Burkina Faso: Kidnappers Release Pastor and His family after Four Days

Burkina Faso: Kidnappers Release Pastor and His family after Four Days

The Christian pastor who was abducted on Sunday with his family in Burkina Faso’s north-eastern province of Soum has been released.

Local sources told national broadcaster Omega Radio that Pastor Pierre Boena, his son David and his daughter-in-law, Ami Sawadogo were released yesterday (7 June).

The report does not specifically mention the two granddaughters, Fasne-wendé Ouédraogo and Pélagie Sawadogo, who were also abducted during the raid on Sunday, but does state that the pastor was released “with all the other members of his family in Malian territory”.

The reason for their release is not known, nor is it known whether a ransom was paid.

Pierre Boena, a pastor with an Assembly of God church, was kidnapped on Sunday evening in his village of Bilhore, near the border with Mali.

At the time of the attack he was at home with four family members and a church member, Pauline Sawadogo, who was visiting with her two daughters, Sanata and Zoenabou, local sources told World Watch Monitor.

These sources suggested that Pauline and her daughters may have been kidnapped along with Pastor Boena’s family on Sunday. Speaking on Thursday they said the whereabouts of Pauline and her daughters remain unknown.

Meanwhile there has still been no news regarding catechist Basnéré Mathieu Sawadogo, and his wife Alizeta, who were abducted two weeks earlier. Mathieu serves as a catechist at their parish, Notre Dame des Apôtres (Our Lady of the Apostles) in Arbinda, 100km from Djibo.

Kidnappers have previously targeted Djibo. Eighteen months ago an Australian couple were taken hostage from the city by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Ken and Jocelyn Elliott had run a 120-bed clinic for 40 years until their abduction in January 2016. Jocelyn was released a month later, but her husband remains in captivity.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the recent kidnappings but World Watch Monitor understands that the perpetrators are believed to be members of the Fulani ethnic group.

Some relatives have been able to speak over the phone with the hostages, who told their family that they were in good health and were being treated well by their abductors.

The kidnappings could be the result of acts of violence against Fulani communities by security forces which, it was said, had angered them.

The Fulani and the Tuareg are the two main nomadic ethnic groups in northern Burkina Faso, and in neighbouring Mali and Niger.

Access to grazing land and water have caused tensions between the two communities. Militant members of the two communities are also fighting alongside numerous Islamist groups active in the Sahel region.

Police in Pakistan Kill Young Christian Man in Raid, Relatives Say

Body of Waqas Masih. (Morning Star News)

LAHOREPakistan (Morning Star News) – Poor Christians in Pakistan commonly see police target them for extortion on false charges, and last week such a case ended in the death of a 24-year-old Christian, relatives said.

On the assumption that Christians with few legal resources can be targeted with impunity in the 96-percent Muslim country, policemen on May 29 killed Waqas Masih when his uncle refused their demand for money after they threatened to file false charges, the relatives said. Police are now pressuring the family to drop the murder case, they said.

The slain young man’s mother, a widow who belongs to a Pentecostal church, told Morning Star News that three policemen forced their way into the home of her brother, rickshaw driver Saleem Masih, in in Punjab Province’s Haider Colony, Gujrat District. Saleem Masih had recruited Waqas Masih and other relatives to help him with a construction project at his residence.

“Around 6 p.m., I was informed that three policemen had beaten my son to death,” Khalida Bibi, a sweeper at a hospital, told Morning Star News. “The police are now mounting pressure on us to ‘reconcile’ with their accused colleagues. They were initially reluctant to even arrest the accused, but eventually they had to take them into custody when we threatened to launch protests.”

Saleem Masih’s son, Emmanuel Saleem, told Morning Star News that he and other relatives were sitting in the courtyard of their home when three officers identified only as Shoaib, Shehbaz and Saqib forced their way in around 5:15 p.m.

“We asked them what they wanted, to which they said that they had information that we are drug peddlers and that they had raided the house to recover the narcotics,” he said, adding that the allegation was frivolous as the three policemen were notorious for blackmailing poor people in the area.

“We are poor Christians, but we earn our livelihood with honesty and integrity,” Emmanuel Saleem said. “We knew that the policemen were there for extorting money, but since we had done nothing wrong, my father chose to confront them rather than succumb to their blackmail.”

A heated argument ensued between his father and the police, and they began threatening to file false charges against him and other family members, he said.

“This must have panicked Waqas, who ran outside the house,” Emmanuel Saleem said. “The three cops ran after him, as did my other cousins, Qaiser and Dawood. The cops got hold of Waqas soon after and started hitting him mercilessly with punches, kicks and gun butts. Qaiser and Dawood tried to save Waqas from the police torture, but they were pushed back and warned not to intervene in the beating.”

His two cousins had returned to the house to tell his father what had happened when the policemen arrived and told them to check on Waqas Masih, saying he was “feigning illness,” Emmanuel Saleem said.

“We immediately rushed toward Waqas and saw him lying on the street, motionless,” he said, adding that he had already died by the time they arrived.

Waqas Masih worked as an assistant gardener at a government-run, rural health center. Asked why he had run from the house, Emmanuel Saleem said police often target poor Christians for extortion and file fake charges against them when they don’t have anything to pay. He said this was not the first time local police had illegally entered a home and beat Christians.

“Waqas was a very honest and hard-working young man who had no criminal history,” he said. “I guess he got frightened after the policemen threatened to implicate the cousins in fake cases.”

He confirmed that officials were pressuring the family to “pardon” the accused and give statements in their favor.

“We have even been offered money, besides threats to withdraw the FIR [First Information Report], but we have decided to hold our ground,” he said.

Police Denial

Gujrat District Police Officer (DPO) Jehanzeb Nazeer, however, denied that the accused officers were pressuring the family.

“I immediately ordered the registration of the FIR, and the three accused officials were taken into custody within 72 hours of the incident,” he said, but he added that the officers have not been formally charged with murder as the initial post-mortem report did not reveal the cause of death.

“The initial post-mortem report does not state any injury marks on the deceased’s body or the cause of death, therefore we are now waiting for a full report from the Punjab Forensic Science Agency [PFSA] before reaching a final conclusion about the incident,” he said.

Initial investigation showed the three officers raided the house on a tip that drug peddlers were present, he said.

“Waqas fled when the officials sought to frisk him, resulting in a chase,” he said. “The boy reportedly fell on the road, and one constable claims that he only kicked him twice in anger. The boy died on the spot, and the officials fled the scene.”

When asked if the deceased had any criminal record, the police chief said that they had not found any case registered against him.

Nazeer denied that the three accused officers extorted money from citizens.

“Since the matter involves a minority community, I took immediate action so that no one tries to exploit the situation for their ulterior motives,” he said. “Action will be taken in accordance with the law if the PFSA report points to police high-handedness.”

The three officders were taken into custody so that they could not influence the investigation or fabricate evidence against the victim, he added.

Pakistan is ranked fifth on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 Word Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

MUSLIM CONQUEST THROUGH IMMIGRATION AND RESETTLEMENT JIHAD

Americans are shocked by ongoing news reports chronicling growing chaos in Europe, where massive Muslim migration is wreaking havoc on the continent – including horrendous acts of mass terrorism, an epidemic of rape and sexual assault against European women, and large, jihadist-rich enclaves where even police are hesitant to enter.

Yet, few realize that America is heading down the same suicidal path.

As veteran investigative journalist Leo Hohmann documents in Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad, an international network of mostly Muslim Brotherhood-linked activists has been building its ranks within the United States for more than three decades, aided by a U.S. immigration system seemingly obsessed with welcoming as many unassimilable migrants with anti-Western values as possible. As a result, largely secret plans for major population changes in hundreds of U.S. cities and towns are already being implemented.

This transformation is taking place not only in gateway cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but in such all-American towns as Twin Falls, Idaho, and St. Cloud, Minnesota, where tensions brought on by the importation of hostile cultures are already causing shock waves.

As Stealth Invasion reveals, the Muslim Brotherhood has a well-defined strategy for conquering America, not necessarily with violent jihadist attacks – although we should expect those to increase – but through more subtle means collectively called “civilization jihad.”

According to the Brotherhood’s own documents seized by the FBI, “civilization jihad” involves infiltrating and conquering Western democracies from within. The goal is to partner with leftist and anarchist groups (such as “Black Lives Matter”) to tear at the fabric of Western civilization and the Judeo-Christian values that undergird it. Their intent is to use liberal immigration laws to create “settlements” for Islam in America, which in turn become enclaves of non-assimilated Muslims who can easily become “radicalized” by a preacher at a local mosque, or by watching a Youtube video posted by an imam in Pakistan.

Very simply, civilization jihad calls for changing a nation by changing its people and its values – gradually, over time.

Meanwhile, the world is undergoing a historic shift of populations – out of the Middle East and Africa, and into Europe, Canada and the United States. The fact that the majority of those coming to America as part of this new immigration wave bring a hostile value system based on sharia law, and have little interest in assimilating into American culture, seems of no concern to our leaders in the White House and Congress.

Indeed, refugee resettlement and expanded visa programs have enjoyed the full support of both major parties. Instead of learning the lessons of 9/11 and tightening up America’s immigration system, our leaders have expanded it wildly and recklessly.

The book Stealth Invasion connects the dots between the problems of growing violence and unrest that have plagued Europe and what is now unfolding across America. The terror attacks on Chattanooga, Orlando, San Bernardino, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and the Chelsea area of Manhattan were all carried out by Muslim immigrants, or, in the case of San Bernardino and Orlando, by sons of Muslim immigrants. A surprising number of foiled attacks have also been plotted since 9/11 by Muslim refugees and immigrants.

Stealth Invasion blows the lid off a corrupt, fraudulent program that has been secretly dumping Third World refugees, many of them radical, on American cities for three decades. Readers will meet the people and groups behind this shadowy resettlement network, which starts at the United Nations and includes the White House, the U.S. State Department, some surprising church groups, and corporate honchos involved in everything from investment banking and meatpacking, to Florida vacations and yogurt manufacturing.

Americans have been kept largely in the dark about the radical plans to permanently transform their nation. Until now.

In Stealth Invasion, Leo Hohmann reveals how Congress has turned a blind eye to the program since President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Refugee Act of 1980, allowing the United Nations – not American officials – to select the refugees sent to our cities. As a result, those selected are increasingly coming from hotbeds of Sunni radicalism like Syria, Iraq, and Somalia while a growing population of persecuted Christians are left behind.

The government uses a network of private agencies, most with churchy names tied to Lutherans, Catholics, Episcopalians, Jews and even evangelicals, to do the resettlement work, but the public is shut out of the process from beginning to end. No public hearings, no public notices in the local newspaper asking for their input.

Stealth Invasion uncovers how various cities have become refugee hot spots and examines grassroots uprisings where citizens have challenged this secret cabal and won. Armed with knowledge of the government’s methods for dealing with local resettlement backlash, Hohmann provides details on how concerned Americans can most effectively respond.

The great “melting pot” that once typified the success of America’s immigration system no longer seems to be working. The old shared values of God, country, family, and freedom that used to hold the country together are breaking down.

In George C Dukes “Winds of Megiddo”  The Muslims have taken over and united the world for the battle to destroy Israel. Buy it on Amazon.com

CITY’S BAN ON CHRISTIAN CHURCH ‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL’

Cross

The action was filed this week by the Alliance Defending Freedom over the action by the city of Monroe, North Carolina, to not allow a church to have worship services at its newly rented and renovated building.

That’s even though another church had been in that space previously.

What happened was that the city adopted a new, and “unconstitutional” zoning code that bars the group called “At the Cross Fellowship Baptist Church.”

If the church were a library, it would be allowed there. Or a museum. Or another nonprofit group.

“The government can’t discriminate against churches simply because they are religious,” said ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries. “At the Cross Fellowship Baptist Church is being told they are unwelcome – in the same part of the community where city officials would allow a library, art gallery, or museum. Zoning laws like Monroe’s are unconstitutional and violate federal law.”

The background is that the church’s leaders visited the site, at 1617 W. Roosevelt Blvd., with a goal of finding a location they could use.

“The property owner informed them that another church had occupied space in the same building in the recent past. In January 2018, the church entered into an agreement to rent the 1,500-square-foot property and proceeded to renovate it,” ADF reported.

But when it asked for a certificate of occupancy, the city said the rules had been changed and no church would be allowed in that location.

The regulations allow for “education, training, or resources of a public, nonprofit, or charitable nature,” the ADF said.

But it identifies churches as not allowed.

The action by the ADF attorneys that now has been filed is At the Cross Fellowship Baptist Church v. City of Monroe in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

“The city has treated the church on less than equal terms with similarly situationed nonreligious assemblies and institutions, substantially burdened the church’s free exercise of religion, and infringed on the church’s rights to free speech, peaceable assembly, and equal protection,” the complaint states.

WND’s attempt to obtain a comment from the city because it was closed.

“The city’s unequal treatment and discrimination against the church, through ordinance O-2017-13 and its officers, agents, servants, employees, or persons ating at their behest or direction, has caused the church to suffer damages,” the complaint explains.

The lawsuit asserts the city is violation the church’s equal terms rights, nondiscrimination requirements, the Free Exercise Clause, free speech, and other constitutional provisions.

It asks that the city be told to treat the church fairly and equally.


U.S. Warns Iran After It Moves To Step Up Uranium-Enrichment Capacity

The Iranian nuclear center at Natanz is shown in March 2015.

The United States warned that Washington will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons after Iran announced plans to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the warning on Twitter late on June 6, saying, “We’re watching reports that #Iran plans to increase its enrichment capacity. We won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Pompeo added that “Iran is aware of our resolve.”

Pompeo’s statement came after Iran said a facility to build advanced centrifuges will be completed in a month at its Natanz nuclear center as part of its plans to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity, under orders from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, if a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world power collapses.

“After the supreme leader’s order, we prepared this center within 48 hours. We hope the facility to be completed in a month,” Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said on June 6 in an interview broadcast on state television.

Khamenei and other hard-liners in Iran have questioned whether Iran should continue honoring the nuclear deal after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last month to withdraw from it and reimpose U.S. sanctions on Iran.

In making the move to step up its nuclear enrichment capacity, Iran told the IAEA, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, that it was staying within the provisions of the accord.

The nuclear deal was designed to set strict limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

The other signatories to the accord — Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany — have said they remain committed to the deal so long as Iran is honoring the agreement.

Four Iranian Christians Set to Begin Ten-year Prison Sentences

Four Iranian Christians Set to Begin Ten-year Prison Sentences

The four Iranian Christians who saw their ten-year prison sentences upheld by an appeal court earlier this month are expecting to have to report to prison any day now.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, and fellow Church of Iran members Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi could receive a call within the next 24 hours to report at the prison gate in their home city of Rasht, Mansour Borji from the London-based advocacy organisation Article 18 told World Watch Monitor.

The four Christians were convicted of “promoting Zionist Christianity” and running house churches and appealed their sentences before the Revolutionary Court on 14 December last year but were unsuccessful.

Nadarkhani and Omidi, in addition to their jail terms, were also sentenced to two years’ internal exile, which they are to serve in the south of Iran, on the opposite side of the country from their homes near the Caspian Sea.

 

Four other Christians who also received lengthy sentences are still waiting the outcome of their own appeals, which were heard in the Revolutionary Court by the same judge, Judge Hassan Babaee, who, according to Article 18, “doesn’t have a good track record in dealing with Christians arrested for their Christian activities”.

Borji said this is partly because judges can’t be independent, as sentences are dictated by intelligence officials.

“Iranian Christians are concerned about the unjust verdicts issued against Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, and three other Christians who were sentenced alongside him, Amin Afshar Naderi, Kaviyan Fallah Mohammadi and Hadi Asgari“, Borji said

“We are following the appeal process closely and ask all Christians worldwide, and the key members of the international community to join us in calling for these convictions to be overturned. The Iranian government has to be reminded of its obligations under international law and its own constitution, to end its harassment of peaceful Christian community”, he added.

Pastor Bet-Tamraz was sentenced to ten years in jail in July last year for “acting against national security by organising and conducting house-churches”. The three converts were also given ten years, though Amin Afshar-Naderi was given an additional five years for “insulting the sacred” (blasphemy).

Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor Bet-Tamraz, was given a five-year sentence of her own in January, while their son, Ramil, is also facing charges.

Miles Windsor from Middle East Concern recently said prison terms are getting longer for Iranian Christians.

“Whilst Christians have consistently been put in prison for their faith in Iran in considerable numbers, the length of the sentence has seemed to have increased in the recent year or so,” he said.

‘ONGOING VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM’

Although Iran’s constitution acknowledges Christians (excluding converts from Islam) as one of the recognised religious minorities allowed to operate in the country “within the limits of the law’, in practice the government continues to harass and imprison Christians and other religious minorities, noted the US State Department’s 2017 International Religious freedom report, which was released last month.

It is illegal for Muslim citizens of the Islamic republic to change or renounce their religious beliefs.

The country has been on the State Department’s list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) since 1999, “for having engaged in, or tolerated, systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.

In 2017, over a dozen Christians – most of them converts to Christianity – were given prison sentences of between 10 and 15 years for “acting against national security”.

Iran is 10th on the 2018 Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

So Many Catastrophes, So Little Time: Nakba Day Is Over, Here Comes the Naksa

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5, 2018, will mark the 51st anniversary of the second most devastating catastrophic even in “Palestinian” Arab history, a date Jews and gentiles the world over mark as the beginning of the miraculous 1967 Six Day War. Naksa Day – in Arabic Yawm an-Naksa, meaning “day of the setback,” mourns Israel’s victory which, 19 years after the initial shock of seeing Jews defeating the local and the invading Arab armies, has destroyed the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, killing hundreds of thousands and tripling Israel’s size in less than a week.

The Naksa riots tradition began in 2011, with border demonstrations started on May 15 to commemorate Nakba Day—the catastrophe of 1948-49 that resulted from the Arabs’ 1947 refusal to divide the land and share it with a Jewish state. Instead, they vowed to throw the Jews to the sea and ended up losing a great deal more land than they would have had they agreed to the 1947 deal.

Several groups of Arab rioters attempted to breach Israel’s borders from the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan. At least a dozen people were killed when they tried to breach Israel’s border from Syria.

Filled with patriotic fervor, on June 5, 2011, more protesters gathered on Israel’s border with Syria and, according to the Syrians, 23 of them were killed and 350 wounded by live fire from Israeli forces. Israel suggested these figures were exaggerated, citing 12 known injuries. IDF spokesman Gen. Yoav Mordechai accused Syria of creating a provocation at the border to distract from its violent crackdown on the Syrian uprising which had just begun. Of course, 600,000 dead later, 23 victims are often just another day at the Syrian civil war.

Israeli tanks speeding through the Sinai desert, June 1967

Al Jazeera maintains that “the fifth day of June 1967 is a day the Arabs are still viewing as a remarkable day in their modern history, a day where the armies of three Arab countries could not stand up to the Zionist occupation army, met a terrible defeat, and let Israel occupy the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and the rest of the Jerusalem, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and Sinai, to become the dominant force in the region, deepening the notion of their having an invincible army.”

“The defeat of the Arabs in the June 1967 war, which was followed by the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970, constituted the decisive blow that ended nationalism,” said Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations. “The Arabs have lived for years under the dreams of cultural glory and strength, but their defeat them within a few hours at the hands of the emerging Jewish state led to the collapse of the foundation myth of Arab nationalism, embarrassing their guardian – Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, which led to dispelling the promise of a bright future.”

“Today, fifty-one years after the setback, the Arabs are still unable to recover all that they lost in the 1967 war or to make radical changes in the political and military situation imposed by this war on the region,” Al Jazeera argues, adding, “But it is also clear that Israel was forced to leave the Gaza Strip in 2005, And is still suffering from the headache of the accumulation of the strength of the Palestinian resistance, which, although exhausted by the repeated Israeli attacks, Israel could not eliminate. Instead, the Palestinian resistance exhausted the occupation in various forms, so that we can say that Israel is no longer able to write the last chapter of the conflict on this earth.”

That is the Arab mindset then, 51 years after the Six Day War and 70 years after Israel’s independence. On Tuesday, when they no doubt will rush the Gaza fence again, in their minds they will be chipping away at the Jewish State’s ability to remain the decisive force in this arena.

We pray for the certainty and bravery of our soldiers and bless them that they will fire at the terrorists and take them down in what, in the end, will be yet another round on our way to prove to our Arab neighbors that they simply don’t stand a chance to defeat us.

God bless our soldiers.

India: 2017 saw 20% increase in atrocities against Christians,

Tehmina Arora addresses conference (World Watch Monitor)

Amid growing extreme Hindu nationalism in India, dozens of speakers have called for concerted action to uphold the country’s constitution and fundamental rights, at a conference to mark four years of government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“There is a grave threat to plurality,” Professor Ganesh Narayan Devy, a scholar on India’s religious and linguistic diversity, told the 25-27 May ‘Citizens’ Conclave’ on ‘Building an Inclusive India’ in New Delhi, attended by over 800 delegates from across the country.

“They [Hindu nationalists] demonise and attack us: 2017 saw a 20 per cent increase in the number of atrocities against Christians,” Tehmina Arora, a lawyer and director of rights group ADF India, told the conference.“We are living at a time when you are questioned about the food you eat, about the god you worship and branded as anti-national for expressing a different view [contrary to Hindu nationalism],” said Devy.

On the status of Christian minorities, she added: “When you go to police, they hardly cooperate and often refuse to register complaints. There is a growing culture of impunity. We could file only 25 criminal cases, as against the 240+ incidents reported in the year.”

Instead, she said that anyone who is accused of converting Hindus “will be beaten up”. “You [can be] taken to a police station when you pray!” she added.

A pastor having a birthday party was recently arrested and accused of converting Hindus in southern Karnataka state, even though it is not a state which has an ‘anti-conversion law’ in place.

“Even I could be accused of ‘conversion’ for addressing this house [with many non-Christians],” Arora said, pointing to the “worsening intolerant atmosphere” during the government under the BJP, known for pursuing a Hindu-nationalist agenda.

She cited the instance of more than 50 villages in central Chhattisgarh state passing resolutions banning the Christian faith soon after the BJP government assumed office on 26 May, 2014.

Archbishop lambasted for call to prayer 

“Look at the fuss over the [Delhi] archbishop’s call for prayer for the nation. Churches are for prayer and, if the Christians cannot pray, what can they do?” Arora asked.

Indian media has been gripped by a vicious debate on the “patriotism” of Christians after Catholic archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi sent out a pastoral letter to his community to launch “prayer for the nation”. Not even half a per cent of New Delhi’s 20 million population are Catholics.

“We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere, which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution and the secular fabric of our nation. It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and its political leaders all the time, but all the more so when we approach the General Elections [in 2019],” wrote Archbishop Couto.

“Let us begin a prayer campaign for our country from 13 May, 2018,” said the letter, encouraging Christians to fast and pray every Friday by “foregoing at least one meal … and offering penance and sacrifices for our spiritual renewal and that of our nation”.

Some major media networks responded by accusing the archbishop, and Christians in general, of being “against Modi”.

Asserting that “minorities are safe in India”, Rajnath Singh, home minister of the country, cautioned on 21 May that “no-one should speak to mobilise the people of the country on the basis of religion”.

But journalist Teesta Setalvad said the media “have an agenda”. “The archbishop’s letter is discussed for hours in the media. What crime has he committed?” she asked.

“There is deprivation in the media. The archbishop is portrayed as anti-national,” added Rajdeep Sardesai, one of the pioneers of TV journalism in India.

“Space for dissent is shrinking”, Sardesai said, adding that many of those “waging such campaigns” were “taught in Christian schools by priests and nuns”.

“The silent majority has been silent for too long. We must speak out and often. Silent majority is not an option any more… You have to challenge them and debate them. We need new alliances,” he said.

‘Politics of hatred’

Modi was the Gujarat Chief Minister during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots, when more than 1,000 people were killed. Harsh Mandar, who quit the elite Indian Administrative Service to protest at the BJP government’s alleged connivance in the 2002 attacks, pointed out that violence against religious minorities has since been “getting worse”.

“Your identity is a source of great fear – for the minorities,” said Mandar.

Anti-minority violence is “based on hatred”, said Ram Puniyani, columnist and social activist. After he visited Kandhamal, in Odisha state, scene of the worst case of anti-Christian violence in India’s history, he returned to the state capital, Bhubaneswar, where he said some Hindus told him “it is good that Christians have been taught a lesson”. “This is the politics of hatred,” he told the conference.

Shabnam Hashmi, co-ordinator of the Conclave of over 50 speakers from across the country, pleaded with delegates to take its message to the far corners of the nation: “The challenge before us is clear. We have to speak up and take the message to the masses.”

The conference discussion about Indian media coincided with a report by the BBC’s South Asia correspondent, Justin Rowlatt, noting that a sting operation by a news organisation called Cobrapost “claims to have revealed a deeply engrained bias towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) within many of India’s leading media groups, as well as a willingness among some of the country’s most senior media executives and journalists to take money in return for pushing a political agenda”.

Cobrapost alleged that some of the country’s leading news organisations were willing to “not only cause communal disharmony among citizens, but also tilt the electoral outcome in favour of a particular party – and all in return for cash”, Rowlatt wrote. However, he warned that “undercover stings of this kind are notoriously unreliable. The footage can easily be taken out of context or edited to change the meaning of a conversation or misrepresent its real nature”.

Feminist group: ‘Transsexual activists are silencing us’

Women are speaking out after Twitter blocked them for “speaking the truth” about transsexualism.

The social networking giant has censored tweets which state what the women say are “basic, incontrovertible biological facts”, claiming the content goes against its “hateful conduct” policy.

Fair Play for Women has now written an open letter to Martha Lane Fox, a peer who also sits on the board of Twitter, asking her to help stop their views being silenced.

Violent threats

The letter speaks out against a “concerted attack on women’s free speech”.

“The words we use to describe ourselves, our bodies, our biology and our experiences as women are becoming unsayable”, the group wrote.

“Online, women are threatened with violence for saying things that should not be controversial, but have become so.

“For saying that males cannot become females. For saying that women do not have penises. For saying that women’s spaces such as refuges should be safe havens for women only.”

‘Dangerous dogma’

Fair Play For Women describes itself as “a group of ordinary women who are concerned that in the rush to reform transgender laws that women’s voices will not be listened to”.

The campaigners aim to speak out “against the dangerous dogma of trans ideology”.

They say: “Women must not be shamed or silenced for speaking the reality.”

Bullies

The letter asks Baroness Lane-Fox to use her influence at Twitter to “stand up for women when we are being deprived of a platform from which to speak the truth”.

“Stop allowing bullying men to police our language, threaten us and abuse us. Stop silencing women for speaking the truth.”

Lady Lane-Fox is yet to respond.

Transsexual opposition

Two weeks ago, the Government announced it will launch a consultation on removing safeguards in the Gender Recognition Act in the coming weeks.

The proposed changes are likely to include making it easier to change legal sex by allowing people to ‘self-identify’ their gender.

While the Government continues to push liberalisation, some transsexual people are against changing the law.

In a letter to the Guardian, 17 transsexuals said they were “deeply concerned” about the proposals.

Pentecostal Leader T. F. Tenney is called Home

T. F. Tenney

Pentecostal leader T.F. Tenney died on Friday, June 1. Tenney was a well-known United Pentecostal Church leader and the district bishop of Louisiana.

“I don’t have words to say what TFTenney has meant to me and cherise and our family. Today he went Home to be with Jesus. Jesus was the magnificent obsession of his life. To his dear wife Thetus, and his son Tommy and daughter Teri and many grandchildren our hearts and prayers are with you. He was a spiritual Giant to me and I will forever be grateful God put us together. Greatness is the only word I can think of to describe this man,” Franklin says in his post.

In 1952, Tenney was elected Louisiana District youth secretary. From 1952 until his death, almost without exception, Tenney held some position within the United Pentecostal Church International. The UPC Louisana district confirmed the news on its Facebook page.

“With heavy hearts, we share the news that our beloved Bishop TF Tenney has passed from this life to be forever with Jesus. Bishop Tenney has been a valiant and faithful soldier of the Lord, leading and serving this district, the UPCI and churches around the world. He will be greatly missed by all of us, but we rejoice with this mighty man of God as he has met his Savior. Please keep his wife, Sis. Thetus & their family in your prayers,” they said in their statement.

According to Focused Light, Tenney was born and raised in DeRidder, Louisiana. At the age of 15, in 1949, he began his ministry and at age 19 assumed his first pastorate in Monroe, Louisiana. He attended Apostolic Bible Institute. In 1992, he received an honorary doctorate from ABI.

From 1960-1976, he held several administrative positions. From 1976-78, he returned to DeRidder, Louisiana to serve as pastor of his home congregation. In 1978, he was elected District Superintendent (Bishop) for the state of Louisiana, charged with the oversight of approximately 300 churches and 800 ministers and pastors. He held this position for 27 years – until his recent retirement and re-launch into full-time mobile ministry.

He has been a radio speaker, both on a nationally broadcast radio program and a local daily program. He is a respected writer and regular contributor to various religious periodicals. He is the author of eleven books, to date: Pentecost–What’s That?, The Flame Still Burns, The Main Thing, Advice to Pastors and Other Saints, Beyond the Sunrise, Some Things I Wish I’d Known, Secret Sources of Power, More Power to You, and “The Lord Said…” Or Was That Me?, Things I Wish I Could Forget, and his most recent release, Water From An Old Well.

Tenney’s life was forever changed when, at 16, he sneaked into a Pentecostal church to hear a nun give her testimony:

He had never heard such preaching—and from a woman! It simply was not done that way in the Baptist church. Yet, feeling something he could not escape, he found himself back there the next night. He did not understand their doctrine. He did not understand their worship. He did not understand their lifestyle. But he could deny what he felt. The connection had been made. The Holy Spirit was drawing and before school started in the fall, Tom Fred Tenney was a new man in Christ.

Almost immediately he felt called into ministry and service. Opportunities were given for him to speak at youth rallies and fellowship meetings. Remembering those early days of his experience, he says, “I felt that you had to do whatever the Word said and whatever leadership told you to do.”

Apostolic Archives reports Tenney’s mentor and spiritual father was a great Christian, George L. Glass Sr., a man of prayer and of the Word. Consequently, Tenney made a commitment to prayer and to the Word. He promised the Lord he would pray for at least an hour and read three chapters of the Bible every day.

“Some nights I was up until two or three o’clock in the morning, keeping my vow-especially when I got to the 119th Psalm! It wasn’t just a cursory reading, but it was looking into the Scriptures, searching everything I could find on the subject. Things that God gave me then—when I was 16, 17, 18 years of age—are still with me today,” Tenney said.

According to a Facebook video, Tenney gave a prophetic word during a service on May 27.

“I hear it from the everlasting hills. The lightning of God is flashing from sky to sky,” Tenney said. ” I see its illumination. Then the voice that I hear is like none other, and it’s the voice of God. The things that God has told you shall come to pass. I know you’ve heard it before, but you’re going to hear it again: the greatest revival in the history of the church, a revival that’s going to affect this city, it’s going to affect this parish, it’s going to affect this state, it’s going to affect this nation, and you’re going to be a part of it, because it’s coming to pass to the glory of God. He’s made it wonderful. … There’s no other name in the heavens. … His name is [crowd shouts Jesus].”