without a shepherd. Soon their faith in Christ will diminish, and they will possibly return to Islam…. The Muslims are now out to kill me and my family—we are having sleepless nights. How long are we going to hide ourselves from our enemies of Christianity? Please pray for us.”
Pro-Muslim and Anti-Christian Bias in the West
United Kingdom: A Christian man who had been residing in the UK for 15 years was in early January deported back to Pakistan, even though he had been persecuted there. Asher Samson, 41, “first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home,” notes a report. His former pastor, Rev Lorraine Shorton from Hall Green United Community Church, described his current situation: “I’ve received some messages from him. He’s very scared, he’s fearful for his life…. He’s in hiding in Pakistan and his family are terribly worried for him…. At the moment he has no funds to live on—he can’t work …. [T]he UK is sending people back to these countries where their lives are in danger. Pakistan is number five on the World Watch List for extremism against Christians and it’s just disgraceful really that we’re sending people potentially to their death…. Pray that the government will see sense.”
Another separate report from January 20 asserts that, when it comes to offering asylum, the UK “appears to discriminate in favour of Muslims” instead of Christian minorities from Muslim nations. Statistics confirm this allegation: “out of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian, representing just 0.2% of all Syrian refugees accepted by the UK.”
New Zealand: Of those foreign nationals offered asylum between October 31, 2017 and October 31, 2018, seven were from Iraq, 105 from Afghanistan, and 277 from Syria—yet all were Muslims a report found: “Figures for previous years … are equally bleak. In 2016, only six Christians were among the 377 Syrians granted sanctuary, and in the five weeks up to 10 February 2017 no Christians were among the 45 Syrians, all Muslims, who were allowed to settle. Christians made up 10% of the population of Syria before the war.” Responding to this disparity, a government spokesman said refugees were considered for resettlement on the basis of “their protection needs and not religious affiliation.” However, considering that the Islamic State regularly targets people based on their “religious affiliation” suggests that Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities have many more “protection needs” than Muslims.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
About this Series
The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic. Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:
1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.
2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or third-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it. (Click to Source)
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Sweden recently decided to deport Aideen Strandsson, a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When Strandsson pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” (Image source: Facebook/Aideen Strandsson)
A popular Arabic-language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” — Morocco.
Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison, and called for a public lynching of Stephen.” — Pakistan.
Sweden decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden continues accepting Muslim refugees.
In the name of “fighting terrorism,” Bangladesh made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down.
A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum, held in Moscow, detailed how over the past ten years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80% and warned that unless current trends are reversed, Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a few years’ time. Around the year 2000, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq; today there are only 100,000 — roughly a 93% percent drop, the document notes. In Syria, the largest cities “have lost almost all of their Christian population.”
Other experts offered similarly dismal statistics. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts, had predicted that by 2025, the percentage of Christians in the Middle East — which in 1910 was 13.6% — could go down to around 3%.
Christians seeking to return to areas in Iraq and Syria liberated from the Islamic State (ISIS) continue to face discrimination from local Muslim and Kurdish communities. Andrew White, also known as the “vicar of Baghdad,” had said that, “the time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some say Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited.”
Others, such as Former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), are more optimistic: “Now is the time. We have an administration that’s open to doing something,” he said, indicating the US Trump administration.
Meanwhile, ISIS continued to harbor high hopes. In a video released by the terrorist organization in August, an extremist tore up a photo of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, while saying, “Remember this, you kuffar[infidels] — we will be in Rome, we will be in Rome, inshallah [Allah willing].” The narrator of the video also vowed that, “After all their efforts, it would be the religion of the cross that would be broken. The crusaders’ enmity toward the Muslims only served to embolden a generation of youth.” When asked about this, the pope’s top aide said, “Pope Francis hasn’t changed a thing in his agenda, nor is he going to. Furthermore, he’ll continue to foment dialogue, creating bridges, defending peace. With Muslims and Christians.”
August’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Kenya: Islamic terrorists hacked four Christian men to death for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam. On Friday, August 28, jihadis from the Somali-based group, Al Shabaab, rounded up three men (two in their forties, the other 17) and held them at one of the Christians’ homes. They ordered them to recite the shahada — that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” — and thereby renounce the Trinity and become Muslim. When the men refused, the Muslims hacked them to pieces with machetes. They then went and slaughtered the mentally handicapped older brother of one of the slain. According to the “severely traumatized” wife of one of the men, “Al-Shabaab knew these men as Christians, and Joseph [her slain husband] as a church elder.”
Nigeria: Gunmen massacred as many as 50 Christian worshippers inside St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Amambra State during a Sunday morning service. Initial reports claimed that “the gunmen were hunting for a drug baron, traced him to his house but were told he had gone to church.” When they found he was not in the church, “out of anger, probably, they rained bullets on worshippers in the church.” However, not only does the attack closely follow the pattern of other jihadi terror attacks on churches in Nigeria, but at least one group, Act for Biafra, a Biafran independence organization, issued a statement referring to the attack as a “jihadist slaughter” of Christian churchgoers.
Separately, during an attack on a Christian community in a Muslim majority region that enforces Sharia (Islamic law), Muslim terrorists slaughtered a Christian father and his son, and abducted three women and a baby. Aside from habitual attacks on Christians “in northern Nigeria, [which is Muslim majority] Christians who have already been displaced by Boko Haram extremists are being forced out of their refugee camps and denied access to vital aid,” according to human rights activists.
Pakistan: Javid Masih, a Christian man who sold himself into slavery to a Muslim family for two years to buy his family a home, was regularly abused, kept from going to church, and finally murdered in August. When the two-year contract was nearly up and Javid told one of the family that he looked forward to getting married, he was told, “There is no way you will ever be free from us and leave this place.” When his term was up and he asked for his freedom, he was severely chided by the family’s sons: “You filthy Chura [“worthless thing”], how dare you ask for your freedom. Your life is ours. You will clean our excrement every day of your life from now on or you and your family will die.” Afterwards, “he was grabbed by the brothers, tied up, beaten and spat upon for a whole day. He had never told his family about this because he was both embarrassed and fearful of the repercussions on his family if they got involved. Other employees were made to see the brutal torture of Javed to instill a sense of fear amongst them.” He continued as a slave but his productivity dropped, and the Muslim family decided to do away with him. They poisoned him and then dumped him in front of his family’s home. When his widowed mother begged them to drive him to a hospital, they spat on her. He died; the police reported the death a “suicide.” Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Despite anti-slavery laws in Pakistan bonded labour proliferates and is destroying the lives of many Christians. The Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act 1992 is not worth the paper it is written on and the Government’s clear apathy to enforce the law illustrates the low value placed on Christians and other minorities… There is a very small suicide rate in Pakistan of around 300 victims over two years—Pakistanis are hardy. It is inconceivable that Javed committed suicide when he expressed no such desire to anyone he knew and remained stoic for two years despite the pain inflicted on him.”
Another Christian man, a prisoner who was offered but rejected Islam, was found dead “under mysterious circumstances in police custody,” according to a report. Indaryas Ghulam, 38, was among 42 Christians arrested for the lynching of two Muslims associated with a 2015 church attack that killed nearly 20 Christians and wounded 70. Indaryas had denied involvement in the lynching and was one of the prisoners promised “release in exchange of reneging Christ.”
“He could have saved his life, but decided to bear witness to his faith onto death…. The prison administration attributed his death to poor health; he had tuberculosis. But his wife Shabana and daughter Shumir, who saw the body, said that he had burns and cuts everywhere, clear signs of torture and of the brutality to which he had been subjected. What is more, they add that although he was severely ill, he never received adequate medical care behind the bars.”
Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom
Iran: Approximately five hundred Muslim converts to Christianity have faced persecution in Iran, and fled to Turkey in search of asylum, notes an August report. One young convert who said he could not be who he wanted to be if he remained Muslim, added that he is now feeling “comfortable” as a Christian. Another said:
“I changed my religion because I did not see anything in Islam. Whatever I saw was wrong. It is a fact that the government of Iran is an Islamic one, yet our youth are getting executed. In Iraq the same…. There is ISIS and [they] are killing people in the name of Islam, and there are vulnerable people who are being beheaded there. They have fled to Turkey, and we came to Turkey. That is why I did not see any good from Islam.”
Open Doors USA, which monitors Christian persecution around the world, confirms that “Converts to Christianity from Islam make up the largest group of Christians and experience the most persecution.”
Morocco: An August report reveals that earlier in 2017, a popular Arabic language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and, considering that virtually all Christians in Morocco are converts from Islam, ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” “Morocco is home to several thousand Christians who live across the nation, many of whom are new converts and forced to worship in secret churches,” the report adds. “Christians are regularly harassed by authorities, and societal pressure to renounce their faith is commonplace throughout the country.”
Pakistan: Another Christian minor was beaten and charged with “blaspheming” against Islam. After a Muslim man, Muhammed Nawaz, accused Asif Stephen, 16, of stealing at a local bazaar, he beat the boy, then told the local imam, who, according to the report, “has a history of preaching hatred towards minority Christians,” that the youth had also burned a Koran. Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison and called for a public lynching of Stephen.”
“As the mob overwhelmed local police, Stephen was removed from his cell and handed over to the mob, who consequently beat him until reinforcement officers stepped in to calm the situation. Police then moved Stephen to a higher security district jail where he plead guilty to blasphemy in what his family believed was a coerced confession.”
Uganda: On August 7, Sophia Nakisaala, 35, a Muslim woman, embraced Christianity after her daughter was healed by a street preacher:
“My child got healed instantly from high fever, which had caused several convulsions. The evangelist shared with me about Issa [Jesus], whom he said to be the healer and Savior. I then decided to accept Him as my Lord and Savior and then returned back home.”
When she returned home and began telling Muhammad Lubaale, her husband, what had happened, “He got angry and slapped me. I kept quiet and did not respond to his interrogation about my new faith in Jesus.” Three days later, word of his daughter’s healing and confirmation that his wife had indeed embraced Christ reached Muhammad. “My husband arrived home on Aug. 10 and started beating me and injuring me with bruises on my head and right hand, using a stick,” Sophia explained. “Neighbors came to my rescue and housed me that very night.” The following morning, while her husband was away, she gathered her four children—aged 3, 5, 8 and 11—and went to an area pastor, who helped her find refuge.
Sweden: The Western nation most renowned for taking in — and suffering from — Muslim migrants, Sweden, decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden, which is reputed as “the world’s humanitarian conscience and a safe haven for refugees,” continues accepting Muslim refugees, some of whom have helped make it known as the “rape capital of Europe.”
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Egypt: Authorities closed down the 1,300-member Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in the Minya governorate. The closure came in response to local Muslim opposition groups who protested the existence of the church, which had served Christians from three separate villages. The Coptic Bishop of Minya, Anba Makarios, issued a public statement chiding officials for siding with the aggressors against the victims:
“The security apparatus has prevented Copts from practicing their rites in Kedwan, Minya, claiming that it was because of objections of some opposing factions in the village, and that it was necessary to be considerate of their feelings. However, this means that there is no consideration for the feelings of the Copts and those who do not ask for anything but to pray, as if the decision belonged to the opposing factions and not to a great state such as Egypt, which should have authority and law.”
The Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in Kedwan is just one of at least 15 Christian churches that have been closed in Minya province alone. “We have more than 15 places [of worship] closed on the order of the security apparatus, despite the existence of formal requests that are imprisoned in [desk] drawers,” Makarios added in his statement. “Also, there are 70 villages, farmsteads and hamlets without places for prayers.”
Separately in August, security officials prevented Christians from meeting and worshiping in a private home in the village of Forn, in Minya. They said the home lacked a permit for worship. In a letter entitled, “We were prevented from prayer like criminals,” frustrated Christians wrote to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi:
“We were surprised to find police forces surrounding and entering the village to prevent the Egyptian Copts from prayer and were prevented from going out of our homes. We were attacked with inappropriate words … As if we are criminals or outlaws and wanted for justice, accused of performing religious rituals. And is performing religious rituals a crime?”
Iraq: Christians returning to the Nineveh Plain continued to encounter the remains of the Islamic State’s handiwork, including graffiti all around and inside their desecrated churches, such as “There is no place for the Cross in Islamic lands” and “The Cross is under our foot.” The following German writing was found in one church:
“Oh you Cross worshippers, we’ll kill you all. Germany is an Islamic land. You are weak and don’t belong here…. Oh you Cross worshippers, you have no place in Islamic lands. Either you leave or we’ll kill you.”
“They’d [ISIS] used the statutes of Jesus and Mary for target practice,” said one man of another church. “The altar was also destroyed. Daesh [ISIS] knew that the West would be reluctant to bomb a church, so [it] stored food and ammunition here.” Much of the graffiti has since been removed and altars are being restored. “To see our Christian symbols again is almost as important as food for us,” commented one Christian man.
Somaliland: After agreeing to the reopening of a Catholic Church, which had been closed for nearly 30 years, the government of the Muslim nation reversed its decision. Spokesmen cited public anger, fomented by Islamic religious leaders who claimed the church reopening was part of the government’s conspiratorial plan to Christianize Somaliland. Explaining their decision during a press conference, Religious Affairs Minister, Sheikh Khalil Abdullahi Ahmed, said, “The Government of the Republic of Somaliland has decided to respect the wishes of its people and religious leaders and keep the church closed, as it has been for the past 30 years.” The Catholic church was one of many churches built 70 years ago when Somaliland was a British Protectorate.
Sudan: The day after the Khartoum Parliament rejected the Ministry of Education’s call for Church Schools to operate on Sundays and follow only the Muslim week—a decision “viewed by Christians in Sudan and around the world as another means of harassment and discrimination against the minority group” — on August 2, the Sudanese government demolished yet another church in Omdurman, just west of Khartoum, from their list of 27 churches to be demolished.
Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians
Iraq: More reports indicating that Christian suffering is hardly limited to ISISappeared in August. According to one, Chaldean Archbishop Habib Jajou said “that the remaining Christian families in Iraq fear that a new ISIS could come to power. He accused Baghdad of failing to foster religious tolerance amid the years of sectarian war and said a lot of people have been brainwashed by the terror group.” He also pointed out that the education ministry should begin to acknowledge Iraq’s Christian heritage and roots instead of falsely claiming that it was always Islamic and that Christians are essentially foreigners and agents of the West.
Pakistan: The Islamic nation’s senate unanimously approved a bill requiring the compulsory teaching of the Koran to all primary and secondary school students, including non-Muslim ones. In part, the bill is meant to help the state discharge article 31(2) of the Pakistani constitution, which states that the “State shall endeavour to make the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Islamiyat [all things Islamic] compulsory.” However, according to Nasir Saeed, the director of a Christian human rights organization, the bill “will have a negative impact on the non-Muslim students… It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise.”
Bangladesh: In the name of “fighting terrorism,” the Muslim nation made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down. The Foreign Donations Regulation Bill, which is meant to be a check on terrorist cells receiving funds outside of Bangladesh, has especially created economic problems for Christian NGOs “geared specifically for the Christian community” explained one missionary. Because a majority of Christian organizations in overwhelmingly Muslim Bangladesh are economically supported from outside sources, 200 were no longer able to secure external funding and to close permanently.
Sudan: The Islamist government arrested seven church leaders for refusing to comply with a court order to turn over leadership of their congregation to a government appointment committee in an effort to dissolve the church. They were interrogated for several hours and then released on bail. “Police said that in arresting them they were implementing orders from the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments to impose its committee as new SCOC leadership, presumably to sell off the church property in Sudan’s bid to rid the country of Christianity,” notes the report, adding that “the arrests were seen as part of a recent upsurge in harassment of Christians.”
Separately, in order to help a wealthy Muslim businessman take over church property, police evicted two more pastors and their families from their homes and onto the streets. The pastors “were terrorized when police pounded on the doors shouting threats,” “They came and knocked on the door strongly, they said, ‘Should you not open, we will have to break it by force to get in,” Pastor Nalu, 47-year-old father of a one-year-old boy, said. “The situation is very difficult, and we are living on the street.”
Nigeria: Fulani terrorists, some allied with the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, have been known to invade Christian farms and settlements and slaughter Christians. In August, when few such attacks were recorded, and (mostly Muslim) politicians portrayed the problem as settled, a Christian leader explained that, when not directly slaughtering Christians, Muslim Fulani herdsmen resort to “economic terrorism”: “As we gleefully wallow in the false sense of peace on the Plateau,” he said, “know it today that a deliberate economic terrorism and land-grabbing strategy is being launched on Christians of Riyom and Barkin Ladi on a daily basis with the sole aim of making them poor, weak and destitute in their own land.”
About this Series
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing. The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location. (Click to Source)
According to a report in the Christian Post, Christians displaced by Islamic attacks at the hands of Boko Haram terrorists are being denied food and vital assistance at camps run by local Muslim organizations. As many as 1.8 million people in Nigeria are currently facing starvation. “They will give food to the refugees, but if you are a Christian they will not give you food. They will openly tell you that the relief is not for Christians.” — Bishop William Naga, who fled his home in the Borno state, Nigeria.
A Pakistani government want-ad for street sweepers states that applicants must be Hindu, Christian or Shia — anyone but the dominant Sunni Muslim population – illustrates the way in which minorities are prevented from earning a living wage.
A sophomore at Rollins College in Florida was suspended for challenging a Muslim professor’s assertion that the crucifixion of Jesus never took place, and that his disciples never believed he was God. After the incident, during a Middle East Humanities class, the straight-A student was graded an “F” on a major essay.
The uptick in often lethal persecution of Christians in Muslim regions has caused many Christian leaders to appeal for aid. Canon Andrew White, the prominent minister known as the “Vicar of Baghdad” told Fox News in March, “If there is anything I can tell Americans it is that your fellow brothers and sisters are suffering, they are desperate for help,” he said. “And it is not just a matter of praying for peace. They need a lot – food, resources, clothes, everything. They need everything.”
White also went as far as to say that Christianity in Iraq, where it has been since the times of the apostles, is finished.
“Thirty years ago, there were approximately 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. The number dwindled to around 1 million after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and a year ago it was estimated that there were less than 250,000 left. Numbers have continued to decline as families flee, and today even approximate figures are difficult to obtain.”
According to a Vatican Radio report, Nigerian Catholic Bishop Joseph Bagobiri responded to “the recent atrocities of Fulani [Muslim] Cattle herdsmen…, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Christians and the destruction of property worth millions of Naira,” by calling on all Christian denominations to implement counter measures against the “systematic elimination of Christianity in the northern part of Nigeria.”
One source said that in one of these assaults, two of the victims “had their eyes plucked out.” A survivor of another said, “The sad thing is that these Fulanis have been attacking our communities, and no one is doing anything about it.”
Commenting on the “horrific attacks” on Coptic Christians in Egypt between December 2016 and March 2017 — during which 40 “innocent children, women and men had their lives brutally and tragically ended for no other reason except that they are Christians” — Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos of the United Kingdom said the slaughter has “gone largely unnoticed by the international community.” He continued:
“In our fast moving world that is filled with so much news of tragedy, war and death, it is all too easy for atrocities to become ‘incidents,’ and for individuals suffering them to become mere statistics, very quickly pushed aside by the next item of news. In the eyes of the perpetrators they are a viable target, and in the eyes of the world they become a regrettable phenomenon; yet what is actually left behind is traumatized individuals, families and communities that have lost loved ones, living the reality of themselves being targeted.”
A report released in early 2017 by Open Doors — a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in over 60 countries — reveals:
“Islamic extremism” remains the dominant force responsible for the persecution of Christians in 40 of the 50 worst nations;
Nine out of the 10 worst nations for Christians have a Muslim majority (with North Korea being the only non-Islamic exception);
In the 21 (18 of which are Muslim-majority) worst nations for Christians, “100 percent of Christians experience persecution”;
1,329 churches have been attacked, damaged, or destroyed, mostly in Muslim-majority nations;
Muslim Somalia is now the second worst nation for Christians, who are executed instantly if their faith is discovered, or even rumored;
In Nigeria — where more Christians have been slaughtered by Muslims than possibly in any other nation — the killing of Christians went up by 62 percent;
The nation where the most violent and sexual attacks on Christians take place – Muslim-majority Pakistan — rose to the number four spot on the list of the worst countries for Christians.
Accounts of widespread Muslim persecution of Christians to surface in the month of March include, but are not limited to, the following: (Click to Site)
Kampala (AFP) – Uganda’s government on Tuesday defended its decision to push through tough anti-homosexuality laws, saying it was determined to protect the country’s “morals” even if that meant losing international aid.
Veteran President Yoweri Museveni has announced he would sign into law a controversial bill that will see homosexuals jailed for life, despite warnings from key allies including the United States.
Officials also said Museveni had last week signed into law anti-pornography and dress code legislation which outlaws “provocative” clothing, bans scantily-clad performers from Ugandan television and closely monitors what individuals watch on the Internet.
“We shall not care losing the financial support from our partners if only we are left alone,” Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo told reporters, saying Ugandans would rather “die poor than live in an immoral nation”.
“For donors to say they will not give us aid because of the anti-homosexuality bill and the anti-porno law, that is blackmail and unacceptable, they can rather stay with their aid,” he said.
“If tomorrow, the president signs the anti-homosexuality bill and the outside world say they are not coming to Uganda, let them remain there, we don’t care.”
The anti-gay bill cruised through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop an extremely controversial death penalty clause. The legislation still stipulates that repeat homosexuals should be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and requires people to denounce gays.
Museveni, a key African ally of the United States and the European Union, has already come under fire from Western donors over alleged rampant corruption, and had been under pressure from diplomats and rights groups to block the legislation.
Last month a spokesman for Museveni said the president believed that gays were “sick” and “abnormal”, but felt that sending them to prison was not the right solution.
– People ‘should dress decently’ –
But another presidential spokesman said Monday that Muzeveni had decided to support the bill after seeking advice from a team of domestic scientists who were asked to “study homosexuality and genetics in human beings”.
The spokesman said the scientists concluded that “there is no definitive gene responsible for homosexuality”, meaning that “homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behaviour” that needed to be banned.
On the anti-pornography law, Lokodo said the aim was to “curb pornographic practices”.
“It will change a lot. It’s going to curb media houses, broadcasting corporations, from being obscene and indecent,” he said.
“We shall go to the common understanding of decency and we know everybody knows what is decent. The police, a special anti-pornography enforcement team, will enforce it,” he said.
“What it is saying is that one should dress decently. In any public environment, are you in the market, are you in the street, are you on the podium?”
On Sunday, US President Barack Obama said he was “deeply disappointed” in the Ugandan leader’s plans to move forward with the anti-gay bill and said it would complicate relations between Washington and Kampala.
“We believe that people everywhere should be treated equally, with dignity and respect, and that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, no matter who they are or whom they love,” Obama said in a statement.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also said Tuesday that she “deeply concerned”, and that the EU “deplores discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.”
“Uganda was the first country in Africa to break the conspiracy of silence on AIDS… but now I am scared that this bill will take Uganda backwards, relinquishing its leadership role in the AIDS response,” said Michel Sidibe, the head of UNAIDS.
Homophobia is widespread in Uganda, where American-style evangelical Christianity is on the rise. Gay men and women in the country face frequent harassment and threats of violence, and rights activists have reported cases of lesbians being subjected to “corrective” rapes.
In 2011, prominent Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home after a newspaper splashed photos, names and addresses of gays in Uganda on its front page along with a yellow banner reading “Hang Them”.
A number of organizations are raising international awareness on the debate concerning Uganda’s proposed death penalty for homosexuals, and have called on Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren to once again speak out on the issue – which he did on Friday via Twitter.
Conflicting accounts stemming from Uganda have reported on where the African nation stands in its review of an anti-homosexuality bill that has been condemned by many Western countries.
Uganda is one of the only places in the world where engaging in homosexual activity is considered a crime, punishable by fines and jail time, with some government members pushing to make same-sex acts a capital punishment offense.
Some reports stated that Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga had announced that the capital punishment proposal would be dropped as a “Christmas gift” to gay rights advocates, but others have said that it still remains unclear what the Uganda government will actually decide.
Pastor Rick Warren, whose work fighting AIDS has taken him around the continent and has given him the opportunity to visit and work in Uganda many times, posted on Friday a Twitter message reading: “An unjust law in Uganda is back in the news. I opposed it 3 yrs ago and I still do,” which was also shared with The Christian Post by Kristin Cole, a spokesperson for Warren.
In his statement three years ago, Warren stated that it was not his role to interfere with the politics of other countries, but that he still has a duty to speak out on moral issues. He said the bill was “unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals.”
As to why he hadn’t made the statement when the bill first started making rounds in Uganda’s parliament, he said that “some erroneously concluded that I supported this terrible bill, and some even claimed I was a sponsor of the bill. He added, “I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality.”
Before Warren’s Twitter response, a number of groups had called on him to address the issue before his followers. His book, The Purpose Driven Life, is one of the most popular Christian books ever written with millions of copies sold worldwide. Saddleback Church hosts over 20,000 people for services on a weekly basis, and Warren’s Twitter has over 800,000 followers.
Faithful America, an online community of citizens motivated by various faiths who speak up on social and political issues, shared with The Christian Post that over 13,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Pastor Warren to take a more prominent stand against the proposed death penalty provision tied to Uganda’s anti-gay bill.
“Rick Warren, it’s time for you to again speak out against the Ugandan legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty,” the petition urges. “Your history of associating with anti-gay extremists in Uganda means you have a moral obligation to work tirelessly to prevent this bill from becoming law.”
GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) also shared a blog post where it addressed the danger of the anti-gay bill passing in Uganda, and although the organization acknowledged that Warren spoke out against it in 2009, it asked that he and other evangelical Christian leaders talk to their followers about the issue once more.
“Why have Rick Warren and other evangelical leaders remained silent? As the bill awaits an imminent parliamentary vote, there is no time for contemplation; direct and decided speech against this bill is the only option as the international community looks to safeguard the LGBT community in Uganda,” GLAAD wrote.
Uganda is expected to make a final decision on the anti-gay bill and the proposed death penalty by the end of the year, although no firm date has been set as of yet.
The Uganda government did not respond to emails sent by The Christian Post to clarify where the bill currently stands.
What can we do to help bring this country back to God? Take a look in 2 Chronicles 20 and see what happens when a nation turns back to God.
It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.
So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”
Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah until this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.
2 Chronicles 20: 1 – 30
We should look at how Uganda repented of their sins and see the many more blessings America would receive, if we turned back to God.
‘We confess idolatry, witchcraft, political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue’
Should a president lead citizens in a national prayer of repentance?
Uganda’s Christian president believes so.
The Ugandan newssite New Vision reports President Yoweri Museveni celebrated Uganda’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Jubilee Prayers event by publicly repenting of his personal sin and the sins of the nation.
“I stand here today to close the evil past, and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness,” Museveni prayed.
“We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation. We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal,” Museveni said.
“Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict,” Museveni prayed.
Next, the president dedicated Uganda to God.
“We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own,” Museveni prayed.
Uganda won its independence from Britain Oct. 8, 1962. Resistance leader Milton Obote was the country’s first prime minister.
Massachusetts pastor and activist Rev. Scott Lively believes Museveni is a model for other national leaders.
“The Museveni prayer is a model for all Christian leaders in the world. The leaders of the West have declined in proportion to their degree of rejection of God,” Lively said.
Lively also believes Uganda will rise as a major African power as America continues to decline. He uses Britain as an example.
“Britain was at its height as a world power when it honored God as the Ugandan president has just done. America’s greatness has similarly diminished as we have shifted from a Christian to a secular-humanist country. But watch now for Uganda to be blessed by God for their desire to be His,” Lively said.
Lively added that Museveni is definitely drawing a contrast between Uganda and the West.
“This incident is also important as a contrast to the picture being painted of Uganda by the godless left of a backwards, violent and savage culture intent on murdering homosexuals,” Lively said.
“On the contrary, Museveni is calmly and confidently setting the course of his nation by the guidance of the Bible, in a way that also shows great courage and resolve,” Lively said.
Homosexual activist groups have criticized the government of Uganda and Museveni for passing laws criminalizing homosexual behavior. A current bill before the Ugandan Parliament increases the jail sentences for homosexual acts and includes criminal penalties for those who encourage or promote homosexuality.
The bill had included the death penalty for those who commit multiple acts of homosexual behavior, but the provision has been removed, BBC News reports.
The government of Uganda could not be reached for comment on this story.
Lively said he didn’t agree with the death penalty provision but supports the nation’s strong stance against homosexual behavior.
While Museveni is being held as a model for Christian leaders, Dave Daubenmire, PT Salt Ministries’ president and founder and social commentator, said the problem for Western nations goes deeper than the political leaders.
The problem in the United States, he said, is the pastors.
“Sadly, I think our lack of repentance is the fault of the pulpit. Individual Christians are so awash in sin that they think politicians are merely better at sin than they are,” Daubenmire said.
“There is no fear of the Lord and we are getting essentially a two-kingdom message. We hear that the devil is the god of this world and that Jesus will even the score later,” Daubenmire said. “The problem is that most Christians are convinced that this world is in control of Satan and therefore are not interested in applying the kingdom principles for which Christ died.”
Daubenmire quoted Matthew 28:18, in which Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
Christians, Daubenmire said, are exhorted later in the same chapter to go and make disciples of all nations.
“We are to teach them and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “All power in heaven and in earth belongs to Jesus. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t have the foggiest idea that He rules and reigns here and now, and that the kingdom principles that He taught us bring victory over evil wherever they are applied.”
He added that Christians too often play with sin.
“Since we do not hate sin anymore, we don’t demand repentance,” Daubenmire said.
He quoted British 17th century statesman Edmund Burke, who said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Daubenmire said that in America, “good men have yielded power to evil men.”
“Evil rules when evil men make the rules,” he said.