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 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 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.
China’s Christians felt a noticeable rise in persecution in 2012 as the
House church gathering
Communist government began the first of a three-phase plan to eradicate unregistered house churches, a new report says.
Incidents of persecution of Christians in China rose by about 42 percent last year compared with 2011, according to the report by human rights group China Aid. In total, the number of individual persecuted Christians rose by roughly 14 percent and total individual detentions increased by nearly 12 percent. China Aid said overall total persecution in six categories, including groups, was about 13 percent worse than in 2011—though China Aid termed its statistics just “the tip of the iceberg.”
Christians in India’s most religiously intolerant state have witnessed heightened violence in the past several weeks, including Hindu
Pastor Samuel Kim, attacked in hospital
extremists attempting to slit the throat of a pastor as he lay hospitalized from a previous attack, sources said.
Karnataka State led India in attacks against Christians from 2009 through 2011, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). Christians or their property are attacked an average of three times per week in Karnataka, Christian Legal Association Senior Advocate S. Nova Bethania told Morning Star News.
Now acquitted and freed, but in hiding and in fear of her life
By Dan Wooding
It was around midnight on a fateful August night when a young Christian girl was brought into the Ramna Police Station and accused of blasphemy and then sent to jail.
She is Rimsha Masih, a 14-year-old illiterate and mentally-challenged girl, was foraging around her area in search of paper that could be used for heating and cooking in her poverty-stricken home in a Christian enclave of Islamabad, the Pakistani capital city.
Islamic extremists from Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militant group killed a Christian in Barawa on November 16, accusing him of being a spy
Christian beheaded in 2008
and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said.
The extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months. Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa after spending time in Kenya.
By Peter Wooding
Britain’s Charity Commission put the charitable status of the nation’s churches in question after it ruled that a congregation in the South West of England did not exist for public benefit, according to a report by Christian Concern.
Under charity law, churches and other organisations must show that their existence has some form of “public benefit.”
But in a letter to the Plymouth Brethren, the Charity Commission explained its refusal to grant charitable status to one of the denomination’s churches in Devon.
Head of legal services for the commission, Kenneth Dibble, stated: “This decision makes it clear that there was no presumption that religion generally, or at any more specific level, is for the public benefit, even in the case of Christianity or the Church of England.”
Arrested for his faith
By Jeremy Reynalds
A Christian artist with an Islamic background was temporarily released October 9th after four months in prison, according to Mohabat Christian News Agency.
The Christian convert spent 136 days in the notorious Vakil-Abad prison, where he was interrogated. According to the latest reports, he has been temporarily released and is now awaiting his trial.