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Pastor Andrew Brunson desires return to Turkey despite imprisonment; thanks USCIRF

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Even after being imprisoned for two years, Pastor Andrew Brunson is hoping to return to Turkey.

Convinced of God’s love for the Turkish people,

At a small gathering in the Senate Welcome Center at the Capitol Wednesday, the North Carolina pastor who was jailed in Turkey for two years thanked the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom for their tireless work to secure his release. It was especially encouraging, he said, to hear from those who visited him while in prison that the U.S. government had not forgotten him.

“I don’t know how many countries have this kind of emphasis on religious freedom, not just in their own country but trying to advocate for it around the world. I think this is something very unusual, very admirable,” about the United States, Brunson said.

Brunson’s wife, Noreen, also thanked USCIRF staff, saying, “We’re aware that not all stories end the way ours did, so just keep up your work.”

“And we have to give glory to God,” she added.

Commissioners who were present include: Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Gayle Manchin, vice chair of the commission, an educator and the wife of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; Nadine Maenza, founding executive director of Patriot Voices; along with USCIRF’s newest member, Anurima Bhargava, a civil rights attorney and founder of Anthem of Us.

“I think there is going to be more difficulty for the church in Turkey,” Brunson added.

“There are more restrictions coming right now. There have been a number of missionaries who have been deported from the country. There has been a real dampening effect on the Church; in some ways because a lot of what the [Turkish] media put out about me, which was government supported or initiated, which was painting a very negative picture of Christians, through me, saying, for example, that I’m a terrorist or that Christians support terrorist groups and we want to divide the country,” Brunson added.

But the truth is the opposite, he said, emphasizing that Christians are praying for their nation and desire to be a blessing to their country.

While Christians are undoubtedly facing increased opposition from their government, much of the hostility is directed toward the Fethullah Gülen movement, a transnational Islamic social movement inspired by the teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish imam who has lived in the U.S. since 1999, Brunson noted.

Brunson often shared a cell with people who were accused of being part of that movement and as far as he could tell they were innocent of the charges against them and were not involved in any activity that would undermine the state.

“I have many friends in prison in Turkey now who should not be in prison. Many families have been destroyed,” he said.

Yet despite his ordeal, Brunson maintains that he loves the Turkish people, and that God sent them to that nation 25 years ago.

“If we could we would go back, but USCIRF probably doesn’t want us to go back,” he said, eliciting laughs.

“We would love to go back, we love the people, because we believe God loves the people there. And we want to show God’s love to them. … Some day we hope the conditions will be right for us to go back.”

Perkins praised the couple for rallying the nation around the important principle of international religious freedom. “we were excited and yet there was this sort of trepidation.”

“Throughout these two years that he’d been in prison there would be these moments that you thought ‘Oh, we’ve progressed a couple of steps’ and then it was to no avail.”

When Brunson was put on house arrest they were encouraged because they thought it meant he would soon be released. That did not turn out to be true, and the disappointment was compounded by fear that rogue people in the country could harm him while he was on house arrest.

“When he was really released, I think everyone just held their breath until he was on that plane and out of their airspace,” Manchin said.

“If I was feeling that way, I can only imagine how they [Brunson’s family] felt having these ups and down through these two years.”

Manchin stressed that religious freedom is an important American right even for those who practice no religion.

“What I would say to these individuals is that you live in country where you don’t have to practice a religion. You can be vocal about a nonbelief. And there are many countries that you would go to that you would not be given that right,” she replied, when asked about how USCIRF plans to promote its cause in a country where self-described “nones” — those who do not identify with any particular religious affiliation — are rising.

Other nations care what the U.S. thinks and want to try to prove that they are better, she added. That USCIRF continues to home in on prisoners that are being held unjustly — because of their religious beliefs — is important human rights work regardless of one’s religious views or lack thereof, she said. Manchin is now advocating for a prisoner being held captive in Iran for his spiritual beliefs.

Brunson, who was freed in October, famously prayed for President Trump in the Oval Office days after returning to the United States. He is presently working on a book about his experiences which will be published in the fall.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is a federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. USCIRF commissioners are appointed by the president and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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Pastor calls for end to gun violence after second son is shot dead

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Christiana Ford, a New Orleans pastor and founder of the Silence The Violence Foundation, is calling for an end to gun violence in her community just days after losing a second son to gun violence just outside her home and steps away from her church.

Ford lost her 39-year-old son Lamar Ford in a shooting earlier this month.

Lamar Ford was fatally shot in the head on Aug. 5, 4WWL reported. Police say the shooting happened about 11:30 a.m. on the 1300 block of Elysian Fields Avenue.

The location of the deadly shooting was near the House of Faith Non-Denominational Ministries, a congregation led by his mother.

Lamar Ford had served time in prison for manslaughter, according to nola.com, but was released two years ago. According to his mother, he was turning his life around and helping with outreach programs at her church.

In addition to his mother, Lamar Ford left behind a 9-year-old son and other siblings.

“This man got out of the car and stood over him and shot him two times in the head,” Christiana Ford told 4WWL. “It’s not right; it’s not right. It’s nothing like losing a child.”

The grieving pastor, who previously lost another son to gun violence in Texas, spoke out against gun violence in New Orleans amid a sharp increase in homicides in the city.

Data from the Metropolitan Crime Commission found that since New Year’s Day, 180 murders have been reported, a 42% increase compared to the same period last year.

“To see our kids getting killed daily on the streets. It’s multiplying. It’s crippling. It’s out of control. We need help here in New Orleans,” Ford said.

“Every day, all day, somebody is being killed. That tells me it’s easy to kill and it’s easy to get away with it. … It’s my child now. Whose child is it going to be next?”

“We must come together and let these criminals know they’re not taking over the streets.”

At his trial in 2017, prosecutors said Lamar Ford shot a man named Tyrone Daniels in a vacant alleyway in a dispute over a $40 drug debt on April 22, 2013, according to nola.com.

Prosecutors alleged that Lamar Ford lured Daniels into the alleyway by claiming his bike was there and then shot him. They cited circumstantial evidence against him.

Lamar Ford’s brother Lynn Ford, who had given Daniels a haircut shortly before he was shot, reportedly told investigators that he thought Lamar Ford had murdered Daniels but recanted his testimony upon taking the stand.

In May 2017, Lamar Ford pleaded guilty to manslaughter two days after his trial started, with Daniels’ mother accepting the deal made with prosecutors but insisting he was a murderer.

“I know you killed my son, but I’m going to take it,” Shirley Daniels said, as reported by nola.com at the time. “I can’t do it no more.”
Sources:Christian Post

http://theendtimeradio.com

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കു​വൈ​റ്റി​ൽ ഫാ​മി​ലി വി​സ​യും സ​ന്ദ​ർ​ശ​ക വി​സ​യും താ​ൽ​ക്കാ​ലി​ക​മാ​യി നി​ർ​ത്തി

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കു​വൈ​റ്റ് സി​റ്റി: രാ​ജ്യ​ത്ത് വി​ദേ​ശി​ക​ൾ​ക്ക് കു​ടും​ബ വി​സ​യും സ​ന്ദ​ർ​ശ​ക വി​സ​യും ന​ൽ​കു​ന്ന​ത് താ​ൽ​കാ​ലി​ക​മാ​യി നി​ർ​ത്തി​വ​യ്ക്കു​വാ​ൻ നി​ർ​ദ്ദേ​ശം ന​ൽ​കി റെ​സി​ഡ​ൻ​സി അ​ഫ​യേ​ഴ്സ് ഡി​പ്പാ​ർ​ട്ട്മെ​ൻ​റ്.

ആ​ഭ്യ​ന്ത​ര മ​ന്ത്രാ​ല​യ​ത്തി​ലെ മു​തി​ർ​ന്ന ഉ​ദ്യോ​ഗ​സ്ഥ​രു​ടെ നി​ർ​ദേ​ശ പ്ര​കാ​ര​മാ​ണ് പു​തി​യ തീ​രു​മാ​ന​മെ​ടു​ത്ത​തെ​ന്ന് പ്രാ​ദേ​ശി​ക ദി​ന​പ​ത്ര​മാ​യ അ​ൽ അ​ൻ​ബ റി​പ്പോ​ർ​ട്ട് ചെ​യ്തു. ഡോ​ക്ട​ർ​മാ​ർ തു​ട​ങ്ങി​യ ആ​വ​ശ്യ മേ​ഖ​ല​യി​ലെ ചി​ല വി​ഭാ​ഗ​ങ്ങ​ളെ​യും എ​യ​ർ​പോ​ർ​ട്ടി​ൽ നി​ന്നും അ​നു​വ​ദി​ക്കു​ന്ന എ​ൻ​ട്രി വി​സ​ക​ൾ​ക്കും പു​തി​യ തീ​രു​മാ​ന​ത്തി​ൽ നി​ന്നും ഇ​ള​വ് ന​ൽ​കി​യി​ട്ടു​ണ്ട്.
Sources:azchavattomonline

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Prosecutors Seek Justice for Christian YouTuber Attacked in Prison

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Indonesia – On August 11, state prosecutors held a hearing in South Jakarta where they demanded a one-year extension of a jailed policeman’s sentence.

The policeman, Napoleon Bonaparte, was convicted of bribery in March of last year. In August of that year, the former Inspector General reportedly broke into a fellow inmate’s cell and spread feces all over his body and face.

The victim of this attack is Muhammed Kace, a Muslim-turned-Christian YouTuber who was sentenced to 10 years on charges of blasphemy for his videos that offended Islam. He was detained in the same prison as Bonaparte who was enraged by the content of his videos.

“Anyone can insult me, but not against my Allah, the Quran, the Prophet and my Islamic faith,” Bonaparte said.

News of the policeman’s attack spread and upset Prosecutor Andi Jaya Aryandi who stated that the violence committed in this attack must be punished. Similarly, Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian researcher at Human Rights Watch, said ‘hate crime’ deserves heavy punishment.

According to UCA News, it is common for those convicted of blasphemy to be tortured in prison. While it is not unusual for Christians to fall victim to Indonesia’s draconian blasphemy laws, the inconsistent standard embedded in Indonesia’s legal system is self-evident. Just last August, a Christian-turned-Muslim cleric was arrested for insulting Christianity and was sentenced to merely five months in prison – a fraction of Kace’s sentence.
Sources:persecution

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