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Deborah’s brutal massacre: Christian protests intensify in Nigeria

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Thousands of churches across Nigeria demanded an end to sectarian killings on Sunday, horrified by the mob assault on a female university student accused of blasphemy. But fearful of more violence, their approach differed significantly—by geography.

“The overwhelming majority of our churches in the south participated, many going to the streets in peaceful protest,” said Testimony Onifade, senior special assistant to the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). “Gathering together, we condemned this gruesome act and demanded the government identify, arrest, and prosecute the culprits.”

But in the north, where Muslims represent the majority of Nigerians, John Hayab described 20 minutes set aside to pray for divine intervention. The president of CAN’s Kaduna state chapter lauded the “solemn” ceremony observed by all northern denominations, amid a ban on protests by local authorities as some Muslims had threatened counterdemonstrations.

Instead, a select group of 120 Christian leaders gathered in a Kaduna city church, guarded by police and security agencies.

There was good reason for caution.

Two weeks ago, in Nigeria’s northwestern-most state of Sokoto, Deborah Samuel was beaten to death and set on fire by fellow students at Shehu Shagari College of Education. Officials and police intervened in vain.

Two students were arrested. Protesting for their release, Muslim supporters proceeded to destroy an additional 11 buildings, descended on Christian shops in the city, and besieged the palace of the sultan of Sokoto who had condemned the May 12 murder.

According to her friend Rakia, Samuel’s last words were, “What do you hope to achieve with this?”

After a colleague shared Islamic material on an exam-prep social media group, Samuel posted an audio recording asking him to remove it. Friends who overheard some Muslim students deeming her response to be blasphemous urged her to retract the statement.

Instead, she responded, “Holy Ghost fire. Nothing will happen to me.”

Gideon Para-Mallam, the former Jos-based Africa ambassador for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, joined demonstrations in the middle-belt Plateau state.

He called for peace and restraint. But also, for an explanation.

“How is it that our young people behaved in this way?” he asked. “All those dreams and hopes for the future, destroyed in a few moments of profound evil.”

Nigerian Christians circulated the video response of a radical imam with a picture of the slain former leader of Boko Haram in the background.

“Anyone who insults the prophet of God, kill him,” the imam said. “Don’t waste time telling the authorities, just kill him.”

It has been a bloody year.

Open Doors, which ranks Nigeria No. 7 on its World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian, tallied 896 civilians killed by Islamic extremists in the first three months of 2022.

Abubakar Shekau was confirmed dead last June, killed in a firefight with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Over 40,000 militants surrendered to the Nigerian government, while a large but unknown number of commanders joined their jihadist rivals.

The same week as Samuel’s murder, ISWAP released a video depicting the execution of 20 Christians.

“Christians around the world should be in awe of the testimony of these men,” stated Jo Newhouse, spokesperson for Open Doors in Sub-Saharan Africa, “who, to the best of our knowledge, held on to their faith even in the face of execution.”

Formed in 2014 to confront ISIS in Syria and Iraq, an 84-nation coalition announced alarm in Africa, where the tempo of affiliate attacks far outpaces the parent organization in the Middle East. The 3,461 sub-Saharan killings in 2021 represent 48 percent of the terrorists’ worldwide total.

And in mid-April, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 150 Christian farmers in 10 Plateau state communities. While some attribute the attacks to a shortage of resources, Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohamed stated there is now a “sort of holy handshake” between bandits and Boko Haram.

Last year, Open Doors ranked Nigeria an ignoble No. 1 in the categories of Christians killed (4,650) or abducted (2,510), as well as Christians’ homes and shops attacked, for faith-based reasons.

Deborah Samuel put a face on the crisis.

“We see this wicked act as having been facilitated by successive governments failing to respond effectively to religious extremism and violence,” said Para-Mallam. “This impunity has gone on for too long.”

He called for the end of “jungle justice.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promptly criticized those who took the law into their own hands, promising an independent investigation. But former vice president and likely 2023 presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar deleted a tweet in which he condemned the killing.

One comment claimed he would lose one million votes in Sokoto.

The original post was shared without his authorization, he said. But while his explanatory statement asserted his ability to take strong stands on issues—including sharia law—he did not comment on the victim.

CAN’s youth wing vowed to withhold votes from any candidate who does not clearly condemn Samuel’s murder. The nonreligious Southern and Middle Belt Alliance stated Abubakar’s insensitivity was “not fitting” for a president.

Under the auspices of Muslims United for Peace and Justice, 13 groups condemned the killing. Para-Mallam expressed appreciation for such sentiment. Hayab said that in the north, such leaders are few and unpopular.

But one of the 13, Muslim Rights Concern, used the opportunity to call for greater implementation of the blasphemy law, and asked for “deep introspection” by Nigeria’s Christian community to ward off intolerance.

It also asked for an investigation into a pastor in the southwest state of Osun, whose remarks in response to Samuel’s killing allegedly insulted Islam and could plunge the entire region into chaos and religious war, according to the Muslim group.

One government official, while condemning the murder, blamed Samuel herself.

“Muslims don’t take insults against [our] beloved prophet,” said Anas Sani, assistant to the finance minister in Sokoto. “May the recklessness of our tongues never drive us to [an] early grave.”

While a manhunt for suspects is ongoing, the two students charged so far face only a two-year jail term for conspiracy and inciting public disturbance.

Regarding blasphemy allegations in Nigeria, Mubarak Bala was sentenced to 24 years in prison in April after pleading guilty. In 2020, Omar Farouq received a 10-year sentence, while Yahaya Aminu was sentenced to death.

All three are Muslims, and the Nigeria Supreme Court overturned the latter two convictions. But it has recognized blasphemy as an offense, punishable by death if established by a court of law.

Onifade chided his nation’s constitution for including sharia law.

“The blasphemy agenda is the latest plot to destroy vulnerable Christian minorities,” he said, placing it in line with Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani herdsmen extremists. “Crafted by Islamists and violent Quran teachers, this conspiracy cannot be ignored by the international community.”

Both Muslims and Christians have fled their homes due to extremist violence, stated the United Nations, with 8.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria’s northwest alone. Half of these face a food crisis.

In response, Hayab called on citizens to arm themselves.

“Nigerian Christians, especially those of northern extraction, have no other option than to defend themselves—from bandits, terrorists, and now religious fundamentalists,” he said, citing previous spurious examples. “They will use every opportunity to kill, on the slightest allegation of blasphemy.”

Para-Mallam, who has founded an eponymous peace foundation, agreed the law licenses certain weapons in certain situations. He has advocated for communities to protect themselves against aggression.

But all must conform to the teaching of Jesus.

“There is a thin line between self-defense and retaliation,” he said. “Just peacemaking must be emphasized first, to promote co-existence.”

The opposite produced a tragedy.

Samuel’s classmates called out desperately for help. Police fired tear gas into the melee, and then shots into the air. They retreated, witnesses stated, when students threw stones and beat them with sticks.

Which were then turned on the accused.

“She pleaded for mercy, but it was far from her,” said Rakia, her friend. “What a cruel way to die.”
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Lawsuit Against Court for Legalizing Interfaith Marriage

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Indonesia – In early March, news of a Muslim man marrying a Christian woman in a Catholic church in Indonesia went viral.

This news upset many Muslim believers who do not believe interfaith marriage should be legal in Indonesia. According to the highest Islamic court in Indonesia, the Ulema Council, the council’s fatwa, or religious edict, declares that interfaith marriage is forbidden. In response to the marriage, the Islamic court ruled the union to be invalid.

Soon after this ruling, the couple went to the Surabaya District Court located on the Indonesian island, Java, to demand the legalization of their marriage. The court ruled in favor of the couple, basing its decision on the Indonesian Marriage Law which states that “marriage can be valid if conducted according to the laws of religion and the beliefs of both parties.”

The district court’s decision, which surpasses the Muslim council’s ruling, was met by heavy backlash. Some opponents point to Indonesia’s law which states that a couple must come from the same faith background for their marriage to be legal.

As of June 23, four people came forward to sue the Surabaya District Court based on its ratification of interfaith marriage. The court accepted the lawsuit on June 27 with an expected trial to take place on July 13. Plaintiffs plan to demand the reversal of the court’s ruling which could annul the couple’s marriage.

In response, human rights activists have come forward to protest overturning the court’s ruling. They demand changes to the Indonesian Marriage Law so that there are no more ambiguities concerning the legality of interfaith marriage.
Sources:persecution

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Prayer Helps Transform a Killer and a Town in Kenya

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Church members and community leaders had gathered for prayer following a series of murders in their town in western Kenya when a young man burst in and confessed to raping and killing six young women.

The gathering was part of a three-day prayer event called in response to violence against young women and children.

“As the prayer was going on, this 29-year-old man ran into the meeting and started confessing all the past killings of the six girls that he had killed in the maize plantations,” said the native ministry leader who organized the event. “This man was so confused and possessed by demons, and as we prayed for him, he cried and groaned in pain.”

The local missionaries prayed for deliverance and salvation as the commotion drew more people to the meeting tent – including some bent on lynching the killer and burning his body, the leader said.

“We called the police, who arrested him for interrogation to find more of his friends who had been committing the killings,” he said. “This man was charged in court, and in court he confessed Christ, saying that he will not kill again and now is born again.”

In the following months, the attacks on young women and children that had terrorized the town came to a stop.

“Praise the Lord for his salvation and for the Lord revealing and exposing him,” the leader said.

Transformed Communities
The prayer event, in which community members prayed for six hours each of the three days, showed the power of the native ministry’s church to bring healing and restoration to the town, the leader said.

Another town in western Kenya experienced a dramatic turn-around when local missionaries saturated it with the gospel, he said.

“We are seeing the transformation of young people getting saved as they hear the gospel,” he said. “Also, we have started sports clubs to reach many young people in the villages with the Good News of the kingdom. The church plants have been the lighthouses of these villages.”

As more than 600 youths got involved in Christ-based sports teams, drug dens closed down in the surrounding villages, he said.

“In one known drug den, a young man went back to his car mechanic vocation just because of this outreach in sports,” the leader said. “Also, the area’s chief has allowed the church to preach the gospel even during the evenings, which previously had been cancelled. Praise the Lord.”

The ministry recently distributed more than 780 Bibles in native languages, including Swahili Bibles to a mother named Rose, who began reading them with her family every evening at the dinner table.

“The family started a prayer fellowship, and later on a home fellowship was planted in this home,” the leader said. “Mama Rose said they had never had a Bible in the home, and it was those first Bibles that brought transformation.”

Kingdom Expansion
The ministry planted 22 churches among once unreached people over a six-month period, he said.

During that time evangelistic events and other outreaches resulted in 1,500 people putting their faith in Christ, in spite of intense opposition in some areas.

“We are receiving testimony of salvations and house church growth even in these hostile areas,” the leader said. “In northeastern Kenya where Islamic forces and terrorist groups have burned down some churches and houses of Christans, we have moved two families to another town.”

Reaching people with the gospel has endangered four native missionaries working in dangerous areas, and the ministry is renting a safehouse for them for six months before they return, he said.

“The four pastors that are being housed in a safe place are being protected also by the community also that we are reaching out to,” he added.

Churches have grown and multiplied through the discipling of new Christians and mentoring of new leaders. Ministry leaders instruct every home church pastor to develop at least three other leaders tasked with starting a new home fellowship, he said.

Along with the sports evangelism, which resulted in the planting of three churches, relief aid and health programs have opened doors to establish new fellowships. Workers offered help against jiggers, or sand-fleas, which can move into the skin and cause itching, inflammation and intense pain.

“Our recent anti-jiggers campaign opened the doors for us to plant four churches among the Luhya and Saboti tribes,” the leader said.

Health programs include efforts to curtail female genital mutilation (FGM) and rescue girls threatened with the cruel and painful cultural practice.

“Our ministry has moved 12 girls to a safe place,” the leader said. “In the sponsorship programs for the rescued girls, so far we are sponsoring 30 girls to go to school, both at Shalom Preparatory School and various high schools in Kenya. Pray with us for this huge need of taking care of the girls that have been affected by the FGM scourge.”

Workers are bringing the love of Christ to troubled people throughout Kenya. Please consider a donation today to help equip and encourage them.
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പ്രവാസികൾക്ക് യു.എ.ഇയിൽ ഭൂമി വാങ്ങാനും ഇനി ബാങ്ക് ലോൺ

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പ്രവാസികൾക്ക് യു.എ.ഇയിൽ ഭൂമി വാങ്ങാനും ഇനി ബാങ്ക് ലോൺ ലഭിക്കും. അബൂദബി ഇസ്ലാമിക് ബാങ്കാണ് ആദ്യമായി പ്രവാസികൾക്ക് പ്ലോട്ട് ലോൺ സൗകര്യം പ്രഖ്യാപിച്ചത്. വീട് വെക്കാനോ, സ്ഥാപനം തുടങ്ങാനോ യു.എ.യിൽ ഭൂമി സ്വന്തമാക്കാൻ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നവർക്ക് ഇത് സൗകര്യമാകും.

യു.എ.ഇയിൽ ഭൂമി വാങ്ങി സ്വന്തം വീടുവെക്കാനും കമ്പനി തുടങ്ങാനും ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്ന പ്രവാസികളുടെയും സ്വദേശികളുടെയും എണ്ണം വർധിക്കുന്ന സാഹചര്യത്തിലാണ് പ്ലോട്ട് ലോൺ സൗകര്യം ഏർപ്പെടുത്തുന്നതെന്ന് അബൂദബി ഇസ്ലാമിക് ബാങ്ക് ഗ്ലോബൽ റീട്ടെയിൽ വിഭാഗം മേധാവി സമീഹ് അവാദല്ലാഹ് പറഞ്ഞു.

ഭൂമി വിലയുടെ 60 ശതമാനം വരെ ബാങ്ക് ലോണായി നൽകും. നേരത്തേ ലോണടച്ച് തീർക്കുന്നവർക്ക് ഏർലി സെറ്റിൽമെന്റ് ചാർജിൽ അടക്കാൻ ബാക്കിയുള്ള തുകയുടെ 30 ശതമാനം വരെ ഇളവ് നൽകുമെന്നും ബാങ്ക് അധികൃതർ പറയുന്നു. സ്വദേശികൾക്ക് എന്ന പോലെ പ്രവാസികൾക്കും ഈ സൗകര്യം പ്രയോജനപ്പെടുത്തി യു.എ.ഇയിൽ ഭൂമി സ്വന്തമാക്കാനാകും. നിലവിൽ എഡിഐബി അൽദാർ പ്രോപ്പർട്ടീസ്, എമ്മാർ പ്രോപ്പർട്ടീസ് എന്നിവയുടെ പദ്ധതികളിൽ ഭൂമി വാങ്ങുന്നതിനാണ് പ്ലോട്ട് ലോൺ അനുവദിക്കുന്നത്. ഇസ്ലാമിക് ബാങ്കായതിനാൽ പലിശ ഇല്ലാതെ ഭൂമി ഇടപാടിൽ നിശ്ചിത ലാഭമാണ് ലോൺ എടുക്കുന്നവരിൽ നിന്ന് ബാങ്ക് ഈടാക്കുക.
Sources:globalindiannews

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ന്യൂഡൽഹി : വിദേശ പൗരത്വമെടുത്തവർക്ക് ഇനി നാട്ടിലെ ബന്ധുക്കൾക്കു പ്രതിവർഷം 10 ലക്ഷം രൂപ വരെ കേന്ദ്രസർക്കാരിനെ അറിയിക്കാതെ അയയ്ക്കാം. നിലവിൽ ഇതിനുള്ള പരിധി ഒരു ലക്ഷം...

world news2 days ago

Chinese Government Trains “Auditors” to Monitor Online Religious Activity

China – As part of a wider effort to crack down on the spreading of religious information online, the Ethnic...

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