by Aidan Clay
Saudi men have been imprisoned and suffered lashings for converting a woman to Christ
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that two men accused of helping a young woman flee Saudi Arabia after her conversion to Christianity were sentenced to prison terms and lashes with a whip by a Saudi court on Sunday. The case comes weeks after an independent U.S. government advisory body listed Saudi Arabia among the top violators of religious freedom.
A Lebanese Christian man was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes and a Saudi man was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes by a court in Khobar, a city in eastern Saudi Arabia, for their involvement in a Saudi woman’s conversion to Christianity and her escape abroad, Reuters reported. The men, who worked with the young woman known as Maryam at an insurance company, were arrested last July after a complaint was filed by her father. Maryam fled to Sweden several months ago and is reportedly applying for asylum.
By Corey Bailey
Hope in the darkness
Masud grew up in a strict Muslim home in a remote part of Bangladesh. Not only was his family strict, but his father was also an Imam.
Masud grew up with full knowledge of the Quran and considered himself to be a radical Muslim. As he grew, however, he began to wonder about the Jesus he read about in the Quran and asked his father many questions: “Who is Jesus? Is the Quran true? Is the Bible true? The Quran says we must study all the books that came before the Torah. Why don’t we study these?
by Adrian Chen
American Kenneth Bae, sentenced to prison in North Korea for 15 years
When North Korea announced it had sentenced imprisoned American tour operator Kenneth Bae to 15 years hard labor earlier this month, it gave no details about his crime other than he had attempted to “overthrow” the North Korean government. But now North Korea has presented more details about Bae’s crime. They say he smuggled anti-government propaganda into the country, and preached the overthrow of the regime as part of a Christian missionary-backed plan called “Operation Jericho.”
The report from the Korean Central News Agency paints Bae, a devout Christian, as the leader of a plot to undermine the government, according to a translation by NK News. “Operation Jericho” was launched in 2006 by Youth With a Mission (YWAM), an international evangelical Christian organization Bae belonged to, according to KCNA. It consisted of mobilizing 250 of Bae’s “followers” to infiltrate an area of North Korea near the border and create what the government calls an “anti-government coalition.” KCNA claims they based their operation in a hotel.
by Melissa Nordell
Organizations such as Open Doors International, Voice of the Martyrs and International Christian Concern work to defend the human rights of persecuted Christians around the world, to send financial assistance, to advocate for their rights and release from imprisonment, to create awareness of their plight, and to send Bibles and food to the oppressed and refugees.
By Corey Bailey
Trafficked children in Bangladesh
More than 140 children have been rescued from Islamic training centers (madrassas) in Bangladesh in the last nine months, with a majority of the children targeted because of their Christian faith. The females, accounting for nearly half of those rescued, report that they were used for forced labor and sex slavery.
By Jerry Dykstra
“We will all pray together in Syria, but we need every Christian in the world to pray. Please pray that the problems will come to an end and those causing the problems will stop. Pray that Syria will find Jesus.” –Open Doors contact in Damascus.
According to a press release by Open Doors, a day of prayer for Syria has been set up for Saturday, May 11th, for Believers everywhere to join in prayer with the Christian Church within Syria.
By Mario Cordoba
Man in Oaxaca
I never, ever could have imagined that after driving hours and hours up and down mountains on dusty, narrow roads full of rocks and holes we would arrive to a little piece of paradise. A small congregation meets in San Agustin next to a beautiful river of crystal-clear water. Upriver grow bananas, mangos and mamey trees. The people were waiting for us. They had walked for hours to hear the word of God, yet many were not Christians.
by David Roach
When Chinese parents send their child to an American university, they expect her to return home with a degree and the opportunity to begin a career. But one student from central China returned home with much more.
By William Stark
Mass grave near Jos, filled with Christians killed in early March
With countries like North Korea, Pakistan and Somalia topping the list as some of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians, it’s hard to imagine that none of these countries hold the highest Christian death toll. In 2012, that shameful distinction went to Nigeria where almost 70% of Christians killed globally were murdered.
Because Nigeria’s federal government has proven unable to protect Christians in northern Nigeria, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a militant group from southern Nigeria, has pledged to protect Christians by attacking Muslims and Islamic institutions. The possibility of religious war, coupled with these overwhelming statistics makes Nigeria the deadliest place on earth to be a Christian.