News from Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt

An Egyptian Christian surgeon is reportedly being detained by the Saudi Arabia government because of his faith, alerted a Washington-based Christian human rights group Wednesday

Dr. Mamdooh Fahmy, who was working as a surgeon in Saudi Arabia, wrote a letter to International Christian Concern appealing for help to return home to Egypt. His prior attempts to go home for over two years have been futile with the Saudi government refusing to grant him the required exit visa.

The Christian surgeon was working at Albyaan Menfhoh Medical Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before he was removed from his position at the center six months ago, according to ICC. Fahmy has since not been able to obtain another work permit because of his Christian faith.

Harassments targeted at Fahmy began early on when his Muslim colleagues at the medical center in 2004 repeatedly pressured him to become a Muslim. After becoming tired of enduring the taunts, Fahmy told his co-workers that he was a Christian and would not change his religion. In response, the group accused him of being a missionary.

In Fahmy’s letter to ICC, the doctor details the maltreatment he underwent because he publicly acknowledged his Christian faith in Saudi Arabia:

“On April 12, 2005, I had a surprised visit from three Saudi officials at work. Two were in civilian attire and one was a police officer. They informed me that they were from the morals policing organization (Muttawa). They proceeded to insult me publicly before the staff and patients of the medical center. They confiscated my wallet, cell phone and keys. They handcuffed me, shacked (sic) my legs and dragged me to a waiting car, then proceeded to my residence.”

Fahmy then told how the police officer allowed two civilians to raid his house and confiscate all his written and published materials.

“I was then taken to the police station … where I was formally accused of being a Christian missionary and of consuming alcoholic beverages at work,” recalled the persecuted Christian doctor. “I was placed in solitary confinement for five days. After my confinement they began the interrogation process. Each time I was questioned, I was cursed and insulted. The interrogator referred to me as ‘Infidel.'”

After his release Fahmy was told that his passport was now in the custody of the police.

The Saudi government has reportedly been leading Fahmy in circles, promising to let him leave the country but in the end blocking his path.

In the latest incident, he was told that all he needed to do to exit the country was file some departure applications after Egyptian officials raised his situation with the Saudi government. Fahmy filed the papers, but not only was the application rejected, but Saudi officials laughed in his face for attempting to leave, according to ICC.

Saudi Arabia is notorious for its religious freedom and human rights abuse. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan government body established to monitor religious freedom in the world, recommended to the U.S. State Department again this year that Saudi Arabia be designated a Country of Particular Concern – the worst religious freedom violation label.

The State Department has often criticized Saudi Arabia for religious intolerance and human rights abuses including a legal system with punishments such as flogging and amputation.

Christian persecution watch group Open Doors this year listed Saudi Arabia as the world’s second worst Christian persecutor behind North Korea.

Moreover, the Saudi government is accused of propagating religious intolerance through its public textbooks, which teach Muslim children to hate all non-Wahhabi Muslims.

“What is being taught today in Saudi public school textbooks about how Muslims should relate to other religious communities will poison the minds of a new generation of Saudis,” said Nina Shea, then-director of Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom, during a news conference about Saudi textbooks earlier this year.

ICC and Fahmy are requesting that people contact the Saudi embassy to inform them of the growing awareness of Saudi Arabia’s human rights violation in this case.

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, US
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: (202) 342-3800

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Canada
99 Bank Street Suite 901,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1P 6B9
Telephone: (613) 237-4100
Fax: (613) 237-0567

2) ‘Egyptians killed 4 Sudanese on border’

Egyptian soldiers killed four Sudanese refugees near the Egypt-Israel border overnight Wednesday in full view of IDF troops, a shaken-sounding IDF soldier said in an interview with Channel 10, Thursday evening.

According to the soldier, female IDF troops operating night vision devices identified several refugees approaching the border in an attempt to infiltrate Israel and alerted other soldiers who arrived after a few minutes in an army jeep.

However, Egyptian troops who also discovered the refugees, fired upon them, immediately killing two and wounding a third. A fourth refugee ran towards the fence and an IDF soldier stretched out his hands, trying to help him cross.

At that point, the soldier recalled, two Egyptian soldiers arrived and started pulling at the refugee’s legs.

“It was literally like we were playing ‘tug of war’ with this man,” the soldier said. The soldier eventually loosened his grip on the man, fearing the Egyptians would shoot him.

“They were aiming loaded weapons straight at us, I was afraid they were going to shoot us,” he said.

The Egyptians then carried the man several meters away from the border fence, and proceeded to beat him and another wounded refugee to death with stones and clubs.

“What happened there yesterday was a lynch. These are not men, they’re animals. They killed him without even using firearms,” the soldier said. “We just heard screams of pain and the sounds of beatings. Then the screams stopped.”

The entire event was caught on IDF tapes, but the soldier said that his commanders, who were not at the site, would not dare watch them.

The entire incident took place on the Egyptian side of the border, IDF sources told Israel Radio later Thursday evening.

A Channel 10 commentator said the channel preferred not to show the tape, so as not to cause a diplomatic row with Egypt.

Egyptian authorities said that they would investigate the incident.

3) 9 killed, 40 injured in Parachinar blast

PARACHINAR: Nine people including two children were killed while 40 sustained injuries in a suicide car attack in Parachinar, headquarter of Kurram Agency.

Political agent KUrram Agency Sahibzada Mohammad Nafees has confirmed that 8 people have died in the blast.

The blast occurred at taxi stand located near entrance point of the city.

A suicide attacker hit his car with another car parked in Eidgah Market area, an entrance point in Parachinar. Both the cars were completely damaged in the bomb blast. The investigation teams after the blast reached on the site.

9 persons including two children of 8 and 10 year old died at the spot including suicide bomber while more than 40 people were injured.

The bodies and wounded were shifted to the hospital immediately where some of the injured are in critical condition and death toll may be rise.

According to the sources, the security forces after the blast cordoned off the area and asked the local people to away from the place of the incident and the Parachinar Bazaar was completely closed.

Emergency has been declared in the hospital and after getting the reports of the blast, a large number of people gathered Parachinar Hospital to donate blood.

According to the eyewitnesses, 8 shops of the market located near the blast site were destroyed completely which reflects the intensity of the blast. The blast also damaged electricity wires which suspended the electricity in the city.

Assistant political Agent Mohammad Iqbal declaring the blast as suicide attack has expressed deep grief over the loss of life and property.

Political agent Sahibzada Mohammad Anis confirming the death of 8 people said that the entire area has been handed over o Pak Army and Karam militia force and border checking has been intensified.

He said that Parachinar blast is art of the series of suicide attack sin the country and we had intelligence information that such an incident could occur and had tried to secure the place as much as possible.

The deceased have been identified as Riaz Hussain, Hajjab Hussain, Arbab Hussain and Syed Kamal Hussain Shah while the other dead bodies were not identified yet.

Similarly, the names of the injured persons includes Hashmat Ali son of Nazar Ali, Mehdi Hussain, son of Ali Qasim, Arshad Hussain son of Lal Badshah, Muhammad Younis son of Muhammad Ashraf, Naqab Hussain, Asad Ali son of Sher Ghulam, Sher Ghulam, Syed Muhammad, Kamala Hussain, Hamid Hussain, Muhammad Askar, Malik Syed Akbar Jan, Hajji Noor Alam Khan, Waqar Ali, Jabbar Hussain, Muhammad Ali, Syed Ahmad Hussain, Syed Ahmad Hussain, Adil Hussain, Arabab Hussain, Syed Kamal Hussain, Akhtiar Hussain, Iqbal Hussain, Syed Faqir Hussain, Mir Hassan, Mushtaq Hussain, Salman Ali, Younis Hussain, Mazhar Hussain, Liaqat Hussain, Ali Mohsin, Ali Hussain and Ali Muhammad Khan


4) A new edition of the Bible in Urdu

The text, in an improved user-friendly version, was introduced across the country in a series of religious events. The Church in Pakistan celebrated the publication, inviting the faithful to “welcome the Word of God, into their hearts and homes”.

Faisalabad – July 29th last, during a solemn mass celebrated by Msgr. Joseph Coutts, bishop of Faisalabad, the first ever computer printed edition of the Catholic Bible in Urdu was presented. It was reviewed by the Catholic Bible Commission, whereas printing, composing and publishing was done with the cooperation of Pakistan Bible Society. In Faisalabad, as in all of the Churches, the bible’s publication was accompanied by a mass and solemn procession, complete with incense and prayers.

Msgr. Coutts invited the faithful to “witness God’s words in their daily lives, welcoming them into their homes and hearts”. Fr. Aftab James Paul – a member of the revising commission – during his homily explained – “There is no change in the main manuscript of the Bible, we just changed the difficult words with easy to understand words so every one can easily understand the living word of God”. Moreover, he invited the faithful to “keep a copy of the bible in their homes, to show with strength their belonging to the Christian Community”.

Even the Archbishop of Karachi, Mgrs. Evarist Pinto, in a message to the faithful of his diocese said “with gratitude and joy we welcome the 9th Edition of the Urdu Catholic Bible. It is indeed a significant event in the history of the local Church in Pakistan” and which saw “the generous co-operation of the Pakistan Bible Society, in the future also there are plans to work together in the field of the Bible Apostolate and Bible promotion. There is need for a fresh edition of the Bible because of the development of the language with new vocabulary, phrases and idioms. But the Word of God does not change. It remains firm for ever”.

The need to change the old and difficult words of Arabic and Persian as well as the extinct words of Urdu, in the previous Urdu edition of the Bible was first mentioned about 25 years ago but the real work only started in April 2002 when the Catholic Bible Commission of Pakistan was formed under the chairmanship of Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi and Fr Emmanuel Asi, a well known Bible scholar. The new edition is a slimmer version – 1455 pages compared to the 1665 of the older edition – and is enriched by 5 colour maps.


5) Muslim leaders among suspects in beheading of Marines

ISABELA CITY, Basilan–At least 15 Muslim preachers and leaders have been included in the list of 127 suspects in the July 10 mutilation and beheading of 10 Marine soldiers in Albarka town.

Basilan’s Darul Ifta (House of Opinion) head Mufti Abdulla Hamja Uttu said he was very concerned about the list, and said that it should be double-checked to find out if the persons listed were real religious preachers or teachers.

“Hindi natin matiyak. Baka ang iba ay nagpapanggap na preachers o baka naman totoong preachers sila at napagkamalan (We can’t be sure. Some of them might just be posing as preachers, or maybe they are really preachers and they were mistaken for other people),” he said.

Uttu said he would bring the matter before the Provincial Crisis Management Committee as this might affect other religious leaders in the community.

But Dr. Manar Saliddin, a dentist, said there was “nothing new” to it.

Saliddin’s father, Munap, and younger brother, Moner, were victims of indiscriminate arrests in July 2001 when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared war on the island.

“This is nothing new for us Muslims. Since 2001 upon declaration of state of lawlessness here, Muslims in general and religious leaders in particular are being unjustly tagged as terrorists and illegally arrested then charged in court without due process,” Saliddin said.

Ustadz Ebrahim Esmael, one of the officers of the Assembly of Darul Ifta of the Philippines based in Central Mindanao, said those included in the list provided by the court “can be anybody because the list was not part” of the findings of the investigation conducted by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s joint coordinating committee on the cessation of hostilities (JCCCH).

Included in the warrant of arrest issued by Judge Leo Jay Principe of the Basilan Regional Trial Court Branch 1 were Ustadzes Aris Baning, Suwaib Buddihan, Musa Sariol and Indang Udjang, aleem Hamsa Sapanton, a certain Imam Bakal and Hadjis Bikki Abdalal, Gafur Mahmud, Adzar Katah, Arham Sukor, Muslimin Alvin, Arasani Muslimin, Nasiman Muslimin, Laksaw Suhod and Labirin Sabtalin.

An ustadz is a teacher in a madrasah (Islamic school) while an aleem is a Muslim scholar. An imam is a person who leads a prayer in mosques, while a hadj is someone who has performed Islamic rituals in Mecca.

Hindu extremists suspected, but police have yet to identify culprits.

NEW DELHI, August 3 : – A Christian advocacy group has asked the chief minister of the northeastern state of Assam to provide protection to believers after unidentified assailants suspected to be Hindu extremists beat a Christian worker to death in Guwahati.

Hemanta Das, a 29-year-old Christian worker whom Hindu extremists had warned to stop his ministry, succumbed to his injuries in a hospital on July 1, two days after he was beaten in Chand Mari area of Guwahati.

Das worked with a local Christian organization, Resource Centre Under Elohim (RESCUE). A convert to Christianity from Hinduism a few years ago, Das had been a supporter of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh .

The All India Christian Council (AICC) on July 25 wrote to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi requesting that he ensure that those who killed Das were arrested and the Christian minority community protected from such attacks.

“On several occasions, he was cautioned by radical groups of the dire consequences that would follow if he tried to convert people to Christianity,” the AICC quoted the executive director of RESCUE, Amzad DeCruz, as saying.

In a statement, the Rev. Dr. Ngul Khan Pau, general secretary of the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India, declared Das, a member of a Baptist church, as the “first Christian martyr in Assam.”

Pau also said that a murder case had been filed with police, but that the culprits had not been found.

The Rev. Madhu Chandra, an AICC leader from northeast India, told CD News the presence of Hindu extremist groups in the state was very high.

“When I was working with a Christian organization in the state till a few years ago, many of our workers would be attacked by extremists,” Rev. Chandra said.

Assam has 986,589 Christians out of the total population of 26.6 million.

On February 6, Hindu villagers beat and vandalized the thatched house of a Christian convert, Rahbindra Narzaree, for refusing to “reconvert” to Hinduism in Bashbari village, under the Beshmuri police sub-station in Kokrajhar district in Assam. To save their lives, Narzaree and his wife took refuge in the police sub-station and then moved to Narzaree’s brother’s house.


India Briefs: Recent Incidents of Persecution

Madhya Pradesh, August 3 : – Hindu extremists dragged independent Pastor Shoba Ram, 25, out of a worship service on July 29 in Madhya Pradesh state’s Rajpur town, Barwani district. A relative of Pastor Ram, Ralu Singh, led the attack. “A small assembly of 22 believers were gathered for Sunday Christian Worship at Maranatha Worship Church when, during worship, around 12 Hindu extremists stormed the prayer hall, shouting slogans against Jesus Christ and cursing the Christians,” said Dr. Sajan K. George of the Global Council of Indian Christians. The extremists slapped Pastor Ram and snatched Bibles and hymn books from congregants’ hands and vandalized music and audio equipment and furniture. Later they sprinkled red kumkum (used by Hindus to mark their foreheads and those of Hindu icons) on the believers’ heads, threatening to kill or drive out Christians from Madhya Pradesh. The extremists dragged Pastor Ram to the local Rajpura station, punching him en route. “Ralu Singh, a relative of Shoba Ram, strongly objected to their conversion to Christianity four years ago,” George said. Rajpura police officials told CD News Pastor Ram was charged for trespassing and “obscene acts and songs.” After an hour in custody, he was released on a bail of 2,000 rupees (US$50).

Karnataka – Hindu extremists allegedly belonging to the Bajrang Dal, youth wing of the Hindu extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council), on July 29 disrupted the Sunday worship service of a church and beat the pastor and church members in Sagar Taluka, Shimoga district in Karnataka state. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that 15 Bajrang Dal members armed with wooden clubs, cricket bats and knives barged into the Believers Church. “The extremists abused and slapped Pastor Thankan and began assaulting the believers,” said the GCIC’s Dr. Sajan K. George. “They also vandalized the church property, destroying the pulpit, chairs, musical instruments, furniture, and window panes and did not spare even the walls of the church.” Francis D’Souza, 36, was stabbed in his left shoulder, 21-year-old Sanju Kumar was stabbed on his right arm and Manjula Joseph, 50, bled profusely after being beaten on the head and ears. An assistant pastor identified only as Dennis was hit with cricket bats, and an 18-year-old congregant was stabbed with a knife, requiring 10 stitches on his head. The injured believers were admitted to the Sagar Government hospital. Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhatta Kurki told CD News, “Five of the attackers have been arrested and charged under Indian Penal Code Section 295A for hurting religious sentiments, and under Section 149 for forming an unlawful assembly and rioting.”

Orissa – Two Catholic nuns in Baghamara village, Mayurbhanj district in Orissa state, were arrested on July 28 for allegedly forcing two non-Christian girls to sing Christian prayer hymns. Sister Mary Sebastine and Sister Prema Thomas were accused of attempting to forcibly convert the girls studying at Vijaya Sadan Tribal Girls Hostel, a Catholic residential school in Baghamara. Parents of the two students accused the nuns of “physically and mentally torturing” the girls, ages 14 and 11, when they refused to sing the hymns, according to The Times of India. Mayurbhanj Superintendent of Police Sanjay Kumar Singh said the nuns were booked for “causing simple hurt” and “criminal intimidation,” as well as “forcibly attempting conversion” under the state anti-conversion law. While the superintendent was quoted as saying the complaint “was prima facie true,” Lucas Kerketta, bishop of Sambalpur, told CD News, “There is absolutely no truth in these allegations. The nuns have never, ever indulged in conversion activities. Their only intention is to selflessly serve the people. Regarding the allegations of physical torture, all residential students were made to work in the garden and clean the premises as part of their education.” The nuns were released on bail on July 30.

Chhattisgarh – Police arrested an independent pastor on charges of fraudulently converting a Hindu family by offering money on July 24 in Bhilai district, Chhattisgarh state. According to the Christian Legal Association (CLA), 47-year-old pastor Samuel Simon was arrested for violating the state anti-conversion law and for “hurting religious feelings.” The court refused to grant bail to the pastor, who denies all charges, and sent him to judicial custody till August 6. Local Hindu resident Rahul Jangte, the complainant, accused Pastor Simon of offering money to him and his family to convert to Christianity. But the complainant’s wife, Preeti Jangte, stated before the court that she was Buddhist and had not converted to Christianity. She also said that her husband and his family were torturing her for dowry. “Pastor Simon only wanted to settle our family problem, which is why he used to visit us,” she told the CLA. “During one of his visits, my husband demanded money from the pastor also.” She has filed a police complaint against her husband, but officers have yet to take action.


In His Service,
Christian Breaking News Team

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Michael is the founder of Christian faith dot come, a site about Jesus. He came to save the lost. Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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