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Home invasions

"Home invasions" Continued...

Issue: "Snakepit," Feb. 11, 2006

While some are going farther underground, a small group of churches has taken to "meeting in the middle of the streets on Sunday mornings," according to Ms. Buwalda. Churchgoers know it's "bold and risky," she says, but their protests tell the government: "If we can't have church in our homes, we'll have it somewhere."

Persecution update

India

A mob of nearly 100 Hindu extremists attacked a group of Christians as they distributed Christian literature near a bus stand in the city of Hyderabad on Jan. 12, according to the All India Christian Council. The attackers severely beat at least one student and a pastor of a local Pentecostal church. The pastor told police his attackers brandished a can of gasoline and attempted to burn him alive, but fled when police arrived. Two men are being held in conjunction with the attacks. Less than two weeks later, another Hindu mob attacked Christians meeting for a seminar in a private home in Bhopal. Six Christians were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, and at least 12 others, including children, sustained minor injuries.

Venezuela

After providing humanitarian relief and Bible translation to remote regions of Venezuela for nearly 60 years, New Tribes Mission (NTM) began moving its missionaries out of tribal regions at the end of January. The Florida-based missionary organization is complying with a November government order that gave the missionaries 90 days to leave tribal areas. The order came less than a month after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called NTM "a true imperialist infiltration" and accused its missionaries of spying for the CIA. Members of the Amazonas, a tribe where NTM worked, protested the group's expulsion, but by the end of January Venezuela's Supreme Court had not issued a stay of the order. NTM officials said they hope the court will still act before the mid-February deadline.

Nigeria

Fourteen churches in the state of Zamfara have recently received demolition notices from the Islamic government, according to Pastor James Obi of the Christian Association of Nigeria, whose own church was demolished in 1997. The government has now served Mr. Obi with a new demolition notice for his church's new building. Compass Direct reports that the demolition of churches is part of a larger campaign of persecution by Muslims in northern states. John Garba Danbinta, an Anglican bishop in Gusau, said Gov. Ahmed Sani ordered the demolition of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Bakura after serving this notice: "For your information, the state Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Sani, has ordered that your church should be demolished before his arrival in this town tomorrow. So, we shall carry out this directive tomorrow morning."

Turkey

Five men brutally attacked a Protestant pastor after services at an Istanbul church on Jan. 8, according to Compass Direct. The men cornered pastor Kamil Kiroglu, 29, behind the church and demanded he deny his Christian faith. "Each time they asked me to deny Jesus and become a Muslim, I was saying, 'Jesus is Lord,'" said Mr. Kiroglu. "The more I said 'Jesus is Lord,' the more they beat me." Mr. Kiroglu, left bleeding and unconscious, was later found by friends and taken to a doctor. Mr. Kiroglu's church is one of three Protestant congregations in Turkey's fourth-largest city. The pastor, who converted to Christianity a year and a half ago, said: "I am praising God not because He saved me from death, but because He helped me not to deny Him in the shadow of death."

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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