Showing posts with label religious persecution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religious persecution. Show all posts

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pregnant woman sentenced to death over her Christian faith

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- A Muslim-by-birth Sudanese woman who married a Christian man was sentenced to death Thursday after she refused to recant her Christian faith, her lawyer said.

Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but her mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was convicted of "apostasy" on Sunday and given four days to repent and escape death, lawyer Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef Mohammed said.

The 26 year old, who is eight months pregnant, was sentenced after that grace period expired, Mohammed said.
Read the rest here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Retired army general wants Egypt's St. Catherine's Monastery demolished

A retired army general says he has filed a court case pushing for Egypt's historic Saint Catherine's Monastery to be demolished and its Greek monks deported on the grounds that they pose a threat to national security.

In May 2012, Ahmed Ragai Attiya obtained 71 administrative orders regarding the demolition of the monastery's multiple churches, monk cells, gardens and other places of interest on the grounds, which he claims were all built in 2006 and thus not historic, according to Ihab Ramzy, the monastery's lawyer.

However, in an interview with private channel ONTV on Thursday, Attiya said that he has now used the 71 orders to file an official demolition suit with Ismailiya's Administrative Court against the monastery and 10 of the Egyptian authorities concerned, including the president, ministers of tourism and antiquities and the governor of South Sinai, where Saint Catherine's is located.

In the same ONTV interview, Attiya levelled a host of accusations against the monastery's monks, alleging that they have changed the names of landmarks in the surrounding area and tried to hide an underground water source known as Moses' Well (Oyun Moussa).

He also took issue with them supposedly raising the Greek flag on Egyptian land and turning the site into an area occupied by foreigners, both which he says are a breach of national security and Egyptian sovereignty.

Most of the Saint Catherine's 37 monks are Greek.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Interview with Fr. Joseph Huneycutt: Syrian Christians in a Time of Conflict

Two-and-a-half years ago Fr. Joseph Huneycutt traveled to Syria as part of an official delegation of Christian pastors and leaders to investigate the emerging political crisis and to assess the situation of Syria’s Christians. The September 2011 trip was sponsored by the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, and a report of the delegation’s findings was issued here. Now in its third year, the Syria conflict has taken countless lives and has left much of the country destroyed. Reports seem to come in weekly detailing the struggles of Syria’s ancient Christian community. Reports of kidnapping, murder, rape, torture, and destruction of churches at the hands of rebel insurgents are now a common theme of the Syria crisis. Last December, Fr. Joseph’s parish, St. Joseph Orthodox church in Houston, hosted the “Hope, Humanity, Healing” benefit concert to spread awareness of the plight of Syria’s Christians and to raise funds for the relief of all suffering innocents of the conflict. Fr. Joseph agreed to speak with Levant Report this week:
 Read the rest here.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Muslims impose strict Islamic law on Christians in Syria

A jihadist group in Syria has demanded that Christians in the northern city of Raqqa pay a levy in gold and accept curbs on their faith, or face death.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) said it would give Christian residents "protection" if they agreed to the list of conditions...

...The directive from ISIS, citing the Islamic concept of "dhimma", requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety.
It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives.

The statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered them three choices - they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS' conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed.
"If they reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword," the statement said.
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

50,000 Historic Books, Manuscripts Burned at Orthodox Library by Muslims

Two-thirds of a historic collection of 80,000 books have gone up in smoke after a library was torched in the Lebanese city of Tripoli amid sectarian tensions. The blaze was started after a pamphlet insulting Islam was reportedly found inside a book.

Firefighters struggled to subdue the flames as the decades-old Al-Saeh library went up in smoke on Friday in the Serail neighborhood of Tripoli. Despite firefighters’ best efforts, little of the trove of historic books and manuscripts was recovered from the wreckage.

“Two thirds of some 80,000 books and manuscripts housed there,” a security source told Agence France Press, referring to the items destroyed. The source added that the blaze was started after a manuscript insulting the Prophet Mohammed was found hidden in the pages of one of the library books.
Read the rest here.

Predictably, this has gotten almost no mention in the MSM.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Radical feminist disrupts Christmas Day service in Germany

This is making the rounds in the blogosphere but for those who may have missed it...
One of Christendom’s most sacred days… in the main cathedral of Cologne, Germany: the High Cathedral of St. Peter. The setting is Gothic, dating from the 13th century. What can possibly go wrong?

Christmas mass is being aired live. Thousands of pious Catholics fill the pews. Then, shouting at the top of her lungs, naked from the waist up, 20-year-old philosophy student Josephine Witt shoots from the congregation and bounces up high onto the altar!

She is an activist with the feminist movement FEMEN.
Read the rest here.

I think Putin had the right idea for dealing with this sort of hooliganism.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Prince of Wales Speaks on the Persecution of Middle Eastern Christians

For myself, I have for some time now been deeply troubled by the growing difficulties faced by Christian communities in various parts of the Middle East. It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are, increasingly, being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants. Christianity was, literally, born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ. Their church communities link us straight back to the early Church, as I was reminded by hearing Aramaic, Our Lord's own language, spoken and sung a few hours ago.

Yet, today, the Middle East and North Africa has the lowest concentration of Christians in the world – just four per cent of the population and it is clear that the Christian population of the Middle East has dropped dramatically over the last century and is falling still further.
Read the rest here.
HT: T-19

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A war story from Greece

Thus when Greek Orthodox Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens ordered his people to hide persecuted Jews, SS commander Jürgen Stroop threatened to shoot the archbishop. Rutler finishes the tale by recounting a striking example of episcopal sangfroid: “The archbishop replied by recalling the lynching of Patriarch Gregory of Constantinople by the Turks in 1821: ‘According to the tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church, our prelates are hanged, not shot. Please respect our tradition.’” The archbishop, happily, lived until 1949; Stroop was hanged after the war for his role in liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto.
From an article by George Weigel
HT: A blog reader

I had not heard this story before and found it uplifting.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Beleaguered Syrian Christians increasingly targeted by jihadis

DAMASCUS, Syria — Sami Amir is used to the deep echoing rumble of the Syrian army artillery pounding rebel positions on the outskirts of Damascus. It’s the thump of mortars launched from an Islamist-controlled neighborhood that scares him to death.

The mortars have repeatedly hit in his mainly Christian district of Damascus, al-Qassaa, reportedly killing at least 32 people and injuring dozens of others the past two weeks.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Russia's “protectorate” over Middle Eastern Christians

The Kremlin is about to consider granting citizenship to about 50 thousand Syrian Christians in the region of Qualamun after they issued a collective request to Moscow’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In statements issued in the past few days, the spokesmen for President Putin and the Ministry confirmed that the request is being examined by the highest Russian authorities. “This is the first time since Christ’s birth that we, the Christians of Saidnaya and Maara Saidnaya, Maalula and Maarun are being threatened with expulsion from our land.”

The letter was full of praise for Putin’s Russia, which was described as a “powerful factor for global peace and stability”. But its remarks about western countries were less flattering: “the aim of the terrorists who are being supported by the West, is to eliminate our presence in our homeland. They use the most abhorrent methods to achieve this, murdering ordinary people for example.”
Read the rest here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Coptic Monument to Survival is Destroyed

No one knows exactly when the Virgin Mary Church was built, but the fourth and fifth centuries are both possible options. In both cases, it was the time of the Byzantines. Egypt's Coptic Church—to which this church in modern-day Delga belonged—had refused to bow to imperial power and Rome's leadership over the nature of Christ. Constantinople was adamant it would force its will on the Copts. Two lines of popes claimed the Seat of Alexandria. One with imperial blessing sat in the open; the other, with his people's support, often hid, moving from one church to the other. Virgin Mary Church's altar outlasted the Byzantines. Arabs soon invaded in A.D. 641. Dynasties rose and fell, but the ancient building remained strong, a monument to its people's survival.

Virgin Mary Church was built underground, a shelter from the prying eye. At its entrance were two ancient Roman columns and an iron door. Inside were three sanctuaries with four altars. Roman columns were engraved in the walls. As in many Coptic churches, historical artifacts overlapped earlier ones. The most ancient drawing to survive into the 21st century: a depiction, on a stone near the entrance, of two deer and holy bread. Layers and layers of history, a testament not only to the place's ancient roots but also to its persistence. Like other Coptic churches, the ancient baptistery was on the western side, facing the altar in the east. Infants were symbolically transferred through baptism from the left to the right. The old icons were kept inside the church, the ancient manuscripts transferred to the Bishopric in modern times.

Once there were 23 other ancient churches next to it, all connected through secret passages. Only Virgin Mary Church remained. Decline and survival, loss and endurance, the twin faces of the story of the Copts who built it.
Read the rest here.
HT: T-19

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Egypt's Ravaged Churches

In places such as Beni Mazar — a town on the Nile about 160 miles south of Cairo, in Minya province, which is riven by sectarian tensions — Christian residents made clear their sense of fear and anger. They said they believed Islamists had attacked the churches in retaliation for the police raids on Islamist protest camps in Cairo and also to punish Egypt’s Christian minority for its support of the July 3 coup that ousted president Mohamed Morsi. On the day of the raids, Islamists also attacked police stations across the country.

But in interviews Monday and Tuesday, many residents suggested that the police had been complicit, at least through a failure to respond.

“Until now, we have not heard about any real or serious investigation,” said Mina Thabet, an activist with the Maspero Youth Union, a Christian activist group, which has charted the attacks that have taken place nationwide since Aug. 14.

Some “five or six” bearded Islamists with assault rifles broke through the evangelical church gate in Beni Mazar around midday Aug. 14, the owner of a Christian bookstore next door said in an interview this week. But he also said those Islamists worked in coordination with dozens of “thugs” who arrived in pickup trucks and didn’t look like Islamists.

The accomplices carried off thousands of dollars’ worth of computer, video and audio equipment, as well as air conditioning units, before setting the church on fire, according to the owner, who for security reasons would only permit the use of his first name, Ayman.
Read the rest here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anti-Christian Pogroms Underway in Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood's response to the military crackdown on their protests appears to include coordinated attacks on Christians and churches throughout Egypt. It is not known how many Christians have been beaten or murdered but at least 17 churches are reported to have been destroyed or gravely damaged. Among those believed destroyed was one dating to the fourth century. Most were Coptic Orthodox, though several were Catholic and at least one was Protestant. What follows is a partial list of churches attacked by the Muslims...
  • Church of the Virgin Mary and Anba Abram of the Copts Orthodox. the village of Daljah, the district of Deir Mawas, Minya province. Burning and demolishing the church.
  • The Church of St. Mina of the Coptic Orthodox. The neighborhood of Abu Hilal Kebly Minya province. Burning the church.
  • St. George Church. Coptic Orthodox archbishopric land, Sohag province. Burning the church.
  • Baptist Church. Status of  Bani Mazar, Minya province. Burning the church
  • Church of the Virgin Lady of the Copts Orthodox, Nazlah village, Yusuf the righteous district, Fayoum province. Burning the church…
  • Monastery of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd School. Suez. Burning.
  • Church of Franciscan fathers. Street 23. Suez. Burning.
  • Bible society friends, fayoum. Burning.
  • Church of Saint Maximus. 45th Street. Alexandria. Harassment.
  • Church of Prince Taodharos Elchatbi. Fayoum. Burning.
  • Church of the virgin Lady of the Coptic Orthodox. butchers street. Abu Hilal District. Minia province. Burning.
  • Church of Saint Mark. Catholic Copts. Abu Hilal District, Minya province. Burning.
  • Church of the Jesuit Fathers. Abu Hilal District, Minya province. Burning.
  • Church of the Virgin and Anba Abram. Sohag. Burning.
  • Church of Saint Mark, and the building of services. electricity Street. Sohag. Burning.
  • The house of Father Onjelios king. Pastor of the Church of the Virgin and Anba Abram in Daljah. Deir Mawas district. Minya province. Burning the house completely.
  • Burning the Greek Church in Suez.

A Succession of Sacrileges

A few news items getting scant attention in the last few days from the mainstream press and media...

President Obama's allies in Syria sacked and burned the Antiochian Orthodox church of Sts. Sergius and Bacchus. And in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood has similarly attacked and destroyed a number of Coptic Orthodox churches.

And here in the good old US of A two homosexual men had a fake wedding in a fake church, copying at least some pieces of the Orthodox wedding service. Predictably they are now announcing that theirs was the first gay Greek Orthodox wedding.

Lord have mercy!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Solzhenitsyn and the Russian Renaissance

Alexander Yakovlev, a Communist who became disillusioned following Khrushchev’s 1956 speech denouncing Stalin, documented the terror perpetrated against Russia’s Orthodox Christians in his book A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia. Almost immediately upon the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1918, the clergy were purged. The Metropolitan of Kiev was mutilated and castrated, his naked corpse left to be desecrated in the street. The Metropolitan of St. Petersburg, in line to succeed the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, was doused with water and left to freeze to death, “a pillar of ice.” A bishop was strapped alive to the paddlewheel of a steamboat and mangled by the rotating blades. One archbishop was buried alive; another was crucified and burned to death. Three thousand members of the clergy were shot in the first year of the Russian Revolution. “All these Christian martyrs went unswervingly to their deaths for the faith,” Solzhenitsyn noted. Tens of thousands of religious would be sent to concentration camps; few returned. And the worst was yet to come in the 1920s under Stalin.

Yet the faith of the Russian people was not extinguished by three generations of official atheism. Solzhenitsyn would note that, to the astonishment of the Soviet leadership, “the awareness of God in my country has attained great acuteness and profundity.” During the reign of Soviet Premier Yuri Andropov, among the more ominous days of the Cold War, Solzhenitsyn declared, “It is here that we see the dawn of hope: For no matter how formidably Communism bristles with tanks and rockets . . . it is doomed never to vanquish Christianity.”

Today there is a revitalization taking place in Russian culture and, as with the Renaissance in Western Europe, it is being spearheaded by institutional Christianity. This renaissance is perhaps best captured in the work of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, a celebrated historian, philosopher, theologian, and composer who is only forty-seven. Like Solzhenitsyn, Alfeyev strives to fill the cultural void of Russia’s lost century, and does so with indefatigable energy. This can be heard in his St. Matthew Passion, a sublime orchestral and choral piece that seems to hasten with desperation to recapture time lost. Like the martyred Metropolitan Veniamin of St. Petersburg, Alfeyev is a leading candidate to become Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. While he is, like Solzhenitsyn, unapologetically Russian, Alfeyev’s worldview has been shaped significantly by his exposure to the West, where he has lived and traveled widely. He also has close ties to the Vatican, and represented the Russian Orthodox Church at the installation of Pope Francis. His worldview is not limited to Russia, nor indeed to Orthodox Christianity.
Read the rest here.

Scapegoating the Copts

On July 3, Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), was ousted from power. His detractors came from many segments of Egyptian society, but it is the Coptic Christian community that the MB is scapegoating as the principal actor behind his removal. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that, in a recent article on the MB website entitled “The Military Republic of Tawadros” (Tawadros being the Coptic Orthodox pope), the MB urges its followers to believe that the Copts “openly and secretly led the process of opposition to the Islamic stream and this stream’s rise to power.” 

Attacking the Copts will prove to be as destructive to Egypt as to the religious minority itself.
Read the rest here.