INDIA – 50-year-old Christian convert tortured to death for refusing to return to tribal religion
Bartu Urawn, a 50-year-old Christian convert from a tribal area in eastern India, died after being tortured by local villagers for refusing to renounce his faith. Bartu and his family converted to Christianity ten years ago, but have experienced violence and threats from villagers who follow the tribal religion Sarna Dharam. After previous re-conversion efforts failed, Bartu and wife were bound and immersed in a freezing pond for 17 hours, during which time Bartu was asked to renounce his faith. He and his wife refused, with Bartu repeatedly saying, “I will not deny Christ … I will continue to believe ’till my last breath.” Bartu died shortly afterwards. Police are currently claiming his death was due to natural causes.
From Global Christian News here
IRAN – Imprisoned Christian convert in critical condition refused medical treatment
One of five Iranian converts abducted by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry as they picnicked with their families in August is in a critical condition. Amin Afshar Naderi had been on hunger strike since 5 February to protest against the authorities’ refusal to release him, despite the fact he has not been convicted of any crime; they are demanding he pay a bail equivalent to around £25,000. Amin, who was previously held in prison for 40 days in 2014, some of which time he spent in solitary confinement, has been refused medical treatment.
From Mohabat News here
INDIA – Pastor assaulted by Hindu mob on India Republic Day, Bibles and Christian literature burnt
A church pastor in Karnataka state, south-west India, was severely assaulted by a Hindu mob on India Republic Day, 26 January. The 50-strong mob forced their way into a church gathering, vandalised equipment inside the church and set fire to Bibles and other Christian literature. After assaulting the pastor, they then took him to a Hindu temple where he was forced to undergo Hindu rituals before being released. The attack took place on India Republic Day, which commemorates when India’s first constitution came into force. Christians in the same area were also attacked on India Republic Day last year.
From Global Christian News here
FRANCE – Attacks on churches show marked increase in 2016; French government claims “no religious motivation”
In 2016 there were a total of 949 recorded attacks on churches in France, an increase of 17.4% compared to the previous year. Compared to 2008, the annual number of attacks on Christian sites, including churches and cemeteries, has risen by 245%. In September 2016, a Moroccan jihadist attempted to burn down several churches in southern France. Although there has been a wave of Islamist attacks on churches in the West, the French interior ministry claims the attacks on Christian places of worship have “no religious motivation”.
From Le Figaro [FR] here
INDONESIA – Police ban Islamist rallies as Jakarta goes to the polls in governor elections; Christian incumbent wins first round
Indonesian police banned rallies organised by the Islamic Defenders Front and other Islamist groups ahead of elections on 15 February, although thousands gathered to demonstrate at Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque after prayers on Saturday. Unofficial early reports after the first round of voting put the incumbent Christian governor, “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, ahead of his Muslim rivals, with 43% of the vote. A run-off between the two leading candidates is expected to be held on 19 April. Ahok is still facing trial for blasphemy after Islamists alleged he denigrated the Quran during a speech challenging claims the Quran forbids Muslims to be governed by non-Muslims. Ahok is Jarkarta’s first non-Muslim governor in over half a century.
From Jakarta Post here