Welcome 5779 Rosh Hashanah

Looking back at 5778, I have to say, it turned out to be a very good year, full of mostly pleasant surprises.

Without a doubt, President Donald Trump keeping his pre-election promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is Number One on the list of pleasant surprises for 5778.

The President’s ongoing and unwavering support for Israel in the UN via Ambassador Nikki Haley is another welcome change, and we certainly can’t ignore the U.S. policy changes regarding UNRWA and its false refugee narrative, as well as the passage of the Taylor Force Act. Trump also exited the very bad Iran JCPOA nuclear deal. The list of pleasant surprises from the Trump Administration for the Jewish People goes on.

Having said that, the talk of peace plans, even a “deal of the century” certainly leaves us with a lot of trepidation. They always fail, and they always bring more terror.

Last year we wrote, “I don’t know if we’ll be facing off in a full-scale war this year with Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies (or even Iran itself), but it appears we are headed in that direction. It will be a serious conflict on multiple fronts when it finally breaks out, this coming year or next.”

Israel managed to avoid a full-scale war up north, while simultaneously restricting, for the most part, Hezbollah’s access to advanced missile technology from Iran.

But there was fighting. Enemy rockets managed to shoot down an Israeli F-16i, Iranian rockets landed in the Kinneret, and Iranian drones and a Syrian pilot penetrated into Israel’s airspace. On the flip side, Israel launched over 200 successful attacks against Iranian targets in Syria, knocking out the majority of the Syrian/Iranian advanced air defense systems, while maintaining a strong diplomatic push to keep Iran away from the Israeli border.

The other big story of the year, of course, was Israel acquisition of Iran’s secret nuclear archives in a daring Mossad mission. That pretty much surprised everyone.

Hamas went the other way, inventing new strategies using low-tech terror kites and arson balloons that set the south on fire, which the IDF brass felt morally helpless to stop, letting Israel’s south take a bit of a beating.

Speaking of low-tech terror, Jewish organizations (and a Jewish news website) found themselves infiltrated by anti-Israel activists who used social media to amplify their message beyond their actual scope of influence. For the most part, those infiltrations failed to influence their intended targets and simply managed to make some fleeting headlines.

As predicted, the reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas went the way of all their previous reconciliations, but that wasn’t a hard prediction to make.

Other major events of 5778 include:

  • Israel passing the Nation-State law.
  • Yitzhak Herzog becoming head of the Jewish Agency, replacing Natan Sharansky.
  • Elor Azaria freed from jail (and denied a personal gun license).
  • Netta Barzilai winning the Eurovision song contest for Israel.
  • A large stone falling out of the Kotel.
  • Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon’s failed social engineering experiment in the real estate market continuing to fail, but now the public is finally realizing it’s a bad idea.
  • The 70th year celebration of Israel’s independence.

There has been an upsurge in anti-Semitism, and we may very well see a lot of new Olim from the UK joining us in Israel. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks speaking out so explicitly against Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn was also a welcome surprise.

There’s no doubt that the mainstreaming of anti-Israel / pro-BDS candidates in the U.S. Democratic party is becoming cause for concern.

With so many surprises this past year, I’m hesitant to make any predictions for next year.

We may see a real war with Gaza, while up north we may see more of the same as this past year. Israeli elections may, or may not come early this year, though there will definitely be a lot of election year campaigning.

We will see the launch of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv high-speed train — we hope.

In short, a lot of maybes.

So leaving you without any real predictions for 5779, all we can offer are our best wishes, Shana Tova u’Metuka a Sweet and Happy New Year, from all of us at The Jewish Press.

                                                    

Nigeria: Pastor and three sons burned alive among at least 20 killed in latest Plateau massacre

A spate of attacks, in which at least 20 were killed in Nigeria’s central Plateau State over the last week of August, has shattered peace efforts by religious and political leaders in its capital, Jos.

Three months ago, heavily armed Fulani militants stormed 15 villages across the same Barkin Ladi Local Government Area (LGA), predominantly Christian, over the weekend 23-4 June, killing more than 230 in a “co-ordinated military style”, as described by the local Stefanos Foundation.

More than 11,500 people were forced to seek refuge in 13 locations across the state, while an undetermined number were injured.

The June violence, one of the deadliest episodes in recent years, forced the state governor, Simon Lalong, to impose a dusk to dawn curfew on the three affected LGAs – Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South – in an attempt to curb the violence.

President Buhari, criticised for his perceived ‘lukewarm’ attitude to the ongoing Fulani violence in the country, visited Jos to announce an unprecedented deployment of security forces in the region.

However, World Watch Monitor learned that more villages were attacked in the following days. Since then the violence has gone unabated.

Rev. Gyang and other victims buried in a mass grave on 29 August 2018. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

On 28 August, communities including a mining site at Wereh village (Ropp District), Abonong, Ziyat and Bek villages (Foron District), Nafan, Sagas, Rawuru, and Rambuh villages (Fan District), all in Barkin Ladi, came under heavy attack by Fulani militants.

Victims included a pastor and four members of his family. Rev. Adamu Wurim Gyang, 50, and his three children were set ablaze and burnt beyond recognition. His wife, Jummai, 45, was shot and left to die in a pool of blood. More than 14 were killed in that attack; 95 houses were burned down and 225 farm crops awaiting harvest were destroyed. A youth at the mining site also died.

Joshua Kim, 43, who visited Abonong on 29 August told World Watch Monitor that Fulani came to his village on Tuesday night and started shooting sporadically, provoking panic among people who ran for safety. Two youths on their way to Rev. Gyang’s house to charge their phones were shot by the Fulani; one was killed, the other wounded.

Kim also learned that Rev. Gyang, who lived on his church premises, locked himself with his three children in their room during the attack. Jummai Gyang also locked herself into a toilet. But eventually the assailants attacked the pastorium. They shot Jummai and set fire to the room where her family was hiding.

Eldest son, Adamu, 27, a third year student at University of Jos survived: “I was in school when I saw a post on Facebook about the attack…I called my father, his phone was switched off. I called my mother but her phone was switched off as well”.

Adamu managed to speak to someone else, who told him about his parents and three brothers:

“I could not sleep that night”.

Adamu (middle) with his parents (Photo: World watch Monitor)

Early next morning, Adamu got to the village: he was “devastated” when he saw his mother’s body and the remains of his father and three brothers burnt beyond recognition.

“My father had always been the strength of our family. Right now, I don’t know how my life will be without him.”

Rotshak Linus Kamki, who visited hours after the attacks, also told World Watch Monitor: “On Tuesday around 8 to 9pm, I received a call telling me that Fulani were attacking Abonong. The next morning, I and two others from the village set out. On arrival, we saw people mourning and discussing what to do with 12 corpses already found.

“As we were still gathering the bodies, some youths were sent to mount vigilance in the bush. Not long after they left, one group came running from the hills saying they saw Fulani coming. all of a sudden, it was true.

“Before we could do anything, the Fulani started shooting. We didn’t know what to do. We were face to face with them as they came to attack us with weapons, while some were still on the hills. We were helpless”.

An eyewitness says angry village youths took to the streets in protest at the attacks. Security forces who only arrived that afternoon shot at them, killing 6 and wounding several others.

Further details from various sources, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, revealed that the military, who arrived after the perpetrators had gone, reportedly shot and killed a woman who tried to stop them detaining the local youths, asking them to go after the Fulani militias instead.

In a video circulating online*, as a crowd holds up her body, a visibly distressed clergyman, Rev. Ezekiel Dachomo, appeals for assistance from the US, British parliamentarians and the UN:

“America, please stand for us. We are dying… Please, allow us to survive.  We have nobody.  Only God in heaven can stand for us.  Please, I am begging you. United Nations, your silence is getting worse[er]. …Please, please, I’m begging you stand for the helpless…..Yesterday, one of my colleagues, the reverend was slaughtered with his wife and his children, and I was right there…look at the women, immediately they were commiserating, after the Fulani herdsmen have filled boarded-down two villages.

“Then the soldiers came in, trying to cause confusion. And who are these army men that are using machine-motorcycles? And then they get to shoot, and they would go, who would stand for us?

“There is nobody. Everybody…we are now ready to do [our] last prayers since an Islamic agenda is taking over the nation.

“Now, we’re live at the police station in Barkin Ladi… Look at those IDPs, we have nobody to stand, we are the survivors, now war IDPs have been added. Where do they want them to go?

“They have already [been] assigned our lands, have been relocated to them, they have [been] assigned, our villages have been relocated to Fulani herdsmen, and nobody is talking. Even my colleague reverends are keeping quiet.

“Women are dying every day, men are dying. What do you want us to do? Please, please, I am begging you, congressmen, [men] of London…please I am begging you, stand for the helpless. There is nobody [else]…!”

“There is no crisis: rather, people are attacked in their homes and killed”

WWM also learned that on 31 August, Fulani herdsmen with over 200 cattle invaded the Rakung community in Barkin Ladi LGA, and destroyed maize farms belonging to James Pam, Filibus Choji, Bulus Gyang Shut, Yusufu Boyi and Iliya Bature. Security forces, who eventually intervened, seized over 150 cows from the Fulani.

Following an investigation, the herdsmen agreed to pay 400,000 Naira (about $1,100) compensation to the farmers to get their cows back.

Rev. Dachollom Chumang Datiri (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Fulani herdsmen reportedly also invaded farms in Dorowa community, in Mangu LGA, destroying farm crops and forcing villagers to flee.

Rev. Dachollom Chumang Datiri, President of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), condemned the ‘unacceptable’ killing of the pastor, “an innocent man of God, whose focus was to preach salvation of souls….There is no crisis in Plateau; rather people are attacked in their homes and killed. The government’s first responsibility is to provide security to its people. Go to Abonong and see the crops growing there, yet people were attacked and killed. The attackers cannot say they have issues with these innocent people. And even if they do have issues, it is not with the reverend who preaches to turn away from evil practices who is now killed alongside his family.”

The violence is often described as communal clashes between predominantly Christian farmers and Fulani herdsmen, mainly Muslims; President Buhari refers to the struggle for natural resources such as water and fertile land.

However, many Christian leaders in the area argue there is a religious dimension, and without acknowledging that, politicians will not be able to properly address the conflict. On 28 August, 100 miles away from the attacks, in Jos, a Peace Summit was ending, organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the Northern Regions.

It was attended by top officials, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Governor Lalong, along with Church, Women and Youth leaders from the 19 States of Northern Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja).

“Sustainable Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria as Panacea for Development: The Role of Religious Leaders” aimed to bring lasting solutions to violence which has, in the last few months, amplified the growing wave of insecurity in Central and Northern Nigeria, particularly in Taraba, Adamawa, Benue, Zamfara, Kaduna, Plateau and Nasarawa states.

 

                                            

Three Pastors Severely Injured in Attack on Spiritual Retreat in India

(International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) severely injured three pastors in an attack on Saturday, September 8. The attack took place under the close watch of local policemen in Premnagar, located in the Barely District of India’s Uttar Pradesh State, where Christians were holding a two-day spiritual retreat. Pastor Ashok Benjamin, Pastor Vijay Masih, and Pastor Shivcharan were among those injured in the assault, sustaining wounds to their heads, hands, and lower backs.

Local sources told ICC that a mob of 50 radicals under the leadership of Pawan Arora, the district chief of the VHP, and a few policemen attacked a hall where approximately 25 Christians were meeting for a two-day spiritual retreat. While hurling verbal insults at the Christians, the mob savagely beat the three pastors who were leading the retreat.

All of this happened in the presence of the police,” Pastor Masih, a 36-year-old pastor who was gravely injured in the attack, told ICC. “The police did not come to our rescue. Rather, they joined the mob in accusing us of doing forcible conversions.

I have terrible pain in the lower end of my spinal cord,” Pastor Masih continued. “The whole area is swollen as they kicked me there with force. Now, I am unable to walk.

Over a dozen people hit me with stones on my head, kicked me, and punched me,” Masih said, describing the attack. “I was in shock and did not know what to do. Their intention was to kill us, but God saved us from the mouth of death.

They want to kill my husband because he is a pastor and preaches about Jesus,” Sandra Ashok, Pastor Ashok Benjamin’s wife, told ICC. “My husband received multiple fractures to the nose and [a] clot in the eye. They also hit him on the head. He was bleeding heavily from his nose and also his head.

After the attack, Pastor Benjamin was able to stand witness in the police station amid a large crowd. As he reported the attack, still covered in his own blood, the police asked him what he was doing at the retreat.

Our lives are in danger with the negative publicity we receive, claiming we do forcible conversions,” Pastor Masih explained. “Still, I will not stop preaching Jesus.

Although there was pressure from VHP members, the police did not file forced conversion charges against the three injured pastors. Instead, the police forced the Christians and radicals to agree to a compromise.

Two other anti-Christian attacks led by Hindu radicals took place in Uttar Pradesh in the past week. On September 2, police arrested pastors in Faizabad after they were falsely accused of forced conversions. The police kept the pastors in police custody for more than five hours, but later released them due to a lack of evidence.

                                           

Scottish ban on parental smacking advances

You can’t smack me or I will call the Bobbies (Police)

Plans to criminalise parents in Scotland for smacking their children have taken a step forward.

Currently, parents are permitted to discipline their children with a light smack but the Scottish Government wants to make this illegal.

The Scottish Government is backing the Bill.

Public opposition

A spokesperson for Be Reasonable, the campaign group spearheading opposition to the Bill, said the ban removes a parent’s freedom and responsibility to discipline their children.

“This Bill could see them in the dock for simply tapping their kids on the back of the hand or pulling them away from the side of the road.

“It’s no wonder the 2017 ComRes poll shows the ban remains opposed by almost 75 per cent of Scots.”

The same poll also found that two thirds say it is sometimes necessary to smack a naughty child.

Hypocrisy

The Member’s Bill has been put forward by John Finnie who was elected as Scottish Greens MSP for Highland and Islands in 2016.

The spokesperson said it is “astounding that the MSP behind this is trying to dictate to the vast majority while freely admitting that he smacked his own kids and they turned out ‘well rounded’”.

“Around 85 per cent of adults were smacked as children. Do they think they were subjected to ‘inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’, as has been claimed by supporters of the Bill?”

They added: “Police and social workers are already overstretched.

“Criminalising loving parents for giving a light, infrequent smack for the purpose of teaching right from wrong will inevitably divert valuable resources away from children who genuinely need help.”

‘Unworkable’

The last attempt to ban smacking in 2002 was ditched after being branded ‘unworkable’ by MSPs.

The SNP then called that Bill’s demise “a victory for common sense”.

Christian Girl Attacked for Refusing to Marry Muslim

(Evangelical Focus) — A 18-year-old Christian girl from Karachi, Pakistan, almost died when her Muslim friend tried to kill her, because she refused to marry him and convert to Islam.

Binish Paul, a high school student, was being stalked by a Muslim man who was her friend, and when she said no to his petition, he got angry and after beating her, he took her to the second floor of a building and pushed her from there.

The Pakistani girl survived, but has suffered severe fractures in her spine and legs, and she will no longer be able to walk.

Right after the attempted murder, the family of the man, supported by political parties and the local Islamic community, went to see the parents of Binish Paul and ordered them not to prosecute their son legally.

Continue reading this story >>

Sweden votes in election amid heated debate on Muslim immigration

 Sweden went to the polls Sunday in a general election that is expected to be one of the most unpredictable and thrilling races in the Scandinavian country for decades amid heated debate on immigration.

The election will be Sweden’s first since the government in 2015 allowed 163,000 migrants into the country of 10 million. While far less than what Germany took in that year, it was the most per capita of any European nation.

“This election is a referendum about our welfare,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said. “It’s also about decency, about a decent democracy … and not letting the Sweden Democrats, an extremist party, a racist party, get any influence in the government.”

About 7.5 million registered voters choose from almost 6,300 candidates for a four-year term in the 349-seat Riksdag, or parliament. It’s highly unlikely that any single party will get a majority, or 175 seats.

The latest opinion poll conducted by pollster Novus for public broadcaster SVT suggested Friday that Lofven’s ruling Social Democrats would substantially lose seats, but still emerge as the party with the most votes with an estimated 24.9 percent of the ballots.

If realized, it would be a historical low for the traditional left-wing party, which has dominated Swedish politics in the post-World War II era.

The poll showed that the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats — led by Jimmie Akesson — would get 19.1 percent of the votes in what would be a major increase compared to the 13-percent support received in 2014.

The center-right Moderate Party is set to take to take third place with 17.7 percent.

With a steady rise in popularity of the Sweden Democrats, immigration has become the hot topic of the election.

The party, rooted in a neo-Nazi movement has worked to soften its image, has played a role in breaking down longstanding taboos on what Swedes could say openly about immigration and integration without being shunned as racists.

During a heated debate Friday evening of party leaders, Akesson caused a stir by blaming migrants for the difficulties they often have in finding employment and not adjusting to Sweden.

The broadcaster that aired the televised debate, SVT, afterward called his remarks degrading and against the democratic mandate of public broadcasting.

Akesson responded that state television shouldn’t take sides, and later announced that he wouldn’t take part in any of SVT’s election programs Sunday.

At the party’s rally on Saturday, he strongly criticized Lofven’s government for “prioritizing” the cause of asylum-seekers.

“This government we have had now . they have prioritised, during these four years, asylum-seekers,” Akesson said, giving an exhaustive list of things he says the government has failed to do for Swedish society because of migrants.

“Sweden needs breathing space, we need tight responsible immigration policies.”

Akesson’s strong rhetoric has shocked many Swedes since the country has a long tradition of helping those in need.

“Terrible! I just wanna cry when I think about it,” said Veronica Lundqvist, referring to the Sweden Democrats after she left a voting booth in central Stockholm.

“They say awful things. I mean of course we have a lot of refugees here, but we need to take care of them. They come from a terrible place, terrible wars. We can’t just throw them out.”

But others say the Sweden Democrats are trying to fix a historical problem.

“It’s an integration issue,” Karl Ljung said at the same voting station. “It’s not just about what happened two years ago when we had a lot of refugees. It’s more that we have had an integration issue for maybe 20 years. So we really have to solve it now.”

Mohamed Nuur, a 26-year-old Social Democratic candidate of Somali descent, told The Associated Press that he sees Akesson taking Sweden back to the past.

“For me, the Sweden that he (Jimmie Akesson) wants to see … that is not our future,” Nuur said. “That is to go back in history. For me, when he is saying that immigrants are not welcome to Sweden …he is trying to spread hate between the people. Actually, it’s the immigrants who built up this country.

Sabina Macri, voting in central Stockholm, said the current political situation has left her questioning her future in Sweden.

“We used to be very safe. We used to be a very calm nation,” she said. “And today I feel a bit insecure about the future, especially for my children.”

1,700-Year-Old Church Unearthed in Turkish Lake

Was This the Site of the Council of Nicaea?

1,700-Year-Old Church Unearthed in Turkish Lake; Was This the Site of the Council of Nicaea?

Archaeologists exploring a lake in Turkey have discovered a 1,700-year-old Christian church that may have been the location of the landmark Council of Nicaea, which was held in 325 B.C. and affirmed the deity of Christ.

Mustafa Şahin, head of archaeology at Bursa Uludağ University, told Live Science that the church was found using aerial photographs. The church is buried underneath Lake Iznik near the town of Iznik, which formerly was known as Nicaea.

“When I first saw the images of the lake, I was quite surprised to see a church structure that clearly,” Şahin told Live Science. “I was doing field surveys in Iznik [since 2006], and I hadn’t discovered such a magnificent structure like that.”

An earthquake in A.D. 740 destroyed the church, which now rests about 10 feet under the water and 160 feet from the shore, according to Live Science.

Divers discovered graves in the church housing coins dating to the reigns of Roman emperors Valens (who ruled 364-378) and Valentinian II (375 to 392), Live Science reported.

The Daily Mail quoted Sahin as saying the church could have been the site of the Council of Nicaea, which squashed a heresy known as Arianism and affirmed that Jesus was not a created being. The church may have been built on top of a pagan temple.

Sahin wants the church to be protected by the government as an underwater archaeological museum.

Hindu Extremists, Media Attack Large Church in Uttar Pradesh, India

‘To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,’ says pastor.

Police anticipating Hindu extremist threat at church service on Aug. 5 in Bhulandih village, Jaunpur District, Uttar Pradesh, India. (Morning Star News)

Police anticipating Hindu extremist threat at church service on Aug. 5 in Bhulandih village, Jaunpur District, Uttar Pradesh, India. (Morning Star News)

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Dismissing an initial investigation that cleared Christians of wrongdoing, police under pressure from Hindu extremists are pursuing false charges against a pastor and 270 others, sources said.

After appearing to halt Hindu nationalists’ efforts to shut down a large church in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state, police who had told the pastor that they turned up no evidence of fraudulent conversion are now denying the initial inquiry took place, sources said.

Hindu nationalists filed false charges of fraudulent conversion, mounted a media slander campaign and attacked congregation members trying to attend the 7,000-member Jivan Jyoti Satsang Prarthana Kendra church in Bhulandih village, Jaunpur District, where the pastor suffered police brutality last year, according to area sources.

After Hindu nationalists Brijesh Singh and Siddharth Singh filed charges of fraudulent conversion against 45-year-old pastor Durga Prasad Yadav, Hindu extremists on Aug. 5 stopped Christians en route to worship services, according to video captured by Deep Gupta, editor and chief of National TV News.

“I had placed hidden cameras all over the place,” Gupta told Morning Star News. “About 10-15 of them were stopping the three-wheelers going towards the church filled with people. They broke the vehicles and threatened the drivers to not carry passengers to church. The people were made to leave the transport.”

The Hindu extremists threatened the Christians, beat the drivers and broke the three-wheeled vehicles going in the direction of the church, Pastor Yadav told Morning Star News.

“Despite threats, people still came,” Pastor Yadav said. “Commuters who were asked to leave the public transport walked as much as four kilometers to come to church, and this went on for two weeks, even after the Aug. 5 Sunday [the church also has Tuesday services].”

Besides the pastor, the Hindu nationalists filed the charges against Kirit Rai, a Christian identified only as Jitandra and 268 others alleging conversion by fraudulent means and hurting religious feelings under section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Brijesh Singh and Siddharth Singh contended that the Christians “have been going about in Jaunpur and four other districts preaching against Sanatan (eternal) religion, i.e. Hinduism, alluring the poor and the downtrodden with money and converting them to Christianity.”

Dainik Jagran, a Hindi-language, national newspaper, reported on Aug. 2 that the complainants further alleged that the Christians “ridicule the worship of Sanatan religion and idols. They claim to cure incurable diseases and make the people testify of the false healing. They are made to eat the restricted food [Holy Communion] and made to shout praises to Jesus Christ and declare themselves Christians.”

The complainants also stated that such acts can lead to sectarian riots and that therefore action should be taken against them. The Christians were also accused of hurting religious sentiments.

After the complainants filed the charges, the chief magistrate ordered Chandwak police to investigate, sources said. Members of a Hindu extremist youth group founded in 2002 by present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath, the Hindu Yuva Vahini, then sought police permission to gather at the church site on Aug. 5.

Police denied their request and, anticipating an attack by the Hindu extremist group, deployed a large force in and around the village from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Expecting an attack on the church service, police from five police stations were deployed in and around the church,” said Gupta of National TV News.

As Pastor Yadav was in Allahabad that day, his daughter, 21-year-old Preeti Yadav, led the church service.

Gupta said he interviewed 500 of the 7,000 worshippers, questioning them about their faith and the allegations of “conversion by fraudulent means.”

“As many as I interviewed had stories to share about their sickness and how they got healed after Pastor Yadav prayed for them,” he told Morning Star News. “They said that they attended the church out of their own free will, and that they were not subjected to any force or allurement. They said that despite threats, they will continue to attend church.”

Gupta broadcasted his footage and investigation repudiating the allegations against Pastor Yadav and the other 270 Christians.

Police investigations also found the allegations of forceful or fraudulent conversions to be false, Pastor Yadav said.

“It was a big relief that the case was dismissed against me and my church members,” he said.

On Wednesday (Sept. 5), however, the newspaper published the same false news story with a heading stating, “A case shall be registered against 271 Christians including the pastor against the allegations of religious conversion.” It stated that a court ordered the police on Tuesday (Sept. 4) to investigate and submit a report.

Station Head Officer (SHO) Shashichand Chaudhary told Morning Star News that police received orders from the court on Wednesday (Sept. 5) to investigate the accusations. Asked about the previous investigation on Aug. 5, with a report clearing the Christians submitted by officer Mahendra Kumar Yadav on Aug. 7, he denied any prior investigations took place.

“We had provided security to Pastor Yadav and his church on Aug. 5, but no investigations were made,” Chaudhary said.

Pastor Yadav was upset at this turn.

“Their objective is nothing but to cause trouble for me,” he told Morning Star News.

National TV News editor Gupta said he fears that the previous investigation report was dismissed in order to make way for the new investigation.

“A lot of pressure is being exerted by the Hindu fundamentalist political parties over the authorities, be it judiciary or the police,” he said.

Pastor Yadav said Hindu extremists continue to threaten him nearly every other week.

“Threats kept pouring, from here-and-there,” he told Morning Star News.

The allegations were preceded by false newspaper reports. After a report by a Dainik Jagran on July 21 alleging large-scale conversions of Hindus in Dobhi block went viral, police from Chandwak police station picked up Pastor Yadav’s brother, Jai Prakash Yadav for questioning on July 23.

Police interrogated the farmer for about three hours regarding his brother’s pastoral work.

“I was very concerned for my brother,” Pastor Yadav said, “but the police let him go after rigorous enquiry about me and the church activity.”

Several articles followed portraying the pastor’s church as carrying out conversion through allurement and alleging that he demeaned other religions and their deities, leading to the Aug. 2 case registered against him and 270 others.

Gupta of National TV News said he was shocked over the newspaper’s “twisting of facts.” He told Morning Star News that some of the village names mentioned in one article did not exist. The interviews of people attending church were distorted, he said, and a police officer-in-charge denied making a statement attributed to him.

“I interviewed the same people, and they told me that they were told that their testimony of faith in Christ would be published in the newspaper and hence they testified without apprehensions,” Gupta said.

They told the reporter that the pastor had not told them to stop going to Hindu temples, and that they decided on their own to stop doing so. They told him they believe in Jesus of their own free will, and that they will continue to do so as it is their fundamental right to do what they choose, Gupta said.

June 2017 Assault

Recalling an assault by senior officers at the police station a year ago brings chills to him even today, Pastor Yadav said.

Two policemen came to his house one morning in June 2017 and told him to go with them to the police station, he said. Upon arrival, he learned that the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) had ordered the station house officer (SHO) to summon him.

The SDM soon arrived and began questioning and assaulting him, the pastor said.

“He screamed and shouted at me, blaming me that I would convert the whole of Uttar Pradesh into Christianity,” Pastor Yadav told Morning Star News. “He asked me to leave the state and go somewhere else. Whatever answer I gave, he would hit me with a patta [the belt in a police uniform].”

The SDM advised Pastor Yadav to become a Sadhu, a Hindu monk who has renounced worldly life, grown a beard and performed Hawan/Homa, Hinduism’s purification procedure, he said.

“I was physically assaulted, verbally abused and beaten badly and was told to leave the city,” the pastor said.

The SDM told the SHO to keep him in custody and register a case against him.

“Before the policemen could begin the formalities of registering a case against me, some members of my church reached the police station enquiring about me,” he said. “My well-wishers called the police station questioning my detention. Pressure was built, and the SHO decided to let me go without registering any case against me.”

This incident left him injured and frightened, he said.

“I wept bitterly one day and asked God if I should leave all of this and go away,” he said.

Looking for an answer, he opened the Bible and happened upon the Book of Jonah, he said.

“God spoke to me through it, telling me that neither the waves of the sea, nor the stomach of the fish could kill Jonah. God wanted him to remain alive to go to Nineveh, and so he did. I got this assurance that no one can kill me until the Lord allows,” he said. “And when the day comes for me to go, I will be more than happy, as, ‘For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain [Phil. 1:21].’”

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution.

Christians in Egypt Jailed for Worshipping in Unlicensed House

Muslim mobs give police ‘security’ pretext for closing church

Worshippers at house church in Al-Zeneeqa village, near Esna, in Luxor Governorate, Egypt. (Facebook Safwat Samaan)

Worshippers at house church in Al-Zeneeqa village, near Esna, in Luxor Governorate, Egypt. (Facebook Safwat Samaan)

(Morning Star News) – Authorities yesterday ordered 15 more days of jail for Christians arrested on Aug. 22 in Egypt for worshipping in a house without a permit, rights activists said.

After Muslim mobs demonstrated against the Virgin Mary and St. Mahrael church in Luxor Governorate, 435 miles south of Cairo, police accused five Coptic Catholics of worshipping without a permit, according to Coptic rights activist Safwat Samaan.

Police closed the church in Al-Zeneeqa village, in Esna, which has been holding worship services at the site for 18 years, according to Samaan. Five Muslims were also arrested, with another 10 arrested on Aug. 24 as they prepared another demonstration against the church, according to U.S.-based Catholic publications The Tablet.

The Copts were arrested even though they did not take any action against the demonstrators, the Catholic outlet reported. Besides charging the Christians with worshipping in an unlicensed venue, they charged them and the Muslims with illegal gathering, disrupting public peace and inciting sectarian strife, according to local media.

The church was the third one in Luxor closed in four months after Muslim extremists protested their existence, giving police the pretext of “security” threats for shuttering them. Hundreds of churches have submitted applications for legalization under a law passed on Sept. 28, 2016 regulating church construction, with little hope of obtaining licenses soon.

In the past 11 months, authorities approved only 220 of the 3,730 church and other ministry buildings that have applied, Watani newspaper reported on Aug. 26. Many churches have already waited 15 years for decisions on their applications for permits, and at the current rate, it will take 17 years to obtain decisions on applications from “unofficial” churches, according to Watani.

Human Rights Watch has described the 2016 law’s restrictions over construction and renovation of church buildings discriminating against Christians.

“The new law empowers provincial governors to approve church building and renovation permits, previously the domain of security services,” The Tablet reported. “However, it grants a governor the right to deny a building or renovation permit on security and public safety grounds, which allows mob violence to dictate the matter. Usually, such mob attacks serve as a pretext for closing the church, especially in upper Egypt where perpetrators act with impunity.”

In Beni Suef Governorate, a member of the security forces responsible for protecting St. George Church in Zaytoun village, some 75 miles south of Cairo, on Aug.  25 charged into their building and shouted, “You are infidels …All of you are infidels,” the Catholic outlet reported.

Muslim mobs that week reportedly demonstrated against a church in Sultan Basha, in Minya Governorate, keeping Copts from worshipping.

Egypt was ranked 17th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

SECRET PHOTOGRAPHS RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED BY THE UNITED STATES GOV.

Shhhh  do not tell anyone you saw this on World Christian News for you www.wcn4u.com/

CHINA’S HUGE SECRET

  This not so secret space telescope boasts the strongest signal strength in human history.

Its main purpose is to detect radio signals from more than 1,200 light years away.

The real purpose of this base is believed to be ionosphere control and possible weather.

CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN COMPLEX

The Cheyenne Mountain Complex may be the U.S. government’s biggest secret facility.

We have no idea how far underground the bunker actually goes since you need top-secret clearance to even get on site.

It is speculated that all of the government’s alien investigations occur here.

THE MODEL USED TO MAKE MOUNT RUSHMORE

This recently declassified photo shows that the original design for Mount Rushmore included the President’s upper bodies as well. I guess these designs were too much to actually complete.

THE GADGET

The world’s first nuclear bomb was the final product of the infamous ‘Trinity” project and was detonated in the New Mexico desert in 1945. This never before released photo of the actual “gadget” is chilling.

NUCLEAR TESTS

The US government detonated countless nuclear bombs as tests before they dropped two atomic weapons on Japan to end World War II. Here is the actual photo of the detonation of the world’s first Thermo Nuclear device, codenamed “Ivy Mike.” It was blown up in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

WHAT IS LEFT OF A COSMONAUT

In 1967, Russia and the United States were in the midst of a Cold War and a race to space. This race caused both sides to have epic mistakes but they were usually covered up. A declassified photo shows the aftermath of a space shuttle crash that killed cosmonaut Vladamir Komarov.

ROSWELL CRASHSITE

This is actual photo evidence of the infamous Roswell UFO crash site that has kept all of us conspiracy theorists busy. The government is still tight-lipped on this secret crash site. This photo does allow our imaginations to run wild.

FAT MAN

“Fat Man” is the codename that was used for the bomb that was dropped over the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. This photo was recently declassified and allowed people a glimpse into military secrets.

AREA 51 is a “secret” military base in the Nevada desert and until now, these photos were classified as Top Secret. Now that we can see these photos we understand all those UFO sightings. This stealth bomber was often mistaken as a UFO.

THE ACTUAL PHOTO OF JOHN MCCAIN BEING SAVED

Senator John McCain was a US airman in the Vietnam war and was shot down and captured by the enemy. He was held hostage for years before he was released. This is the actual photo taken in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1967.

EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT AT AREA 51

These experimental aircraft photographed at Area 51 may be the reason so many UFOs were spotted in the southwest region. The USAF (United States Air Force) had quite a few experimental aircrafts at Area 51.

PENTAGON 9/11 PHOTOS

This recently declassified photo from the US government shows the extreme damage that a passenger airplane caused the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. This rare photo shows the damage went all the way through three of the layers of the Pentagon, much farther than the public knew.

BOOKS GEORGE C.DUKE HAD NEVER RELEASED BEFORE