Saturday, January 19, 2008

Indian Christians under attack

I post this (from African Crisis)in order to remind us of the persecution still going on around the world. This time, in India.

Naive Americans like to think of Hinduism as a religion of peace, and perhaps it often is. But certainly not always. Incidents such as those recounted in this article remind us that Indian Christians (and foreigners there spreading the gospel) are often in danger from violent Hindus.

Date Posted: Wednesday 16-Jan-2008

"Churches have been torched and Christians murdered in waves of brutal attacks by Hindu militants in India. On 24 December, mobs of radical Hindus attacked Christian churches throughout the state of Orissa burning churches, beating Christians, looting homes, schools, medical centres and clinics run by Christians.

According to WorldNetDaily and Compass Direct, the All Indian Christian Council has documented over 1,000 violent attacks on Christians in India during the last year, 2007. In Orissa state�s Kandhamal district another 800 attacks were reported in the last week of 2007. At least 730 homes and 95 churches were burned.

Hindu extremists were reported to have launched simultaneous attacks on many churches and homes in coordinated bombings, destruction and looting, with mobs with guns and knives attacking Christians gathered for worship. The AICC Report revealed that just in one area, around the Barakhama village, 415 of the 450 homes belonging to Christians were burned. One Christian, Bhogra Naik of Barakhama was �cut into three pieces� by the Hindu militants who also destroyed his home.

Babu Joseph, of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, stated: "What is most distressing is the regularity at which these attacks are meticulously, and almost clinically executed in order to hurt the Christians. In all these instances of atrocities against Christians it was proved beyond doubt that some right wing Hindu organizations were behind them; they indulge in unhindered hate campaigns��

Gospel For Asia President, K.P. Johannan reported on the terror campaign against Christians in Orissa state. "This is the same state where missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were martyred. The believers know they will face opposition." Graham Staines was an Australian missionary who was brutally murdered, along with his sons, by a mob of militant Hindus. Gospel For Asia also reported that their missionary leader in Orissa, Matish Junni was attacked. The mob beat Matish and shaved his head. They then mockingly paraded him around the village, shouting slurs against him and other Christians. They also forced Matish to go to their religious temple and vandalized the GFA church building project.

India Gospel Outreach reported widespread mob violence and arson in Brahminigaon. Hindu militants burned Christian schools, medical centres, clinics and churches and attacked congregations with guns, spears, axes and other traditional weapons. Thousands of Christians have lost their homes. Hundreds of Christians are missing. The number of dead is not yet known. The India Gospel Outreach reports that Orissa state has some of India�s strongest anti-conversion laws.

Gospel for Asia reports that GFA missionaries Maliik Hembrom and Anup John were attacked by fanatics, and a teenage girl and her mother were beaten for converting to Christianity. When Sonia Devi, a 14 year-old student in Jharkhand, prayed to the Lord Jesus for the healing of her father, she saw her father, Samsong, miraculously healed. Sonia and her parents committed their lives to Christ and Sonia was baptized on 5 January.

Some Hindu extremists in the village then barged into their home and dragged Sonia and her mother, Vineeta, to the local Hindu temple and subjected them, against their will, to a purification ritual designed to mark a person�s official return to Hinduism. They also attacked the GFA missionaries that they held responsible for this family�s conversion.

Compass Direct News identifies Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, the leader of the World Hindu Council (Vishwa Hindu Parishad�VHP) as a key instigator of the co-ordinated mob attacks on Christians. For over a decade Saraswati has opposed Christians and missionary work in India.

"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2"

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