Saturday, April 15, 2006

Persecution update

Courtesy of Momentum magazine:
This is a really good resource for those interested in missions.

Worsening: Belarus is ruled by Soviet-style totalitarian
dictator, Aleksandr Lukashenko. Popularly elected in 1994,
he has since then maintained his grip on power through
propaganda, repression, fraud and violence. In late 2002
Belarus adopted the most repressive Religion Law in all Europe.
Unregistered religious groups are illegal, and registration
is severely restrictive. In 2003 Lukashenko decreed that
his Soviet-style official Belarusian ideology must be taught
across the nation to give Belarus ‘immunity’ from ‘infection’.
In October 2004, Lukashenko won a rigged referendum
that purportedly gave him both a mandate and the right to
amend the constitution and run for re-election in 2006. In
December 2005 the government passed an ‘urgent’ amendment
to the Criminal Code, making it illegal to ‘discredit
the Republic of Belarus’. It has been at great risk that reports
of systematic KGB-orchestrated religious persecution
have continued to leak out of Belarus. (WEA)
Denied Identity Card: When Chinese house church
historian Zhang Yinan applied for a passport in order to
attend a prayer breakfast in Washington this month, he was
harassed and arrested. After his release, Lushan County
Police Bureau retained his personal documents and prayer
journals, refused, accusing him of overthrowing the government
and claiming to study the journals for evidence.
Escaped: Active Christian leader for several years in a
large Chinese city until 2004 – first in the state controlled
Three Self Patriotic Movement church, then in an unregistered
house church—was monitored, chased and harassed.
He finally tired of being on the run and is now an applicant
for political asylum in a Western country. Even now, it is too
dangerous to reveal his name.
Won: Two young Coptic Christian women whose father
had converted to Islam when they were infants have won a
court battle in Egypt to retain their official religious identity
as Christians.
New hearing: Egyptian sheikh Bahaa el-Din Ahmed
Hussein Mohammed El-Akkad was arrested on April 6,
2005 but has yet to be officially charged. Imprisoned for
11 months, his fate was to be decided at a court hearing on
February 19. “In all of his interrogations, they are accusing
him of saying things against the prophet Mohammad, or the
Quran, or the prophet’s friends,” his lawyer commented.

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