Jul 29, 2009

Persecution Update; Somalia, Iraq, China

Chuck Missler
By Chuck Missler

Early in the morning of July 23, 1948, a Bulgarian pastor named Haralan Popov was arrested in Sophia on trumped up charges of espionage. He would spend the next 13 years being starved and tortured in Communist prisons. God was with Popov in prison and afterwards, but one of Popov's greatest grievances was that the Western world knew so little about the suffering of Christians under the Soviets, and that the Christians in the West did so little to help. Remembering Haralan, let's consider a few of our tormented brothers and sisters in Christ, that we can stand with them in prayer. Perhaps by raising a concerted fuss on different fronts, we can bring them some comfort and encouragement, relief and aid.


The Christians of Somalia need serious prayer right now as the terrorist group Al Shabaab works to overthrow the government and force conservative Islam on the country. Christians are the focus of a lot of violence in the unstable country, and human aid and supplies seem to "get sucked up in the chaos" according to Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA.

Seven Christian men were beheaded by Al Shabaab members on July 10, and another was hunted down and shot by firing squad on July 20. According to Moeller, the Holy Spirit is working in Somalia and the Christian Church is growing there. Al Shabaab is not happy with the faithful Christians in Somalia, however, and the terrorists have a lot of physical power right now.
"Most Christians in extreme persecution are not asking to be permanently removed from persecution, to become refugees in some other country; but they are actually asking for the strength and the capacity to stand strong in the midst of that persecution," Moeller said.

Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and a murderer, but at least he tortured his victims without regard for religion. Since Saddam's government was toppled, the extremist elements in Iraq have been focusing attacks on Christians, and a large percent of Iraq's Christians have left with little hope of returning.

On July 12th, Aziz Rozko Hanna, the director of the Department of Financial Control of the city of Kirkuk, was pulled from his car and shot dead in front of his daughter for the crime of being an Iraqi Christian. That same day Islamic terrorists bombed five churches in Baghdad. Christians are being kidnapped and held for ransom, and are even murdered and dismembered after the ransoms are paid.

With the US forces having pulled out of the major cities, the violence against Iraqi Christians only promises to escalate.


Uyghur Christians: Alimujiang Yimiti, an Uyghur Christian, went on trial early in the morning on July 28 at the Intermediate People's Court of Kashgar. According to ChinaAid president Bob Fu, Alimujiang is a peacemaker who has been simply spreading the faith of Jesus among his people. He has been held at Kashi Municipal Detention center since January 12, 2008, charged falsely with "revealing state secrets or intelligence to overseas organizations." His wife, mother, and two children are banned from the trial. Authorities warned Alimujiang's wife Guli Nuer she should not have spoken out about the case.

Another Uyghur Christian, Mr. Wusiman Yiming, has also been imprisoned in Xinjiang. In September 2007, he was sentenced to two years in a labor camp for "revealing state secrets" and "illegal proselytizing."

Bible School Raid: In the meanwhile, a Bible school was raided on July 16 in Suqian city, Jiangsu province. Pastor Shi Enhao, vice president of the Chinese House Church Alliance(CHCA) and 11 students were taken in for questioning. They were released later that day, but the students were told not to return to the Bible school.

Youth Camp Raids: In Tengzhou city, Shandong province, a Christian youth camp was raided on July 13th and 28 people were arrested. Property was confiscated during the raid, including projectors, Bibles, musical instruments and cell phones. Most of the students were released after being questioned, threatened and beaten at the police station. Three more students were released on July 20th, having had nothing to eat or drink the first two days of their detention. The two teachers, Mr. Wang Chang-Yin, age 38, and Mr. Qiu Jia-Cun, age 44, were given 15 and 10 day sentences, respectively.

On July 23rd, more than 20 students were arrested in Nanyang city, Henan when their youth camp was raided. The students were questioned and released, but two teachers, Ms. Cheng Ping, age 40, and Ms. Miao Miao, age 30, were sent to Yongan Lu Detention Center. The length of their sentences is unknown because church leaders were threatened by police not to publicize the event.

It's easy to forget our persecuted brothers and sisters amidst the business and difficulties and distractions of our own lives. Yet, we have the power to contact the embassies of these countries, to encourage them to take justice and freedom of religion seriously. We can offer help to organizations dedicated to aiding the persecuted Church. Above all, prayer is a powerful weapon we can wield on behalf of our Christian family around the world. We need to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ, that they may be strong and encouraged, protected and provided for even during the worst of times.

Related Links

Trial Date for Imprisoned Christian Alimujiang Yimiti Set for July 28 - Christian Newswire
Bible School Raided in Suqian City, Jiangsu Province - ChinaAid
Three Christian Students Released; Two Christian Teachers Still in Prison After Youth Camp Raid - ChinaAid
Youth Camp Raided in Henan; Two Christian Leaders Detained - ChinaAid
Church In Somalia Grows Despite Turmoil - Mission Network News
Persecution of Christians Increasing in Iraq - Human Events