Saturday, November 27, 2010


Photo: Son of Fr. Mushtaq Andrew stands guard outside of tent where his Father is holding a service.

Not far from Lahore, Pakistan is an Anglican Catholic parish of the Diocese of Lahore/Pakistan, Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon. This is the same country where Asia Bibi lives. Christians are not safe in this country, the government has proven repeatedly that it cannot protect the Christian minority from attacks from violent Muslims, murderous attacks.

Fr. Mushtaq Andrew is the archdeacon of this tiny diocese and leads a small flock of Christians. This group of Christians also provide medical and social services to the poor. Now they feel so threatened that Father has posted his own son to guard the tent where the parish holds religious services lest they be attacked while at prayer. His son is in effect a one man Christian militia. This is a situation that elicits both admiration and horror at the same time. Admiration for one so young and all alone to bravely stand watch so that his earthly father might preach the gospel of the heavenly Father, and horror at the prospect that the daunting odds against this young Christian might get him killed.

The events of the past few weeks in Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan reveal a new tactic on the part of al-Qaeda that calls for direct attacks on native Christian populations in Islamic dominated lands. In Iraq and Egypt there is no Christian militia to defend the faithful from these attacks. The national governments seem incapable of defending Christian homes and churches from attacks, in fact often the government is aiding in covering up for the attackers and even on occasion arresting Christians who call the police for protection.

With a sister parish of my own church under threat, the horror of what is transpiring in these countries is made real to me in a way that others perhaps cannot comprehend. We need to pray earnestly for Christians in all of these countries and we need to support them financially so that they can create a more secure environment for their families. They need a building to worship in. In a tent they are most vulnerable. If you want to help them build a church please contact me and I will tell you how you can help.

In Christ,
Fr. John

Friday, November 26, 2010


Conflicting Stories on Asia Bibi’s Release

International Christian Concern (ICC) issued a press release on November 22 entitled “Pakistan Releases Christian Woman Sentenced to Death For Blasphemy.” Since the issuance of the press release, we have received conflicting stories about Asia Bibi.

Some of our sources still insist that Asia has been released. However, Pakistani officials denied that they have released Bibi. The officials have publicly spoken about her possible pardon. Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, said that Bibi is innocent.

In a statement to CNN, the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, indicated that Bibi would be pardoned by the president of Pakistan. Asia still awaits the outcome of her plea for mercy to the High Court.

Farhatullah Babar, spokesperson for Pakistan’s president, also told CNN that “Asia cannot be executed now. Under the law, a death sentence issued by a session court cannot be carried out until it has been endorsed by the high court.”

There has already been backlash against Bibi’s possible release. According to the Associated Press, close to 250 hard-line Muslims held a demonstration in Lahore today warning the president not to pardon Bibi.

We are closely monitoring Bibi’s situation and will update you once we obtain new information.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In this issue:
Pakistan Releases Christian Woman
Asia Bibi’s daughters hopeful of reunion
Mystery Surrounds the Case Of The Christian Woman Facing Death For Blasphemy

Pakistan Releases Christian Woman
Sentenced to Death for ‘Blasphemy’

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that today the president of Pakistan has pardoned a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Asia Bibi was sentenced on November 8 after a court in Punjab province found her guilty of making blasphemous statements against the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Pakistan’s blasphemy law, it is a crime punishable by death to blaspheme the Islamic prophet.

Her release came after intense international pressure by politicians and church leaders as well as coverage by several media outlets.

Asia has now been taken to an undisclosed location for her safety. In the past, Christians have been killed by vigilantes after being accused of blasphemy. On July 19, gunmen killed Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and his brother, Sajid Emmanuel, while police were transporting them from the court in Faisalabad to jail. The gunmen also seriously wounded a policeman accompanying them.

Some Muslim lawyers and other fundamentalist Muslims are preparing to demonstrate against Asia’s release.

ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said, “We are delighted to learn about Asia’s release and we would like to commend Pakistan’s president for taking the right action. It’s high time for Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy laws that have caused so much persecution against Christians and other religious minorities.”

Asia Bibi’s daughters hopeful of reunion
By Jamal Shahid, a reporter with DAWN newspaper in Pakistan

Blasphemy convict Asia Bibi’s daughters - Sidra and Ashi - have put their trust in God that they will be united with their mother.
“She has done nothing wrong. The allegations are baseless,” said Sidra in a melancholic tone sitting in the office of Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti here Saturday.

An additional district and sessions judge at Nankana Saheb recently handed Asia death penalty and Rs100,000 fine under the controversial blasphemy law - that many believe has been used as a tool for suppression.
Charges against Asia had been brought as a result of statements which she allegedly made during a water dispute with local women in a fruit farm in her hometown at Nankana in November 2009.

“The women instigated the imam (clergy) of the local mosque who then made a mountain out of a mole hill,” said Asia’s husband Ashiq Masih, who was forced into hiding with his five children, the youngest less than 10year-old, because the clergy and people of the town threatened to kill his children and set them on fire if they returned.
“They dragged my mother out of the house. We tried to free her from an angry mob. They ripped her clothes. My younger sister ran to save her too. But a mob member slammed her into the wall,” said Sidra while explaining how her mother kept shouting that she had committed no wrong.

According to Ashiq Masih, his wife was then judged before a local landlord who forced her to confess the guilt but she denied the allegation.
Failing to extort a confession, the charged mob threatened the police to register an FIR under 295-C for “abusive and insulting utterances against their religion,” said Ashiq Masih.

The children met their mother on Tuesday from behind a steel cage at the Sheikhupura jail where she has been imprisoned for the last one and a half year.
“She tried to touch us with her finger tips. She was so weak we could barely hear her,” said Ashi.

The minister for minorities expressed his confidence that the dispute was personal and nothing more.
“The allegations are baseless and victimization of a weaker people. The blasphemy law has been misused on several occasions because it is vague and the government should repeal it to stop its abuse,” he said, vowing to protect the woman’s life, return her to her family and provide justice to the family.

“The President has taken notice and he is the legal authority to pardon,” the minister said.
Back home, according to Ashiq Masih, the local clergy has again announced through his mosque loudspeaker to decapitate Asia if the court pardoned her and if she returned home.
Ashiq Masih’s family was one of the two Christian households in Itanwala, Nankana district, living among 7,000 to 8,000 Muslim families.

Mystery Surrounds the Case Of The Christian Woman Facing Death For Blasphemy Who Some Sources Say Has Been ‘Freed’
Asia Bibi was said to have been pardoned by the Pakistani president, but other sources say that this is not true

By Dan Wooding

Mystery surrounds the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four who was sentenced to death on November 8, 2010, for alleged blasphemy.

Several sources inside of Pakistan had claimed that Asia Bibi, also known as Asia Noreen, who had already spent the last year and a half in prison, was set free today (Monday, November 22, 2010), after being pardoned by Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari.

According to a source in Pakistan, “She has gone now into hiding over fears for her safety.”

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told ANS that it “welcomes the release of Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan.”

But now other sources are saying that this claim is premature. A respected source close to the case has said that, according to their latest information, Bibi has not been pardoned and that her mercy plea has been sent to the Punjab Home Department, which will forward it to the Interior Ministry for onward submission to the Presidency.

The source went on to say that the presidential spokesman has just made a statement that President Zardari has not “received any such plea” but he may consider it on the “advice of the prime minister.”

It is also believed that, if and when she receives a possible presidential pardon, a strike has being called for Wednesday with threats of violence that could erupt if Asia is released.

Bibi was found guilty of blasphemy despite there being no evidence that she committed the crime and her repeated denial of the charges laid against her.

She was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad by Muslim field workers following a dispute over their different faiths. When she was asked to bring a cup of water, the women refused to drink from it, saying that it had been touched by a Christian and was therefore “unclean.”

She was arrested in June 2009 in her home village of Ittanwalai, west of the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore, and prosecuted under Section 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a mandatory death penalty.

The case has made international headlines and thrown the spotlight on what many Pakistani Christians believe are unjust blasphemy laws.

Nasir Saeed, Coordinator of CLAAS in the UK, told ANS: “The ordeal faced by her and her family is unimaginable to most people outside of Pakistan who are largely unaware of the abuse and discrimination faced by the tiny Christian minority there.

“The blasphemy laws smack in the face of democracy and human rights and only reinforce the notion that Christians and other religious minorities in the country are somehow inferior and less human.”

ANS will continue to follow this case and will bring you the latest news as it becomes available.

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By producing a small written item to present the leadership of your nation, picture the current situation as to persecution and/or missions, add information on spiritual combat and frontlines of confrontation, report on the situation of the poor and needy in your society we will be able to come alongside in prayer.
By writing on these subjects or by sending articles written by others you will draw the attention of many intercessors, who are eager engage in the most rewarding pursuits available to man – PRAYER.
Please, do not hesitate to try to describe urgent prayer targets. . .
Blessings on every effort in this realm. . .

Lars W.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


PHOTO: Iraqi Christian women grieve as they walk in funeral procession for two murdered priests in Baghdad.

Iraq and Egypt: al-Qaeda declares war on Christians

By Elizabeth Kendal

In July 2010 Camilia Shehata Zakher disappeared after a quarrel with her husband, a Coptic priest in Minya Governorate. Unaware that she was with relatives in Cairo, he reported her missing and accused Muslims of abducting her for forced conversion, a fate not uncommon for Coptic girls in Egypt. When Egyptian Security Forces found Camilia in Cairo and returned her to her husband, Muslims protested, claiming that Camilia was now Muslim and was being held by the church against her will.

One fundamentalist sheikh claimed to have heard her say the shahada, the declaration of Muslim faith. Digitally edited photos purportedly of Camilia in full Islamic dress started appearing on the web. Islamic militants urged that Christian tourists be kidnapped and killed in retaliation. On 1 September a Mauritanian cleric issued a fatwa permitting the killing of Egyptian Copts. Camilia came to be personifying the Muslim fantasy of Coptic girls converting to Islam and of the church as causing fitna or persecution.

Then on 8 September Camilia appeared on national TV denouncing the rumours of torture, drugs and captivity. ‘I am appearing,’ she said, ‘in order to defend my husband, my child, my church and my religion which is Christianity.’ Fundamentalist sheikhs subsequently claimed the woman on the TV was not Camilia, but her ‘double’. Egyptian State Security immediately refuted this and the Chairman of the Committee of Declaration of Islam at Al-Azhar University, Sheikh Saeed Amer, stepped in and denied that Camilia ever came to Al-Azhar or that her case ever came before him.

Islamist propagandists subsequently asserted that Camilia was kidnapped by State Security forces while on her way to Al-Azhar to formalise her conversion. The Islamists claim therefore the State actually prevented her conversion to Islam. The truth is: Camilia is a Christian who never converted to Islam. The Camilia of Islamic fantasy – the convert to Islam who is suffering persecution at the hand of the church – is a myth. Nevertheless this totally debunked myth is being used as incitement and as an excuse to kill Christians.

On 15 September, as religious tensions soared, the former secretary-general of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Muhammad Salim al-Awwa, raged on Aljazeera international TV, falsely accusing Egypt’s Copts of ‘stocking arms and ammunition in their churches and monasteries’ in preparation for war against Muslims. He also perpetuated the lie that the Coptic Church was holding female Coptic converts to Islam captive in desert monasteries.

As the rhetoric escalated, riots multiplied, forcing the government to urge media restraint for the sake of national unity. Then on 31 October ten al-Qaeda militants in Iraq laid siege to a Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad. Fifty-eight died and more than 70 were wounded in the subsequent massacre. In claiming responsibility, the al-Qaeda-linked ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ gave Egypt’s Coptic Church 48 hours to release from captivity Camilia Shehata and Wafa Constantine, an almost identical case from 2004. Otherwise jihadists would retaliate against Christians everywhere. The incitement in Egypt being linked to the massacre in Baghdad and the threat from al-Qaeda shocked Egypt, prompting restraint there and temporarily settling the situation somewhat.

Nothing, however, has settled in Iraq. On 9 November three Christian homes were bombed at night in the suburb of Mansour, western Baghdad. The following morning two Christian homes in al-Dora were hit by mortar fire. Bombs also exploded outside a church in Kampsara and outside about a dozen Christian homes across Baghdad. At least four Christians were killed and dozens were wounded and terrorised. The targeted homes could be seen to be Christians because of funeral notices and visible Christian insignia.

Then on Monday evening 15 November Islamic militants in the northern city of Mosul stormed two adjacent homes of Christian families in the eastern al-Tahrir neighbourhood and killed the two male heads of those households, a Syrian Catholic and an Armenian. Almost simultaneously a bomb exploded outside a Christian home in central Mosul. The next day a Christian man and his daughter aged six were killed by a car bomb in Mosul. This terror has led to a surge in Christians fleeing Iraq. They will join the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians struggling to survive as refugees in Syria, Turkey and Jordan. They no longer see any reason to risk their lives for a state where, even if they survive, they will be condemned to live as second class citizens (dhimmis).
In Egypt, the lives of Copts are conditionally ‘protected’ as dhimmis. This means they will not be killed and plundered provided they submit to the injustice, persecution and humiliation inherent in abject subjugation under superior Islam. After years of impunity for attacks on Copts, their security is now extremely tenuous. On Monday 15 November 22 homes, two commercial shops, a bakery, and livestock, all belonging to Copts, were burnt when Muslims—reportedly nearly 1000 -- rioted in the Upper Egyptian village of el-Nowahed after hearing a rumour that a Christian boy was in a relationship with a Muslim girl. (According to the rules of Islam, a Christian boy may not approach a Muslim girl but must convert to Islam first.)

Due to years of radicalisation and the re-establishment of dhimmitude, the situation in Egypt is now pre-genocidal. Meanwhile the situation in Iraq is undoubtedly genocidal, partly because Iraq has become a base for foreign-sponsored sectarian Islamic militias. Additionally there is the factor that, as a Western experiment in Islamic democracy (like Lebanon previously), the West doesn’t want to see or admit failure in Iraq. Especially that would challenge the West’s firmly held belief that democracy – as distinct from the Gospel of Jesus Christ – is the solution to noble (rather than sinful) humanity’s problems.

The West must end the denial and be responsible for securing and rescuing Iraq’s Christian remnant. Once US troops with draw and the ‘real’ war begins, it will be too late.

level the paths, open the doors and provide safe passage for all Iraqi Christians fleeing Islamic terror and genocide for what may be an extended period of exile.
draw the hearts and minds of all Iraqi Christians to him, that they might put their faith in him alone, for he is their only hope.

intervene in Egypt, to still the brewing storm; may all Egypt’s Christians – Copts and Arab converts – look to Christ and put their faith in him alone, for he is their only hope.
frustrate the plots and programs of the wicked, while pricking the conscience of the alliance states to Christian duty and moral obligation that they might respond with commitment and generosity to the humanitarian catastrophe that is befalling Iraqi Christians.

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me . . . Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (From Matthew 25:40,45 ESV.)

By writing on these subjects or by sending articles written by others you will draw the attention of many intercessors, who are eager to engage in the most rewarding pursuit available to man – PRAYER.
Please, do not hesitate to try to describe urgent prayer targets. . .
Blessings on every effort in this realm. . .

Lars W.

God is looking for believers who will seek a revelation of him that is all their own – a very deep personal intimacy that unlocks “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

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The above information was obtained via "Intercessors Network" an international Christian prayer network of which I have been a member for many years. The network is run by Lars Wiederberg. If you are interested in becoming a member contact me by email for more information.

In Christ,
Fr. John

Monday, November 08, 2010

But You Can't Display the Ten Commandments

This incredible federal court ruling is a sad indicator of the sorry state of affairs of our republic. The Ten Commandments have been physically removed from state court houses by federal authorities, but this attempt of the State of Oklahoma to insure separation of church and state against Islam is blocked by that same federal authority. What's going on here? It would seem that the federal authority is not against religion in general, but just Christianity.

Photo: "Birth of the Anti-Christ"

By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press Tim Talley, Associated Press –

OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking a state constitutional amendment that prohibits state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled Monday morning in Oklahoma City following a brief hearing. It prevents the state election board from certifying the results of Tuesday's general election in which the amendment was approved by 70 percent of the voters.

The order will remain in effect until a Nov. 22 hearing on a requested preliminary injunction.

It was issued in a lawsuit filed by the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma. Muneer Awad said during the hearing that the law stigmatizes his religion.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


At left is the funeral procession for two priests who were murdered in their church last Sunday. At least 58 Christian laypeople in the Baghdad church were also killed. Once again there is no outrage over these murders committed by Muslim fanatics. Try and imagine the cacophony coming from world leaders and the mainstream press if a Christian militia (there isn't one in Iraq) had stormed a mosque, killed two imams and 58 Muslim worshipers. Instead, one has to dig to get any details on this story. Here is a report from CNN.