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In Indonesia, the Bible mobile app has been banned

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A mobile phone application that enables members of an Indonesian tribal group to read the Bible in their own language has been removed from the Google Play store following protests by a local authority.

West Sumatra governor Irwan Prayitno complained to Information Minister Johnny Gerard Plate late last month, demanding the ministry have the application called Kitab Suci Injil Minangkabau (The Bible in Minangkabau Language) removed from the digital distribution service.

In a letter to the minister, which went viral on social media over the weekend, Prayitno said “the people of Minangkabau object to and feel very uncomfortable with the application” and that it undermines Minangkabau culture.

The majority of West Sumatra’s population are from the Minangkabau ethnic group, who are mostly Muslims.

Prayitno not only demanded the removal of the application from the Google Play but also demanded similar applications from being made available in the future.

According to West Sumatra Communication and Information Agency head Jasman Rizal, the application has since been removed.

He said critics of the move should try to understand the culture of the people of Minangkabau.

“It means that the people of Minangkabau are Muslims, and if there are people who claim that they are Minangkabau but do not adhere to Islam, they are customarily not recognized as Minangkabau people,” news portal quoted him as saying.

Halili Hasan, research director at the Jakarta-based Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, criticized the removal.

“The Holy Bible in the Minangkabau language … is not against the law or the constitution and, in fact, is a good initiative to develop interfaith literacy,” he said.

“The Communications and Information Ministry should have rejected the West Sumatra governor’s demand.”

He said the demand set a bad precedent, adding the application should have been seen as “a digital innovation.”

“The application deserves appreciation as it is an effort to build interfaith understanding so that prejudices, fears and threats that result from a lack of it can be reduced,” Hasan said.

Information Minister Plate could not be reached for comment.

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32 Christian Students Released from Captivity

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Nigeria – In the early hours of July 5, 2021, gunmen invaded Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria, and kidnapped an estimated 153 students.

As of today, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the kidnappers have released 32 of the students, 28 of which were freed on Sunday and an additional four on Monday.

While the exact number of students kidnapped remains an estimate, authorities agree that over 80 children from Bethel Baptist High School remain in captivity.

Over 1,000 students have been abducted just this year—a sharp increase over previous years in what is a relatively new trend. The mass abduction of schoolchildren began in 2014 when the Islamist terror group Boko Haram abducted 276 mostly Christian girls from a school in Chibok.

We thank God for the release of these children to their parents and pray for the thousands who remain in captivity. We ask you to join us in praying for Nigeria, for the Lord to comfort those uncertain of their children’s whereabouts, and for those who persecute the church to find faith in Jesus Christ.
Sources:persecution

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Church Buildings Burned in Canada and the United States

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Canada – A number of churches in the Canada and the United States have been vandalized by criminals, some of whom claim to be acting in response to recent revelations around the horrifying mistreatment of indigenous children in Canada at the hands of mostly Catholic-run schools. Officials are still investigating the incidents.

A Coptic Orthodox Church in Surrey, British Columbia in Canada was burned, adding to the now 45 churches attacked in Canada in recent weeks. The Coptic community is heavily persecuted in Egypt, and Christians often flee the region to escape persecution. Incidents like the recent vandalization of the church are a stark reminder of the community’s difficult history.

In the United States, protestors in Portland have vandalized four Catholic churches buildings in the last two months. Father George Kuforiji, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church vandalized last month, told the Catholic Sentinel that he was extremely saddened by the crimes to their church, which is “a community that has nothing to do with the graves.”

Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy at International Christian Concern, also commented on the incidents, saying, “The attacks on Churches in Canada and the United States are a sobering reminder of the growing anti-religious and anti-Christian hatred in the West. The lack of severe condemnation of the attacks from public leaders is disheartening and more needs to be done. History is filled with difficult memories of atrocities and crimes that mankind has committed against each other, but the response to the painful history must be measured and productive. Burning down churches is not the answer. It is evil, wrong and only perpetuates a climate of hatred.”

Ambassador Sam Brownback, who served as Ambassador for International Religious Freedom for the Trump Administration recently called the current time “the most persecuted era of Christianity in the history of mankind.” Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world with over 300 million Christians facing persecution.
Sources:persecution

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